The Politicization of the Department of Homeland Security

The recently released Department of Homeland Security assessment of rightwing extremism represents an alarming politicization of that huge federal agency.

The 10-pages document is entitled: "Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment."  Its source is the Extremism and Radicalization Branch of the Office of Intelligence and Analysis Assessment, of the Department of Homeland Security.  (Imagine the size of their security badges.) Read it here.

American Thinker Jim Byrd's article entitled "Is Texas A Terror State?" provides a catalogue of transgressions that cumulatively define rightwing extremism. Byrd concludes that, when measured against Governor Rick Perry and Texas, the Lone Star State is solidly in the rightwing extremism column.  (Excluding Kinky Friedman, of course.)

American Thinker Lance Fairchok's article entitled "DHS, 'Rightwing Extremism' and Information Warfare" places the DHS document in the context of information warfare.

Next, let's crawl into the weeds of this "amateurish" (Fairchok's accurate assessment) intelligence analysis, and examine its literary style.

First, its language is replete with vague and unsubstantiated hypothetical statements. Here are just seven examples. 

1.  "may"  - "It is unclear if either bill [concerning mandatory firearm registration, and tagging and registration of ammunition] will be passed into law; nonetheless, a correlation may exist between the potential passage of gun control legislation and increased hoarding of ammunition..." (p. 6) (Or, folks are just frightened.)

2.  "may" -  "Because debates over constitutional rights are intense, and parties on all sides have deeply held, sincere, but vastly divergent beliefs, violent extremists may attempt to co-opt the debate and use the controversy as a radicalization tool."  (Like what ACORN did with the AIG executive homes tour?)

3.  "potential" - "High unemployment, however, has the potential to lead to alienation, thus increasing an individual's susceptibility to extremist ideas." (p. 4) (Might those also be leftwing extremist ideas, too?)

4.  "potential" - "DHS/I&A assesses that rightwing extremist groups' frustration over a perceived lack of government action on illegal immigration has the potential to incite individuals and small groups toward violence." (p. 5) (Greater than the collective violence committed by illegal immigrants now held in federal prisons? And what's "perceived"- as though this perception is not reality - about millions of illegal immigrants living in the U.S. anyway?)  

5.  "could" - "Nevertheless, the consequences of a prolonged economic downturn...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. (p. 2) (And the implied long list of those confrontations from the past is found where exactly?)

6.  "could" - "Rightwing extremist paranoia of foreign regimes could escalate or be magnified in the event of an economic crisis or military confrontation, harkening back to the ‘New World Order' conspiracy theories of the 1990's." (p. 6) (Refresh our memories, what were all those criminal acts that the NWO conspiracy theorists committed?)

7. "potentially" - A prominent civil rights organization [Which one?] reported in 2006 that large numbers [How many is large?] of potentially violent neo-Nazi, skinheads, and other white supremacists are now learning the art of warfare in the [U.S.] armed forces." (p. 7) (The lingering impact of Timothy McVeigh whose motives remain unclear.)

Secondly, it's full of vague and hypothetical assertions based on anecdotal and dated examples from the mid 1990's, with just a sprinkling of more current events.

Ruby Ridge, Waco, the Pittsburg head case who recently killed three policemen (No mention of the gunman who killed four policemen in Oakland. Didn't fit the template, did it?). Three rightwing militia members arrested in Battle Creek Michigan with weapons. In 1996.

So, what was the comparable social trauma behind the mid 90's events?  (The analysts missed citing the kidnapping of the Lindbergh baby.

Lastly, the timing of the release of this document near April 15 is, well, it's suspicious.  Using the DHS/I&A intelligence assessment composition model:

The possible correlation between the release of this report shortly before the scheduled rightwing-related Tea Parties could indicate an effort by some to potentially distract attention away from the legitimate protests of April 15 against federal taxes in a way similar to the 1998 bombing of a Sudanese aspirin factory. 

A long time ago, a young, U.S. Army, counterintelligence agent submitted reports to a hardscrabble, retired, master sergeant for his review and editing.  It was the rare report that didn't bounce back covered with words lined-out in red ink, and comments scribbled in the margins like "Says who?" "How do you know that?" "Prove it."

If he edited the DHS/I&A's intelligence assessment, it'd come back looking like a CSI crime scene.