WaPo: Joint Terrorism Task Force warned about Tsarnaev’s return from Russia

posted at 8:01 am on April 26, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

When it comes to the Boston Marathon bombing and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the question has become this: what did the US government know about Tsarnaev, and when did they know it?  At first, it seemed as though the elder Tsarnaev brother flew under the radar, even after a warning to the FBI a few months before Tamerlan took a six-month trip to Russia for no apparent reason, leaving a wife and baby behind.  Now, though, the Washington Post reports that the Joint Terrorism Task Force got warned on Tsarnaev’s return that he had become radicalized — but that the person to whom the warning was delivered didn’t do anything with the data:

Nine months before the Boston Marathon bombing, a U.S. counterterrorism task force received a warning that a suspected militant had returned from a lengthy trip to Russia, U.S. officials said.

The warning was delivered to a single U.S. Customs and Border Protection official assigned to Boston’s Joint Terrorism Task Force, a cell of specialists from federal and local law enforcement agencies. The task force was part of a network of multi-agency organizations set up across the country after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks to make sure that clues and tips were shared.

But officials said there is no indication that the unidentified customs officer provided the information to any other members of the task force, including FBI agents who had previously interviewed the militant. …

The disclosure — one of several to cause lawmakers to express concern about persistent gaps in U.S. counterterrorism procedures — came as U.S. officials revealed that the bombing suspects may have intended to carry out a follow-up attack in New York’s Times Square.

Just before this revelation, the head of American intelligence assured an intelligence conference that “the dots were connected”:

Congressmen are already lining up to label the Boston Marathon bombing as yet another failure of the U.S. intelligence community. The head of America’s 16 spy agencies has a response for the Capitol Hill critics: back off.

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper urged Americans today “not to hyperventilate for a while before we get all the facts.” In his most substantial public comments on the Boston attacks to date, provided at a suburban Washington intelligence conference, Clapper warned that finding the bombers in advance would require an invasion of Americans’ privacy by the government that citizens would likely find intolerable.

“The rules were abided by, as best as I can tell at this point,” he said at the confab, called the 12th Annual C4ISR Journal Conference. “The dots were connected.”

Well, except for that one about the radicalized Russian returning after leaving his wife and child for six months.  So what happened to the tip?

U.S. officials also said that the customs officer in Boston may have mentioned Tsarnaev’s return to FBI agents serving on the task force without creating a computer file to record the information had been shared.

Bear in mind too that by the time Tamerlan had returned, the CIA had already entered his name in the Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment (TIDE) database in late 2011.  Had the JTTF followed up on the tip at the time, they would have actually connected those dots — and might have at least been cognizant of Tsarnaev’s activities.  Would that have stopped the attack?  It’s impossible to know now, but if the Post’s report is correct, we can at least know that the dots weren’t all connected.

Perhaps the US will find a few more dots, if Dzhokhar Tsarnaev starts cooperating again.  Early this morning, the surviving suspect got transferred out of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center to the hospital at Fort Devens, which means he’s likely to survive to go to trial on terrorism and mass murder charges:

Security will be easier to structure at the decommissioned base, and it will also get the bomber out of the same hospital that is treating so many of his victims.

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Jamie Gorelick still haunts the justice system.

meci on April 26, 2013 at 8:05 AM

He needs to be lost in transit, where we never see it again.

Oil Can on April 26, 2013 at 8:05 AM

If Team SCOAMT collectively got even one passing grade in history, it was a “gentleman’s” grade. They’re repeating the post-WTC bombing mistakes the Clinton administration made.

Steve Eggleston on April 26, 2013 at 8:11 AM

Sure happy that we are getting our plus-trillion dollars worth out of DHS, ODNI and the JTTF.

Does no one do actual HUMINT anymore?

Or have we ended up at the “if it ain’t in the ‘puter it don’t exist” stage of our devolution?

Able Danger all over again?

coldwarrior on April 26, 2013 at 8:11 AM

I know conspiracies don’t exist, and I know conspiracy theories are bunk. But this is looking a lot like a false flag operation after all.

flicker on April 26, 2013 at 8:14 AM

…….yeah, it’s incompetence, negligence, blah blah blah….

But she’s still a formidable candidate in 2016 for the Democr……oh, sorry this isn’t a Benghazi thread is it?

My bad.

PappyD61 on April 26, 2013 at 8:15 AM

They’re too busy watching NRA and Bible thumpers. Can’t profile and watch Moooooslims, can we?

