DHS circumvents Trump, asks Congress to help combat white extremists

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After two years without any help from the White House on combatting far-right extremist domestic terror attacks, Homeland Security goes to Congress.

Sometime in May, date unknown, DHS Acting Secretary Kevin McAleenan begins ringing the phone lines to ask for funding for the new Office of Targeted Violence and Terrorism Prevention.

Acting DHS head Kevin McAleenan made a series of phone calls to the Hill ringing alarm bells that DHS’s work on domestic terrorism was severely underfunded and urging members to fund the effort. After an extensive effort that initially circumvented the White House budgeting process, Congress gave DHS $17 million in new funding for the office and for grants.

The concept was to have DHS help state, local, and nongovernment leaders work in their communities to prevent and reverse violent extremism. Neumann compared it with the role DHS plays in firefighting: The department doesn’t send personnel with hoses and helicopters to put out wildfires. But it does help set standards, provide training and send out grant money. The goal — both when it comes to firefighting and to domestic terrorism — is to help communities protect themselves. It grew out of the Obama-era Office of Community Partnerships. That office had focused on helping communities counter violent extremism, and the Trump team had frozen its funding in the early days after the election to review its efforts.


McAleenan resigns five months later, reportedly because he believes there’s nothing left he can do with the position under the Trump administration.




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