Monitoring America Investigation Surprises – Homeland Security Working?

Filed in Gather News Channel by on December 20, 2010 0 Comments

The monitoring America investigation had some surprising results. There is a massive FBI database that has information on thousands of Americans – many of them are not accused of a crime. Dana Priest and William Arkin of the Washington Post wrote the article, and they had some rather shocking revelations for the American people.

The monitoring America investigation focused on the national security system in the United States, which has grown dramatically since 9/11. While there is a definite need for security measures in the U.S., you have to wonder if some of these measures are effective at actually preventing terrorism. In fact, it may be time to consider new ideas.

In the piece, Arkin and Priest found that the FBI Nationwide Suspicious Activity Reporting Initiative, aka SAR, contains a total of 161,948 files about suspicious activity. Many of the people in the files have not been accused of a crime at all – in fact in some cases they have simply attracted attention from a citizen. That seems bizarre. Do you think you may have attracted some negative attention? Would you appreciate being in the SAR database if you had done nothing wrong?

Another surprising fact of the monitoring America investigation is that the U.S. Department of homeland Security has no idea how much money it spends to fund state fusion centers. How can it not know? Who is keeping track of this stuff? ShouldnÂ’t somebody be keeping track to ensure that money is being spent properly and that necessary follow-ups are happening for would-be terrorists? These fusion centers actually take all the security information from state agencies and send it to SAR. So far a total of $31 billion has been given out. Unfortunately these local fusion centers are headed by people who have almost no training in understanding terrorism, so how can they function properly? Also, the training they do receive is certainly suspect. To top it all off, there is often little or no guidance from the Department of Homeland Security.

How can this system function properly and actually help prevent terrorism in the U.S. when it is not properly functioning? It seems the entire thing needs to be revamped and a clear system of order should be implemented. So much money has been spent, and there is absolutely no way to ensure that it is being used properly or even working at all. In fact, the monitoring America investigation revealed that several states are taking the money that is earmarked for fighting terrorism and using it to fight crime instead. In all, this seems like a giant disaster, and it doesnÂ’t seem like it is working together to improve the safety of U.S. citizens against terrorism. Something needs to be done to ensure that this system works well and does the job it is meant to do which is prevent terrorism.

Monitoring America investigation surprises - Does Department of Homeland security really work? (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

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