Ahmad Khan Rahimi, an Afghan-born U.S. citizen was sentenced on Friday to a second life sentence for the attempted murder of five police officers during a shootout with police in New Jersey in 2016. He was already serving a life sentence for a bombing in New York City.
The shooting occurred in Linden, New Jersey just two days after a bomb exploded in the city’s Chelsea neighborhood.
Rahimi was convicted by a jury last October on all 30 counts for the shooting, which included attempted murder and multiple aggravated assault counts involving five officers, plus several weapons charges.
Superior Court Judge John Deitch sentenced Rahimi for actions which he said were “completely abhorrent to civilized society.”
The second life sentence will run consecutive to the life term he is already serving.
“The defendant’s actions were shocking and carried out with a callous disregard for the value of human life,” Deitch said.
In the New Jersey incident, police responded to a call and found Rahimi sleeping in a doorway. He fired at one officer, who was saved by his ballistic vest. Another officer was struck in the head by a bullet fragment that penetrated the windshield of his patrol vehicle.
The first officer to encounter Rahimi was Officer Angel Padilla, who has since retired as a result of the shooting. He was in court Friday and recounted the confrontation.
“It was a call for a man sleeping on a vestibule,” he said after the hearing. “I never thought I would confront the person they had been looking for. I knew that I would have to take my time asking him questions and waiting for my backup to show up, but never in a million years did I think it would end the way it did.”
Rahimi was born in Afghanistan but grew up in New Jersey. He graduated from high school in 2007, and later attended community college, where he ironically majored in criminal justice. He did not graduate.
His family owned a chicken takeout restaurant in Elizabeth, located not far from the courthouse in which he was convicted.
In the bombing incident, he was convicted of planting two bombs in New York. The bomb that detonated was powerful enough to throw a 100-pont trash bin more than 120 feet, shatter windows and leave metal scraps strewn about on the street.
The bombing did not result in any deaths, but 30 people suffered injuries, which included cuts that were caused by the flying metal and glass. A second bomb that he had planted on the street did not detonate.
The Chelsea bombing came just a short few hours after a small pipe bomb detonated harmlessly along the route of a Marine Corps charity road race in Seaside Park, New Jersey.
Police investigators were able to tie Rahimi to the bombings through a mobile phone that was attached to the Manhattan bomb that did not detonate.
While police looked for Rahimi, a backpack containing an additional bomb was found near a New Jersey transit station in Elizabeth, New Jersey.
After Rahimi was sentenced in the 2016 bombing, Acting Assistant Attorney General for National Security Edward C. O’Callaghan said:
“Today our legal system delivered o its promise to provide swift and resolute justice to those who would target innocent victims by perpetrating terrorist attacks against our homeland. I commend all of the agents, analysts and prosecutors whose commitment and dedication made this result possible.”
“Inspired by ISIS and al Qaeda, Ahmad Khan Rahimi planted and detonated bombs on the streets of Chelsea, and in New Jersey, intending to kill and maim as many innocent people as possible,” said U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman.
“Less than a year-and-a-half after his attacks, Rahimi has now been tried, convicted and sentenced to life in prison. Rahimi’s conviction and sentencing are victories for New York City and our nation in the fight against terror.”
During Friday’s sentencing, Judge Deitch said that Rahimi has “not shown one iota of remorse for his actions.”
Rahimi sat stoic during sentencing and refused to make a statement to the court. Like his previous sentencing for the bombing in New York, prosecutors criticized him for not showing remorse and also for trying to radicalize fellow prisoners at the federal jail in New York where he had been incarcerated since his arrest.
Prosecutors say that he gave inmates copies of terrorist propaganda and jihadist materials, including speeches and lectures by al Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden and Anwar al-Awlaki, the U.S. born cleric who inspired attacks on the United States.
He was killed in a U.S airstrike in September 2011. Bin Laden was killed by U.S. Navy Seals in Pakistan in 2011. Hopefully both have found their 72 virgins, but we doubt it.
Meanwhile, Mustafa al-Imam, a 47-year-old Libyan national was sentenced Thursday to 236 months in prison on federal terrorism charges from his involvement in the Sept 11, 2012 terrorist attack on the U.S. Special Mission and CIA Annex in Benghazi, Libya.
The attack took the life of Ambassador Christopher Stevens, along with U.S. government personnel Sean Smith, Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty. The attack led to widespread criticism of both former president Barack Obama and former secretary of state and failed presidential candidate Hillary Clinton for not sending rescuers sooner.
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In announcing the sentencing, Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers said:
“We have not rested in our efforts to bring to justice those involved in the terrorist attacks on our facilities in Benghazi, which led to the death of four courageous Americans—Tyrone Woods, Sean Smith, Glen Doherty and Ambassador Christopher Stevens—and we never will.”
“Those responsible for these crimes must be held accountable. I want to thank the agents, analysts and prosecutors—and all of their partners in the U.S. government—who are responsible for this important investigation.
U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia Jessie K. Liu said:
“Today’s sentence demonstrates the United States’ continuing commitment to pursue justice against those who commit terrorist acts against the United States no matter how far we must go or how long it takes. Mustafa al-Imam played an important role in the terrorist attack that destroyed the U.S. Mission and the CIA Annex in Benghazi.”
“We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to pursue justice against all those who murdered these four American heroes and who seriously injured our personnel defending these U.S. facilities overseas.”
Al-Imam was captured in Libya on Oct. 29, 2017 and extradited to the United States to face trial in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.
He was found guilty by a jury on June 13, 2019 following a six-week trial on the charges of one count of conspiracy to provide material support or resources to terrorists and one count of maliciously destroying and injuring dwellings and property, and placing lives in jeopardy within the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States.
He was sentenced by the Honorable Christopher R. Cooper.
The criticism of Obama and Clinton for their role in the Benghazi attack stems from the fact that Clinton had persuaded Obama to overthrow Muammar Qaddafi and advocated maintaining a diplomatic presence there after the Libyan revolution.
This is from a piece that was posted on Fox News by a State Department employee who was the Deputy Chief of Mission for Libya. He was the last person in Tripoli to speak with Ambassador Christopher Stevens before he was murdered on September 11, 2012.
Clinton denied responsibility for the shortage of security at the facility, however her Under Secretary of State for Management, Pat Kennedy, had rejected calls for extra security after the State Department had reduced the number of U.S. security personnel assigned to the embassy in Tripoli.
This left ”no surplus security agents” to travel to Benghazi with Ambassador Stevens, which would have then left the Embassy in Tripoli at severe risk. The security forces were stretched thin, which Clinton should have been aware of as secretary of state. This is according to the Benghazi Committee report.
U.S. law also required the secretary of state to ensure that all U.S. government personnel assigned to a diplomatic post abroad be located at one site. If not, the secretary, with the concurrence of the agency head whose personnel will be located at a different location, must issue a waiver.
The law was passed after the 1998 bombing of two U.S. embassies in Africa, where lax security was blamed under then president Bill Clinton. The law specifically states that the waiver decision can not be delegated. It was Hillary Clinton’s decision to make, and hers alone.
Clinton denied responsibility for the security shortfalls in Benghazi, but she was the one who allowed the Benghazi consulate to be separate from the CIA annex, which divided already scarce resources in a country where the security environment was rapidly deteriorating.
Ironically, one of Ambassador Stevens’ primary goals in visiting Benghazi was to start consolidating Benghazi personnel into one facility, which would have improved the security profile in those facilities.
“What difference does it make?”
Well, there are four dead Americans, that’s what difference it made. Fortunately at least one person is paying the price, if not the person who was ultimately responsible, HRC.
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