August 22nd, 2009 18:44 EST
Domestic Terror Recruits Disgruntled Military Veterans an Intelligence Analysts Fantasy
A commentary on the recent DHS intelligence assessment alerting Law Enforcement to the possibility that right-wing domestic terror groups may recruit disgruntled veterans returning from conflict.
This commentary notes a distinct lack of historical precedent for such an assessment and also points out the singular focus of the assessment as being based on the Timothy McVeigh Oklahoma Bombing (a case in which the new head of DHS previously worked) Reading the Department of Homeland Security`s assessment Rightwing Extremism "reminds me so much of the Yogi Berra quote It`s like dÃ©jÃ vu all over again". As a young enlisted Marine in the post-Vietnam Marine Corps, I observed a huge cacophony of high level hand-wringing and hysterical angst over the inevitable prospect that racial tension and division in the Corps and Country would lead to huge numbers of disgruntled Marines flocking to the KKK. Low and behold, in 1976 a Klan Den was discovered at Camp Pendleton, California. It was disbanded and the whole issue was ended with a grand air of finality. A Marine Corps wide program was put in place to promote racial harmony and to ensure that this situation never occur again.
However, the entire story was not quite as it seemed. The Klan Den was allegedly sixteen Marines from a force of over fifty thousand. The reality was three Marines who participated in a David Duke Border Watch Klan event. The threat "from veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan will prove to be the same" a minimally small fraction of a percentage of those who are serving or who have served. To expend high-powered intelligence analysis on such a minuscule threat potential is ludicrous and has no factual basis. In fact, it borders on fraud, waste and abuse of government resources. Secretary Napolitano`s intelligence department seems to have been sniffing the rarified air wafting off the Potomac. The entire assessment has no specific mention of a known threat from our veteran community. The assessment uses words like may "or possible" or could" when couching the framework of the veteran threat. The opening Key Finding" in the assessment admits that there is no specific information that domestic rightwing terrorists are currently planning acts of violence.
In the ten page assessment any specific linking of a veteran and a domestic rightwing-terror group winds its way down a single path to Timothy McVeigh and the Oklahoma Bombing. Other mention of veterans in the assessment talks of lone wolf extremist "acts by returning disgruntled veterans (another veiled reference to McVeigh). There are more lone wolf" sightings in this assessment than there are in Yellowstone each year. As an intelligence assessment it says nothing specific and admits to having no intelligence information on which to issue such a warning.
So what is this assessment really all about? Well, as you all will recall, Secretary Napolitano served as the Arizona US Attorney in the Clinton Administration. As such she was heavily involved in the investigation of Michael Fortier who was associated with the Oklahoma Bombing. So let me paint a picture here. As Secretary Napolitano takes over Homeland Security, she expresses her concern that there are more McVeigh`s out there and they need to be identified and watched. Her ambitious but naÃ¯ve intelligence department leap into high gear, anxious to impress the new boss, and produce a nebulous and drifty assessment that vaguely suggests a possible link that veterans might, maybe, kinda sorta be recruited by domestic terror groups because they say so.
As a retired military professional and as a former member of the Department of Homeland Security I maintain that the assessment is faulty in so many ways that this article would not be an appropriate forum for amplification. I do contend that our DHS intelligence assets need to focus in a different direction than towards our beloved veterans returning from the defense of our nation. I will suggest other possible areas of interest for Secretary Napolitano`s high-powered intelligence terror detector beam ":
o Sheikh Mubarak Gilani`s Soldiers of Allah "training camps in the USA (35 and counting)
o Post 9/11 Al Qaeda terrorist cells in USA. The 9/11 act of terror required a large terrorist cell structure to plan and implement. The logistics support alone would have conservatively consisted of dozens of terrorist cells. Very few cells members were caught in the post 9/11 terror actions by the US because the terror cell infrastructure makes detection and capture very difficult in a society with democratic protections
o How about something easier and closer to the beltway? The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors asking the State Department for guidance on whether to lease more land to the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia for the operation of the Islamic Saudi Academy. The reason for this unprecedented request to the State Department:
Fairfax County is not capable of determining whether textbooks, written in Arabic, contain language that promotes violence or religious intolerance or is otherwise offensive to the interests of the United States."
And now I will leave you with another quote from the inestimable Yogi:
The future ain`t what it used to be. "