Burgess sends letter to DHS Sec. Napolitano

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Washington, Apr 17, 2009 | comments

Yesterday, U.S. Rep. Michael C. Burgess, M.D. sent the following letter to Janet Napolitano, Secretary of Homeland Security, in reference to this report. View the original letter, with signature here.

April 16,2009 

 

The Honorable Janet Napolitano

Secretary

United States Department of Homeland Security

108 Federal Office Building

Washington, DC 20502

 

Dear Secretary Napolitano:

 

            I am writing to express my concernsregarding a recent Department of Homeland Security (DHS) report entitled,"Rightwing Extremism:  Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgencein Radicalization and Recruitment."  This report claims to provide lawenforcement officials with the tools to help them deter, prevent, preempt, orrespond to terrorist attacks against the UnitedStates.  I understand the purpose of sharedintelligence, however, I am concerned that by broadly characterizing those whosupport a conservative ideology with terrorism the DHS may have mischaracterizedand offended several million Americans and placed them at risk of profiling bylaw enforcement officials. 

            This report states, "The Economic downturnand the election of the first African American president present unique driversfor rightwing radicalization and recruitment."   The report goes on to connectassociations with right-leaning ideology with the Oklahoma City bombing, themurder of law enforcement officials, bank robbery, attacks on infrastructure,and racism and bigotry in general.   

            This report claims that "high unemploymentleads to alienation, increasing an individual's susceptibility to extremistideas."  This report appears to claim that high unemployment among Caucasians,Christians, Second Amendment supporters, and Armed Forces Veterans has a causalrelationship with radicalism and violence against the state.  I call intoquestion this underlying assumption and baseless claim.  The implication thatveterans returning home from serving our country are at risk of becomingdomestic terrorists or assassins is sensational at best and is dishonorable anddisrespectful to their service. 

            Profiling based on race, ethnicity,religious beliefs, or life experiences is always wrong.  I believe theDepartment of Homeland Security owes an apology to the Americans that areoffended by this report, especially the men and women of our Armed Forces. Furthermore, the Department should rescind this report so those local, state,and federal law enforcement officials who received it are not compelled toprofile individuals as terrorists simply because they associate themselves withconservative organizations.   

            I urge you to enact these recommendations onbehalf of the constituents of the 26th District of Texas. 

 

                                                                       Sincerely,

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                                                                       Michael C. Burgess, M.D. 

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