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Napolitano Unsure if Al Qaeda a Greater Threat than Right-Wing Extremists

John on April 15, 2009 at 12:19 am

Less than a month ago, Janet Napolitano, the Secretary of Homeland Security, said she wasn’t sure which was a greater threat to the US: Al Qaeda or Timothy McVeigh-style domestic terrorism. She made the comment during an interview with Wolf Blitzer on March 19th:

napolitanoBLITZER: Do you still use that phrase that there is a war on terror.

NAPOLITANO: Yes. Well, yes. Terrorism is a threat that is with us and sadly enough will never go away. The thing is not to create fear about it but to say look, there is risk of terror either coming from abroad or homegrown. It’s about preparation and being able to recover so that people have the confidence that goes with knowing that we’re prepared.

BLITZER: And so do you still consider the United States be engaged in the war on terror?

NAPOLITANO: I consider the United States, yes, to be very engaged in and working with our international partners and others in preventing terrorist acts from occurring.

BLITZER: Is it a bigger threat from your perspective and other [ed. - another?] al Qaeda and foreign related terror attack against the United States or domestic terrorism along the lines of an Oklahoma City bombing?

NAPOLITANO: That’s difficult to say because both are risks that are with us and will be with us and so what the American people need to know is that the Department of Homeland Security, as the secretary of Homeland Security, we’re thinking all the time about these issues. We’re working all these times on what we can do realistically to prevent, to interfere but also to prepare should something happen.

Is this really a close call? Apparently it is for Janet Napolitano.

The term “right-wing extremists” isn’t used by Blitzer in this interview, but let’s face it…Timothy McVeigh, who had connections to militia movements and was a veteran of the Gulf War, is the poster child for right-wing extremists.

Al Qaeda vs. Right-Wing Extremism: According to Napolitano it’s a toss up.Is it a coincidence that a DHS report on the rise of right-wing extremists which came to light yesterday also highlights the danger of militias and returning war vets? Or is it more probably that the report — which the White House is now backing away from — simply reflects Napolitano’s previously enunciated view of the dangers facing America.

DHS spokesmen have tried to brush off criticism by noting that the department issued a report on left-wing extremists in January. However, Fox News obtained a copy of the earlier report and points out:

It concentrates largely on the technical savvy of left-wing extremists and not bloodshed.

Finally, one note of caution about the source. The statement quoted above does not appear to have made it to air on CNN. A You Tube clip of the segment, available here, shows that this section (plus a little more) was edited out of the broadcast. The rush transcript at CNN.com follows what aired and does not include this section either. However, the transcript on the Arizona Central website (linked above) appears to be a fuller transcript of the complete interview. Notably, this AZ Central version is the one currently linked on the DHS’s own website.

UPDATE: Ed at Hot Air notes that Napolitano is starting to back away from the report a bit.

[HT: Morgen dug the transcript but didn't have time to write it tonight. I added a few details.]

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Category: Politics |

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