January 18, 2011
FRONTLINE's new monthly magazine series launches with the latest from Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post reporter Dana Priest, who investigates the sprawling terrorism-industrial complex that has grown up in the wake of 9/11. Her report, Are We Safer? -- produced and directed by FRONTLINE veteran Michael Kirk (The Warning, Obama's Deal) -- explores the growing reach of homeland security into the lives of ordinary Americans.
Priest examines Maryland, for example. Here, Gov. Martin O'Malley tells FRONTLINE how the Department of Homeland Security backed his state's efforts to track down terrorists, funding the creation of a "fusion center" to bring together data from new high-tech devices like license plate readers and CCTV cameras on street corners, and to combine it with the databases of local police and the federal government that are filled with tips and reports of "suspicious activity."
The problem, Priest finds, is that, nine years after 9/11, Maryland, like so many states, has yet to use its vast anti-terror apparatus to capture any terrorists. Rather, it's built a massive database that collects, stores and analyzes information on thousands of U.S. citizens and residents, many of whom have not been accused of any wrongdoing.