Dingbat63 on April 26, 2013 at 8:16 AM

They’re too busy watching NRA and Bible thumpers. Can’t profile and watch Moooooslims, can we?

Dingbat63 on April 26, 2013 at 8:16 AM

And now the US military in blocking the Southern Baptist website.

flicker on April 26, 2013 at 8:18 AM

But Obama is noble..
or something.

Electrongod on April 26, 2013 at 8:18 AM

Customs official’s response:”What difference would it have made anyway?”…

hillsoftx on April 26, 2013 at 8:20 AM

How thoroughly incompetent is an organization allowed to get before you have to decide that it’s just not trying.

flicker on April 26, 2013 at 8:21 AM

Looks like the sequester and them furloughs started 4.26 years ago in the CIA, FBI, and DHS.

Electrongod on April 26, 2013 at 8:26 AM

Systematic, complete and utter, failure so ‘soon’ after 9/11.

This is what happens when we elect as President a man who was tutored by renowned Communists, mentored by racist hate-spewing Anti-American ‘pastors’, and who was friends with an unrepentant terrorist who perpetrated bombings in his own country, killed fellow Americans, & says he wished he had killed MORE people!

And say what you will, a man who changes his name to ‘Barak Hussein’ to ‘get closer to / associate himself with his Islamic herritage is someone who can’t help but feel somewhat bias towards Islam. Take a look at Obama’s history as President thus far, for example:
o Hated the Term ‘Terrorist/Terrorism’ from day 1, wanted to change the term to ‘man-made-disaster’ and ‘un-privileged belligerent’.
o Avoids ‘Islamic Extremist’ term use as much as possible…
o Aided Al Qaeda-backed rebels take iver in Libya
o Entrusted those same rebels with the security of our Ambassador – EVEN after 2 terrorist attacks on him prior to 9/11/12.
o Aided the terrorist group the Muslim Brotherhood take over Egypt
o Gave The Brotherhood (Egypt) $1.5 billion AFTER they facilitated the ransacking (9/11/12) of our Embassy on the anniversary of 9/11/01.
o $16 Trillion in debt & after cutting our own military budget Obama gives the Brotherhood (Egypt) 24 F-16s & 200 Tanks!
o Obama labels Major Hassan’s terrorist attack at Fort Hood, Tx a ‘CASE OF WORKPLACE VIOLENCE’ rather than an act of terror (Despite him having been in contact w/Al Qaeda, being a member of a Jihadist web site on which he called himself a ‘Soldier of Allah’, his threatening to behead fellow officers if they refused to convert to Islam, & him yelling ‘Allah Ackbar’ as he killed his fellow soldiers in the name of Allah).
o Obama stepping in to refuse to label the Boston bomber, who was giving up info, an ‘Enemy Combatant’ so they could read him his rights & shut him up before he gave out too much information….

Just saying, this President has led a campaign of apologizing for, protecting, & denying Islamic Extremists & the war on terror. He has done everything he can to promote the idea that Al Qaeda is gone & Jihad/Islamic Extrtremism/terrorism is on the decline. The truth is that under Obama so far 5 terrorists have reached their targets on US soil – not all have successfully perpetrated their attacks (Underwear Bomber), but 5 have reached their targets & the death toll could have been higher. Enough Political Correctness, enough defending them, enough aiding them….Obama needs to remember who he is and pick a side….then again, maybe he has.

easyt65 on April 26, 2013 at 8:30 AM

Maybe the ” unidentified customs officer”was on a mandated union break or a 30 day vacation or was scanning the new healthcare exchanges for a good policy.

docflash on April 26, 2013 at 8:30 AM

If the feds can’t effectively handle this kind of info on a suspect, why are they still handling our junk at the airport?

Nemesis of Jihad on April 26, 2013 at 8:38 AM

The warning was delivered to a single U.S. Customs and Border Protection official assigned to Boston’s Joint Terrorism Task Force, a cell of specialists from federal and local law enforcement agencies.

Scape goat found? Are they are going to try to blame this on a single low or mid-level “Customs and Border Protection official”?

Everyone in an organization takes their cues when exercising judgement on what to dismiss and what to examine closely from higher levels.

And shouldn’t such warnings be double and triple checked by several pairs of eye before being dismissed or set aside, for precisely this reason. Human beings make occasional mistakes and errors in judgement. Any well designed human process assumes this and includes safeguards to mitigate this fact of life.

