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The E-Accountability Foundation announces the

'A for Accountability' Award

to those who are willing to whistleblow unjust, misleading, or false actions and claims of the politico-educational complex in order to bring about educational reform in favor of children of all races, intellectual ability and economic status. They ask questions that need to be asked, such as "where is the money?" and "Why does it have to be this way?" and they never give up. These people have withstood adversity and have held those who seem not to believe in honesty, integrity and compassion accountable for their actions. The winners of our "A" work to expose wrong-doing not for themselves, but for others - total strangers - for the "Greater Good"of the community and, by their actions, exemplify courage and self-less passion. They are parent advocates. We salute you.

Winners of the "A":

Johnnie Mae Allen
Dee Alpert
Francesco Alexander Portelos
Harris Lirtzman
Hipolito Colon
Jim Calantjis
Larry Fisher
The Giraffe Project and Giraffe Heroes' Program
Jimmy Kilpatrick and George Scott
Zach Kopplin
Matthew LaClair
Wangari Maathai
Erich Martel
Steve Orel, in memoriam, Interversity, and The World of Opportunity
Marla Ruzicka, in Memoriam
Nancy Swan
Bob Witanek
Peyton Wolcott
[ More Details » ]
 
What Do We Really Know About "Terrorism Liaison Officers"?
Hundreds of police, firefighters, paramedics and even utility workers have been trained and recently dispatched as "Terrorism Liaison Officers" in Colorado and a handful of other states to hunt for "suspicious activity" — and are reporting their findings into secret government databases.
          
Terror watch uses local eyes 181 TRAINED IN COLO.
Privacy advocates worry that officers' snooping will entangle innocent people

By Bruce Finley, The Denver Post, 06/28/2008

Hundreds of police, firefighters, paramedics and even utility workers have been trained and recently dispatched as "Terrorism Liaison Officers" in Colorado and a handful of other states to hunt for "suspicious activity" — and are reporting their findings into secret government databases.

It's a tactic intended to feed better data into terrorism early-warning systems and uncover intelligence that could help fight anti-U.S. forces. But the vague nature of the TLOs' mission, and their focus on reporting both legal and illegal activity, has generated objections from privacy advocates and civil libertarians.

"Suspicious activity" is broadly defined in TLO training as behavior that could lead to terrorism: taking photos of no apparent aesthetic value, making measurements or notes, espousing extremist beliefs or conversing in code, according to a draft Department of Justice/Major Cities Chiefs Association document.

All this is anathema to opponents of domestic surveillance.

Yet U.S. intelligence and homeland security officials say they support the widening use of TLOs — state-run under federal agreements — as part of a necessary integrated network for preventing attacks.

"We're simply providing information on crime-related issues or suspicious circumstances," said Denver police Lt. Tony Lopez, commander of Denver's intelligence unit and one of 181 individual TLOs deployed across Colorado.

"We don't snoop into private citizens' lives. We aren't living in a communist state."

Local watchdogs

Among recent activities the Colorado contingent detailed:

• Thefts of copper that could be used in bomb-making.

• Civilians impersonating police officers and stopping vehicles — of particular concern with the pending Democratic National Convention in Denver.

• Graffiti showing a man holding an AK-47 rifle.

• Men filming the Dillon dam that holds Denver's water.

• Overheard threats.

• Widespread thefts of up to 20 propane gas tanks.

Future terrorism "is going to be noticed earliest at the most local level," said Robert Riegle, director of state and local programs for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in Washington.

Civil liberties watchdogs warn of unprecedented new threats to privacy.

"The problem is, you're drafting individuals whose job isn't law enforcement to spy on ordinary Americans and report their activities to the government," said John Verdi, director of the open-government project at the Electronic Privacy Information Center.

In Colorado, TLOs report not only illegal but legal activity, such as bulk purchases along Colorado's Front Range of up to 150 disposable cellphones. TLO supervisors said these bulk buys were suspicious because similar phones are used as remote detonators for bombs overseas and can be re-sold to fund terrorism.

Taking photos or videos can be deemed suspicious because "surveillance is a precursor to terrorist activity," said Colorado State Patrol Sgt. Steve Garcia, an analyst in Colorado's intelligence fusion center south of Denver, which handles TLO-supplied information.

Colorado, California and Arizona are among the first to deploy TLOs after establishing robust state-run fusion centers, which initially relied on tips from private citizens. Federal security agents now sit in 25 of those centers, including Colorado's.

