In 2015, federal agents in the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Investigations Unit interviewed NYC suspected truck terrorist Sayfullo Saipov for possible ties to two suspected terrorists, laws enforcement officials told ABC News.
Saipov was listed as a “point of contact” for two men whose names were on the Counterterrorism and Criminal Exploitation Unit’s list after coming from “threat countries” to the United States, ABC News reported.
The two men overstayed their tourist visas and one of them has disappeared and is currently being sought after by federal agents as a “suspected terrorist,” ABC News reported.
Saipov never became the main focus of an investigation, as there wasn’t enough evidence to have his own case file.
Saipov moved to the United States from Uzbekistan in 2010 and was a truck driver, CBS News reported. He became radicalized through the internet while living in the U.S.
“[A]fter he came to the United States is when he started to become informed about ISIS and radical Islamic tactics,” New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said on CNN on Wednesday morning. “Again, ISIS has gotten it down to a simple formula that they can put on the internet and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to rent a car, rent a truck. But they are cowards and they are depraved.”
According to senior law enforcement officials, Saipov left a note in the truck he used to carry out the attack, claiming he carried out the act in the name of the Islamic State, news outlets are reporting.
Saipov was apparently most recently living in Passaic, New Jersey, and was reportedly working as an Uber driver. Uber said he passed a background check months ago and has since been removed from the app.