Legislators who criticized the first report from the Main Police Fusion Center

The first-type report on the activities of the Maine State Police Intelligence Agency received criticism from lawmakers on Friday, saying the report was in line with expectations and needed more accountability.

The Legislature Committee presented its report on Criminal Justice and Public Safety to members of the Legislature last spring in accordance with legislation establishing a new annual reporting requirement for the Maine Information and Analysis Center. The report includes the cases reviewed by the center, the types of crimes and reports and the results of the annual privacy audit twice.

But some lawmakers said it was not detailed enough and there were still questions about how the center would work.

“It is very clear that the report recently submitted by MIAC does not conform to the wording or intent of the recently passed law,” said Bill Plucker, an independent spokesman for Warren in an email.

The law requires the center to “provide a general account of the types of cases, crimes, incidents and reports that the center has reviewed and evaluated,” but Pluker said the article did not.

“There is a list of numbers that describe the work they have done … However, there is no information about the importance of the work or whether there are clear results from the work they have done,” he said. “No article.”

“The difference between LD 12 and the law we passed to get a broader understanding of what MIAC does … and the report provided to us really demonstrates the lack of accountability and transparency in MIAC,” said spokesman Grayson Lukner, D. – Portland.

The Maine Information and Analysis Center is one of more than 70 so-called Fusion Centers in the United States that help agencies prevent future attacks by sharing information created in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, although many centers do. More role in the fight against domestic crime. In Maine, the center is part of the Intelligence Division of the Maine State Police and its specialized services.

The annual report came after the center focused on a 2020 whistleblower complaint from a state soldier in Scarborough, who said he had been demoted and rejected for a new position in retaliation for calling for illegal activity at the center. Four of the six claims filed by George Loader in the federal lawsuit were dismissed by a judge last year, but the case is still being worked out by the court system on two other counts. The complaint and the leak of documents hacked from the center raised questions about the value of the center among some legislators last year.

Maj. Brian Scott, a member of the MIAC Advisory Board and a member of the Maine State Police, said in an email on Friday that the state police had enacted legislation that would lead to the need for new reporting in an effort to promote the work of the center and increase transparency.

No article, too many numbers

“We hope this gives readers a better understanding of MIAC’s role in Maine’s overall public safety efforts,” he said.

The center has 3,146 entries in its activity reporting system and by 3821 assisted 387 diverse federal, state, local, tribal and private sector partners, the report said. “The biggest task for MIAC in 2021 is to receive and disseminate information and intelligence,” the report said. “It’s happened 812 times.”

The center has received 405 requests for information from partners on a variety of issues, including theft, child pornography, counter-terrorism, criminal misconduct, death investigations and homicides, kidnappings, missing persons and other crimes.

It has aired 118 bulletins to provide information to law enforcement and others, including “wanted” bulletins for fugitives and persons with potential cause for arrest, and “situation awareness” bulletins on security and suspicious activity and security issues such as missing children and the elderly. .

18 entries were made from the center to the FBI’s “eGuardian” system, which allows law enforcement and public security officials to share terrorism-related information and verified suspicious activity reports. An example of submission to the system is the social media threat of violence against a school.

The center has received four requests for facial recognition to assist in criminal investigations. All requests came from agencies outside the state and forwarded to the Bureau of Motor Vehicles. They are related to child abuse, human trafficking, sexual abuse and criminal theft.

Some legislators were satisfied

Sene, who sponsored the law creating the need for reporting and co-chaired the committee. Susan Deschambalt, D-York, said Friday she was “satisfied” with the report. She said most of the information related to law enforcement was confidential and the report still reveals the work being done by the center.

“It gives us oversight so we can ask ‘What is MIAC about?’ That’s not the end of the story, “said Deschambalt. “It simply came to our notice then. I do not seem to be getting more information than we’ve been coming here for.

Another member of the D-South Portland committee, spokeswoman Lois Galge Reckitt, said on Friday that she had not been able to read the entire two privacy audits of more than 70 pages.

“I haven’t seen anything new from what I know,” she says.

Reckitt said it was difficult to see value in the report, but she felt its existence was a step in the right direction. When asked if she would try to pursue any additional oversight or legislation, Reckitt said he could not say without talking to other committee members.

“I do not have enough information to determine if there is a problem and if so, if so,” she said. “It’s not clear. There really is not enough material to have an opinion.”

The two Republicans on the committee are Sena from Albion. Scott Sirway and a spokesman for Dixfield. Richard Pickett, when contacted Friday about the report, said they had not yet had a chance to review the report.

At the same time, Pluker said lawmakers should reconsider the center’s functions and funding.

“While the Public Safety Department is constantly looking for more general fund dollars to bring officers into the streets, miners should be able to review MIAC’s work, which is the best, most productive use. Maine’s tax dollars in crime prevention,” he said.

There are errors in the external report

An outside group on Friday released its own report on the center, written by five authors, including Brendan McQueed, an assistant professor of criminology at the University of Southern Maine who studies fusion centers and their role in the criminal-legal system.

The report expressed concern that the Center had deviated from its original national security mission, that the Center’s privacy policy and privacy audit process were flawed, and that the Center would have a real impact on vulnerable populations such as people suffering from substance abuse disorders or mental disorders. Health Illness is unknown.

“The Maine Information and Analysis Center Annual Report is short of what we expected: a detailed summary of MIAC’s activity, not enough details to provide meaningful insight into MIAC’s work or its actual oversight,” the authors of the report said. A statement.

Scott, the state police major, said it was inappropriate for the center or the public safety department to comment on the external report as officers have not yet had a chance to review it.

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