House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) tore into the Biden administration on Tuesday over the hostage situation that unfolded over the weekend at a synagogue in Texas, saying that the administration has “mishandled” the case from the start.
McCarthy’s remarks come after a 44-year-old British national held several Jews hostage at Congregation Beth Israel synagogue in Colleyville on Saturday and demanded that U.S. officials release a convicted Islamic terrorist who is serving an 86-year prison sentence for trying to kill Americans in Afghanistan.
“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. “Now as more information becomes available, it only raises more questions.”
“The Biden administration must answer for how this case has already been mishandled, and must provide a clear strategy on how they plan to continue to investigate the outstanding terror threats,” McCarthy added.
Included in his statement was a list of five questions that he wants the administration to answer:
- Why were Biden officials downplaying terrorist attacks within our borders?
- Why did the FBI initially disregard the role anti-Semitism played in this hostage situation?
- What indications were missed in the lead up to this attack because resources were redirected to other areas?
- How was it that someone with an apparent criminal record and suspicious travel history was allowed into the United States to begin with?
- What national security concerns remain?
The suspect claimed to be the brother of convicted terrorist Aafia Siddiqui and demanded her release from U.S. custody. However, it appears that the suspect was not the brother of Siddiqui.
Aafia Siddiqui is “linked to al Qaeda and was convicted in 2010 of attempting to kill Americans in Afghanistan,” Foreign Policy reported. “Siddiqui … who’s known in counterterrorism circles as ‘Lady al Qaeda,’ has been linked to 9/11 ringleader Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and was once on the FBI’s most-wanted terrorists list. Educated in the United States — she studied at M.I.T. and received a doctorate from Brandeis — Siddiqui was arrested in 2008 in Afghanistan carrying sodium cyanide, as well as documents describing how to make chemical weapons and dirty bombs and how to weaponize Ebola. When FBI and military officials tried to question Siddiqui, she grabbed a weapon left on the table in her interrogation room and fired upon them.”
The suspect had been identified by MI5, Britain’s counterintelligence and security agency, over concerns that it had he had been placed on a watch list as a “subject of interest.” The suspect had been banned from Blackburn Magistrates’ Court in 2001 after he was accused of telling court officials that they should have been on the planes that crashed on 9/11.
The hostages escaped after an 11-hour standoff which then triggered the FBI to storm the room where the suspect was before they shot and killed him.
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