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The GOP Shut Down a Program That Might Have Prevented Dallas and Baton Rouge

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GOP cut funds for vet studyAs the right-wing outrage machine would have it, the shootings of police in Dallas and Baton Rouge by U.S. military veterans were the fault of President Obama. “How many law enforcement and people have to die because of a lack of leadership in our country?” Trump recently wrote in a Tweet.

But seven years ago, when a little-known division in the new president’s Department of Homeland Security sought to explore the potential violence of returning veterans—one that might have aided local law enforcement with intelligence in Dallas and Baton Rouge—it was Congressional Republicans who succeeded in pushing to shut the program down.

The intelligence unit, called the Extremism and Radicalization Branch, undertook a sensitive mission when it was founded in the Bush administration in 2004: Studying and monitoring sub-sections of the population for potential signs of ideological and political radicalization. The group’s mandate allowed it to research radicalized groups without criminal cause—a counterterrorism think-tank, of sorts, that circulated early warnings to state and local law enforcement.

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