Russia withheld important info from US before Boston Marathon bombing

Two years before the Boston Marathon bombing, the Russian government withheld important information from the US government about Boston Marathon bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev, according to a soon-to-be-out FBI Inspector General report on the bombing.

The Russians had apparently intercepted a phone call between Tsarnaev and his mother, in which the two discussed “Islamic jihad.”

The Russians had this information two years before the bombing, but did not pass it along to the Americans, even though they did pass along other information about Tamerlan Tsarnaev being more radicalized of late.

Zubeidat Tsarnaev, mother of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Tamerlan and Dzhokhar.

Zubeidat Tsarnaev, mother of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Tamerlan and Dzhokhar.

You might recall that Tsarnaev mother, Zubeidat Tsarnaev, who used to live the US, claimed the bombing was a “hoax,” and that the blood on the scene was “red paint.”

The US had already been warned by the Russians that Tsarnaev “was a follower of radical Islam and a strong believer,” and that he “had changed drastically since 2010 as he prepared to leave the United States for travel to the country’s region to join unspecified underground groups.”  But they did not relay the information about him discussing “Islamic jihad” with his mother.

US officials say that had they gotten the additional information from the Russians, they’d have conducted a more extensive review of Tsarnaev than they did.

The information about the Russians comes in a new FBI Inspector General’s report that looks at what US intelligence could have done to prevent the bombing.

Three people were killed, and 264 injured, when two pressure cooker bombs went off during the Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013.

Tamerlan died after a shoot-out with police, while his brother, and alleged co-conspirator, Dzhokar, was later caught after having been gravely wounded.

Tamerlan Tsarnaev, Boston Marathon bombing Suspect #1

Tamerlan Tsarnaev, Boston Marathon bombing suspect.

Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokar Tsarnaev.

Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokar Tsarnaev.

“Had they known what the Russians knew they probably would have been able to do more under our investigative guidelines,” one senior official told the NYT. “But would they have uncovered the plot? That’s very hard to say.”

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CyberDisobedience on Substack | @aravosis | Facebook | Instagram | 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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8 Responses to “Russia withheld important info from US before Boston Marathon bombing”

  1. Bill_Perdue says:

    That answer here is because it’s the Obama police state.

  2. Drew2u says:

    I know the answer is probably just, “Because it’s Russia”, but what prompted Russia to even listen in on Tsarnaev’s phone calls those two years prior? I think I’m confused on the timeline between joining the MMA gym, becoming radicalized, up to the day of the bombing.

  3. Naja pallida says:

    If the Russians did pass on some generalized information about a possible radicalized person, why did the FBI not follow up and actually investigate? Simply knowing that there may have been another phone call doesn’t really make much difference, except maybe in their willingness to actually do something. But a foreign government mentions a guy by name, and offers a warning. No matter how vague, that should be more than enough for the FBI to take it seriously, until they prove otherwise. They try and blame it on the Russians all the want, but their own incompetence and bureaucratic dick wagging is actually at fault.

    In general though, our intelligence apparatus is completely pathetic. The FBI/CIA/NSA have all completely missed every single major thing in the world for Dog knows how long. They’ve spent more of their time trying to convince Congress of their necessity, than actually proving it by doing their job effectively. On top of institutional failure at every level, they’ve been so busy going beyond their purview, that they don’t even know how to do the job they’re supposed to do. I challenge someone to come up with something major in the world that one of our intelligence agencies actually knew about before hand, and warned us in time to actually act to prevent or mitigate the situation.

  4. BeccaM says:

    We’ve got Pat Robertson on cable TV, his “700 Club” show, first suggesting that President Obama is a Muslim, and then said:

    “We need to do something to pray to be delivered from this president. He is a disaster, an absolute disaster. Democrat, Republican or whatever, this country is into serious decline unless something dramatic is done about it.”

    If that isn’t a dog-whistle asking for someone who thinks he’s a ‘true believer’ to step up and do a Lee Harvey Oswald, I don’t know what is.

    I bring up that particular example because there is probably no shortage of people saying rather inflammatory and actually saying certain horrific crimes should be committed. However there’s a fairly large gap between saying there should be a violent jihad and saying, “Mama, I’m going to buy some pressure cookers, fill them with gunpowder and shrapnel, and explode them at the Boston marathon.”

    The first, saying there should be violent uprising, is free speech. Abhorrent, yes, but not all that different than the Christian would-be Crusaders who want to round up all the Muslims and imprison or kill them. The latter is evidence of a crime being planned.

    Anyway, U.S. officials might say they’d have paid more attention to Tsarnaev if the Russians had reminded the FBI yet again that we had a couple of religiously radicalized criminals living in Boston. But I’m seeing that partly as an attempt to deflect blame from their own ineptitude and failure to pay attention, despite having been given ample warning.

    I also think it’s yet another indictment of the new U.S. surveillance state: No matter how much information they say they need automatic access to, no matter how much power they want to abridge civil rights in the name of national security, it’s somehow never enough to actually stop a crime from happening. A fact that should’ve been self-evident all along.

    Unless of course the whole “it’s for your safety” argument was never anything but a ruse…

  5. Elijah Shalis says:

    Can we work to stop Islamic jihad AND Christian crusades? I say approve the keystone pipeline and use all its oil here in north american AND never buy another drop of oil from the middle east.

  6. Bill_Perdue says:

    There’s little the feds can do to protect us from the legitimate anger of hundreds of millions of people disgusted by the US role in Egypt, Panama, Nicaragua, Iraq and Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos, to name just a few.

  7. Indigo says:

    If they’d known more . . . oh, puh-leez! If they’d put their act in gear and follow through with their investigations, they’d know. Incompetence? I don’t think so, I think it’s slovenly indifference to the well-being of the nation. As the old time Republican saying goes, “Good enough for government work.”

  8. caphillprof says:

    The Russians had reason to believe that the NSA already knew all about the telephone call.

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