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Eye Opener: About That Homeland Security Memo...

By Ed O'Keefe

Eye Opener

Happy Wednesday! It's Tax Day -- a busy day for folks at the U.S. Postal Service and the Internal Revenue Service. If you need to find a Post Office open late in your area check here. Many Americans defy the tax deadline and frustrated Americans will protest it with tea parties across the country.

Speaking of frustrated Americans, a recent Homeland Security domestic intelligence assessment has touched a nerve among conservative bloggers, veterans groups, pro-abortion activists and gun owners.

"Right-wing extremists in the United States are gaining new recruits by exploiting fears about the economy and the election of the first black U.S. president," according to the report, first obtained by the Washington Times.

It's by the Office of Intelligence and Analysis, part of the national intelligence community that shares its assessments with state, local, tribal and other law enforcement agencies. Among its five main priorities is to assess the "threat of radicalization and extremism."

"Our top priority is radicalized Islam (Sunni and Shia groups), but we also look at radicalized domestic groups," according to the office's Web page. "We do not monitor known extremists and their activities; instead, we are interested in the radicalization process -- why and how people who are attracted to radical beliefs cross the line into violence."

As DHS spokeswoman Sara Kuban told The Eye and everyone else on Tuesday: "These assessments are done all the time. They're done to look at different types of extremism. This one happened to be focused on right-wing, but they cover all parts of extremism."

"The job of DHS is to assess the threat of terrorism, including home-grown terrorism," Kuban said. "This one assesses different kinds of terrorism, to see what's out there." The report has been in the works for more than a year and "has an unfortunate title to it and that's why it's catching attention."

Um, yeah. Better luck writing headlines next time, folks.

Staff and Cabinet News: Obama will name a "border czar" today to advise Homeland Security Secretary Napolitano on border issues: Alan Bersin is a former California-based federal prosecutor. AG Holder delivers the keynote address at West Point’s Rule of Law Conference. Interior Secretary Salazar and members of California's Congressional delegation hold a presser to hype earthquake monitoring funds contained in the economic stimulus package. Ron Kirk gets his first Oval Office meeting today as Trade Representative. Energy Secretary Chu talks coal with The Post. Commerce Secretary Locke joins Vice President Biden tomorrow in Missouri for an event to highlight how the stimulus funds are helping The Show Me State.

In other news...

At Tax Time, Cases Like Geithner's Raise Pointed Questions: Tom Hamburger and Ralph Vartabedian of the LA Times write today that "The Treasury secretary, who oversees the IRS, initially didn't pay all his taxes. Neither did five other top nominees for the Obama administration or their spouses. Now, as tonight's tax deadline looms, some Americans are rhetorically asking: What would have happened to me if I had done the same thing?"

The Pig Book: Sure to make some bureaucrats and virtually every lawmaker squeal with disgust, Citizens Against Government Waste is out with their annual Pig Book, or review of alleged government waste. Hey CAGW: Next year join the Web 2.0 revolution and provide us with more than just the headline and basic description of each earmark.

Bernanke's PR Push Rewrites Fed Script: "Mr. [Ben] Bernanke long has wanted the world's most influential central bank to be more open about its thinking. But now that the Fed is coming under often-blistering attack from Congress and its responses to the crisis have been met with confusion by the public, Mr. Bernanke is taking his campaign for openness in directions he hadn't anticipated," reports Jon Hilsenrath of the Wall Street Journal.

Hill Response to Plans Pleases Pentagon Chief: "Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said Tuesday that he has been "pleasantly surprised" by the response from lawmakers to his plans for shifting billions of dollars in Pentagon spending toward programs of immediate benefit to today's wars," reports The Post's Greg Jaffe. "The secretary, however, noted that Congress will not return to Washington until next week and that it might be premature to judge the response to his sweeping proposals. 'I don't know whether I am in the eye of the storm,' he quipped."

Obama Tilts to CIA on Memos: "The Obama administration is leaning toward keeping secret some graphic details of tactics allowed in Central Intelligence Agency interrogations, despite a push by some top officials to make the information public," according to Evan Perez and Siobhan Gorman of the Wall Street Journal.

The Fight Over the Harold Koh Nomination: Eric Etheridge of the New York Times's Opinionator blog writes a useful field guide to the perils of the administration's nominee to serve as State Department legal adviser, or the agency’s top lawyer.

Top Emissions Negotiator an Expert on Political Climate, Too: "When Todd Stern was working in private law practice, the State Department's top climate-change negotiator was known for dispensing blunt political advice. When a client said he was planning to defy the entire Illinois political establishment on an issue affecting Lake Michigan, Stern brought him up short," reports The Post's Juliet Eilperin. "Now Stern, whom Democratic power broker Vernon Jordan describes as someone who can "tell you to go to hell in a way that you look forward to the trip," faces his most challenging assignment yet: persuading Americans and the rest of the world to agree on a binding cap on greenhouse gas emissions to avoid dangerous climate change."

