Breaking info from Fox News regarding yesterday’s shooting of a suspected terrorist by an FBI agent and Boston police officer:
— martha maccallum (@marthamaccallum) June 3, 2015
ABC News reported earlier this morning that the suspect, Usaama Rahim, “had made statements indicating he desired to attack police officers.”
Although early statements from the FBI and local authorities on Tuesday afternoon indicated Rahim was not considered an imminent threat to public safety, that opinion appears to have been revised overnight. “The FBI knew Usaama Rahim was armed and potentially dangerous and moved on him Tuesday morning when it appeared the threat he posed to uniformed officers in the Boston area had somehow increased,” sources told ABC News.
“The FBI noted a recent change in the suspect’s behavior, including social media threats against police, which prompted agents to try to approach him Tuesday,” an official clarified to CNN.
It now appears that the authorities have a good handle on what Rahim and his accomplice David Wright, arrested on Tuesday night, were planning. “We believe the intent was to behead a police officer,” an official told the Boston Globe on Wednesday morning. “We knew the plot had to be stopped. They were planning to take action Tuesday.”
From “no imminent danger to the public” to “shot by police just hours before he was planning to saw an officer’s head off with that knife he was carrying” is quite an evolution for the official storyline. According to another official cited by the Boston Globe, the Joint Terrorism Task Force was aware that Rahim and Wright were making serious plans to attack police officers for several weeks, and were keeping them under round-the-clock surveillance for that reason.
“We believed he was a threat,” Boston Police Commissioner William B. Evans said of Rahim. “He was someone we were watching for quite a time. The level of alarm brought us to question him today. I don’t think anybody expected the reaction we got out of him.”
It has already been widely noted that Rahim was the brother of an imam who spoke out against the Boston Marathon bombers, but the Globe adds some more biographical details: “One woman who knew Usaama Rahim described him as a highly observant Muslim who married a young convert a couple of years ago. They attended the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center but stopped going, also about two years ago. They told her they thought the mosque was too liberal, said the woman, who requested anonymity to protect her privacy.”
Rahim and his wife did not, however, say anything “suggesting they supported violent extremism” according to this source, who said she last spoke with them about two years ago – more than enough time for a group like ISIS to get its hooks into a couple with radical inclinations.
Fox News reports Joint Terrorism Task Force teams have been watching three individuals in connection with the plot to attack police officers. A local teenager said the police asked him questions about a neighbor in his mid-20s named “Nick,” who “often wears long robes and prays in his front yard.”
The FBI is not yet prepared to disclose additional details of the alleged beheading plot. “I can tell you that our investigation is still ongoing. There’s a lot more for us to do,” said Vincent Lisi, special agent in charge of the Boston office.