By Jim Kouri
Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, Attorney General Eric Holder and Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism John Brennan today at the White House met with senior state, local and tribal law enforcement officials to discuss the President Barack Obama’s Strategic Implementation Plan for Empowering Local Partners to Prevent Violent Extremism in the United States.
What surprised many of the attendees was the fact that not once did Napolitano mention Islamic extremism or Muslim terrorists. Many of the police commanders attending found the presentation to be a “vague and politically correct” exercise.
Those invited were sheriffs and chiefs of police from states, cities and counties throughout the U.S., including representatives from the organizations such as International Association of Chiefs of Police, Major Cities Chiefs Association, National Sheriffs’ Association, National Native American Law Enforcement Association, Governors Homeland Security Advisors Council, Criminal Intelligence Coordinating Council, International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators, and others.
“Engaging local communities is critical to our nation’s effort to counter violent extremism and violent crime, and this meeting brings together many of our partners,” said Secretary Napolitano. “The Department of Homeland Security will continue to collaborate with our state and local law enforcement partners and engage the public in our efforts to combat violent extremism, while protecting civil rights and civil liberties.”
But throughout the meeting, it was noticeable that was no mention of Islamic terrorists — including homegrown radicalized American Muslims – during the Obama White House meeting.
Secretary Napolitano discussed her department’s support of local communities by enhancing already existing partnerships of federal, state and local law enforcement such as joint task forces, but she neglected to discuss Joint Terrorism Task Forces, such as the successful group of New York City police officers and agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
“I find it astounding how [Secretary] Napolitano could be so longwinded yet never once used the words “Islamic,” “Islamists,” “Muslim terrorists,” or any names of known terror groups. It’s as if Holder and Napolitano never read the report issued by the House Committee on Homeland Security, chaired by Congressman Peter King during 2011,” said one of the attendees who requested anonymity since his superior is a Democrat mayor.
Rep. King of New York endured much criticism for holding a series of hearings as part of his probe of homegrown Islamic terrorism and so-called “lone wolf” terrorists.
Napolitano mentioned expanding government grants to counter violent extremism and violent crime regardless of ideology, but neglected to mention religious extremism as practiced by al-Qaeda, Al Shabaab, Hamas, Hezbollah, Army of Islam and the Muslim Brotherhood.
The former Arizona governor stated that “DHS is continuing to implement recommendations from the DHS Homeland Security Advisory Council Countering Violent Extremism Working Group, such as developing a curriculum for state, local, tribal, and territorial law enforcement focused on a community-oriented policing approach to countering violent extremism and violent crime.”
Her priority however was the DHS’ Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties which she said is dedicated to educating communities and state, local, tribal, and territorial law enforcement on cultural awareness across the nation.
“Cultural awareness? How about the fact Islamic terrorists want to murder Americans and destroy the Western world and its practice of pluralism and religious freedom?” asks attorney and political strategist Mike Baker.
During her presentation, Secretary Napolitano reiterated President Obama’s call for Congress to take action to prevent layoffs of law enforcement and first responders, and keep our communities safe by passing legislation such as the American Jobs Act. The legislation would provide $5 billion in assistance to states and local communities to create or save thousands of law enforcement and first responder jobs across the country.
DHS has also collaborated with federal, state, local, and private sector partners, and the general public, to expand the “If You See Something, Say Something™” campaign. Originally implemented by New York City’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority and now licensed to DHS for a nationwide campaign, the “If You See Something, Say Something™” campaign is a simple and effective program to engage the public to identify and report indicators of terrorism, crime and other threats to the proper transportation and law enforcement authorities, said Napolitano.
“Unfortunately, Napolitano failed to give examples of “when you see what, what do you say and to whom do you say it” in light of the Obama Administration’s broad definition of ‘racial profiling,'” Baker said.