Also known as, this is what the leading counterterrorism experts were doing the day after Benghazi.
The day after Islamic extremists attacked the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, the nation’s top counterterrorists hosted something of a brainstorming session on how to keep violent extremism down in the long term. While the consulate burned, 100 or so intelligence analysts, military officers, prosecutors, academics and civil rights experts gathered… for a conference on “Countering Violent Extremism / Community Engagement.”
Afterward, according to a draft agenda obtained by Danger Room, attendees were invited to a nearby mall for a happy hour at Coastal Flats, a restaurant known for its crab cakes.
A State Department official, Shahed Amanullah, ran through the ways effective al-Qaida propagandists spread their message on the internet, and described how a program he runs, called Viral Peace, seeks to troll the online radicals.
“With CVE, the spectrum starts at prevention, with the regular Joe on the street,” explains Humera Khan, who runs a number of such prophylactic programs and who spoke at the Sept. 12 event. “The idea is to increase the barriers to entry, so that he never goes down that radical path.”
A national security priority of the Obama White House, CVE is supposed to work by using the various government security branches to “empower” Muslim communities at home and abroad.
As discussed previously, CVE has actually subverted legitimate counterterrorism efforts by making it a priority to win over Muslims domestically, instead of cracking down on terrorists. The FBI has been neutered by CVE and so have most domestic law enforcement agencies.
Instead of focusing on counterterrorism, the Obama Administration is putting all its weight behind CVE and bringing a lot of Muslims on board to throw around money on their Islamic programming.
There’s another problem: No one seems to able to explain how much money the government actually spends on CVE. “I don’t know the exact number,” says Zarate, who oversaw some of the first CVE programs at the White House. When including existing programs that CVE “leverages,” Zarate puts the annual haul at hundreds of millions of dollars
Within the Obama administration, CVE has become a staggeringly vast enterprise. Agencies including the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools are now part of the CVE push. A team in Foggy Bottom makes parodies of al-Qaida’s online advertisements and creates mobile-friendly digital videos that mock the radicals. The U.S. ambassador to the United Kingdom spoke at a notoriously extremist London mosque in the name of CVE; the year before, al-Qaida propagandist Anwar al-Awlaki preached from the same pulpit.
One adviser to the U.S. military tells Danger Room that he considers joint exercises with other countries’ special forces to be CVE, since it builds relationships between forces for stability. Another officer says that developing the economy of Yemen is a top CVE priority — the country’s got an extremely active al-Qaida affiliate, after all — and the Pentagon needs to take a more active role in it.
Now you also understand why the NASA Chief claimed that Obama had told that Muslim outreach was the organization’s first priority. NASA is also a victim of Muslim CVE.
Every government policy is now subservient to CVE. And the gimmicks never stop.
“Community-based solutions” can mean everything from after-school programs to moderate Islamic rap to viral videos.
The State Department has even sent an Islamic rap group to various Muslim countries as goodwill ambassadors… A major government collection of thinking floats ”the use of rock and roll to counter violent Salafi extremism.”
Isn’t this how we won the War on Drugs?
An adviser to the U.S. military is more blunt. When asked how to measure CVE, he answered, under condition of anonymity: “You don’t, immediately.” Any victories will take decades to materialize. “If we’re really playing the long game, we have to play long.”
Really long. Like forever.