by Carolyne Volpe Curley / Carolyne@WestEssexNOW.com
Fairfield resident Rasha Abual-Ragheb, who goes by the name Rasha Abu on Facebook, has been charged by the Federal Bureau of Investigation for having taken part in the violent insurrection at the US Capitol Building on Jan. 6.
The US Capitol Police protects the Capitol Building 24 hours a day through permanent and temporary security barriers which allow only authorized persons with identification to enter. On the day of the capital riots, the exterior surrounding the Capitol Building was also securely closed to the public.
The FBI allege that Abual-Ragheb's right-wing extremism, which led to her participation in the violent mobs, was known for months on local and on right-wing Facebook groups, as well as on her own profile page.
After attending a Trump rally in Bedminster, Abual-Ragheb posted images to a local Fairfield group:
NOVEMBER, 2020: FBI INVESTIGATION
A confidential source provided the FBI with Rasha Abu's Fairfield profile account photos and the agents matched her photo to the NJ Drivers Licence for Rasha Abual-Ragheb.
The FBI allege that Abual-Ragheb's Facebook account participated in a now removed group called New Jersey chapter of the American Patriot 3% and she is reported to have made the following concerning statements:
At that time, members of the FBI Newark Division interviewed Abual-Ragheb who is reported to have made the following statements to them regarding her Facebook posts:
On Dec. 29, Abual-Ragheb created a public post on her Facebook profile page which was liked/loved by 11 of her Facebook friends. The public post stated the "Storm IS UPON us get ready Patriots"
The "Storm" refers to a QAnon conspiracy which asserts that in October 2017, when President Trump dined with military leaders and called it the "calm before the storm," he was secretly stating in code that he had a master plan to stage a coup against the Democratic Party.
By 2020, after Trump's electoral loss and his repeated insistence that he had in fact won the election, the QAnon call for a Storm to overturn the election became prominent among many of his supporters who have come to call themselves Patriots.
In Abual-Ragheb's case, she was apparently referring to her own participation in the storming of the US Capitol Building which would take place nine days later.
JAN. 6, 2021 CAPITOL INSURRECTION
JAN. 7, 2021 TIMELINE
A second confidential Source contacted the FBI Philadelphia Division on the day after the insurgency to report that they observed Rasha Abu's Facebook page which showed Rasha participating in the Capitol insurrection.
Newark FBI agents were then able to match up Rasha's phone number in their database since November to legally confirm through Facebook that Abual-Ragheb was in fact the subscriber who had uploaded the photos.
Rasha Abu's Facebook page provided the following information to the agents:
JAN. 12, 2021
The second Source had also provided the FBI with photos from the Rasha Abu Facebook account which the Source believed were taken inside of the Capitol building on Jan. 6.
US Capitol Police Officer Mark Smoot, who is part of the US Capitol Police First Responders Unit (FRU) assigned to the Capitol Building, advised the FBI of the following:
JAN. 16, 2021
The FBI asserted that there is probable cause to believe that Rasha Abual-Ragheb violated 18 U.S.C. § 1752(a)(1) and (2):
The FBI additionally asserted that there is probable cause to believe that Rasha Abual-Ragheb violated 40 U.S.C. § 5104(e)(2)(D) and (G):
JAN. 17 2021: CHARGES
Rasha N. Abual-Ragheb was charged with the following federal crimes: