The father of the man suspected in multiple bombings throughout New York and New Jersey this weekend says he reported his son to the FBI as a potential terrorist. Officials have confirmed that Mohammed Rahami reported his son Ahmed Khan Rahami in 2014, but law enforcement took little action following the alert.
“I called the FBI two years ago!” the elder Rahami told a swarm of reporters surrounding him in front of his family’s restaurant, First American Fried Chicken in Elizabeth, New Jersey. The New York Post notes that Mohammed Rahami also made several statements that were difficult to follow, such as “I have a connection with this guy” without referencing anyone in particular and asserting he did not think his son was a terrorist.
The New York Times confirmed with U.S. federal officials that Rahami did indeed report his son as a potential terrorist. Ahmed Rahami had allegedly stabbed his brother in the leg, and spent three months in jail over the incident, though he was never charged and, thus, did not have a criminal record.
Rahami’s report on his son was reportedly “passed to the Joint Terrorism Task Force led by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Newark. Officers opened what is known as an assessment, the most basic of F.B.I. investigations, and interviewed the father, who then recanted.” The Times quotes their sources as saying that the elder Rahami later said he had only reported his son “out of anger.”
“It is not clear if officers interviewed Ahmad Rahami” over the report, the Times notes.
Ahmad Rahami is suspected of planting a number of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) throughout the tri-state area, beginning with the failed bombing of a charity 5K run in Seaside Park, New Jersey and continuing in Chelsea, Manhattan and Elizabeth, New Jersey. The bomb planted in Chelsea injured 29 people; there were no other injuries. Rahami was captured on Monday morning after a gunfight with police in Linden, a city near Elizabeth.
Rahami was a frequent traveler to his native Afghanistan and nearby Pakistan, where he is believed to have married. He was questioned by law enforcement on multiple occasions after returning from trips to Kandahar, an Al Qaeda hotbed where his family is from, and Quetta, a city in Pakistan under Taliban control.
Rahami was arrested carrying a small notebook which law enforcement sources say is full of ramblings referring to multiple attacks on U.S. soil, including the Fort Hood attack and the Boston Marathon bombings, and references to killing the “kuffar,” or unbelievers.
Rahami is due in court next week.