Top Homeland Security Democrat objects to DHS report on “right-wing extremism”

posted at 6:38 pm on April 15, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

Janet Napolitano stood her ground earlier today on the DHS report on the supposed “right-wing extremism” of federalism and gun rights, but a key Democrat on the House Committee on Homeland Security has demanded a better explanation.  Bennie Thompson (D-MS) pronounced himself “dumbfounded” at the report, and will ask Napolitano how this report ever got out of her office.  Audrey Hudson reports:

The top House Democrat overseeing the Department of Homeland Security is demanding that officials there explain how and why they wrote and released a controversial report identifying veterans as potential terrorist threats.

Rep. Bennie G. Thompson of Mississippi, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, said in a letter to DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano that he was “dumbfounded” such a report would be issued.

“This report appears to raise significant issues involving the privacy and civil liberties of many Americans — including war veterans,” Mr. Thompson said in the letter sent Tuesday.

“As I am certain you agree, freedom of association and freedom of speech are guaranteed to all Americans — whether a person’s beliefs, whatever their political orientation, are ‘extremist’ or not,” Mr. Thompson said.

Thompson didn’t stop there.  He wants an explanation of what “activities” Napolitano has planned with law enforcement officials to monitor legitimate public political activity, as promised at the end of the DHS report.  He called himself “particularly struck” by this statement.  And well he might; it promises to have government treat political discourse as a subversive activity.

Thompson, it should be noted, is hardly a Blue Dog Democrat.  He sued George Bush for supposed Constitutional violations in the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 (the suit was dismissed).  He cast a vote to block the Electoral College representation of Ohio in 2004, attempting to use allegations of voting problems to delegitimize Bush’s victory.  He is known as a solid liberal.

Even a solid liberal like Thompson can see an abuse of power by DHS in attacking political discourse that opposes the current administration.  Give Thompson his due; we may disagree on policy, but he understands what DHS did here and wants to put a stop to it.

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What was the Bush administration’s role in this?

Seriously. I heard on Fox today that the W. folk requested reports on the left and on the right. I would like to know how much of these reports were completed before he left office – if anything, and what was done on the Obama watch.

It’s hard to know just what the Bush Administration’s role in this was, but this is the date on the “assessment”…..

7 April 2009

and this date:

shooting deaths of three police officers in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on 4 April 2009.

And reference to this:

Most statements by rightwing extremists have been rhetorical,
expressing concerns about the
election of the first African American president

Considering that it was finished by the Obama Administration I think it’s impossible to say what President Bush’s role might have been especially since there is no definition of “right wing extremist” and the Obama admin could have changed whatever they wanted to change. The Obama Administration owns this from my viewpoint.

sues on April 15, 2009 at 10:36 PM

Liberals have become so drunk on their own corruption and hunger for power that their own people can’t even stand the stench of their hypocrisy and lies.

Not even 100 days in and democrats,international leaders,and over 200,000 people in the streets today are letting it be known that they are not buying this “Hope and Change” bullsh!t line.

Baxter Greene on April 15, 2009 at 10:39 PM

Frankly, the response seems a bit overwrought to me. It’s a report in typical government-speak, but its message to me is that they are concerned about groups that promote violence. I detest everything Obama stands for, but I don’t think this report is such a big deal. I want them to be watching for groups that are planning to perform violent acts, don’t you? What makes everybody think that they are concerned with people who aren’t associated with violent groups? Are we all so naive as to think that there are not groups we have never even heard of who take an extreme position on issues and seek to prove a point using violence? While I agree that including anti-abortion and anti-illegal immigration groups makes me a little uneasy, I do not really think that the government is spying on The Susan B. Anthony List.

tanarg on April 15, 2009 at 10:47 PM

This is just a temperature check folks. 
This administration knows that it has unlimited appetite for imposing tyranny and that the American people do not. They will continue to send up weather balloons like the St. Louis militia issue, like the “abort Obama” sticker, and like this one to gauge public reaction to determine how much is safe for them how soon. We should scream bloody murder every time they so much as look remotely sideways at ANY private liberty.

