One would think that after Bush dismissed the “Bin Laden Determined to Strike Inside the United States” intelligence memo in August of 2001, Republicans might have learned that ideologically inconvenient intelligence should not be ignored just because it’s, well, ideologically inconvenient.
And you’d be wrong. A report issued April 7, 2009 by the Office of Intelligence and Analysis Assessment (a part of the Dept. of Homeland Security) entitled (U//FOUO) Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment starts with this sentence: “This product is one of a series of intelligence assessments published by the Extremism and Radicalization Branch to facilitate a greater understanding of the phenomenon of violent radicalization in the United States.”
Conservative and Rightwing commentators, as well as Republicans, including new House Speaker John Boehner, roundly criticized the report. As a result of this Conservative backlash against the report, “…Not only was [the report] buried, the actual unit which created it was disemboweled,” said Brian Levin, a professor of criminal justice and the director of the Center for the Study of Hate & Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino.”(1)
One of the red herrings that Republicans use to excuse their outrage is comments in the report similar to this “…DHS/I&A is concerned that rightwing extremists will attempt to recruit and radicalize returning veterans in order to boost their violent capabilities.” Personally, I don’t think that’s offensive. That’s a recognition of the reality that trained military personnel and combat veterans (like Timothy McVey, for instance), if radicalized and recruited by potentially violent groups, pose a very real threat to domestic peace and security.
What strikes me as most interesting here is that the 10 page report (which I’ve read) doesn’t specifically mention Republicans, Tea Partiers, Conservative commentators, vitriolic and inflammatory speech or any of the things that you might expect had Rightwingers upset. What the report does mention specifically are, variously, white supremacists, violent antigovernment groups, Rightwing extremists, and “groups, movements, and adherents that are primarily hate-oriented (based on hatred of particular religious, racial or ethnic groups), and those that are mainly antigovernment, rejecting federal authority in favor of state or local authority, or rejecting government authority entirely [i.e., anarchists – Mike]. It may include groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration.”(2, bottom of page 2)
So let’s get this straight… The Republicans, Conservatives and Rightwing commentators are all worked up and upset about the report on behalf of white supremacists, violent antigovernment groups, Rightwing extremists, and groups, movements, and adherents that are primarily hate-oriented (based on hatred of particular religious, racial or ethnic groups), and those that are mainly – to use my shorthand, which is backed up by definitions – anarchists.
Am I the only one that sees something wrong with this picture? Are these the ilk that one of our major political parties feels need defending? Does that suggest that the GOP sees these potential enemies of our nation as their … um … constituents?
If the GOP and their like-minded supporters are defending such people and groups, what does that make them?
The Missed Warning Signs: A 2009 study warned that the rise of right-wing extremism could spur violent attacks. But the report was attacked by Republicans, including now-Speaker John Boehner. – Newsweek
(U//FOUO) Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment – Federation of American Scientists
DHS Report in 2009 Warned of “Lone Wolf” Attacks: Long Before Tucson, Government Warned of Extremists – The Center for Public Integrity