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Congressmen demand classified info on Saudi 'witness'


Congressmen demand classified info on Saudi 'witness'

Napolitano tight-lipped amid concern man was on terror  list


Art  Moore

The Saudi man initially identified by law enforcement as a “person of  interest” in the Boston Marathon bombing remains a concern of four members of  the House Committee on Homeland Security who have asked DHS Secretary Janet  Napolitano for classified briefings on his case along with an overview of  relevant records.

A spokesman for Rep. Jeff Duncan, R-S.C., told WND the committee has not  received a response from Napolitano to a letter issued Friday that he signed  along with Reps. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, the committee chairman; Peter King,  R-N.Y.; and Candice Miller, R-Mich.

Spokesman Allen Klump noted that on the day of the twin bombings in Boston  that killed three people and injured more than 200, law enforcement officials  said that Abdul Rahman Ali Alharbi, who was hospitalized with injuries resulting  from the blast, was a person of interest.

Within 48 hours, however, after raiding the Saudi citizen’s apartment and  hauling out computers and email records, Alharbi was being described by  authorities only as a “witness” who had suffered injury in the blast. Later,  authorities insisted he was not even a witness.

The letter from the four congressmen was first reported by The Blaze, which  reported  further details Monday about Alharbi after WND  reported last week of questions that arose regarding the Saudi’s handling by  authorities.

Among The Blaze’s reporting today is an allegation that Alharbi was  classified as a terrorist but his file was altered.

Klump clarified that the Homeland Security Committee members are not saying  Alharbi is a suspect in the Boston bombing but are questioning why he was  absolved so quickly, particularly after so much information apparently had been  gathered.

“Common sense would indicate that we don’t need to lose the ability to have  access to this witness until a complete picture is painted,” Klump told WND.

The Department of Homeland Security did not respond to WND’s request for  comment.

In  a hearing last Thursday of the Committee on Homeland Security, Napolitano  reacted with indignation and anger when Duncan questioned her about Alharbi’s  case.

Napolitano insisted she was “unaware of anyone being deported for national  security concerns at all related to Boston.”

The letter notes Napolitano’s response and says that, nevertheless, “media  reports have continued to raise concerns about this individual and adjustments  that may have been made to his immigration status, including possible visa  revocation and terrorist watch-listing, in the days following the bombing.”

“We request the Department provide a detailed overview of the records  associated with this individual to include his law enforcement and immigration  records prior to April 15, 2013, as well as his current status,” the Congress  members state. “We request briefers from the Office of Intelligence and  Analysis, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and Customs and Border  Protection.”

The Blaze reported the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s National  Targeting Center issued an event file for Alharbi calling for his deportation  using Section 212, 3B, which is proven terrorist activity. By late Wednesday  afternoon, however, the file had been altered.

The Blaze cited a law-enforcement source who was part of the process of  identifying Alharbi.

Todd Starnes of Fox News, meanwhile, reported that before the bombing Monday,  Alharbi had been flagged on a terrorist watch list and granted a student visa  without being properly vetted.

Sources close to the investigation told Starnes the Saudi is still set for  deportation.

Although Alharbi has been studying in Massachusetts, his student visa  specifically allows him to go to school only in Findlay, Ohio, according to The  Blaze.

Authorities now insist Alharbi had nothing to do with the attack and was not  a witness.

Another Saudi, identified as Noura Al-Ajaji, was similarly reported to have  been merely an injured bystander.

After the attack, Monday, Alharbi, 22, was questioned by federal authorities  for two hours while his roommate, Mohammud Hassan Bada, 20, was questioned for  five hours. Monday evening, FBI and ATF agents, along with Boston police  officers raided their apartment in Revere, Mass., and hauled out bags of  material.

Bada  acknowledged to the Boston Herald that the seized items include computers  and emails.

Saudi national Abdul Rahman Ali Alharbi in a Boston  hospital recovering from injuries in the bombing.

But by Wednesday, Revere, Mass., police Lt. Amy O’Hara said federal  authorities “are telling us he’s no longer a person of interest,” the Herald  reported.

Alharbi’s reported deportation is reminiscent of the high-ranking Saudis,  including members of Osama bin Laden’s family, who were precipitously airlifted  back to Saudi Arabia after 9/11, even as U.S. airways were shut down. Fifteen of  the 19 hijackers who carried out the 9/11 attacks came from the Islamic  kingdom.

The developments in Alharbi’s case came as President Obama met Wednesday with  Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal in a meeting that was not on  Obama’s public schedule. The previous day, a meeting Secretary of State John  Kerry held with the Saudi foreign minister was abruptly closed to press  coverage.

Steve Emerson of the Investigative News Project, who  was first to report that Alharbi was set to be deported, said in a Fox News  interview that it’s “the way things are done with Saudi Arabia.”

“You don’t arrest their citizens. You deport them, because they don’t want  them to be embarrassed, and that’s the way we appease them.

Read more at http://www.wnd.com/2013/04/congressmen-demand-classified-info-on-saudi-witness/#RjGtwC0T67XRqeyl.99

Entry #515


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