Focus on violent 'extremists' hampered by U.S. laws, political pressureSubmitted by emalvini on Fri, 08/10/2012 - 15:41
Focus on violent 'extremists' hampered by U.S. laws, political pressure
By Mark Hosenball
WASHINGTON | Thu Aug 9, 2012 7:31pm EDT
(Reuters) - Efforts by authorities to spot and pre-empt violent right-wing extremists like the ex-soldier who shot up a Wisconsin Sikh temple face serious legal and political hurdles, including free speech guarantees and pushback from political lobbies.
Officials and private experts who track extremists groups say U.S. laws, particularly the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, prevent official investigators from bringing cases against Americans for having extreme beliefs.
And past attempts by the U.S. government to highlight the threat of right-wing extremism have provoked a political backlash, further complicating attempts to deal with the issue.