Who wrote this today?
PARTISAN turmoil that lingered after this month’s tea party protests reignited recently, when the Department of Homeland Security issued a report to federal and local law enforcement officials on right-wing extremism. The report detailed current economic and political factors that could enhance recruitment for extremist groups. Yet the report defined extremism in a way that implicates a huge portion of the political spectrum. Conservatives are right to be angry.
The report drew particular criticism over comments on “disgruntled military veterans,” who, it suggests, may be targeted by extremist groups looking to use their “skill and knowledge to carry out violence.” Missing was any empirical evidence for its claims beyond the examples of Timothy McVeigh and Richard A. Poplawski, the Pittsburgh man who recently shot three police officers and exhibited fears that the government would take his guns.
Worse, the report’s depiction of an extremist describes the political beliefs of many Americans, saying that “many right-wing extremists are antagonistic toward the new presidential administration . . . immigration . . . and restrictions on firearms.” But Americans have every right to oppose all three. Drawing a parallel, even implicitly, between specific political beliefs and criminal intent is something Americans must oppose, regardless of political affiliation.
National Review? American Spectator? Hot Air? How about the Boston Globe? Those looking for the big “but” in this editorial will find themselves disappointed. The paper politely rips Janet Napolitano for the DHS report, never even mentions the Left’s pushback that Bush “ordered” the report — apparently they can read dates, too — and scolds Napolitano for releasing the report over the objections of civil-liberties lawyers in her own department.
Napolitano blamed one of her agency’s analysts for prematurely sending out the intelligence assessment to law enforcement, according to Craig Roberts, an American Legion member who attended the meeting. The report says veterans returning from Iraq or Afghanistan could be susceptible to right-wing recruiters or commit lone acts of violence.
“She essentially admitted fault within her office,” Roberts said.
Apparently, this gave the Boston Globe the opening to belatedly realize the political strong-arming this report represented:
Of course, Homeland Security has a responsibility to keep law enforcement officials aware of potential threats. But it must not tie their hands by making them look like the arm of a political machine.
In other words, they should stick to assessing actual threats rather than attempt to paint a broad swath of Americans as potential extremists. We’ve said that all along, and kudos to the Globe for not watering down that message. Napolitano should get held accountable for this shameful episode by Congress, and should resign for allowing this to happen.