New DHS folly: The Domestic Extremism Lexicon

The Janet Napolitano-led Department of Homeland Security strikes gold again with a follow-up to its April 7th report casting conservative political positions as indicators of threats to national security.  Raw Story and the Daily Beast report that DHS produced a “lexicon” cataloguing the clues to detect extremists, which include Doc Martens and opposition to drivers licenses for illegal aliens — but somehow never gets around to mentioning Muslim extremists, such as the dozens of Somali immigrants in the Twin Cities who mysteriously disappeared:

The Department of Homeland Security set off a firestorm earlier this month when a memo surfaced that warned of right-wing extremists. The memo, which was issued to law-enforcement officials, suggested that extremists driven to dire straits by the Obama administration could recruit returning veterans to help produce Timothy McVeigh-like terrorism. Now, The Daily Beast has obtained another DHS memo, and this one identifies an even more far-ranging group of “extremists.”

Partisans leapt to decry the first DHS memo as part of a Democratic conspiracy to marginalize right wingers. But it became clear that DHS’s broad descriptions of extremists (“mainly antigovernment, rejecting federal authority in favor of state or local authority”; “may include groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration”) were symptomatic of an ongoing agency problem that crossed ideological lines. Indeed, earlier memos surfaced that targeted left-wing extremists with the same uncomfortably vague descriptions. For example, one memo warned that anarchist extremists “embrace a number of radical philosophical components of anticapitalist, antiglobalization, communist, socialist, and other movements.”

The new memo obtained by The Daily Beast locates an even wider-ranging group of extremists among us. You could safely say it crosses liberal and conservative lines: Entries range from Mexican separatists to antiabortion extremists to racial Nordic mysticism. (Islamic groups are specifically excluded from this document.)

All you Odin followers need to get yourselves registered with the DHS, pronto, and stop watching Kröd Mandoon.  Perhaps this broad-ranging assault on political thought will wake up the Left to the noxious ideological bent of Napolitano’s DHS.  It should at least give Chris Dodd something to do, since he scored big political points on Hillary Clinton for her support of Eliot Spitzer’s plan to give licenses to illegal aliens.  Is Chris Dodd being trailed by DHS?

(U) anti-immigration extremism: (U//FOUO) A movement of groups or individuals who are vehemently opposed to illegal immigration, particularly along the U.S. southwest border with Mexico, and who have been known to advocate or engage in criminal activity and plot acts of violence and terrorism to advance their extremist goals. They are highly critical of the U.S. Government’s response to illegal immigration and oppose government programs that are designed to extend “rights” to illegal aliens, such as issuing driver’s licenses or national identification cards and providing in-state tuition, medical benefits, or public education.

The definition of right-wing extremism is back:

(U) rightwing extremism: (U//FOUO) A movement of rightwing groups or individuals who can be broadly divided into those who are primarily hate-oriented, and those who are mainly antigovernment and reject federal authority in favor of state or local authority. This term also may refer to rightwing extremist movements that are dedicated to a single issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration.

The following demographics get mentioned, but not Muslims:

  • White nationalists
  • Black nationalists
  • Mexican nationalists
  • Puerto Rican nationalists
  • Violent religious sects
  • Jewish extremism

Hey, I’m not going to argue that there aren’t threats within all of these groups, and at least this focuses on actual known groups rather than just political discourse. But doesn’t this list seem a little … incomplete?  And is Jewish extremism really more of a threat than Muslim extremism?  Here in the Twin Cities, we haven’t seen Jewish immigrants suddenly disappear and conduct suicide bombings in Somalia.  Isn’t DHS just a wee bit curious about that?

According to Raw Story, DHS recalled this memo as soon as it went out in late March, which makes their April 7 memo on right-wing extremism even less understandable.  If this is the quality of work being done at DHS, then Janet Napolitano needs to get the axe — and she’s not alone.

Update: One commenter thinks “violent religious sects” covers the Muslims without naming them.  Not exactly:

(U) violent religious sects: (U//FOUO) Religious extremist groups predisposed toward violence. These groups often stockpile weapons, conduct paramilitary training, and share a paranoid interpretation of current world events, which they often associate with the end of the world. They perceive outsiders as enemies or evil influences; display intense xenophobia and strong distrust of the government; and exercise extreme physical or psychological control over group members, sometimes isolating them from society or subjecting them to physical or sexual abuse and harsh initiation practices.

That’s very generic.  Why not just name names?  The left-wing extremism report focused on specific groups as proven threats; this and the April 7 report give very generic and broad-reaching descriptions.  And note that DHS had no problem getting specific enough to mention Jews, Mexicans, blacks, and others.