On September 15, 2010 Public Intelligence received a notice from an unknown Security Officer at the Virginia Fusion Center requesting that we immediately remove all documents issued by that entity from our site. In early February, we received a notice from a Special Agent Richard A. Havasy Jr. that requested we remove a “Law Enforcement Sensitive” copy of the Virginia Fusion Center’s report on the Bloods street gang. Since then, we have published two more reports from the Virginia Fusion Center, including a “For Official Use Only” Education Facilities Threat Assessment and a “Law Enforcement Sensitive” report on the Mara Salvatrucha 13 (MS-13) street gang.
§ 52-48. Confidentiality and immunity from service of process; penalties.
A. Papers, records, documents, reports, materials, databases, or other evidence or information relative to criminal intelligence or any terrorism investigation in the possession of the Virginia Fusion Intelligence Center shall be confidential and shall not be subject to the Virginia Freedom of Information Act (§2.2-3700 et seq.) or the Government Data Collection and Dissemination Practices Act (§ 2.2-3800 et seq.). The Department shall conduct an annual review of information contained in any database maintained by the Virginia Fusion Intelligence Center. Data that has been determined to not have a nexus to terrorist activity shall be removed from such database. A reasonable suspicion standard shall be applied when determining whether or not information has a nexus to terrorist activity.
B. No person, having access to information maintained by the Virginia Fusion Intelligence Center, shall be subject to subpoena in a civil action in any court of the Commonwealth to testify concerning a matter of which he has knowledge pursuant to his access to criminal intelligence information maintained by the Virginia Fusion Intelligence Center.
C. No person or agency receiving information from the Virginia Fusion Intelligence Center shall release or disseminate that information without prior authorization from the Virginia Fusion Intelligence Center.
D. Any person who knowingly disseminates information in violation of this section is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. If such unauthorized dissemination results in death or serious bodily injury to another person, such person is guilty of a Class 4 felony.
As we explained previously, parts C and D of this section apply to a “person or agency receiving information from the Virginia Fusion Intelligence Center” and not to the general public. In fact, members of the general public have a constitutionally protected right to publish and distribute information. Moreover, this right exists even when the information in question is fully classified. This is the fourth takedown notice we have received from a U.S. Intelligence Fusion Center. We have also received notices from the the Illinois Statewide Terrorism and Intelligence Center and the New York State Intelligence Center, among a number of other similar entities.
Subject: Posting of Virginia Fusion Center documents
From: “Fusion Center” <VFC@vsp.virginia.gov>
Date: Wed, 15 Sep 2010 14:23:59 -0400
Request that your site immediately remove all Virginia Fusion Center
reports that are clearly marked “For Official Use Only” or “Law
Enforcement Sensitive”. These reports were not authorized for
distribution to your site nor authorized for posting to your site.
Thank you for your prompt attention to this request.
Virginia Fusion Center
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Subject: Please contact me reference this document
From: “Havasy, Richard A., SA” <Rick.Havas@vsp.virginia.gov>
Date: Tue, 16 Feb 2010 10:06:03 -0500
Could you please give me a call or provide a number where I could contact you reference the below link. Code of Virginia Title § 52-48 d, provides certain protections for Virginia Fusion Center documents and I would like to discuss them with you.
S/A R.A. Havasy Jr.
Virginia Fusion Center
(804) 674-2204 Office
(804) 674-2983 Fax