Editor’s note: Please see the Editors’ UPDATES we will be placing in order of most-recent below. TheBlaze’s Jonathon M. Seidl contributed to this report.
- On Sean Hannity’s Fox News program Wednesday night, terror expert Steve Emerson cited sources saying Abdul Rahman Ali Alharbi, the Saudi national who was briefly named a “person of interest” in the Boston Marathon bombings, is being deported on Tuesday.
- Thursday morning, Glenn Beck revealed on radio that TheBlaze was informed by sources that the Saudi national’s visa had been revoked and he was, in fact, going to be deported on “security and related grounds.”
- Among other things, sources told TheBlaze that the Saudi national had ties to a well-connected Saudi family and that his deportation was set to be framed as a “voluntary” departure to be with his family.
- A file, called an “event,” was started on him three days ago.
- While discussing the issue on radio, TheBlaze’s Chief Content Officer Joel Cheatwood revealed that the government has had second thoughts on deporting Ali Alharbi.
- Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano refused to answer questions on the subject when confronted by Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-SC) on Capitol Hill.
- An ICE official refuted TheBlaze’s report, calling it “categorically false.”
- A congressional source, however, says that the file on Alharbi was created, that he was “linked” in some way to the Boston bombings (although its unclear how), and that documents showing all this have been sent to Congress.
UPDATE IX (9:34 pm ET):
A congressional source is now contradicting ICE’s official claim that an earlier report from TheBlaze includes “categorically false” information.
Documents have been presented to Congress confirming that plans were made to revoke the visa of Abdul Rahman Ali Alharbi, a Saudi national once considered a “person of interest” in the Boston bombings, that source told TheBlaze on Thursday.
The information sent to Congress showed that a file was created on “Abdul Rahman Ali Al Harby” at 4 p.m. on Tuesday by an official with the National Targeting Center, a counterterrorism sub-agency of U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Department of Homeland Security. The file stated that the individual is “linked to the Boston bombing” and was to be processed for revocation of his visa based on national security grounds, the congressional source revealed.
Read our full report on the new information.
UPDATE VIII (5:00 pm ET):
TheBlaze has commissioned a translation of a well-known Saudi newspaper where Alharbi apparently gave an interview describing the situation.
“I was in a state of panic and fear, so I did not think of anything except trying to picture what happened to me, until I realized, hours after I entered the hospital, that my mobile phone fell from me during the explosion…,” the outlet quotes him as saying, describing the scene immediately after the bombing.
He goes on to say the officials “profusely” apologized to him after he was outed as a “person of interest,” even promising him “special health care” and providing him with an international phone so he could call his family in Saudi Arabia.
You can view some of his other claims, including what officials asked him to describe about the bombing, in our full report here.
UPDATE VII (4:10 pm ET) — Immigrations and Customs Enforcement responded to TheBlaze’s report on Alharbi, calling our source’s claims “categorically false. Read the update here.
UPDATE VI (12:50 pm ET):
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano had a fiery exchange with Rep. Jeff Duncan during a House hearing Thursday morning over reports that Al Alharbi is being considered for deportation.
Napolitano refused to entertain a question regarding if it would be “negligence” to deport someone who just days ago was a person of interest.
“I’m not going to answer that question,” she shot back after being pressed by Duncan and denying any knowledge of such a plan. “That question is so full with misstatements and misapprehensions that it is not worthy of an answer.”
Watch her response and read her other fiery comments in our full write-up here.
UPDATE V (12:13 pm ET):
Sen. Rand Paul reacted to TheBlaze’s report during a radio interview with Glenn Beck by saying he will be “looking into” the report. He also added that in general the United States needs to “have more scrutiny on these students when they arrive.”
Read the full report here.
You can watch Glenn Beck break the news on radio below:
UPDATE III (10:50 am ET):
TheBlaze Chief Content Officer Joel Cheatwood reported on “The Glenn Beck Program” Thursday morning that TheBlaze has been informed that the government is now considering not deporting Abdul Rahman Ali Alharbi.
“Just got a note from one of our investigative reporters that she has been told that there is now discussion that they may not allow this man to be deported,” Cheatwood said.
The blog Shoebat.com, run by anti-Islamist Walid Shoebat, has posted two pictures allegedly of Abdul Rahman Ali Alharbi smiling in the hospital:
At least one of the photos appears to either have originated from, or is at least included in, an Arabic language report here.
Sources tell TheBlaze that the Saudi national is set to be deported on “security and related grounds.” His visa also has been revoked. Below is some of the information that has been communicated to us:
1. One source at the FBI and another at the Saudi Embassy referred to the student as connected to an important Saudi family.
2. An “event” was created on this guy three days ago. An event is a file. The file contains his deportation record and the reason he is being deported. According to ICE the reason is under section 212 3B — “Security and related grounds” — “Terrorist activities”
3. His visa has been revoked.
4. The FBI said a file was started “just in case he was found to be connected to the crime,” however, the file shows he was scheduled to be deported. This was not a precaution, it was in “orders.”
5. One source said they believe a “voluntary” departure has been signed — that means the Saudi Student could be out of the country as early as today.
6. The file was immediately classified. We believe the deportation order will be classified as well — requiring a FOIA to get it.
7. The story was going to be “he wanted to go home,” however he was actually being deported.
8. Our source said the FBI believes the Saudi student is tied to 2 to 3 more people.
9. Our source said this “looks like they were trying to make this a ‘lone wolf’ crime so, the Saudi government would be spared embarrassment and the U.S. would avoid explaining how a terror cell was active when we had AQ on the run.”
Appearing on “Hannity” Wednesday night, the Investigative Project on Terrorism’s Steve Emerson reported that Abdul Rahman Ali Alharbi, the Saudi national who was briefly named a “person of interest” in the Boston Marathon bombings, is being deported on Tuesday. He based his information on a number of his confidential sources.
“I just learned from my own sources that he is now going to be deported on national security grounds next Tuesday,” Emerson said.
Host Sean Hannity referenced a report by Reuters that revealed President Barack Obama met with Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal at the White House Wednesday. They reportedly discussed the conflict in Syria.
“The meeting was not on Obama’s public schedule,” the report adds.
Watch below via Fox News:
Emerson’s claims have not been verified.