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Posted at 03:27 PM ET, 03/07/2011

The limited scope of Rep. Peter King’s ‘radical’ hearings

In defending his upcoming hearing on homegrown Muslim terrorists and "radical Islam," Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) said yesterday that Attorney General Eric Holder "is not saying he's staying awake at night because of what's coming from anti-abortion demonstrators or coming from environmental extremists or from Neo-Nazis. It's the radicalization right now in the Muslim community." That may be true about Holder. But there's no question the federal government is concerned about right-wing and left-wing terrorists. In fact, there are two reports to prove it.

King, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, has blinders on when it comes to home-grown extremism. While he is right to worry about and call attention to radicalization grabbing a foothold among some in the Muslim community, King has ignored or eviscerated evidence of other forms of Made-in-the-U.S.A radicalism.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano came under unrelenting (and unfair, I might add) criticism from King and other Republicans for a report requested by the Bush administrationand released in April 2009 entitled, "Right Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment."

DHS: Rightwing Extremism report

The assessment warned that the economic downturn and the historic election of the first black president were factors in the revival of right-wing extremism not seen since the days before the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995. And it warned that "lone wolves," the particularly unhinged who take action on their anti-establishment, anti-government views, was a particular concern. (Think Austin and Tucson.) And it noted that "disgruntled military veterans" were ripe targets for extremist recruiters because of their training and expertise.

King and the Republican leadership declared the clear-eyed report "offensive," an attack on conservatives, and they demanded answers from Napolitano. Somehow they missed "Leftwing Extremists Likely to Increase
Use of Cyber Attacks over the Coming Decade," a DHS report released three months earlier on Jan. 26.

Based on an analysis of previous limited attacks, both cyber and noncyber, and on the prospective growing advantages of cyber attacks in the future, DHS/I&A judges that potential targets likely will expand to include a broader set of organizations and critical infrastructure that extremists associate with harming animals and degrading the natural environment, as well as icons of capitalism and authority.

So, we have right-wing extremists who want to destabilize if not overthrow the government and left-wing extremists who want to destabilize if not destroy the social order and said government's financial underpinings. Pity King can't work up the same ferocity for these radicals that he has for those who pervert a religion to justify similar mayhem.

By  |  03:27 PM ET, 03/07/2011

 
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