HOUSTON, TX. – U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) yesterday joined his colleagues on the Senate Judiciary Committee in demanding answers from Biden Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Federal Bureau of Investigation Director Christopher Wray about the terrorist who held four people hostage in an anti-Semitic, targeted attack at the Congregation Beth Israel Synagogue in Colleyville, Texas earlier this month.
In the letter to Secretaries Mayorkas and Blinken, the Senators wrote:
“In light of the numerous red flags in Akram’s record, we are extremely concerned about the adequacy of our visa adjudication and admission screening protocols. As Akram’s own brother told reporters: “How had he gotten into America? … Why was he granted a visa? How did he land at J.F.K. airport and not get stopped for one second?”
In the letter to Director Wray, the Senators demanded answers to 15 questions including:
- Does the FBI consider Akram to be an international terrorist, particularly a jihadist or Islamic fundamentalist terrorist? If so, please explain. If not, why not?
- Please describe the intelligence sharing relationship and protocol between the FBI and the United Kingdom. In your response, please describe all shared databases and other information sharing mechanisms, their purpose and how they can be used to understand derogatory information relating to individuals and organizations of concern.
- What kinds of communications, if any, did the FBI have with the United Kingdom with respect to Akram prior to the attack?
- What kinds of communications, if any, did the FBI have with the United Kingdom with respect to Akram after the attack?
- When did the FBI become aware of Akram’s intent to travel to the United States?
- When did the FBI become aware of Akram’s actual travel to the United States?
- Upon arrival in the United States, did the FBI have him under surveillance?
- Has the FBI determined whether or not Akram is part of a larger cell or terrorist operation?
- President Biden has indicated that Akram purchased the handgun he possessed during the attack illegally, off the streets. Is that accurate? How did Akram acquire the handgun that he possessed during the attack? Is the FBI investigating the illegal seller?
- Would a background check of Akram have revealed his criminal record, mental health issues or whether the United Kingdom classified him as a national security threat?
- Prior to his gun purchase, did any law enforcement agency, including INTERPOL, submit Akram for entry in the NICS Audit Log Review monitoring program? If so, what agencies and on what dates?
- Did any law enforcement authority ever submit Akram for entry onto any of the NICS Indices? If so, which authorities, on what dates, and what was the justification provided?
- Does NICS possess any records or evidence to suggest that Akram was ever denied or delayed the ability to purchase a firearm at any time? If so, on what date and what records remain from these transactions or attempted transactions?
- The hallmark of success in preventing international terrorism attacks within the United States after 9/11 is our ability to prevent terrorism threats from entering the United States. How did this system break down in this case?
- Please detail the efforts the FBI devotes to international terrorism cases, including those that specifically involve jihadism and Islamic fundamentalism.