DHS report withdrawn

DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano finally acknowledged defeat publicly on her department’s report on right-wing extremism.  In a hearing yesterday held by the House Homeland Security Committee, Napolitano acknowledged that the report should never have been issued, that it replaced specific threats with generalities, and that the new report would focus on actual threats.  The person who released the report faces “personnel action”:

A contentious “Rightwing Extremism” report that warned of military veterans as possible recruits for terrorist attacks against the U.S. was not authorized, has been withdrawn and is being rewritten, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano told Capitol Hill lawmakers. …

Ms. Napolitano said the report titled “Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment,” is not the only report she has seen that says veterans are targets for recruitment by racist and other hate groups.

“It was an assessment, not an accusation,” Ms. Napolitano said.

“It didn’t say that,” [Rep. Christopher] Carney [(D-PA)] interrupted.

“That’s right,” Ms. Napolitano responded. “That is why it should not have gone out.”

Asked whether the person who wrote the report is still employed, Ms. Napolitano said, “Appropriate personnel action is being taken.”

It was actually neither.  Unlike its counterpart report on the left wing, it mentioned no actual threats nor reviewed any specific groups with histories of violent action.  Those groups exist, and they do try to recruit people, including but not limited to military veterans.  Instead of focusing on the groups, though, the DHS report instead chose to associate broad policy positions with violence as well as describe returning veterans as a potential national-security threat in and of themselves.

Napolitano then told the committee that no process for vetting reports existed, and that DHS is now working to fix that.  However, that’s not true either.  We already know that civil-liberties lawyers at DHS saw the report before it went out and objected to it.  DHS released it over their objections.  Obviously, a vetting process does exist; it just got overruled.  Who made the decision to send out the report over their objections?  Why didn’t the vetting process that apparently took place get taken seriously by senior DHS leadership?  Is it because they themselves believe what the report said about conservative positions on federalism and abortion?

There still seems to be an honesty problem at DHS, and there is still a personnel problem — at the very top.