Police, Firefighters, Utility Workers Among Hundreds Trained as “Terrorism Liaison Officers”

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Democracy Now!

June 30, 2008

Police, Firefighters, Utility Workers Among Hundreds Trained as “Terrorism Liaison Officers”

Colorado is one among of handful of states where hundreds of firefighters, paramedics, police, and even corporate employees are being trained to hunt down and report a broadly defined range of “suspicious activities.” They’re called Terrorism Liaison Officers. The federally supported initiative trains them to look out for “observed behavior that may be indicative of intelligence-gathering or pre-operational planning related to terrorism.”

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Colorado is one among of handful of states where hundreds of firefighters, paramedics, police, and even corporate employees are being trained to hunt down and report a broadly defined range of “suspicious activities.” They’re called Terrorism Liaison Officers.

The federally supported initiative trains them to look out for “observed behavior that may be indicative of intelligence-gathering or pre-operational planning related to terrorism.” The list of suspicious behaviors includes taking photographs or videos of no apparent aesthetic value; making measurements, drawings, or taking notes; and conversing in code.

The program is gaining traction and Terrorism Liaison Officers have been deployed in at least 8 states including Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Tennesse, Washington, DC, and Wisconsin. According to “The Denver Post” the Office of the Director of National Intelligence is advocating for a nation-wide implementation of the program. But civil liberties watchdogs have come out strongly against the initiative calling it an expansion of domestic surveillance.

Bruce Finley is a staff writer at The Denver Post. His latest article chronicles this story. Its called “Terror Watch Uses Local Eyes.” He joins us in Denver. We’re also joined by Mark Silverstein, the Legal Director of the Colorado ACLU.

Bruce Finley, staff writer for the Denver Post, specializes in International Affairs. His latest article is called “Terror watch uses local eyes.”

Mark Silverstein, Legal Director of Colorado ACLU.

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