Boston Marathon bombing Suspect #1’s wife refusing to talk to the feds

I’m sincerely interested in what you guys think of this.  It seems that the Boston Marathon bombing Suspect #1, Tamerlan Tsarnaev – aka, the older brother in the black baseball hat, who died after getting into a shoot out with the police early Friday morning – is married.  And the FBI, understandably, would like to speak to his wife, Katherine Russell Tsarnaev.  So far, she’s reportedly said no, through her lawyer.

According to press reports, federal officials came to her parents’ home Sunday night, asking for her – and her lawyer spoke to them instead.t

“I spoke to them, and that’s all I can say right now,” her lawyer said. “We’re deciding what we want to do and how we want to approach this.”

Tamerlan Tsarnvaev, Boston Marathon Bombing Suspect #1, who was killed after a gunfight last Friday morning.

Tamerlan Tsarnaev, Boston Marathon Bombing Suspect #1, who was killed after a gunfight last Friday morning.


You know, I read this story and it initially ticked me off.  Against the wife.

I tried to imagine how I’d react if my spouse were accused of plotting and executing a terrorist and act, and then subsequently acted like he was guilty (the whole shooting a cop in the head thing, in addition to rolling bombs at the police, assuming those reports are true).  Still, it’s your spouse, and if you’re innocent, it has to be a pretty big shock finding all of this out.  So I could see how it would be difficult to talk about it.

But Tamerlan Tsarnaev died early Friday.  This was Sunday night.  At some point, mourning ends and suspicion begins.

Having said that, I could see why any Muslim might be concerned about speaking to the FBI, let alone one whose husband may be a huge terrorist.  But her lawyer says she’s 100% innocent.  So why won’t she talk to the FBI, especially when there’s understandable concern as to whether Tamerlan and his brother, Dzhokhar, were planning any other attacks, and it might be nice to know if those attacks are still moving ahead (did they have any accomplices, and where they working on behalf of someone else?)  The lawyer says the wife doesn’t know, she had nothing to do with it, didn’t suspect a thing.  Okay.  Then why isn’t she talking?

I’d have to think really hard about this, but if my spouse did this, I’d be pretty sad, and pretty ticked, and I’d probably want to do whatever I could to help, even if I didn’t think I have any relevant information.  But then my lawyer hat goes on, and I wonder if I wouldn’t want a lawyer to negotiate my immunity, just in case someone tries to launch a witchhunt against me as the “Muslim” spouse of America’s #1 new terrorist.

I’m sincerely divided when reading this story.  Curious about your thoughts.

Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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404 Responses to “Boston Marathon bombing Suspect #1’s wife refusing to talk to the feds”

  1. rohntimm says:

    Most all defense attorneys lie with the claim–“My client is innocent–unless you have plenty of evidence to show likewise, then my client and I will change our stories so many times we’ll forget what is true or false.” My suggestion is to book her on suspicion and hold her attorney as an accessory for obstructing justice. She should be taken off of welfare, as well, and deported. This Country is too soft on terrorists and she should be arrested under the Patriot Act. The ACLU doesn’t care if people are really guilty if a lie will get them off and the truth is covered up.

  2. I saw that woman in Starbucks on Boylston on Saturday afternoon, two days before the Boston Marathon Terrorist Atrocity. She was with a very dark skinned man (not her husband); his face was partially covered by a hoodie. Why a hoodie on a relatively mild day (about 50degrees) in Boston; why cover your face, in part? I notified the FBI about what I saw and how he and she (Katherine Russell Tsar..) were acting suspicious. Why isn’t she in jail?? Get the Staruck’s videos for that Saturday and double check and you’ll see I’m right. (99% certain I’m right!)

  3. Deven W says:

    They cannot compel her to incriminate herself. She can plead the 5th.

    Also, there is the case of spousal privilege, not exactly sure if it applies in this case, since he is dead, but it might.

  4. Deven W says:

    Sure it does, its called levirate marriage, but in Islam, I think the wife has to agree.

  5. BeccaM says:

    Yes, you’re correct. But again, right-wing types think the Dubya people did no wrong.

  6. lynchie says:

    But I believe the 4 I mentioned were born women as well especially Cheney

  7. pappyvet says:

    you bet !

  8. Papa Bear says:

    You must be so proud…

  9. BeccaM says:

    Good points all, John. I’ll try to keep it in mind.

  10. BeccaM says:

    That makes no sense whatsoever.

  11. BeccaM says:


  12. PeteWa says:

    I just up voted you in a non-stalker way.