GregoryNeilSmith on April 15, 2009 at 10:59 PM

Good for him. Republicans? *crickets*

SouthernGent on April 15, 2009 at 11:21 PM

Give Thompson his due; we may disagree on policy, but he understands what DHS did here and wants to put a stop to it.

I’ll give him his due when he pursues this disgrace of unconstitutional action to its ends. I doubt he will, and think he is mearly posturing for political purposes.

Never, never, NEVER take any democrat at his word. This lesson I learned from ChiTcago politicians.

DannoJyd on April 15, 2009 at 11:37 PM

DHS under Frau Nspolitano? Give that Nazi an inch and she will take a kilometer. Best thing that has happened in AZ lately is her exit.

LCL4 on April 15, 2009 at 11:39 PM

Can’t anyone here see that the report is focused on VIOLENCE?

tanarg on April 16, 2009 at 2:23 AM

he understands what DHS did here and wants to put a stop to it.

He sounds like a righteous man.

MB4 on April 16, 2009 at 4:29 AM

Give Thompson his due; we may disagree on policy, but he understands what DHS did here and wants to put a stop to it.

How refreshing to have someone who’s critically thinking and concerned…regardless of political affiliation.

Can’t anyone here see that the report is focused on VIOLENCE?

tanarg on April 16, 2009 at 2:23 AM

Much of the report was speculative, based on violence that could happen if…. It struck me more as a propaganda piece than anything else.

misslizzi on April 16, 2009 at 4:37 AM

Homeland Security shouldnt be being used against the citizens .period. Its misuse and might just make the department Unconstituional.

johnnyU on April 16, 2009 at 5:05 AM

Can’t anyone here see that the report is focused on VIOLENCE?

I took it as a marker for propensity to violence. How is your LOCAL officer to determine this? It goes back to the recalled MO report i.e., “third party/NRA/pro-America bumper stickers”. WATCH THEM
Not that, ya know, real crime isn’t going to spike in a severe downturn.

rhodeymark on April 16, 2009 at 5:52 AM

Not ONE person wanted by the FBI are right-wing extremist but there are 11 LEFT-WING EXTREMISTS wanted by the FBI.

This “report” is total hogwash and is an attack against ANYONE who dares attack O’bunghole and the Democrats.

nelsonknows on April 16, 2009 at 7:01 AM

Can’t anyone here see that the report is focused on VIOLENCE?

If this report was focused on violence, it sure does miss EVERY person wanted by the FBI for Domestic Terrorism, oh by the way, all 11 on the FBI list for Domestic Terrorism are LEFT-WING EXTREMIST…ALF, ELF 2 communist organizations and the Black Liberation Army that James H Cone and Jeremiah Wright have been hiding for 40 years.

nelsonknows on April 16, 2009 at 7:05 AM

One of the signs I had today made reference to the DHS report. I had several people come up to me saying that they wanted to be a Right Wing Extremist, too. We decided to send our names and addresses into Napolitano so that they can watch us. It didn’t take long for the word to get out. Almost everyone at the Tea Party knew about this issue.
I am glad to see that even a partison Democrat can stand up with America. At some point I hope many more will “get it”.

BetseyRoss on April 15, 2009 at 6:51 PM

I had the same experience at our local tea party. Many signs regarding DHS. Veterans are all over this issue, as we all need to be.

zeebeach on April 16, 2009 at 7:20 AM

I am from Mississippi and I am ashamed to admit that Bennie Thompson is from my state.

This pains me to admit he’s right about something.

NoFanofLibs on April 16, 2009 at 7:34 AM

Good for Thompson, but he is a rarity: a sane Democrat. The country is now in the hands of people who have the same mentality as Michael Moore, Bill Mayer and Keith Olberman.

Basilsbest on April 16, 2009 at 7:36 AM

The lesbian seems to have a phobia of anti gay conservatives. wonder if that was built up by prop 8 threats and violence?

seven on April 16, 2009 at 8:18 AM

Can’t anyone here see that the report is focused on VIOLENCE?

tanarg on April 16, 2009 at 2:23 AM

Yes, and it claims that anyone who opposes this govt is capable of violence and should be monitored.

