U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu, D-La., Chair of the Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee, today released the following statement reacting to a recent report released on Fusion Centers by the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs:
"I cannot disagree more with the conclusion made in the Subcommittee's report that the Department of Homeland Security's work with state and local Fusion Centers has not produced useful intelligence to support federal counterterrorism efforts. The body of evidence suggests that DHS has made significant progress in enhancing intelligence sharing between the federal government and state and local law enforcement. The coordination and dissemination of meaningful intelligence information was less than optimal in the early years of the program, but DHS and its state and local partners have since made serious progress to develop a network that shares critical information necessary to protect our homeland. These efforts have proven their effectiveness at the federal, state, and local levels in fighting terrorism and combating all crime.
"In Louisiana, the LA-SAFE Fusion Center has turned raw data into actionable intelligence that led law enforcement to locate a known drug trafficker carrying $1 million and a homicide suspect traveling across the state, as well as the conviction of the kidnapper and murderer of 22-year-old Mickey Shunick, a senior at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette who vanished last May and whose remains were later found in rural Evangeline Parish. Nationally, Fusion Centers have produced information leading to the apprehension of a suspect who kidnapped, raped and murdered a 7-year-old girl in Georgia; the apprehension in Colorado of the Dougherty Gang, three siblings who went on a multi-state crime spree in 2011 and were sentenced to prison earlier this year; and the apprehension of terrorist Najibullah Zazi, who plotted to detonate a bomb in the New York subway. Fusion Centers produce actionable intelligence to the law enforcement community and any effort to dismiss their usefulness simply ignores the historical facts."
On Oct. 3, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Permanent Select Subcommittee on Investigations released a report authored by Senators Tom Coburn, R-Okla., and Carl Levin, D-Mich., criticizing the Department of Homeland Security State and Local Fusion Centers program.