Nine years after the terrorist attacks of 2001, the U.S. is assembling a vast domestic intelligence apparatus to collect information about Americans, using the FBI, local police, state homeland security offices, and military criminal investigators. The system, the largest and most technologically sophisticated in the nation’s history, collects, stores, and analyzes information about thousands of U.S. citizens and residents, many of whom have not been accused of any wrongdoing.
A Post investigative report describes a web of 4,058 federal, state and local organizations, each with its own counterterrorism responsibilities and jurisdictions. At least 935 of these organizations have been created since the 2001 attacks or became involved in counterterrorism for the first time after 9/11. The FBI is building a database with the names and personal information, such as employment history, of thousands of U.S. citizens and residents whom a local police officer or a fellow citizen believed to be acting suspiciously. It is accessible to an increasing number of local law enforcement and military criminal investigators, increasing concerns that it could end up in the public domain. The Department of Homeland Security sends its state and local partners intelligence reports with little meaningful guidance, and state reports have sometimes inappropriately reported on lawful meetings.