The FBI and other government law-enforcement agencies have been convinced for a while that terrorism from extremist domestic organizations is just as dangerous as terrorism from foreign organizations, but efforts by authorities to detect and pre-empt violent extremists have faced serious legal and political hurdles, including free speech guarantees and pushback from political lobbies suspicious of the government’s motives
After learning that Wade Michael Page, a former Army veteran and white supremacist, was responsible for shooting six people at a Wisconsin Sikh temple, journalists and analysts noted that the FBI as well as other government law-enforcement agencies have been conviced for a while that terrorism from extremist domestic organizations is just as dangerous as terrorism from foreign organizations.
In April 2009 DHS secretary Janet Napolitano released a report (see the report here) identifying right-wing extremists as posing a terror threat to the United States. The 2009 DHS report was based on three FBI reports on the subject — from 2004, 2006, and 2007 — written under the guidance and supervision of the George W. Bush administration’s Justice Department (the term “right-wing” was used by the FBI in these reports), but as Reuters reports (also see this Los Angeles Times report and this Salon story), the 2009 report was met with criticism from conservative commentators and lawmakers, who said DHS was playing politics.
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