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Wednesday, December 7th, 2022

Whistleblower leaks document outlining Trump Administration’s planned cuts to counterterrorism programs

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A report released by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on Tuesday outlines the Trump administration’s planned cuts to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) counterterrorism programs.

The Administration plans to eliminate Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response (VIPR) teams. The Administration directed DHS to find $27 million in additional cuts to Federal Air Marshals and $11 million in cuts to the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office. Total planned cuts to DHS counterterrorism programs total $568 million from fiscal year 2017, according to the report.

Democratic members of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee used a leaked document from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to compile the report.

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO), the ranking member of the committee, voiced concern about the impact the cuts would have on federal, state and local counterterrorism efforts.

“I’m worried that the Office of Management and Budget is overriding what local, state and national leaders have told me they most need to keep us safe,” McCaskill said. “With recent terrorist attacks in our country and throughout the globe, counterterrorism programs shouldn’t be on the chopping block.”

Like other federal agencies, DHS submits funding requests to the OMB for the upcoming fiscal year. OMB then communicates its funding decisions and priorities in “passback” documents.

A whistleblower forwarded a non-public OMB passback document to the members of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, which was used to compile the report.