Buchanan entitled to vent and represent, not mislead
Today, US Rep. Vern Buchanan (FL 13) sent a letter to President Barack Obama expressing outrage at the content of a leaked DHS memo. As an introduction to the copy distributed to constituents this afternoon, Buchanan states the letter was sent “to the White House requesting that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) retract the baseless and offensive allegation that returning veterans can be easily lured into becoming domestic terrorists.”
He is not entitled to mislead his constituents by omitting content from his commentary that clearly refutes his opinion. Buchanan’s letter states, “There is no evidence to support this ridiculous and offensive allegation.” Per multiple news accounts, the DHS document in question also states:
- “The willingness of a small percentage of military personnel to join extremist groups during the 1990s because they were disgruntled, disillusioned or suffering from the psychological effects of war is being replicated today."
- “The current economic and political climate has some similarities to the 1990s when right-wing extremism experienced a resurgence fueled largely by an economic recession, criticism about the outsourcing of jobs and the perceived threat to U.S. power and sovereignty by other foreign powers,”
- “[a prolonged economic downturn] could create a fertile recruiting environment for rightwing extremists".
- "Rightwing extremists will attempt to recruit and radicalize returning veterans in order to exploit their skills and knowledge derived from military training and combat. These skills ... have the potential to boost the capabilities of extremists, including 'lone wolves or small terrorist cells', to carry out violence.”
- "Rightwing extremists have capitalized on the election of the first African-American president, and are focusing their efforts to recruit new members, mobilize existing supporters, and broaden their scope and appeal through propaganda, but they have not yet turned to attack planning…"
Does Buchanan know that it is the tax-paid job of the DHS to identify threats and threats of threats? When DHS information reveals a correlation between today’s economy, that of the early ‘90s and home-grown terrorism I expect DHS to do no less than ensure all law enforcement personnel are equally aware and vigilant. And I expect my elected Representatives to support DHS personnel in their efforts, unless and until they demonstrate wrongdoing. How else do we share the information, “Lessons Learned” and knowledge necessary to prevent another Waco or Oklahoma City?
I have a few positive action recommendations for my Representative Buchanan:
- Enlist veterans to read and seriously consider the DHS warning, and then use the shared experience of their community to harvest additional preventative actions DHS might take, including collaboration with Veteran’s organizations.
- Hold your vitriolic response until you learn the facts of today’s arrest of a Marine at Logan for having a firearm, ammunition, fuses, and detonators in the baggage he checked onto a commercial domestic flight.