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LETTER: Establish New Countering Violence Extremism Department A Bad Idea

The Brennan Center, along with 40 civil liberties groups, urged the House Committee on Homeland Security not to create a new Countering Violence Extremism Department at DHS.

Published: July 10, 2015

More than 40 human rights, civil liberties, and community-based organizations sent a letter to the leadership of the House Committee on Homeland Security, expressing concern over  H.R. 2899, the “Countering Violent Extremism Act of 2015”, a recent bill introduced by Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX).

The bill would establish a new Office for Countering Violent Extremism in the Department of Homeland Security, headed by a new Assistant Secretary and an allocated $10 million annual budget. This effort is misguided, advocates argue, and will adversely impact the civil liberties of American Muslims, given the lack of a sound research base to support current CVE programming.

“Despite years of federally-funded efforts, researchers have not developed reliable criteria that can be used to predict who will commit a terrorist act,” the letter states. “CVE training that conveys vague and unsupportable ‘indicators’ of violent extremism will only result in further civil rights and privacy violations, unreliable reporting to law enforcement, and will waste investigative resources … Given the lack of a sound research basis for CVE programming, establishing a high-level DHS office devoted to the matter would be a further waste of security resources.”

Download the letter here [PDF]

Learn more about CVE programs here.

Letter to House Committee Urging Them Not to Create New CVE Departmen