On February 28, Assistant Director of the FBI’s Directorate of Intelligence Eric Velez-Villar appeared before the House Homeland Security Counterterrorism and Intelligence Subcommittee. The hearing focused on the FBI’s intelligence sharing with state, local, and tribal law enforcement ten years after the 9/11 attacks. Velez-Villar discussed the importance of the fusion centers in the FBI’s investigative process:
Fusion centers maximize our ability to detect, prevent, investigate, and respond to criminal and terrorist activity. They assist the FBI by providing information made available by the combination of knowledge, expertise, and information within local law enforcement and homeland security agencies operating throughout the nation, and our participation allows us to provide a national perspective on regional threats and trends so we can better inform decision makers at all levels. The exchange of intelligence that takes place in fusion centers aids other intelligence and law enforcement organizations — including the JTTFs — in their investigative operations and serves as a critical tool for collaboration at all levels.
Two days later, the sharing stopped. Said another fusion center official who spoke with PJ Media on Tuesday:
After a couple of days our analysts noticed that the reports had stopped coming. No notice, no explanation.
Congressional staffers are now investigating, and a key point has been raised in the investigation: it appears the FBI may be required to provide such intelligence to the fusion centers by presidential executive orders and federal law.