By Barbara Starr and Pam Benson
U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies are again reviewing all intelligence on the two suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing for clues about their motivations and connections to possible terrorist groups, U.S. officials told CNN.
In the hours since the identities of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and Tamerian Tsarnaev were confirmed by the FBI, “there is a very methodical and in-depth analysis under way on these suspects and the connections they may have had to any overseas group,” a senior U.S. official said. Until Thursday, the Obama administration had not come up with any specific intelligence - including intercepts or online messages - indicating a threat to the Boston Marathon, according to officials that CNN had spoken with previously. But now, with the identification of the suspects, social media messages they have posted, and other information coming to light, “we can focus more specifically on their potential connections overseas,” the senior official said.
The officials said that agencies are going back through all relevant data - things such as intelligence reports, intercepts, jihadist websites, passport records — that they have collected to see if there is any information about the suspects and if there are potential links to international or domestic terrorist groups.
However, the senior official also strongly emphasized that the intelligence community simply has no answers at this point as to whether there is an international connection or whether the suspects were "inspired" or "influenced" by overseas groups. He also reiterated it is entirely possible this was purely an act of domestic terrorism with no foreign nexus.