The Department of Homeland Security recently circulated an intelligence assessment focusing on “the domestic terror threat from right-wing sovereign citizen extremists.” The materials were clearly rooted in fact – federal officials have identified 24 violent “sovereign citizen-related attacks” in the United States over the last four years, and they fear more may occur.
Some intelligence officials fear the threat of violence from these home-grown radicals is at least as serious as the threats posed by foreign terrorists.
Rep. Ted Poe (R-Texas), a member of the House Judiciary and Foreign Affairs Committees, is outraged … by the Obama administration.
“The idea that Americans who are conservatives, that disagree with the president, are just as threatening as ISIS, whose whole existence is to kill us in the name of their religion, even though the president won’t say ‘Islamic terrorists,’ he’ll call people on the right terrorists, is nonsense, it is just utter nonsense. There is no evidence of anything like that and once again more fear tactics out of the administration.”
What’s alarming about a response like this is how detached from reality it is. When the Department of Homeland Security circulates an intelligence assessment – which Ted Poe probably has not read – it’s not referring to “conservatives” who “disagree with the president.” Rather, intelligence officials are concerned about the possibility of violence from radical extremists and fringe anti-government groups.
When members of Congress don’t appreciate the difference between “people on the right” and violent radicals on the fringes of society, there’s a real problem. When they convince themselves there’s “no evidence” of a home-grown terrorist threat, despite the ample evidence that’s already been documented, the problem is even more severe.
But then the Republican congressman made matters just a little worse during the same interview.
When [the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins] asked the congressman if he would hold a hearing to ask DHS officials “why they continue to put Americans in their crosshairs,” Poe called it “an excellent idea” and claimed that the administration is “more aggressive toward Americans, Republicans, conservatives, Christians, and concerned about them being threats to the country, which they’re not, than they are about the real threats to our country.”
Let’s put it this way: when President Obama starts sending fighters jets and armed drones after Republicans, Ted Poe should certainly let us know. Until then, his rhetoric is gibberish.