Monitoring America

The US is assembling a vast data collection on its citizens, including those who haven’t committed crimes, relying on the FBI, local police, state homeland security offices and military investigators, report Dana Priest and William Arkin in an investigation for the Washington Post. One agent describes the process as looking for “dots” to connect. The Department of Homeland Security has provided billions in local grants since 2003. Local equipment, training and monitoring are distributed unevenly throughout the nation: “the bulk of the spending every year comes from state and local budgets that are too disparately recorded to aggregate into an overall total,” write Priest and Arkin. A historically black college, bike-lane groups, political Tea Party gatherings and anti-war protests were identified as possible hubs for terrorism. The FBI assures that staff who access the system are trained in privacy rules, though many agents express skepticism about costs and procedures. – YaleGlobal

Monitoring America

More than 4000 US counterterrorism groups check local citizen activities for internal threats
Dana Priest, William M. Arkin
Thursday, December 30, 2010
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