Abdulrahman Al Harbi: Revisiting the first suspect in the Boston Bombings

Boston Marathon Bombing via Wikipedia
Boston Marathon Bombing via Wikipedia

“If journalists cannot be trusted to guarantee confidentiality, then journalists cannot function and there cannot be a free press.” – New York Times Investigative reporter Judith Miller, who was “sent to jail after a federal judge declared that she was ‘defying the law’ by refusing to divulge the name of a confidential source”

Media mogul Glenn Beck has been ordered by U.S. District Court Judge Patti Saris (appointed by President Bill Clinton in 1993) “to identify at least two confidential sources” that gave him information about Abdulrahman Al Harbi, the Saudi national and initial “person of interest” in the Boston Marathon bombing, which took place on Monday, April 15, 2013.

Lingering questions remain about Abdulrahman Al Harbi

While Abdulrahman Al Harbi is very possibly innocent, the appalling behavior of the federal government, particularly then-Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano is in-and-of-itself suspicious, particularly her condescending denial that Abdulrahman Al Harbi was scheduled to be deported, despite evidence to the contrary.

MONDAY, APRIL 15, 2013, The day of the Boston Marathon Bombing

On the day of the bombing, former Assistant Director to the FBI and CBS News senior correspondent John Miller reported that “law enforcement sources” stated that “a witness saw a person acting suspiciously when the explosions happened along the marathon route.”

“They see him running away from the device,” said Miller. “Now, a reasonable person would be running away. But this person had noticed him before. This is a civilian — chases him down, tackles him, turns him over to the Boston police. The individual is being looked at [and] was suffering from burn injury. That means this person was pretty close to wherever this blast went off, but not so close as to suffer the serious injuries that other people did.”

This account was disputed by Al Harbi the following month. He told Islamic Monthly:

No, no one arrested me, no one tackled me, no. All the people were trying to escape from what happened because they realized that there was something dangerous in the finish line.

Unfortunately, the individual who allegedly tackled the Saudi National has not been named.

Also reported by Larry Celona of the New York Post at the time:

The sources said that, after the man was grabbed by police, he smelled of gunpowder and declared, “I thought there would be a second bomb.”

He also asked: “Did anyone die?”

Again, sources were not named.

As this author wondered at the time:

“If Abdulrahman Al Harbi was not tackled for suspicious behavior, the question begs to be asked: Why did the FBI question the Saudi National in the first place? Why did law enforcement remove bags of evidence from his apartment?”

The Boston Herald reported that “FBI and ATF agents, along with Boston cops, swarmed the 22-year-old man’s Ocean Avenue apartment Monday night [April 15], grilling his roommate for hours and removing several items in evidence bags.”

An FBI investigator examines a bag inside an apartment in Revere, in a building on the street where a the Saudi National lives Photo: William Farrington
An FBI investigator examines a bag inside an apartment in Revere, in a building on the street where a the Saudi National lives Photo: William Farrington

Jason Howerton reports on April 18, 2013 that an “event” file was created for Abdulrahman Al Harbi on April 15, 2013.


The day after the Boston bombing, Politico reported that a meeting between Secretary of State John Kerry and Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Saud Al-Faisal “was abruptly closed to press coverage.” But Saud Al-Faisal had time to assure journalists on his way out that “many Saudi students live in Boston,” as tweeted by Andrea Mitchell:

State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell said later that banning the press from the meeting was due to Kerry’s “busy schedule.” Ventrell also said the fact John Kerry met with Al-Faisal despite his busy schedule “reflects the importance of the U.S. Saudi-relationship.”

The Associated Press’s Matt Lee was highly skeptical, saying to Ventrell in part:

“I find it hard to believe that you expect us to believe that that’s the real reason for this.”

Also on April 16, the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia released a statement saying in part:

“The Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia would like to clarify U.S. media reports that a Saudi national is considered a suspect in the April 15, 2013 explosions in Boston. The Embassy stresses that there is no evidence, according to U.S. authorities, of involvement of any Saudi national in the bombings.

As an aside, in January 2013, then-Secretary of Department of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano signed an “arrangement” with Saudi minister bestowing “trusted traveler” status on Saudi student visitors, short cutting normal security screening procedures, as observed at Investor’s Business Daily.

