Intel chief says review of bombing suspect investigation prudent
Director of National Intelligence James Clapper
April 30th, 2013
03:12 PM ET

Intel chief says review of bombing suspect investigation prudent

By Pam Benson

The nation's top intelligence official believes an independent review of how the government handled its investigation of a Boston Marathon bombing suspect prior to the attack is a prudent step "to ensure that nothing was missed."

James Clapper, the director of national intelligence, believes that all of the agencies involved in collecting and sharing information about Tamerlan Tsarnaev "took all the appropriate steps," says Clapper spokesman Shawn Turner.

The Intelligence Community inspector general, a watchdog that investigates risks, vulnerabilities and deficiencies within 16 intelligence-related agencies and departments across the government, is leading the review.

That office will work with similar officials at the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security.

A statement from those officials said they would coordinate their reviews to ensure that they do not interfere with any ongoing intelligence activities or the criminal case.

President Barack Obama said the review was standard and as far as he could tell the FBI did its job.

"We want to see is there in fact additional protocols and procedures that could be put in place that would further improve and enhance our ability to detect a potential attack," Obama said at a news conference on Tuesday.

Questions have been raised by some members of Congress about whether law enforcement and the intelligence community adequately investigated and shared information it received from the Russian government about Tsarnaev.

They have said gaps in intelligence-sharing should have been closed following the September 11, 2001, al Qaeda attacks on the United States.

Tsarnaev died following a shootout with police days after the April 15 marathon bombing that killed three people and injured more than 260 others. His brother, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, was captured and faces bombing-related charges.

In 2011, the Russians asked the FBI and later the CIA to investigate whether the elder Tsarnaev, an immigrant from the restive Caucasus region with

legal residence in the United States, had ties to jihadist causes. U.S. officials say the information provided was vague.

The FBI said a three-month probe turned up nothing derogatory about Tsarnaev. The agency also said the Russians never responded to requests for more details.

The case was closed.

Tsarnaev's name was put on a Customs and Border Protection list to alert officials in case he left the country

The CIA asked that his name be added to another file, the Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment (TIDE) list, which contains more than 700,000 names of suspected foreign and domestic terrorists.

Marathon bombing investigators are focusing closely on a trip Tsarnaev took to Russia in 2012, returning to the United States after six months. Family members have said that the trip included visits to Chechnya and Dagestan, regions known for radical Islamic insurgency.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano told lawmakers last week that Tsarnaev's departure pinged "the system" but noted that there was no reason to follow up because the FBI had found no suspicious activity in 2011.

Filed under: Security Brief
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  97. Alex279

    Generally speaking, whereabouts of Tamerlan Tsarnayev during his 2012 trip to Russia are well known at this point and can be found in a newspaper known among (other things) for its liberal accent. Same applies to his best friend William Plotnikov.

    ....It appears that Russian authorities tried to contact US not only in 2011, but also in 2012 immediately after Tamerlan Tsarnayev left. ...a fact, for some reason never mentioned by CNN.

    April 30, 2013 at 5:13 pm | Reply
    • USMC1371

      For the simple reason it makes Obama look bad. Everyone will say its not his fault bad the man at the top is responsible for those he appointed to do a job. The media is going to do everything in its power to hide anything no matter how important or un-important that has anything to do with this admin.

      April 30, 2013 at 6:10 pm | Reply
      • Alex279

        Obama in irrelevant for the purpose of this proceedings. So do Republicans, Democrats, their nonexistent differences, pundits, bureaucrats from various agencies who trying to maintain expression of seriousness on their faces, congressmen who are quick to cache in and start asking questions...

        What is relevant is that this guy, Tamerlan Tsarnayev, had one-way ticked when he went to Russia in 2012 with the only purpose in mind - to join Jihad there in Dagestan. This is no longer "may be". This is solid fact.

        What is relevant that FSB already knew his connections before he arrived, some of whom (William Plotnikov) were already there and being tracked by FSB (back in 2011 Plotnikov was briefly detained by FSB and interrogated; Tamerlan Tsarnayev was identified as one of Plotnikov's contacts and it is this which caused initial interest of FSB).

        During Tamerlan's stay in Dagestan:

        On May 19, 2012 FSB executed a successful ambush operation during which one of the Tamerlan's contacts, Mahmud Nidal was killed.

        On July 14, 2012 another operation by FSB during which 8 militants killed, including William Plotnikov.

        On July 16, 2012 Tamerlan Tsarnayev flew from Airport of Mineralnye Vody (near Stavropol, that is outside of Dagestan) to Moscow.

        On July 17, 2012 he left Russia flying to US out of Moscow, SWO.

        He left Dagestan by unknown way of transportation (train, bus, and plane tickets in Russia require passport and are therefore traceable) . He was clearly on the run. Dagestan branch of FSB was actively looking for him as he known to have connections to the known militants, including the ones just killed. He personally was not known to commit any crime while in Russia, so he was not a wanted man to initiate a nation-wide manhunt. Just for questioning.

        ...I guess FSB is too tough to deal against.. May be he has a better luck with FBI?

        April 30, 2013 at 6:52 pm |
      • Alex279

        I can add only one thing: To everybody who got bored with paint ball game.
        To all extreme tourists and adrenaline seekers worldwide:

        !!! WELCOME TO DAGESTAN !!!

        Mountains are gorgeous. Views are breathtaking. Spring water is pristine.

        Please bring your own camping and communication equipment.

        Do not bring your own guns: AK-47 and RPGs will be given to you by your tourist guides.

        FSB of Dagestan promises you breathtaking real-life experiences you will never get elsewhere and never forget.

        Remember, all bullets are real, however at the last moment you will be given an opportunity to quit the game an surrender alive.

        This comes with first-hand Gulag experience too.

        April 30, 2013 at 7:58 pm |
      • Rev

        So by your logic, it was Bush's fault that 9/11 happened? You'd think his administration would have been able to predict the hijackings happening since over a DOZEN terrorists were involved. 6 times the odds to catch them and he couldn't see it coming. So Bush was to blame and not only did he serve 2 full terms in office, he sent America into a pointless war in Iraq. Where was your partisan outrage then hrmmmmmm?

        April 30, 2013 at 8:35 pm |
      • Alex279

        I am not is the business of political speculation, Bush vs. Obama, etc... I do not care.

        My logic is that Tamerlan was around and in contact with at least two individuals who died in violent shootout with Dagestan FSB, during which FSB took some losses as well (one killed). This far more serious and more specific than posting videos on youtube or causing verbal nuisance in Mosque in Boston. ...although that too, and everything starts adding up right now.

        April 30, 2013 at 10:51 pm |
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