About that DHS report

ABOUT THAT DHS REPORT…. For the most part, the conservative apoplexy has faded in response to a Department of Homeland Security report on potentially-violent right-wing extremists. In April, the document was the springboard for a manufactured controversy, but Republicans and political reporters more or less gave up when it became clear the arguments were baseless and there was no reason for Secretary Janet Napolitano to resign.

Given the assassination of Dr. George Tiller yesterday in Kansas, however, it’s only natural to revisit the issue. Indeed, the DHS report was specifically about violent radicals — there were documents prepared on both right-wing and left-wing extremists — and it explored those who might do harm to physicians and/or medical facilities.

Given this, Mark Kleiman reminds us of the report’s relevance.

Remember how Republicans in Congress were all in a dither about the DHS report on right-wing extremist organizations as potential terrorist threats? The Tiller gunman was affiliated with at least two of those organizations. In addition to his connection with Operation Rescue, he was a tax protester, a “sovereign citizen,” and a member of the Freemen. Maybe someone should ask Rep. Peter King of New York (ranking Republican on the House Homeland Security Committee) and John Hinderaker of PowerLine whether they still consider the threat of right-wing terrorism to be mere Obama Administration fantasy. (That’s beside the fact that the report was ordered up during the Bush Administration.)

Greg Sargent added this morning, “[T]he general intent of the report, which was chock full of warnings about ‘lone wolf extremists’ capable of violence, now looks perfectly defensible, even reasonable.”

This really should have been apparent to the administration’s detractors in the midst of the “controversy.” There are some Americans on the fringes of society who are both radical and potentially dangerous. It only makes sense for the Department of Homeland Security to be cognizant of these threats, and communicate with state and local law enforcement agencies about the possibility of violence.

Yesterday was a painful reminder of this.