A Philadelphia-based think tank focusing on Mideast issues has filed a lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) over the Obama-era Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) grant program.
The Middle East Forum (MEF) said the grant program, which was designed to assist communities to counter violent extremist recruitment and radicalization, may have given funds to American Islamist groups with their own ties to radical Islam.
In January, days before President Donald Trump’s inauguration, MEF filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with DHS seeking documents about the selection criteria and specific decisions regarding CVE grants. DHS failed to reply within the 20-day period mandated by law. DHS informed the think tank March 23 that no documents had been found.
MEF filed a federal lawsuit April 26 alleging DHS “violated the law” by failing to produce the documents.
“We filed a detailed FOIA request, specifying the documents we were looking for and where they likely were,” said MEF Director Gregg Roman. “DHS not only failed to produce the documents, it failed even to conduct a search and closed our case without bothering to tell us. This is not just unacceptable, but illegal.”