Such warnings should be seen by many pairs of eyes, not just by one “Customs and Border Protection official”.

farsighted on April 26, 2013 at 8:41 AM

U.S. officials also said that the customs officer in Boston may have mentioned Tsarnaev’s return to FBI agents serving on the task force without creating a computer file to record the information had been shared.

IOW, he didn’t create CYA memo?

farsighted on April 26, 2013 at 8:44 AM

Nemesis of Jihad on April 26, 2013 at 8:38 AM

GLAAD sponsors those jobs?

coldwarrior on April 26, 2013 at 8:44 AM

farsighted on April 26, 2013 at 8:41 AM

If, and when, this “customs officer” is identified…will he be a middle-aged, white, Baptist, veteran, with a CCW, out of South Boston, and the FBI field agents were anything but?

coldwarrior on April 26, 2013 at 8:48 AM

Incompetence abounds! I feel so safe! Oba-mao and Napolitano and Holder need to be tarred and feathered and run out on a rail….. at a minimum.

ultracon on April 26, 2013 at 8:53 AM

I guess DHS was too busy keeping tabs on all those dangerous vets to bother with paying attention to an individual for which the DHS, FBI, and CIA had all been alerted about. Makes you wonder how many other Muslim terrorists are out there flying under the radar thanks to Holder, the rat-eared coward, and the military-hating lesbian.

Happy Nomad on April 26, 2013 at 9:05 AM

The Democrat Left bawled for 8 years that Chimpy Bush failed to connect the dots leading up to 9/11.

They’ll do the same with O’bama.

/

Del Dolemonte on April 26, 2013 at 9:06 AM

I need more context as to the tip the Customs and Borders guy received. It’s surprising that this guy also happened to be on the JTTF. It could have been a call in by someone asking to the the guy in charge of terrorist tips or a “let me speak to the JTTF guy”.

I’d like the press to flesh out the character of this tip before I go complaining about this missed opportunity.

What I will note is that the CIA and the Russians were right about putting Tamerlan on the list and the FBI was wrong. So, what does that say about the experience/hunches/premonition/gut feeling when the info is thin?

Dusty on April 26, 2013 at 9:06 AM

o/t but I just cannot help it…

After Yesterday’s ‘Million People For Common Sense Gun Control March’ In DC, I Guess Gun-Grabbers Like Obama, HotAirLib, And Nonpartisan Really Showed Us

Resist We Much on April 26, 2013 at 8:47 AM

Yeah, McPhearson Square had more people in it when the OWS idiots were squatting there. I heard they might have had close to a hundred people show up for the million people march.

Happy Nomad on April 26, 2013 at 9:07 AM

I rode my bicycle by the facility yesterday and wonder what all the activity was about. Should be a good place to keep him until he is found not guilty by a liberal Massachusetts jury!

dmann on April 26, 2013 at 9:11 AM

Smart Power. Brought to you by the smartest smart people that ever smarted into high office.

Bishop on April 26, 2013 at 9:11 AM

I heard they might have had close to a hundred people show up for the million people march.

Happy Nomad on April 26, 2013 at 9:07 AM

ROFL

There were a hundred people jamming the gun counter at Cabelas yesterday.

Bishop on April 26, 2013 at 9:12 AM

Happy Nomad on April 26, 2013 at 9:07 AM

The other 999,900 attended on their Iphones…or something. /

coldwarrior on April 26, 2013 at 9:13 AM

Scape goat found? Are they are going to try to blame this on a single low or mid-level “Customs and Border Protection official”?

farsighted on April 26, 2013 at 8:41 AM

Stinks on ice, doesn’t it.

petefrt on April 26, 2013 at 9:30 AM

transferred out of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center to the hospital at Fort Devens

Why a military hospital. Since he’s not an enemy combatant why not move him to a federal prison hospital? Seems like the DOJ wants it both ways.

iamsaved on April 26, 2013 at 9:35 AM

Ed is finally getting how the inner workings of the JTTF go. That is where the media needs to concentrate their efforts.

JTTF was designed especially to address the issues of competing agencies by combining different elements into one team. They were put together to get outside of the entrenched bureaucratic infighting recognized as part of the cause of 9/11.

Did it work?

I was reminded of what happened when our department was asked for personnel to be sent.

