The Chattanooga Times Free Press was told by an FBI agent that Mohammad Youssef Abdulazeez, who attacked two military locations and killed five U.S. service members last July, became “radicalized” at least a year before the attack… and people who knew about it said nothing to the authorities.
According to Special Agent Ed Reinhold, Abdulazeez was radicalized online before he visited family in the Middle East in 2014.
“He had discussed committing jihad; he had not taken any affirmative action toward it,” said Reinhold, without specifying when, or where, those discussions took place.
“I know he wanted to commit jihad and commit jihad here in the United States, but I don’t think the specific target was necessarily picked out too far in advance. There was some planning involved, but not years-worth,” he said.
Reinhold said the FBI was not aware of Abdulazeez’ jihad plans, and he apparently did not discuss them online. He was, however, a fan of al Qaeda guru Anwar al-Awlaki’s online videos, and audiotapes of his sermons.
He also did not indicate whether the FBI would press charges against those who failed to report Abdulazeez as a possible threat. He was carefully non-committal about whether other investigations related to the Chattanooga attack are ongoing, saying only that the FBI had to be “cautious with the information we release, in the event that we’re able to show others we were involved.”
Abdulazeez, who was shot by police during the attack, used “a semi-automatic shotgun, an SKS assault rifle and a handgun during the assault,” according to Reinhold. All of the weapons were purchased legally, both online and in person, from individuals and gun shops.
The Washington Times notes that Abdulazeez was not on a terror watch list at the time of the attack, but was a few weeks away from appearing in court on a DUI charge.