Florida, Illinois, Tennessee, Wisconsin and Washington, D.C., also have deployed TLOs, and authorities in dozens of states are preparing to do so, said Norm Beasley, a retired Arizona trooper who has popularized the practice.

181 in Colorado

In Colorado, TLO training began last year, with FBI assistance. A three-day seminar presented material on how to recognize and stop suicide bombers and included discussion of civil liberties.

State officials declined to release the course syllabus or say specifically how far TLOs are allowed to go in search of information without a warrant.

The 181 TLOs in Colorado were deployed without any announcement over the past year and are posted widely from Durango in the mountains to metro Denver to La Junta on the eastern prairie.

"The thing that's surprising is how much stuff is out there," said Denver West Metro Fire Capt. Mike Kirkpatrick, who declined to specify observations he has submitted, saying some led to investigations.

National intelligence chiefs who coordinate the CIA and 15 other agencies launched an initiative this month to define "suspicious activity" for TLOs and develop a process for handling TLO information so that basic freedoms and privacy are protected, said John Cohen, information-sharing spokesman in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

Training is crucial "because what we don't want is just people documenting innocent activities. We don't want police officers focusing on people because of their ethnicity and religion," Cohen said.

"What we're advocating for is developing a standardized process that can be put in place across the country so that frontline police officers (and others) are trained to recognize behaviors associated with certain activities related to terrorism," he said.

Major city police chiefs are participating.

"You can't profile. So you have to have behavior-based indicators of criminal activity where it's terrorism or activity that supports terrorism," said Tom Frazier, executive director of the Major Cities Chiefs Association.

Civil libertarians questioned why firefighters, paramedics and corporate employees — such as Xcel Energy and railroad officials in Colorado — are drafted into the effort. They say public trust in emergency responders will suffer.

The emerging TLO system "empowers the police officer to poke his nose into your business when you're doing absolutely nothing wrong. It moves the police officer away from his core function, to enforce the law, into being an intelligence officer gathering information about people," said Mike German, a 16-year FBI agent now advising the American Civil Liberties Union.

"Where are we going to draw the line?"

Bruce Finley: 303-954-1700 or bfinley@denverpost.com

and in California:

Terrorism Liaison Officer:
LINK

* Establish close relationship and credibility with the Terrorism Early Warning Group (TEWG)

* Maintain close contact with the TEWG at all times during an incident

* Provide the TEWG with regular informational reports on activities within the TLO’s discipline and jurisdiction

* Facilitate the flow of information to and from all agencies within their discipline as directed by the OIC/Coordinator

* TLO’s will require training prior to becoming operational. This training will ensure that all TLO’s function consistently as a group, with the TEWG and their respective agencies/organizations. Additionally, such training will emphasize the need to protect sensitive information and to disseminate releasable information in a manner that is consistent with the law, as well as the policies and procedures of the TEWG. Such training can currently be found through the California Specialized Training Institute (CSTI) and is sponsored by various state and local agencies.

Terrorism Liaison Officer Position
Detailed Description

The TLO Concept:

Protecting our country against acts of terrorism requires an effective, integrated network of partners and relationships – these serve as the foundation for sharing, analyzing and disseminating information. This network must have participation and input from law enforcement, fire, public health services, other first responder organizations and critical infrastructure entities. Equally important, working relationships must transcend and overcome existing barriers to lateral communication. Information sharing, which is vital to our first line of defense, must focus on pre-, trans- and post-incident communication if we are to be successful in preparing for, responding to, mitigating and recovering from potential acts of terrorism.

The East Bay Terrorism Early Warning Group (TEWG) was created to form a regional group capable of a highly coordinated and focused response to acts of terrorism, based on information assessment and detailed planning. The TEWG currently consists of members representing law enforcement and fire agencies from Alameda and Contra Costa Counties. The TEWG is the focal point for analyzing the strategic and operational information needed to combat terrorism, protect critical infrastructure and respond to a terrorist incident within the these two counties (our Operational Area).

Intelligence that originates at the local level should ideally follow an upward path, flowing from the local level to the TEWG, then to the Northern California Regional Terrorism Threat Assessment Center (NCRTTAC) and then to additional State and Federal agencies, with focus on the FBI’s Joint Terrorist Task Force(s), when necessary. Historically, this process has been fragmented, with some disconnection, especially where no system exists to analyze and de-conflict the information. Our goal is to rectify this situation by implementing a program that would open and enhance both the development and lines of communication through Terrorism Liaison Officers and allow for the timely dissemination of information to the NCRTTAC, appropriate State and Federal agencies and to local agencies themselves. This objective can only be accomplished if information obtained by field personnel reaches the TEWG in a timely manner.

