FBI Tale of NY/NJ Bombing
There are some striking similarities between the recent New York/New Jersey bombings and the Boston Marathon bombing, including the use of pressure cooker bombs. But the similarity that really should be ringing everyone’s alarm bells — yet apparently has not — is the revelation that the FBI had prior connections with both bombing suspects.
And just as the Bureau did with the purported Marathon bombing mastermind Tamerlan Tsarnaev (and Orlando mass murderer Omar Matteen — another person with whom the FBI was familiar prior to the act), the FBI is painting a minimalist picture of its prior contacts with Rahami, the accused Manhattan and Jersey shore bomber.
For one, the FBI and Rahami’s father are at odds about what he told investigators about his son’s drift toward extremism — the reason the FBI investigated him to begin with. “Keep an eye on him,” the father says he told investigators. The FBI disputes this.
Another reason for concern is the contradiction between the FBI’s “hands off” approach to investigating Rahami (and Tsarnaev) and the well documented and usually very aggressive tactics used against most people with even the thinnest of terrorist connections.
Blame the Messenger
Rahami’s father, Mohammad Rahami, claims he first alerted the FBI about his son’s radical tendencies after his son assaulted family members. “He warned federal agents explicitly about his son’s interest in terrorist organizations like Al Qaeda and his fascination with jihadist music, poetry and videos,” according to The New York Times.
The FBI denies that Rahami senior told agents who interviewed him anything about “radicalization” or “links to Al Qaeda, the Taliban or their propaganda.” By definition, if he had, then the FBI botched the investigation. Or is something else going on?
Based on what they were told, the FBI says it conducted an “assessment,” the lowest level of investigation also used to check on Tsarnaev, which included an interview with the father, a review of Bureau databases and public records, and checks with other agencies. The FBI claims the assessment did not turn up anything that warranted further inquiry.
“If he had been communicating directly with the terrorist organization and the father said ‘Look here’s the email, here’s the phone call, here’s the communication,’ that would be something different that would allow the FBI to get an investigation,” ex-FBIspecial agent and counterterror expert Tim Clemente, said on Fox News’s “Fox & Friends.”
The implication is clear: Had Rahami senior given investigative agents more specific information about his son’s activities, the Bureau would have dug deeper. But is it really up to the tipster to provide the FBI with iron-clad proof before they investigate a serious accusation?
Besides, many of the individuals targeted by FBI terrorism investigations and stings had no known connections to terrorist organizations, hence the moniker “lone wolf.”
J.Edgar Hoover building. Omar Mateen (top left), Wasil Farooqui (top right), Tamerlan Tsarnaev (bottom left), Major Nidal Hasan (bottom right) Photo credit: Adopted by WhoWhatWhy from J Edgar Hoover building (Cliff / Flickr – CC BY 2.0), Omar Mateen (MySpace), and Wasil Farooqui (mugshot), Major Nidal Hasan (Department of Defense / Wikimedia), Tamerlan Tsarnaev (Unknown)
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