Category: Fusion Center

Are your phone sex calls being monitored by fusion centers?

Fusion centers are facilities that allow various law enforcement agencies to share information and monitor civilians. Are they really listening to everything, even your phone sex calls?

That’s the claim made by some citizens who seem to be aware that the National Security Agency can and does monitor and intercept private phone calls and emails under the Patriot Act.

Slim on privacy protections

The Patriot Act gives sweeping powers to law enforcement and the government to access the communications of private individuals.

The Patriot Act provides warrantless access to people’s e-mails, telephone conversations and other types of communications, in a relatively rare situation: an investigation to gather evidence of crimes committed in the U.S. or of people planning a terrorist attack. The Patriot Act is updated regularly, and “The Daily Beast” reports that a revision passed in the summer of 2012—when it was still unclear the government would soon have access to U.S. phone records in bulk—changed the law to permit the feds to do such monitoring.

Listening in on phone sex calls?

While the Patriot Act is meant to combat terrorism, some evidence points to the government abusing it to listen in on private conversations, even phone sex calls. Why would they monitor sexual conversions?

That’s what Marc Perrusquia, director of advocacy for American Civil Liberties Union of Maine, asks.

Although phone sex is legal, phone privacy is also expected by most people. It’s illegal to eavesdrop in certain places and only legal with a warrant for law enforcement purposes.

“On its face it sounds creepy that the government is monitoring phone sex,” Perrusquia said.

Other experts echo the concerns and say monitoring of phone sex in part indicates the nature of the United States spying.

“It’s emblematic of all of this government surveillance,” James Henley, a lawyer specializing in phone surveillance in Massachusetts and Massachusetts civil rights attorney, said.

Warrant for phone sex eavesdropping?

The way it usually works, a law enforcement agency would obtain a warrant from a judge. That would allow the agency to listen in on conversations or tap into computers.

“It is easy to think that phone sex conversations are somehow protected,” Perrusquia said. “They aren’t. And that’s for any kind of call.”

Telecommunications Act prohibits it, which the Patriot Act repealed.

In Conclusion

Government agencies have conducted all kinds of surveillance on people’s private lives over the years, including snooping into bank records, read and collect medical records, reading email, telephone call records, search and seizure of personal items, search and seizure of homes, roving street cameras that spy on citizens, and a myriad of other ways. As stated, phone sex may be one of many elements included in these types of surveillance. So then what happens to one of the basic principals, the 5th Amendment to the Constitution?

I am here a supporter of freedom and rights of people in this country. However I also know that some people I need to confront concerning some issues

How Fusion Centers Spy On Sites Like Facebook and SexFriend

One of the most contentious debates in recent years in the area of Homeland Security concerns fusion centers, which are state and local organizations devoted to information sharing and analysis. The centers are riddled with advocates of good governance who question their effectiveness. They also raise concerns among civil rights activists, who argue that they threaten civil rights.

Fusion centers are designed to organize and localize the collection of domestic intelligence through an integrated system of distributed data networks between fusion centers, local law enforcement agencies, and federal intelligence services. Fusion centers employ federal, federal and local law enforcement, Homeland Security, other state and local agencies, the U.S. intelligence community, the military, and private companies to spy on Americans in total secrecy. 

What is a fusion center?

A Fusion Center is an information center that facilitates the exchange of information between local, state, tribal, territorial and federal authorities. Fusion Centers are designed to facilitate information sharing with federal agencies such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the US Department of Homeland Security, the US Department of Justice and federal, local and tribal law enforcement at the federal level. According to government documents, fusion centers focus on breaking down barriers between different government agencies that collect and maintain information about criminal intelligence. 

A fusion centre is a physical place where the equipment and personnel for the analysis and exchange of intelligence are housed. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) website lists 78 approved fusion centers.

Why do we have fusion centers?

After the attacks of 11 September, a national network of fusion centres was set up to enable cross-border cooperation to respond to criminal and terrorist activities. Fusion centers today serve as focal points in the state and local environment for receiving, analyzing, collecting and exchanging threat related information between federal government, states, municipalities, tribal, territorial and private partners. In February 2018, the US Department of Homeland Security recognized 79 fusion centers. 

