Between the father of a jihad terrorist and the FBI, it’s hard to know whom to believe. If the father is telling the truth, the FBI has good reason to lie about it, for otherwise it will be exposed as incompetent and Obama’s policies of denial of the jihad threat will be exposed as having lethal consequences. But the father may also be lying, possibly so as to cover up his knowledge of his son’s jihad plot. He and his son lived in the same house. Could Mohammad Rahami really not have noticed all the bomb-making paraphernalia around?
“‘Keep an Eye on Him,’ Ahmad Khan Rahami’s Father Says He Told F.B.I.,” by Marc Santora, Pir Zubair Shah, Joseph Goldstein and Adam Goldman, New York Times, September 22, 2016:
The father of the man accused of carrying out bombings last weekend in New York and New Jersey said that, two years ago, 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.
In a series of interviews with The New York Times on Wednesday and Thursday, Mohammad Rahami, whose son Ahmad Khan Rahami has been charged with using weapons of mass destruction and bombing a place of public use, recounted his interactions with the Federal Bureau of Investigation after he raised his concerns about his son.
While Mr. Rahami has spoken briefly about his contact with the F.B.I., the interviews this week provided his most detailed public account so far.
His description of that contact differs starkly from the one given by law enforcement officials, who on Thursday challenged the father’s account, saying he did not provide the F.B.I. with many of the details about his son that he now says he did.
Mr. Rahami’s contact with the authorities began in August 2014, when the local police in Elizabeth, N.J., responded to the family’s home after a domestic dispute in which Ahmad stabbed his brother, according to court records.
Law enforcement officials familiar with the case who would discuss it only on the condition of anonymity said that Mr. Rahami called his son a “terrorist” when talking to local police, which led to the F.B.I.’s involvement.
Mr. Rahami said that during the course of the investigation he told agents from the bureau everything he knew about his son’s activities.
“I told the F.B.I. to keep an eye on him,” he said. “They said, ‘Is he a terrorist?’ I said: ‘I don’t know. I can’t guarantee you 100 percent if he is a terrorist. I don’t know which groups he is in. I can’t tell you.’”
But he said he had laid out his concerns, specifically related to what he described as his son’s emerging infatuation with Islamic extremism.
“The way he speaks, his videos, when I see these things that he listens to, for example, Al Qaeda, Taliban, he watches their videos, their poetry,” he said he told the federal agents.
In the interviews, the elder Mr. Rahami spoke about his son’s admiration of Anwar al-Awlaki, who was once Al Qaeda’s leading propagandist and is popular with followers of the Islamic State, and also recalled that his son watched Mr. Awlaki’s videos.
The F.B.I., in a statement earlier this week, said it had conducted an assessment of Ahmad Rahami that included interviews with his father, a review of bureau databases and public records, and checks with other agencies. The assessment did not turn up anything that warranted further inquiry, and the matter was closed, the agency said.
A senior law enforcement official familiar with the assessment said that “During its assessment on Ahmad Rahami, the F.B.I. initiated contact with his father, who had expressed concern over his son’s internet use as well as some of his associates. Ahmad Rahami’s travel revealed no information that tied him to terrorism”
“At no time,” the official said, “did the father advise interviewing agents of any radicalization or alleged links to Al Qaeda, the Taliban or their propaganda. Furthermore, database and interagency checks, to include reviews of Ahmad Rahami’s travel, revealed no information that tied him to terrorism.”
When agents first interviewed the elder Mr. Rahami on Aug. 26, they asked him about his comments to the local police, according to some of the officials.
The father told them that he was referring to gangsters and criminals, not terrorists, the officials said.
But Mr. Rahami’s father told the F.B.I. that he had walked by his son’s room and observed him watching a YouTube video of explosions, the officials said. It was unclear what kind of explosions were in the video.
On Sept. 12, 2014, the F.B.I. returned and told the father that his son had been cleared of any connection to terrorism, and on Sept. 19, the review was formally closed. The father said he was not surprised by the F.B.I.’s findings. He repeated that his son was not a terrorist but had been hanging out with “bad people,” officials said.
When told on Thursday that law enforcement officials contradicted his version of events, he said, “It’s a lie,” and that he stood by his account.
