WASHINGTON (AFP) - The US government is building a vast domestic spying network to collect information on Americans as part of expanding counter-terrorism efforts, the Washington Post reported Monday. The unprecedented network involves local police, state and military authorities feeding a growing database on thousands of US citizens and residents, even though many have never been charged with breaking the law, the Post reported, citing numerous interviews and 1,000 documents. The apparatus breaks new ground in the US and raises questions about safeguards for privacy and civil liberties. There was no immediate comment on the report from the Department of Homeland Security, which has built up the network with billions of dollars in grants to state governments since the September 11, 2001 attacks. The effort is driven by concerns about homegrown terrorism, with a spate of recent cases involving US citizens or legal residents accused of plotting attacks on American soil. The information compiled on Americans is supposed to help the Federal Bureau of Investigation, but the programs efficacy remains unclear while rights groups worry about the effect on civil liberties, the Post wrote. It opens a door for all kinds of abuses, Michael German, a former FBI agent at the American Civil Liberties Union, told the paper. How do we know there are enough controls? The domestic apparatus includes 4,058 federal, state and local organizations, with at least 935 created since the 2001 attacks or newly focused on counter-terrorism, the paper wrote. The FBI maintains a database of profiles on tens of thousands of Americans reported to be acting suspiciously, and local and state police started contributing to the files two years ago. Some 890 state and local agencies have filed 7,197 reports, but there have been no convictions yet in any of the cases, the paper said. Under current plans, the new Nationwide Suspicious Activity Reporting Initiative, or SAR, will ensure that a central database will one day contain files sent in by all of the countrys police departments. The network has local police working as intelligence analysts without the extensive training of FBI or CIA officers. Some police departments have hired instructors with hardline views who portray the countrys Islamic community as overrun with radical extremists, the paper wrote. The Department of Homeland Security told the newspaper it was working on guidelines for local authorities seeking out terrorism experts. The Post investigation also revealed that technologies and methods developed for use in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are now being employed by law enforcement agencies in the United States. These include hand-held fingerprint scanners, biometric data devices and unmanned aircraft monitoring the border with Mexico and Canada. The cost of the domestic spying network is difficult to measure, but the Department of Homeland Security has provided 31 billion dollars in grants since 2003 to state and local governments for counter-terrorism measures, including 3.8 billion dollars handed out this year.