Local veterans and supporters came to the State Capitol on Wednesday to voice their criticism of a recently released report issued by the Department of Homeland Security. The report, “Right-wing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence on Radicalization and Recruitment,” suggested those who had served in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as individuals who opposed abortion and supported Second Amendment gun rights were a potential threat to national security.
Before being elected to the State Senate, Steve Russell, R-Oklahoma City, served in both Iraq and Afghanistan. He now chairs an organization called “Vets for Victory.” Russell said he was stunned by the Homeland Security report.
“The report’s opening sentence states that there is no evidence of impending attack but then proceeds to offer assessment without fact that veterans make up a fertile recruiting ground for domestic terror groups. In the most shameful manner, the report singles out returning war veterans as the most likely candidates for domestic acts of terror and opines that America’s Iraq and Afghan veterans pose great danger to the security of the United States.”
In response to the report, Russell has also authored a Senate Resolution critical of the current administration’s “mischaracterization of our wartime service.”
“I say administration because the report includes opinion from both the Departments of Homeland Security and Justice. My resolution also takes issue with the blatant political and ideological profiling of tens of millions of average Americans who treasure legal citizenship, sound fiscal spending, a culture of life and the right of an individual to bear arms,” Russell said. “In one fell swoop, this ‘assessment’ crosses the line between considering political dissent and expression, to that of violating civil liberties by being unduly singled out as a profiled threat to society at large.”