According to Reuters, the Trump administration is planning a huge overhaul of a U.S. counterterrorism program that works with communities and companies to identify and deter violent individuals and groups who could launch attacks on American citizens. The aim: To narrow the program’s focus down to those who are being radicalized by Islamist propaganda.
The program, “Countering Violent Extremism,” or CVE, would be changed to “Countering Islamic Extremism” or “Countering Radical Islamic Extremism,” the sources said, and would no longer target groups such as white supremacists who have also carried out bombings and shootings in the United States.
The media is twisting this to make it sound like violent white supremacist groups will get a free pass to carry out attacks in the Trump era, but that is of course ridiculous. This isn’t a law enforcement initiative, but rather an unproven grant-based system that allocates money to local groups and companies like Google so they can create messaging campaigns. If Trump decided to scrap the program altogether, there’s no hard evidence to suggest that it would make any difference at all.
But if we’re going to do this, we may as well do it right. Let’s face facts: if it weren’t for Islamic terrorism, the Obama administration would have never created this program to begin with. And the only reason the program wasn’t already specifically aimed at Islamic radicalism is because CAIR and other Muslim activist groups had their paws on it. They took an initiative of already-dubious effectiveness and made it completely meaningless.
For several years, Obama administration officials warned us that so-called “lone wolf” terrorists were a greater threat to national security than organized groups like ISIS and Al Qaeda. They encouraged the development of grant programs like CVE so community leaders, teachers, and parents would know what to look for in a self-radicalized individual.
Not the worst idea, but one can guess that a budding “sovereign citizen”-type terrorist is not going to exhibit the same outward signs as a budding jihadist. If this program is really going to make a difference, it needs to be specific and it needs to tell the truth. By focusing exclusively on radical Islamists, the program can live up to its worth…assuming it has any at all.