On Wednesday, prior to the shooting in Chattanooga blamed on a Muslim, the House Homeland Security Committee voted in favor the Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) Act of 2015 (H.R. 2899).
The legislation will create an office within the Department of Homeland Security to address homegrown terrorism and will be allocated $10 million annually.
Pilot CVE programs have already been launched in Boston, Los Angeles and Minneapolis.
Rep. Michael McCaul, a Texas Republican and Homeland Security Committee chairman, sponsored the bill. According to The Washington Times, McCaul said something needs to be done to protect the United States from the growing number of Islamic State inspired-attacks against military facilities, law enforcement officers and Americans.
Congress claims the number of people facing prosecution for planning terror attacks in the United States has increased from 13 in 2014 to 61 in 2015.
Left unmentioned is the fact virtually all high profile domestic terrorism plots in the United States since 9/11 have included the “direct involvement” of government agents or informants, according to a report released last July by Human Rights Watch.
“The problem with the cases we’re talking about is that defendants would not have done anything if not kicked in the ass by government agents,” Martin Stolar, a lawyer for an accused terror suspect, told Mother Jones. “They’re creating crimes to solve crimes so they can claim a victory in the war on terror.”
Forty-two organizations have raised concerns over CVE.
“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,” states a letter sent to McCaul and Rep. Bennie G. Thompson on July 10 by a number of civil rights groups.
The letter also indirectly addresses the work of the FBI in conjuring up terror plots.
“We note that the bill would require the CVE office to ensure that all CVE-related activities ‘fully respect the privacy, civil rights, and civil liberties of all Americans.’ Unfortunately, given the history of and ongoing abuses in federal counterterrorism policy, including the use of community outreach to gather intelligence and the pressuring of American-Muslims to become informants against their own communities, these words have little meaning.”