Tactical Rabbit Intelligence Report: Ahmad Khan Rahami Case NY/NJ Bombings
October 24, 2016
Federal Charges Against Rahami
2:16-mj-03594-MF All Defendants USA v. RAHAMI
Date filed: 09/20/2016
Date of last filing: 09/26/2016
Ahmad Khan Rahami (1)
Complaint Citation: Offense Level: 4
18:2332.F – USE OF A WEAPON OF MASS DESTRUCTION, etc.
1:16-mj-06009-UA All Defendants USA v. Rahami
Date filed: 09/20/2016
Date of last filing: 10/03/2016
Ahmad Khan Rahami (1)
Office: Foley Square
County: New York
Complaint Citation: Offense Level: 4
1. 18:2332A.F USE OF WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION,
2. 18:2332-F BOMBING A PLACE OF PUBLIC USE,
3. 18:844D.F DESTRUCTION OF PROPERTY BY MEANS OF FIRE OR EXPLOSIVES,
4. 18:924C.F USE OF A CONSTRUCTIVE DEVICE DURING AND IN FURTHERANCE OF A CRIME OF VIOLENCE
For details of the bombings see attachment A.
Ahmad Khan Rahami (male)
DOB: January 23, 1988
SSN: 15396XXXX [Issued 1995-1996 in New Jersey] 104 Elmora Avenue, 2d Floor Elizabeth, NJ 07202 [residence at the time of arrest]
Cell Phone Service (including past numbers)
Name: Ahmad Rahami, 104 Elmora Ave. Elizabeth, NJ Phone Number: (973) 666-3XXX
Carrier: Omnipoint Comm NJ
Previous addresses include: [dates of residence at that location are approximate]
Edison, NJ (2006-2016) – Perth Amboy, NJ(2012-2016) in Middlesex County;
Newark, NJ (2004-2005) in Essex County;
Union, NJ – Elizabeth, NJ (2006, 2008-2016) in Union County
POB: Afghanistan [He is a naturalized U.S. citizen born in Afghanistan] He came to the United States in 1995 as a child, several years after his father arrived from Afghanistan seeking asylum. U.S. government officials stated that Ahmad Rahami was given a U.S. passport in 2003, while a minor, and again in 2007 after he had said he lost his first one.
- He became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 2011.
- He is currently about 5’ 6” tall and weighs approximately 200 pounds.
- Ahmad was not on any U.S. terror watch list.
Rahami attended Columbia High School in Maplewood before transferring to Edison High School. He graduated in 2007. News reports state that from 2010 to 2012 he was a student at Middlesex Community College in Edison, New Jersey and studied Criminal Justice. He did not graduate.
Upon arriving in the U.S., his family moved to New Jersey during their early years, living in Perth Amboy, Edison, Union Township, and Elizabeth, which is six miles south of Newark. He received bomb parts at a work address in Perth Amboy. He purchased the cell phones in the Perth Amboy area.
Since 2002, the Rahami family has owned and operated this restaurant:
First American Fried Chicken
104 Elmora Ave, Elizabeth, NJ 07202
The father Mohammad and several of the Rahami brothers have worked at the restaurant. Ahmad Khan Rahami’s current residence was one floor above the restaurant in the same structure. Its location is six miles south of Newark.
Rahami worked as an unarmed night security guard for two months in 2011. Summit Security employed him as a private contractor and assigned him to an AP administrative technology office in Cranbury, New Jersey. He left the part-time job in 2011 to travel back to Afghanistan. There were no complaints or issues with his employment.
Rahami has had money problems. A debtor sued him in small claims court in 2012. His apartment complex evicted him from an apartment in 2013. He did not pay the directed child support to his local girlfriend.
Judgments/Liens Creditor Information
Name: HARBOR TERRACE APTS Filing Date: 11/25/2013
Name: BARRITTA, ANTONIO, $1,158 Filing Date: 7/12/2012 Small Claims, NJ
Name: CACH OF NEW JERSEY LLC, $2,016 11/8/2010 & $1,950 5/26/2009
The court system has never convicted Rahami of a crime. However, he had at least two arrests.
