Russians wonder: How did Tamerlan come and go here, too?

posted at 8:41 am on April 22, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

After discovering that Russia had alerted the FBI in 2011 to suspicious activity involving Tamerlan Tsarnaev, critics have asked how the FBI could have missed the now-dead suspect in the Boston Marathon for so long. In Russia, they’re asking similar questions about their own security services, after Tamerlan’s trip to Dagestan became known over the last few days.  If the Russian security services were alarmed enough to contact the FBI in 2011, how could they allow Tsarnaev to waltz through Moscow and stay in Dagestan for several months?

In 2011, Russian authorities asked the FBI to investigate Tamerlan Tsarnaev because there were indications he had terror ties. The FBI did a background check and interviewed him. They did not find any terror connections nor any evidence that he had been in contact with any jihadists.

The FBI was satisfied that he posed no real danger at the time and he was not placed under surveillance.

Now, in hindsight, critics are asking if the FBI did enough, or if they missed a chance to stop the attacks. …

The Russian government has offered help in the investigation if requested. But Russians are asking themselves the same questions here as in the U.S.: If the FSB specifically identified Tamerlan as a threat two years ago, why wasn’t he stopped or at least more closely monitored in order to avert the attack?

Although a lot of blame has been placed on the FBI, a security analyst we spoke to today here said it was shocking that an individual on Russian intelligence radar was able to travel to and from the volatile region of Dagestan, through Moscow, for six months without anyone either stopping him or picking him up for questioning, when it appears he was identified as a potential threat to Russia.

Bob Orr reported last night that the family can account for Tamerlan’s time in Dagestan, and that he didn’t have any contact with radicals on his trip.  The commander of the Chechen separatist group in the region also announced that Tamerlan had no contact with his group and that they condemn the terrorist attack in Boston.

However, NBC got a much different story when they investigated Tamerlan’s activities.  From last night’s QOTD:

A police official source in Makhachkala, Dagestan, told NBC News on Sunday that the Russian internal security service reached out to the FBI last November with some questions about Tamerlan, and handed over a copy of case file on him.

Tsarnaev had first popped up on the local police radar in Dagestan last summer, the source said. During routine surveillance of an individual known to be involved in the militant Islamic underground movement, the police witnessed Tamerlan meet the latter at a Salafi mosque in Makhachkala, the police official said.

It was one of six times in total that surveillance officials witnessed Tsarnaev meeting this militant at the same mosque, according to the police official.

The militant contact later disappeared, the police official said, but so did Tsarnaev before investigators had a chance to speak with him. The FBI never responded, according to the Dagestani police official.

Did the Russians miss this, too?  There seem to be a lot more questions than answers arising from the handling of the Tsarnaev case in both countries.


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WHEN is Putin going to come out and say:

“I tried to warn Obama about these guys 6 MONTHS AGO but they didn’t listen.”
Seriously….that would be EPIC.

LordMaximus on April 22, 2013 at 8:48 AM

the republicans let Holder slither away from F&F. Boston is gonna be even easier.

Has anybody blamed the incompetence of the FBI, on Holder?

renalin on April 22, 2013 at 8:50 AM

Because both nations are ruled by power-hungry scumbags who are more focused on their image and crushing rivals than they are about being competent leaders.

But yeah, I too hope that Putin throws Barky under the bus.

Bishop on April 22, 2013 at 8:51 AM

Answer: The road of Jihad

Shy Guy on April 22, 2013 at 8:51 AM

Apparently, that’s all we do…right? Watch. That way we have a nice paper trail to show everyone how obviously dangerous someone is after they have killed people. Heck of a system.

But yeah, this administration is swimming in competence. Everyone is just fan-tahhssss-tic at their jobs. Hillary, Holder, Big Sis, Sheriff Joe, Kenya Barry… all of them. Just outstanding.

Sugar Land on April 22, 2013 at 8:52 AM

If this guy slipped into and out of both countries, someone was getting paid off or, more likely, Dead Bomber had a network to help him.

Maybe the LSM can look into this if we label it right. I know! Let’s call it the Vast Right-wing Conspiracy!

Liam on April 22, 2013 at 8:54 AM

Don’t worry, the TSA’s all over it with their “random body cavity searches of hot chicks, little old ladies and people in wheelchairs with tubes sticking out of their bodies” policy.