State and local fusion centers were created to share counter-terrorism information between government agencies to prevent the failures that contributed to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. They exhibited a persistent pattern of violating Americans privacy and civil liberties, releasing unreliable and ineffective information, and obstructing financial and other standards of public accountability. Given that NSA surveillance is at the center of the news, fusion centers as part of the surveillance state deserve closer scrutiny. Fusion centers are local arms of the so-called Intelligence Community, the 17 intelligence agencies that coordinate under the National Counter-Terrorism Center (NCTC).

The ultimate aim of the fusion centers is to provide a mechanism for law enforcement, public safety and private partners to accomplish the goal of enhancing the ability to protect our homeland and prevent criminal activity jointly. The mission of the Florida Fusion Center is to protect Florida’s citizens, visitors, resources and critical infrastructure by enhancing information sharing, intelligence and preparedness operations between local, state and federal agencies in line with Florida’s national security strategy. The concept of the Fusion Center was created as a result of the 9/11 report and an effort by the Department of Homeland Security to establish better communication and cooperation between state, local and territorial law enforcement agencies and federal law enforcement agencies, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, DHS and several others. Sources: 3, 9, 12

What information do fusion centers have?

Fusion centres receive information from a variety of sources, including federal, state and local bodies, to ensure that timely and relevant information is made available to the right stakeholders within their geographical area of responsibility. Fusion centers contribute to the ISE by receiving threat information from the federal government, analyzing threat information in the context of their local environment, sharing threat information with local authorities, collecting tips that lead to suspicious activity reports to local authorities and the public.

By supporting the reception, analysis, collection and exchange of threat-related information between the federal government and partners from state, local, tribal, territorial and private sectors, Federal agencies improve and coordinate the planning, deployment and deployment of personnel, training, technical assistance, exercises, security clearance assistance, connectivity to federal systems and technologies and provide funding to support the national network of fusion centres. 

The Federal government uses fusion centres as the primary point of contact in the state and local environment for receiving and exchange terrorist-related information. State and regional fusion centers enable local, state and tribal governments to collect, process, analyse and share information and intelligence about crime and threats. Federal agencies provide information on terrorism to state, local and tribal authorities through fusion centers. While they are allegedly only used to combat terrorism and crime, privacy advocates are rightfully concerned that these fusion centers are collecting more data, including innocent person information from sites like Facebook and Twitter, or even dating sites like Tinder and SexFriend.

State and regional fusion centres communicate, cooperate and coordinate with each other and with the Federal Government. Fusion centers are located in states and large urban areas across the country to empower law enforcement, public safety and fire departments, emergency response, public health, critical infrastructure protection and private-sector security staff to collect and share threat information. Fusion centers serve as the primary point of contact in the local and state environment for receiving, analyzing, collecting and exchanging threat-related information with federal, state, local, tribal and territorial partners at these sites. 

States and major urban fusion centers provide analytical and information-sharing capabilities to support state and local law enforcement efforts, prevent and investigate crime in our local communities, and address pressing national challenges such as gang and border violence, drugs, murder, and terrorism. State and metropolitan fusion centers conduct analyses, facilitate information sharing and help law enforcement and homeland security partners preventing, protecting and responding to crimes and terrorism worldwide. They provide interdisciplinary expertise and situational awareness through Fusion Centers to influence decision-making at all levels of government. 

Meet The Crew

Operation Defuse is not an organization, rather a collaborative projects with representatives from organizations all across the country.  Here we will spotlight a few of our most active participants!

(in alphabetic order)

Catherine Bleish

Catherine Bleish (bio)  is the executive director of the Liberty Restoration Project and co-coordinator of the ODF project.
She is currently taking a year long sabbatical from”organizing” to finish her MPA, finish a book, but is still speaking at several scheduled events on behalf of ODF.

