Did Law Enforcement Use the Info It Had on Boston Bombers?

In the wake of the Boston Marathon attack, lawmakers are focusing on whether federal law enforcement botched information it had about the deceased suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev in 2011 and whether post-Sept. 11 information-sharing security measures broke down.

All senators are due to receive an update on the Boston investigation in a closed-door briefing Thursday scheduled on Syria, North Korea, and other global security issues with Secretary of State John Kerry, National Intelligence Director James Clapper, and others.

Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle said Wednesday that they want answers on a range of questions from the FBI, the Homeland Security Department, and other agencies about what information was known by which divisions, when, and what happened as a result.

Several senators, including John McCain, R-Ariz., are calling for hearings into where intelligence was dropped. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said he would like to see a select committee formed to do a postmortem on what went wrong with intelligence gathering and sharing.

Senate Homeland Security Committee Chairman Thomas Carper, D-Del., said he wants relevant committees of jurisdiction to have a joint hearing with the Homeland Security Department and the FBI examining the handling of information. He said he plans to talk to his ranking member, Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., about it.

“Rather than six different committees having six different hearings on lessons learned from the tragedy in Boston, I think it might make more sense to have the committees of jurisdiction explore whether or not we can do a joint hearing, rather than duplicate our activities,” Carper said.

Senate Intelligence Committee ranking member Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., confirmed that Russia twice contacted U.S. officials about Tsarnaev, in March and November of 2011. Intelligence Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., said Tsarnaev was on a lookout list when he left for Russia but not when he returned because the designation expires after a year.

Among lawmakers’ questions: why the Homeland Security Department registered a “ping,” as DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano said Wednesday, when Tsarnaev left for Dagestan in 2012 but did not notice his return six months later.

This article appeared in the Thursday, April 25, 2013 edition of National Journal Daily.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by Brocade

    Best of 2016 Federal Forum eBook

    Earlier this summer, Federal and tech industry leaders convened to talk security, machine learning, network modernization, DevOps, and much more at the 2016 Federal Forum. This eBook includes a useful summary highlighting the best content shared at the 2016 Federal Forum to help agencies modernize their network infrastructure.

  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    GBC Flash Poll Series: Merger & Acquisitions

    Download this GBC Flash Poll to learn more about federal perspectives on the impact of industry consolidation.

  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    A DevOps Roadmap for the Federal Government

    This GBC Report discusses how DevOps is steadily gaining traction among some of government's leading IT developers and agencies.

  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.

  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    Joint Enterprise Licensing Agreements

    Read this eBook to learn how defense agencies can achieve savings and efficiencies with an Enterprise Software Agreement.

  • Sponsored by Cloudera

    Government Forum Content Library

    Get all the essential resources needed for effective technology strategies in the federal landscape.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.