Posted: April 20, 20091:00 am Eastern by Roger Hedgecock Â© 2009
The Bush Department of Homeland Security combined federal law enforcement and border protection functions to coordinate the fight against Islamic radicals after 9/11. Obama-appointed DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano has retasked the DHS to intimidate conservative political opinion.
This new mission for DHS came to light with my release last week of a leaked DHS threat "assessment" entitled "Right Wing Extremism" which had been sent (as the assessment itself stated) to all local, state and tribal law enforcement agencies â€“ some 800,000 officers.
The "assessment" defined violent "right-wing extremism" as including "individuals" who oppose abortion, gun control and illegal immigration, and asked local and state police to "scrutinize" such people.
After all the liberal attacks on Bush for shredding the Constitution, the Obama administration took the guns Bush trained on terrorists and turned those guns on conservative opponents.
Worse, the "assessment" also targeted veterans returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. These veterans were also to be subjected to "scrutiny" because they might be recruited, with all their combat skills, by militant right-wing extremist groups bent on violence.
Although the "assessment" admits that no such violence by veterans has been detected yet â€“ it could happen. The evidence? Tim McVeigh. Notwithstanding that McVeigh's fertilizer bomb was hardly the result of military training, Secretary Napolitano cited the Oklahoma City bomber as reason enough to watch all veterans as potential bombers.
The resultant firestorm included outraged letters from veterans groups and members of Congress. This forced Napolitano to issue a half-hearted apology by the end of last week. However, her "we have many veterans in the Department" apology rang hollow when it was revealed last Friday that the FBI itself was also targeting veterans for "scrutiny."
The Obama media sprang into action to defend the "assessment" and the administration. "Progressive" blogs and commentators quickly picked a theme of derision for conservative's concerns. As Jeane Garofalo stated to a beaming Keith Olbermann, those tea party protesters were white racists, and it wasn't about taxes or spending at all. The "assessment" was justified â€“ conservative political views were dangerous, and those holding them should be watched.
So much for civil liberties.
Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee was having none of it. In a scathing letter to Napolitano, the chairman said he was "dumbfounded" that such an "assessment" had been sent out. He asked the secretary for a review and whether the civil liberties section of Homeland Security had approved the "assessment."
It turns out that Secretary Napolitano had overruled the civil liberties section and ordered the "assessment" sent to local and state law enforcement agencies. Administration supporters quickly pointed out that in 2005, Rep. Thompson had requested and received a Homeland Security update on the threat of "right-wing extremists." I have reviewed that "assessment" and found that it focused on specific groups and specific violent actions.
Rep. Thompson had been consistent in both cases. He defended opinions (even "violent opinions") as constitutionally protected, but correctly saw violent actions as crime.
Janet Napolitano could not see, or make, the distinction. She is unqualified for the job. That's too kind. She is a menace to civil liberties.
Janet Napolitano â€“ you're fired!
Join the cause at: http://www.firenapolitano.com/