The report also cites a range of events and reports as evidence for the purported upswing in militia activities, including the murders of six law enforcement officials over the last several months by those espousing anti-government, racist, or pro-militia beliefs. It also singles out the June shooting of a National Holocaust Museum guard by James Von Brunn, who had ties to white supremacist groups, as The Christian Science Monitor reported.
The SPLC report also claims that with the election of Barack Obama to the head of the US government, which militias typically perceive as their enemy, the messages of militias, not traditionally focused on racial hatred, have taken on racial undertones.
Fox News writes that conservative groups are dismissing the report, which they say relies on a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) report released earlier this year on right-wing extremism. They say that the DHS report relies on unofficial reports and unfairly lumps together legitimate critics of the Obama administration with radical militias, and as a result the new SPLC report is suspect for the same reasons.
They are attempting to brand all right-of-center protesters as potential domestic terrorists or extremists," [William Gheen, president of Americans for Legal Immigration PAC,] said. "They are painting whole swaths of people as hate groups and extremists."
As for the purported rise in "militia" groups, which SPLC includes as part of the broader anti-government "Patriot" movement, Gheen said: "We're just not seeing it."