(Chicago Tribune) Ahmad Khan Rahami vowed to martyr himself rather than be caught after setting off explosives in New York and New Jersey, and he’d hoped in a handwritten journal championing jihad that “the sounds of bombs will be heard in the streets,” authorities said Tuesday as they filed federal charges against him.
A criminal complaint in Manhattan federal court provided chilling descriptions of the motivations that authorities said drove the Afghan-born U.S. citizen to set off explosives in New York and New Jersey, including a bomb that injured more than two dozen people when it blew up on a busy Manhattan street.
Meanwhile, more details emerged Tuesday about Rahami’s past, including the disclosure that the FBI had looked into him in 2014 but came up with nothing.
According to the court complaint, Rahami’s journal included a passage that said: “You (USA Government) continue your (unintelligible) slaught(er)” against the mujahideen, or holy warriors, in Afghanistan and elsewhere.
Another portion expressed concern at the prospect of being caught before being able to carry out a suicide attack and the desire to be a martyr, the complaint said. Still another section included a reference to “pipe bombs” and a “pressure cooker bomb.”
There also were laudatory references to Osama bin Laden, Anwar al-Awlaki — the American-born Muslim cleric who was killed in a 2011 drone strike and whose preaching has inspired other acts of violence — and Nidal Hasan, the former Army officer who went on a deadly shooting rampage in 2009 at Fort Hood, Texas, the complaint said.
Before the federal charges were filed, Rahmani, 28, was already being held on $5.2 million bail, charged with the attempted murder of police officers during the shootout that led to his capture Monday outside a bar in Linden, New Jersey.
Rahmani remains hospitalized with gunshot wounds, and it wasn’t immediately clear whether Rahami had a lawyer who could comment on the charges.
The court complaint describes Rahami buying bomb-making equipment so openly that he ordered citric acid, ball bearings and electronic igniters on eBay and had them delivered to a Perth Amboy, New Jersey, business where he worked until earlier this month.
Video recorded two days before the bombings and recovered from a family member’s phone shows him igniting incendiary material in a cylinder, then shows the fuse being lighted, a loud noise and flames, followed by billowing smoke and laughter, the complaint said.
Federal agents would like to question Rahami. But Rep. Tom MacArthur, R-N.J., who received a classified briefing from the FBI, said Rahami was not cooperating; that could also be a reflection of his injuries.
Investigators are looking into Rahami’s overseas travel, including a visit to Pakistan a few years ago, and want to know whether he received any money or training from extremist organizations.
In 2014, the FBI opened up an “assessment,” the least intrusive form of an FBI inquiry, based on comments from his father after a domestic dispute, the bureau said in a statement.
“The FBI conducted internal database reviews, interagency checks and multiple interviews, none of which revealed ties to terrorism,” the bureau said.