Posted by on June 08, 2011 in Blog

In 2009, after the leak of a Department of Homeland Security report entitled, "Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment," Presidential candidate Newt Gingrich tweeted "The person who drafted the outrageous homeland security memo smearing veterans and conservatives should be fired." Two years later, it appears Gingrich and the other critics of the report highlighting the threat posed by extremist elements of the right, seem to have gotten their way.   

In a troubling story in today's Washington Post, Jeffrey Smith examines DHS' emphasis on the threat of home-grown terror related to Islam while downplaying the risks posed by right-wing extremists. In response to the criticism of the 2009 report, it appears that the department has dramatically increased the number of staff and resources devoted to perceived threats from Muslims and the unit that produced the 2009 report has been "effectively eviscerated." This being the case even though a study produced for DHS found that the "majority of the 86 major foiled and executed terrorist plots in the United States from 1999 to 2009 were unrelated to al-Qaeda and allied movements."  

Smith interviewed the main author of the 2009 report, Daryl Johnson, for the story who left DHS last year after his office was "gutted" and he stated, “Other reports written by DHS about Muslim extremists … got through without any major problems. Ours went through endless reviews and edits, and nothing came out.” 

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