Twenty years after the Oklahoma City bombing, federal authorities have lost sight of domestic extremists and failed to prevent acts of terrorism. The lack of focus, funding and information-sharing across disparate agencies has led to fatal consequences for unsuspecting victims around the country. Meanwhile, the violence is metastasizing and the threat is growing.
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Tucked away in Suite 2105-B of the Century Towers building in northeast Kansas City is the Kansas City Regional Terrorism Early Warning Interagency Analysis Center. That’s “fusion center” for short. It’s one of 78 fusion centers set up across the U.S. and its territories since 9/11 to detect and prevent terrorist acts, as well as other crimes, by gathering and sharing information.
A number of groups have conducted studies that found shoddy intelligence being prepared at fusion centers, poor communication among intelligence groups and a move away from looking at domestic extremism.
The former police chief of West Memphis, Ark., spends his time telling other law enforcement officers about the day that turned his life upside-down, hoping it will prevent it from ever occurring again.
A Las Vegas couple who killed two police officers and a good Samaritan last year had been on the radar of a nearby fusion center whose mission was to thwart dangerous extremists. It’s difficult to tell whether the fusion center dropped the ball. But this much is noteworthy: A group of armed members of the “patriot movement” was more concerned about the couple than was the fusion center.
A Flatland video from KCPT: