Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell’s former top emergency management adviser questioned why the state has been paying a company $103,000 for intelligence on terrorism threats, saying much of that work is already done by a specialized unit in the Pennsylvania State Police, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer. Adrian King, director of the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) until late 2005, said the state police’s Pennsylvania Criminal Intelligence Center has trained analysts who supply intelligence information and investigative data to help law enforcement counter potential threats.He said the state was paying the Philadelphia-based Institute on Terrorism Research and Response for little more than a compilation of planned public demonstrations by activist groups, including antiwar, environmental, and animal-rights advocates.
The contract with the institute, which Rendell has cancelled, came under scrutiny this week after details came to light about the kind of activity it was tracking: much of it peaceful demonstrations by legitimate activist groups. The institute’s codirector said it is “providing guidance on the potential for deadly actions.” The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette said Rendell called such monitoring work “ludicrous,” “embarrassing,” and “appalling,” and apologized to those who had their “legitimate constitutional expression” targeted.