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Expert Brief

Community Outreach or Intelligence Gathering?

Newly uncovered documents reveal previous community outreach programs may actually have been used by law enforcement to collect intelligence on American Muslim communities.

  • Michael Price
Published: January 29, 2015

A Closer Look at “Coun­ter­ing Viol­ent Extrem­ism” Programs

The U.S. has announced plans to roll out “Coun­ter­ing Viol­ent Extrem­ism” programs in select cities across the U.S. — includ­ing Boston, Los Angeles, and Minneapolis-Saint Paul. Although aimed at work­ing with communit­ies to deter U.S. resid­ents from join­ing “viol­ent extrem­ist” groups, these programs may in fact be covertly collect­ing intel­li­gence on community members.

New docu­ments uncovered under the Free­dom of Inform­a­tion Act show community outreach programs in Minnesota were used by the FBI and local law enforce­ment to secretly collect intel­li­gence on Amer­ican Somali communit­ies. The follow­ing analysis walks through these uncovered docu­ments and explains why mixing community outreach and intel­li­gence gath­er­ing erodes community trust and proves coun­ter­pro­duct­ive to national secur­ity efforts.

Down­load the Analysis [PDF]

Read the FOIA docu­ments:


Community Outreach or Intel­li­gence Gath­er­ing?