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Not journalism

2012-10-03 00:58:02.06018+00 by Dan Lyke 1 comments

Ugh. Journalism fail. This AP article on NPR and on Fox News and on SFGate.com references a report from "Senate Homeland Security subcommittee", which is chaired by Democrat Carl Levin of Michigan, with ranking Republican Tom Coburn of Oklahoma. It quotes the report, like:

"The subcommittee investigation could identify no reporting which uncovered a terrorist threat, nor could it identify a contribution such fusion center reporting made to disrupt an active terrorist plot," ...

And yet I can't find enough information to figure out which report they're talking about. I assume it's some portion of the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs, but I'm not finding a damned thing under any of those pages. I'm not seeing anything on Carl Levin's senate.gov page, nor on Tom Coburn's page. It's like someone made up the story out of whole cloth, or it's something related to an older report, or...

Whatever it is, it doesn't feel like journalism.

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#Comment Re: made: 2012-10-03 15:50:29.829358+00 by: Dan Lyke

This Washington Post article is not an AP article, so is likely to be more archival. It notes that:

Mike Sena, president of the National Fusion Center Association, an advocacy organization, called the report unfair. Sena, who manages the center in the San Francisco Bay area, said fusion centers have processed more than 22,000 “suspicious activity reports” that have triggered 1,000 federal inquiries or investigations. He said they also have shared with the Terrorist Screening Center some 200 “pieces of data” that provided “actionable intelligence.”

which sounds an awful lot like the "community activist" types such as we saw going nuts before Y2K, "the water agency didn't think to check the water pumps to see if they had any embedded devices which would have Y2k problems until we mentioned it!" (translation: They wasted a few man weeks of staff and vendor time because we made them do it).

This is probably the report in question (PDF).

The Subcommittee’s two-year investigation found that DHS’s support of fusion centers has yielded little, if any, benefit to federal counterterrorism intelligence efforts. After reviewing 13 months’ worth of reporting originating from fusion centers from 2009 to 2010, the Subcommittee investigation found that DHS-assigned detailees to the centers forwarded “intelligence” of uneven quality – oftentimes shoddy, rarely timely, sometimes endangering citizens’ civil liberties and Privacy Act protections, occasionally taken from already-published public sources, and more often than not unrelated to terrorism.

Although really you can just scroll anywhere in that report and start reading about the idiocies.