ACLJ Out Front of Another Bogus Controversy

Last week I wrote a few posts about the utterly inane “controversy” over the recent Department of Homeland Security report “Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment” [PDF], pointing out how the Right was intentionally misrepresenting what it said and repeatedly lying about it in order to generate outrage and raise money. Then I went on vacation for a few days, fully expecting that the entire charade would blow over by the time I got back to work … but of course I was wrong:

Conservative House Republicans are calling on their leaders to ask President Obama for Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano’s resignation.

And GOP Conference Secretary John Carter (Texas) became the first member of leadership to call for the secretary’s resignation, saying Wednesday that Napolitano should be removed or resign.

“No search or arrest warrant should ever be issued on the pure speculative grounds contained in the DHS report, and this report should never have been issued either. The fact that it was, coupled with Secretary Napolitano’s failure to issue an unqualified retraction and apology, displays a level of contempt for a healthy democracy that demands she be removed from office immediately,” the judge of 20 years said.

Conservative House GOPs think Napolitano should resign because of the release of a report that singled out conservatives as “right-wing terrorists,” according to several GOP lawmakers.

House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) are set to meet with Obama at the White House on Thursday. It is unclear whether they will request Napolitano’s resignation, but several lawmakers said it was under discussion.

“I think leaders are going to bring it up with the president, maybe call for (her) resignation,” one conservative member told The Hill on Wednesday.

Predictably, the American Center for Law and Justice is once again at the forefront of this “controversy,” just as it was of the “controversy” over the stimulus legislation, with Jay Sekulow showing up on Fox News to voice his manufactured outrage that the DHS report made no mention of the “real terrorists” such as Al Qaeda, a point he also made on the ACLJ’s website:

Nowhere in this report is there any mention of Al Qaida cell groups operating domestically here in the United States.  DHS has taken its focus away from rooting out those people that are bent on causing harm to the United States.  Instead, they are using government resources to monitor pro-life citizens who are exercising their free speech rights by holding up a sign in front of an abortion clinic.  On FOX News today I stated that the government needs to be spending its time rounding up terrorists who are bent on the destruction of our government rather than focusing on grandmothers holding up a pro-life sign outside an abortion clinic.

The scope of this report is also dangerous.  In discussing rightwing terrorists, the report states that there is a phenomenon of violent radicalization in the United States.  Pointing to those who are opposed to abortion and same-sex marriage, the report envisions what it calls the most dangerous domestic terrorism threat in the United States as these pro-life groups, those opposed to immigration, and returning veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

This complaint might make sense if the report was about something other than, you know, domestic rightwing terrorist and extremist groups.  And to make matters worse, the ACLJ is claiming that the report declares “pro-lifers [to be the] most dangerous domestic terrorists” when it does nothing of the sort.  In fact, the report never even mentions pro-lifers beyond one footnote explaining that individuals driven by a “single issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration” may join up with hate-oriented or antigovernment right-wing groups.  

Now the ACLJ is demanding a retraction from DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano and, in an email to activists, bragging that it has taken the lead in fighting this “blatant attack on conservative America” and, of course, seeking donations: