by WorldTribune Staff, June 10, 2019
The FBI is letting violent white perpetrators “off the hook” by only charging them with hate crimes while Muslim perpetrators are charged with “domestic terrorism,” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said in a House hearing last week.
Using the 2018 Tree of Life synagogue shooting and the 2015 murders of nine African Americans at a South Carolina church as examples, the New York Democrat pressed FBI Assistant Director for Counterterrorism Michael McGarrity on why those incidents resulted in hate crime charges instead of “domestic terrorism” charges.
McGarrity on several occasions during the hearing explained to AOC that there is no such thing as a “charge” of “domestic terrorism.”
“You’re using the word ‘charge,’ ” McGarrity said to Ocasio-Cortez. “So, as I said before, there is no domestic terrorism charge 18 USC § 2339 ABCD for a foreign terrorist organization. So, 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.”
The June 4 hearing of the House Oversight subcommittee on civil rights and civil liberties was titled “Confronting White Supremacy: Adequacy of the Federal Response”.
McGarrity reiterated multiple times that the cases Ocasio-Cortez mentioned were treated as domestic terrorist cases and events, but said that those cases would end up being charged through the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Homeland Security. After McGarrity’s explanation, Ocasio-Cortez asked again if the “actual charge” was domestic terrorism.
“You’re not going to find a charge of domestic terrorism out there,” McGarrity said. “Some of the definitions we’re using, I think we’re talking past each other.”
Ocasio-Cortez brought up the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando and the San Bernadino shooting as examples of terrorism charges, positing that the cases were only tried as such because the suspects were Muslim.
“Doesn’t it seem like because the perpetrator was Muslim, that the designation would say it’s a foreign organization?” Ocasio-Cortez asked.
McGarrity constantly said “no” during Ocasio-Cortez’s question, explaining to her that charges are not dictated by a perpetrator’s race or religion.
Instead, McGarrity said that in the incidents perpetrated by Muslims, the offenders were adhering to the doctrine of a foreign terrorist organization, such as Al Qaida, ISIS, or al Shabaab. The Orlando attacker called the police and told them he was a “soldier of ISIS” and the San Bernardino attackers posted messages on Facebook declaring their allegiance to ISIS.
The FBI refers to individuals like this as “homegrown violent extremists,” which is a different distinction than what they call a “domestic terrorist.” McGarrity explained that hate crimes and weapons charges were used to prosecute domestic terrorists.
Red State noted: “There is no actual thing as ‘domestic terrorism’ when it comes to criminal statutes. We already have laws for domestic crime. When you kill someone, its called murder. Even if the FBI wanted to, they couldn’t charge a Neo-Nazi with ‘domestic terrorism’ because that doesn’t exist as far as the justice system is concerned.
“This is for good reason. Civil liberty questions become a very big issue if you start classifying Americans as terrorists when they have no actual foreign connections. If they are connected with a foreign entity, such as ISIS, then they can be charged under international terrorism statutes.”
In a June 5 tweet, Ocasio-Cortez called the hearing “wild” and claimed that her team had followed up on the information McGarrity gave her, but insists that she still wasn’t wrong:
“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.”
AOC has yet to explain what McGarrity may have gotten wrong or what specific information she looked back over with her team.
Red State noted that “After getting thoroughly embarrassed, AOC then ran to Twitter with an edited video to get accolades from all her followers. The nod to herself, asserting that she tried to give the FBI official, who’s an expert on the matter, the benefit of the doubt. But she checked on it and she’s right, even though she’s completely wrong on every level. Brilliant stuff. There is no objective truth anymore in politics. Just Twitter and people clapping like seals. Her false tweet currently has 128,000 likes.”