WASHINGTON, D.C. –  Following the White House's release of an updated “Strategic Implementation Plan for Empowering Local Partners to Prevent Violent Extremism in the United States," U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA), a member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, issued a statement expressing disappointment in the administration's lack of progress with efforts to counter violent extremism and continued failure to release a comprehensive strategy to counter terrorists’ use of social media. 

"It is shocking that after multiple attacks on U.S. soil, the Obama administration appears to be at the very beginning stages of a coordinated effort to counter violent extremism. Its updated Strategic Implementation Plan includes tasks such as cataloging existing CVE research, identifying promising CVE programs, and inventorying initiatives relevant to CVE. The fact that these basic initial tasks have yet to be completed is unfathomable and quite frankly, unacceptable.

"What is more, the updated Strategic Implementation Plan continues the Obama administration's failure to develop a comprehensive strategy to counter terrorists’ use of social media to spread violent extremism. Despite the fact that a 2011 version of the plan committed to the development of 'a separate, more comprehensive strategy for countering and preventing violent extremist online radicalization,' the administration has yet to do so. Accordingly, earlier this year, I joined Senators Ron Johnson (R-WI) and Cory Booker (D-NJ) in introducing the Combat Terrorist Use of Social Media Act of 2016 (S. 2517), which passed the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee unanimously in February and now awaits full Senate consideration. At a time of continued threats and attacks, we simply cannot afford to delay."

The Combat Terrorist Use of Social Media Act requires the president to prepare:

  • A report on terrorists’ and terrorist organizations’ use of social media and an evaluation of current government efforts to combat such use.
  • A comprehensive strategy to counter terrorists’ and terrorist organizations’ use of social media.

The bipartisan legislation is the companion to H.R. 3654, introduced by Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX) along with House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA) and Ranking Member Eliot Engel (D-NY), and passed by the House in December 2015.

###