Investigators' best evidence that Ahmad Kahn Rahami has terrorist ties has come from his own father, who reported him to the FBI two years ago, officials said, and now his wife is talking to officials.
Mohammad Rahami, who owns First American Fried Chicken in Elizabeth, New Jersey,spoke briefly to the media Tuesday and said that in 2014 he went to federal agents to report his concerns over his son’s behavior after he stabbed another one of his sons in a fight. But the father’s allegations were ultimately dismissed.
“Two years ago, I go to the FBI because my son was doing really bad, OK?” he told The New York Times. “But they check almost two months, they say, ‘He’s O.K, he’s clean, he’s not a terrorist.' I say O.K.”
“Now they say he is a terrorist. I say O.K.”
Although a review was conducted, it is not clear if Rahami was interviewed by the FBI.
Officials believe that Rahami might have been radicalized during his numerous trips to Pakistan and Afghanistan; one visit to Pakistan lasted fromApril 2013 until March 2014.
In 2011, Rahami visitedKandahar, Afghanistan and Quetta, Pakistan, his immigration record reflects, CNN reported. Quetta is considered a stronghold of the Taliban. Rahami was questioned before re-entering the United States as he was every other time, but again satisfied officials with his answers.
On that trip, Rahami married his wife, Asia Bibi Rahami.
Asia Bibi Rahami reportedly left the United States before Saturday's bombings and is currently in the United Arab Emirates where is is speaking to U.S. officials. She is expected to fly back early next week.
Asia Bibi Rahami was approved to enter the United States in 2012, but it isn't clear if she actually came to the States at that time,CNN reported. There was some trouble with her immigration paperwork in 2014 and Rahami contacted U.S. Representative Albio Sires, but after Asia Bibi Rahami found out she was pregnant and needed an immigrant visa for the baby, Sires told CNN that the consulate advised Rahami to travel to Karachi, Pakistan.
Rahami told him it was too dangerous, Sires said, according to CNN.
Sires told CNN he is unsure of what happened next.
Sen. Ron Johnson, a Republican from Wisconsin and chairman of Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee requested more information on Asia Bibi Rahami's immigration historyin a letterto Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnsonon Tuesday.
In a blood-stained, bullet-pierced notebook found on Rahami after he was arrested Monday were reportedly mad ramblings about “killing the kuffar” (nonbeliever), about the soldier responsible for the Fort Hood shooting and praise for Anwar al-Awaki, an al-Qaida propagandist killed in a drone strike.
His reference to al-Awaki is particularly telling as the imam is still a very powerful influence in jihad inculcation, according to the New York Times.