April 16, 2009

CLIMBDOWN: Napolitano Apologizes for Offending Veterans After DHS Eyes Them for ‘Rightwing Extremism’. Plus this:

The report follows a similar DHS assessment released in January that detailed left-wing threats, focusing on cyberattacks and radical “eco-terrorist” groups like Earth Liberation Front, accused of firebombing construction sites, logging companies, car dealerships and food science labs. The report noted that left-wing extremists prefer economic damage to get their message across.

“Their leftwing assessment identifies actual terrorist organizations, like the Earth Liberation Front and Animal Liberation Front,” House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Lamar Smith, R-Texas, said in a statement issued Wednesday. “The rightwing report uses broad generalizations about veterans, pro-life groups, federalists and supporters of gun rights. That’s like saying if you love puppies, you might be susceptible to recruitment by the Animal Liberation Front. It is ridiculous and deeply offensive to millions of Americans.”

Shoddy work at DHS. But, then, I’ve always seen DHS as a Department of Bureaucratic Security, and not of much actual use.

Evidence that my skepticism was justified:

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.

The intelligence assessment 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.

Homeland Security spokeswoman Amy Kudwa said the report was issued before officials resolved problems raised by the agency’s civil rights division about analysts’ definition of right-wing extremism.

And they told me an Obama Administration would be more sensitive to civil liberties.

UPDATE: Reader Michael Levy has a theory: “DHS rushed out their report before the Civil Rights division had a chance to look it over. Why the hurry? The only relevant, imminent event was the nation-wide Tea Party.”

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