Fenris on April 22, 2013 at 8:55 AM

“The system worked”

Electrongod on April 22, 2013 at 8:56 AM

Great to see the Russians still applying the age old Schultz Maneuver: WE KNOW NOTHING!!!!!

pilamaye on April 22, 2013 at 8:57 AM

Russia acted stupidly

jaywemm on April 22, 2013 at 8:57 AM

This almost makes me miss the KGB.

WannabeAnglican on April 22, 2013 at 8:58 AM

And I bet Putin, a former KGB man, is not happy about this.

WannabeAnglican on April 22, 2013 at 8:59 AM

I believe Michael Mukasey said it best in today’s WSJ;

Will the investigation probe as well the FBI’s own questioning of Tamerlan two years ago at the behest of an unspecified foreign government, presumably Russia, over his involvement with jihadist websites and other activities? Tamerlan Tsarnaev is the fifth person since 9/11 who has participated in terror attacks after questioning by the FBI. He was preceded by Nidal Hasan; drone casualty Anwar al Awlaki; Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad (born Carlos Leon Bledsoe), who murdered an Army recruit in Little Rock in June 2009; and David Coleman Headley, who provided intelligence to the perpetrators of the Mumbai massacre in 2008. That doesn’t count Abdulmutallab, who was the subject of warnings to the CIA that he was a potential terrorist.

Our entire program and infrastructure which alleges to protect us from terrorism deserves a closer look. It’s been infected at the top with some people who are apparently more concerned with appearances than the mission- to our detriment.

I have no doubt there are plenty of good people, working tirelessly to protect us. But some of their so-called leadership should be removed for the dangerous, exposed position they have put us in.

Marcus Traianus on April 22, 2013 at 9:00 AM

It was one of six times in total that surveillance officials witnessed Tsarnaev meeting this militant at the same mosque, according to the police official.

But unless he was trying to buy a firearm without a background check, the FBI really isn’t all that interested.

Happy Nomad on April 22, 2013 at 9:00 AM

If the Russian security services were alarmed enough to contact the FBI in 2011, how could they allow Tsarnaev to waltz through Moscow and stay in Dagestan for several months?

Because no security service is going to be 100% effective. Not even at the North Korean level.

rbj on April 22, 2013 at 9:01 AM

Here’s the bottom line.

There are more.

What are we going to do about it?

hawkdriver on April 22, 2013 at 9:05 AM

Where did this unemployed CC dropout, boxer wannabe get the money for all this travel. He could stay with family once he got there, but still a round trip ticket to Moscow has got to be pricey. The mom seemed to go back and forth for visits, too. Jokar lived in a nice apt and was unemployed. Were paying for their lifestyle? If those bozos in DC want to fix immigration, then they should start by not allowing every piece of the chain in they feel sorry for just because they were born in a crapistan country.

Kissmygrits on April 22, 2013 at 9:06 AM

hawkdriver on April 22, 2013 at 9:05 AM

Why invite them “out of the shadows” of course.

Limerick on April 22, 2013 at 9:06 AM

Don’t blame me….lay it all on the Russians
-holder and dear leader

cmsinaz on April 22, 2013 at 9:07 AM

Our current leadership is 100% reactive, 0% proactive…see Ft. Hood, Benghazi, etc..

hillsoftx on April 22, 2013 at 9:08 AM

Don’t blame me….lay it all on the Russians
-holder and dear leader

cmsinaz on April 22, 2013 at 9:07 AM

Boom, bada, bingo!

Limerick on April 22, 2013 at 9:08 AM

Kissmygrits on April 22, 2013 at 9:06 AM

A poster here the other day mentioned how ironic it would be if the bombs were triggered using an Obamaphone.

Liam on April 22, 2013 at 9:09 AM

Here’s the bottom line.

There are more.

What are we going to do about it?

hawkdriver on April 22, 2013 at 9:05 AM

Blame Republicans for politicizing the matter?

Liam on April 22, 2013 at 9:10 AM

WHEN is Putin going to come out and say:

“I tried to warn Obama about these guys 6 MONTHS AGO but they didn’t listen.”
Seriously….that would be EPIC.

LordMaximus on April 22, 2013 at 8:48 AM

What would be smart would be to call Obama.. send a little message… unless you become even more flexible with me over A, B or C.. I will come out and say “I tried to warn Obama.. but he acted stupidly.”
In fact… if Obama is really really flexible over something big, like say taking our nukes to zero or stripping our defenses even more… Putim might come out and praise Obama.
Putin knows how to never let a good crisis go to waste just like the best of them.