In October 2008 Rahami spent a day in the local jail for unpaid traffic tickets. In February 2012 he was again in the local jail for one day because of violating a restraining order. He was arrested in Elizabeth on a charge of contempt for allegedly violating a domestic violence restraining order, according to court records. The charge was eventually downgraded and heard in Family Court. The case’s final disposition is not clear.
Police arrested him Aug. 25, 2014, on weapons and assault charges for allegedly stabbing his brother in the leg in a domestic incident. He was accused of aggravated assault with attempt to cause bodily injury, unlawful possession of a weapon [gun] and possession of a weapon for unlawful purposes. He made bail [$25,000] and was released. In January 2015 a Union County grand jury declined to indict him. At the time, he listed his address as an apartment in Harbor Terrace in Perth Amboy. He spent around three months in the Union County Jail on the charges. A grand jury declined to indict Mr. Rahami on the charges because the witness recanted allegations. It is unclear if that witness was the sister or father, but it is believed to be the sister.
Related to this domestic arrest, in 2014 his father, Mohammad, told New Jersey police that Rahami was a terrorist. The father also stated that he had called the FBI and said that his son was a terrorist. However, law enforcement officials have challenged the father’s account, saying he did not provide the F.B.I. with many of the details about his son that he now claims he did.
“The FBI conducted internal database reviews, interagency checks, and multiple interviews, none of which revealed ties to terrorism,” the bureau said. The Joint Terrorism Task Force led by the FBI in Newark, New Jersey received this information. Officials opened an assessment and interviewed the father — who then recanted and removed the word “terrorist” from his statement, the news reported. [The FBI’s “assessment” is the least intrusive form of an FBI inquiry. It was based on comments from his father, the bureau said in a statement.]
According to a U.S. law enforcement official, Ahmad Khan Rahami came across the FBI’s radar at this time in 2014. The FBI’s Guardian system flagged Rahami. Law enforcement officials said that investigators did not interview Ahmad Rahami because he was in jail when the F.B.I. was conducting its review. The F.B.I. concluded its review prior to him being released from jail.
[The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Terrorist Threat and Suspicious Incident Tracking System] Guardian Threat Tracking System See: https://oig.justice.gov/reports/FBI/a0902/intro.htm
Please note: The FBI has also flagged, Omar Mateen, the Orlando shooter, in the Guardian system. The FBI opened a preliminary investigation into Mateen and interviewed him. However, the FBI did not do that for Rahami because there wasn’t enough information to warrant pursuing the matter further: the complaint against Rahami was withdrawn when the witness recanted, and the grand jury refused to indict him. He was unavailable due to incarceration.
During his shootout with police on Monday, Rahami was carrying a notebook containing his pro-jihadist writings, including a reference to slain al-Qaeda terrorist Anwar al-Awlaki.
U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara of the Southern District of New York filed a criminal complaint against Rahami containing felony charges relating to the bombings. [see attached doc]
Rahami is charged with the use of a weapon of mass destruction, bombing a place of public use, destruction of property using fire or explosive, and use of a destructive device in furtherance of a crime of violence, according to the criminal complaint.
Rahami visited Karachi, Pakistan, in 2005. [Karachi is a haven for the Pakistani Taliban and Al Qaeda, and Quetta is the headquarters of the exiled Afghan Taliban leadership.]
In 2011, Rahami traveled to the Middle East, spending several weeks in Kandahar, Afghanistan. Kandahar is the second-largest city in Afghanistan (about 500k pop.) and is a region frequented by the Pakistan-based Haqqani network, Quetta Shura, Hezbi Islami, al-Qaida and other terrorist groups. 1994-2001 this city was the capital of the Taliban government. This region of the country hosts a majority of the opium grown in Afghanistan.
He also traveled to Quetta, Pakistan during that period, and married a Pakistani woman there in July 2011. Quetta is the 9th-largest city in Pakistan and is right across the Afghan border from Kandahar. It is a well-known area for jihadis, including ISIL, Al-Qaeda, and the Pakistani Taliban. Quetta is the provincial capital of Balochistan, Pakistan and the ninth-largest city in Pakistan. Quetta is at the center of the drug smuggling region because a majority of the opiates are sourced from Helmand and Kandahar, just across the border from Quetta. See attached pic/map.
