SEATTLE -- Whether they're real or fake, potential terrorism threats in the Northwest will likely at some point filter through a low profile operation based in Seattle.
But if you haven't heard of it, you're not alone.
Inside the Fusion Center, Homeland Security the FBI, Seattle Police and the Washington State Patrol team up to analyze intelligence and disseminate information pertaining to potential terrorism threats.
Last week's arrests of two alleged Muslim radicals, Abu Khalid Abdul-Latif of SeaTac and his partner from Los Angeles, Walli Mujahidh, is an example of what the Fusion Center is doing to combat terrorism in our own backyard. Their alleged plot was foiled after the man they approached looking for guns and grenades, passed along intelligence to the Fusion Center.
"That's what happened in this particular case," said Lieutenant Ron Leavell of the Seattle Police Department, "that information came to the attention of a detective assigned to the Fusion Center by the Seattle Police Department, as one of the key partners in this."
Fusion Centers were formed after September 11 to help bridge the gap in information sharing among federal and local authorities and have become even more vital over the past two years.
"We've seen a tremendous increase in what seen as home grown violent extremists," said Lt. Leavell.
One reason the 9/11 attackers succeeded is that information about suspicious activity wasn't passed along quickly.
From a windowless room in the Seattle FBI headquarters, the Washington State Fusion Center is the kind of collaboration that can act quickly, in a time of increasing threats here at home.
"I'd say that we're seeing more following the national trends, but the Northwest has always been home to a disproportionate amount of terrorism," said Lt. Leavell.
Monday the assistant special agent in charge of the FBI's Seattle office told our partner, The Seattle Times, he intends to ask for a ten to 20 percent increase in his current budget, just to deal with recent terror cases -- everything from the planting of a bomb along a parade route in Spokane to the arrest of a man suspected of plotting to set off explosives at a tree lighting ceremony in Portland.