John Bush

John Bush (bio) is the executive director of Texans for Accountable Government and the co-organizer of Operation Defuse.  He was instrumental in the push back against the Austin fusion center and is working on our Nation-wide Open Records Requests Initiative and assisting our state coordinators across the nation in their local pushbacks.

Brooke Kelley

Brooke Kelley (bio) is the founder of Unify and working on a reality series that features the behind the scenes side of activism and has toured with Operation Defuse and featured our activsts in several episodes of her series titled, Puzzled.

Jericho McCain

Jericho (bio) is the Operation Defuse in house tech geek with a very black and white view of how liberty is defined and achieved. He is the “guy behind the guy” and has no aspirations of ever being “the guy.”

Ben Weir and Kathy Tran

Ben and Kathy (bio) are two of Operation Defuse’s most dedicated volunteers. Kathy helps with graphis, Ben with Open Records Requests, event planning, and together they engaged on a tour of fusion centers across the northwest.

List of Known Fusion Centers

Here is a map from the ACLU showing states with active state/regional fusion centers – this map does not show locally run, military or international fusion centers.

Here is a spreadsheet of the most current information that the ODF team has on fusion center locations:

Fusion Center Contact Information : Sheet1

1 Connecticut Connecticut Intelligence Center (CTIC) Joint operation of the FBI and the Connecticut State Police 600 State Street New Haven, CT 06511 (203) 777-6311 600 State Street New Haven, CT 06511 Robert Hubbard (203) 503-5000
. 1 Maine Maine Intelligence Analysis Center Component of the Maine Emergency Management Agency 45 Commerce Drive, Suite 1 Augusta, ME 04330 207-624-7287 45 Commerce Drive, Suite 1 Augusta, ME 04330 Christopher Parr 207-624-7287 Freedom of Access Act Maine Department of Public Safety
. 1 Massachusetts New England State Police Information Network® (NESPIN) RISS Intelligence Center (Region includes: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont) 124 Grove Street, Suite 105 Franklin, MA 02038 (508) 528-8200 124 Grove Street, Suite 105 Franklin, MA 02038 Director: Donald Kennedy (508) 528-8200 Public Records Act
. 1 Massachusetts Commonwealth Fusion Center Component of Massachusetts State Police 124 Acton Street, 2d Floor Maynard, MA 01754 978-451-3700 470 Worcester rd, Framingham, MA 01702 Ladonna Hatton (508) 820-2393 Public Records Act
. 1 New Hampshire New Hampshire Information and Analysis Center (603) 271-0300
. 1 Rhode Island Rhode Island State Fusion Center Component of the Rhode Island State Police 311 Danielson Pike North Scituate, RI 02857 (401) 444-1026 Lisa Holley Access to Public Records Act
. 1 Vermont Vermont Fusion Center Component of the Vermont State Police 188 Harvest Lane Williston, VT 09405 (802) 872-6110 188 Harvest Lane Williston, VT 09405 Director: Lt. Mark Lauer Public Records Law
. 2 New Jersey Regional Operations Intelligence Center Component of the New Jersey State Police Post Office Box 7068 West Trenton, NJ 08628-0068 (609) 583-6090
. 2 New York Rockland County Intelligence Center (RCIC) Component of the Rockland County Sheriff’s Office 331 N. Route 9W Congers, NY 10920 (877) 724-6835 331 N. Route 9W Congers, NY 10920 will not give out will not give out
. 2 New York New York State Intelligence Center 630 Columbia Street Extension Latham, NY 12110 (518) 786-2100 Fax (518) 786-9398 Robert Poisson (518) 457-2180
