Feds Pour $5.8 Million Into “Text Against Terror” – Receive 0 Tips

In another example of government waste, the federal government poured nearly $6 million on an experimental “anti-terrorism” program known as “Text Against Terror” which encourages the public to text tips from their cell phones on potential terrorist activity.

The program was launched in 2011 and the feds have poured $5.8 million into the program. New Jersey police have been testing the system and claim to have received 307 tips, but that includes texts that were part of the test. Only 71 were regarding homeland security and all of those were eliminated as any real concern according to New Jersey police chief Christopher Trucillo.

Not only is money being used for the NJTPD domain and unlimited texting, but apparently it’s also being used for radio and television advertising, printing of cards, fliers and bus and train ads as well.

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“We’re not doing it to waste valuable tax dollars or that we don’t have anything else to do. We live in a dangerous world and in an area where two significant terrorist events happened (in 1993 and 2001),” said Trucillo, who was a Port Authority police captain on the day of the 2001 attacks. “We ask people to understand that we do it with their best interests in mind and to make the public aware of counterterrorism efforts, so we can keep mass transit safe.”

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APP.com reports,

“Absent the grant, it’s likely we would not be able to find the funds,” Trucillo said, adding that he hopes the three-year grant will be renewed.

The idea for a text-based tip system started after Trucillo said he read a New York Times article about how people preferred to communicate.

“It’s how the idea of text tips came out in the conversation,” he said. “We looked at what people use, what is the most convenient mode people are most comfortable with.”

Texting was decided on after NJ Transit officials brainstormed and discussed what method people were most likely to use on crowded buses or trains.

This didn’t escape the eyes of Judicial Watch either. They report,

News of this disturbing waste of public funds for an ineffective homeland security program comes on the heels of a U.S. Senate report blasting a huge post-9/11 counterterrorism program that’s received north of $300 million but hasn’t provided any useful intelligence. Even scarier is that DHS has covered up the mess from both Congress and the public, according to the bi-partisan investigators who conducted the lengthy probe.

The inept domestic counterterrorism program features fusion centers that are supposed to share terrorism-related information between state, local and federal officials. But nine years and more than $300 million later, the national centers have failed to provide any valuable information, according to Senate investigators.

Instead they have forwarded “intelligence of uneven quality – oftentimes shoddy, rarely timely, sometimes endangering citizens’ civil liberties and Privacy Act protections, occasionally taken from already-published public sources, and more often than not unrelated to terrorism.” A review of more than a year of fusion center reports nationwide determined that they were irrelevant, useless or inappropriate.

Here’s an idea, since those people texting already have cell phone service and since the country has a 911 system in place, why not use that at zero percent additional cost to the taxpayers? Oh wait, that would make too much sense wouldn’t it?

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