The NSC's Invisible Man: Don't be fooled by Tom Donilon's low profile, writes Laura Rosen in Foreign Policy's The Cable blog. "As deputy national security advisor, Donilon, 53, is the lynchpin of the interagency process. He runs the all-important deputies meetings, where the real foreign-policy options get ironed out. In a White House where policymaking is growing ever more complex, associates describe, Donilon's role is unmatched in importance."

Gov't. Wins $128 Million Settlement From GSA Contractor: Next Gov's Gautham Nagesh reports that "According to the complaint...the contractor knowingly withheld from GSA information on discounts offered to commercial customers from 1997 to 2005. This constituted an alleged violation of the contract's price reduction clause punishable under amendments to the 1863 False Claims Act." More: "The agreement represents the largest settlement involving the GSA's federal supply procurement program, according to a news release issued on behalf of Ashcraft & Gerel, the D.C. law firm representing the whistleblower in the case," reports The Post's Steve Vogel.

Education Standards Likely to See Toughening: The New York Times' Sam Dillon reports today that the Obama administration will use a Congressional rewriting of the No Child Left Behind law later this year to toughen requirements on topics like teacher quality and academic standards and to intensify its focus on helping failing schools. "The law’s testing requirements may evolve but will certainly not disappear. And the federal role in education policy, once a state and local matter, is likely to grow."

Candidate for Bailout Post Faces Possible Delay: "Herbert M. Allison Jr., the chief executive of Fannie Mae for the last six months, has emerged as a candidate to become the next head of the financial bailout program," reports Stephen Labaton of the New York Times. "But the announcement of his possible appointment has been delayed because of major vacancies in the top ranks of both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the mortgage finance giants seized by the government in September."

A Health Tech Monopoly – II: The Wall Street Journal notes that "In a 'perspective' akin to an editorial, Kenneth Mandl and Isaac Kohane, both health-tech specialists at Children's Hospital Boston and Harvard Medical School, write that 'flexibility is critical' as Congress promotes electronic medical records."

Georgetown Professor to Lead FTC's Consumer Unit: David Vladeck is co-director of Georgetown Law Center's Institute for Public Representation, a program for civil liberties, open government and regulatory litigation, reports The Post's Kim Hart.

Need Tips on Cultural Customs? Consult a Protocol Officer: Elise Castelli profiles an important group of government employees tasked with making sure overseas or diplomatic visits run smoothly.

Revolving Door: Al Kamen with the latest D.C. comings and goings as the presidential transition continues. It's happening in the academic world too.

Labor-Management Partnerships Revival: "Uncle Sam, after eight years of emotional separation, is ready to rekindle affairs with his employees. This isn't the kind of workplace dalliance that could get him sued; it is the kind that could make the federal workplace work better," writes Joe Davidson.

Broadband Stimulus Funds Up for Grabs: "State officials argue that they often know best how to divvy up the portion of stimulus funds earmarked for competitive projects. That has put the Obama administration in the middle of a tug-of-war between the states and some consumer advocates who want to keep more control of stimulus grants at the federal level," reports Amy Schatz of WSJ. "This tension can been seen as the administration wrestles with how to hand out $7 billion allocated in the stimulus package for expanding broadband services."

A Rant Against Superfund: Environmental lawyer Seth Jaffe vents today in his blog that "the federal Superfund program, like some obscure former Russian republic which remains devoted to Stalinism, is one of the last bastions of pure command and control regulation."

NASA Space Crew Running on Colbert: They won't name a room in the International Space Station for the Comedy Central host, but will instead name a high-tech treadmill after him.

Big Event: The U.S. Chamber of Commerce will highlight obstacles to "green projects" tomorrow at its H St. NW headquarters from 1 to 2 p.m. "If our nation is going to diversify and strengthen our energy sources, we must address the barriers that exist for new energy projects," says a Chamber release. "Some of the projects being stopped or delayed include many 'green energy' projects that are a part of President Barack Obama’s stimulus plan."

By Ed O'Keefe  | April 15, 2009; 5:53 AM ET
Categories:  Eye Opener  
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Comments

The report warns about "right-wing terrorists." I thought we weren't using the term "terrorism" any more... What happened to "man-caused disaster?" So when describing right-wing Americans, it's OK to demonstrate the "politics of fear?"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wZxe6xrCYEs

Posted by: cuajitoloco | April 15, 2009 9:43 AM | Report abuse

"So when describing right-wing Americans..."

Hey, shouldn't you be at a teabag party somewhere?

