As September comes to a close, it has been a relatively quiet month for international terrorism arrests and prosecutions in the United States. All of the action—with the exception of one arrest—took place in New York City in the Southern and Eastern Districts. Next week, the attention will likely shift to Washington, D.C. when the trial of Abu Khatallah, the alleged perpetrator of the 2012 Benghazi attack, begins on October 2 in D.C. federal district court.
Latest in Terrorism Investigations
Since President Trump fired Jim Comey as FBI director, the FBI has received quite a bit of attention. More than 19.5 million people tuned in to watch former director Comey testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee, and shortly thereafter, Etsy shops began to stock “Lordy, I hope there are tapes” apparel. But while the bureau grabs people’s attention, arrests of international terrorism subjects generally don’t make headlines.
Last week, CNN reported that the Trump Administration, in the wake of the Ninth Circuit’s ruling on the administration’s immigration order, asked the Department of Homeland Security for assistance in justifying the travel ban before the courts on security grounds.
A little more than a week ago, Benjamin Wittes posted a piece about the malevolence and incompetence of Trump’s Executive Order on visas and refugees—an order that, in his words, is both wildly over-inclusive and wildly under-inclusive.
Late last week, a federal grand jury in the Middle District of Florida returned a two-count indictment against Noor Zahi Salman, the wife of Orlando shooter, Omar Mateen. On June 12, Mateen opened fired in the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, killing 49 people and wounding 53 others.
This week, federal district courts in Ohio and Illinois sentenced two men on material support charges. Meanwhile, another FBI counterterrorism suspect was arrested in Brooklyn, New York, and Dylann Roof, the alleged Charleston shooter, was found competent to stand trial.
Nearly two months after his arrest, Ahmed Khan Rahimi was indicted in federal court in the Southern District of New York on Wednesday, on charges related to the September bombing and attempted bombings in Manhattan and New Jersey.
ISIL supporters in Wisconsin try to flee to Mexico, while Kansas militia members target Muslims, and Ahmad Rahami, the Chelsea bomber, pleads not guilty in New Jersey state court.
We haven’t seen a counterterrorism arrest out of the Washington, DC area in almost two months—not since a WMTA police officer was arrested in early August. But the Justice Department broke the dry spell earlier this week when they announced the arrest of 24-year-old Nelash Mohamed Das.
The Justice Department has now issued a press release on the charges leveled against Ahmad Khan Rahami for his suspected role in the bombings this past weekend in New York and New Jersey. With the glut of news available on Rahami's arrest and possible motives, it's useful to take a step back and review the information presented in the press release and the criminal complaints now filed against Rahami.