Deloitte recommends creation of a new Special Operations Group within the new Intelligence and Counter-Terrorism Division to be explicitly intelligence driven. The Special Operations Group should collect investigative and intelligence data on threats, terrorism and violent criminal gangs. It would perform counter-surveillance on key facilities like the Governor’s Mansion and State Capitol. It would perform surveillance on possible terrorists and violent criminal enterprises, provide back-up undercover investigators to infiltrate such organizations (emphasis added) and directly fill intelligence gaps through collection in a rapid fashion.If the "violent criminal enterprises" they're talking about "infiltrating" are Mexican drug cartels or prison gangs, that's one thing. If they're talking about infiltrating dissident political organizations, as we've seen from the UT-Austin police or, in another era, from the Nixon Administration, my inclination would be to oppose undercover infiltration except where DPS is investigating a specific crime or criminal organization based on articulable reasonable suspicion. Another section of the report makes it sound like a more common use of the proposed Special Operations Group would be to gather intelligence on groups that might protest the Governor or other key political figures:
The Division should have a Special Operations unit, which would be deployed to conduct protective counter-surveillance on the Governor’s protection detail, the Lieutenant Governor, visiting dignitaries, the State Capital and Governor’s Mansion. The protection of these potential targets should be intelligence driven. ...The section of the Deloitte report on intelligence (intentionally?) conflates combating "terrorism" with more mundane but much more common law enforcement duties and also DPS' protective service duties regarding elected officials and state facilities. That leaves the door wide open for abusing this authority without further clarification. There are not enough checks and balances currently proposed in the Deloitte report to ensure abuses won't occur.
The Special Operations group would be the “eyes and ears” of the Intelligence & Counter- Terrorism division by tasking and deploying “collectors” of information deemed to be important to the overall intelligence and counter-terrorism effort. The unit should be organized to enable it to shift quickly into law enforcement operations, based upon threat intelligence.
In addition, Deloitte supports throwing good money after bad by integrating the state's near-worthless "fusion centers," which have been a black hole for spending with virtually no demonstrable public safety benefit, into DPS' new intelligence division they've proposed:
Deloitte recommends significantly expanding the capabilities of the existing Fusion Center at DPS to become the State’s central point for the collection, analysis, and dissemination of criminal, terrorist, and homeland security related information. The center should seek to integrate its activities with those of regional fusion centers in Houston and North Texas, as well as significantly increasing representation of local and federal law enforcement and homeland security agencies on the team.Admittedly these programs haven't been well coordinated, but that's because the Fusion Centers and border security grants were political stunts the Governor and the Lege were pushing for electioneering purposes, not initiatives driven by law enforcement needs. The state would do well to scrap the fusion centers, keep DPS criminal intelligence services integrated into their investigative units, and leave the political snooping to the FBI.