A heated battle took place between Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the FBI earlier this week after Cortez decided to attack the agency over terrorism.

She repeatedly suggested that Muslims get charged with terrorism because they are treated as foreign, while the FBI lets white supremacists get “off the hook”.

It all started at a hearing on Tuesday, when the New York Democrat suggested that Muslims are being treated differently in the U.S., including getting charged with terrorism for criminal acts.  She went on to say this is happening while white supremacist attackers avoid being charged with “domestic terrorism” for similar crimes.

But that’s just not true.

Michael McGarrity, the assistant director of the Counterterrorism Division of the FBI, didn’t waste time in ripping into the freshman Democrat.


He explained that the authorities can’t charge people with a “domestic terrorism” charge simply because such a charge does not exist in U.S. laws.

“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 explained. “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.

The lawmaker couldn’t wrap her head around it.

“You’re not going to find an actual charge of domestic terrorism out there if you look at Title 18–,” he added.  This after he kept being questioned by her.

She still couldn’t understand.

She went on to argue the San Bernardino shooting and the Orlando pulse nightclub shooting as the cases where the perpetrators were “charged as domestic terrorist incidents”. But that’s simply not correct.

“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.

In neither of the two cases people were charged as “domestic terrorists”.  They were instead charged as “homegrown violent extremists”.  That’s a term given to criminals in the U.S. who draw inspiration from “foreign terrorist organizations” such as ISIS or Al-Qaeda and are charged as such.


As for white supremacist attackers?  They could also be charged as “homegrown violent extremists” as long as they are tied to a foreign terrorist organization as designated by the U.S. government.

With that being said, no such case has ever been found.

“No, that is not correct, that is not correct,” McGarrity responded.

He added the law doesn’t differentiate between religions, and he noted the FBI would normally classify those radicalized by the global Jihad as foreign terrorists.

“Some of the definitions I think we’re using, we’re talking past each other,” McGarrity added.

Ocasio-Cortez later took to social media, saying:


“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.”

She didn’t disclose what information she “checked”.

“Violence by Muslims is routinely treated as ‘terrorism,’ White Supremacist violence isn’t. Neo-Nazis are getting off the hook,” she added.

She also didn’t demonstrate how the FBI official was wrong during the hearing.