MarkTheGreat on April 16, 2009 at 8:31 AM

Don’t care what stand he takes on a single issue. Unless the Democrat is solidly conservative (not possible in 2009), never vote for him.

SKYFOX on April 16, 2009 at 9:04 AM

Wherein a Democrat remembers that he’s an American? Strains credulity, but there it is.

ElectricPhase on April 16, 2009 at 9:28 AM

While congressional members of the GOP continue their spitting contests, this happens. Bobo and His Amazing Chimps keep starting brush fires, GOP runs around spitting on them, meanwhile, Rome is burning to the ground.

pcpower1 on April 15, 2009 at 6:53 PM


InTheBellyoftheBeast on April 16, 2009 at 10:31 AM

Much of the report was speculative, based on violence that could happen if…. It struck me more as a propaganda piece than anything else.
misslizzi on April 16, 2009 at 4:37 AM

It isn’t DHS’s job to disseminate propaganda. That’s NPR’s job.

Akzed on April 16, 2009 at 10:46 AM

I await the government report on how college students are all potential marxist revolutionaries.

emerson7 on April 16, 2009 at 10:54 AM

This report was clearly racist, you don’t no believe she was refering to black veterans joining radical groups. Get ready for the purges next.

Hazmat on April 16, 2009 at 11:20 AM

DHS Secty “Nappy” Napolitano issued a non-apology “apology” to veterans today, along the lines of the usual formulaic Democrat politician non-apology.

The non-apology usually sounds like this – “To those (nutjobs) I have offended by my actions (driving drunk off a bridge and killing my passenger, suborning others to committ felonious perjury & committing perjury myself, using ACORN to register more fake made-up Democrat voters in XYZ County than there are people residing there including graveyard dwellers, using taxpayer money to pay my gay lover, accepting bribes & stashing the cash in my freezer, accepting bribes, accepting bribes, accepting bribes, accepting bribes, and so on), I apologize”

What she needs to do is apologize to everyone, not just those she offended. Only then is it a real apology even if we know she doesn’t mean it.

Ol’ Nappy Napolitano is just one more incompetent, politicized leftwing appointee hack in HopeyChangey’s army of flying monkeys. It’s time for her to go.

CatchAll on April 16, 2009 at 12:18 PM

So there’s a solid liberal in the House… from Mississippi? I’m not saying you’re wrong, but others are saying he’s a very conservative Democrat. Sounds fishy to call him a solid liberal.

It’s even fishier when you consider that Bennie Thompson once found another report that said:

“DHS must reassess the threat posed by right-wing domestic terrorists and revise its long term planning to address this risk,” the report warns. It adds that “the risk posed by right-wing extremists” should prompt DHS to “give higher priority to this threat.”

The FBI’s third domestic terror group targets “special interest” issues, which can be left or right-wing in affiliation – such as animal rights, environmental protection or abortion. While the FBI does not consider these groups to pose a terrorist threat, last week’s guilty plea by Eric Rudolph proved that even “special interest” groups are capable of conducting attacks beyond their “traditional” targets.

It was a report put out by… Bennie Thompson.

orange on April 16, 2009 at 3:13 PM

I think that Bennie Thompson is being a political savvy. I would venture to state that he is being very honest in his opinion.

Much of what has been written here has pointed out that Mr. Thompson was involved in the civil rights movement. He understands the very nature of this kind of report.

Importantly is the fact that Thompson recognizes the nature of real right wing extremism as well as leftist extremism.

What is very important here is that “special interest” groups can be infiltrated by people who want to commit acts of violence.

I would think that anarchists are more easily identifiable with the left rather than with the right, but I do not think that this is correct. Anarchists can be on both sides of politics as has been proved by the brown shirts in Nazi Germany, as well as the Stalinists, the Maoists, the followers of Pol Pot etc. etc.

Today we have anarchists that are very into Green politics. They can be exceedingly dangerous. I suspect most Greenies are left-wing libtards of the vilest type. These are the ones that really need to be watched.

maggieo on April 17, 2009 at 1:02 AM