News Column

Lawmakers Seek Answers on Boston Bombing

April 22, 2013

Members of Congress are demanding answers from the FBI about whether the marathon bombings could have been prevented -- citing a 2011 Russian warning about one of the Chechen suspects -- and whether the feds should have recognized the suspect in their own surveillance images before Friday's gun battle and a police officer's murder.

"The victims and all the citizens deserve to get more information on this," said U.S. Rep. William Keating.

U.S. Rep. Stephen F. Lynch said he expects a full briefing from FBI officials.

"There are several people in the Oversight Committee that will look at that," he said. "I'm sure there will be keen interest in getting all the information and see if there are there any lessons learned that we can improve upon."

U.S. Rep. Peter King of New York, who chairs the congressional committee on counterterrorism, sent a letter to Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper demanding all the records connected to Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the 26-year-old who was investigated by FBI officials in 2011 for alleged ties to radical Chechen extremists.

"I definitely think they owe us an explanation, especially to the people of Boston" said King, who sent the letter along with Homeland Security Committee chairman Michael McCaul or Texas. "Even if they investigated him and didn't find enough there, why didn't they follow up when he went back there for six months?"

U.S. Rep. Jason Chaffetz of Utah, who sits on the Homeland Security committee, said he expects answers.

"If even Russia thinks he was a problem, you got to take that pretty seriously," he said.

Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the older of the two suspects, who was killed after a firefight with police Friday night, had returned to Chechnya last year for a six-month trip during which some suspect he received terrorism training. The FBI interviewed Tamerlan in 2011, after Russia raised concerns that he was becoming a follower of radical Islam, but said they found nothing "derogatory."

King, who said he greatly respects the work the FBI did in Boston following the bombings, said the agency unfortunately has a pattern of missing potential killers.

"There are individuals who have been brought to the attention of the FBI, they've been given a clean bill of health and they go on to commit murders," King said. "It's concerning when you have a pattern."



Source: (c)2013 the Boston Herald Distributed by MCT Information Services


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