For a week now, Glenn Beck has been on a mission to prove his theory that Abdul Rahman Ali Alharbi, the Saudi national injured in the Boston Marathon bombing, is really an al Qaeda "control agent" presumably responsible for recruiting the Tsarnaev brothers to carry out the bombing, but who is now being protected by the US government following meetings between high-ranking government and Saudi officials.
The central piece of his argument is that on the day following the bombing, Alharbi was interviewed for nine hours by federal authorities while still in the hospital and that his apartment was searched and his roommates were interviewed. After all of that, an "event file" was created on him "calling for his deportation using Section 212 3B."
Beck has been waiving around a photo of the first page of this event file and, given that this 2123B designation has been the crux of his conspiracy theory, he even went so far as to create a #2123B hashtag on Twitter for his followers to use to promote the story.
So it was odd to watch this interview on his program last night with a retired Immigration and Naturalization Service Special Agent named Bob Trent who was clearly unfamiliar with the conspiracy theory Beck has been promoting all week and, as a result, undercut much of Beck's 2123B narrative.
Beck has been insisting that Alharbi was designated 2123B after being interviewed and having his apartment searched, but Trent told Beck that that made no sense, as this designation is something that applies to foreign nationals before they ever come to this country and is designed to prevent them from entering:
Trent: The Immigration and Nationality Act Section 212 (a)(3)(B) deals with terrorism and its the inadmissibility charges. So we're talking about something that should be tagged on somebody before they come to the United States. It's a tag that says this person is inadmissible because they're connected with terrorism.
Beck: Last Tuesday, at 4:35, after searching his house for, I think, nine hours, interviewing his roommates for five hours, they call up and talk to these two watch commanders and say look, here's the evidence, we need to make him a 2123B. How do you think that happened?
Trent: Well, it doesn't make sense. It seems to me that 212 tag was placed on a file prior to this event in Boston where they were going to try to block him from entering into the United States and the No Fly is a subsystem of the watch list that is maintained by the National Counterterrorism Center. So now that they know he's in the United States, the proper tag would have been a charge under deportation clauses, which would have been section 237 of the Immigration and Nationality Act.
Trent also told Beck that there is absolutely no way that any member of the First Family would ever be in the same room as someone designated under 2123B, which is another angle Beck has been exploring.
From the beginning, Beck's theory has rested on the claim that Alharbi received a 2123B terrorist designation after being questioned in connection to the Boston bombing, but Trent made it quite clear last night that this timeline "doesn't make sense" as 2123B is designed to prevent foreign nationals from entering the country, not something they are designated with after they are here and suspected of being engaged in terrorism.
According to Trent's explanation, the centerpiece of Beck's 2123B narrative is wrong because Beck has been mistaken about how this designation actually works.