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house Bill H.R. 1250

Using Testimonials From Former Extremists to Counter Terrorist Propaganda

Argument in favor

Using testimonials from former terrorists and those close to them (when appropriate) is a powerful way to counteract the propaganda and recruitment efforts of terror groups.

ToddSheets's Opinion
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08/14/2017
Yes! White Christian Fundamentalist Extremism must be eliminated by any means possible. It is the number one threat to American Democracy.
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Ticktock's Opinion
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08/14/2017
All means of educating the public need to be used but how can this Administration or Republican controlled Congress combat a philosophy that it has whole heartedly embraced by confirming Trump's Cabinet nominees, Judges and agenda? The Republican Party itself is panders to and many share the extreme rights believes. They need to clean their own house before turning their attention to the public. When Republicans begin using extreme right paramilitary groups for Party security and voicing public support for hate where can they go from there? When extreme right groups can take over federal building or national parks and our government does nothing punitive. The extreme right just gets encouraged. These groups are growing in number and strength and the government is failing the rest of us. They need to lead by example. The education needs to start in school and progress to adulthood.
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Nika.Naylor's Opinion
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08/14/2017
Why the hell not? It makes sense to use former experts to fight terrorism. Businesses use former expert cyber criminals and such to help fight unlawful activity.
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Argument opposed

If people start to think that these testimonials are fake, or are used without the subject’s permission or in a way that endangers them there will be less cooperation in terror cases.

Garth's Opinion
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08/14/2017
Wasteful nonsense. If you want to counter extremism stop making orphans in Muslim countries.
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Alex's Opinion
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08/14/2017
US intervention produces more extremist behavior than it reduces. We should be working on disengagement, not escalation.
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OlderNWiser's Opinion
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08/14/2017
In the wake of Nazi and Fascist attacks on innocent unarmed people, in Charlottesville, we have a Republican encouraging informants against jihadists? He uses the dog whistle for Islamophobia to react to hate crime terrorism by white supremacists? Wow. It is hard to give up power, especially power conferred by the accident of so-called race, but this is remarkable torturous mental gymnastics to the extreme. The general willingness of many Republicans to use any ploy to further plutocracy and white supremacy is horrifying and stunning. Is this another step toward a Fascist state like the McCarthy move to terrify Americans into falsely testifying against each other to avoid personal catastrophe? No! Another wolf in sheep's clothing to further racism.
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bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
  • The house has not voted
      house Committees
      Intelligence and Counterterrorism
      Committee on Homeland Security
    IntroducedFebruary 28th, 2017

What is House Bill H.R. 1250?

This bill would direct the Dept. of Homeland Security (DHS) to, when practical, use testimonials from former extremists, their friends, and families to counter-message the propaganda and recruiting efforts of terrorist groups. DHS could also coordinate the identification and use of testimonials with other federal entities, non-governmental and international partners.

Impact

Former terrorists and those close to them whose testimonials may be used in community engagement or counter-messaging; and DHS.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 1250

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-Depth: Chairman Michael McCaul (R-TX), issued the following statement upon the House Homeland Security Committee’s approval of this bill's predecessor the day after the terrorist attacks on Brussels:

“Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with the Belgian people and all affected by yesterday’s attacks. Today we spoke with a bipartisan voice: we will not be intimidated, and we will take immediate steps to ramp up security at home and abroad. Today’s measures are important in helping keep the American people safe from the indiscriminate violence of jihadists. I would like to specifically commend Rep. Katko (R-NY), Rep. McSally (R-AZ), and Rep. Perry (R-PA) for their hard work on these bills—and Rep. Fleischmann (R-TN) for his leadership on countering the terrorist threat.”

While this legislation was passed by voice vote in the House Homeland Security Committee during the last Congress, Democratic members of the committee raised concerns that the legislation targeted Islamic terrorists while ignoring homegrown extremists. They introduced nine amendments aimed at explicitly including domestic terror groups, all of which were rejected — although the final text of the legislation makes no mention of specific groups, only "violent extremists."

DHS has also expressed misgivings with the proposal on the grounds that they lack the personnel to effectively use testimonials. And that their use may complicate subsequent federal investigations:

“DHS cautions that public perception of how these testimonials are obtained could affect... community engagement and countering violent extremism efforts — especially with the Muslim community. Gaining and maintaining the trust of the community is central to the success of our outreach efforts.”

During the last Congress this bill was passed by the House on a 322-79 vote but stalled in the Senate


Media:

Summary by Eric Revell
(Photo Credit: Flickr user FreedomHouse)

AKA

Combating Terrorist Recruitment Act of 2017

Official Title

To require the Secretary of Homeland Security to use the testimonials of former violent extremists or their associates in order to counter terrorist recruitment, and for other purposes.

