Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) attempted to perpetuate a false narrative about white supremacy and Muslim terrorists during a House Oversight Committee hearing this week.
Unfortunately for the freshman lawmaker, Michael McGarrity, assistant director of the FBI’s counterterrorism division, promptly squashed her efforts.
Ocasio-Cortez grilled McGarrity over why the Charleston church tragedy and Tree of Life Synagogue massacre were not classified as domestic terrorism incidents, only hate crimes. The New York lawmaker was attempting to perpetuate the narrative that the FBI treats incidents carried out by Muslims differently than those carried out by non-Muslims.
The New York Democrat was certainly not prepared for McGarrity’s answer.
“That’s not correct,” he told Ocasio-Cortez. “I don’t know who told you that we didn’t, but we certainly had cases open on them in both those cases and I wasn’t here for the [Charleston] case but it’s certainly in our own Department of Justice civil rights about 3-4 weeks ago in their testimony actually stated that it was a domestic terrorism event, charged through the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice for a hate crime. I was here for the Tree of Life, I will tell you I remember that day distinctly. It was worked as both a domestic terrorism case and a hate crimes case, and it still works that way.”
After further pushback from Ocasio-Cortez, McGarrity definitively stated that both the Charleston massacre and the Tree of Life Synagogue tragedy were classified as “domestic terrorism.”
Still, Ocasio-Cortez continued to hit back.
“But the actual charge. Was the actual charge domestic terrorism?” she asked.
McGarrity explained that no such charge exists in the U.S. federal criminal law code. That’s when Ocasio-Cortez showed her hand, asking about the San Bernardino massacre and the Pulse Nightclub tragedy, both of which were carried out by radicalized Islamic extremists. She claimed the FBI charged the incidents as “domestic terrorism.”
“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.
“That is not correct. No, that is not correct,” McGarrity responded, explaining religion makes no difference in how the Justice Department doles out criminal charges.
“The United States Congress doesn’t have a statute for [the FBI] for domestic terrorism like we do in a foreign terrorist organization like ISIS, al-Qaeda, al-Shabaab,” McGarrity went on to explain after Ocasio-Cortez insinuated again the FBI treats Muslim terrorists differently than white supremacist terrorists.
According to ABC News, the difference between the cases that Ocasio-Cortez cited boils down to how the perpetrators were radicalized. In the white supremacist cases, the killers were not influenced by foreign terrorist organizations, while those who carried out the San Bernardino and Pulse Nightclub massacres were.
Despite being schooled, she still took a victory lap on social media.
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