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Last week, an FBI agent and a number of Boston police officers shot and killed Usaamah Rahim, whom they’d been investigating as a jihadi terrorist. According to the charges against his accomplice and nephew, Rahim had recently pulled out of a larger plot in favor of simply murdering and attacking a random BPD officer (the investigators had been tapping his phones). Police went to confront him on Tuesday, and he attacked them with a 7″ knife and was shot dead. The shooting was recorded by a nearby store security camera, whose footage has been reviewed by local religious leaders who have overwhelmingly said that it corroborates the investigators’ account that they only opened fire after Rahim charged them. The footage was just released within the past hour.
The story has a number of interesting angles. First, it seems to further corroborate my theory that domestic Islamic terrorists can be effectively divided into two categories: zombies (such as Rahim and the two idiots who unsuccessfully attacked Pamella Geller last month) who are typified by impulsiveness, poor discipline, low skills, and lack of any direct ties to international organizations; and vampires (e.g., the Kouachi brothers from the Charlie Hebdo attack) who are patient, careful, highly skilled, and who often receive direct support and training from overseas. Like their undead namesakes, each type has different strengths and weakness, and likely require different approaches to subvert and destroy.
Second, Rahim’s brother unsuccessfully tried to insert a racial angle into the story (the Rahims are black). Shortly after his brother’s death, Ibrahim Rahim, an imam based in California, tweeted “Pray4 my younger brother Usaama Rahim shot 3 X in his back by Boston Police then dying His last words I can’t breathe” and posted a similar message on Facebook. He subsequently retracted and deleted both statements — which apparently are entirely false — but has neither apologized nor explained the calumny.
Third, it’s yet to be revealed how authorities came to learn about Rahim’s intentions before gaining permission to tap his phone. Given the recent debates about bulk surveillance, it will be interesting to see what role — if any — such programs played in the investigation.
Lastly — and, again, stipulating that we’re still learning details — the BPD appears to have handled the aftermath of the shooting very skillfully and maturely. Very shortly after the shooting, they announced that there was surveillance footage, and explained that it would be released to the general public after being viewed by various religious leaders and the family, and providing (and keeping) a timetable for all.
It’s going to be an interesting day, here.