Democrats criticize Napolitano terror remarks

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano should have treated left- and right-wing extremists equally in a recent report, U.S. Rep. John Salazar, D-Colorado, said.

The report, issued on the eve of April 15 tea party tax protests across the country, said veterans returning to the United States could be susceptible to right-wing extremists or commit lone acts of violence.

The report irritated minority House Republicans, some of whom called for the former Arizona governor to step down from her federal post.

The department previously had issued reports about extreme left-wing organizations, such as Earth First and animal-rights groups, without drawing similar fire.

“I believe the intent of the recent Department of Homeland Security reports on left-wing and right-wing extremist threats was to make our country safer and I appreciate the effort and the transparency,” Salazar, a Vietnam-era veteran, said in a statement.

“In the future, I think it will be more productive if the reports include less generalities and include more specific threats like those outlined in the report on left-wing extremists.”

Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., said Homeland Security missed the mark.

“The (Department of Homeland Security) report should not have characterized our veterans in this way, and I understand their frustration,” Bennet said in a statement. “DHS needs to do a better job communicating the challenges we face keeping our nation secure.”

Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., also was critical, said his Washington, D.C., spokeswoman, Tara Trujillo.

“National security should never be a partisan issue,” Trujillo said. “Veterans who have fought and died for this country did so wearing an American flag, not the emblem of a political party.

Sen. Udall can understand why veterans are frustrated — and rightfully so.” 


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