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POLITICAL INTEL IGENCE New Eyes on Texas illustration by Mike Krone Gov. Rick Perry has long been eager to remake the Texas Department of Public Safety. And for almost $1 millionthe cost of a study conducted for the Perry-appointed Public Safety Commissionthe governor may now have the blueprints to make it happen. On Halloween, the consulting firm Deloitte & Touche released the results of a 10-week report that recommends a top-tobottom shakeup of the agency, the first such overhaul since 1957. “It’s more than a study,” says Scott Henson, a criminal justice expert who runs . “They’re going to use it as their template to reorganize the agency:’ While nearly everyone agrees that DPS is overdue for an overhaul, some aspects of the plan raise privacy and civil liberties concernsincluding a special operations group that some fear might get into the business of spying on protest groups or political enemies. One recommendation calls for the consolidation of all agency intelligence and homeland security functions into an intelligence and counterterrorism division, which would report directly to a newly created deputy director of law enforcement. The division would have a broad mandate to “lead the Department’s intelligence-led policing, counterterrorism, and homeland security efforts against large-scale criminal conspiracies and other threats to the State of Texas:’ the report says. Within the intelligence division, Deloitte recommends the formation of a special operations group, tasked with being the “eyes and ears” of the intelligence and counterterrorism division. And whom exactly would the special ops see and hear? The report refers to “possible terrorists” and “violent criminal gangs” but also suggests the unit conduct “counter-surveillance” for the governor’s protection detail, the lieutenant governor, visiting dignitaries, the Capitol and the Governor’s Mansion. “The protection of these potential targets should be intelligence driven,” the report reads. To critics, the plan contains echoes of Perry’s various attempts to add major homeland security functions to the state government. In 2007, the Observer discovered that Perry’s Homeland Security Office was developing an intellipersonal information on thousands of Texans but had little oversight from law enforcement. Although DPS eventually took control of TDEx, the agency higher-ups who fought to control the database have since left. The fear among critics is that Perry may fill the power vacuum with allies who share his views on TDEx and other questionable intelligence ventures. In particular, speculation abounds that Steve McCraw, the governor’s homeland security director and a major advocate of TDEx, may get the nod for the top spot at DPS. Allan Polunsky, chairman of the Public Safety Commission, cautions that the Deloitte & Touche report is just a framework. “As far as specific recommendations, its premature to say whether they will be adopted or not,” he said. But Henson worries about the potential for a new special operations group whose functions might include spying on political foes. “When you add in the protection function to the criminal investigation function and say that it should be intelligence driven,” Henson said, “that basically insists that they do political snooping.” Forrest Wilder Adapting to Survive CREATIONISTS STILL SEEKING STANDARDS They came before the Texas State Board of Education on November 19 ostensibly to debate the science curriculum and how evolution should be taught in Texas schools. But after nearly 90 witnesses had testified over seven hours, it was clear the discussion was more suited for English class: The hearing was a textbook exhibition of word choice, rhetoric, false analogies, symbolism, metaphors, unreliable narrators and more than a few fascinating characters. State education boards have provided a last redoubt for creationists hoping to slip a few words about God into the 4 THE TEXAS OBSERVER NOVEMBER 28, 2008