BENNIE THOMPSON, NOW VS THEN…. Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi, one of Congress’ most conservative Democrats*, was quick to attach himself to the conservative criticism of the DHS report on fringe, right-wing extremists. Thompson, who happens to be the chair of the House Homeland Security Committee, said he’s “dumbfounded” by a report that “appears” to raise “significant” concerns about “privacy and civil liberties.”

Now, Thompson’s grandstanding on this is just silly, and his concerns are baseless. But what’s especially interesting about the Mississippi Democrat’s complaining is that he had a very different perspective on the issue not too long ago. Greg Sargent reports:

Naturally, a Democrat going along with the conservative assault on Obama’s alleged snooping on right-wingers was bound to get lots of media attention, and earned him a big plug on MSNBC this morning.

But as ranking member of the House Homeland Security Committee in 2005, Thompson put out a whole report calling on DHS to do more to crack down on right wing extremism. You can read the report right here.

“DHS must reassess the threat posed by right-wing domestic terrorists and revise its long term planning to address this risk,” the report warns. It adds that “the risk posed by right-wing extremists” should prompt DHS to “give higher priority to this threat.”

Yes, and when DHS followed Thompson’s advice, and reassessed the threat, Thompson went on the attack.


* Update: This was my error. I mistakenly identified Bennie Thompson as a Blue Dog Dem, which he is not. Calling Thompson one of Congress’ most conservative Democrats isn’t correct, and I regret the error.

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.