First, Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York threw shade at the FBI, claiming violent incidents by Muslims are treated more severely by the FBI than those by white supremacists.
Then, Michael McGarrity, assistant director of the Counterterrorism Division of the FBI, explained that the charge Ocasio-Cortez was demanding be leveled against white supremacists did not exist.
Ocasio-Cortez expressed anger during a Tuesday hearing before the House Oversight Committee that terrorism charges were filed in cases where Muslims were the perpetrators. She cited the San Bernardino shooting of 2015 and the 2016 shooting in the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, but not in cases such as last fall’s Tree of Life synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh or the 2015 attack on a black church in South Carolina.
She claimed that white supremacists were only facing hate crime charges and not the terrorism charges slapped on Muslims, according to Fox News.
But ABC News, when looking into her claims, was forced to say that Ocasio-Cortez “appeared to be confusing two different types of FBI cases.”
ABC tried to interpret current laws this way: “If a white supremacist were tied to some group designated a foreign terrorist organization by the U.S. government, that could allow federal prosecutors to charge the white supremacist with the same offenses as an ISIS-inspired terrorist – but no such case has ever been identified.”
The New York Post captured some of the back-and-forth.
“Doesn’t it seem that because the perpetrator was Muslim that the designation would say it’s a foreign organization?” Ocasio-Cortez asked McGarrity.
“That is not correct,” he said. “Doesn’t matter what religion.”
She later asked why the accused shooters in the South Carolina and Pittsburgh incidents were not charged with what she called “foreign terror.”
“Because the United States Congress doesn’t have a statute for us for domestic terrorism like we do for a foreign terrorist organization like we do for ISIS, al Qaeda and Al-Shabaab,” McGarrity said.
“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 said.
FBI Asst. Director of Counterterrorism Michael McGarrity has to repeatedly explain to Ocasio-Cortez that domestic terrorists are not charged with domestic terrorism because no domestic terrorist statute exists
AOC, who is a *lawmaker*, does not understand what that means
— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) June 7, 2019
McGarrity said the result, not the language, ought to matter.
“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.
Despite getting those facts, Ocasio-Cortez said she was the winner in the exchange.
This hearing was wild.
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. https://t.co/RCjp4687by
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) June 5, 2019
“This hearing was wild. 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 tweeted.
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