New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker tore into Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen on the supposed misdeeds of the Trump administration during a Tuesday Senate Judiciary Committee hearing.
One of the particular points of contention for Booker was how the White House allegedly ignores America’s white supremacists, whom the senator argued were more dangerous than Islamic militants.
The New Jersey Democrat cited a 2017 report published by the Government Accountability Office that purports to show that out of 85 extremist attacks that resulted in victim deaths since 9/11, 73 percent were committed by right-wingers.
In Booker’s dramatic monologue, he claimed that all of these attackers held “bigoted, hateful ideas about minorities” and implied he wanted 73 percent of the DHS’s time spent tracking down these far-right extremists.
However, there are serious issues with the GAO report that Booker used to argue white supremacists are the biggest terror threat to the nation. One of the major problems with the study is what incidents it lumps in with right-wing terror.
The biggest error in GAO’s data on white supremacist terror was caught by National Review’s David French last April. The Umpqua Community College shooting, one of the deadliest shootings the GAO attributed to a white supremacist, was actually committed by an African-American with no discernible ideology outside of hatred for religion.
Anti-government activists who appeared not to have been motivated by hate for minorities committed a good portion of the violent incidents the study categorized as right wing terror — contrary to what Booker argued on Tuesday. The GAO study also includes prison slayings carried out by white supremacist gangs as cases of domestic terror.
Another problem French found with the study was its glaring omission of left-wing terrorism. The National Review writer noted three incidents of politically-motivated police murders committed by black nationalists over the last three years.
Those incidents would appear to count as violent extremism, but the GAO report leaves out those and many other incidents in its findings, giving America the erroneous impression that only jihadis and right-wing extremists engage in political murder.
It is interesting that Booker went with the 73 percent figure from the study instead of the number of people killed by white supremacists. The GAO reports that while right-wing extremists were responsible for more incidents, Islamists killed more people on American soil.
But the study fails to adequately assess the threat of Islamic terror by leaving out incidents without victim fatalities and foiled plots. (RELATED: FACT CHECK: Is The Far-Right Largely Responsible For Extremist Violence?)
For instance, within the study’s time frame, Islamists committed two notable criminal acts that fortunately did not leave any innocent people dead. In 2015, two jihadi gunmen attempted to storm a Muhammad drawing event in Texas with the intent of murder. Both gunmen were shot and killed by police before they were able to harm anyone. (RELATED: FBI Undercover Agent Was In Car Behind Terrorists And Failed To Stop Attack)
In October 2016, a Islamic militant planted bombs in multiple locations throughout New York and New Jersey. Three of the explosives went off, one of which detonated in Manhattan and left 31 people injured. (RELATED: Afghan Immigrant Found Guilty Of New York Terror Bombing Spree)
The study fails to mention such cases and others that show the pervasiveness of Islamic extremism because they did not result in any fatalities, leaving one with the likely impression Booker took away that right-wing extremists are the far greater threat.
But when you look closer at the data, the picture isn’t as clear cut as the New Jersey Democrat would have us believe.