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Apr 02,2008
Watchdogs say data centers lack oversight
by UPI

WASHINGTON -- Intelligence centers across the United States, with access to personal information about millions of people, lack public accountability, observers said.

One state-run data center, also known as a fusion center, has access to top-secret systems at the CIA, The Washington Post reported. These intelligence centers were created after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks to identify potential threats and improve information-sharing.

A document obtained by the Post lists resources used by the fusion centers. The information resource listings were part of a 2007 survey, officials familiar with the effort told the Post. The survey indicated the fusion centers, similar to most police agencies, subscribe to private information-broker services.

Government watchdog organizations, some police and intelligence officials said they're concerned about the fusion centers not having enough oversight and not being available enough to the public largely because they operate under state rules.

"Fusion centers have grown, really, off the radar screen of public accountability," said Jim Dempsey, vice president for public policy at the Center for Democracy and Technology. "Congress and the state legislatures need to get a handle over what is going on at all these fusion centers."

Copyright © 2008, by United Press International. All Rights Reserved.

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