In order to facilitate this process, a structured system of contact personnel – Terrorism Liaison Officers, must be established within each agency in the Operational Area, including specialty divisions and agencies such as, but not limited to, Harbor, Airport, Railroad, University/Campus and Animal Control. The program would eventually be expanded to include Health Care personnel and representatives from private, critical infrastructure entities, with communication systems specifically tailored to their needs.

The TEWG is designed to be a central intake point for information on terrorism. Information is disseminated and also analyzed for validity, connections to other available information, trends and events. The full-time members of the TEWG interact with a variety of subject matter experts from multiple disciplines on the local, state and federal levels. Occasionally, after thorough review, analysis and validation of information, the TEWG will have a need to disseminate information advisories to the Operational Area. Effective and timely analysis of credible intelligence information depends heavily on the capabilities of the communication system in place to accommodate the dissemination of that information.

The Terrorism Liaison Officer (TLO) program would provide for one or more points of contact within each agency to act as conduits for information to and from the TEWG and would in effect function as adhoc members of the TEWG. The effective and timely analysis of credible intelligence information depends heavily on the capabilities of each TLO and support from their agencies/entities. Each TLO would, with the assistance of the full-time TEWG members, be responsible for staying informed on current terrorism issues and trend analysis, as well as receiving/forwarding information collected by field personnel.

Each TLO will be required to attend a POST approved terrorism liaison officer course. All terrorism training will be coordinated and facilitated by the full-time TEWG members. Additionally, the full-time and adhoc TEWG members will coordinate subsequent training opportunities in order to gain and maintain a minimum level of expertise. Quarterly attendance at TLO meetings will be encouraged for specialized training and information exchange.

A TLO properly equipped and trained through the TEWG will provide each agency with a more highly trained, well informed individual, available to field personnel on an on-call basis to provide guidance when needed. A TLO would be in a position, through adhoc membership in the TEWG, to keep each agency/division up to date with potential terrorist related activity in the Operational Area. The TLO and represented agency will have access, through the full time members of the TEWG, to trend analysis, intelligence updates and a nexus to other local, state and federal resources. The TLO would also coordinate field training to all personnel as to the type of information/activity to be reported to the TEWG for analysis or investigation.

Duties and responsibilities:

Each agency will ultimately determine the duties and responsibilities of their TLO(s) based on agency staffing and similar duties already assigned to other individuals or units.

The suggested duties include:

* Collecting, reporting, retrieving and sharing of materials related to terrorism. Such materials might include:

o Training Bulletins

o Information on schools and cases

o Books, journals, periodicals and video tapes

o Lists of official contacts

* Source person for internal or external inquiry

* Collecting, reporting, retrieving and sharing of terrorism intelligence

* Identifying and communicating with community stakeholders

* Contact person for community and private sector relationships

* Conducts, coordinates and/or facilitates departmental training with regard to terrorism and terrorist related subjects

* Designated agency media representative and/or spokesperson with respect to terrorism related information

* Designated agency representative to the Terrorism Early Warning Group

Who should be a TLO:

The selection of an officer or officers for the TLO Program should take a number of things into consideration. TLO’s must possess good communications skills, as they will be expected to interact with a multitude of organizations, both public and private. In addition, the person selected to represent an agency should be willing to contribute and give of themselves to the overriding public interest. TLO’s must be aggressive and intelligent and be pro-active members of their agency. They should be capable of formulating a plan to carry out the duties and responsibilities of the position. They need to be able to collect and understand information and data and be willing and able to act appropriately on that information without hesitation. The TLO must be willing to seek and attend additional education and training that will enhance their ability to perform in this challenging role and agencies must be willing to support this effort. Because of the time and expense invested in the initial training and the following learning curve of TLO’s, the individual must be willing to remain in the position for at least two-years.

Conclusion:

The TLO program as proposed would fill a necessary and vital part of an overall national strategy to counter the threat of terrorism in the United States. Locally, the program will provide immeasurable benefits to each agency and the Operational Area. Having a trained and accessible resource available to front line officers, such as a TLO, would greatly enhance the Operational Area information sharing ability.

The New Snoops: Terrorism Liaison Officers, Some from Private Sector
By Matthew Rothschild, July 2, 2008
LINK

The full scale of Bush’s assault on our civil liberties may not be known until years after he’s left office.

