FBI Changes Tune On Synagogue Hostage Situation: ‘The Jewish Community Was Targeted’
COLLEYVILLE, TEXAS - JANUARY 15: FBI Special Agent In Charge Matthew DeSarno speaks at a news conference near the Congregation Beth Israel synagogue on January 15, 2022 in Colleyville, Texas. All four people who were held hostage at the Congregation Beth Israel synagogue have been safely released after more than 10 hours of being held captive by a gunman. Earlier this morning, police responded to a hostage situation after reports of a man with a gun was holding people captive.
Brandon Bell/Getty Images

The FBI released a new statement late on Sunday appearing to contradict their previous remarks about the hostage situation that unfolded on Saturday at a synagogue in Colleyville, Texas.

The FBI said in a statement, “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 marks a major shift in tune from the FBI after one of its agents said on Saturday that the situation “was not specifically related to the Jewish community.”

“We do believe from our engagement with this subject that he was singularly focused on one issue, and it was not specifically related to the Jewish community,” FBI Special Agent in Charge Matt DeSarno said. “But we’re continuing to work to find motive and we will continue on that path. In terms of the resolution of the incident, the hostage taker is deceased.”

The initial statement sparked widespread backlash from numerous journalists, media personalities, and other notable figures, including:

  • Seth Mandel, Washington Examiner: “He took a shul hostage and demanded to free a notorious antisemite and forced one rabbi to call another rabbi in NY to help with this. Motive is likely indigestion, though we can’t rule out ‘lost a bet.’”
  • Dan McLaughlin, National Review: “Hitler was mad about the Treaty of Versailles, which wasn’t Jews’ fault, either.”
  • Alberto Miguel Fernandez, retired U.S. diplomat: “Such a bizarre take by the FBI.”
  • Gregg Carlstrom, The Economist: “Just a coincidence that he targeted a house of worship used by this one particular religious minority, a coincidence that seems to happen an awful lot throughout history.”
  • Kyle Orton, researcher: “This is absolutely absurd from @AP . In an era when the most micro-identities receive excess coverage and the most innocent slight can be interpreted as evidence of bias, even a hostage-taking at a synagogue doesn’t qualify as hostility to Jews.”
  • Josh Hammer, Newsweek: “These people defy parody.”
  • John Cardillo, political commentator: “The Bureau is in a race with itself to destroy whatever microscopic fraction of credibility it might have left.”
  • Kurt Schlichter, attorney: “I’m just shocked the FBI didn’t know about him beforehand like it knew about all those other terrorists. It didn’t, right? Right?”
  • Benjamin Weingarten, RealClearInvestigations: “Obama is fully back.”
  • Michael Berry, radio host: “It wasn’t related to religion? Oh, ok, FBI.”
  • Isaac Schorr, National Review: “For all we know, the guy might have chosen a synagogue because he wanted to spend his last day on Earth hanging out with Jews.”
  • Michael Scott Doran, analyst: “The FBI worries more about kowtowing to the progressive cult than about remaining legitimate in the eyes of the American people.”
  • Stephen L. Miller, political commentator: “Parents at school board meetings are instantly labeled domestic terrorists in writing on official DOJ letterhead. Armed guy takes Jewish hostages at synagogue during religious services demanding the release of an anti-Semitic convicted terrorist is a mystery they can’t solve.”

This is a breaking news story; refresh the page for updates.

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