Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano responded today to widespread criticism of a leaked domestic intelligence report that warns local law enforcement agencies to be on guard for right-wing extremist groups seeking new recruits amid the nation’s economic troubles.
“Let me be very clear: we monitor the risks of violent extremism taking root here in the United States,” Napolitano said in a written statement issued by DHS. “We don’t have the luxury of focusing our efforts on one group; we must protect the country from terrorism whether foreign or homegrown, and regardless of the ideology that motivates its violence.”
The department’s Office of Intelligence and Analysis distributed the report to state and local law enforcement on April 7. It regularly publishes intelligence analyses on domestic and international threats to the nation’s borders and infrastructure.
The report earned the furor of Republican lawmakers, conservatives and veterans groups because while it does not cite any specific threats, it states among other things that: “The possible passage of new restrictions on firearms and the return of military veterans facing significant challenges reintegrating into their communities could lead to the potential emergence of terrorist groups or lone wolf extremists capable of carrying out violent attacks.”