DHS admits: No strategic plan for $10 million counter-terrorism program

DHS admits: No strategic plan for $10 million counter-terrorism program, Washington ExaminerMariana Barillas, September 22, 2016

(This has been the Countering Violent Extremism “strategic plan” until now:

It seems unlikely that any significant changes will be made while Obama remains in office.–DM)

The head of the Department of Homeland Security’s program to counter violent extremism admitted Thursday that the year-old initiative is not yet being guided by a completed strategic plan.

George Selim, director of the Office of Community Partnerships at DHS, was repeatedly asked by members of the House Homeland Security Thursday why he could not provide a document outlining the organization’s $10 million plans for countering the spread of terrorism.

“Why? Because I am testifying before this committee,” said Selim, who repeatedly refused to provide a date for when would present the strategy.

“Don’t be facetious, brother. Either the plan exists or it doesn’t,” said Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., in response. “I understand inside the beltway talk. So let’s just make it plain and simple: when can we get the plan?”

Selim finally admitted the plan is not finished, stating that a finalized version is “nearly ready.”

He added that he didn’t want to give the impression that the organization is without any strategy after being up and running for a year, and stressed that he takes the use of taxpayer dollars seriously.

Congress appropriated $10 million in funding to the Countering Violent Extremism initiative, which can issue grants to nonprofit organizations working in local communities to prevent radicalization.

But when asked by Rep. Barry Loudermilk R-Ga., to provide evidence that the program was not a “black hole” for taxpayers, Selim could only answer that he has seen positive changes “anecodally” and could not provide any metrics for success.

“I can’t sit hear before you today and definitively say that person was going to commit an act of terrorism with a pressure cooker bomb, but we’re developing that prevention framework in a range of cities across the country,” said Selim.

When asked whether DHS could prove that the money is not being sent to terrorist or terrorist-affiliated groups, Selim said there is no blacklist of non-governmental organizations prohibited from applying for federal funding in the government. He did not say whether their current vetting process has ever mistakenly funded groups that jeopardize national security when questioned, but argued there is always room for improvement when a program is in its infancy.

“There is not in the federal government, there is not a list of NGOs that are prohibited from applying for a grant from the federal government,” said Selim before deferring to the expertise of law enforcement and the intelligence community in tracking perpetrators of violence.

Explore posts in the same categories: Countering violent extremism, Dept. of Homeland Security, Funding Islamist organizations, Islamist vetting

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