Fusion Centers

The Terror Wars Holiday Special

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…FROM THE ACLU!

The further adventures of the fusion centers:

A state government anti-terrorism agency placed the Tennessee ACLU on a map of "terrorism events and other suspicious activity" for sending a letter warning public schools not to celebrate Christmas as a religious holiday….

The Tennessee Fusion Center was created in 2007, one of many around the country established after 9/11 to help state agencies share and analyze information about terrorism and other threats….On the Fusion Center's website, the blinking map of Tennessee shows flashing icons. Rolling a computer's cursor over the icons results in explanations popping up on the screen, none of which have anything to do with major terrorist plots. The ACLU letter was highlighted under the icon for "suspicious activity."

"ACLU cautions Tennessee schools about observing 'one religious holiday,'" the website's explanation reads.

You should read the whole article, in which the agency responds to the reporter's inquiries by renaming the map so the word "terrorism" doesn't appear in it. The key line:

"We were just forwarding the news release per se as general information to all schools," [fusion center spokesman Mike] Browning said, although he could not explain why officials deemed it necessary to forward the information.

The current version of the map can be seen here. Reason covers similar stories here, here, here, here, here, and here. The eerie parallels between Santa Claus and Osama bin Laden are detailed here.