US Suspicious Activity Reporting and the Boston Marathon Tragedy
Regretfully topical in the wake of the recent Boston Marathon tragedy (a runner's view can be accessed here) the US Government Accountability Office has published a report entitled "Information Sharing - Additional Actions Could Help Ensure That Efforts to Share Terrorism-Related Suspicious Activity Reports Are Effective"
GAO reported on the technical means that federal, state, and local entities use to collect and share terrorism-related suspicious activity reports--Shared Spaces servers that DOJ provides to most fusion centres and the FBI's eGuardian system--provide many overlapping or duplicative services. For example, both systems provide a national network for sharing the reports and tools to analyze them. The federal government is aware that duplication exists but supports both systems to enable fusion centres to control information on individuals, consistent with the centres' privacy requirements, and facilitate the FBI's investigative needs. However, the FBI was concerned that supporting two systems introduces risks that it will not receive all reports. The full GAO report can be accessed at: http://www.gao.gov/assets/660/652995.pdf
A related article comments that "Mr Obama’s re-election and his support for immigration reform and gun-control legislation, however ill-fated, have enraged the US extremist fringe. The Southern Poverty Law Centre (SPLC), a civil-rights organisation that tracks and exposes the activities of right-wing extremists, says that outfits of this kind have proliferated during his presidency, from around 150 in 2008 to an all-time record of 1,360 last year. The SPLC estimates that of those about 1,000 could be classified as “hard-core”, and thus by implication capable of violence. Among recent incidents, it points to the murder of six people at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin by a neo-Nazi gunman last August and the rounding up, also last year, of a murderous militia group based in Georgia, which included several active-duty soldiers. According to prosecutors, the group, which called itself FEAR (Forever Enduring, Always Ready), had stockpiled $87,000 worth of weapons and explosives, and was plotting to overthrow the government through a campaign of terror and assassinations"