Saudi Connection to Boston Bombing?
By Matthew Vadum
Questions remain about whether there is a Saudi connection to the Boston Marathon bombing last week and if the Obama administration has been interfering in the investigation of the Islamic terrorist attack.
These questions take on greater urgency as Islamic terrorist organizations continue preparing attacks. Canadian authorities yesterday upended an ambitious terrorist plot that could have killed hundreds of Americans and Canadians.
In the spotlight is Saudi visa student Abdul Rahman Ali Alharbi (also spelled al-Harbi) who was injured in the marathon bombing blast and was initially considered a suspect in the deadly terrorist attack that killed three bystanders and hospitalized close to 200 others. There is a prominent Alharbi clan in Saudi Arabia. Many individuals with the surname Alharbi are reportedly active in al-Qaeda.
Glenn Beck’s news website, The Blaze, reported yesterday that Alharbi was placed on the “no-fly” list as a potential terrorist after he was detained by federal authorities last week. A Department of Homeland Security source said the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s National Targeting Center (NTC) created an “event” file on Alharbi under section 212 (3b) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, the part of the federal statute that deals with aliens involved in terrorism. The file is important enough that it has reportedly been read by members of Congress.
“The burden of proof required to file a 3B [report] is significant, according to sources familiar with law enforcement protocols,” the article indicated. Media reports last week indicated that the U.S. was planning to deport Alharbi.
But it is not at all clear what caused officials to flag the young Saudi as a possible terrorist in the first place. Media reports indicated that when Alharbi was hospitalized after being injured in the blast eight days ago, the government called him a “suspect,” but soon watered down that description, calling him a “person of interest,” and eventually a mere “witness.”
Beck said the FBI began backtracking on Alharbi’s status after Secretary of State John Kerry met with Saudi foreign minister Saud al-Faisal last Tuesday. The next day President Obama met with the foreign minister and Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the U.S., Adel al-Jubeir.
“Wednesday at 5:35 p.m. the file is altered,” Beck said. “This is unheard of, this is impossible in the timeline due to the severity of the charge … You don’t one day put a 212 (3b) charge against somebody with deportation, and then the next day take it off.” He continued:
There are only two people that could revoke the deportation order — the director of the NTC could do it after speaking with each department … which is impossible to do in such a short period of time — or somebody at the very highest levels of the State Department could do it. We don’t have any evidence to tell you which one did it.
The Blaze’s source said Alharbi is not currently a suspect in the Boston bombings and is not subject to a deportation order but another Saudi visa student in the Boston area may be deported. That student, who was intercepted when picking up a package at a Boston port, is now accused of violating the terms of his student visa by failing to enroll in school. He has been ordered to appear in immigration court.
At a congressional hearing last week Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano stoutly denied Alharbi was in the process of being deported. “If I might, I am unaware of anyone who is being deported for national security concerns at all related to Boston,” Napolitano said responding to Congressman Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.).
Duncan followed up by asking if it would constitute “negligence” to deport someone who just days earlier was a person of interest to investigators.
“I’m not going to answer that question,” Napolitano said. “That question is so full with misstatements and misapprehensions that it is not worthy of an answer … there’s been so much reported on this that’s been wrong I can’t even begin to tell you, congressman.”
Lawmakers were not impressed. The House Homeland Security Committee has asked Napolitano to provide a classified briefing on Alharbi to committee members. The letter, dated April 19, states,
We request the Department provide a detailed overview of the records associated with this individual to include his law enforcement and immigration records prior to April 15, 2013, as well as his current status. We request briefers from the Office of Intelligence and Analysis, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and Customs and Border Protection.
Meanwhile, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police foiled a major terrorist attack in Ontario, the most populous province in Canada. Two suspects, Chiheb Esseghaier, 30, of Montreal, and Raed Jaser, 35, of Toronto were charged with terrorist conspiracy yesterday after allegedly planning to attack a passenger train. The two men are not Canadian citizens but two media outlets reported Esseghaier is Tunisian. Officials said the plot was not connected to the recent events in Boston.
