Following Saturday's hostage standoff in Colleyville, Texas resulting in the terrorist, Malik Faisal Akram, being shot and killed, White House press secretary Jen Psaki was questioned on why the United States government did not have any information on Akram despite him being known to British intelligence agencies.
"How is it that an individual who was known to MI5 in Britain, who was on a watch list as of 2020, ended up in a synagogue in Texas? How did that happen?" one reporter asked.
"Our understanding, and obviously we're still looking into this, is that he was checked against US government databases multiple times prior to entering the country, and the US government did not have any derogatory information about the individual in our systems at the time of entry," responded Psaki.
"We're certainly looking back ,as I referenced, at what occurred to learn every possible lesson we can to prevent attacks like this in the future. Beyond that, I'd certainly refer you to the Department Homeland Security," she continued.
An American official briefed on the matter spoke on the condition of anonymity bto the New York Times, stating that Akram had been on the watch list of Britain's MI5 security service as a “subject of interest” in 2020.
According to the BBC, Akram "was the subject of an investigation in late 2020 but by the time he flew to the US he was assessed to be no longer a risk."
He had been designated as a "subject of interest" in 2020, and was investigated during the latter half of that year.
By 2021, Akram had moved from the active list to the "former subject of interest" list and was no longer considered a threat. According to the BBC, Akram had a criminal record in the UK.
Akram is believed to have entered the US through New York's New York's JFK International Airport two weeks ago, police sources told the BBC.
"He had been the subject of a four-week 'short lead investigation' but nothing was found which justified putting him on a higher-priority list," they reported.
On Saturday, Akram took four people hostage at Colleyville's Congregation Beth Israel synagogue, resulting in an hours-long standoff with police and the FBI. At around 9:15pm local time, he was shot and killed, with all hostages escaping the situation unharmed.