. 3 Delaware Delaware Information Analysis Center Component of the Delaware Department of Safety and Homeland Security Post Office Box 430 Dover, DE 19904 (302) 739-5996 1575 McKee Rd. Dover, DE 19904 Captain William Harris 302-739-5998 ext. 241 Delaware Freedom of Information Act
. 3 District of Columbia Multiple Threat Alert Center (MTAC) Component of Naval Criminal Investigative Service Suite 2000 716 Sicard Street, SE Washington, DC 20388 (202) 433-8800
. 3 Maryland Maryland Coordination and Analysis Center (MCAC) Component of the Maryland State Police and the Anti-Terrorism Advisory Council of Maryland Suite 130 7125 Ambassador Road Woodlawn, MD 21244 (443) 436-8800 Suite 130 7125 Ambassador Road Woodlawn, MD 21244 Mr. Harvey Eisenberg 410-209-4843
. 3 Pennsylvania Middle Atlantic-Great Lakes Organized Crime Enforcement Network® (MAGLOCLEN) RISS Intelligence Center (Region includes: Delaware, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and the District of Columbia) 140 Terry Dr. Suite 100 Newtown, PA 18490 (215) 504-4910 140 Terry Dr. Suite 100 Newtown, PA 18490 Mr. Dale Zachary
. 3 Pennsylvania Pennsylvania Criminal Intelligence Center (PaCIC) Component of the Pennsylvania State Police 1800 Elmerton Avenue Harrisburg, PA 17110 (717) 772-4140 1800 Elmerton Avenue Harrisburg, PA 17110 Captain Andrew Ashmar 717-705-0761
. 3 Virginia Virginia Fusion Center Component of the Virginia State Police Post Office Box 27472 Richmond, VA 23261 (804) 674-2000 7700 Midlothian Turnpike Richmond, VA 23235 Dorothy Bernstein 804-674-2016
. 3 Washington DC Foreign Terrorist Tracking Task Force Component of the Federal Bureau of Investigation 935 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20535 (703) 553-7991
. 3 West Virginia West Virginia Joint Intelligence Fusion Center (WVJIFC) Component of the West Virginia National Guard 1900 Kenawha Blvd. East, Bldg. 1, Room W-400 Charleston, WV 25305 (304) 558-4831 1900 Kenawha Blvd. East, Bldg. 1, Room W-400 Charleston, WV 25305 Thomas Kirk, director 304-558-4831
. 4 Alabama Criminal Information Center Component of Alabama Bureau of Investigation Post Office Box 1511 Montgomery, AL 36102 334) 353-1172
. 4 Florida Counter Terrorism Intelligence Center (CTIC) Component of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement Post Office Box 1489 Tallahassee, FL 32302 (850) 410-7060
. 4 Georgia Georgia Information Sharing and Analysis Center (GISAC) Component of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation Post Office Box 29649 Atlanta, GA 30359 (404) 486-6420
. 4 Kentucky Frankfort, KY 40602 (502) 564-2081
. 4 Kentucky Under development: Kentucky Fusion Center Component of Kentucky Office of Homeland Security Post Office Box 1757
. 4 Mississippi Under development: Component of the Mississippi Homeland Security Post Office Box 958 Jackson, MS 39205 (601) 346-1499
. 4 North Carolina Under development: Information Sharing and Analysis Center Component of the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigations 3320 Garner Road Raleigh, NC 27601
. 4 South Carolina South Carolina Fusion Center Component of the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division Post Office Box 21398 Columbia, SC 29210 (803) 896-7008
. 4 Tennessee Regional Organized Crime Information Center® (ROCIC) RISS Intelligence Center (Region includes: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia) Suite 850 545 Marriott Drive Nashville, TN 37214 (615) 871-0013