“Y’know who the department sends over there. It’s the burned out guy needing a break or the guy they can spare. It isn’t the go-getter. That guy stays in house. They are filling spots, not sending the best.”

I remember some of the people we sent over. Good place sitters, NOT top of the line. One guy, who was a go-getter, went over and stayed for a bit. Then he demanded to be brought back once he realized he was just marking time.

Customs back in the day was no better. As I was reminded.

“You remember when you’d get a call from them? They would ask you to send a file over for review because it might be linked to a case they were working? That wasn’t true. They were required to ‘work with’ local LEOs. They had to make a certain number of these cases. So they would get your file, review it, ‘realize’ it wasn’t an interest to them and then write it up as a local assistance file and submit it. Their day was done.”

Now things got better after 9/11, but not by much. So to be surprised the Customs guy forgot to follow up on this in an efficient manner is a mistake.

Further, there is no guarantee it would have made a difference.

This is a case of policy failure- again. Liberal politics getting innocent people killed.

Many are asking why DOJ had a judge come in. It was politics. The more the kid talked the less control over the narrative the feds had.

Like I said before, NOBODY was more disappointed in the poor aim of the SWAT guys surrounding the boat than DOJ and Holder.

archer52 on April 26, 2013 at 9:36 AM

Why a military hospital. Since he’s not an enemy combatant why not move him to a federal prison hospital? Seems like the DOJ wants it both ways.

iamsaved on April 26, 2013 at 9:35 AM

I think this was smart, actually. In prison someone can get to him and kill him. It’s a bit more difficult where they put him.

dogsoldier on April 26, 2013 at 9:42 AM

Why a military hospital. Since he’s not an enemy combatant why not move him to a federal prison hospital? Seems like the DOJ wants it both ways.

iamsaved on April 26, 2013 at 9:35 AM

It’s not a military hospital.

“The U.S. Marshals Service confirms that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has been transported from the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and is now confined at the Bureau of Prisons facility FMC Devens at Ft. Devens, Mass.,” said U.S. Marshals Service spokesman Drew Wade.

Devens, Massachusetts, is about 39 miles west of Boston. The prison there specializes in inmates who need long-term medical or mental health there, according to the Bureau of Prisons website. It currently holds about 1,000 prisoners.

Happy Nomad on April 26, 2013 at 9:56 AM

We need the hotair armys’ help to get the citizenship of marathon bomber #2 revoked. Please go to our page and click like if you agree that this terrorist lied on Sept 11, 2012 when he took the oath to become a naturalized citizen, and it’s time to revoke his citizenship, like our country has been doing for over 100 years https://www.facebook.com/RevokeTheCitizenshipOfMarathonBomber2

shanimal on April 26, 2013 at 9:57 AM

Custom’s officer didn’t want to harm the reputation of a sweet Muslim young man is my bet. Decided on his won he wasn’t a threat.

Conan on April 26, 2013 at 9:57 AM

In prison someone can get to him and kill him.

dogsoldier on April 26, 2013 at 9:42 AM

And?….. You say that as if it is a bad thing. I’m all for saving the taxpayer the cost of a trial for this scumbag terrorist.

Happy Nomad on April 26, 2013 at 9:59 AM

We have 16 spy agencies?

cptacek on April 26, 2013 at 10:01 AM

but that the person to whom the warning was delivered didn’t do anything with the data

Probably one of the guys, back on 9/11/01 in Boston, who let several middle eastern men onto a plane with box cutters.

You screw up enough, you get promoted to a higher position.

“That person” will probably be running Homeland Security next week.

GarandFan on April 26, 2013 at 10:06 AM

James Clapper urged Americans today “not to hyperventilate for a while before we get all the facts.”

I am sure that comment will sit well with the families of people murdered and maimed in Boston.

The fact is that Democrats have patched together something they call our “security apparatus.” It’s more akin to a feckless security jackass and aptly displays what happens when government bureaucrats get involved- people get killed.

We have a CIA that is very good at what they do but have been hamstrung by Democrats. Ditto the FBI, who if allowed to work closely with the CIA, we would have the perfect one-two punch. Yet we inject this clown-car from DHS and DoJ into the picture with their endless stream of unprofessional bureaucratic buffoons who are either uninterested in anything resembling “intelligence” information or more engaged in trying to cover this administrations backside.

It’s all a sick joke and we are less safe because of it. Obviously- just ask the people in Boston.