JellyToast on April 22, 2013 at 9:12 AM

obviously we need to start profiling white Americans:

http://www.salon.com/2013/04/22/are_the_tsarnaev_brothers_white/

DBear on April 22, 2013 at 9:14 AM

It’s clear that the Boston Marathon bombing is going to be “Benghazied” with the administration ignoring a very long list of questions that should be answered.

Instead of taking Islamic terrorism on American soil seriously the administration will respond with “Hey look there’s a couple of dudes that want to get married!” or something.

Happy Nomad on April 22, 2013 at 9:14 AM

My favorite excuse from the Feds yesterday was Philip Mudd(exFBI) explaining that if we had focused on Blackhat based on the foreign travel flag “we might have missed 10,000″ other ones.

Excuse me? If you could focus on those other 10,000 then why couldn’t you focus on Blackhat?

Limerick on April 22, 2013 at 9:16 AM

On the one hand Russian sources say “In 2011, Russian authorities asked the FBI to investigate Tamerlan Tsarnaev because there were indications he had terror ties.”

On the other hand Russian sources say Tamerlan was observed meeting with an Islamist militant in Dagestan six times in the summer of 2012 and Russian authorities told the FBI about it.

Whatever SNAFUs the Russians may have with their own internal communications, what I care about is that it appears Russian authorities contacted the FBI twice about Tamerlan and terrorist ties, the last as recently as the fall of 2012. If true, how did they not see a problem? How did they lose track of him?

I wonder who in the FBI will take the fall for this. How far down in the FBI hierarchy with the admin go to find someone to blame?

Alternatively, unless there is a paper trail they can just deny, deny, deny that the Russians contacted the FBI in 2012 about Tamerlin.

But then, did the FBI not know someone living in the US who the Russians suspected of terrorist ties and who the FBI investigated in 2011 at the Russians behest left the US for six months in 2012 and came back six months later?

Something smells funny.

farsighted on April 22, 2013 at 9:16 AM

If the Russian security services were alarmed enough to contact the FBI in 2011, how could they allow Tsarnaev to waltz through Moscow and stay in Dagestan for several months?

The word is Tsarnaev mispelled his name on the Aeroflot ticket he bought.

Steve Eggleston on April 22, 2013 at 9:17 AM

My favorite excuse from the Feds yesterday was Philip Mudd(exFBI) explaining that if we had focused on Blackhat based on the foreign travel flag “we might have missed 10,000″ other ones.

Excuse me? If you could focus on those other 10,000 then why couldn’t you focus on Blackhat?

Limerick on April 22, 2013 at 9:16 AM

Mudd – perfect name for a screw-up apologist.

Steve Eggleston on April 22, 2013 at 9:19 AM

Immigration reform would make Russia safer.

/

Ward Cleaver on April 22, 2013 at 9:21 AM

“What difference at this point, does it make?” – Hillary 2016

shanimal on April 22, 2013 at 9:22 AM

Mudd – perfect name for a screw-up apologist.

Steve Eggleston on April 22, 2013 at 9:19 AM

He’s probably related to Dr. Samuel Mudd. I’ve always heard that most Mudds in this country are.

Ward Cleaver on April 22, 2013 at 9:22 AM

The word is Tsarnaev mispelled his name on the Aeroflot ticket he bought.

Steve Eggleston on April 22, 2013 at 9:17 AM

Well thank goodness he didn’t write down Joel Osteen. The entire Homeland Security department would have been following his every move.

Limerick on April 22, 2013 at 9:22 AM

The FBI did a background check and interviewed him. They did not find any terror connections nor any evidence that he had been in contact with any jihadists

…the guy has a Benz a wife and child…a taste for good clothes…travels to his homeland… and no visible means of self-support…YEP!…nothing to see here!

KOOLAID2 on April 22, 2013 at 9:27 AM

I’ve been listening to Glenn Beck on the radio. His story will be revealed at 10 am EST. beck says he’s no longer content to live in a country where our flag is at half staff.

Naturally Curly on April 22, 2013 at 9:35 AM

KOOLAID2 on April 22, 2013 at 9:27 AM

Him, mom, baby, brother all on welfare, public assistance. That is a nice bag of spare change when you add in the education grants for the Hat Brothers college.

