Kaye Beach

Oklahoma New counter-terrorism unit fuses state intel

In Uncategorized on December 4, 2009 at 2:46 am

Oklahoma New counter-terrorism unit fuses state intel

December 3, 2009 · 

New counter-terrorism unit fuses state intel

Dec 02. 2009

Mark Schlachtenhaufen
The Edmond Sun

EDMOND — A new state information-sharing unit is helping combat domestic terrorism, a slightly greater concern than foreign-based threats, a state official said

Fusion centers were started in an attempt to break down barriers in the exchange of information between U.S. agencies. However, some critics contend that they are potential vehicles for abuse of civil liberties and personal privacy.

State Sen. Steve Russell, R-Oklahoma City, vice chairman of the Senate’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee, said he is not aware of any evidence of such abuses by the Oklahoma Information Fusion Center, operational since May 2008 under the OSBI.

Russell said like many Oklahomans he understands the privacy concerns about intelligence sharing, which must be balanced against the realities of living in a post-Sept. 11, 2001, post-Oklahoma City bombing world.

“Oklahoma is ahead of a lot of states,” Russell said. “We recognize this is a real possibility domestically or internationally.”

In 2004 and 2005, many states began creating fusion centers with various local, state and federal funds.

The development of guidelines for fusion centers was separated into three phases — law enforcement intelligence, public safety and the private sector, according to a fusion center guideline fact sheet. The guidelines were to be used for homeland security efforts as well as all crimes.

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