On Sunday, April 21, I wrote on the curious case of the Abdulrahman Ali Alharbi, the Saudi student (who was supposed to be attending school in Ohio) who was injured in the April 15 terrorist attack in Boston. Shortly after the bombing, sources confirmed with CNN that a Alharbi was a “person of interest” and then “in custody.” Then his Boston apartment (again, he was supposed to be attending school in Ohio) was searched. For hours. And then his roommate was questioned. For hours.
The next day it was reported that Abdulrahman Ali Alharbi was going to be deported for national security reasons. Shortly before a press conference on the Boston Marathon terror attack, in which reporters would undoubtedly ask about Alharbi’s status, there was a bomb threat. The press conference was nixed. Since I watch and gather news all day every day for my job, I found this to be incredibly odd.
Likewise, I found it odd that President Obama had an unscheduled meeting with the Saudi foreign minister that Wednesday. Topic: “Syria.”
What then transpired was a series of events, in which the “person of interest” who had been “in custody” and scheduled to be deported for “national security reasons” was suddenly turned into a ghost.
On April 18, Congressman Jeff Duncan of South Carolina had this exchange with Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano:
Jeff Duncan: CBS says this: This gentlemen is here on a student visa. He was at the scene with many other people. As everyone is standing in shock, three Boston PD detectives see this guy moving quickly out of the crowd. As they’re watching him he seems to be moving very deliberately, which could be a very natural thing after a bombing. They stop him to the hospital because he’s covered with blood. That’s straight off CBS. … And now we have someone who is being deported over national security concerns, and I’m assuming he has some sort of link to terror or he wouldn’t be deported. He was at the scene. … He could possibly ID the bomber. … He was at the scene, and yet were’ going to deport him.
Janet Napolitano: If I might representative, I am unaware of anyone who is being deported for national security concerns related to Boston. … I don’t even think he was technically a person of interest or a suspect. That was a wash. I am unaware of any proceeding there. I will clarify that for you. …
Jeff Duncan: Wouldn’t you agree with me that it is negligent for us as an American administration to deport someone who reportedly at the scene of a bombing and we’re going to deport him, not to be able to question him anymore. Is that not negligence?
Janet Napolitano: I am not going to answer that question. It is so full of misstatements and misapprehension that it’s just 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. We will provide you with accurate information as it becomes available.”
A couple of days go by. It’s now Tuesday, April 23. Asked by Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa on Alharbi’s status, Napolitano says:
Janet Napolitano: “He was not on a watchlist. What happened is — this student was, really when you back it out, he was in the wrong place at the wrong time. He was never a subject. He was never even really a person of interest. Because he was being interviewed, he was at that point put on a watchlist, and then when it was quickly determined he had nothing to do with the bombing, the watch listing status was removed.
Only days earlier the question about deportation was “not worthy of an answer,” but then on Tuesday, April 23 she admits that he had been placed on a watch list! So clearly, Rep. Duncan’s inquiry was most definitely worthy of an answer. People do not just willy-nilly end up on a watch list. It just doesn’t happen that way. The guy was in a hospital surrounded by law enforcement personnel, so why would he be placed on a watch list if they were simply questioning him?
Also, Napolitano says he was “in the wrong place at the wrong time.” Exactly. He was in living in Boston when he was supposed to be studying in Ohio. And then he just so happened to wind up in the middle of a terrorist attack and he just so happened to be singled out by three detectives — at an event teeming with international participants and fans — as a guy who was acting strange enough to be pulled aside.
Long story short, this whole situation does not pass the sniff test, and there are very few media outlets who are interested in what their noses are telling them. Anyone who knows me knows I’m not big into Glenn Beck, but on this story he has been a profile in courage. Check out his site for the latest updates on this story since you won’t get much information from other news outlets.
Note: If you’re wondering why WordPress — a blogging platform which millions of other people have no problem accessing — is now turning up a security warning via Facebook for this particular blog, don’t ask me. It just started happening and readers are letting me know. I have put in a request to reclassify my blog as “safe” since someone with enough clout has obviously flagged my site as “abusive.”