|One of the few things you are|
allowed to know about DIAC
is that it has this cool Eagle logo
(So I guess you'll just have to make due with me.)
What if I told you that Delaware has its own little baby NSA, with an unknown budget, unknown capabilities, and no civilian oversight?
And that this entity already has a history of using false pretenses to collect data from and about Delaware citizens?
Specifically, I'm talking about Delaware's "fusion" center, the Delaware Intelligence and Analysis Center in Dover?
This is a very long post below the break, but it contains virtually all the publicly known information about one of the most shadowy government organizations in Delaware, the one that nobody wants to talk about...
I first started asking these questions in 2009, when I discovered that you could really find out very little about what this center actually does, or even what its precise location or budget is. Here is a quote from a 2007 WNJ story that I clipped back then (and which, strangely enough, I can no longer find even in the pay archives:
The facility, known as the DIAC, opened in December 2005 with help from a $925,000 grant from the federal Department of Homeland Security to buy high-powered computers, software and other equipment. It is overseen by Delaware State Police Capt. Bill Harris, who asked that its exact location, somewhere between Dover and Smyrna, not be disclosed....
"The fusion process is to take law enforcement information and other information -- it could be from the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Transportation, the private sector -- and fuse it together to look for anomalies and push information out to our stakeholders in Delaware who have both a right and a need to know," Harris said....
Access to those other data sources is limited only by cost and privacy laws, Harris said.
"I don't want to say it's unlimited, but the ceiling is very high," he said. "When we have the money, we'll start going to those other agencies and say, 'Are you willing to share that database and what would it cost?' "The ACLU was unhappy with these comments, and made reference to them around that time:
Rather than being constrained by the law regarding what they can collect, Capt. Harris appeared to feel constrained only by resources.What's interesting is that the description of the DIAC available on the Delaware State Police website has changed somewhat since 2009. Then it read as follows:
In 2007, the Delaware Information and Analysis Center (DIAC) matured greatly as Delaware's State Fusion Center. In only its second full year as Delaware's fusion center, DIAC has become an integral part of Delaware's criminal intelligence, criminal investigation and information sharing mission. The DIAC has enhanced its main focus on terrorism prevention and moved towards an "all crimes, all hazards" concept. The DIAC gathers information from law enforcement, other public and governmental entities, and the private sector, fuses the information together and puts it back out for use by the various decision makers and leaders in Delaware who have the need and right to know. Armed with credible intelligence and information provided by the DIAC, Delaware's leaders in government, law enforcement, emergency services and the private sector are better able coordinate and protect the citizens, property, and business interests of all Delawareans.Today's description has both more and less description, and a significant change in who has the "right and need to know," with that now being narrowed from "decision makers and leaders in Delaware" to "decision makers ... in the Law Enforcement sector":
The Delaware Information and Analysis Center (DIAC), Delaware’s Fusion Center serves as a critical component of Delaware’s Homeland Security as well as Criminal Intelligence, Critical Infrastructure Protection and Statewide Law Enforcement investigative support. The DIAC adheres to an All Crimes All Hazards approach to Homeland Security at the state level. This approach necessitates that DIAC provide real time information and intelligence to those decision makers with a need and right to know in the Law Enforcement sector.
The DIAC has numerous full time components embedded within, that include a six person analytical section, a Critical Infrastructure Protection Unit, and a statewide WMD coordinator. The DIAC’s analytic section is composed of four full time civilian intelligence analysts and two Delaware National Guard analysts, as well as a Department of Homeland Security representative. In addition the Department of Public Health provided a representative who works part time at the DIAC. The Critical Infrastructure Unit is composed of two sworn troopers and a civilian critical infrastructure planner. These full time members of DIAC work in conjunction with each other to identify, prevent, secure and inform Delaware’s Law Enforcement, private sector and public leaders of any and all threats to the security of Delaware. In addition to the above full time partners DIAC works daily with Delaware’s Joint Terrorism Task Force, the FBI, ATF, ICE, The Delaware National Guard, United States Coast Guard, Dover Air Force Base, the US Attorneys Office, and The Department of Homeland Security to ensure that information is shared and exchanged regularly to better protect our state.
