George Selim, a prominent Obama administration holdover known for engaging fringe Islamic radicals, has resigned from the Department of Homeland Security. Selim left his post as director of Countering Violent Extremism (CVE), a senior administration official who is not authorized to discuss personnel matters confirmed to Conservative Review Sunday.
The former DHS chief submitted his resignation Friday, following his testimony Thursday before the House Oversight Committee.
A DHS source familiar with the situation who is not permitted to discuss the matter publicly explained that Selim often clashed with Trump administration officials, who sought to do away with the past president’s policies. Senior officials effectively quashed Selim’s efforts to maneuver Obama White House policies and strategies into the new administration, leaving a frustrated Selim with resignation as his only option.
Conservative national security experts have almost unanimously condemned the CVE approach as an ineffective program (at its best), and one that empowers Islamist groups and undermines Muslim reformers (at its worst).
The CVE program is seen as dangerous because its inherent political correctness disallows counter-terror analysts from observing whether there is a religious component to radical Islamic terrorism. Under President Obama, countless Muslim Brotherhood-connected groups shuffled in and out of the White House to stake their claims in the debate.
These groups share an extremist, caliphatist worldview shared by the likes of ISIS and al-Qaida. While the well-intentioned Obama administration thought it was battling terror recruitment, its officials were arguably building a bridge to jihadism.
Not surprisingly, CVE failed to quantify any objective counterterrorism successes. Instead, the legacy of the Obama era includes a United States that is swamped by potential Islamic extremists, without much of a mechanism to de-radicalize these individuals (many of whom are homegrown radical Islamists). The FBI has now opened up terror-related investigations in all 50 states.
Before leading Obama’s CVE efforts, George Selim worked in the previous White House National Security Council, generating policy initiatives alongside top officials like Ben Rhodes and Susan Rice.
As a centerpiece for the Obama administration’s counter-extremism efforts, the White House chose to engage radical groups with the hopes of curbing even the efforts of even more fringe actors.
In his official duties, Selim admitted to hosting hundreds of meetings with officials from the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), an Islamic advocacy group that federal prosecutors have labeled as a Muslim Brotherhood front group that was created to achieve the ends of Hamas (a U.S.-designated terrorist organization).
While Selim was empowering CAIR, the FBI took the opposite approach, as the Justice Department agency had sidelined the group due to its Islamist ties.
Selim’s resignation will be perceived by conservative national security hawks as a major policy victory — one that illustrates a firm break on the issue of radical Islam between President Trump and his predecessor.
Conservative Review has reached out to the Department of Homeland Security for comment on Selim's resignation. This story will be updated if a response is received.
Editor's note: This article has been updated to add more detail about the unnamed sources and to note that Conservative Review is awaiting comment from the Department of Homeland Security.
Jordan Schachtel is the national security correspondent for Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @JordanSchachtel.
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