One of the latest federal government publications released for “Official Use Only,” but widely available to the public, is a pamphlet issued by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), “Identifying Homegrown Violent Extremists Before They Strike — An Information Needs Review.” If this is the best the billions of dollars spent by Homeland Security with its tens of thousands of employees can produce, then we’re all in trouble.
I understand that the Department produces far more detailed, technical and sophisticated documents than this silly pamphlet (at least I hope they do). But one has to ask, why waste any time, money or effort drafting and publishing a document that tells fellow law enforcement officers to be on the lookout for someone who is “advocating criminal or terrorist activity,” or who exhibits “new or increased advocacy of violence?” I mean, Duh, yeah, Dude, someone who “travel[s] overseas to attend violent extremist institutions or paramilitary training camps” just might be an indicator of “possible terrorist activity.” Do we need a government publication prepared by law enforcement for law enforcement, to tell us that? If we do, then like I say, we’re in real trouble.
On the other hand, interspersed with these “indicators of possible terrorist activity” are other “indicators” for which readers of this pamphlet are advised to be on the lookout; activies that could apply just as easily to your next door neighbor who is a top official with the CIA, or to your Uncle Albert in Poughkeepsie whose most “terroristic” activity is chasing away neighborhood kids trampling his flower garden. A tourist asking for directions to the Washington Monument might be suspect according to this silly pamphlet, because they have expressed “interest in critical infrastructure locations and landmarks.”
What will those wild and crazy guys at Homeland Security think of next? Maybe having a five-year old kindergarten student travelling to Disneyland with his 70-year old grandmother for a Baptist convention, be forced to stand in a glass enclosure at the airport while a scanning device electronically strip searches them and transmits a naked image of their bodies to a bureaucrat sitting in a room somewhere else, before they are permitted to board an airliner? Wait a minute. Aren’t we already doing that?