In 2009 DIAC played a critical role in several events here in Delaware. The DIAC once again served as the intelligence lead in both NASCAR races held at Dover Downs providing a comprehensive threat assessment of the event. DIAC also served as an intelligence and information hub for President Obama’s Whistle Stop Tour and Inauguration events held here in Delaware. DIAC also played a key role in the successful Returns Day event attended by Vice President Joe Biden in Georgetown in January. DIAC analysts also assisted in numerous successful criminal arrests and prosecutions. Several were the result of detailed analysis and suspect workups done by the analysts. Others were the direct result of DIAC’s Daily Roll Call bulletins that allowed officers to identify suspects in numerous unsolved incidents.Among the more interesting creations of the DIAC is a cell phone app designed to let you turn in somebody (anybody, for any reason) for "suspicious" behavior.
Supposedly you can do so an remain anonymous (so DIAC claims) but one tech savvy reviewer noted that this simply is not true:
I have an Android and I was going to download the app to review it -- until I saw the "permissions." Now, it actually isn't as bad as some of the apps out there that record your phone calls, constantly monitor your location, read texts, etc. But for a program that says you can remain anonymous, it's a bit laughable.
Here's some of what it can do:
That's cute, huh? Install an app on your phone and DIAC operatives in Dover will always be with you.
- If your camera or camcorder is on, it can take photos or video and send them to the fusion center. Even if you aren't snapping photos just yet, or recording.
- Pinpoint your location using GPS.
- Allows it to put files on your phone or SD card.
- Disable your GPS
To be clear, that's the false pretenses I was referring to above. Download the app to help them spy on your neighbors and you have just allowed them to spy on you.
Even more interesting is that we don't know how much DIAC costs us, because the Department of Public Safety and Homeland Security does not report the center as a separate budget item. Go ahead, check the new budget--it's not in there and the DSP is pretty much unwilling to answer questions about it.
You pay for it, but they won't tell you what it costs.
Strangely enough, even a pretty thorough search doesn't turn up any references to legislation creating it or specifying its purpose or oversight. You try it. I spent an hour going over old legislation back as far as 2003 and searching the DE State Code, and I found zilch, zero, nada.
Which makes me wonder (quite strongly) about the following questions:
1. Who does provide oversight of DIAC to insure that neither its surveillance/intelligence gathering methods and scope nor the dissemination of same are not violating the privacy of law-abiding Delaware citizens?
2. Who made the decision between 2009 and now to limit access to information only to a part of the Law Enforcement Community?
3. How much are we paying for DIAC and why isn't its budget available [at least a budget total]?
4. What specific safeguards does DIAC have in place to insure that it does not violate the civil liberties of Delaware citizens?
5. What kind of information is being provided to the private sector? Is this information sold or sent out for free? Who receives it? Under what sort of agreement?
6. What, if any, contributory role does DIAC play in sharing its information with NSA or other Federal intelligence agencies?
This are all questions that I find it interesting that nobody else is asking, even as we learn that the Federal government has no qualms about spying on us all.
We have a center here in Delaware built during the height on 9/11 paranoia, operating entirely under the radar, apparently unaccountable in both operational and budgetary terms, and we already know it has tried to place invasive cell phone apps with our citizens.
But, hey, our representatives in the General Assembly would rather spend their sessions telling you not to drink raw milk or have your babies at home.
A final note: the formerly "super-secret" location of DIAC [the only they didn't want to talk about back in 2009] is--according to the Federal government, anyway--1575 McKee Road, Dover, in the same complex that houses the Delaware State Lottery. There's a certain logic in that, don't you think?
|Not sure which building houses DIAC, but I' sure they'd be happy if|
you wanted to drive around and take a look for yourself. Not.