The Washington Post's Dana Priest and William Arkin issued a report entitled "Monitoring America," which analyzes the exponential growth of Homeland Security in this country. The report looks at how Homeland Security is affecting localities throughout the country. The months-long investigation is based on nearly 100 interviews and 1,000 documents. Priest and Arkin write:
Nine years after the terrorist attacks of 2001, the United States is assembling a vast domestic intelligence apparatus to collect information about Americans, using the FBI, local police, state homeland security offices and military criminal investigators. The system, by far the largest and most technologically sophisticated in the nation's history, collects, stores and analyzes information about thousands of U.S. citizens and residents, many of whom have not been accused of any wrongdoing. The government's goal is to have every state and local law enforcement agency in the country feed information to Washington to buttress the work of the FBI, which is in charge of terrorism investigations in the United States. Other democracies — Britain and Israel, to name two — are well acquainted with such domestic security measures. But for the United States, the sum of these new activities represents a new level of governmental scrutiny.
One of the critiques of Homeland Security is that it sometimes fails to properly train those who are gathering these data and offers little oversight of local agencies and centers. What's more interesting than the extent of the reach of Homeland Security is some of the groups labeled as "potential" terrorists, like historically black colleges and universities, which are thought to be a potential hub for terrorism. HBCUs were labeled as such by Virginia's Fusion Center. And here we thought that HBCUs were hubs for higher education and intellectual thought. It's not just HBCUs. Maryland police infiltrated local groups that lobbied for bike lanes and human rights. In Arizona, the Maricopa County Sheriff's Facial Recognition Unit, using a type of equipment prevalent in war zones, records 9,000 biometric digital mug shots a month. A contractor in Pennsylvania wrote an intelligence bulletin that flagged meetings of the Tea Party Patriots Coalition and environmental activists.
Ramon Montijo has taught classes on terrorism and Islam to law-enforcement officers all over the country. Montijo, a former Army Special Forces sergeant and Los Angeles Police Department investigator who is now a private security consultant, says that he tells all of them the same information. He says, "Most Muslims in the United States want to impose Shariah law here." We could go on, but we'll stop here. This is yet another example of our tax dollars at work. Copious amounts of surveillance and little regard for truth or decency.
Read more if you can stomach it at the Washington Post.