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Napolitano Comments on 'Right Wing Extremist' Report

By Ed O'Keefe

Updated 4:51 p.m. ET
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano responded today to widespread criticism of a leaked domestic intelligence report that warns local law enforcement agencies to be on guard for right-wing extremist groups seeking new recruits amid the nation's economic troubles.

“Let me be very clear: we monitor the risks of violent extremism taking root here in the United States,” Napolitano said in a written statement issued by DHS. "We don’t have the luxury of focusing our efforts on one group; we must protect the country from terrorism whether foreign or homegrown, and regardless of the ideology that motivates its violence.”

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.

The report earned the furor of Republican lawmakers, conservatives and veterans groups because while it does not cite any specific threats, it 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.”

“To characterize men and women returning home after defending our country as potential terrorists is offensive and unacceptable,” House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) said in a statement. “The Department of Homeland Security owes our veterans an apology.”

American Legion National Commander David K. Rehbein sent a letter to Napolitano, calling the report incomplete and politically biased. The secretary plans to meet with Rehbein next week when she returns from a series of trips, according to her statement.

Aides said privately that the secretary regrets that critics have construed the report's language to suggest that the department perceives a threat from veterans, noting that the department's various agencies employ thousands of military veterans and that some of Napolitano’s deputies once served in uniform.

“We are on the lookout for criminal and terrorist activity but we do not -- nor will we ever -- monitor ideology or political beliefs,” Napolitano said. “We take seriously our responsibility to protect the civil rights and liberties of the American people, including subjecting our activities to rigorous oversight from numerous internal and external sources.”

The intelligence report had been in the works for more than a year, according to DHS spokeswoman Sara Kuban.

"It has an unfortunate title to it and that's why it's catching attention," she said.

Statement by U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano on the Threat of Right-Wing Extremism Release Date: April 15, 2009

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
Contact: 202-282-8010

The primary mission of this department is to prevent terrorist attacks on our nation. The document on right-wing extremism sent last week by this department’s Office of Intelligence and Analysis is one in an ongoing series of assessments to provide situational awareness to state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies on the phenomenon and trends of violent radicalization in the United States. I was briefed on the general topic, which is one that struck a nerve as someone personally involved in the Timothy McVeigh prosecution.

Let me be very clear: we monitor the risks of violent extremism taking root here in the United States. We don’t have the luxury of focusing our efforts on one group; we must protect the country from terrorism whether foreign or homegrown, and regardless of the ideology that motivates its violence.

We are on the lookout for criminal and terrorist activity but we do not – nor will we ever – monitor ideology or political beliefs. We take seriously our responsibility to protect the civil rights and liberties of the American people, including subjecting our activities to rigorous oversight from numerous internal and external sources.

I am aware of the letter from American Legion National Commander Rehbein, and my staff has already contacted him to set up a meeting next week once I return from travel. I will tell him face-to-face that we honor veterans at DHS and employ thousands across the department, up to and including the Deputy Secretary.

As the department responsible for protecting the homeland, DHS will continue to work with its state and local partners to prevent and protect against the potential threat to the United States associated with any rise in violent extremist activity.

By Ed O'Keefe  | April 15, 2009; 2:55 PM ET
Categories:  Administration, Agencies and Departments  
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I am as concerned and fearful of the extremists who work for the Department of Homeland Security, who have little or no regard for the Constitution or laws passed by Congress, as I am about the gun-toting right wing extremists the Department is warning the public about.

As a former DHS employee, employed by that agency's Office of Inspector General when the agency was established in 2003, I am concerned about white extremist DHS managers who have shown no regard for Equal Employment laws, rules or regulations and therefore have hired, promoted and rewarded their friends (all white) whom they believed suffered during the 1990s when woman and minorities were supposedly receiving preferential treatment in the federal government during the Clinton administration; I am also aware of minority employees of DHS being terminated by these extremists (DHS managers) for having engaged in the EEO process and/or for Whistle-blowing activity-- I to am a victim of retaliation for having filed employment discrimination complaints and for whistle-blowing activity to Congress regarding the DHS OIG. I to was terminated from federal employement last August after 26 years of federal service (law suit pending); and I have received a visit to my home by two special agents (from the Department's Federal Protective Service) acting on behalf of the DHS Inspector General in an attempt to harass and intimidate me for my having the audiacity to disseminate critical e-mails, letters and faxes about the Inspector General and his inept management team. This was clearly an abuse of my First Amendment rights and a blatant abuse of the Inspector General's law enforcement authority. Nevertheless, the Inspector General and no official at the Federal Protective Service has been disciplined or fired for this violation.

Extremism is and should be a concern whether by dangerous right-wing,racist gun-nuts or by dangerous white collar racist federal employees who carry guns and badge on behalf of the United States government.

