Stop Surveillance of Youth in Montgomery County, Maryland
Montgomery County, Maryland has a grant to run the Department of Justice’s Countering Violence Extremism (CVE) program. CVE is a surveillance system that cultivates faith leaders, teachers and health care providers to serve as informants to law enforcement. Nationally, the program is referred to as the “Montgomery County Model.”
As explained by Montgomery County’s Assistant Chief of Police:
CVE is a way “to gather information on security threats and share it with state and Federal officials. Citizens with whom Police have cultivated relationships serve as ‘conduits of information’ and schools and facilities such as the (ICC) Cultural Center provide ‘access points.’ Security tips and alerts are then passed on to Federal agencies through fusion centers, the information hubs created by the Department of Homeland Security.”
What is particularly disturbing about this intelligence program by community informants is that (1) it is disproproportionately focused on youth under 18 years of age; and (2) President Trump has announced that CVE will now be modified to explicitly only profile Muslims (though de facto this has been the main focus of CVE as demonstrated by its funding stream and access points).
Nationally, civil liberty groups, Muslim/Arab organizations and health care professionals have expressed alarm at the program. Won’t you join them and Human Rights Matter! to end surveillance of our neighbors and our children?
But it could never happen here!
In 2008, the Maryland State Police, in conjunction with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) spied on 53 peace activists, including several from Montgomery County. The individuals were also placed on Terror Watch Lists. See here.