New York bombing suspect's father: US 'punishing' my family

Posted at 10:11 AM, Oct 08, 2016

ISLAMABAD (AP) -- The father of New York bombing suspect Ahmad Khan Rahami said on Saturday that the FBI had made "mistake after mistake" in handling the case and is now "punishing" the family for his son's wrongdoing by barring them from traveling to the United States.

Mohammed Rahami told The Associated Press by phone that the FBI did not "do its job properly" by failing to act when he contacted investigators in 2014 with concerns his son could be a terrorist. He said he told investigators that his son had become "bad" and his personality had changed after returning from trips to Pakistan and Afghanistan.

A senior FBI official last month pushed back against the elder Rahami's claim that he warned agents about his son. FBI agents interviewed the father after a 2014 incident in which Rahami was arrested on charges - later dropped - that he stabbed one of his brothers in the leg, according to the FBI official, who insisted that Rahami's father "at no time" discussed his son's radicalization or potential interest in al-Qaida, the Taliban or their propaganda. The official wasn't authorized to discuss the case by name and spoke to AP on condition of anonymity.

Rahami said U.S. authorities recently turned back his wife and one of his sons when they tried to travel from Afghanistan to the United States. He said Ahmad Khan Rahami's wife was also refused entry into the U.S. He would not reveal where his daughter-in-law was living, but said her family is from the Pakistani city of Quetta. He urged U.S. authorities to allow his relatives to travel to the United States, saying they are law-abiding citizens.

Rahami is accused of planting bombs in New York and New Jersey that wounded 31 people last month. The Afghan-born U.S. citizen remains hospitalized with gunshot wounds after a police shootout. Prosecutors said that when he was arrested Rahami was found to be carrying a journal that praised Osama bin Laden and other militants and that fumed about what he saw as the U.S. government's killing of Muslim holy warriors.

The elder Rahami said he had been given no information on his son's condition in hospital.

He expressed his "sympathy for all those who suffered" in the blasts. "My son's bad act damaged our repute, it defamed my motherland and it caused bad impression about Islam, which stands for peace," he said.