Amid accusations of intelligence failings, officials admit Tamerlan Tsarnaev was on list of known and suspected terrorists
The name of the Boston Marathon bombing suspect was added to a terrorist database by the federal government 18 months before the deadly explosions, it has emerged, adding to pressure on authorities already facing criticism for failing to prevent the deadly attack.
The CIA made the request to add his name to the database after the Russian government contacted the agency with concerns that he had become a follower of radical Islam. About six months earlier, the FBI had separately investigated Tsarnaev, also at Russia’s request, but the FBI found no ties to terrorism, officials said.
Tsarnaev’s brother, Dzohkhar, 19, remains in hospital ,where he is recovering from injuries sustained during a getaway attempt. He has told authorities that his older brother only recently recruited him to be part of the attack, two officials said on Wednesday. Dzhokhar has reportedly acknowledged to the FBI his role in the attacks but did so before he was advised of his constitutional rights to keep quiet and seek a lawyer.
Officials said physical evidence, including a 9mm handgun and pieces of a remote-control device commonly used in toys, was recovered from the scene.
Officials told Associated Press that Tamerlan Tsarnaev was also listed on a homeland security database called the Treasury Enforcement Communications System, or Tecs, that is used to check for terror suspects at the border.
In January and July 2012, when he travelled to Russia and back, the Tecs system sent alerts to the FBI but the agency at that stage had closed its investigation of Tsarnaev because it had not found evidence he was linked to terrorist groups.
A US team of investigators travelled to the Russian province of Dagestan on Tuesday to question the Tsarnaev parents, Anzor Tsarnaev and Zubeidat Tsarnaeva. Officials are investigating Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s trip to Russia in 2012 and whether he met extremists during that time. Anzor Tsarnaev and Zubeidat Tsarnaeva told a Russian news agency that they will fly to the United States on Thursday.
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