A Senior DHS Official Since 2017, Gorka’s Role Remains Unclear
Described as an Anti-Muslim Activist, Gorka Reportedly Played Role in Gutting Grants Combating White Nationalism Prior to Charlottesville, Pittsburgh Tragedies
WASHINGTON, D.C.— Today, Democracy Forward sued the Trump administration for refusing to release records detailing the role Katharine Gorka plays as a Senior Advisor within the Department of Homeland Security. Gorka was hired in May 2017, but since then has largely remained out of public view.
Gorka is a terrorism researcher who has been described as an “anti-Muslim activist” and has been accused of holding an “Islamo-centric view of terrorism,” despite the fact that most terrorist acts in the United States are committed by white supremacists. During Gorka’s tenure at DHS, she reportedly worked to de-prioritize white supremacist violence and reorient the agency’s Countering Violent Extremism program towards a singular focus on Muslim communities, even as white nationalist violence has risen.
“The public deserves to know what Katharine Gorka is doing at DHS, but the Trump administration isn’t saying,” said Democracy Forward Press Secretary Charisma Troiano. “We’re suing to find out whether her extreme and biased views are driving Homeland Security resources away from real threats.”
Weeks before a neo-Nazi killed a woman in Charlottesville, VA, DHS revoked a CVE grant for a program that sought to de-radicalize white nationalist gangs, a decision with which Gorka was reportedly involved. Today, despite recent high-profile instances of white extremist violence–like the massacre at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, the largest act of anti-semitic violence in American history–the CVE program is essentially defunct, a fact which some attribute to Gorka’s successful opposition to using CVE to counter violent white extremism.
Democracy Forward requested records from the Department of Homeland Security in November of 2018 under the Freedom of Information Act. The records sought include calendars, call logs and other documents that would explain Gorka’s day to day activities within the Trump administration.
DHS failed to provided any documents, leading Democracy Forward to file its suit for records today.
Democracy Forward is a nonprofit legal organization that scrutinizes Executive Branch activity across policy areas, represents clients in litigation to challenge unlawful actions, and educates the public when the White House or federal agencies break the law.