Posted by: castanea | April 15, 2009 11:48 AM | Report abuse

Just how stupid does this writer and our government think we are?

Yesterday, Roger Hedgecock interviewed a
Homeland Security official who claimed that this report was no big deal and was just one of many the department produces. He claimed that just last January a similar report was released that targeted Left wing Extremism. Right. If that report existed the Left would have been all over it. This high level 'official' when questioned by Roger, didn't even know what MS-13 was and ran interference for Napolitano saying she hadn't seen the report prior to its release.

My opinion, Obama and his administration is doing all it can, at present, to clear the playing field of opposition. And, according to this Report, that essentially includes just about everybody in this country that disagrees with Obama, the Left.

I'll be out there today and I'll be protesting the ridiculous increases in deficit spending and wrongheaded programs that this administration is determined to stuff down our collective throats. In other words, TAXES. That is my right and I will not be intimidated by anything like this report against exercising that right. This administration would be well advised to stifle any current and future plans it may have to discredit this movement. After all, "We The People" are not some piece of Hawaiian paper that can be hidden from public view.

Posted by: DarkMatter | April 15, 2009 12:03 PM | Report abuse

DHS is afraid of anyone who feels passion about politics apparently -- they are equal opportunity fearmongers, conflating civil disobedience and political action with terrorism. Whether it is this report about the rightwing, or the report that came out in January about leftwing radicals, it is all wrong and unconstitutional. There is a link to the report on the leftwing, as well as some 'assessments' from fusion centers around the country that worry about legitimate political activities on both the right and the left. The most 'evenhanded' comes from the Virginia Fusion Center. check out www.defendingdissent.org/spying.html

Posted by: DefendDissent | April 15, 2009 12:19 PM | Report abuse

"I'll be out there today and I'll be protesting the ridiculous increases in deficit spending and wrongheaded programs that this administration is determined to stuff down our collective throats. In other words, TAXES."

***

Please continue to make rightwingers and conservatives look like oafs. Too bad you people weren't teabagging during the Bush administration, when our national debt skyrocketed thanks in large part to a pointless war.

If allowing the top marginal income tax rate to rise from 36 percent to 39.6 percent (where it was in the boomtimes of the 1990s) is considered some form of tyranny, maybe you'd better spend more time reading your history books during home school.

Posted by: castanea | April 15, 2009 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Felix Dzerzhinsky at the Cheka, oops, I meant Mr Chertoff at DHS, originated this study if one wishes to so honor such a piece of vile Big Brotherism.

Freedom of association, the entire Bill of Rights are equivalent, in the new regime in Wasington, to "terrorism", as Bill Clinton said our freedoms are what is wrong with America.

Well I suppose the Commisars are feeling real uppity about now but Providence will deliver the American people from these fascists in a new election this next 2010 cycle.

We gunowners have every reason to fear this current regime.

History proves masters prefer their slaves unarmed.

http://gunowners.org/

James Earl Jones is a Life Member of the NRA better keep him on the NO FLY LIST.

Posted by: Francesca2 | April 15, 2009 4:48 PM | Report abuse

I'm sure Obama was unaware of Napolitano's agenda-yeah right. Looks to me like Conservatives are being intentionally baited with this one. Are we being baited? Don't think for a minute that Obama isn't behind this fiasco.

Posted by: thebink | April 15, 2009 5:41 PM | Report abuse

Radical Extremists? Napolitano has just DEFAMED Loyal American citizens and especially members of the military all of whom happen to believe in The sovereignty of this country, The Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
If there is such a thing right now in this country that resembles "Extremists" it's this administration whose disregard for the Constitution and The Bill Of Rights is beyond extreme! They show contempt for both as well as American citizens in general. Just what has this bunch done in defense of OUR citizens in the last two months? Bankrupt the country, kiss up to countries that hate us and pander to 20 million invading lawbreakers that they are letting, no inviting to suck our resources dry! At this time they are sighting in on the 1st amendment with the"Fairness Doctrine" and the 2nd amendment with Pelosi saying "we want them (guns) all registered". This bunch who couldn't and wouldn't tell the truth if their life depended on it has already gone from liberal to socialist and are headed headlong into SUBVERSIVE are destroying the country.
Napotitano should take a quote from POGO:We have met the enemy and he is us!

Posted by: TexRancher | April 15, 2009 7:54 PM | Report abuse

The problem with the DHS report is it states "some" former military have joined these groups. There are no hard facts or figures or any supporting statistics - its as bad as racial profling saying "some" minorities commit crimes so we should be on alert with all minorities? HELL NO...

Another question - what about the "liberal" groups like the environmental extremists and anti-corporation types who are more prone to taking action through arson, property destruction and bombings...are we not concerned about them?

Posted by: eliahs474 | April 16, 2009 1:54 PM | Report abuse

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