McCaul Bill Counters Growing Epidemic of Violent Extremism
WASHINGTON, D.C. – With the threats posed by homegrown violent extremists amplifying by the day, House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul, R-Texas, today introduced legislation to significantly raise countering violent extremism as a key priority at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The Countering Violent Extremism Act of 2015, H.R. 2899, establishes a new office within DHS to be headed by an Assistant Secretary who reports directly to the Secretary.
Chairman McCaul has been sharply critical of the Administration’s lackluster efforts to counter the growing epidemic of violent extremism. Currently, the Department has only a handful of fulltime staff dedicated to a crisis that threatens all Americans and is increasing by the day.
“We have arrested more people in the United States this year who have been inspired by ISIS than there are officials working to keep ISIS from radicalizing Americans,” said Chairman McCaul. “Terrorists at home and overseas are bringing the battle into our homes through the internet. We cannot afford to complacently watch the threats mushroom. It is time for action, and to treat this issue like the priority that it is,” he said.
Islamist extremists utilize social media and online propaganda to communicate with potential recruits inside the United States, who may attempt to join extremist groups abroad or carry out attacks here at home.
“These terrorists prey on potential recruits online, and after they spend hours on the internet, reading and chatting in dark spaces with terrorists, it is too late,” said McCaul. “We have to work on the front end to prevent the radicalization from happening in the first place,” he said.
The Countering Violent Extremism Act will:
· Authorizes the Office of Coordination for Countering Violent Extremism within the Department of Homeland Security, increasing the effectiveness and accountability of our counter-violent extremism efforts.
· Establishes the highest-ranking federal official in the entire federal government dedicated to countering the radicalization of Americans, providing much-needed leadership to tackle this complex challenge.
· Creates a counter-messaging program that would use social media platforms and other technologies to actively fight against the brutal propaganda currently being disseminated at our children and others by violent extremists.
· The bill calls for current funds within the Department to be reallocated to create the new office.
This bill helps restrict the flow of terrorist recruits, strengthen communities across the nation, and, most importantly, protect American lives from the growing threat of domestic violent extremism.
To see full text of the CVE bill click here.
Additionally, Chairman McCaul today, announced his committee will soon hold a hearing on countering violent international and domestic terrorism.