The Saudi Person of Interest and Possible Explanations

For the past week, Glenn Beck and others have hinted that a Saudi student was somehow involved in the Boston bombing and the government is helping to cover up his involvement. I will assume that all of Beck’s evidence is actually correct and give you two possible explanations:

Possible explanation:

1) The Saudi kid, Abdul Rahman Ali Alharbi, was a victim of the bombing. Immediately following the bombing, someone saw him acting suspiciously, which I assume meant running away from the bomb, and they told investigators. On this basis, the FBI thought he might be a “person of interest”.  His name got spread through the media. Once he woke up in the hospital, he cooperated with authorities and gave them permission to search his house.  After this search and the investigation that followed, authorities cleared him and started treating him as a witness.

Explaining the evidence:

However, since a Saudi national was being considered for the crime, the Saudi government got involved and likely had officials meet with officials in our government to discuss the situation. This happens whenever there is a high-profile arrest of a national from an allied country. Also, while the Saudi was a POI, an event documenting his status and preparing possible deportation based on a possible national security threat was put into his file. He was also temporary put on the terror watch list to ensure he can’t just leave the country. Keep in mind that an actual deportation order, not just a request, would need a judge. Only other options for removal are expedited orders from a CPB officer or a stipulated removal, neither of which apply here. No evidence there was a judge involved here.  After the police cleared him, the file was updated to remove the deportation request and remove him from the watch list. That file was changed to clear him on April 17th, exactly two days following the bombing.

That version explains virtually all of Beck’s evidence and is basically what Janet Napolitano claimed occurred.

2) The other possibility is the one Beck and some others have seemingly suggested: This possibility involves this Saudi being directly involved in the bombing. After which, there were meetings between the Saudi’s and our government, and we decided to deport him despite his obvious guilt. However, once the news of deportation became public, the government had to change their mind. The evidence for this is the change in Alharbi’s file.  Besides the fact that the WH does not directly dictate who does and does not get deported, this would also require for the FBI/Boston police/ and countless officials to know that there is evidence against this Saudi and choose to let him go anyways. In other words, it would require massive secret keeping and competence from a government that can hardly run a post office.

Am I saying the second option is impossible? No. Am I saying that it is unlikely and irrational to jump to that conclusion given that the first scenario is significantly more plausible? Yes.

If we find evidence that the Saudi kid was truly involved in the attack, then we should look into it. However, the simple explanation is usually the right one. So far, there is no real evidence of his involvement or a giant cover-up.  Until someone presents me with proof of explanation 2, I’m going to stick to 1. Asking questions is good, but implying or assuming a conspiracy without evidence is not helpful to anyone. Especially since, like the boy who cried wolf, if you wrongly claim cover up too often, people won’t pay attention when you are actually correct about there being one.

Other evidence:

The visa was originally for Ohio, but he now lives in MA. DHS has confirmed that he properly transferred the Visa.

Beck also points to how rare it is for anyone to receive the designation given in his event file. This is true, but that’s because it really is rare for us to have a terrorist attack and a “person of interest” with an immigration file.

3 Responses to “The Saudi Person of Interest and Possible Explanations”
  1. Matt Erickson says:

    What about the fact that the “event” filed after the bombing mentions that Al Harbi has a prior event file? In other words, it appears that the NCTC considered him a terrorist prior to the bombings. If a know terrorist shows up at a new terrorist event, does that provide an even more simple answer to why he was there?

    On a different note, the early story was that he was seen by a bystander acting so suspiciously that the bystander tackled him and he was taken into custody. I wonder who the bystander was, and what the bystander saw. If Al Harbi was designated a terrorist prior to April 15, it seems to be quite a coincidence that on April 15, someone who had just been through a bomb blast would jump to the conclusion that Al Harbi, among the hundreds of victims, had something to do with it, and feel so strongly that he tackled Al Harbi.

    • drklrdbill says:

      Coincidence or just some bigoted asshole who assumed the brown Middle Eastern fellow was a terrorist?

    • Well 1) It’s unclear if the first event file is referring to Monday’s attack. Also, an event file could be anything from calling 911 to he flew to Saudi Arabia, it does NOT in any way mean it was terrorism related. You really think he’d be free in Boston and have a valid visa if he had previously been picked up for terrorist-related activity?

      There just isn’t evidence he’s a known terrorist. If Beck got access to the first event and it had something about terrorist activity last year, then ok, but that hasn’t happened.

      As for part 2, I have no idea how I would react if I was there, but what could “suspicious” possibly mean? my guess is the bystander saw someone from the ME reacting what he perceived to be suspiciously to the bombings. That led to the POI designation and that was fine, but then he was check out and cleared. There’s been no connections between him and the brothers, no evidence of him actually having or making bombs etc.

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