Marcus Traianus on April 26, 2013 at 10:07 AM

In 2011 Tamerlan had been living in the US for 6-7 years (or more) and was a legal US resident.

And yet he was on the radar of Russia’s FSB, the modern equivalent of the old KGB. I’m guessing the FSB doesn’t routinely look at long time residents inside US borders for terrorist threats to Russia. Their terrorist threats usually, probably always, come from people living outside of US borders.

And he was also on the CIA’s radar, an organization which operates outside of US borders looking for terrorist threats originating outside of US borders.

So two intelligence organizations that generally look everywhere but within US borders for terrorist threats fingered a long time US resident as a potential terrorist threat.

But the FBI did not haver a clue until the FSB and the CIA told them about him in 2011.

How did he get on the radar of the FSB and the CIA? Seems most likely because he was in contact with terrorists outside of US borders in 2011, and maybe before that.

Leaving aside the fact the FBI did not track him leaving the US and returning in 2012, and dismissed him as a threat after learning of him in 2011, how is it he was not on the FBI’s radar at all until the FSB and the CIA pointed him out in 2011?

And now this admin expects us to swallow that there is no evidence these guys had any foreign assistance, support, guidance, training, advice, etc. from a foreign source?

Seems the more rational hypothesis to work from is to assume they did have some foreign connected assistance and to aggressively look for it. If you then find none, fine. But if you are wedded to the hypothesis that they were “knock-off” “lone wolf” jihadis you are less likely to find evidence of foreign involvement and less likely to see it when it is right in front of your eyes.

farsighted on April 26, 2013 at 10:17 AM

We have 16 spy agencies?

cptacek on April 26, 2013 at 10:01 AM

Things worked a hell of a lot better when we had one-eighth of that.

Layer upon layer of bureaucrats with little or no field experience in HUMINT calling the shots…

Yep.

Progress.

Sorry, General Clapper, a lot of us started hyperventilating about our broken intel system while you were still mismanaging DIA.

How you got to ODNI…

Pathetic.

coldwarrior on April 26, 2013 at 10:18 AM

Custom’s officer didn’t want to harm the reputation of a sweet Muslim young man is my bet.

Conan on April 26, 2013 at 9:57 AM

And didn’t want to be accused of “profiling” and tagged as a bigot.

farsighted on April 26, 2013 at 10:24 AM

But officials said there is no indication that the unidentified customs officer provided the information to any other members of the task force, including FBI agents who had previously interviewed the militant

The scapegoat is unidentified???? C’mon!

Vince on April 26, 2013 at 10:31 AM

Funny, but this is starting to sound like a “24″ episode. I watched them on DVD (not always by choice), and one of my first comments after seeing most of the first season was “Wow, these people suck at this job. Of course, if they did it right, the show would be called ’8′.”

GWB on April 26, 2013 at 10:33 AM

In 2011 Tamerlan had been living in the US for 6-7 years (or more) and was a legal US resident.

Apparently Tamerlan had been living in the US for 9 years as of 2011, having arrived in 2002.

farsighted on April 26, 2013 at 10:39 AM

So, what does that say about the experience/hunches/premonition/gut feeling when the info is thin?

Dusty on April 26, 2013 at 9:06 AM

Though I generally agree with your comment, I have to say we can’t evaluate your question until we know how many innocent folk have been tagged. Yes, they got this one right. How many have they gotten wrong (in terms of each agency). If we could know that, then we would have the answer to your query.

GWB on April 26, 2013 at 10:41 AM

Though I generally agree with your comment, I have to say we can’t evaluate your question until we know how many innocent folk have been tagged. Yes, they got this one right. How many have they gotten wrong (in terms of each agency). If we could know that, then we would have the answer to your query.

GWB on April 26, 2013 at 10:41 AM

I could be wrong, but I’m guessing the FSB has not tagged many US residents who have been here for 9 years.

I’m guessing Russia.s terrorist threats rarely originate from, or even involve, people who have been living inside the US for 9 years.

But even if my guesses are all wrong, how did the FSB learn of him when the guy has been living here for 9 years? He must have had some contact with militants outside of the US in 2011 for him to show up on the FSB’s radar, and on the CIA’s radar.

farsighted on April 26, 2013 at 10:48 AM

This would be a huge scandal, if only it had happened under a Republican administration.

Socratease on April 26, 2013 at 11:08 AM

Ed, you say “the Washington Post reports that the Joint Terrorism Task Force got warned on Tsarnaev’s return that he had become radicalized.” The Wa Po article does not say that.

