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Federal agency warns of radicals on right
“It is unclear if either bill will be passed into law; nonetheless, a correlation may exist between the potential passage of gun control legislation and increased hoarding of ammunition, weapons stockpiling, and paramilitary training activities among rightwing extremists,” the report said.
The FBI was quoted Monday as saying that, since November, more than 7 million people have applied for criminal background checks in order to buy weapons.
The Homeland Security report added: “Over the past five years, various rightwing extremists, including militias and white supremacists, have adopted the immigration issue as a call to action, rallying point, and recruiting tool.”
The report could signify a change in emphasis for Homeland Security under former Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano. A German magazine quoted Ms. Napolitano as rebranding “terrorism” as “man-made disasters.” Since its inception in 2003, the department has focused primarily on radicalization of Muslims and the prospect of homegrown Islamist terrorism.
In January, the same DHS office released a report titled “Leftwing extremists likely to increase use of cyber attacks over the coming decade.”
“These types of reports are published all the time. There have actually been some done on the other end of the spectrum, left-wing,” Ms. Kuban said.
A similar headline was used in a report issued in January, Ms. Kuban said, although she could not provide the content of the headline.
Ms. Kuban said she did not know how long the new report had been in the making.
“The purpose of the report is to identify risk. This is nothing unusual,” said Ms. Kuban, who added that the Homeland Security Department did this “to prevent another Tim McVeigh from ever happening again.”
The Homeland Security assessment specifically says that “rightwing extremists will attempt to recruit and radicalize returning veterans in order to exploit their skills and knowledge derived from military training and combat.”
Jerry Newberry, director of communications for the Veterans of Foreign Wars, said the vast majority of veterans are patriotic citizens who would not join anti-government militias.
“As far as our military members go, I think that the military is a melting pot of society. So you might get a few, a fractional few, who are going to be attracted by militia groups and other right-wing extremists,” he said.
“We have to remember that the people serving in our military are volunteers, they do it because they love their country, and they believe in what our country stands for,” he said. “They spent their time in the military defending our Constitution, so the vast majority of them would be repulsed by the hate groups discussed in this report.”
The Homeland Security report cited a 2008 FBI report that noted that a small number of returning military veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have joined extremist groups.
The FBI report said that from October 2001 through May 2008 “a minuscule” number of veterans, 203 out of 23,000, had joined groups such as the Ku Klux Klan, Aryan Nations, the National Socialist Movement, the Creativity Movement, the National Alliance and some skinhead groups.
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