Senators Coburn, Brownback, DeMint, Burr, Murkowski, Inhofe, and Vitter sent the following letter to DHS Secretary Napolitano yesterday concerning the DHS conservative hit job:
April 16, 2009
The Honorable Janet Napolitano
The Department of Homeland Security
310 7th street, S.W.
Washington, DC 20528-0150
Dear Secretary Napolitano,
We write today concerning the release of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) report titled “Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment” prepared by the Extremism and Radicalization Branch, of the Homeland Environment Threat Analysis Division.
While we agree that we must fight extremists who are both foreign and domestic we are troubled by some of the statements your department included as fact in the report titled above, without listing any statistical data to back up such claims.
First, your report states that “Returning veterans possess combat skills and experience that are attractive to rightwing extremists…” without listing any data to support such a vile claim against our nation’s veterans.
Second, the report states that the millions of Americans who believe in the Second Amendment are a potential threat to our national security. Why? Do you have statistics to prove that law-abiding Americans who purchase a legal product are being recruited by so-called hate groups?
Thirdly, the report states that those that believe in issues such as pro-life legislation, limited government, and legal versus illegal immigration are potential terrorist threats. We can assure you that these beliefs are held by citizens of all races, party affiliation, male and female, and should not be listed as a factor in determining potential terror threats. A better word usage would be to describe them as practicing their First Amendment rights.
Also, you list those that bemoan the decline of U.S. stature and the loss of U.S. manufacturing capability to China and India as being potential rightwing extremists. We would suggest that the millions of Americans who have lost their jobs in the manufacturing industry to foreign countries are not potential terror threats, but rather honest Americans worried about feeding their families and earning a paycheck.
In closing, we support the mission of DHS in protecting our country from terror attacks and are proud of the many DHS employees who make this possible in conjunction with our state and local law enforcement. We ask that DHS not use this report as a basis to unfairly target millions of Americans because of their beliefs and the rights afforded to them in the Constitution. We also ask that you provide us with the data that support the unfair claims listed in the report titled above and to present us with the matrix system used in collecting and analyzing this data?
Finally, we look forward to your prompt reply and we offer our assistance to DHS in our shared effort to fight terrorism both home and abroad by using data that is accurate and independent of political persuasion.