The initial vague statement of an FBI agent about the possible motive for the Texas synagogue terrorist standoff is a "chink" in the trust Americans have for the institution by not immediately calling it a terrorist attack, according to Rep. Chris Stewart, R-Utah, on Newsmax.
"I hear all the time people saying, 'I don't trust the FBI, would never talk to an FBI agent; I would never talk to any investigators from the FBI without my attorney present,'" Stewart told Monday's "Spicer & Co." "And that's something we've seen, obviously, primarily beginning with Russian investigation and some of the just incredibly poor, malicious leadership that we witnessed at that point."
A Muslim British national, who came to the United States a couple of weeks ago, entered the Congregation Beth Israel synagogue in Colleyville, Texas, during Sabbath services Saturday and took four Jewish congregation members hostage at gunpoint to seek the release of an imprisoned terrorist serving 86 years for trying to kill two American soldiers in Afghanistan, CNN reported.
According to Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker, the hostage-taker, identified as Malik Faisal Akram, 44, of Manchester, posed as a homeless man to gain entry to the house of worship, and then pulled a gun and took hostages.
The lengthy standoff ended around 9 p.m. CT when police shot and killed Akram, and the hostages were freed without injury.
Akram was seeking the release of convicted terrorist Aafia Siddiqui who is serving her sentence in nearby Fort-Worth, Texas, for her role in trying to kill U.S. officers in Afghanistan.
An FBI agent initially said, while negotiating with Akram, the issue was "not specifically" targeting the Jewish community, which drew backlash from a variety of sources.
The FBI clarified the incident with a statement Monday, calling it a terrorist attack.
"This is a terrorism-related matter, in which the Jewish community was targeted, and is being investigated by the Joint Terrorism Task Force," the statement said.
Stewart said the motive for the attack was obvious.
"We look at this and say, 'of course it had to do with terrorism,'" Stewart said. "This is a man who went into a Jewish synagogue took Jewish hostages. He threatened to kill Jewish hostages while demanding the release of someone associated with al-Qaida who wants to destroy the state of Israel."
Stewart said this latest misstep by the agency shows why public trust is eroding in the institution.
"This is one more chink in the armor," he said. "I'm afraid this is where people just lose their faith in institutions that we need in order to further the republic and to survive."
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