WASHINGTON–The House Homeland Security Committee appeared ignorant of criticism regarding the Department of Homeland Security’s politically correct “Countering Violent Extremism” (CVE) training, when the committee crafted a measure last week that perpetuated the training at DHS.
Known as H.R. 5471, the Counter Terrorist Radicalization Act is a combination of three previously passed pieces of legislation – H.R. 4401, the ALERT Act of 2016; H.R. 4820, the Combating Terrorist Recruitment Act of 2016; and H.R. 4407, the Counterterrorism Advisory Board Act of 2016. The bill passed overwhelmingly in the lower chamber.
In the wake of the June 12 mass shooting at an Orlando gay nightclub by an ISIS inspired gunman, the House brought the bill to the floor 4 days later expecting the Senate to immediately pass the provisions. The bill has yet to be voted on in the upper chamber.
The DHS CVE training that H.R. 5471 is reauthorizing is controversial as a result of policies that urge trainers to stick to a curriculum that teaches appeasement of different cultural backgrounds, suggesting for example, “Don’t use training that equates radical thought, religious expression, freedom to protest, or other constitutionally-protected activity, including disliking the U.S. government without being violent.”
Part of the $50 million previously appropriated for DHS would go towards CVE training this year while a large portion, according to a committee aid, goes towards travel.
Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael Michael McCaul claimed the bill package “prevents radical Islamist extremism” yet “radical Islamist extremism” is nowhere in the bill.
“So the genesis for the idea came from the notion that perhaps on the generic training material community awareness briefings—those types of things, if more people were trained on them they would have a wider reach,” the committee aid told The Daily Caller.
However, the committee aid claimed to be unfamiliar with the “training that CVE provides to investigators,” explaining that CVE “has evolved separate from independent from an investigative tool.”
“It’s a different realm of counter-terrorism investigation. Investigations are going to proceed regardless of efforts to build relationships with communities at risk for radicalization recruitment,” said the aide. “And that’s what CVE is aimed at. It’s really trying to make communities aware of the threat that they face and prepare them for that and to try and find an avenue where they can get help from state, local, and federal partners to address it.”
Additionally, the committee aid said he was not very familiar with the FBI training manual purge of instruction deemed offensive to Muslims that began in the beginning of he Obama administration.
“This specific part of the bill, specifically ties violent extremism to the State Department’s Foreign Terrorist Organization. Now we can have a conversation about whether or not it’s appropriate to call out a specific ideology in black letter bill tech,” said the aid.
“I think, broadly, the threat will evolve in 15 years, 20 years from now, we’re going to be talking about a different ideology, so it doesn’t make sense to me up front, perhaps, certainly the intent is to build a system that could change if the threat changes, but the section of the bill your talking about is specifically tied to the foreign terrorist organization,” he explained.
The Associated Press reported back in March that the taxpayer funded CVE pilot programs in Boston, Los Angeles, and Minneapolis turned out to be a bust. One reason, The AP notes, is its “vague mission.”