It merely says that the “task force received a warning that a suspected militant had returned from a lengthy trip to Russia” and that the FBI was apparently not notified. However, the article goes on to say that while “…notice that he had returned from a seven-month trip to Russia might have provided the FBI with new reasons to question him…U.S. officials said it is not clear that the FBI would have reopened its inquiry after Tsarnaev’s return from Russia because no new information had surfaced to indicate he was a threat. A member of an anti-terrorism panel in Dagestan said in an interview this week that he wasn’t being observed there during his visit and had done nothing to attract notice.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/anti-terror-task-force-was-warned-of-tamerlan-tsarnaevs-long-trip-to-russia/2013/04/25/0ed426de-addb-11e2-8bf6-e70cb6ae066e_story.html?hpid=z1

cam2 on April 26, 2013 at 11:16 AM

All that’s missing now is for Janet Napolitano to tell us that the system worked.

Socratease on April 26, 2013 at 11:20 AM

All that’s missing now is for Janet Napolitano to tell us that the system worked.

Socratease on April 26, 2013 at 11:20 AM

No need! She already told us during her subtle “squirrel” moment back on the 16th that there was no indication of a broader plot (even though there was) and that DHS would maintain an “abundance of caution” using “enhanced security measures” both “seen and unseen.”

Thus, she was reassuring everyone that everything was fine, and that going forward, there was nothing more to worry about from these pesky bombers. Go back to sleep!

No need to look back and cry over spilt milk just because, as we now know, someone may have somehow slipped through the cracks.

Trochilus on April 26, 2013 at 12:12 PM

And?….. You say that as if it is a bad thing. I’m all for saving the taxpayer the cost of a trial for this scumbag terrorist.

Happy Nomad on April 26, 2013 at 9:59 AM

After he tells us who helped him.

dogsoldier on April 26, 2013 at 12:21 PM

Most revealing sentence in the story:

“A member of an anti-terrorism panel in Dagestan said in an interview this week that he wasn’t being observed there during his visit and had done nothing to attract notice.”

TRANSLATION: “While we were busy not watching him, he did absolutely nothing which would have caused us to actually look at what he was doing.”

So there!

Hey . . . maybe this was why Obama mysteriously went out of his way to thank Putin for his “close cooperation” on the Boston investigation?

TRANSLATION: It was really the Russians’ fault because they weren’t watching the guy while he was over there, so they didn’t give us anything solid to go on!

Trochilus on April 26, 2013 at 12:43 PM

I think Clapper was in the middle of screwing up the benghazi information also.

There are a significant number of moooooslims in the FBI and probably the CIA. Key posts can so easily drop important information.

TerryW on April 26, 2013 at 12:47 PM

. . .
After he tells us who helped him.

dogsoldier on April 26, 2013 at 12:21 PM

You would be right, but that avenue of inquiry has been effectively shut.

Well . . . that is, unless the U.S. Attorney in Boston is quickly willing to negotiate away the death penalty, and a laundry list of other demands that the defense team will now place on the table.

That’s because the clock is ticking! If he does know anything relevant, it may very well be time sensitive information, no? Such as names, etc. What could be very useful today, might be entirely useless tomorrow.

“Your move, Mr. U.S. Attorney,” sez the head of the defense team!

The truth is that there was more than sufficient evidence on the table to hang this guy before they ever talked to him. The Miranda Rule relates ONLY to what evidence might be introduced at trial. The prosecution in the WMD case had no need for a confession, or for that matter, any other evidence from him in order to get a conviction. They had an admission from the brothers to a third party (the carjacked guy); they had an eyewitness account from a victim of the bombing, who he placed the bomb down right in front of; they a plethora of photographic and video evidence . . . he was toast! None of that evidence, and considerable other evidence as well, could have been suppressed because it was not garnered as a result of talking to him.

The U.S. Attorney could have had all evidence that was received in the course of the government investigators questioning of him, and the fruits thereof, completely suppressed, and he still would have had a slam sunk case against the guy.

There was absolutely no need to “Mirandize” Dzhokhar Tsarneav in order to achieve a conviction. And, there was every reason in the world to NOT Mirandize him because of the critical need for information that he might have that would be useful from a security perspective.

But someone, somewhere decided to essentially give him leverage to plead for and save his life, and whatever else his evil little heart may desire before he talks.

