News and Analysis

FBI Slammed For Claiming Suspect Who Held Hostages At Synagogue Was Not Focused On Jewish Community
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 faced backlash late on Saturday evening and into Sunday morning in response to remarks that it made about a man who held several people hostage at a synagogue in Texas.

FBI Special Agent in Charge Matt DeSarno “said the hostage taker was specifically focused on an issue not directly connected to the Jewish community and there was no immediate indication that the man had was part of any broader plan, but DeSarno said the agency’s investigation ‘will have global reach,'” the Associated Press reported.

The suspect was dead by the end of the night and all the hostages were released and were safe. The FBI did not answer questions about who shot the man.

Numerous journalists, media personalities, and other notable figures responded to a tweet from the Associated Press that stated, “The FBI says the Texas synagogue hostage taker’s demands were specifically focused on issue not connected to the Jewish community.”

Notable responses included:

  • 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.”

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