US announces new efforts to counter violent extremism

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Anne Richard, assistant secretary of the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration at the State Department, joined by, from right to left, Michele Thoren Bond, assistant secretary in the Sate Department's Bureau of Consular Affairs, and Leon Rodriguez

Anne Richard, assistant secretary of the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration at the State Department, joined by, from right to left, Michele Thoren Bond, assistant secretary in the Sate Department's Bureau of Consular Affairs, and Leon Rodriguez (Photo: (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite))

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration announced new steps Friday to counter violent extremism by the Islamic State group and other militants, both at home and abroad.

The Homeland Security and Justice Departments will create and operate a task force focused on domestic efforts to prevent violent extremism. The task force will be based at the Homeland Security Department and staffed by representatives from the FBI, the National Counterterrorism Center and other departments and agencies.

The State Department is revamping an existing program as the "global engagement center." The goal is to do a better job of involving and empowering foreign governments and non-governmental groups based outside the U.S. to speak out against the Islamic State and other militant groups, the department said.

Friday's announcement came as high-level White House officials and members of President Barack Obama's national security team traveled to Silicon Valley to seek tech industry help to stop the Islamic State and other groups from radicalizing people online and inciting them to carry out violent acts.

The meeting followed Obama's call last month in an address to the nation for the government and the private sector to work together to combat terrorism and counter violent extremism online.

Obama delivered the address on Dec. 6 following deadly terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, California.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest said the Islamic State has shown a particular ability to use online tools to "maximum effect."

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