At the moment, all we can do is get glimpses here or there of what’s going on.

And the latest one to come to my attention is the dispatching of police officers, firefighters, paramedics, and utility workers as so-called “terrorism liaison officers,” according to a report by Bruce Finley in the Denver Post.

They are entrusted with hunting for “suspicious activity,” and then they report their findings, which end up in secret government databases.

What constitutes “suspicious activity,” of course, is in the eye of the beholder. But a draft Justice Department memo on the subject says that such things as “taking photos of no apparent aesthetic value” or “making notes” could constitute suspicious activity, Finley wrote.

The states where this is going on include: Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Tennessee, Wisconsin, and Washington, D.C.

Dozens more are planning to do so, Finley reports.

Colorado alone has 181 Terrorism Liaison Officers, and some of them are from the private sector, such as Xcel Energy.

Mark Silverstein of the Colorado ACLU told Amy Goodman of Democracy Now that this reminds him of the old TIPS program, which “caused so much controversy that Congress eventually shut it down. But it is reemerging in other forms.” Silverstein warns that there will be thousands and thousands of “completely innocent people going about completely innocent and legal activities” who are going to end up in a government database.

On the web, I found a description for a Terrorism Liaison Officer Position in the East Bay.

Reporting to the Alameda and Contra Costa Counties and the city of Oakland, these officers “would in effect function as ad hoc members” of the East Bay Terrorism Early Warning Group, which consists of local police officers and firefighters.

The “suggested duties” of these Terrorism Liaison Officers include: “source person for internal or external inquiry,” and “collecting, reporting retrieving and sharing of materials related to terrorism. Such materials might include . . . books journals, periodicals, and videotapes.”

Terrorism Liaison Officers would be situated not only in agencies dealing with the harbor, the airports, and the railroads, but also “University/Campus.”

And the private sector would be involved, too. “The program would eventually be expanded to include Health Care personnel and representatives from private, critical infrastructure entities, with communication systems specifically tailored to their needs.”

In this regard, Terrorism Liaison Officers resemble InfraGard members. (See “The FBI Deputizes Business”.) This FBI-private sector liaison group now consists of more than 26,000 members, who have their own secure channels of communication and are shielded, as much as possible, from scrutiny.

Terrorism Liaison Officers connect up with so-called “Fusion Centers”: intelligence sharing among public safety agencies as well as the private sector. The Department of Justice has come up with “Fusion Center Guidelines” that discuss the role of private sector participants.

“The private sector can offer fusion centers a variety of resources,” it says, including “suspicious incidents and activity information.”

It also recommends shielding the private sector. “To aid in sharing this sensitive information, a Non-Disclosure Agreement may be used. The NDA provides private sector entities an additional layer of security, ensuring the security of private sector proprietary information and trade secrets,” the document states.

As if that’s not enough, the Justice Department document recommends that “fusion centers and their leadership encourage appropriate policymakers to legislate the protection of private sector data provided to fusion centers.”

"Community Information Networking"
LINK

Initially developed in the Fall of 2002, Community Information Networking is a benchmark human information networking system involving training and management focused on organizations with jurisdictional authority and a responsibility for public safety. It is currently a key component of the curriculum for California Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) sponsored Terrorism Liaison Officer certification course, and certified by POST, and also the California Specialized Training Institute (CSTI) Terrorism II course. It is designed for law enforcement, fire, health, intelligence specialists and investigators that need to effectively network within their community or key segment(s) of that community in order to develop indications and warning of potential threats and suspicious behavior. It addresses many of the domestic “human intelligence” shortcomings found in the best selling 2004 9-11 Commission Report. CIN provides the critical intelligence tools for highly effective community policing, but oriented towards the threats posed by terrorism and terrorist groups. It is not a program of developing or using confidential informants or spies, but instead community-oriented networking with people like the best practices often found in business, industry and small-town policing. It is an integrated, and very much interagency and multi-disciplinary, approach that fits into the larger Homeland Security intelligence architecture providing that crucial human intelligence input from the local community, noted as tragically lacking in the past. Currently, CIN is taught in blocks of 8 or12 hours, and covers topics that include training in cross-cultural communications, behavior assessment, detecting deception, transnational terrorist networks and support, community information flows, conversational intelligence skills and incorporates scenario-based ‘wargaming’ for practical application.

 
© 2003 The E-Accountability Foundation