. 4 Tennessee Tennessee Regional Information Center Component of Tennessee Bureau of Investigation 901 R.S. Gass Boulevard Nashville, TN 37216 (877) 250-2333 Supervisor Rick Atmore: (615) 744-4318
. 5 Illinois Statewide Terrorism & Intelligence Center (STIC) Component of the Illinois State Police 2100 S. Dirksen Parkway Springfield, IL 62703 (217) 782-7938
. 5 Indiana Under development: Indiana Intelligence Fusion Center Component of the Indiana State Police 100 North Senate Avenue Indianapolis, IN 46204 (317) 232-8328
. 5 Michigan Under development: Michigan State Police are in the initial stages of creating a fusion center Component of the Michigan State Police Annex Building 4000 Collins Road Lansing, MI 48910 (517) 332-2521
. 5 Minnesota Minnesota Joint Analytical Center Component of the Minnesota Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management Suite 820 111 Washington Avenue South Minneapolis, MN 55401 612) 341-7002
. 5 Ohio Strategic Analysis and Information Center Component of the Ohio Department of Public Safety 2855 West Dublin Grandville Road Columbus, OH 43235 (614) 799-3555
. 5 Wisconsin Under development: Wisconsin Department of Justice, Division of Criminal Investigations is currently the sponsoring agency for the development of a Regional Intelligence Center/Intelligence Fusion Center Post Office Box 7857 Madison, WI 53707-7857 (808) 266-1671
. 6 Arkansas Arkansas State Fusion Center Component of the Arkansas State Police 1 State Police Plaza Drive Little Rock, AR 72209 1 State Police Plaza Drive Little Rock, AR 72209
. 6 Louisiana LSP Fusion Center Component of Louisiana State Police 7667 Independence Boulevard, Baton Rouge, LA 70806 Rick Moore; 225-925-7500
. 6 New Mexico New Mexico All Source Intelligence Center (NMASIC PO Box 27111 87502 505-476-9600 13 Bataan Blvd., Santa Fe, NM 87504
. 6 Oklahoma Oklahoma Information Fusion Center 6600 N Harvey Oklahoma City, OK 73116 (405) 842-8547 6600 N Harvey Oklahoma City, OK 73116
. 6 Texas Austin Regional Intelligence Center Component of the Austin Police Department APD, PO Box 689001, Austin, Texas 78768-9001 Don Field (512) 974-2000
. 6 Texas Houston Regional Intelligence Service Center HPD, Public Affairs Division, 1200 Travis, Houston, TX 77002 Joe Zapata (713) 308-3200
. 6 Texas North Central Texas Fusion Center (Collin Co.) 2300 Bloomdale Rd. Suite 4154, McKinney, TX 75071 Tim Wyatt (972) 548-4673
. 6 Texas San Antonio Fusion Center SAPD, Records Office, P.O. Box 839948, San Antonio, TX 78283 (210) 207-7484
. 6 Texas Texas Intelligence Center Component of the Texas Department of Public Safety Post Office Box 4087 Austin, TX 78773 (866) 786-5972 6100 N. Lamar, Austin, TX 78752-4413 Jessica Cohen (512) 424-2000
. 7 Iowa Iowa Fusion Center Component of Iowa Department of Public Safety Wallace State Office Building East 9th and Grand Avenue Des Moines, 50319 (515) 242-6124
. 7 Kansas Kansas Threat Integration Center (KSTIC) Component of Kansas Bureau of Investigation Room 13 2800 Topeka Boulevard Topeka, KS 66611 (785) 274-1822
. 7 Missouri Mid-States Organized Crime Information Center® (MOCIC) RISS Intelligence Center (Region includes: Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin) Suite 100 1610 East Sunshine Street Springfield, MO 65804 (417) 883-4383
. 7 Missouri KC Regional TEW
635 Woodland Ave., Suite 2105B
Kansas City, MO 64106
. 7 Missouri Missouri Highway Patrol Intel Unit Component of the Missouri State Patrol 1510 East Elm Street Jefferson City, MO 65102 (573) 751-3452
. 7 Nebraska None
