Photos of a visit Michelle Obama is alleged to have had with Abdul Rahman Alharbi -- the Saudi national previously considered to be "person of interest," "armed and dangerous," and worthy of inclusion on a watch list -- may have appeared on a Facebook page associated with an English language school in Boston or students who share a common bond of going to English schools in the area.
The above photo montage, which was posted at FreeRepublic today, originally appears on the Facebook page for "EC Boston Saudi's." EC Boston most likely refers to the EC Boston English Language School. The Arabic caption on the photo reads: "????? ????????? ?????? ?? ????? ?????? ???????"
Filtered through Google Translate, this comes out to: "Brother Abdul Rahman Alharbi with Michelle [untranslatable] and Asahabh." The photos were originally posted by Facebook user Yazeed Salem, who appears to be pictured with Alharbi in the top-left photo.
The individual photographs give every appearance of being genuine. There is no obvious sign of Photoshopping. Moreover, the business card in the photos belongs to an actual White House Staffer -- namely, Robert Schmuck, Special Assistant to the President and Traveling Aide (although his title appears to have changed in the last year). The First Lady is also pictured in the outfit she wore to visit Boston area hospitals last week.
First Lady Michelle Obama was laso reported to have visited with Alharbi on Thursday, after arriving in Boston with President Obama to visit victims of the bombings being treated in three separate hospitals, according to the well known Saudi Arabian news site Ozak.com.
When TheBlaze contacted the White House last week to comment on the First Lady's alleged meeting with Alharbi after the first reports surfaced, they declined to comment, sending only the original press report issued on Thursday. The visits to the hospitals were closed to reporters.
"The First Lady visited with patients, their families and hospital staff at Boston Children's Hospital and Brigham and Women's Hospital," the White House spokesperson emailed. When we asked about the visit again now that alleged photos have surfaced, we were again pointed to the general pool report noting Obama's visit to the hospitals.
It should be noted that because the photos have only been discovered in montage form thus far, it is difficult to tell whether they all come from the First Lady's alleged visit to Alharbi. The business card photo gives no indication of who it is being handed to, and the photo of the First Lady leaving a hospital room (bottom right) does not show any sign of who is in that hospital room.
And even if the pictures turn out to be genuine, it should be noted that it is unlikely that the First Lady was specifically visiting Alharbi. Rather, this visit almost certainly took place during the course of her and the president's visits to victims of the bombing last Thursday that were well documented by the press, even though reporters were not allowed to tag along. On the surface, it would not be odd that Alharbi would have been one of many victims to receive a visit. Moreover, the visit appears to have taken place after Alharbi was already cleared as a suspect (Blaze sources indicate Alharbi was cleared on Wednesday).
Nevertheless, given that the visit took place before the apprehension of the Tsarnaev brothers, one might wonder about the First Lady's willingness to be in the same room as a recently acquitted "person of interest," especially one about whom her husband's administration had been so concerned about to have put him on a watchlist.
- Michelle Obama