A killer observation from this column:
At last count, the 72 federally-funded fusion centers around the country (including two in Massachusetts) seem to focus less on catching terrorists and more on tracking people engaged in such “suspicious” activities as opposing abortion, supporting third-party candidates (such as Ron Paul, Bob Barr, and Cynthia McKinney), defending the environment, and calling for an end to war.
To make matters worse, these “fusion centers” are funded by federal Homeland Security tax dollars but operated by local cops — a classic case of “Little Brother” doing the watching on behalf of Big Brother. (Blogger’s Note: Does this remind you at all of what the Federal Government is fighting against in Arizona? Do these people know what they think?)
States also are left to decide what — if any — independent oversight is put in place to protect individuals against unwarranted government intrusion into our private lives. Like most states, Massachusetts has yet to adopt fusion center oversight legislation (a good bill died in the Public Safety committee this session).
Of course, government surveillance is not a new threat to democracy. What is new is the combination of 21st Century technology and the post-9/11 zeal for anything that carries the label “homeland security.”