WASHINGTON – The Homeland Security Department is focusing on possible terror threats from radical environmental and animal rights activists without also examining risks that might be posed by right-wing extremists, House Democrats said Tuesday.
A recent internal Homeland Security document lists the Animal Liberation Front (search) and the Earth Liberation Front (search) with a few Islamic groups that could potentially support Al Qaeda as domestic terror threats.
The document does not address threats posed by white supremacists, violent militiamen, anti-abortion bombers and other extremists that Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (search), D-Miss., called "right-wing hate groups."
ALF and ELF "are the left-leaning groups that they identified," said Thompson, the top Democrat on the House Homeland Security Committee. "But they absolutely left out any of the other groups."
"If your responsibility is to protect the homeland from these domestic terrorists, then you have an obligation to identify all of them — not just some of them," Thompson said.
Homeland Security spokesman Brian Roehrkasse said the internal document — which was not meant for public distribution — identifies only general categories of threats and vulnerabilities, and is not meant to be a comprehensive list.
"Other classified threat and vulnerability assessments that guide our day-to-day operations and planning are more specific and identify more detailed information," Roehrkasse said.
Thompson said he reminded Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff of threats by right-wing groups in a letter sent to the department Tuesday — the 10th anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing. That attack, which killed 168 people, marks the worst act of domestic terrorism on U.S. soil.
ALF and ELF are accused by the FBI of committing hundreds of acts of arson or other attacks on property in the United States, causing millions of dollars in damages. None of their attacks, however, have caused human deaths.