The American Right is never happy unless it has someone it collectively decides will be the Voodoo Doll of the Moment -- a single liberal figure upon whom it can focus all its energies at destroying. And it's obvious that Janet Napolitano is the going to be the first Obama administration official they go after.
You can tell, because already they are starting to lie, distort, and generally smear her any way they can; no hypocrisy is too gross to indulge along the way. No matter that the right-wing extremism report at the heart of the controversy is in fact accurate in every detail.
Yesterday ex-Sen. Rick Santorum was on Greta Van Susteren's show doing the lying, smearing, and hypocrisy schtick for the sake of running down Napolitano:
Santorum: Well, it's not a good thing for this administration to have a Secretary of Homeland Security, who has over 40,000 veterans working in that department out there attacking veterans as potential homeland security problems.
This is flatly false: the report does not smear veterans, but appropriately raises a red flag over the indisputable fact that right-wing extremists intend to recruit veterans.
On it went:
Van Susteren: She didn't actually write the report. She didn't read it before it went out, maybe.
Santorum: It's her department -- the people that she hired. I mean, these are people that she hired, that the Obama administration hired to write this. This isn't holdovers from the Bush administration that wrote this. These are her folks!
This is simply a baldfaced falsehood. These reports were in fact commissioned under the Bush adminstration, as was reported last week by Fox's Shepard Smith and Catherine Herridge:
Smith: So if this bulletin from April 7 looks at the right-wing groups, is there a bulletin that looks at left-wing groups as well?
Herridge: Yeah, we were able to obtain that bulletin as well. It came out in January, and didn't get -- there it is -- didn't get the same attention. It looked specifically at groups like the Earth Liberation Front, or ELF, groups that in the opinion of Homeland Security, in the future will try and attack economic targets and specifically use cyber-attacks, because they see that is sympatico, or in concert with some of their other beliefs.
So there are two assessments. The one on the left, the one on the right is the one that's getting the attention because of the leak.
... I would point out that both of these assessments, Shep, were commissioned under the Bush administration. It takes some time to do them. They only came out after he left office.
Moreover, as Amanda Terkel notes, Fox's Brian Kilmeade and Republican Sen. John McCain both mistakenly claimed that a Bush appointee responsible for the report had been fired. It was indeed a Bush appointee under whose auspices the report was produced -- but he wasn't fired:
The section of DHS that produced the report was the Extremism and Radicalization Branch in the Homeland Environment and Threat Analysis Division. That division is overseen by the Under Secretary for the Office of Intelligence and Analysis. Currently, Roger Mackin -- a Bush appointee -- is serving in that role.
ThinkProgress spoke with DHS spokesperson Amy Kudwa who confirmed that neither Mackin -- nor anyone else at the agency -- has been fired over the report. Yesterday, the White House did announce President Obama's nominee to replace Mackin -- Philip Mudd, who has been Associate Executive Assistant Director of the FBI's National Security Branch since August 2005. Kudwa said that this move was "categorically unrelated" to the right-wing extremism report. Mackin has been serving in an acting capacity, and Obama had been planning to replace him with his own nominee before the report came out. Mackin will still be serving in government, going to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence "on a detail."
Santorum wasn't content just to lie about the matter. He also went for a nice heaping helping of right-wing hypocrisy too:
Santorum: Her first reaction was, "Well, I apologize to anybody who might've been offended."
Van Susteren: Bad apology.
Santorum: That is the -- "I'm sorry if you were offended by it. I don't think you should have been" kind of apology -- that goes down in the Hall of Fame as the Worst Apology Statement.
Back in 2005, here was Rick Santorum "apologizing" for comparing Democrats to Nazis -- saying their use of the filibuster to oppose judicial nominees to "the equivalent of Adolf Hitler in 1942":
Sen. Santorum later issued a statement saying the reference "was meant to dramatize the principle of an argument, not to characterize my Democratic colleagues. ... Nevertheless, it was a mistake and I meant no offense."
Notice how, for Santorum, the possibility that the threat posed by right-wing extremists might be real? And so the whitewash proceeds apace.