New information emerged in a court filing Tuesday that describes how and why the New York Port Authority bomber, Akayed Ullah, carried out his attack.
Ullah, 27, migrated to the U.S. in 2011 from the Muslim-majority nation of Bangladesh on an F-43 visa that gives preference to migrants under age 21 who have an uncle or aunt already living in the United States.
By 2014, he was becoming more devout in his Islamic beliefs and part of his regimen included watching online propaganda videos posted by the Islamic State, according to the official complaint filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court for Southern New York.
While being treated at the Belleview Hospital Monday for burns suffered in the failed suicide attack that inflicted only minor injuries on three people, Ullah waived his Miranda rights and admitted to police he carried out the attack.
“I did it for the Islamic State,” he told the police.
While searching Ullah’s apartment, investigators found a passport in Ullah’s name that had been defaced with the words “Oh America Die in your Rage” – a slogan used periodically by ISIS over the years.
Similar sayings have turned up in ISIS magazines and newsletters.
Mocks Trump on Facebook
The indictment also explains that before he carried out the attack on the Ports Authority bus terminal, Ullah posted on Facebook, “Trump, you failed to protect your nation.”
Ullah told investigators, according to the indictment, that he began researching how to make a pipe bomb one year ago and actually built it in his apartment in the week leading up to the attack. He began compiling the materials needed to build the bomb two to three weeks before the attack.
That leaves open the question of why none of Ullah’s housemates or neighbors reported any abnormal activities.
His bomb-making materials included a metal pipe, which he filled with screws and wired with Christmas tree lights and other wires. He used a nine-volt battery to cause the detonation.
“Ullah filled the pipe bomb with metal screws, which he believed would cause maximum damage,” according to the FBI’s complaint.
Callimachi, the New York Times terrorism reporter, tweeted that it was only a “stroke of luck” that the explosive didn’t function properly.
15. It appears a far worse tragedy was averted not because of good policing, but due to a stroke of luck: The explosive didn’t function properly. His goal was to hurt as many people as possible. See his statement to investigators below: pic.twitter.com/Glu9c9ifNs
— Rukmini Callimachi (@rcallimachi) December 12, 2017
Ullah said he carried out the attack on his adopted homeland in part because of the U.S. government’s policies in the Middle East, among other parts of the world.
Starting in 2014, Ullah began viewing ISIS propaganda online, “including a video instructing, in substance, that if supporters of ISIS were unable to travel overseas to join ISIS, they should carry out attacks in their homelands,” according to the court filing.
This instruction was given by former ISIS spokesman Abu Muhammad al-Adnani, who was later killed in battle. The Chelsea bomber, who was a refugee from Afghanistan and injured 19 New Yorkers in September last year, also had heeded Adnani’s directions, as did another migrant who tried to launch a foiled New Year’s attack on Rochester, New York.
So this is at least the third attack or foiled attack on one state by a Muslim migrant that can be attributed to one ISIS directive.
Ullah began researching how to build IEDs on the Internet approximately one year ago, the complaint further alleges.
Ullah is charged with providing material support, notably himself, to a designated foreign terrorist organization, use of a weapon of mass destruction, bombing a place of public use, destruction of property by means of fire or explosives and other charges.
More bad news on the horizon?
The worst news for Americans may be that there are potentially many more Akayed Ullah’s in the immigration pipeline.
The federal government plans to resettle 45,000 foreign refugees in fiscal 2018, and there are tens of thousands of other Third Worlders who have applied for various visa programs. From Bangladesh alone, there are 175,000 migrants on the U.S. State Department’s immigrant visa waiting list, according to a report by the Center for Immigration Studies. And 94 percent of them are in the siblings chain migration category that allowed Ullah to migrate to the U.S. in 2011.