The new “Witness Protection Program” was unveiled last week by the Trump administration to address concerns from law enforcement officials and businesses that they are being targeted by “sophisticated criminals.”
The new program aims to protect businesses that operate in the federal government’s witness protection programs from having to share information about the identities of people they employ with the government, The Hill reported.
The program has a $10 million price tag, which will be matched by the federal Department of Justice, and will be rolled out nationwide over the next several months.
The plan is intended to provide more resources to local law enforcement agencies to “take the lead” in identifying people who pose a threat to public safety, according to the Department of Homeland Security.
Under the new program, businesses with 10 or more employees who have been convicted of a felony and face felony charges will not have to report the identities, and those with fewer than 10 employees will have to inform authorities if they have any information about people who are a threat.
Businesses must also have a written agreement with the federal witness protection agency, which would allow them to share that information with law enforcement and provide the agencies with information about any crimes committed by those employees.
The government has been under fire from businesses for months over the program, and the program has been criticized by privacy advocates and others for being vague.
It’s unclear how the government will respond to the new proposal, however, with Attorney General Jeff Sessions promising in January that “anybody can join the program.”
The Justice Department said in a statement that the program “does not provide the government with a record of the identities or other identifying information of all individuals who are not employees of a government agency.”
The government also stated that the programs are “not designed to target individuals who have no connection to a criminal enterprise.”
The Trump administration said that it would use the money to hire more employees, which is expected to add thousands of jobs.
“We’re hiring,” the Trump team said.
“Our economy is roaring, and we have the strongest economy in the world, but if we’re going to have the most effective response to this crisis, we need to do a better job of identifying and removing these criminals who are putting our economy at risk.”