A footnote attached to the report by the Homeland Security Office of Intelligence and Analysis defines "rightwing extremism in the United States" as including not just racist or hate groups, but also groups that reject federal authority in favor of state or local authority.
"It may include groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single-issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration,"
Glenn Greenwald documents the response from the right:
Conservatives have responded to this disclosure as though they're on the train to FEMA camps. The Right's leading political philosopher and intellectual historian, Jonah Goldberg, invokes fellow right-wing giant Ronald Reagan and says: "Here we go Again," protesting that "this seems so nakedly ideological." Michelle Malkin, who spent the last eight years cheering on every domestic surveillance and police state program she could find, announces that it's "Confirmed: The Obama DHS hit job on conservatives is real!" Lead-War-on-Terror-cheerleader Glenn Reynolds warns that DHS -- as a result of this report (but not, apparently, anything that happened over the last eight years) -- now considers the Constitution to be a "subversive manifesto." Super Tough Guy Civilization-Warrior Mark Steyn has already concocted an elaborate, detailed martyr fantasy in which his house is surrounded by Obama-dispatched, bomb-wielding federal agents. Malkin's Hot Air stomps its feet about all "the smears listed in the new DHS warning about 'right-wing extremism.'"
While Greenwald states that this report is, in some instances, comprised of some generalizations and is "overly broad", he rightly points out the irony that those who supported the creation of the surveillance state are now suddenly concerned about its existence:
the political faction screeching about the dangers of the DHS is the same one that spent the last eight years vastly expanding the domestic Surveillance State and federal police powers in every area. DHS -- and the still-creepy phrase "homeland security" -- became George Bush's calling card. The Republicans won the 2002 election by demonizing those who opposed its creation. All of the enabling legislation underlying this Surveillance State -- from the Patriot Act to the Military Commissions Act, from the various FISA "reforms" to massive increases in domestic "counter-Terrorism" programs -- are the spawns of the very right-wing movement that today is petrified that this is all being directed at them.
Talk about coming full circle:
Indeed, thanks to the very people who are today petulantly complaining about politically-motivated federal police actions (now that they imagine it's directed at them rather than at people they dislike), the Federal Government today has the power to eavesdrop on telephone calls and read the emails of American citizens without warrants; monitor bank records without court approval; obtain all sorts of invasive personal records, medical and financial, without Subpoenas; and obtain and store a whole host of other personal information about American citizens who have not been accused, let alone convicted, of having done anything wrong. Also thanks to them (and things like the War on Terror, the War on Drugs, the Patriot Act, the FISA Amendments Act, etc. etc), most of this is carried out without any real oversight or safeguards, left entirely to the judgment and good faith of federal officials to wield these powers carefully and for proper ends. And, better still, federal officials can hide behind sweeping claims of secrecy and National Security to prevent courts from scrutinizing what they did and determine if it was illegal (we call that "the state secrets privilege").
This is all as laughable as it is predictable. Just a couple months out of power and they have suddenly re-discovered their fear of the Federal Government and their belief in the need to limit its powers.
Greenwald nails this and I will end with one more excerpt from his piece:
Apparently, though, the Right has forgotten these important lessons about Trusting Our Political Leaders and instead is now embracing a newfound and quite disturbing devotion to Terrorist Rights. To borrow from Sarah Palin, they are apparently more worried about whether the Timothy McVeighs and Eric Rudolphs of the world can plan their next violent attack without interference from the DHS than they are in having the Government keep us all Safe. What kind of twisted, warped, subversive political movement prioritizes Terrorist Rights over the Safety of Americans like this?