In July, Oklahoma Senator Jim Lankford announced he would be launching a six-month probe of intelligence failures in terrorism cases. He particularly would focus on those cases where suspects had already been investigated by law enforcement authorities.
(Ed. note: Poole has termed these cases “Known Wolf” terrorism, and has covered dozens of them here at PJ Media. Read below for links.)
As we follow the ongoing news about the manhunt for this weekend’s NY-NJ serial bomber Ahmad Khan Rahami and his capture yesterday, we can already add Rahami’s name to the growing list of “Known Wolf” terrorists. Yesterday, Catherine Herridge of Fox News reported that Rahami was already known to law enforcement authorities:
Fox News’ Catherine Herridge reports NYC/NJ bombing suspect Ahmad Khan Rahami was known to authorities. pic.twitter.com/mXVNofBGDP
— Fox News (@FoxNews) September 19, 2016
However, FBI officials downplayed that claim with wordplay during their press conference yesterday:
FBI on NJ and NY bomb suspect: Nothing to indicate he was currently on our radar. pic.twitter.com/22xA62VWVL
— Fox News (@FoxNews) September 19, 2016
It appears the key word in the FBI’s claim was “currently.” Multiple media reports now indicate that Rahami was indeed flagged by the FBI back in 2014.
The New York Times reports today:
Two years before Ahmad Khan Rahami went on a bombing rampage in New York and New Jersey, his father told the police that the son was a terrorist, prompting a review by federal agents, according to two senior law enforcement officials […]
The father made the statement about his son being a terrorist to New Jersey police in 2014, when Mr. Rahami was arrested after a domestic dispute and accused of stabbing his brother.
The information was passed to the Joint Terrorism Task Force led by the 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, who then recanted.
An official, when asked about the inquiry, said the father made the comment out of anger at his son.
It is not clear if officers interviewed Ahmad Rahami.
Rahami was flagged in the FBI’s Guardian system, which is a general database of tips and reports of suspicious activity, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the continuing investigation into the bombs set off in Manhattan and in New Jersey.
Even more troubling is that a neighbor had alerted authorities that Rahami may be purchasing explosive:
Two years ago, Rahami’s father told the FBI that his son was interacting with “bad people” overseas and a concerned citizen in the neighborhood told authorities that Rahami’s associates may have been trying to procure explosives, sources told ABC News.
And Rahami had been arrested for stabbing someone in 2014, but not charged:
Exclusive: NYC terror suspect was previously arrested for stabbing someone — but grand jury let him walk https://t.co/WV0HAhifDB
— Alana Goodman (@alanagoodman) September 20, 2016
The NY-NJ bombings can now be added to the growing list of domestic Islamic terrorist events in the U.S. committed by individuals who were already known to law enforcement. Below, find summaries and links discussing each case:
Orlando: Omar Mateen had been interviewed by the FBI on three separate occasions, including an open preliminary investigation in 2013 lasting 10 months, after telling others about mutual acquaintances shared with the Boston bombers and making extremist statements. He was investigated again in 2014 for his contacts with a suicide bomber who attended the same mosque. At one point Mateen was placed on two separate terrorism databases but was later removed.
Columbus, OH: When Mohamed Barry attacked patrons with a machete at an Israeli-owned deli and later charged police shouting “Allahu Akhbar,” at which time he was shot and killed, he had already been investigated by the FBI for making extremist statements. Barry had been entered on a federal watch list and it appears remained on it until the time of the attack as his car had been flagged by authorities, but no further investigation was made.
Garland, TX: Elton Simpson and Nadir Soofi were killed in a shootout with law enforcement outside a convention center where they had planned to attack a Muhammad cartoon drawing contest. But Simpson had been known to the FBI for years before going back to his involvement in a terror cell in Phoenix. He was even prosecuted for his involvement, and while a judge found that the had lied to the FBI about his plans overseas, he ruled that there was not sufficient evidence to prove Simpson intended to commit terrorism. He was subsequently placed on the no-fly list, and the FBI opened up another investigation after he had made statements online in support of the Islamic State.
Seattle, Newark: In 2014, Ali Muhammad Brown went on a cross-country killing spree murdering 3 victims in Washington and another in New Jersey claiming that they were “vengeance” for U.S. actions in the Middle East. As a teenager Brown had reportedly trained at one of the first known U.S. terror training camps, and was later arrested in 2004 as part of a Seattle terror cell. At the time of his killing spree, prosecutors said he was on the terror watch list.
Boston: Prior to the bombing of the Boston Marathon by Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in April 2013 that killed three people and injured 264 others, the FBI had been tipped off, twice, by Russian intelligence warning that Tamerlan was “a follower of radical Islam.” Initially, the FBI denied ever meeting with Tamerlan, but they later claimed that they followed up on the lead, couldn’t find anything in their databases linking him to terrorism, and quickly closed the case. After the second Russian warning, Tamerlan’s file was flagged by federal authorities demanding “mandatory” detention if he attempted to leave or re-enter the U.S. — but his name was misspelled when it was entered. An internal report of the handling of the Tsarnaev’s case unsurprisingly exonerated the FBI.
Underwear Bomber: When Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab boarded Detroit-bound Northwest Flight 253 on Christmas Day 2009 with 289 other passengers wearing a bomb intended to bring down the plane, he was already well-known to U.S. intelligence officials. The month before the attempted bombing, Abdulmutallab’s father had gone to the U.S. embassy in Nigeria and met with two CIA officers telling them he was concerned about his son’s extremism. His name was added to the Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment database, but not the FBI’s Terrorist Screening Database or the no-fly list. When asked about the near-takedown of the flight and the missteps, then-Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano remarkably told CNN that “the system worked.”
Fort Hood: Within days of Major Nidal Hasan’s shooting rampage at Fort Hood, killing 13, news reports indicated that the FBI was aware of his email correspondence with al-Qaeda cleric Anwar al-Awlaki nearly a year before he launched his terror attack. The FBI was quick to issue a press release absolving themselves of responsibility, claiming that the email exchange was innocuous and consistent with Major Hasan’s religious research. But after the emails intercepted by the FBI were made public in 2012, there were clear indications of Major Hasan’s terrorist intent. Hasan had also repeatedly given PowerPoint briefings that proved to be highly controversial to his fellow Army colleagues because they threatened insider attacks by Muslims if they weren’t released as “conscientious objectors.”
Little Rock: When Carlos Leon Bledsoe gunned down two U.S. Army soldiers in front of a Little Rock recruiting center in June 2009, killing Pvt. William Long, it was not his first contact with the FBI. Bureau agents had interviewed Bledsoe in Yemen and after his return to the U.S. in 2008, but had failed to follow up. After the Little Rock shooting, FBI officials said that he was motivated by “political and religious motives,” but refused to identify the incident as a terrorist attack.
For two years I’ve been reporting here at PJ Media on the chronic domestic and international problem of “Known Wolf” terrorism:
Dec. 15, 2014: Sydney Hostage Taker Another Case of ‘Known Wolf’ Syndrome
June 26, 2015: France’s Beheading Terrorist Was Well-Known By Authorities