Wire: Despite Concerns, Homeland Security Issued Report Profiling Vets as Extremists
Off the Wire:
EDITOR'S COMMENT: The Department of Homeland Security was created by President George W. Bush in direct response to the September 11 al-Qaeda terrorist attacks. The DHS under the Obama administration profiles Americans who are conservatives, libertarians and returning military vets as potential "right-wing extremists" in new guidelines sent to domestic law enforcement agencies.WASHINGTON, April 16, 2009 -- Newswires reported today that civil liberties officials at the Homeland Security Department flagged language in a controversial report on right-wing extremists, but the agency issued the report anyway.
Without identifying the radical left-wing Southern Poverty Law Center by name, the DHS summary quotes from the SPLC's 2006 report that claimed "large numbers of potentially violent neo-Nazis, skinheads, and other white supremacists are now learning the art of warfare in the [U.S.] armed forces."
The Associated Press reported that the intelligence assessment summary issued to law enforcement last week said some military veterans could be susceptible to extremist recruiters or commit lone acts of violence. That prompted angry reactions from some lawmakers and veterans' groups.
In a footnote in the report, right-wing extremism was defined as hate-motivated groups and movements, such as hatred of certain religions, racial or ethnic groups. It went on to say, "It may include groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration."
President Barack Obama's Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano strongly defended the report Thursday, but offered an apology to anyone offended by its wording.
While the DHS extremist reports were originally ordered under the Bush administration, the specific language in the recent report cannot be attributed to the prior administration, as many in the media have attempted to do.
The Associated Press also reported the following news:
The top Republican on the House intelligence committee, Michigan's Pete Hoekstra, has asked the director of national intelligence's ombudsman to investigate the Homeland Security report for "unsubstantiated conclusions and political bias."The DHS reports are part of the department's routine analysis of intelligence information to give to law enforcement agencies guidance on possible security threats.
The senior Democrat of the House committee with oversight of the department said the report raises privacy and civil liberty issues. "This report appears to have blurred the line between violent belief, which is constitutionally protected, and violent action, which is not," Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., wrote in a letter to Napolitano.
[. . .]
The report cites the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing by military veteran Timothy McVeigh as one instance of a veteran becoming a domestic terrorist.
Several lawmakers, the American Legion and Vets for Freedom took offense to the intelligence review.
(Report from a commercial news source.)
Download related primary document:
Right-wing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment (pdf)
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