What the Feds Knew About the Boston Bombers

Data about Tamerlan Tsarnaev was sitting in U.S. security systems but never made its way to the FBI or CIA, according to information U.S. security officials gave some senators during a closed-door briefing on Thursday. Here is some of what the senators learned.

  • Russia told U.S. authorities five days ago that Tamerlan Tsarnaev -- the older, deceased brother suspected in the Boston terror case -- had no contact with any known terrorist suspects while in Dagestan.
  • Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s months-long trip outside the United States “pinged” in U.S. security databases both on his exit from the country and on his return, but that information never made its way to the FBI or CIA. Earlier this week, officials said the elder Tsarnaev’s trip pinged on the way out but not when he came back to the United States.
  • Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s phone number was traced back to two other terrorist suspects whose cases were closed.
  • The FBI was warned by Russia about the mother of the Boston terror suspects in 2011. The mother was interviewed in the United States before returning to Russia.
  • As early as 2011 the mother was talking about ‘my son is going over to the dark side.’
  • The FBI did a series of interviews with the Tsarnaev family. Tamerlan Tsarnaev then told officials he wanted to be an Olympic boxer and was not a radical Islamist.
Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec