Ohio’s counterterrorism nerve center quadrupled in size yesterday, a move that state and federal officials said should help sniff out potential acts of terrorism before they occur, reports the Columbus Dispatch. State officials christened the new Strategic Analysis and Information Center, better known as the “fusion center,” a 9,000-square-foot facility that houses Ohio’s 39 terrorism watchdogs, a variety of computers and a giant monitor that displays current happenings.
Yesterday, it showed CNN, traffic cameras, and weather maps. Fusion centers caught on nationally after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attack, which revealed a lack of coordination among federal, state and local agencies that are supposed to track terrorist threats and respond to emergencies. There are now 72 fusion centers nationwide. “It really serves as that information-sharing platform for the federal government to get the information on the plans and techniques to give them a better ability to detect unlawful activity,” said Bart Johnson, principal deputy undersecretary for intelligence and analysis at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Johnson assured that the newfound intelligence-sharing capabilities wouldn’t be used to violate civil liberties or infringe on privacy.