. 8 Colorado Colorado Information Analysis Center Component of the Colorado Department of Public Safety 9195 East Mineral Avenue Centinel, CO 80112 (720) 852-6705 Lance Clem (303) 239-4415
. 8 Montana Montana All-Threat Intelligence Center (MATIC) Component f the Montana Department of Justice, Division of Criminal Investigation Investigation Post Office Box 4789 Ft. Harrison, MT 59636 (406) 324-3997
. 8 North Dakota North Dakota Fusion Center Component of the North Dakota Bureau of Investigations 4205 State Street Bismarck, ND 58503 (866) 885-8295
. 8 South Dakota Under development Component of the South Dakota Department of Homeland Security 118 West Capitol Avenue Pierre, SD 57501 (605) 773-3178
. 8 Utah Utah Criminal Intelligence Center Component of the Utah Department of Public Safety, Division of Homeland Security Post Office Box 140200 Salt Lake City, UT 84114-0200 801) 579-4413
. 8 Wyoming None
. 9 Arizona Arizona Counter Terrorism Information Center (ACTIC) Component of the Arizona Department of Public Safety Post Office Box 6638 Phoenix, AZ 85005 602-644-5805 Harold Sanders (602) 223-2460
. 9 Arizona Rocky Mountain Information Network® (RMIN) RISS Intelligence Center (Region includes: Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, Wyoming, and Canada) Post Office Box 41370 Phoenix, AZ 85080-1370 (602) 351-2320 2001 West pinnacle Peak rd, Phoenix AZ, 85027 John Vinson
. 9 California Anti-Terrorism Information Center Component of the California Department of Justice P.O. Box 944255 Sacramento, CA 94244-2550 (916) 322-3360
. 9 California Los Angeles Joint Regional Intelligence Center (LAJRIC) 12440 East Imperial Highway Norwalk, CA 90650 (562) 345-1100 Leslie (562) 345-1102
. 9 California Northern CA Regional Terrorism Threat Assessment Center (RTTAC) P.O. Box 36102 San Francisco, CA 94102 (415) 436-8530 Ron Brooks (415) 436-8199
. 9 California Sacramento Regional Terrorism Threat Assessment Center 711 G st. Sacramento, CA 95814 (888) 884-8383 711 G st. Sacramento, CA 95814
. 9 California State Terror Threat Assessment Center Component of the California Department of Justice Post Office Box 944255 Sacramento, CA 94244 (916) 843-3940 (916) 227-4216
. 9 California Western States Information Network® (WSIN) RISS Intelligence Center (Region includes: Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon, and Washington) Post Office Box 903198 Sacramento, CA 94203 (916) 263-1166 Karen Aumond (916)263-1179
. 9 Hawaii None
. 9 Nevada Northern Nevada Counter-Terrorism Center 911 Parr Boulevard, Reno NV 89512 (775) 321-4902 911 Parr Boulevard, Reno NV 89512 Captain Timothy Kuzanek
. 9 Nevada Southern Nevada Counter-Terrorism Center 6767 Spencer Street, Las Vegas Nevada 89119 (702) 828-2281 6767 Spencer Street, Las Vegas Nevada Lt. Tom Monahan (702) 828-2257
. 10 Alaska Statewide Law Enforcement Information Center Component of the Department of Public Safety 101 East Sixth Avenue Anchorage, AK 99501 907) 265-9583 101 East Sixth Avenue Anchorage, AK 99501 Director: Gary Wheeler (907) 265-8123
. 10 Idaho None
. 10 Oregon Terrorism Fusion Center (TITAN) Component of the Oregon State Police and the Oregon Department of Justice Suite 210 610 Hawthorne Avenue, SE Salem, OR 97301 (800) 442-6248 Oregon Department of Justice Criminal Division 610 Hawthorne Ave., St. 210 Salem, OR 97301 Chuck Cogburn (503) 731-3020
. 10 Washington Washington State Fusion Center (WSFC) Post Office Box 42600 Olympia, WA 98504 (206) 262-2382 1110 Third Ave, Seattle, WA 98101 Lance B Ladines 360 239-0793


