“Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and to remove all doubt.”
That wise advice may or may not have actually come from Abraham Lincoln, but Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez could still learn a lot from it.
On Tuesday, the bartender-turned-lawmaker made a general fool out of herself as she tried to hammer FBI officials about how they prosecuted hate crimes.
From the beginning, it was clear that she had an agenda: Implying that white criminals are given more lenient treatment than Muslim terrorists.
It didn’t go very well.
Instead of agreeing with her, FBI officials schooled AOC about the actual law, and ended up making the New York legislator appear shockingly ignorant.
Check it out here.
Even the mainstream media couldn’t spin it to make Ocasio-Cortez look good.
“In a video clip that has now gone viral, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez pressed the FBI’s top counterterrorism official over what she called ‘discrepancies’ between the FBI’s handling of violent white supremacists and Muslim extremists,” ABC News reported.
Ocasio-Cortez seemed to be searching for outrage where there wasn’t any by claiming that Muslim attackers — such as the gunman in the bloody Pulse nightclub shooting of 2016 — had been charged with “domestic terrorism,” while white supremacist attackers had not.
“But is that true? Not exactly,” noted ABC News.
It looks like AOC had no idea of what she was talking about.
“We’ve seen white supremacist attacks that were clearly domestic terrorism,” she said, citing the 2015 Charleston, South Carolina, church massacre and last year’s shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue.
“Those were only designated and charged as hate crimes, not domestic terrorist incidents,” she continued. “Why did the FBI not believe that these incidents were domestic terrorist incidents?”
She was clearly not ready for FBI Assistant Director Michael McGarrity’s answer.
“That’s not correct. I don’t know who told you that we didn’t, but we certainly had cases open on them in both those cases,” he said.
The FBI official noted that he wasn’t personally involved in the Charleston shooting case, but had firsthand knowledge of how authorities investigated the Tree of Life synagogue attack.
“I remember that case distinctly, it was worked as both a domestic terrorism case and a hate crimes case,” McGarrity said.
He quickly dug into the root of AOC’s ignorance about the law.
“There’s no ‘domestic terrorism’ charge like 18 USC 2339 A B C D for foreign terrorist organizations,” McGarrity continued, schooling the clueless Democrat.
The FBI expert knows what he’s talking about. While authorities can and do investigate incidents as “domestic terrorism” internally, the actual federal law — 18 USC 2339 — deals with terrorists with links to foreign groups. There isn’t actually a federal statute against “domestic terrorism.”
“We’ll use any tool in the tool kit to arrest them […] on the record, it’s stated that it is domestic terrorism,” McGarrity said.
In other words, even if prosecutors wanted to charge somebody with “domestic terrorism,” there is no such charge under current federal law. Ocasio-Cortez seemed completely unaware of this, even though she and the rest of Congress are responsible for passing laws.
“Was the actual charge domestic terrorism?” AOC asked, still not getting it.
“You’re not going to find an actual charge of ‘domestic terrorism’ out there,” the FBI official replied, clearly becoming frustrated with Ocasio-Cortez.
AOC still acted clueless, bringing up the 2015 San Bernadino terrorist attack as an example of a recent terrorism charge, but completely ignoring the fact that those suspects had connections to known foreign terrorist organizations.
“Because the perpetrator was Muslim, they are … doesn’t it seem because the perpetrator is Muslim …” she trailed off.
“That is not correct. That has nothing to do with it. No. No. That’s not correct,” McGarrity replied.
“That is not correct,” he said one more time, obviously offended that AOC implied the FBI prosecuted people based on their religion.
He had to once again explain the difference between a homegrown radical extremist with no ties to external groups, and terrorists linked to foreign forces who can actually be prosecuted under 18 USC 2339. He might as well have been talking at a wall.
Incredibly, after the hearing, Ocasio-Cortez released a Twitter post that still claimed she was correct about the law.
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
She has, however, not said what her staff checked, or how she was proven correct.
And as even ABC News pointed out, the FBI doesn’t make the laws. The bureau can only prosecute people for laws that are on the books — and if AOC has a problem with that, it’s literally her job to change it.
“Any ‘discrepancies’ in prosecution are largely rooted in the laws as passed by Congress, not policy decisions made inside the FBI,” that news outlet noted.
“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,” ABC reported. (Emphasis added.)
In other words, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is living in a fantasy world and is absolutely bewildered by the actual law or prosecution process.
Worse, she’s trying desperately to push a dangerous and false claim about racial favoritism at the FBI, based on nothing but ignorance, and her own agenda .
And that is truly something to be outraged about.
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