Obama executive order expands Homeland Security reach into local law enforcement
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.”
To date, Obama has signed 141 executive orders, which is a smaller number than either President George W. Bush or President Bill Clinton signed during their first terms.