San Diego anti-terror center's spending criticized

Associated Press Published: October 3, 2012
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The TVs were supposed to be used for an intelligence training program that was never purchased. Instead, they were used to display calendars and for what officials initially described as "open-source monitoring."

When the Senate subcommittee asked for a definition, officials said they meant "watching the news." They told the subcommittee they viewed the television purchase as "a huge mistake."

The San Diego center also spent nearly $200,000 on 116 computers and monitors, although it had only 80 employees assigned by various law enforcement agencies to work at the center. The officials said some of the equipment was used by law enforcement officers in other locations to access information from the fusion center.

Mike Dayton, undersecretary of the California Emergency Management Agency, said his staff will examine the report.

The agency funds the fusion centers with federal money and oversees the California State Threat Assessment Center in Sacramento that coordinates them. It also serves as the liaison between the centers and the federal government.

"We want to make sure the money is spent wisely and efficiently for the purposes of protecting Californians," Dayton said.