BOSTON (CBS) – The Roslindale man killed by the Joint Terrorism Task Force allegedly wanted to attack police officers, but sources told CBS News Usaamah Rahim’s original target may have been the outspoken critic of Islam Pamela Geller.
Geller organized a prophet Muhammad cartoon drawing contest in Garland, Texas on May 3, where police shot and killed two men who opened fired outside the event.
CBS News Homeland Security correspondent Jeff Pegues said Thursday law enforcement sources are still not clear how serious the plot against Geller was and how much of it was just talk.
“I think it was more along the lines of wishful thinking,“ Boston Police Commissioner Bill Evans said on NBC’s Today show Thursday.
“But we had 24/7 surveillance on him and we were monitoring all potential targets and there was some mention of that name, but we were focused locally here, he had local roots, so our concern was what he could do here, especially here in the city of Boston.”
Geller told CBS News and WBZ-TV she’s increased her security but has not yet talked to the FBI or investigators in Boston about the threat.
“Well, I’m the number one target for ISIS right now,” she told CBS.
“It won’t end with me or the cops. The one thing that came out of Garland is that ISIS is here. Islamic terrorism is here on the home soil on a weekly sometimes daily basis.”
According to a criminal complaint released Wednesday in Boston, Rahim told his nephew and alleged accomplice David Wright about a plan to “kill a person outside of Massachusetts”
In coded language, authorities claim, Wright then told Rahim something was “like thinking with your head on your chest,” an apparent reference to ISIS beheadings.
Rahim had been on the Joint Terrorism Task Force’s radar for several months and recently that switched to 24-hour-a-day surveillance.
Investigators say he discussed the alleged terror plot with at least two other people – Wright and another person who not been charged or named.
“I believe we have everyone connected with this plot,” Evans told NBC. “But we’re still working with the FBI, the Joint Terrorism Task Force just to make sure we tie up any loose ends on this.”
“I think that Boston Police did a superb, a spectacular job. It could have ended so differently,” Geller told WBZ-TV Thursday.
A funeral for Rahim was scheduled for Thursday.