April 7th, 2009. The Office of Intelligence and Analysis for the Department of Homeland Security releases [pdf] an assessment of homegrown extremist threats.
This product is one of a series of intelligence assessments published by the Extremism and Radicalization Branch to facilitate a greater understanding of the phenomenon of violent radicalization in the United States. The information is provided to federal, state, local, and tribal counterterrorism and law enforcement officials so they may effectively deter, prevent, preempt, or respond to terrorist attacks against the United States.
Under “Key Findings”:
Threats from white supremacist and violent antigovernment groups during 2009 have been largely rhetorical and have not indicated plans to carry out violent acts. Nevertheless, the consequences of a prolonged economic downturn—including real estate foreclosures, unemployment, and an inability to obtain credit—could create a fertile recruiting environment for rightwing extremists . .
The possible passage of new 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.
Conservatives everywhere, more inspired than daunted by the Tea Party’s racist and secessionist rhetoric, reacted with fury. You’re talking about America’s patriots here, Mister Obama. You watch yourselves, Homeland Security Fondas. Michelle Malkin cranked up the outrage:
Confirmed: The Obama DHS hit job on conservatives is real
By Michelle Malkin • April 14, 2009 12:01 AM
The “report” (PDF file here) was one of the most embarrassingly shoddy pieces of propaganda I’d ever read out of DHS. I couldn’t believe it was real.
. . the piece of crap report issued on April 7 is a sweeping indictment of conservatives. And the intent is clear. As the two spokespeople I talked with on the phone today made clear: They both pinpointed the recent “economic downturn” and the “general state of the economy” for stoking “rightwing extremism.” One of the spokespeople said he was told that the report has been in the works for a year. My b.s. detector went off the chart, and yours will, too, if you read through the entire report . .
As we have unfortunately come to know, Wade Michael Page was the report’s “lone wolf extremist.” It’s as if he stepped right out of the pages of the DHS analysis and into the lives of Oak Creek Sikhs, with horrific consequences. Here, the white supremacist:
Mark Potok, a senior fellow at the nonprofit civil rights organization in Montgomery, Ala., said Page played in groups whose sometimes sinister-sounding names seemed to “reflect what he went out and actually did.” The music often talked about genocide against Jews and other minorities.
In a 2010 interview, Page told a white supremacist website that he became active in white-power music in 2000, when he left his native Colorado and started the band End Apathy in 2005.
The military veteran:
Page joined the military in Milwaukee in 1992 and was a repairman for the Hawk missile system before switching jobs to become one of the Army’s psychological operations specialists assigned to a battalion at Fort Bragg, N.C.
As a “psy-ops” specialist, Page would have trained to host public meetings between locals and American forces, use leaflet campaigns in a conflict zone or use loudspeakers to communicate with enemy soldiers. . .
Page was demoted in June 1998 for getting drunk while on duty and going AWOL, two defense officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release information about the gunman.
Page also received extra duty and was fined. The defense officials said they had no other details about the incident, such as how long Page was gone or whether he turned himself in.
Add in the economic downturn:
Outside Fayetteville, N.C., a brick ranch house Page bought in 2007 with help from a Veterans Administration mortgage stood boarded up Monday with knee-high weeds in the yard. A notice taped to the front indicated the home was in foreclosure and had been sold to a bank in January.
Not with any glee, we say Malkin was wrong. The report wasn’t “crap,” it was accurate.
From my time writing this blog, I’d note that right-wingers sometimes seem to win on a particular issue because they’re capable of screaming louder and longer than your average, well-adjusted person. Let’s not now forget these disastrously poor counter-assessments [more Malkin]:
And echoing the anti-military bigotry last seen in that disgusting Penn State University training video, there’s this on p. 7:
(U) Disgruntled Military Veterans
(U//FOUO) DHS/I&A assesses that rightwing extremists will attempt to recruit and radicalize returning veterans in order to exploit their skills and knowledge derived from military training and combat. These skills and knowledge have the potential to boost the capabilities of extremists—including lone wolves or small terrorist cells—to carry out violence. . .
There’s no hackneyed left-wing stereotype of conservatives left behind in this DHS intelligence and analysis assessment.
Page was well-trained to carry out violence, more likely to carry out violence, and he was especially effective in doing so. Former soldiers are dangerous, it’s a fact. They themselves know this. Let’s remember the reactions of politicians, too:
A senior Republican Judiciary Committee aide tells FOX News that the Obama administration “should immediately retract the report and apologize,” saying that according to the report, pro-lifers, anyone who lost their jobs or are one of the thousands of military veterans who have fought to prevent another 9/11 could be suspect.
U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis, R-FL, told FOX News he was “offended” by the report’s suggestion that returning troops could be potential targets for extremist groups.
“I am very offended and really disturbed that they would even say our military veterans, our returning war heroes would be capable of committing any terrorist acts,” he said. “Where do they get off doing that? I demand an apology from [Napolitano] and even the President of the United States.”
Gus? Tim McVeigh? Pete Hegseth of Vets for Freedom:
“It’s amazing they would single out veterans as a threat to this country,” said Hegseth, an Army veteran who served in Iraq. “It underscores a pervasive belief that some are trying to spread that veterans are victims and we’re coming home as damaged goods that need to be coddled instead of celebrated.”
. . American Legion National Commander David Rehbein blasted the report as incomplete and politically-biased.
“The American Legion is well aware and horrified at the pain inflicted during the Oklahoma City bombing, but Timothy McVeigh was only one of more than 42 million veterans who have worn this nation’s uniform during wartime,” Rehbein wrote. “To continue to use McVeigh as an example of the stereotypical ‘disgruntled military veteran’ is as unfair as using Osama bin Laden as the sole example of Islam.”
Yet we’re always looking out for Muslim extremists. Not to leave out the think tankers:
Herb London, president of the Hudson Institute, a Washington-based think tank, said DHS’ latest report “clearly appears to censor right-wing opinion,” while its earlier assessment of left-wing extremists does not . .
“What is the message here? That conservative organizations are not permitted to engage in any language that might be described as unfavorable to the president,” London said. “Keep in mind this is entirely subjective to begin with.”
Did it occur to anybody that the left-wing extremist report is so specific because the violent groups are so few? Just a thought.