ALG Files FOIA Request on DHS “Right-wing Extremism” Memo, Calls Department Investigation a “Witch Hunt”  

April 17th, 2009, Fairfax, VA—Americans for Limited Government President Bill Wilson today filed a Freedom of Information request demanding all documents related to the drafting of the controversial “right-wing extremism” memo.

“The American people have a right to know why the Department of Homeland Security is drafting political documents, by what process these documents were drafted, who was responsible for writing them, and who authorized it,” said Wilson.

Wilson believes that the memo “deliberately and unjustly targets mainstream political constituencies and unjustly labels their beliefs as ‘extremist.’”

“The American people are not the enemy,” Wilson declared. “The only thing extreme is a government agency using the power of law to create boogeymen.”

In defining “rightwing extremism,” the Department of Homeland Security memo targets “groups, movements, and adherents… that are mainly antigovernment, rejecting federal authority in favor of state or local authority” and “groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration.”

Said Wilson, “The memo describes beliefs held by millions, I believe a vast majority, of Americans as ‘extremist,’ and promises to work with ‘its state and local partners over the next several months’ to determine the extent and factors driving this purported ‘rise.’”

“It is apparent that DHS is monitoring political speech and thought, whether on the Internet or via other forms of communications,” said Wilson.

Wilson says that the memo makes the accusations all the more chilling by not saying which groups are being investigated. “What is so disturbing, and why Americans across the country should be alarmed, is that the memo does not mention any specifics as to what groups or individuals are currently being investigated.”

Wilson notes that in similar memos, the names of terrorist organizations are often listed with specificity.

“It is unclear what, exactly, the Department is actually investigating in this case. It lists numerous potential motivations, mostly ideological, for violent acts, but does not illuminate on any actual planned attacks or any groups known to be planning attacks, or any groups with histories of perpetrating attacks that are currently conducting any types of operational recruitment, meeting, or planning attacks,” said Wilson.

“Which is, by definition, a witch hunt,” Wilson concluded.

Enclosed Materials:
Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Request to Department of Homeland Security

Interview Availability: Please contact Alex Rosenwald at (703)383-0880 or at to arrange an interview with ALG President Bill Wilson.