U.S. Treasury and CFPB should investigate payment blocking by credit card processors to conservative groups

Aug. 24, 2018, Fairfax, Va.—Americans for Limited Government President Rick Manning today issued the following statement urging U.S. Treasury and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to investigate allegations that Visa and Mastercard are blocking financial donations to conservative non-profit groups:

“Reports that Visa and Mastercard may have engaged in a political blacklisting effort against Freedom Center and Jihad Watch are disturbing given recent actions by other financial services entities to choke off credit and basic banking services to conservative groups and businesses. Visa’s denial that this is occurring is welcome if true. But the larger issue of the impact of the discredited Southern Poverty Law Center on access to social media platforms, financial services and fundraising, and past actions coordinating with DHS and federal law enforcement agencies to target those same entities needs to be addressed. Southern Poverty Law Center should be permanently blocked from receiving any government contracts, awards or being included in any discussions related to criminal threats in America. Let’s be clear, SPLC is an organization that engages in political hit jobs and is not a credible watchdog.”

Interview Availability: Please contact Americans for Limited Government at 703-383-0880 ext. 1003 or at [email protected] to arrange an interview with ALG experts.

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ALG urges House subcommittee to defund West Point Combating Terrorism Center

Jan. 31, 2013, Fairfax, VA—Americans for Limited Government today urged a House subcommittee to defund the West Point Combating Terrorism Center (CTC) after it released a study on terrorism that Wilson said is targeted against regular Americans.

“Not one more dime of taxpayer money should be wasted on CTC, which is indoctrinating our servicemen and women with brazen propaganda against the American people until this report is denounced and its author terminated from government service,” Wilson wrote in his letter to members of the House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee.

The report, “Challengers from the Sidelines: Understanding America’s Violent Far-Right,” by Dr. Arie Perliger, director of terrorism studies at the CTC, was published on Jan. 15.

“The West Point report makes several dangerously irrational generalizations about the ‘far-right,’ a stunningly one-sided demonization of conservative ideology,” Wilson wrote, noting the report warns of the rising militancy of so-called “anti-federalists” that Perliger says embrace ideas like “civil activism, individual freedoms and self-government.”

“These are the fundamental, constitutional ideals upon which our nation was founded. But if you espouse those views, per the report, you could be labeled a terrorist,” Wilson said.

The report also warns that so-called “anti-federalists” “espouse strong convictions regarding the federal government, believing it to be corrupt and tyrannical, with a natural tendency to intrude on individuals’ civil and constitutional rights.”

Those beliefs, Wilson said, are “widely shared by millions of self-described conservative and libertarian Americans,” noting the work of national pollster Scott Rasmussen, who charts 43 percent of voters that consider themselves conservative.

Wilson also pointed to a recent Pew Research Center poll that found 53 percent of Americans view that the federal government threatens personal rights and freedoms.

“Should Americans who are concerned that the government threatens personal rights and freedoms read into the West Point study that they are now enemies of the United States? The fact this is even being discussed at the premiere military training ground for officers is simply inexcusable,” Wilson said in a statement.

“Reports like the one issued at West Point should raise alarm bells for all Americans, as the very concept of our nation’s military being prepared for battle against its own citizenry is counter to the fundamental principles of our nation. Remember, the founding fathers feared a standing army for this very reason, and it is shocking that after 237 years that these reports could surface from within the military establishment,” Wilson added.

“Perhaps the reason 53 percent of Americans believe the government is a threat to their liberty is because of a stream of reports that target Americans on the basis of their political beliefs similar to the West Point study,” Wilson said.

Wilson called it a “part of a wider pattern of targeting Americans by the military and security establishment that ought to be disturbing to all Americans regardless of political stripe. For those left-wing ideologues who today take glee in these reports issued by the government should be reminded that the targeters today can be targeted tomorrow.”

Since 2009, Wilson noted that:

1)    the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued such a report on right-wing extremism that defined the ideology as “groups, movements, and adherents that are mainly antigovernment, rejecting federal authority in favor of state or local authority” that an Americans for Limited Government Freedom of Information Act request had revealed the DHS memo was full of bogus, kooky “sources”;

2)    a similar memo was also sent out by Missouri Information Analysis Center to Missouri law enforcement;

3)    retired Army Colonel Kevin Benson, seminar leader at the University of Foreign Military and Cultural Studies at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas and former head of the Army’s School of Advanced Military Studies wrote an article in Small Wars Journal depicting a scenario where a “tea party” militia led by “race-baiting and immigrant-bashing by right-wing demagogues” had overtaken the government of Darlington, South Carolina with the tacit consent of law enforcement and a tea party-sympathizing governor;

4)    a written exam administered by the Pentagon defined “protests” as a form of “low-level terrorism,” raising serious concerns among civil liberties advocates about how the military views the expression of First Amendment freedoms; and

5)    2009 Nobel Peace Prize nominee Jim Garrow on his Facebook page has claimed that he was “informed by a former senior military leader that Obama is using a new ‘litmus test’ in determining who will stay and who must go in his military leaders. Get ready to explode folks. ‘The new litmus test of leadership in the military is if they will fire on US citizens or not’. Those who will not are being removed.”

