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DHS offers $500k for public-private data sweep targeting 'violent extremists' in law enforcement

Homeland Security to share harvested data with "peers, teachers, community leaders, and law enforcement" in "whole-of-society prevention" network.

Updated: May 21, 2021 - 10:32am

This week, our award is going to the Department of Homeland Security for its $500,000 grant for research and data collection on insider threats in the country's law enforcement agencies.

The premise for the grant, "Insider Threats in American Law Enforcement," is that the U.S. is facing a rising number of internal threats and an understanding of the changing environment is needed.

"Due to the growing number of threats our nation is combating," the grant synopsis explains, the DHS Science and Technology Directorate "supports the evolving threat landscape of a dynamic world with changing motivations, actors, communication models and weaponry."

The grant prioritizes data collection and technological innovation as means to identify, understand and combat the purported threat of penetration of U.S. law enforcement agencies by violent extremists.

"Objectives of this effort will identify high quality data to understand the risks posed to the United States by the potential for violent extremist organizations or lone actors to infiltrate law enforcement agencies (LEAs) and other government institutions," the synopsis states.

While billing U.S. taxpayers $500K for this initiative to understand these clandestine "extremist organizations" infiltrating law enforcement, the grant neglects to define what it means by "extremist organizations."

The research and data collected under the grant is to be shared with a variety of agencies, including private organizations. Yet civil rights and liberties will not be violated in the combined public-private harvesting and sharing of data about undefined "extremists," DHS insists.

"Knowledge and findings from this research will be transferred to federal, state, local, and private organizations to enable education and awareness to reinforce a whole-of-society prevention architecture while respecting civil rights and civil liberties," according to the grant description. "These prevention efforts will equip and empower local efforts — including peers, teachers, community leaders, and law enforcement — to minimize a threat as it evolves while enhancing emergency preparedness and response." 

The grant will task the awardee with understanding law enforcement threats from the perspectives of numerous fields, including including economics, psychology, politics and criminology. "The awardee(s) will assist with a range of activities," the grant specifies, including designing data collection strategies, collecting data from primary and secondary sources, and analyzing data while identifying subject matter experts to participate in interviews and/or focus groups."

Analyzing research from these various fields and experts will help fill in the gaps in understanding the threat environment and help "counter the threats posed by violent extremists and violent ideologies to United States LEAs and the public,"

The closing date for the grant applications is May 16, a day after the country concludes National Police Week. The week of May 9-May 15 has been designated as National Police Week since 1962 to recognize the service and sacrifice of federal, state and local law enforcement. 

As reported by Just the News this week, the DHS and the Department of Defense have announced internal investigations of "extremism" within their departments, raising alarms among conservative civil liberties watchdogs, as the agencies' notions of "extremism" were  vague and appeared to omit from scrutiny far-left extremist groups implicated in widespread political violence in 2020.