Senator Chuck Grassley is demanding federal agencies deliver key immigration details about the Muslim suspect in Tuesday’s deadly terrorist attack in New York City, resulting in 8 deaths and dozens of injuries.
Grassley, the Chair for the powerful Senate Judiciary Committee, has asked Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to confirm the reports that Sayfullo Saipov, the suspect in the attack, had indeed immigrated to the United States from Uzbekistan on a Diversity Visa in 2010.
Grassley also asked for a list of all the hits involving the one by Saipov that may show up any government databases as a terrorism risk. “According to reports to my office, Saipov is a lawful permanent resident who immigrated to the United States from Uzbekistan on a diversity visa over five years ago,” Grassley wrote in his letter. “To confirm this information and better understand what motivated this act of terror, please provide numbered written responses to the following questions no later than November 14, 2017.”
Additionally, Grassley had asked the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to provide documentation showing whether Saipov was on a terrorist watch list, and whether he had any other criminal convictions. He asked the State Department to provide all of his visa records and the other associated documentation for Saipov, for instance the category of visa he sought, and which embassy or consulate had he submitted his application to and whether it was denied.
Grassley also specifically asked whether Saipov was subjected to “any additional administrative processing” associated with the visa application and requested a timeline for “all applications or petitions for immigrant and/or non-immigrant visas.”
Saipov, 29, is reported to be a New Jersey resident, and had multiple interactions with the law enforcement in several states in recent years. ABC News had reported on Wednesday that the DHS federal agents in 2015 had interviewed the suspect about his possible ties to a suspected terrorist but they did not have enough evidence to open a case against him.
As per the report, which cited that the law enforcement officials, federal authorities cited Saipov’s name and address as a “point of contact” for two different men whose names appeared in a Counterterrorism and Criminal Exploitation Unit’s list as they came to the U.S. from “threat countries.” Federal authorities has since lost track of one of these men who they considered a “suspected terrorist” and are trying to track down, the report had said.
A hand-written note that was found next to the rented truck used in the attack said it was carried out on behalf of ISIS, as per John Miller, the NYPD deputy commissioner for the intelligence and counter-terrorism. Miller on Wednesday had said that Saipov had been planning the attack for a “number of weeks” and seemed to have followed instructions from ISIS on how to carry out a terrorist attack using a truck or other vehicle.
The Justice Department Tuesday night in a statement pledged to “work with its partners in law enforcement and the intelligence community to thoroughly investigate this matter.”