Despite repeated claims by officials that Ahmad Khan Rahami, the man arrested yesterday for the weekend bombing in Manhattan, wasn’t on anyone’s radar, it turns out that the FBI had opened an assessment against him in 2014 related to his father, Mohammad Rahami, accusing him of being a terrorist.
It’s sort of an odd situation. Ahmed Rahami was arrested by New Jersey police over a fight with one of his brothers, in which he stabbed him. His father made the terrorist claim after the stabbing, but recanted when questioned by the FBI, and officials concluded he was just mad about the stabbing. The FBI added they were convinced he had no terror ties.
It is unclear if the FBI ever directly talked to Ahmed Rahami in the assessment. Rahami spent three months in jail over the stabbing incident, though he was never actually indicted over it, and was just there waiting for them to decide on that.
According to Mohammad Rahami, the FBI told him after the two month assessment in 2014 that he was “not a terrorist,” adding “he’s clean, he’s not a terrorist, I say O.K.. Now they say he is a terrorist. I say O.K.”
While there isn’t a lot of evidence connecting the younger Rahami to jihad, police claim to have found, and shot, a notebook belonging to him in which he expresses opinions “sympathetic to jihadist causes.” In the book he praised US-born cleric Anwar Awlaki, who the Obama Administration assassinated.