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Napolitano Apologizes Directly to Vets Group for Report

By Ed O'Keefe

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano meets Friday afternoon with American Legion Commander Dave Rehbein at DHS headquarters (Photo courtesy of American Legion)

Updated 6:17 p.m. ET

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano apologized directly today to Commander Dave Rehbein, head of the American Legion, after a recently leaked DHS intelligence report suggested that right-wing extremist groups might recruit military veterans returning from overseas deployments. The 45-minute meeting occurred at DHS headquarters in Washington this afternoon.

A detailed account of the meeting from the American Legion states that "Hunched forward with head bowed, the Secretary of Homeland Security looked the National Commander of The American Legion straight in the eye and said, very quietly, 'I’m sorry, Dave.'"

“The report was not worthy of this department, or of veterans,” Napolitano said to Rehbein, according Legion spokesman Craig Roberts, who attended the meeting. "It was very badly written and should never have been released," she said.

The secretary "was very contrite" and that both her words and body language reflected her sincerity, Roberts said in an interview.

In her own written statement after the meeting Napolitano said, "We connected meaningfully about the important issues that have emerged over recent days, and I offered him my sincere apologies for any offense to our veterans caused by this report."

Rehbein was an early and vocal critic of the leaked DHS report and insisted on meeting with the secretary to get an explanation of it.

During the meeting the Legion also presented Napolitano with a Blue Star Banner in recognition of DHS employees who are military active duty guard and reservists currently deployed overseas.

The department's Office of Intelligence and Analysis distributed the report to state and local law enforcement on April 7. It regularly publishes intelligence analyses on domestic and international threats to the nation’s borders and infrastructure.

While it does not cite any specific threats, the report states among other things that: “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.”

Since the report's unauthorized release, Napolitano made a series of television appearances to apologize to veterans for the report and explain it. She has also faced lawsuits and calls for her resignation.

In a statement of support issued this afternoon, Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.), chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, called Napolitano "a superb choice to lead the Department of Homeland Security." He noted that the report on extremists was started during the Bush administration by career DHS employees and that he did not consider it politically motivated.

“Has there been a rough patch? Yes," Lieberman said. "But nothing that comes close to a firing offense."

By Ed O'Keefe  | April 24, 2009; 5:05 PM ET
Categories:  Administration  
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At there's an updated analysis of Napolitano's fitness for the office considering what the analysis terms "veteran profiling."

I guess that really is what the report does, is profile US combat veterans as terrorist risks. How can a person who is supposed to lead so many agencies whose agents and officers are combat veterans remain in office? It's a serious question.

Posted by: singingmountains | April 24, 2009 9:03 PM | Report abuse

oh, good grief. these faux outrages are so tiresome. and it's very disturbing to see napolitano making these rounds begging forgiveness -- esp for something undertaken and completed under idiot son's perch.

hmmm, what was timothy mcveigh's background again....

Posted by: mycomment | April 24, 2009 10:02 PM | Report abuse

mycomment your a butplug saying that every vet is a terrorist ive run into slim like you before

Posted by: getsix1 | April 24, 2009 11:12 PM | Report abuse

mycomment im sorry a meant run over

Posted by: getsix1 | April 24, 2009 11:15 PM | Report abuse

Primary Objectives for Instituting Totalitarian Rule:

1. Seize Control of Finances: Financial bailouts started by Bush and continued whole heartedly by Obama force Government control of private financial institutions (Bank of America CEO attempts to stop merger with collapsing Merryl Lynch - Bernanke threatens to fire CEO and entire BofA board if they try to stop merger... Investors lose billions as result of bad forced merger.

2. Marginalize Opposition: HSA labels opposition to liberal policies as 'right-wing' extremists threatening national security and possible terrorist suspects.

3. Seize Control of Media Outlets: Newspapers and large media conglomerates are deemed on verge of financial ruin and too important to a democratic society to fail. Government steps in to bail them out even though the existing business models will never make them solvent. Result - Government sponsored national media.

4. Secure Dominant Majority Support Base of Dependant, Uneducated Masses: Grant amnesty and voting rights to the estimated 20-30 million illegal immigrants and play all minorities as victims of a current oppressive system of government.

5. Create Strong ‘Federal Domestic Security Force’: Institute programs to recruit a large national security force to ensure any dissent deemed threatening is capable of being controlled. Eliminate Posse Comitatus Act which prevents federal forces other than National Guard from performing police and law enforcement functions within the States.

7. Solidify Permanent Power: With your dominant majority support base and total control of propaganda, eliminate term limits and ensure long term rule of your subjects.

6. Anything You Desire

I’ve said my peace… lets wait and see how far my list plays out.

Posted by: guardian411 | April 25, 2009 1:45 AM | Report abuse

Not really sure why she's apologizing and saying the report shouldn't have been released. She is doing her job as head of the Department of Homeland Security. They did a left wing extremist report, too. You don't see people on the left complaining about that. What they wrote in the report is true. Napolitano will have the last laugh on this one.

Posted by: R_ainy | April 25, 2009 9:20 AM | Report abuse

I guess it all depends on whose ox is being gored. How about when the right comes out with railing against Obama as a socialist, fascist, communist, eating live babies, etc.? I guess that's OK.

Posted by: glogrrl | April 25, 2009 11:23 AM | Report abuse

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