Wire: Homeland Security Says Returning US Military Vets Pose Extremist Threat
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 now profiles Americans who are conservatives, libertarians and returning military vets as potential "right-wing extremists."WASHINGTON, April 14, 2009 -- Newswires reported today that a newly unclassified report from the Obama administration's Department of Homeland Security warns against the possibility of violence by unnamed "right-wing extremists" concerned about illegal immigration, increasing federal power, restrictions on firearms, abortion and the loss of U.S. sovereignty and singles out returning war veterans as particular threats.
The report, titled "Right-wing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment," dated April 7, states that "threats from white supremacist and violent anti-government groups during 2009 have been largely rhetorical and have not indicated plans to carry out violent acts."
The document, however, suggests worsening economic conditions, potential new legislative restrictions on firearms, and "the return of military veterans facing significant challenges reintegrating into their communities could lead to the potential emergence of terrorist groups or lone wolf extremists capable of carrying out violent attacks."
The report from DHS' Office of Intelligence and Analysis defines right-wing extremism in the U.S. as "divided into those groups, movements and adherents that are primarily hate-oriented (based on hatred of particular religious, racial or ethnic groups) and those that are mainly anti-government, rejecting federal authority in favor of state or local authority, or rejecting government authority entirely. It may include groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration."
The report's focus on the impact of returning war veterans is particularly notable:
"Returning veterans possess combat skills and experience that are attractive to right-wing extremists," it says. "DHS/I&A is concerned that right-wing extremists will attempt to recruit and radicalize veterans in order to boost their violent capacities."
The report also suggests the election of an African-American president and the prospect of his policy changes "are proving to be a driving force for right-wing extremist recruitment and radicalization."
DHS will be working with state and local partners over the next several months to determine the levels of right-wing extremist activity in the U.S, according to the report.
While the report goes on to cite specific incidents as examples, the report provides no documented evidence of organized extremist activity.
(Report from newswire sources.)
Download related primary document:
Right-wing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment (pdf)
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