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April 29, 2016

FBI Shared Responsibility Committees Must Pass Privacy Test

(WASHINGTON) – Today, Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), Ranking Member of the Committee on Homeland Security, sent a letter David Medine, Chairman of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB) regarding the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) ongoing and expansion of countering violent extremism (CVE) activities, specifically related to “Shared Responsibility Committees” (SRCs).

Congressman Thompson previously wrote the Department of Justice about the need for continuous and thorough oversight of the FBI’s CVE activities related to SRCs in November 2015. Since then, the FBI publicly launched SRCs in undisclosed locations. The FBI has described SRCs as a voluntarily group made up of law enforcement officials, mental health professionals, religious leaders, family and community members that identify potential violent extremists for intervention.

In the letter, Congressman Thompson writes:

“I am concerned about the privacy issues that may arise from FBI’s participation, and ultimate creation, of these non-criminal committees. Referrals to the committee do not end or preclude FBI from conducting concurrent criminal investigations. Moreover, intervention leaders are not protected from becoming a part of ongoing investigations and future criminal and judicial proceedings. Little information is known about the protections, if any, allotted for the voluntary intervention leaders.”

Link to Letter

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Media contact: Adam Comis at (202) 225-9978