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Obama executive order expands Homeland Security reach into local law enforcement

October 29, 2012

President Barack Obama signed an executive order Friday that  expanded the Department of Homeland Security’s ties to local law  enforcement.

The executive order creates a White House Homeland Security Partnership  Council and Steering Committee, aimed at fostering local partnerships between  federal and private institutions “to address homeland security challenges.”

The council will be chaired by “the Assistant to the President for Homeland  Security and Counterterrorism (Chair), or a designee from the National Security  Staff.” The Council chair will also chair the Steering Committee.

The executive order comes weeks after a damning Senate report on Homeland  Security’s 77 fusion centers, which the Washington Post called “pools of ineptitude, waste and civil  liberties intrusions.”

The fusion centers were created between 2003 and 2007 as part of a joint  effort between DHS and the Justice Department to ease information sharing among  federal intelligence agencies, military services, and state and local law  enforcement.

Those centers collected intelligence that the Senate report said was often “irrelevant, useless or inappropriate intelligence reporting to DHS, and many  produced no intelligence reporting whatsoever.”

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