It's one thing to survive an unhinged media; much more alarming is when the government itself goes bonkers. And there's no better description of the new report of the (deep breath) Extremism and Radicalization Branch, Homeland Environment Threat Analysis Division of the Department of Homeland Security, which is titled "Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment." These are the report's "Key Findings" (pages 2-3, classification descriptors and footnotes omitted):
The DHS/Office of Intelligence and Analysis (I&A) has no specific information that domestic rightwing* terrorists are currently planning acts of violence, but rightwing extremists may be gaining new recruits by playing on their fears about several emergent issues. The economic downturn and the election of the first African American president present unique drivers for rightwing radicalization and recruitment.According to the Washington Times, "The White House has distanced itself from the analysis." But wait--didn't Obama promise to be both open and accountable? Whatever.-- Threats from white supremacist and violent antigovernment groups during 2009 have been largely rhetorical and have not indicated plans to carry out violent acts. Nevertheless, the consequences of a prolonged economic downturn--including real estate foreclosures, unemployment, and an inability to obtain credit--could create a fertile recruiting environment for rightwing extremists and even result in confrontations between such groups and government authorities similar to those in the past.The current economic and political climate has some similarities to the 1990s when rightwing extremism experienced a resurgence fueled largely by an economic recession, criticism about the outsourcing of jobs, and the perceived threat to U.S. power and sovereignty by other foreign powers.
-- Rightwing extremists have capitalized on the election of the first African American president, and are focusing their efforts to recruit new members, mobilize existing supporters, and broaden their scope and appeal through propaganda, but they have not yet turned to attack planning.-- During the 1990s, these issues contributed to the growth in the number of domestic rightwing terrorist and extremist groups and an increase in violent acts targeting government facilities, law enforcement officers, banks, and infrastructure sectors.The possible passage of new restrictions on firearms and the return of military veterans facing significant challenges reintegrating into their communities could lead to the potential emergence of terrorist groups or lone wolf extremists capable of carrying out violent attacks.
-- Growth of these groups subsided in reaction to increased government scrutiny as a result of the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing and disrupted plots, improvements in the economy, and the continued U.S. standing as the preeminent world power.-- Proposed imposition of firearms restrictions and weapons bans likely would attract new members into the ranks of rightwing extremist groups, as well as potentially spur some of them to begin planning and training for violence against the government. The high volume of purchases and stockpiling of weapons and ammunition by rightwing extremists in anticipation of restrictions and bans in some parts of the country continue to be a primary concern to law enforcement.
-- Returning veterans possess combat skills and experience that are attractive to rightwing extremists. DHS/I&A is concerned that rightwing extremists will attempt to recruit and radicalize returning veterans in order to boost their violent capabilities.
Anyway, I'll forgo extensive analysis--Powerline, Michelle Malkin and others have already "Fisked" the document. Just a few points:
- Why would one expect "right wing" extremists to be more radicalized by a recession than left-wingers?
- The anti-military bigotry is unsurprising, but still a vile slander.
- With the threat of an unconstitutional gun ban (for those outside DC who can own more than merely a revolver), what's wrong with stockpiling weapons? And--outside of naked speculation--why is that evidence of possible anti-government violence?