WASHNGTON – Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Joe Lieberman, ID-Conn., and Ranking Member Susan Collins, R-Maine, issued the following statement Thursday in reaction to the implementation plan issued today to guide the Administration’s countering violent extremism strategy:
“Our Committee has been working on the issue of violent Islamist extremism for over five years. In that time, the number of homegrown terrorist plots has escalated dramatically - with 33 cases since 2009, two of which resulted in the deaths of 14 Americans, 13 of whom were soldiers.
"As part of our 2008 report on Internet radicalization and our 2011 report on Fort Hood, we called on the previous and current Administrations to develop a national strategy to combat violent Islamist extremism.
"The current Administration released a document this summer that set forth the broad outlines of an approach to countering radicalization domestically. Today, the Administration released an implementation plan that takes positive steps by announcing actions to accomplish and designating department leads and partner. The plan also acknowledges the need for the government to counter the narrative put forth by terrorists to justify their attacks and creates programs to increase cooperation and engage state and local communities.
"We appreciate the Administration's latest effort, but much more needs to be done and at a far faster pace given the threat: we still need to know who is directing the ‘leads,’ what specifically the 'leads' will do, what the time frame is for accomplishing these actions, what resources are necessary, and how to measure success.
“In addition, we remain troubled that the Administration has not designated one agency to coordinate operations and ensure accountability and effectiveness of the national effort to counter violent Islamist extremism at home.
"We also continue to be disappointed by the Administration's refusal to identify violent Islamist extremism as our enemy. To understand this threat and counter it, we must not shy away from making the sharp distinction between the peaceful religion followed by millions of law-abiding Americans and a twisted corruption of that religion used to justify violence."