According to officials, upon his return to the United States he had to go through a secondary screening because he had visited an area of Pakistan known for its Taliban presence. At that time, he told immigration officials he had been visiting family and attending his uncle’s wedding, as well as renewing his Pakistani visa.
In April 2013, he went to Pakistan and remained there until March 2014 before returning to the U.S., an official said. During his 2013 trip he stayed in Quetta with family members who were refugees.
He filed paperwork petitioning to bring his new Pakistani wife to the U.S. The suspect had petitioned Rep. Albio Sires (D-NJ) to help bring his wife — who was pregnant at the time — to the country in 2014.
One of his brothers named Mohammad (there are two with that same name) traveled to Pakistan around the same time that he did. Mohammad posted on Facebook that while traveling in Quetta, they had heard seven bomb blasts over a 24 hour period.
After this lengthy trip to Afghanistan in 2013-2014 when he was back in New Jersey, Rahami began wearing religious garb and stopped wearing Western clothes. He grew a beard and exchanged his typical wardrobe of tee-shirts and sweatpants for traditional Muslim robes. He began to pray in the back of the store.
Officials are focused on a three-week trip he made to Afghanistan during that time and another trip to Ankara, Turkey. His travel to this area was during a time that authorities were concerned about foreigners heading there to fight in Syria. Customs officials at the National Targeting Center were notified of this travel.
Fragments of Rahami’s journal, recovered from his person after the shooting and arrest, suggest that he may have been frustrated in his attempts to reach Syria and was using that as justification for committing terror at home. Specifically, after that trip his local N.J. friends noticed a marked change in his personality and religious devotion. It appears that Rahami’s radicalization took place during this last lengthy trip.
During this journey, it is unknown if Rahami or any member of his family received terrorist training or technical information on bomb making. It’s certainly possible considering the area that was visited. CNN reported that the Afghan Taliban has denied any involvement with the suspected bomber Ahmad Rahami.
Mohammed Rahim Rahami (father)
Mohammad R. Rahami, now 53, got a Social Security card in New Jersey in 1989 or 1990. Rahami’s father traveled to Pakistan July 2011. In 2005, Mohammed R. Rahami (father) filed for bankruptcy. He listed himself as a cook at a fried chicken restaurant with an income of $1,447 a month. Court documents showed that he had just $100 in the bank and $38,000 to $45,000 in debt, mostly from credit cards. A neighbor and former Marine who served in Afghanistan told the Israeli newspaper Haaretz that “the father used to be a Mujahedeen in Afghanistan.”
Family history in civil court revolved around the American Fried Chicken. It was originally open 24-hours-a-day until the city passed an ordinance requiring it to close down at 10 pm. In 2011 the Rahami family sued the city of Elizabeth and several police officers, alleging they had inappropriately been cited for keeping their business open past ten p.m. and that they were harassed by police. They claimed a man in the neighborhood told them, “You are Muslims,” and, “Muslims make too much trouble in this country.” They indicated that he had complained unfairly to law enforcement, who singled them out “solely on animus against [their] religion, creed, race, and national origin” according to court records. Related to this case is one instance in which two Rahami family members were arrested for attempting to record a conversation with officers. Court records show the judge stayed the case in 2015. [see attached original complaint]
Mother is Najiba Rahami (alt spelling Najydba, Rawymy)
Rahami’s mother, Najiba Rahami, had been charged with child abuse in 2010 after “inflicting unnecessary severe corporal punishment” on her 7-year-old child, according to court documents. Najiba entered a rehabilitation program and had her arrest sealed. Charges were dismissed in 2011 after she completed a pre-trial intervention program. Najiba Rahami left the United States for Turkey three weeks before the NY bombings and has not returned to the U.S. It’s believed she remains in Turkey.
Asia Bibi Rahami [Bomber’s Pakistani Wife]
She traveled from the U.S. to Pakistan just before the bombings. However, her trip was planned well in advance of the attack. Tickets were purchased weeks ahead, and officials do not suspect involvement at this stage. Asia Bibi Rahami arrived back in the U.S. and is fully cooperating with officials.
