Diary

Napolitano passes buck on "rightwing extremism" report

DHS chief Janet Napolitano appeared before the House Homeland Security Committee yesterday, and it was a man-caused disaster. She announced that DHS was withdrawing its report on “rightwing extremism”, but not without some buck-passing:

“An employee sent it out without authorization.”

That would be her unnamed employee who did that. A person who actually had political courage would have taken responsibility for distributing such a thing, but not Janet. Then she tried to spin her way out:

“It was an assessment, not an accusation.”

But Pennsylvania Democrat Christopher Carney would have none of it:

“It didn’t say that.”

So Napolitano backtracked:

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

Later on, Napolitano was caught in a falsehood:

It had not even completed its vetting process within the department.

Untrue. Civil rights employees in her own department had already vetted the report and found it wanting. Despite their objections, it was pushed out the door, and the rest is history. Unlike the earlier “leftwing extremism” report, the “rightwing extremism” report mentioned no actual threats and identified no specific groups with histories of violent action. Those groups are out there, and I don’t doubt that they have attempted to recruit military veterans, among others. But instead, the DHS report defined “rightwing extremist” so broadly that any single-issue advocate or veteran could be perceived as a violent threat to the U.S. It was fact-starved nonsense.

Napolitano did say that “appropriate personnel action is being taken,” which I suppose is a good thing, but I would suggest that President Obama take appropriate personnel action and fire her ass.