07.31.2009 0

Editorial: Suppression of Dissent by Obama Regime Warrants Continued Scrutiny

  • On: 08/17/2009 09:27:43
  • In: Homeland Security
  • Last week, ALG News reported a startling update in the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) “rightwing extremism” threat assessment controversy after receiving an interim response from the department to Americans for Limited Government’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.

    Instead of being sourced to hard intelligence and data, DHS based its findings of a “resurgence” of “rightwing extremism” upon outside sources, including the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), the Anti-Defamation League, one conspiracy website, and a few news accounts of hate groups and incidences of violence.

    The story has been picked up by several news outlets, radio programs, and blogs, including:

    And unless the nation’s journalists continue to scrutinize the actions that occurred in the formulation of this assessment—and others including the Missouri Information Analysis Center’s February alert, which was based on the same sources of information—it is likely that there will continue to be future incidences of dubious “threat” assessments by government agencies at the behest of hard left groups. These were issued to politicize law enforcement and create a public perception of “rightwing extremism.”

    In essence, both the DHS and MIAC alerts’ purpose was to suppress dissent and to consolidate power by a political administration. And it is a practice by government that has continued as members of Congress have again label government dissidents “political terrorists,” “un-American,” “uncivilized,” “Brown Shirts,” and compared them to Timothy McVeigh.

    In testifying to Congress, Homeland Security chief Janet Napolitano at first defended the report, insisting on its veracity, “Sorry to say, but it’s the reality we deal with. We have several factors that could lead to an uptick in extremist violent activity. That’s all that report was designed to do… We do not exist to infringe, impinge or invade anybody’s constitutional rights of free speech, of free assembly or anything else like that. We exist to protect the country against the homeland consistent with the United States Constitution. In there is where that product was created and what it was designed to do. Nothing more, nothing less.”

    But then, it was revealed that the report was released over the objections of DHS’ Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties. In a letter to the Senate, Napolitano wrote, “It’s clear that the message in the assessment could have been made more directly and succinctly, and that there was a breakdown in the clearance process before its distribution.” Which is exactly what the politicos in Missouri said when they were scrambling for cover.

    In defining “rightwing extremism,” the Department of Homeland Security memo targeted “groups, movements, and adherents… that are mainly antigovernment, rejecting federal authority in favor of state or local authority” and “groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration,” beliefs that represent tens of millions of Americans who are neither extremists nor terrorists.

    In its assessment, DHS reported that returning veterans would be recruited by terrorist groups, that gun control legislation and the election of Barack Obama would attract new members to “rightwing extremist” groups, and that the economic downturn too was ripening “extremist” sentiments. It stated that “lone wolves and small terrorist cells embracing violent rightwing extremist ideology are the most dangerous domestic terrorism threat in the United States.” It said this threat was “because of their low profile and autonomy—separate from any formalized group—which hampers warning efforts.”

    As a result, what DHS claimed to be looking for was less than a needle in a haystack, making law enforcement efforts to develop a profile of potential suspects futile. And since the report was not based on actual intelligence gathered by DHS or another agency by individuals who had penetrated actual terrorist cells, and rather were based upon the ravings of the hard left and conspiracists, its conclusions were and are highly dubious. Instead they would have led to the monitoring of potentially millions of law-abiding Americans.

    Ms. Napolitano defended the conclusions of the report, which were not based on sound intelligence, and later claimed that somehow the “message in the assessment could have been made more directly and succinctly” despite that lack of intelligence. All of which clearly demonstrates that she was more interested at the time in protecting the process that created the now-discredited report. And in maintaining the public’s perception of “rightwing extremism” rather than uncovering the truth about efforts within DHS and elsewhere to politicize law enforcement.

    And unless journalists nationwide continue to scrutinize Ms. Napolitano and this dubious report, she and those who drafted it and the MIAC alert will get away with it. All of the facts need to be revealed, not those the Secretary cherry picks, because the American people still do not have the full story of what happened in Missouri and at DHS. Otherwise, it will happen again.

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