Coalition Opposes Misguided Commission on Domestic Threats

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September 28, 2011

On Sept. 26, 2011, a coalition of 36 organizations sent a letter to Sen.  Diane Feinstein (D-CA) urging her to block a controversial proposal that would create a commission on “domestic radicalization.” The letter says the proposed commission would focus on ideology that is protected by the First Amendment and divert law enforcement resources from investigating criminal activity. It notes that “Such a course will not make us safer and will lead to the unjust and discriminatory targeting of an entire faith and ethnic community.” The commission was proposed as an amendment to the intelligence authorization bill (H.R. 1892) by Rep. Frank Wolf (R- VA).

In part, the letter says, “the proposed commission’s mandate promotes a specific political agenda rooted in a flawed theory describing a path to radicalization which conflicts with empirical studies of terrorists. The theory’s most basic flaw is in its assumption that radical beliefs are inextricably linked to violent terrorist action.  In fact, the empirical studies show there is no discernable path, pattern or profile to becoming a terrorist. The commission mandate’s singular focus on radical ideology as a primary driver of terrorism directly conflicts with President Barack Obama’s strategy on extremist violence, which emphasizes community partnerships and the prevention of violence. The White House strategy, announced in August, rightly recognizes that casting suspicion toward an entire faith or ethnic community promotes hatred and division and may actually increase the likelihood of extremist violence.”
For more information, see the ACLU’s Commission Proposed to Police Ideas, Ignores Actual Violence