On June 29, 2010 H.R.5590 Counterterrorism Enhancement and Department of Homeland Security Authorization Act of 2010 was introduced.
House Republicans are attempting to pass a new authorization bill for the Department of Homeland Security that would (among other things) define and expand the scope of DHS specific to so called “violent radicalization” and “homegrown terrorism”
Does HR 5590 smell familiar? It should because we have stepped in this pile before.
HS Today reported;
House Republicans have added another major attempt to assemble and pass an authorization bill for DHS Monday, introducing the Counterterrorism Enhancement and Department of Homeland Security Authorization Act of 2010 (HR 5590) as the third major attempt at an authorization bill for DHS.
You may recall an earlier effort to pass identical language back in 2007. H.R. 1955, the “Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007”
In fact, HR 1955 was passed by the house in Oct 2007. Darling Jane Harmon introduced HR 1955 explaining that;
“Our plan must be to intervene before a person crosses that line separating radical views from violent behavior”
I don’t see Ms. Harmon listed as a co-sponsor of this bill that contains the identical language from HR 1955. I wonder if her personal experience with being wiretapped has changed her perspective any?
April 20, 2009 The NSA probe catches a congresswoman scheming with a suspected Israeli spy, but she’s shielded from prosecution by the U.S. Attorney General, who says his administration “needs” her in place to defend the NSA’s warrantless wiretapping program.
[. . . ] House Select Intelligence Chairman Silvestre Reyes has told the panel’s staff to begin investigating an incident in which Rep. Jane Harman was recorded on a wiretap talking with a suspected Israeli agent.
It did seem to occur to her at the time that she might be caught in the enormous web of surveillance that she was helping create At the end of the wiretapped conversation, Jane said “This conversation doesn’t exist.” before she hung up the phone.
Said Jane after that incident;
“I never had any idea that my government was wiretapping me at all.”
“I think this is an abuse of power.”
According to HS Today ten Republicans joined with NY Sate Rep. Peter King in introducing the bill.
Rep. Dan Lungren (R-CA), Rep. Mike Rogers (R-AL), Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX), Rep. Charlie Dent (R-PA), Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA), Rep. Candice Miller (R-MI), Rep. Pete Olson (R-TX), Rep. Anh “Joseph” Cao (R-LA), and Rep. Steve Austria (R-OH).
Section 110 of HR 5590 is the portion of the new bill that is relevant to violent radicalization and homegrown terrorism prevention.
On July 6 the bill was referred to the Subcommittee on Transportation Security and Infrastructure Protection.
Among other things, this bill would create a Commission on the Prevention of Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism and a Center of Excellence for the study of same.
SEC. 899C. NATIONAL COMMISSION ON THE PREVENTION OF VIOLENT RADICALIZATION AND IDEOLOGICALLY BASED VIOLENCE.
`(a) Establishment- There is established within the legislative branch of the Government the National Commission on the Prevention of Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism.
The reasons for authorizing the commission and “Center of Excellence” are based on Congressional findings (SEC. 899B. Findings), including the finding that it is critical to develop and implement methods and processes to prevent “violent radicalization, homegrown terrorism, and ideologically based violence” and that “The promotion of violent radicalization, homegrown terrorism, and ideologically based violence exists in the United States and poses a threat to homeland security”
Congress also asserts that;
The Internet has aided in facilitating violent radicalization, ideologically based violence, and the homegrown terrorism process in the United States by providing access to broad and constant streams of terrorist-related propaganda to United States citizens.
(This is not the only legislation in play right now that promises to put a damper on the free exchange of information via the Internet.)
In this section it is also noted that;
While the United States must continue its vigilant efforts to combat international terrorism, it must also strengthen efforts to combat the threat posed by homegrown terrorists based and operating within the United States.
Some of the terms used in the bill are defined in Section 899A
`(2) VIOLENT RADICALIZATION- The term `violent radicalization’ means the process of adopting or promoting an extremist belief system for the purpose of facilitating ideologically based violence to advance political, religious, or social change.
`(3) HOMEGROWN TERRORISM- The term `homegrown terrorism’ means the use, planned use, or threatened use, of force or violence by a group or individual born, raised, or based and operating primarily within the United States or any possession of the United States to intimidate or coerce the United States Government, the civilian population of the United States, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives.
`(4) IDEOLOGICALLY BASED VIOLENCE- The term `ideologically based violence’ means the use, planned use, or threatened use of force or violence by a group or individual to promote the group or individual’s political, religious, or social beliefs.
What is not defined, just as with the 2007 bill, HR 1955, is what exactly constitutes ‘force”. Since violence and force are both specified, “force” must be something other than actual violence. Wonder what Congress would define as “force”?
Read the entire section of HR 5590;
SEC. 110. VIOLENT RADICALIZATION AND HOMEGROWN TERRORISM PREVENTION.
According to this June 28th press release, HR 5590 would;
- Authorize the Securing the Cities program, which helps prevent a nuclear or radiological attack in New York City, and expands the program to other high risk metropolitan areas;
- Prohibit the use of Department of Justice funds to prosecute Guantanamo detainees in the United States, and prevent the transfer or release of detainees in the U.S. without a state’s consent and certification by the President that a transfer poses no security risk;
- Enhance counterterrorism efforts, including initiatives to prevent violent radicalization and homegrown terrorism;
- Reduce the number of committees to which homeland security matters are referred (during the 110th Congress, 108 Congressional committees and subcommittees exercised jurisdiction over the Department of Homeland Security);
- Bolster border security and immigration enforcement efforts, in part by requiring a strategy to achieve full control of the border by 2016;
- Secure aviation, rail, and other surface transportation systems;
- Increase maritime security, in part by expanding the Container Security Initiative;
- Strengthen critical infrastructure and cyber security;
- Enhance counterterrorism functions of the Federal Protective Service;
- Improve preparedness and response to terrorism and other emergencies;
- Provide for more efficient and effective management of the Department.
Read this examination of HR 1955 from 2007 and you will see that HR 5590 is simply a re-run.
So why no outrage this time around? Well, for one thing, the media is not reporting it. Do a google news search for HR 5590 Homeland Security Authorization Act
All that comes up is the HS Today report that I cited. I just happened to be poking around at that site and noticed the story, otherwise I wouldn’t know anything about it either.
This legislation is just as awful now as it was in 2007, maybe worse since we now know about quite a few governmental overreaches in their zeal to prevent “homegrown terrorism”