  13. thank you.

  14. karmanot says:

    Kimo’s Mommie would be sure he had a lawyer.

  15. melbach007 says:

    I imagine she’s worried about having her dead husbands brother claiming her as his wife since he’s facing so many crimes.

  16. gk says:

    I find you judgement of the wife’s rightful period of mourning offensive…that was her husband, and her shock and mourning is not limited to a 3 or 4 day period. Come on, be a human.

  17. BeccaM says:

    It’s also pretty clear that our friend Nicho has a down-vote troll stalker. I believe I may have acquired one as well.

  18. BeccaM says:

    Thanks Mod4. It’s much appreciated.

  19. BeccaM says:

    I went there once on a group trip. I can easily imagine why you found it such a profound experience.

  20. BeccaM says:

    I wanted to pick only people our Guest Star Troll would find objectionable. His list would probably include Gloria Steinem and FDR.

  21. my favorite niece says:

    Thank you….could not agree with you more wholeheartedly!!!!

  22. PeteWa says:

    same here, it’s seems to cut down responses and encourage a specific type of passive-aggressive trolling over anything substantive.

  23. karmanot says:

    Oh John, I think you are perfectly wonderful. And if you want to pick on me I feel honored. With hate trolls like Kimo and Tina haunting us, we get a bit over heated. Sorry if I hurt your feelings, :-)

  24. karmanot says:

    Exactly so!

  25. karmanot says:

    India changed my life for ever…..especially Benares.

  26. karmanot says:


  27. karmanot says:

    I hate blow-up creches.

  28. karmanot says:

    We will be kind and given them allowances for Cheetos and beer.

  29. karmanot says:

    I can so visualize that.

  30. karmanot says:

    But I keep tripping over his clown shoes!

  31. lynchie says:

    well you sound pretty dangerous, All feminists should worry about running into you when you are off your meds.

  32. lynchie says:

    we are starting to sound more like Russia under Stalin and the cold war. Everyone accussing their neighbor or associates with crimes, no proof only suspicion or hearsay and then a firing squad. All good until you are one of the accused. We have a legal system put the full weight of punishment after the people involved are found guilty but until then let the legal system go about its business.

  33. karmanot says:


  34. ezpz says:

    In a word or less…

  35. Ninong says:

    The two lawyers representing Katherine Russell Tsarnaeva issued a statement a little while ago saying that “she is doing everything she can to assist authorities.” That’s lawyer-speak, so I guess we shouldn’t read too much into it. Could mean just about anything.

    My best guess is that she has indicated to the government — through her lawyers — that she wants to cooperate with them in their investigation and will do so according to the guidance of her attorneys, who are probably still negotiating with the government over the conditions of that interrogation.

  36. arleeda says:

    She didn’t have a good life with him. The reason he didn’t get citizen ship was because he had an assault conviction for beating his wife.

  37. Naja pallida says:

    No drug deal gone bad leaves behind all the drugs, as well as a pile of cash. Those murders were personal.

  38. Naja pallida says:

    Well, that’s one of the prices we pay for freedumb! A nebulous dimension where laws don’t exist, that is parallel with our own, and you can never be sure which one you’re standing in.

  39. Bcre8ve says:

    Even the police never talk to the police without a lawyer, if under suspicion.

    That should be enough to convince any reasonable person that they shouldn’t be in that room alone, if at all.

    And why is it that people never seem to object, or even notice, that when the wealthy or politically connected, are called for questioning or to testify, they set the conditions themselves. Time, allowed subjects, etc are negotiated in advance, and only then, possibly, will they deign to be subjected to questioning. I know we have two justice systems, but this assumption that we should avail ourselves to the “better” judgment of law enforcement, if we are a “good” person, is only for the lowly masses.

    Besides, a wife cannot be compelled to testify against her husband, and she may not even know anything – he obviously didn’t feel that women were his equals. Any information relating to “public safety”, such as the possibility of imminent harm, are better answered by her brother-in-law, and from the sounds of it, already have.

    I wouldn’t get near that room with anyone else’s freedom, much less my own.

  40. lynchie says:

    You forgot to include Cheney, Bush I and Bush II and the big O

  41. lynchie says:

    did mommy lock you in the closet recently?