“Maybe the American people have every right to be afraid of the government after all,” Wilson concluded, “When a liberal group like the Pew Research Center finds that more than half of the American people feel the government is a threat to their liberty, this a hardly a fringe concern.”

Attachments:

ALG letter to House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee, Jan. 31, 2013 at http://getliberty.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/LetterBillYoung-WestPointCombatingTerrorismCenter-1-31-13.pdf

Interview Availability: Please contact Adam Bitely at (703) 383-0880 ext. 126 or at [email protected] to arrange an interview with ALG President Bill Wilson.

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ALG Calls on Obama to Withdraw Southers TSA Nomination Amid Growing Controversy  

January 12th, 2010, Fairfax, VA—Americans for Limited Government President Bill Wilson today called on Barack Obama to withdraw his nominee for Director of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), Errol Southers, for “equating pro-life, Christian, and anti-government Americans to real terrorists.”

In a 2008 video interview that has resurfaced recently, Southers said, “Most of the domestic groups that we have to pay attention to here are white supremacist groups, they’re anti-government, in most cases anti-abortion, they are usually survivalist types in nature, [and Christian] identity-oriented.”

“Just like the Department of Homeland Security did last year, Errol Southers has taken his talking points from the Southern Poverty Law Center to equate the views of a majority of Americans with that of potential terrorist threats,” said Wilson, pointing to a controversial, now-disavowed memo published by the Department of Homeland Security.

In defining “rightwing extremism,” the Department of Homeland Security memo had targeted “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.”

Wilson said that Southers had made the same mistake, “and with a broad brush painted millions of Americans as potential terrorists that presumably the Transportation Security Administration would now be profiling.”

“Targeting regular Americans is completely unacceptable from a prominent security official who would be tasked to protecting the American people and organizing the nation’s transportation security,” Wilson said, adding, “And a diversion from real terrorist threats that the TSA must contend with that are Islamist in origin.”

“The federal government should not be wasting its time looking for anti-government, anti-abortion Christians,” Wilson explained, “It should be focused on the real threat from al Qaeda.”

“What we are learning from the Fort Hood shooting and now the Flight 253 attempted attack is the primary terrorist threat to the U.S. is still Islamist in origin,” Wilson said.

Americans for Limited Government’s latest objection to Southers comes atop its call for the nominee to answer outstanding questions about whether he would support collective bargaining rights for TSA employees, and for abusing his position to order background searches on his wife’s boyfriend in the 1980’s “and lying about in front of Congress.”

“The more we learn about Errol Southers, the less there is to like. Barack Obama should either withdraw this nomination or alternatively the Senate should defeat him. The TSA must be headed by a nominee who values security over union kickbacks, and who will not confuse legitimate dissent with committed terrorist murderers.”

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Did Missouri Engage in “Planned Deception” on MIAC Alert?

October 22nd, 2009, Fairfax, VA—Americans for Limited Government President Bill Wilson today condemned the Missouri Department of Public Safety for “talking out of both sides of its mouth” on the controversial “Modern Militia Movement” domestic threat advisory issued by the Missouri Information Analysis Center (MIAC) in February.

Documents obtained by the Liberty Restoration Project (LRP) through its own Sunshine Law requests in March reveal that MIAC may have deliberately deceived ALG in its response to the group’s request for information on “all personnel involved in drafting the Report” was not fulfilled.

According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol’s response to ALG’s Sunshine Law Request, “[b]ackground material was not retained by the author during drafting.” And, in addition, “[t]here is no record listing the individual who wrote the report.”

In fact, the only record the state of Missouri claims it has of the report was its single draft version. And that, it told ALG, was written by an unknown source.

However, one email revealed in LRP’s Sunshine request clearly shows a criminal intelligence analyst, named Brandon Middleton, at MIAC sending a draft of the report to the Assistant Director of MIAC at the time, Greg Hug.

“Did the Missouri Department of Public Safety engage in planned deception on the MIAC militia report?” Wilson asked.

“Clearly, there is mounting evidence that the Missouri Information Analysis Center has attempted to stonewall the American people about its erroneous ‘threat’ alert,” said Wilson, adding “There needs to be a full accounting of how and who put this report together.”

