A new report issued by Homeland Security Policy Institute, a "think and do tank", entitled "Counterterrorism Intelligence Law Enforcement Perspectives" calls for further centralization of the anti-terror apparatus inside the United States.
The changing, converging nature of threats faced today — especially those from terrorism, transnational crime and the use of technology to carry out criminal behavior — make it imperative that intelligence-led policing be integrated into the decentralized police structures and community policing principles of the United States.The report lists a hierarchy of threats that include an overall "evolutionary shift" toward "a blended terror threat that unites foreign directed or inspired attacks with homegrown elements and operators."
This policy paper forms the new narrative that could justify the continuing infiltration and crackdown upon peaceful protest, civil disobedience, and even the questioning of American foreign policy and Homeland Security directives, whether on the street or in cyberspace.
The report opens with quotes from the two most ideologically repressive representatives of the Homeland Security initiative: John Ashcroft and Janet Napolitano. Both of their quotes speak to coordinating federal and local efforts in the "war on terror," which HSPI interpreted as "accepted wisdom that weaving together of national efforts at the local, state, and federal levels is critical to US counterterrorism."
The preface to the report suggests that the current status of intelligence gathering and local police work is in vast disarray, "there is a consensus that . . . intelligence capabilities are lacking, collection is haphazard, resources are underutilized, and the U.S. has a limited ability to develop anticipatory knowledge concerning future attacks, mitigate risks, or respond to emerging threats."
This statement is meant to obfuscate the fact that a vast counterintelligence apparatus has been in place for some time, which includes, but is not limited to:
- 72 Threat Assessment Fusion Centers
- Citizen spy network directly reporting to the above-mentioned Fusion Centers
- COINTELPRO-style infiltration, surveillance, and harassment of activist groups, even those promoting peace and anti-war.
- Social network and Internet surveillance including hackers and paid bloggers to infiltrate sites and/or disseminate propaganda.
- Identity databases, including biometrics, pre-crime detection, no-fly lists, no-buy lists.
1. Homegrown / Domestic Terrorists
2. al-Qaeda / International Terrorists
3. Transnational Gangs / Organized Crime
4. Terror Support Groups
5. Drug Trafficking Organizations
6. Traditional Criminals
This hierarchy of perceived threats is then merged into an overall assessment of capabilities and intentions, which reveals that the twin concerns are first to "Spread Narrative" and second "Fundraising / Money Laundering." Here we can begin to see the future direction of Homeland Security counterterrorism operations: banking and the Internet.
This conclusion is supported by the rest of the document which cites the need for centralization, precisely because the "enemy" is decentralized:
Most likely AQAP due to their decentralized outreach capabilities and ability to recruit via social media campaigns (i.e. Inspire.)Furthermore, the base of operations apparently has shifted from the sands of the Middle East to "using the United States as an environment for building support and raising recruits."
These local respondents also seem dangerously (or curiously) eager to sacrifice their autonomy, as they "placed greater importance on the information provided by federal authorities." Despite a cursory concern for privacy protection "the vast majority of respondents indicated that their departments would be willing to go beyond the sharing of information and share the sources from which the information originates (including confidential informants)." In short, whatever it takes, and by all means necessary.
Finally, it is clear that local law enforcement is comfortable with the new hierarchy dictated to them by the Federal apparatus. When asked to cite how they go about their intelligence gathering they "indicated that they turn primarily to federal officials or agencies for guidance" such as the FBI -- most often cited -- with DHS, the CIA, and military intelligence rounding out the agencies our local police wish to emulate in "structures and efforts."
In so doing, local police are seeking the currently unnamed intelligence "products" of such information-gathering efforts, which will be the subject of future inquiry.
And what was the #1 source listed for the gathering and sharing of this information? Information from citizens -- not federal agencies. The reason for this conclusion is cited at the end of the report which acknowledges a "time of increasing austerity" that implies might hamper the development and implementation of surveillance and data collection technology. But the citizens of a country remain a resource easily tapped. We should keep this firmly in mind as we look outward for signs of oppression. Are we willing to take equal responsibility for what America currently has become, and for the direction it is headed? We have been slated as "practioners" in the role of national security, and as the report's final statement makes clear:
How practitioners conceptualize and perceive of the threat is of vital importance, their perceptions affect which threats are detected and when. Furthermore, their perceptions represent an empirical guide for targeting the tools needed to develop anticipatory intelligence. Whether, and how well this is done depends on the perceptions of the practitioners themselves...We encourage you to read the full 22-page PDF, which seems to provide the justification for the next phase of the control grid which will affect every American throughout the real and virtual landscape. Please comment below with your analysis and conclusions, as well as ideas for preserving our liberty during a time of heightened suspicion and paranoia that is now clearly re-directing its efforts onto American soil as the 10th anniversary of 9/11 approaches.
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