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McCaul Bill Would Counter Growing Epidemic of Violent Extremism

As threats posed by homegrown violent extremists – most of whom are Islamist Jihadists of late and who are “amplifying by the day,” House Committee on Homeland Security Chairman Michael McCaul (R-Texas) 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 would create a new office within DHS to be headed by an assistant secretary who reports directly to the DHS secretary.

“It is time for action, andto treat this issue like the priority that it is,” McCaul said in a statement announcing his legislation.

McCaul has been sharply critical of what he calls the Obama administration’s “lackluster efforts to counter the growing epidemic of violent extremism. Currently, DHS has only a handful of fulltime staff dedicated to a crisis that threatens all American and is increasing by the day,” he stated.

“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,” McCaul said, noting that, “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.”

McCaul reiterated that Islamist extremists utilize social media and online propaganda to communicate with potential recruits inside the United States who may either be inspired, or directed by foreign jihadists, 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,” McCaul asserted. “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 would:

  • Authorize 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;
  • Establish the highest-ranking federal official inthe entire federal government dedicated to countering the radicalization of Americans, providing much-needed leadership to tackle this complex challenge;
  • Create 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; and,
  • Use current funds within DHS 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,” McCaul’s office stated.

Additionally, McCaul said his committee will soon hold a hearing on countering violent international and domestic terrorism.

Homeland Security Todayhttp://www.hstoday.us
The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.

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