Mohammad Qasim Rahami [brother]
In June 2009, police arrested brothers Mohammad Q. Rahami and Mohammad K. Rahami Jr. after they complained to the officers trying to shut down the restaurant at ten p.m., according to the lawsuit. Police charged one brother in the incident, and Mohammad K. Rahami pleaded guilty to charges of interfering with an arrest and for operating past legal hours, according to court filings. A senior U.S. official told The Daily Beast that Rahami’s oldest brother is in Pakistan now. A Perth Amboy address linked to Ahmad Rahami and brother Mohammad Khan Rahami was also the subject of a search by authorities. Presumably, this is the address that received the bomb parts and ingredients ordered from eBay. [It is reported that an Arab woman lived there, not Rahami] Authorities have not named either brother as suspects or persons of interest.
Mohammad K. Rahami, Jr. [brother]
Mohammad N. Rahami [brother]
Zakia Rahami (sister)
Zobydha Rahami (sister)
Aziza Rahami Maymunah [Sister in Pakistan]
Sister, age 30, the older sister of the bomber, appears to live in Quetta, Pakistan with her husbands 9/11 attacks were carried out by the U.S. and Israeli governments, and refers to U.S. soldiers as terrorists.
Rahami had one child with an ex-girlfriend (she is not Muslim) according to court records. Before he married a woman from Pakistan, Ahmad Rahami had a child with a woman from New Jersey named Maria J. Mena. The child is a girl and is currently nine years old. Maria Mena of Edison, New Jersey. She is currently under protective services after the activity in NYC.
In 2008, a court granted the former couple joint legal custody of the child, while giving residential custody of the child to Mena and ordering Rahami to pay $83 a week in child support. He listed Planned Security Services, a security company with offices in Parsippany, N.J., as one of his sources of income.
But in October 2011, Mena filed to block Rahami’s custody rights, apparently in fear that the child “is in danger of being removed from the country” according to a judge’s order. (In 2009, Mena had filed for permission to take the child out of the United States, which a judge granted.) In January 2015, Rahami filed to reduce his child-support payments; he was more than $3,500 behind in his payments and apparently out of work. (Rahami seemed to be falling deeper into debt: Six months earlier he had owed $623 in child payments.) The records indicate that the court suspended his required payments for 60 days to allow Rahami “to find employment.” On Tuesday, September 20, 2016, Mena filed for sole custody of the child due to Rahami’s connection with the recent bombings in New York and New Jersey and a shootout with police. She says she’d last had telephone contact with Rahami in January 2016. Mena has filed at least seven claims against Rahami for more than $6,800 in child support starting in 2008, records show.
Saturday 09:35 local time: Pipe bomb explodes on route of charity race in Seaside Park, New Jersey.
1. On the morning of September 17, 2016, an improvised explosive device, which included a pipe bomb and a triggering cellular telephone, exploded in the vicinity of Seaside Park, New Jersey. Three connected pipe bombs made up the device. However, only one of them detonated. The explosion could have been much larger had all of the bombs worked. No one was injured.
2. The explosion occurred along the route for the Seaside Semper Five Marine Corps Charity 5K Race, which was scheduled to begin at 9:00 a.m., approximately 35 minutes before the explosion. Other law enforcement activity delayed the start. The charity race was to raise money for U.S. Marines and sailors. The initial portion of the race was a scheduled one-mile “fun run.”
3. A cellular telephone bearing a particular International Mobile Equipment Identity (“IMEI”) number found in the immediate area of the explosion, with two thin wires protruding from it, had functioned as a timer for the bomb.
Saturday 21:00 local time: Manhattan pressure cooker bomb explodes
The IED was filled with shrapnel. It was placed in a dumpster and blew up on a busy Saturday night in Chelsea, one of New York City’s trendiest neighborhoods. A surveillance photo shows the man the FBI has identified as Ahmad Rahami near the scene of the Chelsea blast.
1. On September 17, the device detonated in the vicinity of 135 West 23rd Street in New York City.
2. The main charge of the bomb contained a high explosive. The blast caused significant injuries and multiple millions of dollars in property damage across a 650-foot crime scene.
