A day after The Daily Caller critiqued a piece published by Newsweek.com and The Daily Beast about what motivated accused Arizona shooter Jared Lee Loughner, the employer of the original piece’s author responded to inquires made by The Daily Caller.
The Center for Public Integrity said it “strongly stand[s] behind” a story written by Aaron Mehta, which implied that if Republicans hadn’t “ignored” a 2009 report about right-wing extremists and “lone wolves,” then the Jan. 9 shooting in Arizona might have been prevented.
Mehta also attempted to link Loughner to right-wing extremist groups, implying that he was in fact himself a right-wing extremist.
Mehta is employed by the CPI and the organization responded to inquiries about the piece, which were originally sent to Mehta directly.
Below is the statement from Randy Barrett, the CPI’s Director of Communications:
1. The Center did not ignore DHS and Levin. In fact, we quoted them in the story saying it was unlikely that ideology alone motivated Loughner.
2. The DHS report warns of several characteristics of the potential lone wolf attacker, nearly all of which fit facts published about Loughner:
-He expressed anti-government opinions on his YouTube and chat rooms. In fact, his best friend said he targeted Rep. Giffords because he believed she lied to him, a trait he saw in all of government.
-He believed in ending U.S. currency, fearing economic doom, according to his posts. This is another trait mentioned in the report.
-He espoused the theory that humans didn’t reach the moon and that Rover didn’t reach Mars. Conspiracy theories are mentioned prominently in the “lone wolf” section of the report.
And, as we’ve stated many times before, The Center for Public Integrity is staunchly nonpartisan. I would appreciate your updating the story to reflect our response above.