DHS report warns of rightwing extremism

Homeland Security is concerned that today's political and economic climate is similar to the one that inspired Timothy McVeigh.

Published April 14, 2009 2:30PM (EDT)

In a report produced earlier this month, but just leaked, the Department of Homeland Security warns that the political and economic climate today is similar to the one that fueled the militia movement -- and, eventually, the Oklahoma City bombing -- during the 1990s.

The intelligence assessment, which is being provided to federal, state and local law enforcement, notes that DHS "has no specific information that domestic rightwing terrorists are currently planning acts of violence." But it does say there may be a new wave of recruitment into extremist groups, as "the economic downturn and the election of the first African American president present unique drivers for rightwing radicalization and recruitment."

Among various factors identified in the document as possible catalysts for radicalization, DHS lists the economic downturn, the election of the first African-American president, fears that new restrictions on guns will be imposed, concern over illegal immigration and the usual worry about an impending "New World Order."

A DHS spokeswoman wasn't immediately available to comment to Salon about the report, but these sorts of reports are produced on a regular basis about left-wing groups, like environmental extremists, as well. It's unclear when work on this particular assessment began, but some reports say that it might have been in the works before Obama took office.

We've made the full report available for download in PDF form here.

By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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