On April 7, 2009, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued an “unclassified” 9-page report that warned of the “potential emergence” of violent acts from “right-wing extremists” and the possible recruitment of “Disgruntled Military Veterans” for combat “skills” and “training” to carry out acts of domestic terrorism. On April 15, 2009, one week after the report’s release, DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano issued an apology to veterans’ groups for identifying returning veterans as prospective terrorist recruits.
On April 16, 2009, SPLC Founder Morris Dees sent out a fundraising e-mail attempting to cash in on the DHS “warning,” claiming that the report said “‘white supremacist lone wolves’ and ‘small terrorist cells embracing violent rightwing extremist ideology’ are currently the most significant domestic terrorism threat.” In fact, the report made no such claim. It states, contrary to Dees’s assertion, that “the DHS/Office of Intelligence and Analysis (I&A) has no specific information that domestic rightwing terrorists are currently planning acts of violence.... Threats from white supremacist and violent antigovernment groups during 2009 have been largely rhetorical and have not indicated plans to carry out violent acts.”
The SPLC’s sleazy, dishonest fundraising appeals have generated “large assets” and low ratings from the American Institute of Philanthropy, as well as critical scrutiny from liberal humanitarians such as Ken Silverstein, the former Washington editor of Harper’s.