Everyone wants to focus on radicalization as the issue which has been analyzed and discussed to death for years. No one wants to speak of the why he was let back into the US as a convicted terrorist with a felony charge. How could he get back in? Who has an answer?
AL-AZHARI, who has a criminal history that includes prior terrorism charges in Saudi Arabia (as a US citizen). Why was he let back into the United States? AL_AZHARI went to Saudi Arabia as an 18 year-old planning travel to Syria to fight for an ISIS group.
In or around 2015, AL-AZHARI was convicted in Saudi Arabia of terrorism charges involving his planning to travel to Syria to participate in jihad and to join terrorist groups fighting the Syrian government. Specifically, AL-AZHARI appears to have been convicted of possession of extremist propaganda, holding extremist views, and attempting to join a terrorist organization, namely, Jaysh al-Islam.
AL-AZHARI was accused of conspiring with two other individuals, including his father, to commit those crimes. AL-AZHARI was sentenced to serve three years in prison in Saudi Arabia. After serving that sentence, he was removed to the United States in around December 2018, and he has resided here since then. With his grandmother in Riverside, California and in Tampa, Florida. Why was he let back into the United States?
Since AL-AZHARI’s return to the United States, he has lived in Florida and California, most recently returning to Tampa in approximately June 2019. While AL-AZHARI has been in Tampa, the FBI is aware that he has acquired at least three firearms. AL-AZHARI’s possession of a firearm as a felon is in violation of the laws of the State of Florida. So why not arrest him immediately? Why did they not arrest him immediately? He must have been on a watch list but, he already was identified as a convicted felon on terrorism charges. Why risk letting him in to potentially execute terrorist acts?
Based on my training and experience, as well as my familiarity with this investigation, I believe that AL-AZHARI’s having a foreign felony conviction may explain his efforts to acquire firearms outside of normal commercial channels, as discussed below.