Law enforcement authorities told ABC News that a records search turned up no evidence that two suspects in the murder of a top Hamas military commander entered the United States on the dates now circulating in published reports. While officials stressed that the records search was preliminary, and had only been done in response to claims in the media, one of the officials said it did not appear anyone using the names of the two suspects had been in the U.S. on any date after the murder.
The Wall Street Journal, the New York Times and numerous foreign press outlets have reported that two men linked to the Jan. 19 death of Hamas commander Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in a Dubai hotel room entered the U.S. on specific dates after the killing. According to the reports, someone using an Irish passport with the name Evan Dennings entered the U.S. on Jan. 21, and someone using a British passport with the name Roy Allan Cannon entered the U.S. on Feb. 14.
But according to three federal law enforcement officials, there is no evidence that anyone using passports under those names entered the U.S. on those dates. The officials said that both names were run through a federal database for both dates and the database did not show either of the individuals entering the country.
One highly placed official also said that Dennings and Cannon were actually run through the database for every day from Jan. 19, the day of al-Mabhouh's death, through the end of February without a hit. "They [checked] all dates," said the official. "It wasn't just based on those [two] specific dates."
A second official said "most" of the more than two dozen names cited by Dubai police as suspects were run through the same database for the specific dates cited in the press reports about Dennings and Cannon, Jan. 21 and Feb. 14. None of the names turned up a hit for those two dates.
The official said the database was only searched in response to the published reports.
"Without a U.S. nexus, there is no need or requirement to run every name on every day," said the official. "If a foreign law enforcement partner came to us and said, we need assistance, we think our investigation is pointing towards the fact that someone did enter the United States on x or y date under this name then we would check it, but we have not been asked."
Mabhouh's body was found in his Dubai hotel room on Jan. 20. Dubai police, who believe that Mabhouh was killed by an Israeli hit squad on the night of Jan. 19, have shown hotel security camera video of the alleged hit squad as members followed the Hamas commander to his room.
Investigators in Dubai say Mabhouh was drugged with a muscle relaxant and then suffocated with a pillow. Dubai authorities have published passport photos of 26 different individuals they believe were connected with the assassination of Mabhouh, a Hamas commander implicated in the kidnapping and murder of two Israeli soldiers and the smuggling of Iranian arms into Gaza.
After Mabhouh's death, members of the alleged hit squad left Dubai for other countries. Dubai officials have said that the person using the Evan Dennings passport traveled to Switzerland on Jan. 20.
Israeli officials refuse to confirm or deny Israel's involvement in the murder of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh.