In yet another government employee round-up, Donald Trump’s transition team heads have requested more names from two federal departments, this time those of employees working on programs to stem violent extremism.
According to Reuters, who obtained a copy of an email sent from Trump’s team to the Statement Department, they are asking for the identities of government employees who work on anti-extremism programs. The email says:
‘Please indicate names of people serving in those roles and status (political or career).’
Similar requests were made of two separate departments: The State Department, which deals with threats posed by foreign entities and international terrorists; and the Department of Homeland Security, which fights against domestic terrorism such as recruitment from outside terror groups and domestic right-wing extremist groups.
The news agency was unable to determine the purpose of the lists, and the Trump team has not responded to their request for comment.
Some career officials in the departments fear that the Trump administration will undo some of the work that the Obama administration has done to counter extremism, according to Reuters.
The Dec. 9 email requested the names for those in the State Department working in the bureau’s office for counter violent extremism, and sources also told Reuters that the similar request made of the Department of Homeland Security asked for the names of those on an interagency task force established by the Obama administration in January, that counters violent extremists.
That task force falls under the Department of Homeland Security and Department of Justice and includes the National Counterterrorism Center, the Federal Bureau of Investigations, and other agencies.
This request for employee names by the Trump transition team is similar to earlier requests of other departments. Last week, the Trump team asked the State Department to provide a list of employee names for programs that work on gender equality and violence against women.
Earlier this month, the Trump team also requested a list of names of employees from the Department of Energy that have worked on international climate change agreements and U.S. efforts to reduce carbon emissions.
One U.S. official told Reuters under the condition of anonymity that they believe that the Trump administration will “likely rebrand Obama’s generic fight against violent extremism into a specific battle against Islamic radicalization.”
As reported by CNN, Donald Trump’s framing of terrorism as a religious crusade has officials concerned. Last week, the president elected issued a frightening statement regarding the attack on the Berlin market, framing it as a clash of civilizations, saying:
‘ISIS and other Islamist terrorists continually slaughter Christians in their communities and places of worship as part of their global jihad.’
Trump followed up that statement with a tweet:
‘Today there were terror attacks in Turkey, Switzerland and Germany – and it is only getting worse. The civilized world must change thinking!’
Today there were terror attacks in Turkey, Switzerland and Germany – and it is only getting worse. The civilized world must change thinking!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 19, 2016
Also of concern is Trump’s White House National Security adviser, retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn who has also issued inflammatory statements against Muslims on Twitter.
‘Fear of Muslims is RATIONAL: please forward this to others: the truth fears no questions…’
Fear of Muslims is RATIONAL: please forward this to others: the truth fears no questions… https://t.co/NLIfKFD9lU
— General Flynn (@GenFlynn) February 27, 2016
Concerns within the departments are heightened because of the way Trump has positioned his policies as a crusader against Muslims and Islam during his campaign, rather than as a fight against terrorism itself. Some experts feel that his hyperbole will be used as a recruiting agent for militants groups and alienate those in Muslim communities who are needed to help prevent future violence.
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