U.S. President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team has asked two Cabinet departments for the names of government officials working on programs to counter violent extremism (CVE), according to a document seen by Reuters and U.S. officials.
Reuters The requests to the State Department and the Department of Homeland Security involve a set of programs that seek to prevent violence by extremists of any stripe, including recruitment by militant Islamist groups within the United States and abroad.
Reuters could not determine why the Trump team asked for these names. The Trump team did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Trump has frequently criticized President Barack Obama for not doing enough to battle Islamic militants and for his refusal to use the term “radical Islam” to describe Islamic State and other militant groups.
Under Obama, FBI was forced to stop connecting Islam to Islamic terrorism:
Some career officials said they feared the incoming administration may be looking to undo the work that the Obama administration has done on countering violent extremism. (which has done nothing to counter violent extremism aka Islamic extremism)
“They’re picking a few issues to ask for people’s names,” said one government official who spoke on condition of anonymity, reflecting wider fears that those who worked on such issues could be marginalized by the new administration.
In a Dec. 9 email seen by Reuters, Trump representatives at the State Department sought a list of positions in the counterterrorism bureau’s office of countering violent extremism.
“Please indicate names of people serving in those roles and status (political or career),” the email said, referring to political appointees and career civil servants.
Under Obama, former FBI Director eliminated all counter-terrorism training materials that Muslims might find offensive.
Three U.S. officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said a similar request had been made to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). In that case, the Trump transition team asked for the names of members of an interagency task force on countering violent extremism that the Obama administration established in January, the officials said.
According to a Jan. 8 DHS statement, the task force falls under the leadership of DHS and the Department of Justice, and includes officials from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the National Counterterrorism Center and other government agencies.
Several of Trump’s top national security advisers have cast the fight against Islamic militants as an existential conflict between civilizations, according to a review of their writings and public remarks.
A U.S. official said their guess was that the Trump team will likely rebrand Obama’s generic fight against violent extremism into a specific battle against Islamic radicalization.
tate Department spokesman John Kirby told reporters on Thursday that the department would be cautious about providing names of employees associated with specific issues, but left open the possibility of providing names on an organizational basis.
Obama’s Countering Violent Extremism forced law enforcement officials to disregard religion as a contributing factor in Islamic extremism: