Georgia Republican Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene was fact-checked by Fox News and the Chief of the U.S. Border Patrol after she falsely claimed an "explosive" was found in a lightly patrolled area along the southern U.S./Mexican border–supporting her theory agents were being attacked by Mexican drug cartels.
However, the suspicious "explosive" she claimed border agents found in January turned out to be nothing more than a ball of sand wrapped in duct tape.
On Wednesday, the known conspiracy theorist and supporter of extremist militia groups mentioned her spurious claim during a Homeland Security Committee hearing with U.S. Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz to try and persuade the U.S. military to fight Mexican cartels.
When the Georgia Representative asked Ortiz if he was aware of the discovery of explosives, allegedly planted by the cartels according to surveillance footage at the border, he explained he wasn't at liberty to divulge details given the "confidential" nature of the incident.
MTG was not satisfied with his response and demanded the American people deserved to know.
She maintained that U.S. border patrol agents should not be working under conditions in which they can potentially be "blown to pieces" by an organized group she referred to as "criminals"–which was why she was co-sponsoring legislation for the U.S. to wage war against them.
Here is a video of her grilling Ortiz.
Later that day, MTG doubled down on her fear-disseminating claim in a tweet, writing:
"Explosive found by Border Patrol Agents Jan 17th. Agents have surveillance of who brought it in and when and confirmed it was the Cartel."
"This changes everything. Not only are the Cartels murdering Americans everyday through drugs and crime, but now they are planting bombs on our land in our country."
"Our US military needs to take action against the Mexican Cartels. End this Cartel led war against America!"
A few hours later, Fox News national correspondent Bill Melugin shared MTG's tweet.
Melugin said he had spoken to a "high-level CBP [U.S. Customs and Border Protection] source" who told him the device was fake and "actually filled with dirt."
"It was discovered by Border Patrol agents in Rio Grande City in the RGV, and while it appeared nefarious, I’m told it did not contain any explosives."
Ortiz officially confirmed the device in question was not a "threat to agents/public."
"Today, I testified before the Committee on Homeland Security & it was alleged that Agents found an explosive device near the border."
"During a Jan. briefing, leadership was notified that Agents found a duct-taped ball filled with sand that wasn't deemed a threat to agents/public."
The confirmations prompted readers to update MTG's Twitter post with a link that redirected them to Ortiz's tweet to expose her lie.
Twitter users annihilated MTG for being a liar.
Still, MTG continued to ignore the substantiated fact to promote her theory that the southern border was "one of the most dangerous places in the world" and that there were esclatated incidents of cartels transporting the fatal opioid drug fentanyl across the border.
"Thank you for your testimony today Chief Ortiz and I know you are explaining what you were told when you inquired about the situation after the hearing," she said, adding.
"Unfortunately, several Border Patrol agents are saying it was some sort of IED and there is video surveillance and pictures of a man placing the device."
"They say that is why agents were sent to retrieve it in the area known as No Man’s Land. This is an area controlled by the Cartels according to BP and with the shortage of agents they aren’t just walking around out there to randomly just find something like this."
"According to them, they were told later that it was some sort of explosive, not filled with sand."
"I’m just explaining what I was told today and with the extreme dangerous border crisis and threat from Cartels, I’m very concerned about our agents."
When Newsweek contacted Greene about the incident and asked where she obtained the photograph of the object, she backed down and apologized for the misinformation but blamed Ortiz and his agency for not being forthcoming with details about the border situation earlier.
"If the device in question was just filled with sand then why would Chief Ortiz tell me during his testimony that he was briefed about it in a SCIF and couldn't comment on classified information, then turn around afterwards and tweet a picture of it claiming it was filled with sand?"
"With thousands of people and huge amounts of drugs flooding across the border everyday, they don't brief the Chief of Border Patrol in a SCIF about a ball of sand."
"They only brief us about dangerous things in classified briefings."
Her grilling of a top agent in Democratic President Joe Biden's administration is a typical example of her pushing unsupported arguments against immigration–including erroneously stating the U.S. government had sent 6 billion people illegally across the border.
She later walked back her haphazard claim and said it was 6 million–which is still debatable.
MTG also falsely proclaimed in a tweet that the two brothers who died of fentanyl poisoning in 2020 was:
"because of the Biden administrations refusal to secure our border and stop the Cartel's from murdering Americans everyday by Chinese fentanyl."
She mentioned the claim in an attempt to attack Biden's administration for its “refusal to secure our border."
However, CNN fact-checker Daniel Dale found that the two victims died under former Republican President Donald Trump's watch, not Biden's.
When Dale confronted Greene’s spokesperson, Nick Dyer, about her claim, he was told by Dyer, "do you think they give a f'k about your bullsh*t fact-checking?"