Over the last few years the Department of Homeland Security has been operating “countering violent extremism” programs around the country. Originally sold as a “pilot” in three cities, the DHS appears to be spreading CVE much more quietly into various cities. The premise of CVE is that community leaders (doctors, counselors, teachers etc) can intervene early along the “radicalization process” and guide troubled youth to resources. (The premise that there is even a specific “radicalization process” is an openly debated question.) This program has been described as an FBI “snitch” program and is problematic for many reasons; one possibility is that community leaders could be prosecuted for not intervening early enough. Furthermore, these programs strain community relations as community members are less likely to discuss issues candidly with their lawyers, doctors or faith leaders. Reviews of CVE have also found it to be “problematic but implemented anyways” according to a report by MuckRock.
Through the Department of Homeland’s Security Urban Areas Security Initiative grants (UASI) Chicago has been quietly accepting funds to implement CVE. In partnership with the University of Illinois, CVE has been implemented without notification to the broader community. Previous documents obtained by LPL had the name of the education institution redacted. We obtained this information by cross referencing the NIJ’s webpage. Another set of documents show the Cook County Department of Homeland Security accepting over $300,000 for HVE (homegrown violent extremism) / CVE outreach. The documents also describe meetings between the International Association of Police Chiefs, DHS and Cook County officials to discuss the implementation of CVE. A separate set of documents obtained via MuckRock describe UIC professors emailing about CVE (see page 185).
All of this points to a troubling collusion between educational institutions, the national security state, Cook County and local officials.