Five years after the 9/11 terrorist attacks called the U.S. intelligence system into question, state homeland security officials say the federal government still is failing to collect and analyze terror-threat information gathered by state and local authorities, reports Stateline.org. State homeland security officials in charge of new intelligence “fusion centers” told Congress last week the federal government must devise a way to connect federal, state, and local information-gathering sources or risk missing clues that could help prevent another terrorist attack. They criticized the federal government for significant delays in issuing top-secret clearance to state officials and for withholding too much information on the grounds that it is classified.
“It truly dismays me to think that five years after the September 11th attacks we are still not where we should be regarding the exchange of the information needed to prevent and respond to attacks and possible threats against our communities,” said Illinois State Police Col. Kenneth Bouche. Forty-one states have established or plan to open fusion centers, which provide statewide information-sharing between state, local and federal public-safety agencies and the private sector to coordinate intelligence against terrorism and other threats. The nine states without fusion centers are Arkansas, Hawaii, Idaho, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Nevada, Oklahoma, and Wyoming. The secretive centers have civil liberties advocates alarmed because of the lack of accountability in protecting privacy and civil rights.