Washington D.C., Apr 14, 2009 / 02:28 pm (CNA).- According to a Homeland Security Report distributed to law enforcement organizations, abortion opponents are as great a threat to national security in the immediate future as white supremacists. The nine-page document was sent to police and sheriff's departments across the country on April 7 under the headline, "Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment." The report is unclassified, but is accompanied by a warning that says it â€œcontains information that may be exempt from public release under the Freedom of Information Act.â€
The report was prepared by the Extremism and Radicalization Branch of the Department of Homeland Security and claims it was â€œcoordinated with the FBI.â€
â€œRightwing extremists,â€ the document says, â€œhave 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.â€
Nevertheless, according to the report, the combination of a prolonged economic downturn, the election of the first African American President and the return of many veterans with "combat skills" could create an environment similar to the early 90's, which lead to the Oklahoma City bombing.
The report describes "Rightwing extremism" broadly as â€œthose 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. It may include groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration.â€
Under the title â€œRevisiting the 1990s,â€ the report claims that â€œparalleling the current national climate, rightwing extremists during the 1990s exploited a variety of social issues and political themes to increase group visibility and recruit new members.â€
â€œProminent among these themes were the militia movementâ€™s opposition to gun control efforts, criticism of free trade agreements (particularly those with Mexico), and highlighting perceived government infringement on civil liberties as well as white supremacistsâ€™ longstanding exploitation of social issues such as abortion, inter-racial crimes, and same-sex marriage.â€
The report â€œis provided to federal, state, local, and tribal counterterrorism and law enforcement officials so they may effectively deter, prevent, preempt, or respond to terrorist attacks against the United States.â€