War On Terror
By IBD Editorials
Could it be happening again? Could a Saudi terror cell be behind another major U.S. attack? And could the Saudi government be trying to sink the investigation?
After 9/11, the Saudi ambassador demanded the evacuation of dozens of Saudi nationals, including bin Laden kin, before the FBI could properly question them. He got his wish, even though 15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudis and others had ties to the plot.
Eerily similar high-level intervention is taking place in the Boston bombings case. Consider this timeline:
Jan. 14, 2013: President Obama meets in the Oval Office with Saudi minister of interior.
Jan. 16: Homeland Security Director Janet Napolitano signs "arrangement" with Saudi minister bestowing "trusted traveler" status on Saudi student visitors, shortcutting normal security screening procedures.
April 15: Saudi college student Abdulrahman Ali Alharbi is seen near the Boston marathon finish line with two other Saudis. He's tackled after fleeing the scene of one of the bombings. Authorities question him.
April 15: FBI agents search Alharbi's apartment, leave with bags of evidence. He's described as a "person of interest" in attacks.
April 16: Secretary of State John Kerry secretly meets with the Saudi foreign minister, locking out reporters who initially were told the meeting would be open.
April 16: Saudi ambassador phones several papers and insists neither Alharbi nor any Saudi nationals are involved in the bombings. Saudi officials visit the well-connected Alharbi at a Boston hospital.
April 17: Officials clear Alharbi, who's reportedly related to al-Qaida Gitmo detainees, as a person of interest.
April 17: FBI ID from photos and videos two Mideast-looking men with bags scouting scene of bombings and circulate them among law enforcement. AP, CNN and even Boston Globe report one arrest has been made. CNN describes suspect as "dark-skinned male." Media swarm Boston courthouse for arraignment.
April 17: Obama has sudden unscheduled meeting with the Saudi foreign minister at White House.
April 17: Justice Dept. scolds CNN for arrest report. FBI cancels press conference. Courthouse bomb scare.
April 17: Terror expert Steve Emerson reports ICE has been ordered to "deport" Alharbi for "national security" reasons, out of reach of FBI questioning.
April 18: Napolitano denies Alharbi will be deported.
Did the Saudi minister request diplomatic-level immunity? Did Obama sign off on a "voluntary" departure?
"The level of coincidence required for the Saudi kid Ali Alharbi to be at the Boston Marathon at the time of the bombing and near the finish line where the bombs went off is staggering," a DHS official told IBD.
Why was he there? Was he cheering on someone running in the race? We don't know, and if he's allowed to leave the country, we may never know.