Yesterday, I noted that in an amazing number of terrorism cases the perpetrators were known to the FBI and had been interviewed by the FBI before committing their attacks. It seemed for a while like the Chelsea bomber, Ahmad Khan Rahami, was an exception. We were wrong.
On Monday, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio held a press conference on the Chelsea bombing
One of the participants was the FBI’s assistant director of the counterterrorism division in New York. He starts at about 6:38 of the video. The interesting thing he has to say is this:
Then you start to wonder. Why would the FBI’s counterterrorism have received a report of a domestic altercation? Even in this age of SJWs running amok, isn’t that a bit much?
Now we have more details:
Two years before the bombings that Ahmad Khan Rahami is suspected of carrying out in New York and New Jersey, his father told the police that he suspected his son might be involved in terrorism, prompting a review by federal agents, according to two law enforcement officials.
The father, Mohammad Rahami, in a brief interview on Tuesday, said that at the time he told agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation about his concern, his son had just had a fight with another of his sons and stabbed the man, leading to a criminal investigation.
“Two years ago I go to the F.B.I. because my son was doing really bad, O.K.?” he said. “But they check almost two months, they say, ‘He’s O.K., he’s clean, he’s not a terrorist.’ I say O.K.”
He added: “Now they say he is a terrorist. I say O.K.”
The FBI is claiming that the father recanted:
But in August 2014, Mr. Rahami got into a fight with his family, during which he stabbed his brother in the leg with a knife, according to court records.
The police arrived to investigate, and it was at this time that Mr. Rahami’s father told them about his concerns about his son’s possible involvement in terrorism. The information was passed to the Joint Terrorism Task Force led by Federal Bureau of Investigation in Newark. Officers opened what is known as an assessment, the most basic of F.B.I. investigations, and interviewed the father.
An official, when asked about the inquiry, said the father made the comment out of anger at his son and later recanted it.
Mr. Rahami was charged with aggravated assault and illegal weapons possession in the domestic dispute, according to court records. He spent over three months in jail, according to a law enforcement official with knowledge of the investigation. A grand jury, however, declined to indict Mr. Rahami. William F. Sweeney, who heads the F.B.I.’s New York office, alluded on Monday at a news conference to a “domestic incident” in which he said the “allegations were recanted.”
Regardless of who did what when, and both sides have more than ample motive to lie, what is abundantly clear is a couple of things. First, the original FBI inquiry wasn’t taken too seriously because a father “recanting” a claim should be view suspiciously, like fear or coercion might be involved, rather than dropping it. Aggravating the case is the fact that Rahami had actually stabbed someone. The second thing is that Sweeney basically lied through his teeth at the press conference. Rahami came to the FBI’s attention not based on a domestic dispute but on an allegation that he had terrorist connections. So Rahami had been on the FBI’s “radar” but they decided to take him off the radar.
The decision to not further investigate Rahami might be justifiable. Sweeney’s statement is not.