  42. lynchie says:

    shine a light on this

  43. lynchie says:


  44. lynchie says:

    I don’t think they professed anything other than we have rights under the law. she is entitled to a lawyer. You have already found her guilty of something. If situation was reversed would you not want protection by use of a lawyer. What has that got to do with the real victims asswipe

  45. lynchie says:

    That line of thinking is what the right yell about the invasion of privacy, phone tapping, illegal searches, illegal arrests, Patriot Act horseshit. If you have done nothing wrong you have nothing to fear. Tell that to the people incarcarated because of illegal questioning etc. Our legal system guarantees you the right to an attorney and all discussions go through that attorney.

  46. Yep, saw that one

  47. I have ambivalent feelings about this. And I learned long ago that if I have ambivalent feelings about something, it means other people probably do too. And I’ve always believed that when there’s confusion about something, ambivalence about something – something that’s important – it’s far more important to discuss that ambivalence publicly, in order for all of us to learn and hopefully get beyond the ambivalence, than to just pretend we all agree because it’s “not nice” to suggest otherwise :) So that’s why I wrote the post. A lot of good people don’t agree with you about everything, or with me. And if we can’t discuss things that we don’t necessarily agree on, then we’ll never end up agreeing. I lean towards discussion as a means of learning and coming to agreement. :)

  48. Tell the parents of Martin Richard, the 8 year old boy who was blown to bits after Tamerlan (allegedly) placed a bomb quite literally at the boy’s feet (there’s a photo out there showing the alleged terrorists right near the boy, bomb already on the ground), that the wife of the guy who allegedly blew up their son in cold blood needs time to grieve. Then get back to me. There are exceptions to everything, and hubby being a mass murderer who may, or may not, be part of a larger cell to murder even more people, is an exception to giving the widow to time to grieve.

  49. nicho says:

    Police are now investigating the brothers’ connection to an unsolved triple murder in 2011. The murdered guys were friends of the two brothers. The victims’ throats were slashed and marijuana spread over their bodies. Maybe a drug deal gone bad? Possibly the wife knows more about that than she cares to reveal.

  50. I don’t know how Kimo comments generally, but this comment is fine. I happen to agree with the issue of mourning – tell the parents of the dead 8 year old boy that we need to respect the right of the (alleged) terrorist’s wife to mourn. I’m not saying I agree about sticking her in a cell, but there’s nothing with the comment. I do think that people on all sides are quick to go ad hominem – such as the person who (of course) accused me of being sexist, below. Sometimes online conversations do, far too quickly, get personal when they shouldn’t.

  51. That wasn’t my point, that mourning ends after 3 days. My point was that if you’re husband is looking like a terrorist, you don’t get the usual waiting period to grieve before the cops get to talk to you. Taht excuse doesn’t fly in my book. Needing a lawyer before talking to the cops, I’m being swayed on that argument, yes. But that she needs time to grieve? Tell that to the parents of that dead 8 year old.

  52. Under the Federal Rules of Evidence, used in Federal Courts nationwide evidentiary privileges and their availability and the legal effect of them are governed by the law of the state in which the federal court sits. Thus because in California because California law says the spousal privileges are applied to Registered Domestic Partners a Federal court sitting in California would honor those privileges and construe them the same way the Cal Supreme court would (in theory anyhow).

  53. Well, I am a misogynist, trans hater, racist, bi hater, Jew hater, Arab hater, and I’m forgetting the other things I hate at the moment, so forgive me – but in any case, being the horrible person I am, it’s no wonder that I would be a horrible sexist too.

    I live your K, but response like that are what chill useful conversation. Yeah – if you read through the initial FB comments, the guys were attacking her, and on guy on twiter even called her a “bitch,” while the women were defending her. So yeah, I made that observation about where I thought the discussion was heading based on the the ACTUAL RESPONSES I WAS GETTING.

    I don’t mean to pick on you, but folks need to stop with the hate-labels every single time someone makes an observation or expresses an opinion.

  54. Sure. Why not? That’s kind of the point. You’re permitted to exercise your rights, and I’m permitted to judge you by that. I judge the Nazis when they march in Skokie, even if their march was constitutionally sanctioned. That’s kind of the point we always make to the Republicans – they’re permitted to do what they want, exercise their freedom of speech, but we’re permitted to respond.

  55. Jimmy says:

    Well, if you were this woman’s lawyer would you advise her differently? He’s doing his job. It’s easy in this country to pile on defense attorneys; that is, until you actually need one. Knowing nothing about this woman and what she might or might not know, I see no issue with her seeking and using a lawyer. It is, after all, her right.

  56. Moderator4 says:

    He is banned, Eve Wartenberg Condon. He does not seem to be able to disagree with others without resorting to insults, bigotry, and ad hominem attacks.

