House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R., Calif.) is probing why President Joe Biden's Justice Department downplayed anti-Semitic motives in Saturday's terrorist attack at a Texas synagogue.
"Over the past 48 hours, President Biden's Justice Department has gone from denying the clear and religious, anti-Semitic implications of this attack to now backtracking to what we all already knew to be true," McCarthy said Tuesday. The minority leader is now calling to investigate gaps the hostage attack revealed in American national security, including how "someone with an apparent criminal record and suspicious travel history was allowed into the United States."
Malik Faisal Akram, a 44-year-old British national, held a rabbi and three congregants at gunpoint for 10 hours on Saturday inside a Colleyville synagogue. Akram said he was motivated by anger over the imprisonment of Aafia Siddiqui, a terrorist sometimes referred to as "Lady al Qaeda" who is serving 86 years in prison for trying to gun down FBI and military officials. In the 10th hour of the standoff, Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker hit Akram with a chair, giving the group a chance to escape. Police rushed in shortly after and shot Akram dead.
The FBI special agent in charge of the Colleyville hostage-taking, Matt DeSarno, said on Saturday the situation was "not specifically related to the Jewish community." Biden on Sunday similarly said there was not "sufficient information to know why he targeted that synagogue" or "why he was using anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli comments." But the FBI later backtracked, saying the attack was "a terrorism-related matter, in which the Jewish community was targeted."
"The Biden administration must answer for how this case has already been mishandled," McCarthy said, "and must provide a clear strategy on how they plan to continue to investigate the outstanding terror threats."