The thwarted attack in Canada and the Boston Marathon bombing are sobering reminders that Muslim terrorist networks remain as significant a threat as ever to Western civilization. Al-Qaeda, in particular, is far from extinction, despite President Obama’s claims to the contrary.
RCMP Assistant Commissioner James Malizia said the two suspects received “direction and guidance” from “al-Qaeda elements” in Iran but they did not appear to be “state-sponsored.”
The Toronto Sun reports that the terrorists were considering bombing a train as it crossed a bridge over the mighty Niagara River from Niagara Falls, Ontario, to Niagara Falls, New York.
“The plan was to take out a train with passengers on board and the crossing trestle,” a police source said. “It was meant to be spectacular and there would have been a lot of carnage.”
Canada is no stranger to Islamic terrorism.
The RCMP said last week it was investigating whether Canadian national Mahad Dhore had died while participating in a suicide attack on the courts in Somali capital Mogadishu. The student left Toronto in 2009 and allegedly became a member of the Islamist group al-Shabab.
The Mounties are also looking into two young classmates from London, Ontario, who died in Algeria earlier this year as they apparently took part in a terrorist attack at a gas facility. A colleague of the two is being held in Mauritania, accused of joining al-Qaeda in Mali.
Citing two anonymous U.S. officials, a wire service reported yesterday that preliminary evidence suggests that the two young Tsarnaev brothers, accused in the Boston Marathon bombings, were motivated by Islamic extremism but did not appear to be linked to Islamist terrorist groups. This would appear to mean that the brothers somehow acquired bomb-making skills on their own or reached out to someone with bomb-making experience.
The article indicated that the surviving brother, Dzhokhar, who is in the hospital recovering from a gunshot wound to the neck and other injuries, was interrogated but failed to explain how the officials gained personal knowledge of the investigation, leaving readers to wonder if this information was just the latest foul-up in an ongoing story that has been brutally bungled by the mainstream media.
That the Tsarnaev brothers had no connection to terrorist organizations is difficult to believe especially because Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) considered the elder brother, Tamerlan, to be a potential extremist. (Tamerlan was killed Friday in a dramatic shootout with police.) According to Time magazine, the FSB warned the FBI two years ago about Tamerlan after he frequented a radical mosque in Makhachkala, the capital of Dagestan, during extended visits to that country. The mosque is reportedly a terrorist hangout.
Dagestan, a member of the Russian Federation, is a small, politically unstable country of 3 million inhabitants that borders Chechnya and Georgia in the west, Azerbaijan in the south, the Caspian Sea in the east, and Russia in the north. It is a hotbed of Islamic terrorist activities. The terrorist group Shari’ah Jamaat, active in Dagestan, is “one of the more potent groups in the region,” according to the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism.
The Obama administration’s foremost designated Islamist appeaser was also in the news.
Always anxious to place his foot in his terrorist-sympathizing mouth, Secretary of State John Kerry compared those innocent bystanders who were murdered in Boston to Turkish-backed armed belligerents killed three years ago trying to violently break Israel’s blockade of the terrorist-infested Gaza Strip.
On April 21 Kerry said the Boston Marathon bombings reminded him of Turks who died during “the 2010 IDF raid on the Marmara.” He was alluding to Israeli commandos’ boarding of the Mavi Marmara, a ship carrying Muslim militants in the blockade-running “Gaza Freedom Flotilla.”
Without referencing the terrorists participating in the flotilla, Kerry said the Boston Marathon bombing made him “acutely aware of the emotions felt by the families of the nine Turks who died” during the raid.
“It affects the community, it affects the country,” Kerry said. “But going forward, you know, we have to find the best way to bring these people together and undo these tensions and undo these stereotypes and try to make peace.”
No doubt Muslim terrorists are quaking in their boots.