Limerick on April 22, 2013 at 9:37 AM

They checked him out. No pop tart. Move along.

ronsfi on April 22, 2013 at 9:43 AM

Him, mom, baby, brother all on welfare, public assistance. That is a nice bag of spare change when you add in the education grants for the Hat Brothers college.

Limerick on April 22, 2013 at 9:37 AM

But were Obamaphones used to detonate those bombs at the Boston Marathon? How I want that thought to be true!

Happy Nomad on April 22, 2013 at 9:47 AM

If they’re big and you’re small, then you’re mobile and they’re slow. You’re hidden and they’re exposed.

J_Crater on April 22, 2013 at 9:54 AM

If this kid ran over his brother, has anyone thought that maybe it was on purpose? ??????

angrymike on April 22, 2013 at 10:26 AM

If the Russian security services were alarmed enough to contact the FBI in 2011, how could they allow Tsarnaev to waltz through Moscow and stay in Dagestan for several months?

Who said they were alarmed? They might have default triggers like significant political changes which might impact who’s to look at.

The Examiner has a opinion column asking if the US decision to list Doku Umarov might have triggered Tamerlan’s actions. That policy change might have triggered a Russian SOP to ask the US about a bunch of Chechens here. The father says he was hunted (back n the 90′s?), I presume by the Russians, so he was always a potential terrorist as far as the Russians were concerned, so they wanted to update their files.

As for letting him waltz through Moscow, how do we know they let him waltz. Maybe they watched him. maybe Tamerlan doesn’t know how to waltz. Maybe he bobbed and weaved his way through Moscow — have we gotten an answer on whether he traveled under and alias or not? Do we know whether he used his US passport to to enter Russia?

“Did the Russians miss this, too?”

Ed, Dagestan is Russia. I think you mean “Moscow” like we say “Washington” when we mean the federal government.

Dusty on April 22, 2013 at 10:45 AM

Now, in hindsight, critics are asking if the FBI did enough, or if they missed a chance to stop the attacks.

No and yes.

Bob's Kid on April 22, 2013 at 10:46 AM

If this kid ran over his brother, has anyone thought that maybe it was on purpose? ??????

[angrymike on April 22, 2013 at 10:26 AM]

I doubt it, but you are right to ask. Schnoz seems to be the smarter of the two. Maybe he was controlling his stupid older brother. Maybe he sent his brother to get training rather than take the risk himself.

Everything should be on the table.

Dusty on April 22, 2013 at 10:48 AM

The militant contact later disappeared, the police official said, but so did Tsarnaev before investigators had a chance to speak with him.

While I think we should take what the Dagestan official says as generally true, I would not take it as completely true. They would say the militant contact later disappeared whether he did or not, because they certainly aren’t going to say they have kept track of him all this time and know where he is now. As for Tamerlan disappearing, I suspect they think he is a little fish and if he was only there for training, and they followed him back and watched him board a plane back to the US, it wasn’t their problem after that, especially if they sent the US an update six months ago. As far as they were concerned it would be the US’s headache.

I’d be interested in what the missives the Russians sent us actually contain.

Dusty on April 22, 2013 at 10:57 AM

If this kid ran over his brother, has anyone thought that maybe it was on purpose? ??????

[angrymike on April 22, 2013 at 10:26 AM]

I doubt it, but you are right to ask. Schnoz seems to be the smarter of the two. Maybe he was controlling his stupid older brother. Maybe he sent his brother to get training rather than take the risk himself.

Everything should be on the table.

Dusty on April 22, 2013 at 10:48 AM

An eyewitness caller phoned into a talk radio station sayin the pOlice SUV ran over the brother…the video of the call is on youtube.

The interwebz is alive with Alex Jones conspiracies…

workingclass artist on April 22, 2013 at 11:12 AM

So either criminal incompetence …or something worse.

Thanks FBI.

And no one will resign in shame or be fired for negligence.

profitsbeard on April 22, 2013 at 11:23 AM

Going to be interesting to find out what passport Tsarnaev used to get in and out.

Seems this may have been more that just two want-to-be jihadists.

GarandFan on April 22, 2013 at 11:35 AM

The guy went to Chechnya. The Russians didn’t get that immediately either.

They are still looking better than the FBI, but not by much.

unclesmrgol on April 22, 2013 at 1:39 PM

Everyone was being “flexible”.

Another Drew on April 22, 2013 at 2:20 PM