April 21st, 2009
03:39 PM ET
11 years ago

McCain demands White House apology

McCain said a recent DHS report is 'insulting' to veterans.

McCain said a recent DHS report is 'insulting' to veterans.

(CNN) - A recent report from the Department of Homeland Security is downright "insulting" to veterans, Arizona Sen. John McCain said Monday.

In an interview on FOX News, the Vietnam veteran and former Republican presidential candidate said the Obama administration owes veterans an apology after releasing a report last week suggesting that members of the military returning from Iraq and Afghanistan could fall victim to "right-wing extremism."

Specifically, the report - "Right-wing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment" - said right-wing extremist groups may be using the recession and the election of the nation's first African-American president to recruit members.

"The last people on earth we need to worry about are our veterans," McCain said. "And by the
way, after the Vietnam War, for years there was this portrayal of the Vietnam veteran as crazed and committing - having committed war crimes. There were all of these problems they were going to have. Studies years later have proven that it's totally false."

Related:  Napolitano defends report

McCain also took issue with the report's suggestion that Timothy McVeigh's military background made him more susceptible to committing terrorist acts.

"Timothy McVeigh didn't learn to make that huge bomb while he was in the military," McCain said. "He learned it afterwards. So to point out one veteran who committed an act of atrocity I think is outrageous. And as a veteran and having thousands and thousands of friends of mine who are fellow veterans, I think a real apology is owed throughout the administration.

Appearing on CNN's "State of The Union" on Sunday, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said the report is not meant to paint veterans themselves as "right-wing extremists."

"The report is not saying veterans are extremists, far from it," she told CNN's John King. "What it is saying is returning veterans are targets of right-wing extremist groups that are trying to recruit those to commit violent acts within the country. We want to do all we can to prevent that."

The homeland security secretary also expressed regret that in "the politicization of everything that happens in Washington, D.C.," some have taken offense to the report.

"But when you read the report, what it was saying is that, look, we have a threat of terrorism within our own shores and one of the groups being targeted to see if they will be aligned with that are some of our veterans," she said.

Filed under: John McCain
soundoff (304 Responses)
  1. Robin

    I have decided just to laugh. Obama can do no wrong in the eyes of his followers.

    The report was insulting. Tim McVeigh is not the face of returning vets.

    Funny thing is, Bill Ayers was a terrorist too? How is it he can teach in a university AND be friends with a US president, oh yeah, he is on the left. So he gets a pass.

    April 21, 2009 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  2. Will

    Timothy McVeigh returned from the gulf war, fell in with right-wing ideology and killed 168 patriotic Americans. Are all soldiers a threat? Of course not, but if we have another terrorist attack on US soil, it's probably going to come from there.

    April 21, 2009 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  3. Terry - California

    First, the report was initially created during the Bush Administration, by Bush Appointed HSA Personnel. Second, the author of the report is a Bush Administration Appointee. Third, if you are looking to fill the rolls of a right-wing group, known for "right-wing extremism", you are not looking for liberal thinking young men. So, why would you not look at returning military service men and women? I am more interested in the fact that we have a previously elected president and vice president who gave written orders that approved torture for prisoners of war. Please Senator McCain, explain what is going on at the CIA and the Justice Department. As a prisoner of war, you have to understand what torture is like, and further that it is not really needed.

    April 21, 2009 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  4. Sher F. Eugene, Oregon

    OMG, before President Obama was elected McCain was the FIRST person the United States needed to fear; and he's a Vet!! It doesn't even matter if you're a Sunday school teacher anymore!

    April 21, 2009 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
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