Also on April 16, Ranking Republican Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) of the Senate Intelligence Committee confirmed after a briefing with the committee by Director of National Intelligence James Clapper that the Saudi National “was no longer a focus of investigators” and sickeningly, “security around the country would have to change for large public events, including greater involvement by the federal government.

Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) pointed out that “there was no intelligence information warning about the Boston Marathon bombings before they occurred…”

Feinstein’s assertion was clearly premature, as affirmed in a joint report published almost year after the Boston bombing which laid out the federal government’s previous knowledge of the Tsarnaev brothers and the breathtaking lack of action despite warnings from Russia’s FSB (in both March and again in September 2011) that “Tamerlan Tsarnaev and Zubeidat Tsarnaeva [Tamerlan’s mother] were adherents of radical Islam and that Tamerlan Tsarnaev was preparing to travel to Russia to join unspecified underground groups in Dagestan and Chechnya.”

Anzor Tsarnaev and Zubeidat Tsarnaeva Musa Sadulayev/AP
Anzor Tsarnaev and Zubeidat Tsarnaeva Musa Sadulayev/AP

Additionally, there actually was an 18-page, taxpayer-funded report that “identified the finish line of the race as an ‘area of increased vulnerability’ and warned Boston police that extremists may use ‘small scale bombings’ to attack spectators and runners at the event.”

One gets the feeling that the federal government was more focused on damage control then getting to the bottom of the Boston bombing. The speed in which Abdulrahman Al Harbi went from a “person of interest” to an innocent bystander was dizzying.


Two days after the Boston bombing, Reuters reported that Obama met with Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal to discuss Syria, further pointing out that “the meeting was not on Obama’s public schedule.”

Also on April 17, Steve Emerson of the Investigative Project on Terrorism told Sean Hannity of Fox News that his sources revealed that Abdulrahman Al Harbi was scheduled to be deported:

“I just learned from my own sources that he is now going to be deported on national security grounds next Tuesday, which is very unusual.”

Another strange twist to this story was that the mainstream media reported that a suspect was in custody two full days before the hunt for the Tsarnaev brothers resulted in martial law being imposed on Boston on April 19, 2013:

But those stories turned out to be incorrect, according to a seriously insane timeline at CNN which illustrates how misinformation and inconsistencies were abundant.

Here is a sample, start from bottom:

[Updated at 2:58 p.m. ET] The FBI said in a statement Wednesday that no arrest has been made, “contrary to widespread reporting,” tied to Monday’s Boston Marathon attack.

Before that, following statements from the Justice Department and the Boston police that no arrest has been made, CNN’s John King said this:

A federal law enforcement source told him that there has been “significant progress but no arrest.” A Boston law enforcement said “we got him,” but didn’t clarify whether that means authorities have identified a suspect or arrested one.

Some federal sources say that even to say the suspect has been identified goes too far, but several sources in Boston say they have a clear identification.

[Updated at 2:48 p.m. ET] There have been no arrests in the Boston Marathon bombing investigation, according to Boston police and the Justice Department.

[Updated at 2:33 p.m. ET] There is conflicting information as to whether someone has been arrested in connection with the Boston Marathon bombings.

A federal law enforcement source told CNN’s Fran Townsend that someone was arrested. But two senior administration officials and another federal official then told Townsend that there had been a misunderstanding among officials and that no one has been arrested.

[Updated at 2:23 p.m. ET] As news of an arrest spreads, a crowd has been gathering outside a federal courthouse in Boston.

[Updated at 2:10 p.m. ET] The last we heard, a law enforcement news briefing in the bombings case was scheduled for 5 p.m. ET today. We’ll see if that holds.

Earlier today, CNN’s John King reported that authorities had identified a suspect based on an analysis of video from a Lord & Taylor department store near the site of the second blast, and that video from a Boston TV station also helped. King cited a source who was briefed on the investigation.

[Updated at 2 p.m. ET] The arrest is based on two videos showing images of the suspect, a federal law enforcement source told CNN contributor Fran Townsend.

