Napolitano defends security budget, extremism report – AFP

Homeland Security chief Janet Napolitano defended Tuesday her agency’s 55.1-billion-dollar budget request and reassured Republican lawmakers the agency did not consider returning US soldiers to be right-wing extremists.

The agency came under fire last month for saying troubled veterans returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan “could lead to the potential emergence of terrorist groups or lone wolf extremists capable of carrying out violent attacks.”

The agency also said in the internal April 7 advisory for local law-enforcement officials that the economic downturn and the election of the first African American president present unique drivers for right-wing radicalization and recruitment.

But Napolitano, testifying before the House appropriations sub-committee on the agency’s budget, told lawmakers the report was designed for “situational awareness” and not targeting purposes.