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Tag: extremism

FBI Handled More Domestic Terrorism Cases Than International Terrorism This Fiscal Year

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The number of domestic terrorism arrests have exceeded international terrorism arrests in the current fiscal year that began on Oct. 1.

Domestic cases were 66, compared to 63 international cases.

The trend has prompted the FBI to focus more of its attention on home-grown extremists, a senior FBI counterterrorism official told Reuters.

One recent attack in the U.S. involved a mass shooting that left 11 people dead at a Pittsburgh synagogue.

Many of the attacks involve racially motivated and anti-government extremism, as well as attacks on abortion clinics.

The Internet has been a key source of radicalization in the U.S.

“Terrorism moves at the speed of the Internet,” the official said.

Star-Tribune: Combating Extremism Must Stay Priority After Homeland Security Resignation

homeland-security-sportsBy Editorial Board
Star-Tribune

The resignation of a top U.S. Department of Homeland Security official has left the agency without a strong, outspoken advocate for locally led efforts to combat homegrown terrorism, a threat that the weekend violence in Charlottesville, Va., put a disturbing spotlight on.

With federal support for these programs now uncertain, private nonprofits and the business community must step up to fill this leadership void.

George Selim, who resigned in late July, led Homeland Security’s Office of Community Partnerships and directed the agency’s Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) task force. His energetic leadership made him a familiar figure to Minnesota law enforcement authorities and others working here to thwart terror recruiters. Some of these have targeted young people in the state’s large Somali-American community.

Selim, who began his federal career during the George W. Bush administration, merits praise for embracing a more comprehensive approach to fighting extremism. In addition to intercepting recruits and prosecuting them, he argued that preventive measures are needed.

This pragmatic approach is built on the premise that those who put down roots and prosper are less likely to fall prey to recruiters’ deceptive promises. Social services programs that build strong families, as well efforts to “de-radicalize” those who get involved with extremists, are now a critical component of CVE strategy.

Under Selim’s leadership, the Office of Community Partnerships advocated for federal grants to local organizations and finally convinced Congress to appropriate the dollars. The agency awarded the first round of grants in 2016. Two Minnesota organizations received $770,000 in funding: the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office and Heartland Democracy, a mentoring program for young people.

Unfortunately, it’s unclear if there will be a second round of grants. Selim’s departure raises troubling questions about CVE’s future. The CVE approach has been controversial in some circles because it’s sometimes deemed too soft an approach to terrorism. Other critics dislike that these dollars help immigrants, while others have wrongly contended that CVE shouldn’t encompass white supremacist groups inside U.S. borders.

To read more click here. 

Questions Raised about FBI Targeting High School Students Who Show Signs of ‘Extremism’

schoolBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI is now targeting high school students who could be potential extremists.

New FBI guidelines are calling for high schools nationwide to report students who are critical of government policies and “western corruption” in an effort to get an early warning about potential sympathizers of terrorism, Alternet reports.

The guidelines warn of “anarchist extremists” and young people who travel to “suspicious” countries.

The “Preventing Violent Extremism in Schools” guidelines were released in January and “are almost certainly designed to single out and target Muslim-American communities,” Alternet argues.

“However, in its caution to avoid the appearance of discrimination, the agency identifies risk factors that are so broad and vague that virtually any young person could be deemed dangerous and worthy of surveillance, especially if she is socio-economically marginalized or politically outspoken,” Alternet reports.

The new guidelines suggest high schools can be hotbeds of extremism.

“High school students are ideal targets for recruitment by violent extremists seeking support for their radical ideologies, foreign fighter networks, or conducting acts of violence within our borders,” the document warns, claiming that youth “possess inherent risk factors.”

FBI’s Program about Violent Extremism in Schools Draws Criticism

schoolBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

An interactive program designed by the FBI to help teachers and students identify warning signs of violent extremism has drawn strong criticism Muslims and civil rights leaders, the New York Times reports. 

The program, called “Don’t Be a Puppet,” predominately focuses on Islamic extremism, even though that has not been a factor in school shootings and attacks.

The New York Times wrote:

In the campaign against terrorists such as the Islamic State, law enforcement agencies have been stepping up efforts to identify those susceptible to recruitment. The agencies have enlisted the cooperation and advice of religious and community leaders. But the controversy over the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s new online tool is one more indication that there is no consensus on who should be involved in detecting and reporting suspects, and where to draw the line between prevention and racial or religious profiling.

“The F.B.I. is developing a website designed to provide awareness about the dangers of violent extremist predators on the Internet,” a spokeswoman for the agency said late Sunday, “with input from students, educators and community leaders.”

Justice Department Creates New Position to Focus on Threats of Homegrown Extremism

department-of-justice-logoBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The rising threat of homegrown extremism has prompted the Justice Department to create a new position to coordinate investigations, the Washington Post reports. 

The new position of domestic terrorism counsel is expected to be announced today at George Washington University.

The position will focus on threats posed by ISIS, as well as by racists and anti-government zealots.

Other Stories of Interest

Congress Mulls Plan to Create Separate Unit to Investigate Terrorism

homeland2department-of-homeland-security-logo-300x300By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Fearing that Homeland Security is not equipped to combat violent extremism, key lawmakers in Washington passed legislation Wednesday that would create a single office dedicated to focusing solely on terrorism.

The Washington Times reports that members of the House Committee on Homeland Security butted heads over how best to handle the shortcomings.

The overhaul could be a hard sell because it hasn’t been endorsed or even introduced as an alternative by Homeland Security.

“There is no DHS strategic plan to provide clarity about how the $40 million in dedicated funding and expanded authorities would be utilized,” hRep, Bennie Thompson of Mississippi, the top Democrat on the panel,e said. “There is no testimony from DHS, in an open setting, in response to concerns about transparency and the concerns that many Americans have about how current CVE (countering violent extremism) programs are being carried out.”

Bill Would Help Justice Department Combat ‘Violent Extremism’

Rep. Michael McCaul

Rep. Michael McCaul

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department is moving forward on its promise to combat “violent extremism.”

Reason.com reports that Rep. Michael McCaul has introduced a bill, Countering Violent Extremism Act, that would create a federal Office of Coordination for Countering Violent Extremism.

The office would be house at Homeland Security.

The bill covers a range of responsibilities, including “identifying risk factors that contribute to violent extremism in communities in the United States,” “assessing the methods used by violent extremists to disseminate propaganda and messaging to communities at risk for radicalization and recruitment,” and “establishing a counter-messaging program” to head off extremist ideas.

The bill calls for $10 million a year for the next five years and a new leader, assistant secretary for countering violent extremism.”

FBI: Suspect in Muhammad Cartoon Contest Shooting Planned a Super Bowl Attack

Abdul Malik Abdul Kareem

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The man accused of helping attack a Muhammad drawing contest in Texas also planned to attack the Super Bowl, investigators said.

Abdul Malik Abdul Kareem, 43, who was arrested last week on charge connected to the Garland attack, is being held in jail without bond, Cleveland.com reports. He is accused of supplying weapons to the attackers,

During a federal court hearing, FBI Special Agent Dina McCarthy said Kareem wanted to attack the Super Bowl in Phoenix in February.

“This is an individual who is apt to incite violence,” prosecutor Kristen Brook said. “This defendant, based on all these facts, is dangerous, he is off-the-charts dangerous.”