Friday, April 17, 2009

DHS Assessment on Veterans

There is a slight furor from several Veterans and Right Wing groups over the recent Department of Homeland Security assessment which was sent to law enforcement on extremists. The federal Homeland Security Department document entitled “Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Environment Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment” contains such targets as veterans, folks anticipating additional restrictions to their Second Amendment rights, and those concerned about the loss of U.S. sovereignty.

This report implies that one harboring passionate opinions on these topics may be a potential terrorism suspect. Some of the comments and gist of what is being said on the right

The agency’s intelligence assessment, sent to law enforcement officials last week, warns that right-wing extremists could use the bad state of the U.S. economy and the election of the country’s first black president to recruit members.

The assessment also said that returning military veterans who have difficulties assimilating back into their home communities could be susceptible to extremist recruiters or might engage in lone acts of violence.

In looking through the report highlights I’d have to say the assessment kind of unfairly characterizes military veterans as right-wing extremists. I am conservative, but not an extremist (at least I don’t think so) BUT it also renders an assessment of other potential threats in its own clumsy manner. To me, the report reflects poorly on the agency. The fact that it is out reflects a security concern. It does not bode well for the effectiveness of this agency run by Janet Napolitano.

Napolitano defended the assessment and others issued by the agency.

“Let me be very clear — we monitor the risks of violent extremism taking root here in the United States,” Napolitano said in a statement. “We don’t have the luxury of focusing our efforts on one group; we must protect the country from terrorism whether foreign or homegrown, and regardless of the ideology that motivates its violence.”

Well, Janet – if by some really freaky chance your reading this blog as part of your agencies monitoring effort…I want the 2nd amendment preserved and I am watching my government. I’m a proud veteran that has not forgotten my vow to defend the country despite the fact that I may be watched as a potential radical by that same government.

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