Freshman Democratic congresswoman, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, has been “schooled” by an FBI counterterrorism official after she suggested that white supremacists are getting a pass by the agency.
Earlier this week the controversial representative from New York, incorrectly suggested Muslims get charged with terrorism because they are treated as foreign, while white supremacists get “off the hook.”
AOC used a hearing on Tuesday to suggest that Muslims are being treated differently in the U.S., including getting charged with terrorism for criminal acts, while white supremacist attackers avoid being charged with “domestic terrorism” for similar crimes.
Michael McGarrity, the assistant director of the Counterterrorism Division of the FBI, set the record straight for the freshman Democrat, explaining that the authorities can’t charge people with a “domestic terrorism” charge simply because such a charge does not exist in U.S. laws.
“You’re using the word ‘charge,’ as I said before there’s no domestic terrorism charge like 18 USC § 2339 ABCD for a foreign terrorist organization,” McGarrity explained. “What we do both on the international terrorism side with the homegrown violent extremists and domestic terrorism, we’ll use any tool in the toolkit to arrest them,” McGarrity said.
There Is No Statute for “Domestic Terrorism”
“You’re not going to find an actual charge of domestic terrorism out there if you look at Title 18, McGarrity added after repeated questioning by the Democrat.
Ocasio-Cortez went on to point to the San Bernardino shooting or the Orlando pulse nightclub shooting as specific cases where the perpetrators were “charged as domestic terrorist incidents,” a claim that McGarrity clarified as incorrect.
“So, because the perpetrator was Muslim they’re — doesn’t it seem that because the perpetrator is Muslim that the designation would say it’s a foreign organization?” Ocasio-Cortez asked during the hearing.
According to ABC News, which detailed how Ocasio-Cortez conflated two different terms — in neither of the two cases she referred to were the perpetrators “charged” as “domestic terrorists” and were instead charged as “homegrown violent extremists,” a term given to criminals in the U.S. who draw inspiration from “foreign terrorist organizations” such as ISIS or Al-Qaeda.
By the same token, and under current law, white supremacist attackers could be charged as “homegrown violent extremists” as long as they are tied to a foreign terrorist organization as designated by the U.S. government, though no such case has ever been found.
No white supremacist attackers have been charged with “domestic terror” simply because such a term does not exist in US law. As a lawmaker, one would think a Congresswoman would know that. Where appropriate, such attackers have been charged with, and convicted of “hate crimes.”
As AOC again tried to say that the perpetrators in the Pulse and San Bernardino attacks, where branded “domestic terrorists” simply because they were Muslims, McGarrity again tried to correct her.
“No, that is not correct, that is not correct,” McGarrity responded, adding that the law doesn’t differentiate between religions while noting that the FBI would normally classify those radicalized by the global Jihad as foreign terrorists.
“Some of the definitions I think we’re using, we’re talking past each other,” McGarrity added.
Although being corrected by FBI officials several times, it seems that AOC still didn’t get it, and would not let go of her incorrect narrative, taking a victory lap on social media, saying “First the FBI witness tried to say I was wrong. I tried to be generous + give benefit of doubt, but then we checked. I wasn’t.”
“Violence by Muslims is routinely treated as ‘terrorism,’ White Supremacist violence isn’t. Neo-Nazis are getting off the hook,” she added.
However, she failed to cite the information she “checked” and how the FBI official was wrong during the hearing.