    Yes! White Christian Fundamentalist Extremism must be eliminated by any means possible. It is the number one threat to American Democracy.
    Like (119)
    Follow
    Share
    Wasteful nonsense. If you want to counter extremism stop making orphans in Muslim countries.
    Like (91)
    Follow
    Share
    US intervention produces more extremist behavior than it reduces. We should be working on disengagement, not escalation.
    Like (62)
    Follow
    Share
    All means of educating the public need to be used but how can this Administration or Republican controlled Congress combat a philosophy that it has whole heartedly embraced by confirming Trump's Cabinet nominees, Judges and agenda? The Republican Party itself is panders to and many share the extreme rights believes. They need to clean their own house before turning their attention to the public. When Republicans begin using extreme right paramilitary groups for Party security and voicing public support for hate where can they go from there? When extreme right groups can take over federal building or national parks and our government does nothing punitive. The extreme right just gets encouraged. These groups are growing in number and strength and the government is failing the rest of us. They need to lead by example. The education needs to start in school and progress to adulthood.
    Like (56)
    Follow
    Share
    In the wake of Nazi and Fascist attacks on innocent unarmed people, in Charlottesville, we have a Republican encouraging informants against jihadists? He uses the dog whistle for Islamophobia to react to hate crime terrorism by white supremacists? Wow. It is hard to give up power, especially power conferred by the accident of so-called race, but this is remarkable torturous mental gymnastics to the extreme. The general willingness of many Republicans to use any ploy to further plutocracy and white supremacy is horrifying and stunning. Is this another step toward a Fascist state like the McCarthy move to terrify Americans into falsely testifying against each other to avoid personal catastrophe? No! Another wolf in sheep's clothing to further racism.
    Like (34)
    Follow
    Share
    Why the hell not? It makes sense to use former experts to fight terrorism. Businesses use former expert cyber criminals and such to help fight unlawful activity.
    Like (17)
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    Wait? So which terrorists are we talking about? Foreign jihadists? Domestic jihadists? Or other forms of terrorism such as the White Supremacy organizations this administration fails to even recognize as the forces of evil they are? Certainly education can be a useful tool in changing hearts, minds and opinions. But given the fact that this administration and Republican led Congress has chosen to show themselves to be enemies of people of color, women, the poor, the LGBTQ community, all religions except conservative Christianity and pretty much anyone else who takes a stand against their bigotry I can't really see how they are in a position to teach the rest of us anything. Hence, while this sounds like something that might be worth a shot I'm extremely doubtful it will prove to be an effective strategy. This administration opens its mouth and any rational person who has been paying attention thinks lies and propaganda. So if there's much cost associated with this my vote would have to be nay.
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    Even the DHS, which would be charged with implementing this clearly partisan bill, has expressed misgivings about it's feasibility. So why on earth would any clear thinking American support it? Both parties exercise this kind of visible avowal for or against prevailing circumstances in order to demonstrate their party's position. Not a problem when it involves no government expenditures or questionable consequences for the agency involved. But this bill is a waste of time and a pandering to the anti-Muslim, anti-immigration forces currently comprising the base of the Republican Party.
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    I'm sure this will work out just fine for someone. But which side will be aided?
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    THOMAS FLEISHMANN ( R-TN ) TESTIMONIALS HUH ?? YOU'RE SUCH A "GOOD FRIEND" TO THE AMERICAN PUBLIC !! NOT !!! IS "TESTIMONIALS" THE NEW SPIN WORD FOR INFORMATION PROVIDED BY COLLABORATOR INFORMANTS ???? SO NOW ARE THE CONGRESSIONAL REPUBLICAN TRAITOR TERRORISTS THINKING TO USE THE APPROPRIATE GRASS ROOTS OUTRAGE AND TERROR GENERATED FROM THE CHARLOTTESVILLE TERRORIST ATTACK TO REDUCE OUR CIVIL RIGHTS EVEN FURTHER THAN WHAT YOU ACHIEVED AFTER 9/11 ???? TO GET EVERYONE TO BECOME ACCUSTOMED TO HAVING INFORMANTS INFORM ON ANYONE IN THE COMMUNITY THAT IS NOT FOLLOWING TRUMPS LATEST EDICTS OR IS MAD AT THEIR NEIGHBOR FOR SOME PERCEIVED SLIGHT ???? START US OUT WITH SOMEWHAT PLAUSIBLE EXCUSES FOR TURNING EACH OTHER IN TO THE LOCAL GESTAPO HUH ????? IS THAT THE UNDERLYING INTENT "OH,SUCH GOOD FRIENDS" REPUBLICANS ?????
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    Please start working on actually solving problems rather than this kind if political posturing. This ridiculous idea does nothing to address the domestic terror groups that, as has been seen on 8/12/2017, pose the more serious threat to this country than the people overseas you've traditionally blamed. Find something constructive to do with the office you've been elected to occupy. Actual critical issues need to be addressed; not self-serving excrement like this bill or the hideous partisan plotting that is the current healthcare deconstruction. Stop playing to the cameras and listen to your constituents!
    Like (5)
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    Under this administration, we just don't know how they would use this to combat terrorism in America or throughout the world. Vote No!
    Like (4)
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    No more edicts from the Govt.
    Like (4)
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    We need to find ways to deter terrorism in our actions as a nation and not just run a counter campaign to the terrorist propaganda.
    Like (4)
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    My foremost concern with this bill is that DHS has expressed apprehension towards this legislation because of the harm it could cause with DHS's relationship with the Muslim community, which is incredibly important in our fight against Islamic extremism. It is vital that the Muslim community trusts our government because of their role in alerting authorities about potential extremists here in America. Furthermore, I am concerned that this bill will be used to further certain agendas, whether it be the policy of interventionism or peace, because lawmakers can cherry pick who they want to testify in order to justify a lawmaker's beliefs. This has been done in the past to justify the Persian Gulf War, the Iraq War, and countless others. Finally, I am concerned that this bill will be used to focus only on Islamic extremism (which accounts for only 6% of domestic terrorist attacks) rather than to also fight against extreme right-wing terrorism (which kills 5 times as many people as Islamic extremism in the US).
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    At this point everything coming from the White House is just my lies!! They continue to strip our rights! VOTE AGAINST!!
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    I agree with this, so long as all forms of terrorism are included. I'm certain there are plenty, if not more former KKK members willing to speak than former ISIS members.
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    The problem with this is that it ONLY is targeting foreign terrorists. We are ignoring the domestic Terrorist groups (I know, we don't have hem labeled as such) but that is the truth. If we wish to target terrorists, we target ALL, both domestic and foreign, and have the bravery and fortitude to do so.
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    By all means necessary starting with Antifa and Black Lives Matter!!
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    As one who works in the field of extremism and knows many formers we should absolutely be using them as resources.
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