“Intelligence Fusion Center” amendment

February 21st, 2006

IDHSToday I offered an amendment to SB 247, a bill dealing with various homeland security provisions. The portion of the bill that was problematic was in the section establishing an “Indiana Intelligence Fusion Center.”

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has encouraged states to establish these centers as clearinghouses for the analysis and sharing of data collected by local law enforcement, first responders, and federal agencies.

SB 247, however deviated from the authorizing language that has passed in other states. Specifically, it allowed the fusion center, at the behest of the Governor, to collect “individual intelligence information” on individuals “reasonably” involved with “possible” criminal or terrorist activity.

Further, any information collected by the center could be shared with any “private organization.”

The problem here is that a fusion center is designed to act as an information clearinghouse – a place that can receive reports from various agencies and help connect the dots in the larger homeland security picture. The center is not supposed to be an active intelligence “collection” agency. Collecting “individual intelligence” could mean searches, surveillance, or wiretaps – it is not very clear.

In order to preserve the functionality of the fusion center as an important part of our homeland security apparatus, but remove any potential for warrantless spying on Indiana citizens I offered the following amendment (link to actual amendment, mark-up of what it does below):

Chapter 10. Indiana Intelligence Fusion Center
Sec. 1. The Indiana intelligence fusion center is established to:
(1) collect;
(2) integrate;
(3) evaluate;
(4) analyze;
(5) disseminate; and
(6) maintain;
intelligence information and other information to support law enforcement agencies, other governmental agencies, and private organizations in detecting, preventing, investigating, and responding to criminal and terrorist activity.
Sec. 2. (a) The department shall operate the Indiana intelligence fusion center under the direction of the governor.
(b) The department shall cooperate with:
(1) the state police department; and
(2) upon direction by the governor, any other agency or organization, including an any agency of local, state, or federal government, or a private organization.
Sec. 3. The Indiana intelligence fusion center may collect individual intelligence information only if:
(1) the individual who is the subject of the individual intelligence information reasonably appears to be involved with or have knowledge of possible terrorist or criminal activity; and
(2) the individual intelligence information is relevant to the terrorist or criminal activity.

This amendment removes the possibility of fusion center employees conducting searches or wiretaps on Hoosiers. That type of intelligence collection should be left to prosecutors and state and federal law enforcement agencies that must follow proper statutory procedures and file detailed affidavits to receive judicial search warrants.

The amendment was approved on second reading by a vote of 49-45. I believe this change helps preserve the intent behind the fusion center concept as prescribed by the federal government, while keeping sensitive information in the government’s possession, and removing the potential for any abuse or violation of our constitutional rights.

Entry Filed under: Crime & Punish, Statehouse

9 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Charlie Averill  |  February 22nd, 2006 at

    Thanks for your amendment, and thanks for letting us know how our respective representatives voted.

    Bush, Daniels, and their followers are getting scarier and scarier when it comes to protecting the rights of Hoosiers.

  • 2. Ryan Dvorak for State Rep&hellip  |  February 28th, 2006 at

    […] One of the bills that passed was SB 247, the bill I discussed in my last post that establishes the Indiana Intelligence Fusion Center. On second reading for the bill, the House accepted an amendment I drafted that removed some potentially dangerous language. Essentially, as drafted, the Fusion Center could have begun “collecting individual intelligence” on Indiana citizens. […]

  • 3. James Elkin  |  March 31st, 2006 at

    I must say, this blog is an excellent resource. Keep up the good work! I only wish my own representitives were so open.

  • 4. Stacey  |  November 1st, 2006 at

    I am an intelligence analyst with TS/SCI/Full Scope polygraph. I was previously an analyst at the National Counter Terrorism Center in Northern Virginia (10/2006). I have just relocated to Indiana (10/28/2006) and am looking for more information on employment opportunities within the Indiana Intelligence Fusion Center. Can you provide any information on companies that have positions open in the Indiana Intelligence Fusion Center or a link for applying for positions in the Indiana Intelligence Fusion Center?

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