Fake Outrage Over 2009 DHS Report on Right Wing Extremism Crippled Agency’s Ability to Fight It
What is most troubling is how so many people, especially DHS, rolled for these fake outrages. Just as Congress quickly destroyed ACORN in the wake of James O’Keefe’s dishonest videos, or Shirley Sherrod was quickly fired from her job at the Department of Agriculture in the wake of Andrew Breitbart’s disgustingly false article, DHS yanked their very important report on the potential rise of right wing extremist violence once the usual suspects started whining about how conservatives were being persecuted.
Why do sane and responsible people let crazy people do this???
However, the Department of Homeland Security’s ability to monitor anti-government fanatics, who have carried out far more lethal attacks on Americans in recent years than Islamic extremists, was severely crippled during the 2009 dispute over a Department of Homeland Security report [PDF] on domestic right-wing terrorists.
As we’ve reported, Republican politicians and conservative activists alleged that the report focused on a non-existent threat and would be used by the government to mark all conservatives, particularly Christians, gun owners and veterans, as terrorists.
The Right saw an opportunity to stir up a fake controversy in order to raise money, reinforce the narrative of conservative activists as victims and provoke animosity toward President Obama. In the process they helped make it harder for DHS to investigate a very real threat to American security.
Under pressure, Homeland Security retracted the report and ended up “gutting” the very unit combating such threats. Ironically, the author of the report was actually a conservative Republican Mormon who saw his team “dissolved” due to the criticism.
The report [PDF] specifically assessed “lone wolves” that hold “violent rightwing extremist ideology” as “the most dangerous domestic terrorism threat in the United States” bent on “commit[ing] violent acts,” noting that “white supremacist lone wolves pose the most significant domestic terrorist threat because of their low profile and autonomy.”