Homeland Security Officials Interviewed NYC Terror Attack Suspect in 2015

Police gather at scene after a truck plowed through a bike path in lower Manhattan / Getty

Police gather at scene after a truck plowed through a bike path in lower Manhattan / Getty

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The Department of Homeland Security knew of and interviewed the suspect in Tuesday's New York City terror attack, which left eight dead, back in 2015, according to law enforcement officials.

Agents with the investigations unit interviewed suspect Sayfullo Saipov, a native of Uzbekistan, about ties to potential terrorists, but did not have enough information to open a case against him, ABC News reports.

Saipov's name and address was listed as a "point of contact" for two different men whose names were entered into the Counterterrorism and Criminal Exploitation Unit's list after they came to the United States from "threat countries," one federal official told ABC News.

One of the two men has vanished and is being actively sought by federal agents as a "suspected terrorist."

Saipov was interviewed at the time by the agents in Paterson, N.J., the city where he still resides.

The suspect entered the United States in 2010, two years before the federal government put into place stricter vetting measures, according to ABC News.

The vetting process for all visa programs was substantially changed two years after Saipov's entry to include vetting against a broad array of classified and unclassified information.

The change was prompted by the terror-related arrests in Bowling Green, Kentucky of two individuals who came through an Iraqi refugee program. There was information in Department of Defense files that linked these people to IED attacks against American soldiers in Iraq. At that time, though, the visa vetting process did not include access to that information.

Saipov was arrested after authorities say he drove a truck onto a bike path near the West Side Highway in Manhattan, New York City on Tuesday afternoon, resulting in the death of eight people and 11 serious injuries.

In a handwritten note found near the truck, Saipov said he carried out Tuesday's attack on behalf of the Islamic State, and he shouted "Allahu Akbar," Arabic for "God is Great," before he was shot and wounded by police, according to authorities.

Jack Heretik

Jack Heretik   Email Jack | Full Bio | RSS
Jack is a Media Analyst for the Washington Free Beacon. He is from Northern Ohio and graduated from the Catholic University of America in 2011. Prior to joining the Free Beacon, Jack was a Production Assistant for EWTN's The World Over and worked on Sen. Bill Cassidy's 2014 campaign.

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