Former President Barack Obama’s “Countering Violent Extremism” policy at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was without a doubt an abject failure, as officials attempted to fight terrorism by offering federal money and legal autonomy to Islamic political groups in the futile hope of getting them to redirect Islamic immigrants and youths away from militancy, terrorism and jihad.
The head of the now-defunct program stayed on with the agency when President Trump took office, but just before the department’s former secretary, Gen. John Kelly, was tapped to take on the new role of White House chief of staff, Obama-holdover George Selim finally resigned.
Selim’s resignation highlighted Kelly’s decision to replace Obama’s failed policy with more direct government involvement in Islamic communities. And it looks like Kelly’s new position would enable him to make his anti-jihad strategy a government-wide policy, which is highly needed.
In a statement by acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke, she wrote, “On Friday [July 28], Secretary Kelly accepted the resignation of George Selim, a dedicated career professional who served at DHS under three presidents, beginning with President Bush in 2005.”
Saying that the man will be missed at the DHS, Duke noted that the Office for Community Partnerships will continue its terrorism prevention work under the leadership of acting director David Gersten.
In 2015, Selim was appointed the director of the Office for Community Partnerships at the Department of Homeland Security. In an interview with NPR, he revealed that Muslim communities were not identifying emerging jihadis, and the CVE strategy was to go and make nice with their leaders.
That strategy tanked after Islamic political activists continuously raised their demands, which included keeping the FBI out of Muslim neighborhoods, in negotiations with Obama administration deputies.
Another problem stemmed from the fact that no one, Selim and Obama included, wanted to admit that Islam is the problem. In 2016, Selim told a House committee that “to be successful in our homeland security efforts, we have to underscore and reinforce the fact that ISIL does not represent Islam and cannot justify its barbaric terrorism with twisted interpretations of one of the world’s most prominent religions.”
The failure of Obama’s CVE strategy was painfully apparent after the December 2015 jihad massacre in San Bernardino and the June 2016 jihad mass-murder at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida. Both of those terrorists were part of their local Islamic communities which did not alert Americans to the growing threat. The same inaction was illustrated by the September 2016 jihad pressure-cooker bomb attacks in New Jersey.
As head of DHS, Kelly discarded Obama’s CVE plan and had taken DHS funding away from those Islamic groups which wanted to prevent FBI anti-jihad investigations in their Islamic communities.
Now, that money goes to police groups that are directly assimilating Islamic communities into normal American civic society instead.
Many are pleased that Gen. Kelly is now being brought into the fold of the Trump team. Ken Duberstein, former-President Ronald Reagan’s chief of staff, believes President Trump’s decision to appoint John Kelly as White House chief of staff was just what the administration need.
“What John Kelly brings is stature, is age, is some wisdom, the military bearing. But, most importantly, he’s been in government before. Not just in at DHS, but at the Pentagon, even on Capitol Hill. That makes a big difference,” Duberstein said on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.” “I think in two years we will be talking about chief of staff John Kelly.”
On Friday, President Trump announced via Twitter that Reince Priebus was out as White House chief of staff. Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, a retired four-star Marine general, was named as his successor.
“Reince is a good man. John Kelly will do a fantastic job. Gen. Kelly has been a star, done an incredible job thus far, respected by everybody,” Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One on Friday. “He’s a great, great American. Reince is a good man.”
Kelly was sworn in as the White House chief of staff on Monday morning.
Kelly will be effective at getting “the drama” out of the White House, said Duberstein, noting that he will help the administration to work “quietly, effectively and on target.”
Duberstein explained, “The role of chief of staff, in essence, is to be the reality therapist for the president, to tell him what he doesn’t want to hear but what he needs to know. That is important regardless of who the president is. But you also have to help him organize the White House staff so you can win on Capitol Hill.”
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