On October 20th, in a letter to Department of Public Safety chief John Britt, ALG counsel Nathan Mehrens stated, “The response we received would lead a reasonable person to conclude that background materials did at one point exist but that they were destroyed.”

In the “Militia Movement” advisory, police across Missouri were told to keep an eye out for Americans who were highly concerned about unemployment, taxes, illegal immigration, gangs, border security, abortion, high costs of living, gun restrictions, FEMA, the IRS, and the Federal Reserve.

The MIAC advisory also stated that potential domestic terrorists would be attracted to gun shows, shortwave radios, action movies, movies with white male heroes like Rambo, Tom Clancy novels, and presidential candidates Ron Paul, Bob Barr, and Chuck Baldwin.

According to the executive director of the Liberty Restoration Project, Catherine Bleish, “They do know who wrote it, they’re just not telling you. And they said at the first hearing that they weren’t going to say who it was to protect his identity,” referring to an ongoing inquiry by the Missouri House Interim Committee on State Intelligence Analysis Oversight into the MIAC memo, which Bleish testified in front of.

“We are looking forward to the findings of the House Intelligence Committee on the MIAC ‘threat’ advisory. But the people of Missouri—and across the country—shouldn’t have to wait for a long-drawn hearing to get the basic facts. Somebody misled the public. And we want the truth—now,” said Wilson.

“The people of Missouri and all Americans deserve to know why a federal-state intelligence center that is supposed to issuing actionable intelligence to law enforcement has not kept its sources intact, refuses to disclose who authored this report, and has sent contradictory responses to Sunshine Law requests,” Wilson added. “If records were destroyed, there must be accountability.”

According to MIAC’s website, “Missouri Information Analysis Center (MIAC) provides a public safety partnership consisting of local, state and federal agencies, as well as the public sector and private entities that will collect, evaluate, analyze, and disseminate information and intelligence to the agencies tasked with Homeland Security responsibilities in a timely, effective, and secure manner.”

“Law enforcement must not be profiling individuals based upon political ideology alone. There needs to be a credible threat, but MIAC’s alert was so broad as to encompass potentially a majority of the population,” said Wilson.

“And unless it is revealed who, how, and why this report was developed, its sources not retained, and what coordination there was if any with outside groups to develop its original findings, these incidences of political profiling by federal and state intelligence centers like DHS and MIAC will continue,” Wilson concluded.

Enclosed Materials:
“The Modern Militia Movement,” Missouri Information Analysis Center, February 20th, 2009.

Missouri Sunshine Law Request to the Missouri Highway Patrol, August 21st, 2009.

Missouri Highway Patrol Response to Sunshine Law Request, October 1st, 2009.

ALG Response to Missouri Department of Public Safety, October 20th, 2009.

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

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ALG Blasts Missouri Information Analysis Center For Retaining No Records of Erroneous MIAC “Modern Militia Movement” Report  

October 15th, 2009, Fairfax, VA—Americans for Limited Government President Bill Wilson today condemned the Missouri Information Analysis Center (MIAC) and the Missouri Highway Patrol for admitting it has retained no records of a controversial report entitled, “The Modern Militia Movement” that was issued by the federal fusion center in February.

In the “Militia Movement” advisory, police across Missouri were told to keep an eye out for Americans who were highly concerned about unemployment, taxes, illegal immigration, gangs, border security, abortion, high costs of living, gun restrictions, FEMA, the IRS, and the Federal Reserve.

The MIAC advisory also stated that potential domestic terrorists would be attracted to gun shows, shortwave radios, action movies, movies with white male heroes like Rambo, Tom Clancy novels, and presidential candidates Ron Paul, Bob Barr, and Chuck Baldwin.

According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol’s response to ALG’s Sunshine Law Request, “[b]ackground material was not retained by the author during drafting” and “[t]here is no record listing the individual who wrote the report.” In fact, the only record the state of Missouri apparently claims it has of the report was its single draft version.

“This is simply stunning,” said Wilson. “A federal-state intelligence center that is supposed to be collecting and disseminating actionable intelligence to law enforcement personnel sent out an accusatory report, but has no record of who authored it and how it was put together.”

According to MIAC’s website, “Missouri Information Analysis Center (MIAC) provides a public safety partnership consisting of local, state and federal agencies, as well as the public sector and private entities that will collect, evaluate, analyze, and disseminate information and intelligence to the agencies tasked with Homeland Security responsibilities in a timely, effective, and secure manner.”

Much like the controversial Department of Homeland Security (DHS) “rightwing extremism” memo, MIAC’s unsubstantiated report directly cited the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) as a top source of information.

“In fact, there are entire passages in the MIAC report that are lifted verbatim from Southern Poverty Law Center,” said Wilson.