3. The explosive components appear to have been placed inside a pressure cooker and left in a dumpster. The explosion propelled the more-than-100-pound dumpster 120 feet.
4. The blast shattered windows as far as approximately 400 feet from the detonation site, and vertically more than three stories high.
5. Fragmentation from the pressure cooker was recovered as far as about 650 feet from the blast site.
6. To increase fragmentation and thus the likelihood of lethal damage on civilians, ball bearings and steel nuts were packed inside the bomb. Agents recovered hundreds of these from the blast site.
7. Approximately 31 people – including at least one national of a foreign state (the United Kingdom) – suffered injuries from the 23rd Street bomb.
8. These injuries included, among other things, lacerations to the face, abdomen, legs, and arms caused by flying glass; metal shrapnel and fragmentation embedded in skin and bone; and various head injuries.
9. At least one victim was hospitalized and had to have multiple ball bearings removed from her body, as well as metal fragmentation from her ear and wood shards from her neck.
10. At least one victim was knocked unconscious by the blast while driving in his car by the site of the bomb.
11. Another victim suffered a head injury when the blast hit the vehicle in which she was traveling.
Saturday 23:30 local time: Manhattan, second pressure cooker bomb found but does not explode. Another device, an unexploded pressure cooker bomb, was located four blocks from the 23rd Street blast on 27th street.
Shortly after this explosion, agents uncovered another unexploded improvised explosive device on 27th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues, also in the Chelsea neighborhood and approximately four blocks away from the first bomb. Law enforcement officers inspected that unexploded improvised explosive device. It consisted of, among other things, a pressure cooker connected with wires to a cellular telephone bearing a particular IMEI number and packed with, among other things, a high explosive main charge, ball bearings, and steel nuts.
Sunday 8:40 local time: first of five pipe bombs found in a bin in Elizabeth, New Jersey
On September 18, 2016, agents found multiple improvised explosive devices inside a backpack located near the entrance to the New Jersey Transit station in Elizabeth, New Jersey. One of the devices detonated at approximately 12:40 a.m., on September 19, 2016, as a law enforcement officer was using a robot in an attempt to defuse the device. No one was injured.
Rahami engaged in a shootout with police Monday, Sept. 19 in Linden, NJ during his apprehension. Rahami shot two police officers during the arrest. One officer was injured when a bullet struck him in the head. Another officer was injured when a bullet hit his bulletproof vest in the area of his abdomen. Both will recover. Rahami was immediately charged, in relation to the shootout and arrest, with five counts of attempted murder of a law enforcement officer and two additional charges relating to the weapon; second-degree unlawful possession of a weapon; and second-degree possession of a weapon for an illegal purpose.
Violent Extremist Content Associated with a Social Media Account
Cell phone records link email account [email protected]… and social media accounts titled “Yaafghankid78” directly related to jihad: “jihad nasheed ya shahid” Jihad is a martyr’s anthem] and “best jihad nasheed [anthem].”
The recovered hand-written journal
After the arrest, a written journal was found on the person of Ahad Rahami. The writing that is legible indicates Rahami may have been frustrated in his attempts to reach Syria to fight for ISIL. He was using this situation as justification for committing terror in America. His written journal contained anti-American statements such as “Death to your [USA] OPPRESSION,” and “You (USA Government) continue your [unintelligible] slaught[er] against the mujahideen be it Afghanistan, Iraq, Sham [Syria], Palestine….” The journal also contained laudatory references to Anwar al-Awlaki; Nidal Hasan, who shot and killed 13 people at Fort Hood, Texas; and “Brother Osama Bin Laden.”
He was angry at the U.S. government. One 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. Another section included a reference to “pipe bombs” and a “pressure cooker bomb” and declared, “In the streets they plan to run a mile,” an apparent reference to one of the blast sites, a charity run in Seaside Park, New Jersey. “The sounds of bombs will be heard in the streets,” the Journal declared. The notebook also contained ramblings about the Boston Marathon bombers.