Tour a Fusion Center

Visiting a fusion center can seem like a daunting task. You may think, “I can’t visit a fusion center, I don’t even know half of what it is.” Visiting a fusion center is easier than you might think. A fusion center visit is a great way to learn what a fusion center is. This guide is designed to make visiting a fusion center easy.

Step 1: Which fusion center should I visit?

Find the fusion center that gathers information on the area where you live. This can be done by visiting our list of fusion centers . If you don’t find one near you, do a quick StartPage search for fusion centers in your area. Still nothing? Try calling your local police or sheriff’s department and asking if there is a fusion center in your area. (Warning: If you do call the police or sheriff’s department, you will likely have your name taken down, along with the reason for your call.)

Step 2: Call the fusion center

Call the fusion center, and ask to speak to the Public Information Officer. If there is no PIO, ask to speak with the director in regards to touring the fusion center. PIOs are usually very friendly and used to working with the public, but most fusion centers do not have them. Be prepared to make up to 10 calls to a fusion center to be able to secure a visit. The employees are usually not rude, they are just often buried in work and so a visit from someone from the public is the last thing on their list of priorities. YOU have to make it happen.

It should be noted that many fusion centers don’t have direct lines. They are often run through the local or state police, which means that you may need to call the police department again. Don’t let the run-around discourage you. These people’s jobs are based on being secretive with information. If you just let them know that you will keep calling until you secure a meeting, you should have success fairly easily. Don’t be afraid to email fusion center employees either. If you don’t want them to know your email address, just create a new one for the emails.

Step 3: Prepare for your visit

Now that you’ve secured your visit with the fusion center you will need to prepare. Once you receive confirmation of the tour date (which often comes by email) you should request to film the tour, or question and answer session. Most fusion centers decline, but video can be very helpful. If they say no one can film in the facilities, request to do the question and answer session outside, or in some area where filming is allowed.

You should never visit the fusion center alone, even if you have to drag along a friend or family member that knows nothing about fusion centers. Going alone leaves you open to many potentially bad circumstances. This is the time when you should find out who is going with you because the fusion center will likely ask for their name.

You should find out who you are meeting with at the fusion center, and try to meet with as many people as possible. The most important person to meet with is the director. Often times, only the PIO will try to meet with you. The PIO is good for setting up a visit, but they usually don’t have a lot of the information you seek. They don’t work day-to-day in the fusion center.

Ask the fusion center for a copy of their privacy policy and interlocal agreements. These documents are a godsend in helping you prepare for the meeting. They can give you key insight into the way the fusion center is run. If you need help interpreting these documents, post them on and email Operation Defuse at to let them know you’ve secured a visit and you need help with the documents.

Now you need to decide exactly what questions you are going to ask. Operation Defuse has put together a list of questions for fusion centers with the help of the ACLU’s question list from a few years ago. Download this list, and edit it to fit your needs. If you need help understanding some of the terms in the questions, go to our glossary of terms that will help explain the more legal language of fusion centers. Don’t be afraid to leave a few questions out if you don’t understand them. Your visit doesn’t have to catch everything, and will often inspire other people to go back and ask more questions. Don’t memorize your questions; just bring your list with you. The meetings can sometimes feel stressful, and your mind could go blank. Don’t be afraid to read questions off a list.

Step 4: Visiting the fusion center

You are free to dress how you wish, but I have found that dressing in business casual or better clothing helps lend credibility to you instead of wearing a WTC 7 tee-shirt.
Don’t be intimidated by the fusion center employees. Occasionally, fusion center employees will try to use legal language or make you feel like you asked a non-sensical question when they don’t want to answer a question. Kindly remind them that you aren’t a lawyer, just a citizen looking for answers, and if you can’t ask questions in common language, you will need to return for another meeting with a lawyer, possibly someone from the local ACLU.

Everyone who visits the fusion center with you should have a notepad and pen, even if it’s your friend who doesn’t know anything about fusion centers. The only exception to this is if you are allowed to film. Everyone but the camera person should have a notepad and pen.

Step 5: Recapping your experience

Once you have visited the fusion center, you should write a summary of the visit and your notes while the meeting is still fresh in your head. I have found that if I wait longer than two days to do this, details of the meeting fade, and I have no initiative to summarize anymore. If you were allowed to film, be sure to put it online. You are welcome to send it to Operation Defuse to put online.

Congratulations! You just walked through the belly of the beast, and came out stronger!

ODF and LRP Co-Sponsor Patriot Act Lobby Day (Stop it in its tracks!)

Dear Operation Defuse,

It’s happening again. Congress is preparing to quietly reauthorize the USA PATRIOT Act with barely any public debate. Our leaders think you’re not paying attention, so—despite opposition from liberals and libertarians alike—they’re going to continue letting the government intrude on your privacy and violate your fundamental constitutional rights.

