The U.S. Department of Homeland Security says right-wing extremists in
the United States could use the economic recession and the election of
the country's first black president to recruit new members.
an intelligence report issued to law enforcement agencies last week,
DHS said it has no specific information that right-wing terrorists are
planning an attack.
But the report warned that home
foreclosures, unemployment and an inability to obtain credit "could
create a fertile recruiting environment."
It said extremists
might seek out the skills of returning military veterans, especially
those having trouble fitting back into society. It also pointed to
proposed gun restrictions as a draw for new recruits to right-wing
Some conservative commentators have spoken out against
the warning, saying it is an effort to criminalize political dissent
and block free speech. The American Legion veterans group, with 2.6
million members, expressed concern and said the report was "incomplete."
American Legion says using a single military veteran, Timothy McVeigh,
who carried out the Oklahoma City bombing that killed 168 people in
1995, as an example of a "disgruntled military veteran" is as unfair as
using al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden as the sole example of Islam.
a statement, Homeland Security chief Janet Napolitano said her agency
monitors the risks of violent extremism taking root in the United
States and that the document is "one in an ongoing series of
assessments." She said the government takes seriously its
responsibility to protect the civil rights and liberties of the
Napolitano said she will meet with the
commander of the American Legion next week to tell him that her agency
honors veterans and employs thousands of them.
Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.