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Federal authorities knew of the NYC terror attack suspect, may have interviewed him in a previous counterterrorism investigation
by Brennan Weiss - Business Insider
The man who rammed a truck into bicyclists and pedestrians in lower Manhattan on Tuesday, killing eight and injuring 11 more, had been known to federal authorities, according to The New York Times.
Sayfullo Habibullaevic Saipov, a 29-year-old Uzbek national living in Paterson, New Jersey, was interviewed in 2015 by federal agents as part of an unrelated counterterrorism case after he was identified as an associate of two men under investigation.
ABC News says, however, that Saipov was never the main focus of the investigation and law enforcement was never investigating him directly as a terror suspect.
During a press conference on Wednesday, NYPD Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence and Counterterrorism John Miller said investigators are looking at "how [Saipov] has touched the subjects of other investigations."
"It appears he will have some connectivity to individuals who were the subjects of investigation, though he himself was not," he said.
In the last two years, federal prosecutors charged five men from Uzbekistan and one from Kazakhstan for supporting ISIS, according to the Times. It's unclear, however, if that is the investigation with which Saipov was involved.
News agencies reported that Saipov left a note inside his truck pledging loyalty to ISIS. He also reportedly shouted "Allahu Akbar," which translates to "God is great" in Arabic, as he carried out the attack.