Texas Synagogue Attacker Was Known to UK Security Service MI5, Judged as No Risk

Malik Faisal Akram
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UK citizen Malik Faisal Akram, who had a known history of extreme behaviour stretching back over 20 years was known to British spy agency MI5 but had been judged as no longer posing a threat to the public in 2020, reports in UK media claim.

Malik Faisal Akram, 44, flew to the United States after Christmas 2021, and weeks later took hostages at the Congregation Beth Israel synagogue in Colleyville, Texas. He was shot dead by law enforcement officials at the scene.

Yet questions remain unanswered over how Akram was able to travel and gain access to a handgun given his long history of extremist behaviour. Just a day after it was revealed that Akram was barred from a UK courthouse just days after 9/11 for threatening staff and making comments about the attacks, it is now reported in UK broadsheet the Daily Telegraph that the Muslim male had been investigated by a British spy agency a little more than a year ago.

Quoting an unnamed source, the government-adjacent newspaper reported that “Malik Akram was known to MI5 and was the subject of a short lead investigation in 2020… The investigation was opened in the second part of 2020 and was closed shortly afterwards with an assessment that there was no indication he presented a terrorist threat at that time.”

This means, it is claimed, that although the agency received information about Akram he was not considered of sufficient interest to “pass the threshold” for a full investigation.

The paper notes that MI5, Britain’s domestic intelligence agency, didn’t even know Akram had travelled to the United States when he did and will now, it is claimed, assess how they came to misinterpret the danger he posed.

That the perpetrator of the Texas terror attack was known by MI5 but not well investigated, or dismissed as a low priority, has become a regular feature in the aftermath of such attacks in recent years in the UK.

The government inquest into the Manchester Arena bombing, which saw crowds leaving an Ariana Grande concert in 2017 targeted by suicide bomber Salman Abedi, admitted that the mass-killer was known to MI5 and that the agency should have alerted the police to his movements.

Similarly, the inquest into the London Bridge terror attack found that MI5 had investigated one of the Islamist killers for more than four years but that key information had not been shared and an assessment by the agency found, wrongly, that he was not an attack threat.

The Islamist Westminster attacker was also known to MI5, having been investigated as a “peripheral figure” years before the 2017 attack that killed three.

In all, MI5 are “aware” of tens of thousands of suspects, around 3,000 of whom are ‘subjects of interest’ under active investigation. Although recent trends have been towards discussing the danger of ‘far-right’ terrorism in public, it remains the case that Islamist plots are the overwhelming majority of threats being investigated by the UK’s intelligence agencies.


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