Thursday, November 29, 2007

Firefighters being trained for Domestic Spying:

Phoenix Fire Chief says it's the "evolution of the fire service".

The Homeland Security Department is testing a program with the New York City fire department to share intelligence information so firefighters are better prepared when they respond to emergency calls. Homeland Security also trains the New York City fire service how to identify material or behavior that may indicate terrorist activities. If it is successful, the government intends to expand the program to other major metropolitan areas.

As part of the program, which started last December, Homeland Security gave secret clearances to nine New York fire chiefs, according to reports obtained by The Associated Press.

"They're really doing technical inspections, and if perchance they find something like, you know, a bunch of RPG (rocket-propelled grenade) rounds in somebody's basement, I think it's a no-brainer," said Jack Tomarchio, a senior official in Homeland Security's intelligence division. "The police ought to know about that; the fire service ought to know about that; and potentially maybe somebody in the intelligence community should know about that."


The trial program with Homeland Security opens a clear information-sharing channel that did not exist before between the fire service and Homeland Security's intelligence division.

"We're there to help people, and by discovering these type of events, we're helping people," said New York City Fire Chief Salvatore Cassano. "There are many things that firefighters do that other law enforcement or other agents aren't able to do." He added, "A normal person that doesn't have this training wouldn't be looking for it."

Cassano would not discuss specifics, but he said some terror-related information has been passed along to law enforcement since firefighters and officers began the training three years ago. "They've had some hits," Cassano said. "It's working."


the fire service is also represented in at least 13 state and regional intelligence "fusion" centers across the country, where local, state and federal agencies share information about terror and other crimes.


D.C. firefighters and Emergency Medical Service providers are in 170,000 homes and businesses each year on routine calls, Schultz said.

"So we see things and observe things that may be useful to law enforcement," he said. "We can walk into your house.We don't need a search warrant." If an ambulance team should show up at a house and see detailed maps of the district's public transit system on the wall, that is something the EMS provider would pass along, he said.

"It's the evolution of the fire service," said Bob Khan, the fire chief in Phoenix, which has created an information-sharing arrangement between the fire service and law enforcement through terrorism liaison officers. [my ems]

So, how many of us really trust teh Homeland Security Dept to stick to terror or even crime related info? How many of us were wiretapped in the last seven years? We don't know, and they will never willingly tell us.

For the time being, I would not now let a fireman into my home unless it was actually on fire, and I could not put it out with a garden hose.

full article is here


Blogger oldwhitelady said...

That's a scary post. I'm not inviting any firefighters over, even if I don't have anything to hide. I don't like the idea of them spying. If there is a need for the firefighter to be somewhere, he/she needs to be doing the job they were called for...namely, providing emergency service and fighting fires!

4:45 PM, December 02, 2007  

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