Posted by: PTaylor8336 | April 15, 2009 6:13 PM | Report abuse

What a joke this government plays the people in this country like a violin.First the liberals were unpatriotic now the conservitives are.Wakeup people government is force the bigger the government the bigger the force.If you do not have either political or economic power you are a terrorist period.End of story.

Posted by: gary2547poh | April 15, 2009 6:54 PM | Report abuse

bullet1 wrote:
people are sick of this Obama change policy of today the Texas Gov. says that Texas will leave the Union...There is NO representation of the people by Congress. Just the Bankers and the Rich Corp. leaders get bailed out and joe public pays the bill....Time to Leave....28 states and counting want to leave the Union. Hows that for change Obama!! Texas will lead the is that for extremist views. When the people of the country do not want to pay for the Rich mistakes and unfair taxation then you leave....and let the ones who want to pay for the silly crap that Obama,Bush and Congress voted on stay and pay for it with there taxes.

Posted by: bullet1 | April 16, 2009 12:22 AM | Report abuse

To read more about our tax dollars at work at the Department of Homeland Security's Office of Inspector General go to:

Posted by: PTaylor8336 | April 16, 2009 12:39 AM | Report abuse

Timothy McVey

Terry Nichols

Posted by: terrencebrennan | April 16, 2009 10:37 AM | Report abuse

This is exactly and just what this administration wanted to happen. They aren't worried about a serious violent threat. What they want to do is get the NAME out. Once the term "Right-Wing Extremists" gets out it can be used by the general populace to demoralize and disassociate conservatives and libertarians from a creditable political view.

If you can call someone an "Extremist" then you can say that their view is obsolete because from the get go they are just "biased". Yet, they do not understand how extreme they themselves really are.

In addition if anything bad DOES happen (god forbid) they can blame it on the "Right-Wing Extremist". Even if this claim has no truth it will be enough to slander the right and keep it from holding sway in politics. This is a brilliant move by the left and the right needs to be aware of it. The left even needs to be aware of it. This country was founded by racialists and men who challenged their government.

As far as i'm concerned this is a very appropriate check of power on the government, but instead of just trying to quiet the opposition they should heed it's opinions! People should not be afraid of their governments, governments should be afraid of their people.

Posted by: K3ll3nSG | April 16, 2009 11:05 AM | Report abuse

Does this remind anyone of what happened in the 1950's with McCartney? Wake up people, the government right now is going to try to make people that are Conservatives, just like Hitler did. Isolate, get the public angry, take them out that is the Obama strategy.

Posted by: Cbergklint0001 | April 16, 2009 12:23 PM | Report abuse

Is the Department of Homeland Security evolving into America's version of the Gestapo or the SS? Surely seems like it could--but don't forget, the IRS doesn't like competition.

Posted by: 65tarheel | April 16, 2009 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Oh, come on... Nobody can deny that gun-totin and gun-loving right wing groups are disseminated throught the USA, and that they are particularly irate now that a black man is president.

Feast your eyes on this, for example, from the LATimes pn 23 November 2008:

"White extremists lash out over election of first black president

"The Ku Klux Klan is emerging from decades of disorganization and obscurity, and the turnaround is acutely evident -- more than 200 hate-related incidents have been reported since the Nov. 4 election.....",0,5159169,full.story

Posted by: FedUp1 | April 17, 2009 9:35 AM | Report abuse

Morning; Eddy O'Keefey??
When are reporter's going to report the facts of Breaking News Avents, and the facts of a report, Mmmm?? Wow!!, how remarkably you have creatively watered down this report. I'm almost more outraged in how you reported this Janet Napolitano report, than the report from Homeland Security itself. So Eddy?, how come you didn't print the actual report itself, not this watered down version of your opinion of the report??. The idea your trying to cast to the masses is see we're only watching out for the American people. While in "FACT" this report targeted Christians who believe in end times issues, it targeted people who are against illegal immergration issues, it targeted Talk-Radio hosts issues (issues of our 1st Amendment rights), it targeted those of us who are concerned with our Nations Sovernity issues, Aboration issues yes you forgot to mention this also Eddy?. Also and how conviently Napolitano report came out to the public just two days before the Tea Parties, Mmmm!! do I smell a rat??. This Candy coated with sparkles on top report is far from the actual truth of true reporting, no wonder newspapers everywhere across the Nation are going out of business, people are sick & tried of reading "UNFACTUAL" reports of "TRUE" Newsbreaks that are shaping our Nation on a daily bases. Where have all the Real Reporters gone? When are we going to see the "Facts" of a "True Report Again"? When?, Just When?????

Posted by: birddogbolyard | April 19, 2009 11:29 AM | Report abuse

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