Law enforcement officials said that investigators did not interview Ahmad Rahami because he was in jail when the F.B.I. was conducting its review. If he was represented by a lawyer, agents would have had to request an interview through the lawyer. It is unknown whether such a request was made, and it is far from certain that a lawyer would have agreed. By the time Ahmad Rahami was released from jail, the F.B.I. had concluded its review.
“They didn’t do their job,” his father said in one of the interviews with The Times, which were conducted in his native language, Pashto.
John Miller, deputy commissioner of intelligence and counterterrorism for the New York Police Department, outlined the challenges facing agents as they investigate such cases — especially given the number of people they look into and the threshold that must be met to take action.
“If you have that many contacts with that many people over that period of time, it’s increasingly likely that the next time something happens, it’s going to involve somebody that you knew, heard about, investigated, bumped or otherwise checked out,” Mr. Miller said on Wednesday at a congressional hearing about the bombings. “Now, that’s a good thing in that, when you’re assessing who to look at first and they come up in those records, it gives you a basis to go forward. It’s also a liability in that people have somewhat of a misconception about our ability to put someone under surveillance, leave them there indefinitely.”
The F.B.I.’s assessment of Ahmad Rahami was the second time he had to the attention of the federal authorities.
Five months earlier, in March 2014, when he returned from a nearly yearlong trip to Pakistan, Mr. Rahami was flagged by customs officials, who pulled him aside for a secondary screening. Still concerned about his travel, officials notified the National Targeting Center, a federal agency that assesses potential threats, two law enforcement officials said.
That report was reviewed by the F.B.I. when it conducted its assessment of Mr. Rahami in August….
“His travels give us these two distinct choices, both of which are bad,” said a senior counterterrorism official, explaining that a trip that Mr. Rahami took to Turkey raised the possibility that he crossed the border to Syria and met there with operatives from the Islamic State, while his travel to Pakistan raises the possibility that he had contact with Al Qaeda.
The official said that some investigators involved in the case believe that the variety of explosive devices Mr. Rahami is suspected of constructing suggested that he did have some bomb-making training beyond reading instruction manuals online.
Mr. Rahami is accused of building 10 bombs. One exploded in Lower Manhattan, injuring 31 people; another exploded in Seaside Park, N.J., but no one was injured. Five were discovered on Sunday night outside a train station in Elizabeth, N.J.
“Most guys who go on the internet make one type of bomb,” the official said. “Here’s a guy who did two types of pressure cooker bombs and two different kinds of pipe bombs,” he added. “It suggests to us that he didn’t just look up ‘Make a Bomb in the Kitchen of Your Mom,’” the official said, referring to an instruction manual published in the Al Qaeda online magazine Inspire, “but that he might have been somewhere and learned to make this stuff.”
A notebook recovered from Mr. Rahami after he was shot and taken into custody by the police in New Jersey suggests that he took much of his inspiration from the Islamic State and one of their founders, Abu Muhammad al-Adnani — who recently called on Muslims around the world to spill the blood of Westerners and nonbelievers wherever they found them. Mr. Adnani was killed in an American drone strike in August.
While much of the writing in the journal is illegible because the book was punctured by a bullet and splattered with blood, what can be read indicates that Mr. Rahami may himself have been frustrated in his attempts to reach Syria and was using that as justification for committing terror at home.
One page has the word “blocked,” followed by: “You should have let us meet death overseas.”…
After the 2014 dispute, he said, he visited his son in jail.
Ahmad Rahami asked his father for forgiveness, but he said he would not forgive his son until he was sure that Ahmad was not a terrorist and that the F.B.I. had cleared him.
“The F.B.I. came back to me and said he’s clean,” Mohammad Rahami said. “They didn’t find anything on him. But they didn’t interview him.”
“I still had my doubts,” he said. “I was never 100 percent clear.”
At that point, he said, he decided not to pursue the charges stemming from the domestic dispute. Court records show that a grand jury declined to indict Ahmad Rahami on the charges.
The father said he believed he did his duty by sharing his concerns with law enforcement. “What was required of me, I did,” he said. “And he’s not a kid — he’s 28 years old.”