Seven Republican Senators have this week signed a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano asking for the proof upon which the Department of Homeland Security based its outrageously accusatory report on so-called rightwing extremism in the Untied States.
The seven scold the DHS and the Obama administration for its over-broad generalizations that seem to assume that nearly half the electorate is prone to becoming terrorists merely because they hold right of center political views.
The letter alludes to the central point in this whole episode: that the U.S. government has now determined that the traditional American beliefs of small government and adherence to the Constitution is now suddenly a determinant in forming citizens into homegrown terrorist groups. After 200 years, all of a sudden believing in run-of-the-mill American beliefs makes you a terrorist! These seven Senators want to know why.
Text of the Letter:
Dear Secretary Napolitano,
We write today regarding the release of the Department of homeland Security (DHS) report entitled “Rightwing Extremism Current Economic and Policial Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment” and prepared by the Extremism and Radicalization Branch of the Homeland Environment Threat Analysis Division.
While we agree that extremists of all varieties represent a potential threat to the United States, we are troubled by some of the statements included as fact in the report titled above.
First, your report states that “rightwing extremists will attempt to recruit and radicalize returning veterans in order to exploit their skills and knowledge derived from military training and combat.” Using the DHS rationale, do you also believe that weapons familiarity and tactical training means local, state, and federal law enforcement personnel, and members of the National Guard, are also being recruited? To suggest that a soldier returning from a combat tour is more prone to join an extremist group is unconscionable and insulting to our brave men and women who risk their lives protecting our freedom.
Second, the report states that the millions of Americans who believe in the Second Amendment are a potential threat to our national security. Why? Do you have statistics to prove that the law-abiding Americans who purchase a legal product are being recruited by so-called hate groups? If so, please present us with DHS’s independent data.
Third, the report identifies those individuals who believe in such issues as pro-life legislation, limited government, legal versus illegal immigration and limited federal government as potential terrorist threats. We can assure you that these beliefs are held by citizens of all races, party affiliations and sex, and should not be listed as a factor in determining potential terror threats. A better way to describe them is as citizens exercising their First Amendment rights.
Also, you listed those who bemoan the decline of U.S. stature and the loss of U.S. manufacturing capability to China and India as being potential rightwing extremists. We would suggest that the millions of Americans who have lost their jobs in the manufacturing industry to foreign countries are no potential terror threats, but rather, honest Americans worried about feeding their families and earning a paycheck. Once again, to classify Americans who have lost their jobs as potential terror threats does a disservice to millions of Americans.
In closing, we support the mission of the DHS in protecting our country from terror attacks and are proud of the many DHS employees who make it possible, in conjunction with our state and local law enforcement. We ask that DHS not use this report as a basis to unfairly target millions of Americans because of their beliefs and the rights afforded to them in the Constitution, and that you provide us with the data that supports the claims listed in the report titled above.
David Vitter (R, Louis.)
Sam Brownback (R, Kansas)
Jim Demint (R, So Car.)
Tom Cobrun (R, Oklahoma)
Richard Burr (R, No. Car.)
Lisa Murkowski (R, Alaska)
James Inhofe (R, Oklahoma)
Let’s hope that far more than a mere seven Congressmen find this “report” more than a little distasteful.
(A pdf file of the letter can be downloaded here)