Congressman On Synagogue Hostage Situation: Now ‘An International Investigation,’ ‘There’s Something More Here’

Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX), Ranking Member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, told CNN on Sunday that the hostage situation that unfolded on Saturday at a synagogue in Texas has turned into an international investigation that there was “something more” to the events that happened.

“First of all, this is a disturbing case that demonstrates that anti-Semitism is unfortunately alive and well,” McCaul said. “I think they chose this synagogue because she, Siddiqui, the Lady al Qaeda, they call her, is being detained in a Fort Worth prison facility. To answer your question, I know the FBI has now fanned their investigation out to London and Tel Aviv. So this has now turned into an international investigation. So there’s something more here. And the fact he’s calling for Lady al Qaeda’s release from prison has been, as you said, in the jihadist world kind of a cause celebre.”

“And so I think we’re going to find out a lot more in the next 24, 48 hours. He is British. I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s Pakistani, just like Siddiqui. And we need to get to the bottom of this,” he continued. “We haven’t seen one of these radicalized attacks in a few years now, and it is disturbing to see it raise its ugly head again.”

WATCH:

TRANSCRIPT PROVIDED VIA CNN:

JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: I do want to first get your reaction to the situation yesterday in your home state of Texas, where a gunman, an anti-Semite apparently, held four Jews hostage at a synagogue in Colleyville, Texas, outside Fort Worth.

The FBI has not released the name of the suspect. He demanded that the U.S. free Aafia Siddiqui. She’s a Pakistani neuroscientist convicted of attacking American troops. She’s in jail not far from Fort Worth.

That’s a frequent cause for Islamic terrorists worldwide, the freeing of this woman? Have you seen any evidence that what happened at the synagogue in Texas yesterday was part of any sort of larger international plot?

REP. MICHAEL MCCAUL (R-TX): Well, the hostage-taker did — first of all, this is a disturbing case that demonstrates that anti-Semitism is unfortunately alive and well.

I think they chose this synagogue because she, Siddiqui, the Lady al Qaeda, they call her, is being detained in a Fort Worth prison facility.

To answer your question, I know the FBI has now fanned their investigation out to London and Tel Aviv. So this has now turned into an international investigation. So there’s something more here. And the fact he’s calling for Lady al Qaeda’s release from prison has been, as you said, in the jihadist world kind of a cause celebre.

And so I think we’re going to find out a lot more in the next 24, 48 hours. He is British. I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s Pakistani, just like Siddiqui. And we need to get to the bottom of this.

We haven’t seen one of these radicalized attacks in a few years now, and it is disturbing to see it raise its ugly head again.

TAPPER: Indeed.

Let’s turn back to Russia and the United States. Talks between the two countries continued — concluded this week without any resolution to the tension over what seems an imminent Russian invasion of Ukraine. A top U.S. official warned — quote — “The drumbeat of war is sounding loud.”

What do you think, if anything, more that Joe Biden and American allies can do to prevent a Russian invasion of Ukraine, or do you think it’s inevitable at this point?

MCCAUL: Well, I think the key here is deterrence. If Putin sees deterrence coming back from the United States and our NATO allies, he may second-guess his calculation to invade Ukraine.

Now, Ukraine is the breadbasket of Russia. Putin wants to restore the glory of the old Soviet empire. He’s been wanting to do this for quite some time. He invaded Crimea right next to — with a land bridge. He would like the Port of Odessa to control the Black Sea.

But I’m not seeing a lot of deterrence. I’m seeing some tough rhetoric, but not a lot of action. I would recommend — I talked to Deputy Secretary Wendy Sherman prior to her negotiations — that you have to put things on the table like sanctions. You have to talk about more arms sales, weapon sales to Ukraine.

And this Nord Stream 2, the idea that the president waived congressionally mandatory sanctions on Putin’s pipeline, I don’t know how that’s in the national interests of the United States. And it just emboldened and empowered Putin to start completing his pipeline.

And I think, most importantly, Jake, as you and I talked about Afghanistan over the summer, last summer, I think people, our foreign adversaries, like Putin, President Xi in China, the ayatollah, and Kim Jong-un, all view that as a moment of weakness.

So we are not projecting strength, as Reagan talked about, but, rather, projecting weakness, which, historically, going back to Hitler and Chamberlain, always invites aggression.

TAPPER: Yes.

MCCAUL: And I think you’re going to see a lot more of it.

TAPPER: Russian President Putin previously warned of a complete rupture of U.S.-Russia ties if the Biden administration were to retaliate against any military action they take against Ukraine.

Russia has also hinted they could take more direct action against the U.S., whether through cyberattacks on the U.S., by taking steps to move nuclear weapons closer to North America.

Is that just bluster? Or do you think that is a real threat from Putin?

MCCAUL: I think it’s a real threat. They put this — they have a cyberattack on the Ukrainian government Web page basically saying, be afraid and expect the worst. That’s pretty straightforward. And the false flag operation that you talked about, I do credit the

administration for calling that to the international community’s attention, false flag being known to have killers go in and have a hoax-like operation against their own troops, then justifying an invasion into Ukraine.

Jake, I have seen the plans in the classified space as well. They’re very specific, the most specific I have ever seen with Ukraine, and they’re very aggressive in the timetable.

I think you’re going to see this play out very quickly. And rather than — rather than threatening after an invasion takes place, we ought to be providing deterrence before an invasion takes place. That’s my biggest criticism of the administration.

TAPPER: Do you think we are in a new Cold War with Russia?

MCCAUL: I do. I do, because I think Putin, again, smells weakness here. He knows, if he’s ever going to invade Ukraine, now’s the time. I hope he doesn’t make that miscalculation.

But the fact is, if he does invade Ukraine, what is the United States, what is our commander in chief prepared to do to stop it? I’m not seeing a lot of details or action that could deter him from that critical step.

This would be the largest invasion in Europe since World War II. That’s how big of a deal this is.

TAPPER: Before you go, sir, the Beijing Olympics begin in just a few weeks.

You have criticized the International Olympic Committee for letting China host, despite its horrific record on human rights abuses. You have called for the Games to be moved. You also support the Biden administration’s diplomatic boycott. No government officials are going to go there, though American athletes are going to be allowed to participate and compete.

Do you think it’s a mistake for NBC to even air these Olympics, given the human rights record of China? Does that still give China the propaganda win that it so desperately wants?

MCCAUL: Yes, I mean, it does give them the propaganda victory.

I would hope that a corporate responsibility would come into play here and point out the abuses, human rights violations taking place in the Xinjiang province, where the Chinese commit genocide.

My bill passed the House almost unanimously condemning the CCP for what is taking place, and that is genocide in China. And I would hope that the networks would actually have some responsibility and call attention to that. I think the athletes may actually start talking about this.

I did agree with the boycott diplomatically. I asked that IOC move the Olympics. That is not going to happen. I don’t think we should punish the athletes. But I do think the athletes are going to stand up in solidarity, hopefully, against these human rights violations.

And I hope they take home the gold too and, just like Jesse Owens showed Hitler the Aryan nation was not superior, show the Chinese that we’re going to take on the gold, and not them.

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