Show them you are paying attention. Join us in Washington next Thursday, January 27.

This is our chance to let policy makers in DC know that Americans of all walks of life are concerned about wiretapping law-abiding people, infiltrating peaceful activist groups, subjecting air travelers to virtual strip searches, and more. This is our opportunity to bring attention to the abuses that the PATRIOT Act allows, and the government’s violations of even its minimal requirements.

Next Thursday, bring your concerns to your members of Congress—in person.

If you are not able to come to Washington, you can still participate:

  • Set up meetings at the district offices of your senators and representative. We can help.
  • Whether or not you’re able to join us in DC, please take a moment to add your voice to our letter calling for change at the FBI. Nearly 1,500 concerned Americans have signed so far, and we’ll deliver the letter to Congress when we visit next week—so there’s still time to sign on.

We’re looking forward to seeing you in Washington on January 27.

With our deepest thanks for your commitment to our nation’s most fundamental values,

Shahid Buttar
Executive Director

Bill of Rights Defense Committee

8 Bridge Street, Suite A, Northampton, MA 01060
Telephone: 413-582-0110
Fax: 413-582-0116

Questions to Ask Your Local Fusion Center

Fusion Center Questions

1. Under what authority does the Fusion Center operate (state law, local law, federal law?)

2. What type of information does the fusion collect that is of a non-criminal nature?

3. When was the Fusion Center Created?

4. What entities have participated in or are currently participating in information sharing with the fusion center?

5. Who is responsible and what practices are utilized to ensure all federal, state and local laws protecting privacy and civil liberties are enforced?

6. What information, intelligence and/or data are collected at the Fusion Center and how is it stored?

7. Is there a particular issue or area of interest that the fusion center focuses on?

8. What does the Fusion Center do to ensure the accuracy of the data it receives and disseminates?

9. Do all databases associated with the Fusion Center comply with 28 C.F.R. Part 23?

10. What databases/data sets does the Fusion Center have access to, and how does it access them?

11. Do any non-law enforcement entities participate in Fusion Center activities? If so, who and in what ways?

12. Do any private sector entities participate in the Fusion Center activities? If so, who and in what ways?

13. How are private sector entities selected to participate in the Fusion Center? May private sector entities not selected to participate in Fusion Centers receive the same information that is made available to those private entities that are selected? How would they get access to this information?

14. Do these non-law enforcement entities have access to law enforcement information or databases through their participation in the Fusion Centers? If they are co-located with law enforcement personnel what safeguards are in place to prevent unauthorized access?

15. What staff comprises the Louisiana Fusion Center? How many analysts are staffed, what are their areas of focus, and what agencies do they belong to?

16. Who is responsible for overseeing the non-law enforcement and private sector personnel, and who are these individuals accountable to?
17. Who trains Fusion Center personnel?

18. Do any private companies handle, store or analyze data received from or processed through the Fusion Center? How is that data protected once it is out of government control?

19. Does the National Guard participate in the Fusion Center, and if so, under what authority?

20. Are the National Guardsmen limited in what data they may collect, analyze, or review at the Fusion Centers?

21. Do any active-duty military personnel participate, and if so under what authority and in what ways?

22. How is activity of the National Guardsmen and military personnel monitored to ensure compliance with applicable laws regarding the use of the military in domestic law enforcement?

23. What are the annual costs of the Fusion Center?

24. How do you evaluate the cost-effectiveness of the Fusion Center?

25. Has the Fusion Center worked with the Southern Poverty Law Center or the Anti-Defamation League and if so, in what capacity?

26. What are the titles of the strategic reports, bulletins, BOLO (Be On the Look Out) alerts, etc that Fusion Center has issued since its inception?

27. Is the Fusion Center currently investigating or monitoring any militia related activity?

28. Does the Fusion Center investigate organizers of large events such as rallies and/or protests?

29. Is there a privacy oversight committee or anything similar for the Fusion Center and if so who comprises it?

30. Is there a board of directors or governing body that oversees the Fusion Center?