The Constitution Project, a bipartisan think tank, called on President Obama in the first month of his administration to curb the ambiguities and excesses of fusion centers. Its Liberty and Security Committee, co-chaired by progressive Georgetown Law Professor David Cole and David Keene, chairman of the American Conservative Union, asked for Congressional oversight hearings and demanded that:
- All information collected, analyzed, or shared must comply at a minimum with the federal Privacy Act of 1974;
- Fusion centers must have a clearly defined scope and a single operational definition;
- DHS should fully disclose the location, jurisdiction served, and amount of federal funding for each intelligence fusion center;
- DHS should prohibit no-bid contracting, and require publication of contracts and listing of all private sector data sources used in fusion center data collection and analysis;
- The U.S. military should be strictly prohibited from participating in domestic intelligence activities;
- Inspectors General should launch an investigation to review fusion centers’ compliance with existing federal laws protecting due process, privacy, civil liberty, and civil rights.
- Congress should restrict the collection of personally identifiable information that is not linked to illegal activity, using previous versions of 28 CFR Part 23 as a guide.
The Constitution Project, “Recommendations for the Next Administration and Congress,” Washington, D.C., January 2009.