Thursday, June 22, 2017
Why Should Someone Who Targets Congressmen Not Be A "Terrorist." Is FBI Restricting That Name For Conservatives?
Investigators determined that James Hodgkinson, the Bernie Sanders supporter who opened fire on a Virginia baseball field last week and injured four people including Scalise, had no ties to international terrorism, and acted alone. Scalise, along with a number of other Republican leaders, were practicing for the annual Democratic vs. Republican congressional baseball game at the time. Scalise remains hospitalized in serious condition.
The FBI’s refusal to label Hodgkinson a terrorist—despite his radicalized views, and his attempt on the life of multiple Republican political leaders—harkens back to the 2009 shooting at Fort Hood, when Maj. Nidal Hasan killed 14. The FBI, at the time, also refused to label Hasan a “terrorist,” instead calling him a “homegrown violent extremist.” The Defense Department, controversially, classified Hasan’s attack as “workplace violence.”
In addition to their determination that Hodgkinson was not a terrorist, the FBI also determined that the shooter had kept a storage locker in Alexandria, Virginia, containing large stores of ammunition and a laptop computer. He visited the locker nearly every day since April, including less than an hour before his attack.
Officials also discovered a list including the names of six additional members of Congress. It’s not clear what leaders were on the list, and the FBI has not yet characterized it as a “hit list,” despite Hodgkinson’s political leanings and the large number of unused rounds found in the locker.