Wednesday, April 24, 2013

HR 1584 Introduced – Counterterrorism Training

As I noted in an earlier blog post Rep. Clarke (D,NY) introduced HR 1584, the Empowering Local Partners to Prevent Terrorism Act of 2013. The bill would limit the availability of homeland security grant funds to pay for “any training, programs, presentations, and speakers regarding counterterrorism that includes information about violent extremism, homegrown violent extremism, or domestic violent extremism that is acquired from an entity other than the Department” {6 USC §344m (the bill actually calls this §899M added to the 2002 Homeland Security Act but it will be §344m in the USC when it is published)}.

Section 344k of the bill would require DHS to “develop guidance, outreach, training, and programs in furtherance of national counterterrorism policy” {§344k(a)}. Within one year of the passage of this bill the Department will be required to “develop and distribute to State, local, and tribal authorities courses and materials that comply with the ‘Grant Programs Directorate Information Bulletin No. 373’ [link added] or successor bulletin for integration into the curricula for recruits and recurrent training for experienced law enforcement officers” {§344k(b)}.

Any counterterrorism training about violent extremism, homegrown violent extremism, or domestic violent extremism to be funded by homeland security grants under 6 USC §604 and §605 that uses materials other than those describe above will have to be pre-approved by the “Chief Privacy Officer and the Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties” {§344m}.

Section 344n would require the Department IG to be responsible for overseeing this program. An oversight program would be established to regularly review “expenditures of homeland security grant programs by State, local, and tribal authorities on training, programs, presentations, and speakers that are not acquired through the Secretary. The IG would be required to evaluate “whether such expenditure is consistent with constitutional civil rights and civil liberties, including prohibiting racial, ethnic, and religious profiling” {§344m(a)(2)}.

Surprisingly there are no provisions included in the bill that would specifically require the DHS IG to submit reports to Congress on the efficacy of the program.

Because of its focus on preventing “racial, ethnic, and religious profiling”, I would be very surprised if this bill is ever marked up in the House Homeland Security Committee where it was referred. The bill certainly would not be able to pass in a vote on the floor of the House in the current session for the same reason.

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