  57. FLL says:

    Ironically, our commenter, Kimo, would be the very first to use a lawyer when dealing with the FBI or police. That’s one hell of a lot of keystrokes to waste in the pursuit of hypocritical blah blah blah.

  58. MyrddinWilt says:

    The judge read him his rights after a delay under the non-existent ‘public safety exception’. So none of the information he gave before he was read his rights is going to be admissible and there is a certainty that it is going to complicate the prosecution case.

    I suspect the real reason they delayed reading him his rights was that he was drugged up to the eyeballs and barely able to speak.

    They rejected Graham’s even stupider demands which is fortunate. I think it is long past time that the US Air Force tell him that they no longer have any need of his services in the JAG corps.

  59. HeartlandLiberal says:

    She is a material witness. She cannot refuse to be interviewed. They can in fact arrest her and compel her to be interviewed. This is simple, established law. Independent of any stupidity in the thread about Muslims or terrorism or whatever-not. The court can issue an order and compel her to speak, and if she refuses, can arrest her and jail her. This is not rocket science or anything new or anything to do with the emerging police state. Frankly, the longer she refuses to speak with the FBI, the more suspicious her refusal looks, that is also unavoidable fact.

  60. Females and males are segregated in religious services in Orthodox Judaism. This branch also has dress codes for women AND men. That isn’t exclusive to Islam. I’ve taught Muslim girls and not all of them wore the hijab, though most did and were, as far as I could tell, perfectly comfortable with it. The Muslims in your community do not represent all Muslims. It would be like me judging all Christians to be Evangelicals because I lived in the Bible Belt.

  61. OMG John PLEASE block this guy.

  62. I think he’s out of material.

  63. definitely fixated.

  64. Papa Bear says:

    They weren’t innocent — if they’d been innocent they wouldn’t have been living in the same country with all those terrorists…

  65. Papa Bear says:

    as far as we know, anyway…

  66. goulo says:

    I am really sad that the comments section of americablog is gettting more and more of the kind of muslim-bashing and “we should ignore the constitution, due process, and legal/privacy rights because – hey – TERROR!” type comments which I see at extreme right-wing sites.

  67. Badgerite says:

    I don’t know where you are getting your information but several news organizations have already reported that the younger Tsarnveav was informed of his rights before questioning and will be tried in the civil court system. The administration has not ‘caved’ on anything. What Lindsay Graham wants to do would be the stupidest thing not only in terms of effectiveness in getting information and maintaining the rule of law but also in terms of worldwide PR. Seriously, what would he propose doing? Put the kid in a stress position? Blast his hospital room with loud, jarring music or perhaps water board him? A 19 year old kid who can’t, at the present time, even talk?

  68. mirror says:

    Funny, I don’t see that the core question here has ANYTHING to do with feminism of any kind. That guy is a pretty sick puppy to see this as an opportunity to pound that subject.

  69. mirror says:

    He’s dead. The privilege will no longer be relevant to any crime they are investigating. I’m surprised this isn’t being said over and over again here.

  70. mirror says:

    John is too old now to use the “young-and-stupid” defense.

  71. Rufus says:

    ADDED: A previous comment noted that the FBI doesn’t record interviews. Could there be a reason for this? This gives them the advantage of their “notes” determining what you actually said. And, it may be to your grievous disadvantage. Just ask Martha Stewart. Only a fool would talk to the FBI. That’s what your lawyer is for.

  72. Rufus says:

    John, aren’t you a lawyer? NEVER, NEVER, talk to the FBI — refer them to your lawyer.

  73. BeccaM says:

    Like weeds, sweetie.

  74. BeccaM says:

    I saw one such ox-drawn cart, once, in Bangalore one early morning, not long after dawn. The two guys guiding the cart went into a rather fetid alley, picked up the body of someone who barely looked human, swung him or her twice by their stick-thin arms and legs and flung whoever it was up onto a pile of six or seven others.

    Then they thwacked the ox on its rump and continued the street to the next alley, laughing as they shared some joke, probably in Kannada, which I don’t speak. No bodies there, so they went on down the road and out of sight.

    I’d been heading to get some coffee at a shop not far away, but after that I lost any desire for it.

  75. thanks–I’ll check it out.

  76. karmanot says:

    You might enjoy the work of Guy Debord—“The Society of the Spectacle.” It’s on line.

  77. karmanot says:

    I remember waking up in Calcutta and finding carts picking up the dead homeless every morning.

  78. karmanot says:

    Poet…. the Irish my dear, we grow poets!