Recently there were shocking revelations that Army spies infiltrated and spied on a an anti-war group in Washington State, in violation of the Posse Comitatus Act. This agent was part of a larger network of law enforcement and intelligence agencies under the umbrella of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). In some cities, these networks were consolidated into “fusion centers”.
Well, it looks like Hawai’i military officials are trying to establish their very own intelligence fusion center in Hawai’i. The GAO reported in “Homeland Security: Federal Efforts Are Helping to Alleviate Some Challenges Encountered by State and Local Information Fusion Centers”, October 2007:
According to a State of Hawaii Department of Defense official, for the past 2 years officials from civil defense and state law enforcement have discussed the possibility of establishing a fusion center in Hawaii. Specifically, they have discussed establishing an intelligence unit under state and local law enforcement control to complement the FBI’s JTTF in Honolulu. A state fusion center would provide intelligence and analysis to all disciplines, especially law enforcement. Planning officials are not seeking a center that is only focused on the prevention and disruption of terrorism, but one that would complement other departments, agencies, and task forces within the context of all hazards. The official noted that the establishment of a fusion center in Hawaii depends on the adequacy and allocation of Homeland Security grant funds in fiscal years 2007 and 2008. According to the official, Hawaii’s fiscal year 2007 allocation will not support the current investment strategy for a fusion center. The official said that they will have to wait until fiscal year 2008 or find an alternative funding strategy.
The revelation that military personnel were spying on civlians engaged in protected political activities is a chilling flashback to the days prior to Senator Sam Ervin’s Subcommittee on Constitutional Rights and Senator Frank Church’s Select Committee on Intelligence, that led to the founding of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. Amy Goodman interviewed Christopher Pyle, who as an Army intelligence officer during the Vietnam War, helped to expose the illegal military spying on peace groups within the U.S. and worked for Senator Ervin’s investigation. Here’s an excerpt:
AMY GOODMAN: Who else was listed at the time, both individuals and organizations that you saw targeted?
CHRISTOPHER PYLE: Well, one of the printouts that the military gave me of their surveillance for a particular week in 1968 included the infiltration of a Unitarian Church. In more recent years, surveillance of Quaker groups, the infiltration of Quaker groups in Florida, who were planning to protest military recruitment in their local high school. These are the people who, according to the TALON reports, are considered to be potential threats to military security.
AMY GOODMAN: And explain what you mean by TALON.
CHRISTOPHER PYLE: TALON is a collection of intelligence reports of threats to military bases that were collected by an unknown group for many years after 9/11 called the Counterintelligence Field Activity. It had a thousand employees. It was located in the Pentagon. And it was monitoring civil disturbances around the country, following a pattern very much like the 1960s and ’70s.
The idea was that if you could follow enough protesters in the-protests in the country, or enough disturbances, you could tell when the country was going to overheat and the military would have to be called in. In the 1960s, they thought that if they could tell how many protests there were on college campuses, they could then predict riots in the black ghettos of the major cities of the United States. It was ludicrous intelligence work, but that’s what they had in mind.