Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment.
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.
I spent the day chasing down DHS spokespeople, who have been tied up preparing for a very important homeland security event later today: The First Lady is coming to visit their Washington office. Priorities, you know.
Well, the press office got back to me and verified that the document is indeed for real.
They were very defensive — preemptively so — in asserting that it was not a politicized document and that DHS had done reports on “leftwing extremism” in the past. I have covered DHS for many years and am quite familiar with past assessments they and the FBI have done on animal rights terrorists and environmental terrorists. But those past reports have always been very specific in identifying the exact groups, causes, and targets of domestic terrorism, i.e., the ALF, ELF, and Stop Huntingdon wackos who have engaged in physical harassment, arson, vandalism, and worse against pharmaceutical companies, farms, labs, and university researchers.
By contrast, 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 — which asserts with no evidence that an unquantified “resurgence in rightwing extremist recruitment and radicalizations activity” is due to home foreclosures, job losses, and…the historical presidential election.
In Obama land, there are no coincidences. It is no coincidence that this report echoes Tea Party-bashing left-wing blogs (check this one out comparing the Tea Party movement to the Weather Underground!) and demonizes the very Americans who will be protesting in the thousands on Wednesday for the nationwide Tax Day Tea Party.
From the report, p.2:
Rightwing extremism in the United States can be broadly divided into those groups, movements, and adherents that are primarily hate-oriented (based on hatred of particular religious, racial or ethnic groups), and those that are mainly antigovernment, rejecting federal authority in favor of state or local authority, or rejecting government authority entirely. It may include groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration.
From the report. p. 3:
(U//LES) Rightwing extremists are harnessing this historical election as a recruitment tool. Many rightwing extremists are antagonistic toward the new presidential administration and its perceived stance on a range of issues, including immigration and citizenship, the expansion of social programs to minorities, and restrictions on firearms ownership and use. Rightwing extremists are increasingly galvanized by these concerns and leverage them as drivers for recruitment. From the 2008 election timeframe to the present, rightwing extremists have capitalized on related racial and political prejudices in expanded propaganda campaigns, thereby reaching out to a wider audience of potential sympathizers.
(U) Exploiting Economic Downturn
(U//FOUO) Rightwing extremist chatter on the Internet continues to focus on the economy, the perceived loss of U.S. jobs in the manufacturing and construction sectors, and home foreclosures. Anti-Semitic extremists attribute these losses to a deliberate conspiracy conducted by a cabal of Jewish “financial elites.” These “accusatory” tactics are employed to draw new recruits into rightwing extremist groups and further radicalize those already subscribing to extremist beliefs. DHS/I&A assesses this trend is likely to accelerate if the economy is perceived to worsen.
From the report, p. 5:
(U//FOUO) Over the past five years, various rightwing extremists, including militias and white supremacists, have adopted the immigration issue as a call to action, rallying point,
and recruiting tool. Debates over appropriate immigration levels and enforcement policy generally fall within the realm of protected political speech under the First Amendment, but in some cases, anti-immigration or strident pro-enforcement fervor has been directed against specific groups and has the potential to turn violent.
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. The willingness of a small percentage of military personnel to join extremist groups during the 1990s because they were disgruntled, disillusioned, or suffering from the psychological effects of war is being replicated today.
There’s no hackneyed left-wing stereotype of conservatives left behind in this DHS intelligence and analysis assessment. I asked both DHS spokespeople to tell me who, specifically, the report was accusing of “rightwing extremist chatter” and which “antigovernment” groups are being monitored as “extremists.” They say they’ll get back to me.
In the meantime, be aware of this from the report, p. 8:
(U//FOUO) DHS/I&A will be working with its state and local partners over the next several months to ascertain with greater regional specificity the rise in rightwing extremist activity in the United States, with a particular emphasis on the political, economic, and social factors that drive rightwing extremist radicalization.
Better make a few last-minute signs for the Tea Party. Obama’s DHS is watching:
Honk if you’re a radicalized rightwing extremist!
Guilty of rightwing extremist chatter
Anti-government, pro-freedom: Sue me
Previous: Missouri retracts report linking militias, 3rd party candidates.
Oh, I’m sure DHS will be issuing its report on self-proclaimed bank terrorists like Bruce Marks of NACA and criminal rackeeters harassing private citizens in their homes to “exploit the economic downturn” any day now.
Update: John Hinderaker weighs in the report.
Also good reading in Jonah Goldberg’s thread here.