But even at a young age, his parents said their son suffered from the uncontrollable rages that would plague him throughout his teens and fuel run-ins with school officials and law enforcement.Their son just has anger problems and delusions of grandeur (that includes repeated statements of jihad) but he's just misguided and the FBI made them turn to jihad - or misinterpreted their intentions and statements.
In their first interview together, Mahmood and Nadia Alessa, of North Bergen, detailed their son's psychological problems, his troubled teen years and their belief that the FBI pushed two innocent young men into a terrorist mold.
"It's like they're against these two kids, they want them to be terrorists," Nadia Alessa said of federal authorities. "These kids [don't] know what's going on, they don't know anything."
They also said many of the government's claims against their son are dead wrong and that authorities have mistaken his anger problems and grandiosity for something much more serious.
They said a 2007 trip to Jordan, which the FBI believes was a failed attempt to join the insurgency in Iraq, was a chance for Mohamed Alessa to study abroad. The Alessas also said he was traveling to Egypt on June 5 to meet a 19-year-old Swedish Muslim he planned to marry, not as a way station to jihad in Somalia, as the government alleges.
Alessa's parents are in denial that their kid was a ticking time bomb and the FBI caught him before he did something really bad even though when they were interviewed immediately after the arrests, they admitted that their son was seriously troubled and was known for his violent tendencies:
At the two public high schools, North Bergen and KAS Prep, Mr. Alessa made an escalating series of threats against students and staff members through 2005 and 2006, saying that he would blow up the school, mutilate gays and punish women who were not subordinate to men, according to officials granted anonymity to discuss confidential matters. Both schools alerted the Department of Homeland Security.He was on the DHS terror watch list by the age of 15. His parents even acknowledge all of this and still find ways to make excuses for their son's actions. I can sort of understand a parent's need to protect their child, but compare Alessa's parents' reaction to that of the parents of the other suspect, Carlos Almonte. Almonte's parents had been in touch with law enforcement and were cooperating with the authorities from 2006 onwards. They recognized the danger and sought assistance.
As a 10th grader at North Bergen High, he had to receive his lessons at a local public library under the eye of a security guard, said Paul Swibinski, a school spokesman, because “administrators felt that his presence in school posed a safety threat to other students and staff.”
The Record also notes the groundwork being laid for his defense - that he was duped into carrying out the will of others and that he lacks the capacity to make choices - that he's "susceptible to the will of others."
I find that theory being proffered by his defense team wanting because of the multiple violent incidents in his background - especially the threats against various schools, offiicals, and students at various schools in Northern New Jersey. He is responsible for his own actions, and trying to blame the FBI or others for his own actions is reprehensible.
His parents need to understand that their son, who they previously admitted was a problem child with violent tendencies, engaged in a plot to carry out attacks and was captured in furtherance of those goals.