Mr. Rahami has been accused of building ten bombs. Some of the ingredients for the bombs were purchased online from eBay.
- On or about August 10, 2016, “Ahmad Rahimi” purchased an item described in part as: “Citric Acid USP/ Food Grade 5 Lb. Pack- Great for bath bombs and candy making.” Citric acid is a precursor chemical commonly used in improvised explosives.
- On or about July 31, 20 16, “Ahmad Rahimi” purchased an item described in part as: “10pcs five cm*7cm Prototyping PCB Printed Circuit Board Prototype Breadboard #0043.” A component commonly used in improvised explosive devices.
- On or about July 12, 2016, “Ahmad Rahimi” purchased an item described in part as: “E-Match+ 100 pcs/lot 11.81in For Fireworks Firing System Electric Igniters display.” E-match electric igniters can be used as a critical component of the detonation system of an improvised explosive device. Analysis of the 27th Street bomb identified many electric igniters inside.
- On or about July 12, 2016, “Ahmad Rahimi” purchased an item described as: “200 Hardened Lead Milling Balls .490 in. Ball Mill Tumbling Media Pyrotechnics.” Also, on or about July 12, 2016, “Ahmad Rahimi” purchased an item described in part as: “100 pcs/lot 11.81in For Fireworks Firing System Electric Igniters display.” On or about June 20, 2016, “Ahmad Rahimi” purchased an item described in part as: “Sling Shot ammo .50 cal .495 lead round balls 25 count Lead balls .495 diameter.” And, on or about June 20, 2016, “Ahmad Rahimi” purchased an item described in part as: “TRUMARK SLINGSHOT 200 COUNT 5/ 16″ STEEL-BALLS AMMO SLINGSHOT STEELIES.” The 23rd Street bomb and the 27th Street bomb both contained, as components of the bomb among other things, ball bearings.
The materials were all shipped to “Ahmad Rahimi” at the Perth Amboy Business. AHMAD KHAN RAHAMI, a/k/a “Ahmad Rahimi,” the defendant, was, until on or about September 12, 2016, employed by the Perth Amboy business located at this address. In 2015, two of the cellular phones used in the bombs described herein were shipped to the same store in New Jersey.
The first pressure-cooker bomb that went off in New York this weekend, which exploded on 23rd Street in Manhattan on Saturday night, contained Tannerite, a substance that includes ammonium nitrate and which is used primarily for making exploding targets for firearms practice. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms does not regulate Tannerite. Anyone can legally purchase these two components because neither is an explosive by itself.
Federal investigators say pressure-cooker and pipe bombs, constructed with easily purchased and unregulated materials and linked to cells, were used in the recent explosions in New York and New Jersey. The use of pressure cookers as explosive devices has been recognized for years by counter-terrorism experts because it has been touted by al-Qaeda. Similarly constructed devices have been deployed by terrorists in bombings around the world, from the 2013 Boston Marathon to attacks in the Middle East, South Asia and North Africa. Pressure cookers have also been tied to al-Qaeda because the first edition of Inspire magazine — produced by the group’s Yemeni affiliate — included an article teaching people how to make pressure-cooker bombs. It was titled, “Make a bomb in the kitchen of your Mom.” The same 2010 issue also explained, with step-by-step photographs, how to assemble pipe bombs.
Two pressure cooker bombs similar to the ones used by Rahami were exploded during the Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013, by the radicalized brothers Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and Tamerlan Tsarnaev. During April 2013, at the time of the Boston bombing, Ahmad Khan Rahami was in Pakistan with his family.
FBI analysis concluded that fingerprints recovered from the 27th Street bomb were a match to RAHAMI. Closed circuit television (“CCTV”) surveillance footage dated September 17, 2016, 7:53 pm, obtained from the vicinity of 131 West 23rd Street identifies RAHAMI. Surveillance footage captured from a CCTV camera located in the vicinity of 135 West 27th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues identifies RAHAMI on the sidewalk on September 17, 2016, 8:32 pm. FBI laboratory analysis of fingerprints recovered from materials contained in the backpack has determined a positive match to AHMAD KHAN RAHAMI, a/k/a “Ahmad Rahimi,” the defendant.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.