"Do you work for the Muslim Brotherhood?” Patrick W. Carlineo asked an aide to Minneapolis Congresswoman Ilhan Omar. “Why are you working for her? She's a fucking terrorist. I’ll put a bullet in her fucking skull.”
The call came to Omar's office on March 21, according to the FBI. Carlineo seemed unaware that threatening to kill a member of Congress amounted to the same kind of terrorism he supposedly detests. But he was thoughtful enough to leave his contact info and phone number.
When agents tracked him down at his home in Addison, New York, he told them he was a patriot, a Trump lover, and a hater of radical Muslims. As he saw it, he was merely carrying out the work of Thomas Jefferson. “If our forefathers were still alive, they’d put a bullet in her head,” he told the FBI.
Two days earlier, Omar was scheduled to speak at a Los Angeles banquet for the Council of American-Islamic Relations, a Muslim civil rights group. Prior to the event, a woman left a voicemail at the Hilton where it was to be held.
“What would you do if I told you your hotel was going to be bombed?" she asked. "That is exactly what’s going to happen if you allow the likes of Ilhan Omar into your hotel. She is a danger to American society and your hotel. You are not to allow her foot into there if you value your own safety. Do not allow her in there. Cancel the event.”
A month before that, the FBI arrested U.S. Coast Guard lieutenant Christopher Hasson in Maryland. The white nationalist had been stockpiling weapons and preparing a hit list that included everyone from Sen. Elizabeth Warren to CNN's Don Lemon. Omar's name was included.
There's little doubt where the notion of Omar as terrorist came from. An entire generation has now been raised on victim radio and television, which peddles the idea that all life's failures can be blamed on The Other, be they gay, Mexican, liberal, or the new congresswoman who wears a hijab.
That victimology is an inviting doctrine to the gullible and weak, since it turns one's bigotry and fear of the world into the battle cry from the soldier of the righteous.
Fox News host Jeanine Pirro was selling that theory just a week before the threat came into Omar's office. “Think about it: Omar wears a hijab,” Pirro said in her opening monologue. “Is her adherence to this Islamic doctrine indicative of her adherence to Sharia law?”
And just a day after that call, other right-wing media were linking the congresswoman to terrorism on the thinnest strands of misinformation.
“Omar holding secret fundraisers with Islamic groups tied to terror,” read the headline in the Washington Free Beacon, a website that fancies itself as serving the more learned conservative. “The content of these speeches, given to predominately Muslim audiences, remains unknown.”
“Look who's holding secret fundraisers with Islamic groups tied to terror,” followed PJ Media, a punditry site of similar ilk.
They were referring to speeches Omar had given in Florida and California. One was at a private fundraiser for Islamic Relief, “a charity organization long said to have deep ties to groups that advocate terrorism against Israel,” wrote the Beacon. Two others in California – and the subsequent bomb threat – involved the Council on American Islamic Relations, “named as an unindicted co-conspirator in a massive terror-funding incident.”
Snopes was quick to detonate the claims: “Although it’s true that Omar in February and March of 2019 attended two fundraising events that were not open to the news media (one for charity and one for her reelection campaign), the events were not secret, nor were they hosted by groups 'tied to terror,'” the fact-finding site reported. “Furthermore, a third event in which she spoke in front of a large crowd in Los Angeles on 23 March 2019 could hardly be mistaken for a 'secret' one, as it was live-streamed by Fox News.”
It's doubtful Carlineo, Hasson, or the bomb threat lady ever made it to Snopes or questioned the 3+4=26 logic of Pirro. The wonderful thing about being professionally aggrieved is that it absolves you of self-reflection. You simply stockpile evidence of your victimhood. Any notion to the contrary surely must be fake.
It's how Carlineo could supposedly fight terrorism by threatening an act of terror. And it's why a Minneapolis congresswoman must worry about who wants to kill her next.