Trochilus on April 26, 2013 at 1:27 PM

If he does know anything relevant, it may very well be time sensitive information, no? Such as names, etc. What could be very useful today, might be entirely useless tomorrow.

Trochilus on April 26, 2013 at 1:27 PM

We have been repeatedly assured there is no evidence these two “knock-off” “lone wolf” jihadists had any connection with anyone else. And that they did everything all on their own without any outside assistance, advice, guidance, or training. No one else was involved.

That’s the story the admin wants everyone to hear and they made sure that “off the record sources who should not be revealing these things” blabbed it to every contact they had in the MSM.

Questioning the sociopath too much might have mucked that up pretty package. Better to Mirandize him as fast as possible to shut him up.

farsighted on April 26, 2013 at 1:53 PM

. . .
Questioning the sociopath too much might have mucked that up pretty package. Better to Mirandize him as fast as possible to shut him up.

farsighted on April 26, 2013 at 1:53 PM

I’m not one to jump to conclusions about a conspiracy, and I never really have been. People sometimes do stupid things that muck up cases.

But this one really does have me wondering. Rudy Giuliani has since been interviewed a few times, and as a former U.S. Attorney, he has asked in honest bewilderment, “What, are we crazy? Rudy is absolutely right.

Some people have this stupid and utterly mistaken belief that if you don’t Mirandize a suspect, then the case against him is gone. That is utterly false. And prosecutors know better!

Strictly speaking, criminal cases are NOT about what happened — they are about what the prosecution can prove happened, and ultimately about what the jury chooses to believe based on the proof that is submitted, in the light of the defense that has been mounted.

The Miranda Rule and it’s progeny, are evidentiary rules merely governing what can, or cannot be introduced as evidence at a trial. Unless a defendant is “Mirandized,” therefore, generally speaking, any evidence garnered in the course of questioning him, or the “fruits” thereof (e.g., he/she says something that leads them to some new piece of evidence) is subject to being excluded from being introduced as evidence at the trial, if it was obtained from the defendant during questioning or detention prior to him/her having been read their rights. Miranda has absolutely nothing to do with their guilt or innocence.

But the fact is that the investigators and the prosecution already had this guy dead to rights before they ever spoke a word to him, or he was in custody! He and his brother confessed their involvement to a third party (the carjacked guy) telling him that they were the ones who committed the bombings. That is primary evidence. He was also eyewitness identified by one of the victims — eyeball to eyeball — as he was planting the device. And, in addition to the photos and video obtained at the scene, there were tons of other bits of evidence that the investigators had gathered, evidence that directly tied these two to the bombing before he ever crawled out of that boat in Watertown, was taken into custody, and started talking.

There is little or no doubt at all that he would have been convicted of the WMD offense regardless of what he said to investigators (i.e., a confession). or of what additional evidence they obtained against him as a result of interrogating him prior to reading him his Miranda rights. That was their shot at the death penalty. Now he has been inexcusably been handed leverage to negotiate that away. This is nuts!

So, I have to agree with you to the extent that, if that decision to Mirandize him was in any way made or facilitated by someone other than a judicial officer and his attorney, then some mysterious agenda other than public safety, and other than protecting the case against him, underscored that decision to Mirandize the guy.

And that agenda, whatever it is, is now a legitimate subject of very serious inquiry.

Trochilus on April 26, 2013 at 3:13 PM

Indications are that an assistant U.S. Attorney accompanied the federal judicial magistrate and the public defender, and further, that Attorney General Holder may have been involved in actively facilitating this process.

. . .
Reports say the FBI was only partway through questioning Tsarnaev to get intelligence to determine who else was involved in the plot and how broad it was. The FBI told federal lawmakers in classified briefings this week they were “stunned” when this judicial officer and lawyers from both sides showed up to read him his rights. Tsarnaev was providing what the FBI called valuable intelligence, when he was read his rights and then immediately stopped talking.
. . . .

Again, this is absolutely appalling!

The evidence was there to convict Tsarnaev prior to any questioning of him, and it was there prior to him ever having been taken into custody in the first place! The WMD case was secure.

There was no pressing justification for moving ahead with this Mirandizing process, with participation by the AG. Public safety was absolutely being served by the continued questioning of Dzhokhar Tsarneav, with little or no risk at all to jeopardizing the WMD case against him, and that is now gone!. Holder threw away whatever leverage he had by these actions.

Trochilus on April 26, 2013 at 3:56 PM