Federal Lawsuit Filed Against Janet Napolitano Over Homeland Security’s Rightwing Extremism Policy
Thursday, April 16, 2009
ANN ARBOR, MI – The Thomas More Law Center, a national public interest law firm based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, announced today that it has filed a federal lawsuit against Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. The lawsuit claims that her Department’s “Rightwing Extremism Policy, ” as reflected in the recently publicized Intelligence Assessment, “Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment, ” violates the civil liberties of combat veterans as well as American citizens by targeting them for disfavored treatment on account of the political beliefs.
Michigan’s US Representative Pete Hoekstra, the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, today asked the Director of National Intelligence ombudsman to investigate the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Intelligence and Analysis report on “right-wing extremism” for evidence of unsubstantiated conclusions and political bias.
The confidential memorandum/report states that the election of America’s first black president and the return of a few disgruntled war veterans could swell the ranks of “white-power militias.”
An addendum attached to the report by DHS’s Intelligence and Analysis Office defines “right-wing extremism in the United States” as including not just racist or hate groups, but also groups that reject federal authority in favor of state or local authority.
“It may include groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single-issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration,” the memo states.
The House Intelligence Committee is responsible for authorizing funding for DHS Intelligence and Analysis and conducting oversight of the office. Hoekstra sent his letter to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and copied Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair. The DNI Ombudsman’s office is responsible for reviewing concerns about the quality and potential politicization of intelligence analysis.
Hoekstra was dismayed by the report’s sweeping generalizations about returning combat veterans and the suggestion that they would be susceptible to joining violent extremist groups. Hoekstra, who has sponsored a Constitutional Amendment to protect the rights of parents to raise their children, was also disappointed by the report’s assertion without substantiation that unemployed parents may foster “rightwing extremist” beliefs in their children.
“Beyond apologizing for its obviously offensive references, the administration needs to get to the bottom of how and why a report like this was written, and put standards in place to keep it from happening again,” Hoekstra said.
“This report has significant analytic shortcomings and does not deserve to be called an intelligence product,” Hoekstra said. “Our nation’s veterans and hardworking families that may be facing tough times should not be viewed as a threat and neither should citizens who oppose out-of-control federal spending and tax hikes.”
DHS Secretary Napolitano eventually did release a half-hearted apology to the American Legion, whose officials took exception to the tone of her document regarding military.