Both DHS and Missouri, when pressed withdrew their memos, followed by public apologies from government officials. Missouri Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder (R-MO) asked that Missouri Public Safety Director John Britt be placed on administrative leave. He still serves as director.

“The tepid response by Missouri to this episode is frankly appalling. If no record of who produced and approved this trash exists, then the entire leadership who was working at MIAC at the time of this report being drafted and issued should be fired and barred from future law enforcement service,” said Wilson.

In August, ALG condemned the methodology used by the Department of Homeland Security in issuing a controversial “right-wing extremism” threat assessment to law enforcement in April. ALG had filed a Freedom of Information request in April demanding all documents related to the drafting of the controversial “right-wing extremism” memo. It received an interim response from the Department.

“Our worst fears about what went into this memo have been confirmed. The government department that was supposed to be tasked with identifying domestic terrorist threats is apparently using news stories, kooky websites, and conjecture instead of actual hard intelligence reporting and analysis,” said Wilson at the time.

Wilson compared the two memos, saying that neither was based on credible intelligence. “Neither memo illuminated 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.

“In short, both were just political propaganda put forward by both the federal and state government within weeks of one another, designed to perpetuate public perception of ‘rightwing extremism’ and militias,” Wilson added.

“The monitoring of political speech by law enforcement and intelligence agencies is very dangerous, and the perpetrators of these memos need to be held accountable and not allowed to serve in their capacities as government officials,” Wilson said.

“In both the case of Missouri and the Department of Homeland Security, Americans were targeted by law enforcement based upon their political beliefs, and not on their active involvement with terrorist operations. If this continues, the American people will continue to question whether their government is a danger to them,” Wilson concluded.

Enclosed Materials:
Missouri Sunshine Law Request to the Missouri Highway Patrol, August 21st, 2009.

Missouri Highway Patrol Response to Sunshine Law Request, October 1st, 2009.

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.

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

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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 [email protected] to arrange an interview with ALG President Bill Wilson.

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ALG Blasts DHS Methodology Used in “Rightwing Extremism” Memo Revealed in Freedom of Information Response by Department

August 11th, 2009, Fairfax, VA—Americans for Limited Government President Bill Wilson today condemned the methodology used by the Department of Homeland Security in issuing a controversial “right-wing extremism” threat assessment to law enforcement in April as “complete speculation.”

“Our worst fears about what went into this memo have been confirmed. The government department that was supposed to be tasked with identifying domestic terrorist threats is apparently using news stories, kooky websites, and conjecture instead of actual hard intelligence reporting and analysis,” said Wilson.

“This is a disgrace, and calls into question what it is that the so-called ‘Extremism and Radicalizaton Branch of the Homeland Environment Threat Analysis Division’ actually does,” Wilson added.

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.

ALG top researcher Don Todd recently gave his assessment of the memo and DHS’ FOIA interim response, “Here you have a bunch of government bureaucrats surfing the web that come up with this crackpot website [http://whatdoesitmean.com], and then they alert all the police agencies in the country to look out for veterans, pro-lifers, and people that believe in states’ rights.”

FOX News today exclusively reported on DHS’ response to ALG’s freedom of information request.

“Not a single study or report was from any government source,” said Wilson. “And again, there was no evidence of any actual active recruitment of ‘disgruntled veterans’ by these groups, no evidence showing that folks who purchase guns or oppose gun-control legislation are necessarily dangerous, and no evidence that the economic downturn or the election of Barack Obama that is fueling any actual ‘resurgence’ of ‘extremism.’”

The memo had reported that “rightwing extremists will attempt to recruit and radicalize returning veterans”.

“We already knew that the memo did 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.

“And now we know why,” Wilson added, explain, “The background DHS used was not based on credible intelligence sources, reporting, and analysis. Instead, what we found is that the Department was apparently surfing the net to see what news stories happened to turn up to support a pre-determined conclusion,” Wilson explained.

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.”

“We now know for a fact that DHS was monitoring political speech and thought, whether on the Internet or via other forms of communications,” said Wilson, pointing to websites included in the DHS FOIA response that tracked gun-control legislation.

The memo had claimed that “Many rightwing extremists groups perceive recent gun control legislation as a threat to their right to bear arms and in response have increased weapons and ammunition stockpiling, as well as renewed participation in paramilitary training exercises.”

Previously DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano said, “We are on the lookout for criminal and terrorist activity but we do not – nor will we ever – monitor ideology or political beliefs.”

“DHS’ response to our freedom of information request unfortunately confirms in no uncertain terms that their hunt for ‘rightwing extremists’ was nothing more than a witch hunt,” Wilson concluded.

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.

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

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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 [email protected] to arrange an interview with ALG President Bill Wilson.