Our View: Here’s one lesson for surviving in Washington we thought Janet Napolitano already knew: Put a political time bomb on paper and it’s likely to become public.
Here’s one lesson for surviving in Washington we thought Janet Napolitano already knew: Put a political time bomb on paper and it’s likely to become public.
But the secretary of U.S. Homeland Security apparently was blindsided this week when a terrorism assessment memo was disclosed to reveal her agency suspects a likely rise in “right-wing extremism,” a la Timothy McVeigh.
As Capitol Media Services reported in Wednesday’s Tribune, the memo cites a confluence of factors behind that conclusion — an economic recession creating emotional distress, the nation’s first black president who has been rolling back anti-abortion policies and who could support new gun control laws, and a continuing influx of military troops returning from overseas who might have trouble returning to civilian life.
The backlash since the memo went public has been swift and intense, with conservative politicians and opinion-making pundits pointing out that Napolitano’s Homeland Security seems to have a problem with everyone who values the Second Amendment, unborn human life and the protections of limited government outlined in the Constitution.
Admittedly, some of the response has been sensationally bombastic. Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Gilbert, went on the floor of the state House to claim the memo is “one of the most vicious forms of propaganda, not unlike what you would find in 1930s Germany,” as if McVeigh never came near Oklahoma City.
But other critics such as Sens. John McCain and Jon Kyl are rightly concerned that the Homeland Security memo makes broad characterizations about the basic beliefs of millions of Americans, instead of focusing on concrete evidence about specific people who might be dangerous.
So far, Napolitano seems to have only two regrets — what the memo implies about war veterans and that we learned about the memo’s existence in the first place.