Despite concern from the left about the potential for Rep. Peter King's Homeland Security Committee hearings would unfairly "[single] out an entire community, such as Muslim Americans," this morning's hearing with Department of Homeland Security secretary Janet Napolitano and Michael Leiter, director of the National Counterterrorism Center, focused primarily on the efficacy of the government's counterterrorism efforts with regard to homegrown Islamic terrorism. But for a brief five minutes, Democrat Bennie Thompson, the ranking member on the committee, brought the focus to what he considers a great threat to homeland security: anti-tax groups.
"In your testimony, you went to great lengths to describe the threat to the homeland relative to homegrown terrorists," Thompson said to Napolitano. "Law enforcement agencies have also talked about neo-Nazis, environmental extremists, and anti-tax groups as more prevalent than al Qaeda-inspired terrorist organization. Have you all looked at this to see if that, in fact, was true?"
"We don’t have a scorecard," Napolitano responded. "The plain fact of the matter is that from a law enforcement terrorist prevention perspective, we have to prepare law enforcement entities for all types of acts."
Thompson pressed on: "What is the likelihood, given what has occurred in the last two years in this country, have you been able to analyze what that threat looks like?" Napolitano did not address whether or not such groups were "more prevalent" than homegrown Islamist groups, noting only that DHS sees "a variety of different type of organizations in addition to the Islamist [groups]."
But one wonders whether the ranking member of the House Homeland Security Committee, here, was referring to the Tea Party.