Who’s a terrorist?

Perhaps the FBI didn’t get the memo released to law enforcement agencies last week by the Department of Homeland Security: that right-wing extremists in this country pose a great threat to become domestic terrorists.

Or perhaps the nation’s top law enforcement agency wanted to politically balance the views of Homeland Security.

In any event, the FBI announced Tuesday that a left-wing, animal-rights extremist is the first domestic terror suspect added to the FBI list of the 25 most wanted terror suspects. Osama bin Laden is on that list, along with other foreign terrorist leaders.

Daniel Andreas San Diego is a 31-year-old computer specialist who is wanted in the bombings of two corporate offices in California in 2003. San Diego allegedly set off bombs filled with nails at the two businesses. Fortunately, no one was injured in the explosions. A group called Revolutionary Cells claimed credit for the bombings, saying that the two companies in question had ties to a research company that conducted experiments on animals. San Diego is reportedly involved with the group. The FBI said he may now be living in Costa Rica.

The Department of Homeland Security memo ignited a firestorm of criticism, and with good reason. Among other things, it maligned military personnel by suggesting that disgruntled veterans returning from war zones in Iraq and Afghanistan were at risk to become domestic terrorists. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano later apologized for that statement in the memo.

Beyond the insult to veterans, however, the memo used very broad language to suggest that anyone opposed to abortion, high taxes and government overreaching could potentially become a terrorist.

The point is that domestic terrorists don’t come from only one end of the political spectrum. They include everyone from anti-government crackpots like Timothy McVeigh, who blew up a federal office building in Oklahoma City, to eco-terrorists like San Diego and the group that torched a mountain lodge a Vail and a variety of other buildings throughout the West. But most people who criticize the government, business or America
in general aren’t in danger of becoming violent terrorists, regardless of their political persuasion.

We’re glad to see the FBI isn’t focused on just one political ideology when going after domestic terrorists.


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