Documents show that the FBI has been constantly worried about right-wing terrorism — including suicide attacks
When Homeland Security director Janet Napolitano released a report in April 2009 identifying right-wing extremists as a threat to the country, conservatives howled. The general sentiment was expressed by Michelle Malkin, who declared the report a “piece of crap … propaganda … an Obama hit job.” Jonah Goldberg complained that the DHS report failed to stick “to the practice of describing these groups with more specificity and without the catchall, ideologically loaded descriptors.” Well, now that we have learned the murderer of six people at a Wisconsin Sikh temple was a well-known white supremacist, conservatives might want to consider reexamining their claims that terrorists don’t exist on the right side of the political spectrum.
Conservatives might be shocked that someone else besides a Muslim can commit an act of terrorism, but white supremacists and neo-Nazis have been recognized as genuine threats for years. FBI documents declassified in July reveal that the bureau has been worried about right-wing extremists for a long time — so many years, in fact, that many seem to have forgotten that white supremacists, who pioneered homegrown terrorism with the Ku Klux Klan, have not gone away.
The documents, which were collected by the invaluable National Security Archive and obtained partly through Freedom of Information Act requests, shed light on the problems coming from the extreme right. According to a 2004 FBI report, “right-wing terrorists pose a significant threat due to their propensity for violence” (note the FBI’s use of the term “right-wing” to define these terrorists, the phrase that so enraged conservatives when Napolitano employed it). These groups increased their recruitment efforts and rhetoric after 9/11, according to the report. White supremacists groups relied on broader anti-immigrant sentiment throughout the country to advance their efforts.