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DHS Report Warns Of Right Wing Extremists

(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Conservatives are up in arms about a report from the Department Of Homeland Security entitled "Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic And Political Climate Fueling Resurgence In Radicalization And Recruitment." (Here it is, in PDF form.)

The report is "one of the most embarrassingly shoddy pieces of propaganda I'd ever read out of DHS," writes Michelle Malkin, who deems it a "piece of crap report" that serves as "a sweeping indictment of conservatives."

Coverage of the report presently occupies both the top spot on the Drudge Report and a prime second location on the site, where it comes with a picture of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and the words "SHE IS WATCHING YOU."

The "Key Findings" section of the report opens with these words: "The DHS/Office of Intelligence and Analysis (I&A) has no specific information that domestic rightwing* terrorists are currently planning acts of violence, but rightwing extremists may be gaining new recruits by playing on their fears about several emergent issues. The economic downturn and the election of the first African American president present unique drivers for rightwing radicalization and recruitment."

More from the report:

  • Proposed imposition of firearms restrictions and weapons bans likely would attract new members into the ranks of rightwing extremist groups, as well as potentially spur some of them to begin planning and training for violence against the government. The high volume of purchases and stockpiling of weapons and ammunition by rightwing extremists in anticipation of restrictions and bans in some parts of the country continue to be a primary concern to law enforcement.
  • Rightwing extremist chatter on the Internet continues to focus on the economy, the perceived loss of U.S. jobs in the manufacturing and construction sectors, and home foreclosures. Anti-Semitic extremists attribute these losses to a deliberate conspiracy conducted by a cabal of Jewish "financial elites." These "accusatory" tactics are employed to draw new recruits into rightwing extremist groups and further radicalize
    those already subscribing to extremist beliefs.
  • DHS/I&A assesses that rightwing extremist groups' frustration over a perceived lack of government action on illegal immigration has the potential to incite individuals or small groups toward violence.
  • Rightwing extremist paranoia of foreign regimes could escalate or be magnified in the event of an economic crisis or military confrontation, harkening back to the "New World Order" conspiracy theories of the 1990s.
  • DHS, as Fox News notes, pointed out in response to critics that it released a similar report about left-wing extremists in January.

    "This is the job of DHS, to assess what is happening in this country, with regard to homegrown terrorism, and determine whether it's an actual threat or not, and that's what these assessments do," an official said. "This is nothing unusual. These assessments are done all the time. This is about awareness."

    Think Progress also points out that the Department of Energy released a report in 2001 entitled "Left-Wing Extremism: The Current Threat."

    Malkin writes in response that the previous reports "have always been very specific in identifying the exact groups, causes, and targets of domestic terrorism." In this report, she argues, there is no such specific threat – and, she adds, "no hackneyed left-wing stereotype of conservatives left behind."

    As The Washington Times reports, White House spokesman Nick Shapiro, asked about the report, said this: "The president is focused not on politics but rather taking the steps necessary to protect all Americans from the threat of violence and terrorism regardless of its origins."

    Homeland Security spokeswoman Sara Kuban, meanwhile, told the paper that the report is part of a series designed to "facilitate a greater understanding of the phenomenon of violent radicalization in the U.S."

    She also noted that "These types of reports are published all the time."

    Past terrorists who could be labeled right-wing extremists include Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols, who were convicted of bombing the Alfred P. Murrah Building in Oklahoma City in 1995, and Eric Rudolph, who confessed to bombing a gay bar, abortion clinic, and Atlanta's Centennial Olympic Park.

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