Friday afternoon US Attorney General Eric Holder was in Las Vegas to meet with Senator Harry Reid and other Nevada State, Clark County, and Las Vegas officials at the Las Vegas Fusion Counterterrorism Center near McCarran Airport.
On display were tools of countering terrorist activities as well as criminal activities. The Clark County/Las Vegas facility is one of the top counter-terrorism facilities in the United States and stands out as a model for others to follow.
The Senator and Holder meet behind closed doors with others in the facility before coming out to meet with the officers and see first-hand the equipment used to combat some of the worse case scenarios that could and have taken place in Las Vegas and across the country.
They looked over the robotic innovations, both disposal units and bio and chemical kits used by officers in the field to assess, discover, and dispose of potential threats to the public.
At the podium for the official press conference US Attorney General Eric Holder said, “I have come here to see the way Nevada combats terrorism.” He went on to say that, “this is one of the very best in the country, and now I know why this is so good.”
Holder also said, “I am very impressed by what I have seen.”
Clark County Sheriff Doug Gillespie said at the podium, “We cover all crimes and hazards, not just terrorism.”
There are now 72 Fusion Centers across the US since the attack on 9-11.
Senator Reid said, “It’s all about sharing information.”
One the interesting topics was brought to light by Tom Callahan Director of the Southern Nevada Counterterrorism Center as he touched on PS3 and training local security, valets, and other hotel workers on “what constitutes suspicious activity.” He also emphasized that they are not a domestic intelligence agency.
Callahan also said his “relationship with Senator Reid echoes the relationships with the other agencies,” relating to working together and sharing information quickly and efficiently.
Even though the press portion was to showcase the statements and equipment it was obvious by the attention paid by the Attorney General that he was genuinely interested in what he was there to see as he walked with Senator Reid and Sheriff Gillespie from station to station.
As they spoke with officers at the chemical and biological station which had many different types of computer and non computer based identification systems the intensity of questions from Reid and Holder to officers was evident while gaining a first hand understanding of what officers face in the field.
Because of the high profile of Las Vegas and its national and international tourism, one of the most intense and sophisticated systems of counter-terrorism fusion centers has been set up next to McCarran Airport to not only protect the tourist but also fight crime. It serves a dual purpose and utilizing the latest available equipment which Senator Reid has taken extra steps to earmark money for in the Senate.