Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez proclaimed on Twitter Wednesday that “Neo-Nazis are getting off the hook,” sharing a video of a back-and-forth she had with FBI leadership over who gets defined as a terrorist.
“This hearing was wild,” Ocasio-Cortez said.
The New York Democrat questioned Michael McGarrity, the assistant director of the FBI’s Counterterrorism Division, at a House Oversight subcommittee hearing Tuesday.
AOC was trying to make the point that white supremacists – what the hearing was about – and Muslim terror suspects were treated differently under the law.
“Doesn’t it seem that because the perpetrator was Muslim that the designation would say it’s a foreign organization?” Ocasio-Cortez asked McGarrity.
He jumped to interrupt her. “That is not correct,” he said several times. “Doesn’t matter what religion.”
Ocasio-Cortez then asked him if white supremacy was not a global issue.
“It is a global issue,” the FBI official responded.
“So why are they not charged with foreign terror?” Ocasio-Cortez said. Earlier she had referenced white supremacists like Dylann Roof, who shot up a black church in Charleston, South Carolina, and Pittsburgh synagogue defendant Robert Bowers.
“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 replied.
Domestic groups – like the Ku Klux Klan – are not designated as terrorist organizations, so no corresponding crimes apply as they would to a member of ISIS.
“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,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted Wednesday.
“Violence by Muslims is routinely treated as ‘terrorism,’ White Supremacist violence isn’t.”