Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson - chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee - has written a letter to Janet Napolitano of the Department of Homeland Security complaining about their recently-released report warning about rightwing "extremists". Per this, in the letter he says that he's "dumbfounded" by the report, also saying:
"This report appears to raise significant issues involving the privacy and civil liberties of many Americans -- including war veterans... As I am certain you agree, freedom of association and freedom of speech are guaranteed to all Americans -- whether a person's beliefs, whatever their political orientation, are 'extremist' or not..."
UPDATE: Greg Sargent draws our attention  to the fact that back in 2005, Thompson released his own call "for the Department of Homeland Security to do More to Fight Right-Wing Domestic Terrorists" . For an unknown reason, the PDF link at that page no longer works. However, a copy is linked from this page.
What Sargent doesn't tell his readers is that that report is different from the latter in that it's much more specific about what exactly a domestic terrorist is, relying on the FBI's definition and focusing on actual violent acts rather than verging on trying to criminalize protected speech.
However, it does contain this worrisome quote:
There are several organizations, such as the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, the Anti-Defamation League, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs, the National Abortion Federation, and others with long-standing experience in monitoring rightwing domestic terrorist groups and assessing their danger. Congress or DHS should establish an advisory council of these groups in order to ensure that the Department has as much information as possible about the risks right-wing domestic terrorists pose.
Thu, 04/16/2009 - 04:12 · Importance: 4