Glenn Beck has made serious accusations against the government and the Saudi national, Ali Alharbi, who was originally questioned in connection with the April 14 bombing of the Boston Marathon. Beck’s online publication, The Blaze, has extensively covered the topic. Beck said six members of Congress and several workers inside of government tipped him off to the story.
Todd Starnes, the host of Fox News & Commentary and conservative author, followed Beck’s lead and reportedly acquired information alleging that Alharbi was on the federal government’s terror watch list.
Now there is an online flurry of tweets and a blog that is raising questions about Starnes’ now deleted article, “Saudi National Questioned in Boston was on Terror Watch List,” that was originally posted at radio.foxnews.com. It has been liked 2,300 times on Facebook and shared at least 546 times on Twitter.
The now defunct link: http://radio.foxnews.com/toddstarnes/top-stories/saudi-national-questioned-in-boston-was-on-terror-watch-list.html
The Blaze is now linking the Google cached version of the article (seen at the end of this post). The Drudge Report had linked Starnes’ Townhall.com author archive page, which now makes no mention of the article.
Starnes is also syndicated on Townhall.com, which also deleted the article about the Saudi national.
Some have suggested the article may have been deleted due to national security concerns, but that seems unlikely. The Blaze still has up the same information and the publication hasn’t publicized any contact from the Department of Defense or Homeland Security, which can request that reporters take down sensitive information in the name of ‘national security.’
Starnes has yet to publicly acknowledge the Twitter users and bloggers reaching out to him for comment on the deleted article on the two websites. However, ViralRead has put in a request for comment.
Is this a case of confusing a funny name? Bad reporting? Or did the conservative online properties get cold feet?
Here’s the deleted article:
The Saudi national who was initially detained and then ruled out as a suspect in the Boston Marathon terrorist attack had been flagged on a terror watch list and was granted a student visa without being properly vetted, sources have told me.
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A source close to the investigation revealed that Abdul Rahman Ali Alharbi had been deemed inadmissible under the section of the Immigration and Nationality Act which declares ineligible for a visa – any alien who is engaged in or is likely to engage after entry – in terrorist activity.
At least two additional sources have confirmed to me that Ali Alharbi is set to be deported as early as this week, contrary to statements made by Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.
The House Homeland Security Committee is now requesting a classified briefing with Napolitano to get to the bottom of the issue, according to an exclusive report from The Blaze.
Napolitano denied anyone was being deported in a heated exchange Thursday with Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-SC) during a House hearing.
“I am unaware of anyone who is being deported for national security concerns at all related to Boston,” she said. “I don’t know where that rumor came from.”
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The Homeland Security chief said the Saudi national was not “technically a person of interest or a suspect, that was a wash.”
But Duncan questioned the wisdom of deporting someone who was at the scene of a terrorist attack.
“Wouldn’t you agree with me that it is negligent for us, as an American administration, to deport someone who was reportedly at the scene of the bombing, and we are going to deport him, not to be able to question him anymore, is that not negligent,” Duncan asked.
Napolitano refused to answer the question.
“It is so full of misstatements and misapprehensions, that it is just not worthy of any answer,” she replied. “There has been so much reported on this that has been wrong. I can’t even begin to tell you, congressman.”
Last week Steven Emerson, of the Investigative Project on Terrorism, told Fox News Channel’s Sean Hannity that Alharbi had been set to be deported “on national security grounds.”
“You don’t arrest their citizens – you deport them,” Emerson said regarding the Saudis.
An Immigration and Customs Enforcement official told me that it was a case a “Saudi being in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
The official, with knowledge of the case, said Alharbi’s status has changed – but as it now stands – he will be sent back home.
“They don’t like the negative press,” the official said of the Saudis. “The guess is he will probably be allowed to leave without a lot of hype in order to avoid political sensitivities with the Saudis.”
ICE sources told The Blaze that a separate Saudi national was in custody — and that individual was in no way affiliated with the Boston attacks.