[Updated at 1:46 p.m.] An arrest has been made in connection with Monday’s Boston Marathon bombings, sources tell CNN’s John King and CNN contributor Fran Townsend. King’s source is with Boston law enforcement, he said; Townsend’s source is with federal law enforcement.


  • It is reported exclusively on April 20, 2013 at Breitbart that deportation records for Abdulrahman Al Harbi were altered on April 17, 2013 according to “[S]ources with knowledge of these matters” who claimed that the “change occurred subsequent to Secretary John Kerry’s closed door meeting on Tuesday with the Saudi Minister and around the time of the meeting between the Saudi Minister and Obama later on Wednesday evening.”
  • It is reported exclusively on April 22, 2013 at TheBlaze that “…Al Harbi’s file was altered early Wednesday evening to disassociate him from the initial charges.”


Janet Napolitano testified that Abdulrahman Al Harbi did not play a role in the Boston Marathon Bombing, but unanswered questions remain.

Napolitano dismissed the idea that deportation was scheduled for Al Harbi as a “rumor” during a heated exchange with Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-SC). She said,

“I am unaware of anyone who is being deported for national security concerns at all related to Boston…I don’t know where that rumor came from.”

When Duncan questioned the wisdom of deporting “someone who was reportedly at the scene of the bombing”, Napolitano condescendingly replied that Duncan’s question is “not worthy of any answer.” She said,

“It is so full of misstatements and misapprehensions, that it is just not worthy of any answer…There has been so much reported on this that has been wrong. I can’t even begin to tell you, congressman.”

Watch the exchange:

Regardless, of the Secretary’s dismissal, key members of the House Committee on Homeland Security claimed that they have “copies of the original deportation order.”

In a letter to Janet Napolitano, the investigators requested

“…a detailed overview of the records associated with this individual to include his law enforcement and immigration records prior to April 15, 2013, as well as his current status.”

The letter was signed by Chairman Michael T. McCaul, Chairman Jeff Duncan of the subcommittee on Oversight and Management Efficiency, Chairman Peter King of the subcommittee on Counter-terrorism and Intelligence, and Chairman Candice Miller of the subcommittee on Border and Maritime Security as reported at theBlaze.

House Committee on Homeland Security Requests More Info on Saudi National From Napolitano

On Thursday evening, Steve Emerson again appeared on Hannity, doubling down on his claim that the Saudi National was set to be deported. Here is a part of the exchange:

HANNITY: I have multiple sources, high level, within our government, that told me the exact same thing. That this Saudi national, they said now is a witness, not a suspect, but saying is to be deported Tuesday, I was told for the exact same thing, for national security reasons. I did see the video where Janet Napolitano denied any knowledge of that, but yet it’s been confirmed now by multiple sources.

EMERSON: And the documents are going to surface or at least members of Congress have it right now, and they’ll make the contents public. We don’t know if he was connected to the bombing or not, but it’s a strange coincidence for sure.


It is likely that Abdulrahman Al Harbi would have faded from memory quickly if not for the tireless efforts of Glenn Beck, whose sources gave his staff very detailed information that he shared with his considerable audience.

Glenn Beck’s first broadcast discussing the Saudi National on April 22, 2013:

Glenn speaking of the case on Bill O’Reilly’s show:

Additionally, former Special Agent Bob Trent explained how criteria for inclusion on the no-fly list is very different than the 212 3 (B) note on Abdulrahman Al Harbi’s event file:

Evidently Michelle Obama visited Abdulrahman in the hospital, along with other victims of the bombing. This is confirmed at a Twitter account of someone claiming to be a relative (father?) of Abdulirahman Al Harbi, which also features a photo of Abdulrahman Al Harbi at the White House, where Abdulrahman was evidently invited to attend Independence day festivities along with other victims of the Boston bombing (you will need to use the translate feature).

First, a tweet claiming that Abdulrahman was invited to the White House, along with a link to an article in Arabic language discussing the invitation:

The Boston Marathon bombing resulted in three deaths and injured well over 100 people, some critically.

At the time of the Boston bombing, this author found many bizarre and wholly under-reported peripheral stories surrounding the terror attack (see here, here, here and below), including initial reporting on Abdulrahman Al Harbi which has not been discussed in the mainstream media, much less resolved.

