The short detour members of Congress are making to Washington, D.C. this month has brought some rushed, offensive, and downright unstatesmanlike attempts to dot their "i"'s and cross their "t"'s ahead of the elections. Their major focus seems to be on (finally) exercising oversight responsibilities for the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security. The first hearing of the week called on the Director of the Office of Community Partnerships at the Dept. of Homeland Security (read: CVE) - to explain how the Obama Administration is handling domestic security challenges. While we applaud Congress for finally pressing for more information about Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) programs, we were astounded that a government official was asked to sit side by side with one of Steve Emerson’s favorite former members of Congress who had just attended the lastest gathering of a designated hate group. Wait, not really fair of us to pick on Pete Hoekstra when the chair of the subcommittee convening the hearing, Rep. Scott Perry (PA-4) was also there, but we digress. The hearing did not disappoint with one witness calling for CVE to become CVI (Countering Violent Islamism) and another who denied anti-Muslim bigotry or discrimination is a thing because Islam is an idea and ideas can’t be hated, but rather should be debated. Yikes. It wasn't an easy hearing for the CVE chief, who was left defending CVE's strategy-less approach - an effort we know to be at best ineffective, and at worst counterproductive. We did however finally have it on record that CVE is focused on the American Muslim community because of its perceived risk for terrorist influence, which isn't something we can exactly celebrate but we are glad to hear some plain speech about CVE for once. Rep. Perry also deserves some flak not only for the absurdly assembled list of witnesses, but also because he led questioning that criticized CVE for not doing enough to profile, infiltrate, and other ways police American Muslims. A few friendly faces, like Rep. Bennie Thompson (MS-2) and Rep. Bonnie Watts-Coleman (NJ-12), asked sharp questions about why CVE is religiously driven and what impacts it had on the communities where it's been rolled out. We can't wait to finally see that long awaited CVE strategy that is now due to Congress sometime in October (about 2 years after Congress first funded it). 

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