[Extracted from Wikipedia article in May, 2009]
A Fusion Center is a terrorism prevention and response center that was started as a joint project between the Department of Homeland Security and the US Department of Justice's Office of Justice Programs between 2003 and 2007.
The fusion centers gather information not only from government sources, but also from their partners in the private sector
They are designed to promote
information sharing at the federal level between agencies such as the
Department of Justice) and at the state and local level. There are more than
forty fusion centers with up to fifteen more are planned. Fusion centers may
also be affiliated with an Emergency Operations Center that responds in the
event of a disaster.
Missouri Information Analysis Center (MIAC) made news in 2009 for targeting supporters of third party candidates (such as Ron Paul), pro-life activists, and conspiracy theorists as potential militia members. Anti-war activists and Islamic lobby groups were targeted in Texas, drawing criticism from the ACLU .
According to the Department of Homeland Security:
[T]he Privacy Office has identified a number of risks to privacy presented by the fusion center program:
In early April of 2009, the Virginia Fusion Center came under criticism for publishing a terrorism threat assessment which states that certain universities are potential hubs for terror related activity. The report targeted historically black colleges and identified hacktivism as a form of terrorism.