ALG Demands Napolitano Resign from DHS Over Use of “Kook Website” in Intelligence Gathering 

August 12th, 2009, Fairfax, VA—Americans for Limited Government President Bill Wilson today demanded that Department of Homeland Security (DHS) chief Janet Napolitano resign her post for the Department’s use of what Wilson called a “crackpot conspiracy website” in drafting and then issuing a controversial “right-wing extremism” threat assessment to law enforcement in April.

Included 11 times in DHS’ response to ALG’s freedom of information request as a source for the report was the website, www.whatdoesitmean.com, a “news service” that recently reported that a scientist had destroyed a “radio to God.”

“Janet Napolitano must resign immediately from her post at Homeland Security over this outrage,” said Wilson, adding that, “The Department of Homeland Security used a kook website to indict the American people in drafting the ‘rightwing extremism’ memo.  Its use in intelligence gathering was deplorable and highly dubious, not mention insulting to the tens of millions of Americans who were targeted by the memo.”

“Under Napolitano’s watch, government officials who were supposed to be gathering real intelligence on domestic terror threats were instead surfing the web and reading whacky websites, all to create the public perception of ‘rightwing extremism,’” Wilson said.

Wilson explained, “Homeland Security authorized the release of the now-discredited ‘threat’ assessment using whatdoesitmean.com as a source.  It did so without any intelligence sources, crime data, or actual evidence of 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.”

Wilson said the assessment was actually a “political document,” designed to “fuel the public’s perception of ‘rightwing extremism,’ nothing more.  And for taking part in a deliberate intimidation campaign against the American people under the guise of protecting them, the only honorable thing for Napolitano to do is to step down,” Wilson declared.

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.”

Americans for Limited Government filed a Freedom of Information request in April demanding all documents related to the drafting of the controversial “right-wing extremism” memo.  It has now received an interim response from the Department related to “All data and all studies, reports, or other documents regarding data created or reviewed by the Department in general to draft the Report… [and] on the specific groups listed in the footnote on page 2 of the Report that were used by the Department.”

Those studies and reports included 217 pages, “releasable in their entirety, all of which are publicly available,” according to the DHS FOIA response.  All of the data used by the Department are available via the Internet.  A summary of the web-links is included here.

FOX News has exclusively reported on Special Report with Brett Baier on DHS’ response to ALG’s freedom of information request.

“You don’t sick every law enforcement officer in the nation on the American people on the basis of a crackpot conspiracy website, hard-left political groups, and news stories,” Wilson said, concluding, “That’s exactly what happened here.”

Enclosed Materials:
Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Request to Department of Homeland Security, April 17th, 2009.

Department of Homeland Security interim response to FOIA request, August 5th, 2009.

Summary of web-links cited by Department of Homeland Security that were used in drafting “rightwing extremism” memo.

One page summary sheet of ALG analysis of DHS methodology in drafting “rightwing extremism” memo, August 2009.

FOX News reporting Freedom of Information response by DHS, August 11th, 2009.

Clews-Todd Report, August 11th, 2009.

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

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