Some additional examples of unresolved questions surrounding the Boston Marathon bombing:

  • How is it possible that the FBI needed to ask the public to identify the Tsarnaev brothers despite prior interaction with Tamerlan, and despite the fact that the elder brother was “entered into two different United States government watch lists in late 2011 that were designed to alert the authorities if he traveled overseas?”
  • Was establishing Martial Law in Boston necessary?
  • Despite repeated assurances that there was “no intelligence” leading up to the attack…there actually was an 18-page, taxpayer-funded report that “identified the finish line of the race as an ‘area of increased vulnerability’ and warned Boston police that extremists may use ‘small scale bombings’ to attack spectators and runners at the event.” 
  • Why has the media vastly ignored Boston bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s friend Ibragim Todashev, who allegedly had ‘friends overseas who are Islamist extremists?’ According to several news sources, Todashev implicated himself and Tamerlan in the unsolved gruesome murders of Brendan Mess, Erik Weissman, and Raphael Taken (which occurred on September 11, 2011) before Todashev was killed by the FBI and law enforcement (who offered a range of contradictory statements to the media about his death) in his own apartment in Orlando Florida on .
  • What about Todashev’s roommate (also described as girlfriend by some sources) Tatiana Gruzdeva, who “was arrested for overstaying her student visa on May 16” and then “quietly deported?”
  • Yet another friend of Todashev, Ashurmamad Miraliev was arrested on charges not related to terror attack.

As an aside, here is one Tweeter’s photo of Boston under lock-down:

As a reminder, there was plenty of speculation that the Boston Bombing was the fault of the Tea Party and the Second Amendment (as compiled by Mediaite and also by Paul Joseph Watson):

  • MSNBC’s Chris Matthews “alluded to the possibility that Tax Day played a role. In the same hour, he speculated that if the perpetrator was homegrown, they were likely of the “far right” persuasion, and then suggested that maybe the eventually-debunked JFK library fire was the result of anti-Kennedy, anti-Democratic Party sentiment.”
  • Just hours after the bombing, Michael Moore blamed the Tea Party for the tragedy, tweeting “2+2 =” followed by “Tax Day. Patriots Day.”
  • A Salon.com opinion piece expressed the desire that the “bomber ends up being a white anti-government extremist.”
  • Former Bill Clinton advisor David Axelrod also hinted on MSNBC that the attack could have been a form of tax protest.
  • A US Forest Service PR rep also took to Twitter to blame the bombing on the Tea Party, writing, “I fear nutty logic goes like this … Patriots Day. April 15. Tax Day. Bad government. Boston. Tea Party. Let’s show ’em.”
  • Actor and comedian Jay Mohr blamed the bombings on the Second Amendment, tweeting, “What bothers me most about today is that we’re getting used 2 it. ENOUGH. 2nd amendment must go. Violence has 2 stop. Culture MUST change.”

With all of the unanswered questions surrounding the numerous casualties and broken lives stemming from the Boston Marathon bombing, the notion that Glenn Beck is the one facing condemnation and harsh judgement – particularly without notable media scrutiny – is a sad commentary on the times in which we live. Glenn Beck’s plight surely foreshadows life in America in the coming months and years ahead barring a long-overdue awakening.

According to Politico, if Glenn Beck refuses to comply with the unconstitutional tyrannical court order, the federal judge “could impose sanctions” on his company, “assess fines, or potentially even jail Beck for contempt.”


Author: renee nal

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4 thoughts on “Abdulrahman Al Harbi: Revisiting the first suspect in the Boston Bombings

  1. A more general view, if allowed. Going to be as clear as possible.

    Say, you’re in a strategic deadlock; further escalation – on same terms – would become too expensive in any regard, so unreasonable.

    How would, say, YOU proceed?..

    …OK, let’s approach this from a different end. They’ve raised the appartement rent plus all the payments drastically (the bandits, you know). Shall I suit them (whereas they contol the entire legal machine), call them for mercy (…)?

    No, after a period of sabotage (absolutely necessary) I’d approach this and that ladies behind the desks (all of them in somewhat advanced age for some reasons) and attack each of them (so on a very local level) with my claims. Loudly! That works!..

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