Video: Russians tapped Tsarnaev phone calls?

posted at 2:01 pm on April 28, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

CBS brings us this interesting tidbit from the what-if files of the Boston Marathon bombing investigation — as in, what if the Russians had shared this information in 2011 along with its allegedly cryptic warning about Tamerlan Tsarnaev? Would it have prompted a closer look — and was there anything at which to look at the time, anyway?  The information might have allowed the FBI to connect another dot, though:

Russian authorities secretly recorded a telephone conversation in 2011 in which one of the Boston bombing suspects had a conversation with his mother of a radical nature, officials confirmed to CBS News correspondent Bob Orr Saturday, days after the U.S. government finally received details about the call.

In another conversation, the mother of now-dead bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev was recorded talking to someone in southern Russia who is under FBI investigation in an unrelated case, officials told The Associated Press.

The conversations are significant because, had they been revealed earlier, they might have been enough evidence for the FBI to initiate a more thorough investigation of the Tsarnaev family.

As it was, Russian authorities told the FBI only that they had concerns that Tamerlan and his mother were religious extremists. With no additional information, the FBI conducted a limited inquiry and closed the case in June 2011.

Are we still sure that the other case is unrelated? There seems to be at least one connection between the two.  The interest in southern Russia apart from the Tsarnaev plot appears to indicate that the Caucasus is more of a security concern to the US than first thought.

So what did Tamerlan discuss with his mom on that wiretapped telephone conversation? Three guesses:

RUSSIAN authorities secretly recorded a telephone conversation in 2011 in which one of the Boston bombing suspects vaguely discussed jihad with his mother, officials say. …

In early 2011, the Russian FSB internal security service intercepted a conversation between Tamerlan and his mother vaguely discussing jihad, according to US officials who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The two discussed the possibility of Tamerlan going to Palestine, but he told his mother he didn’t speak the language there, according to the officials, who reviewed the information Russia shared with the US.

In a second call, Zubeidat Tsarnaeva spoke with a man in the Caucasus region of Russia who was under FBI investigation.

Nothing in the conversation suggested a plot inside the US, officials said.

As CBS notes, the FBI has impounded the boat in which Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was captured, and also reports again that Dzhokhar was unarmed — which disputes what the Watertown PD chief told the media on Friday.  The FBI has also finished its search of a dump, but isn’t talking about what it might have found:

One of the latest focuses of the probe has been a landfill in New Bedford, Massachusetts, a city adjacent to the town where the surviving bombing suspect, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, attended school at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth.

Authorities have finished combing the dump for clues that may shed light on the bloody attack, said FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller, who wouldn’t say whether they turned up anything.

That includes any luck in locating Tsarnaev’s laptop computer, which a law enforcement official with knowledge of the investigation had said investigators were looking for.

Tsarnaev led authorities to look there, the source said, and others who may have knowledge of the computer’s whereabouts or may have played a role in disposing it also provided leads that prompted the search.

 

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The Russians are smarter than the FBI, and the entire Obama admin. 5 successful terrorist executions under Obama, zero, after 9/11, in 7 years of that chimpey, GWB.

As our dear Hillary Clinton sez:

“At this point, what difference does it make?”

We are in an express elevator to hell, and the cable has been cut, and the rails well greased.

Schadenfreude on April 28, 2013 at 2:04 PM

Was Eric Holder ever a Golden Gloves boxing hopeful..?

d1carter on April 28, 2013 at 2:05 PM

+1 Schadenfreude

cmsinaz on April 28, 2013 at 2:16 PM

OT – the US taxpayers funding socialism/communism, the world over.

Schadenfreude on April 28, 2013 at 2:30 PM

Are we still sure that the other case is unrelated?

The impression I ambeginning to get is that Tamerlan could have had a face-to-face conversation with al-Zawahiri while visiting Dagestan/Chechnya and the assumption would be it was unrelated to the bombings unless proven otherwise.

farsighted on April 28, 2013 at 2:34 PM

Schadenfreude

But 9-11 happened under George Bush. How do you just sweep away the deadliest attack on U.S soil if you want to compare attacks under Presidents?! Lol.

Politricks on April 28, 2013 at 2:39 PM

Putin isn’t right all the time, but when he is, he is. Flashback.

LaughterJones on April 28, 2013 at 2:40 PM

<a href="“>

LaughterJones on April 28, 2013 at 2:41 PM

Flashback

Bloody firefox.

LaughterJones on April 28, 2013 at 2:42 PM

The FBI were confronted with words like Muslim and Jihad and were paralyzed into inaction. Or perhaps it was Muslim feelgood Friday at FBI headquarters and they were running things when the info came in.

BL@KBIRD on April 28, 2013 at 2:42 PM

The unknow agent and his superiors may not have wanted the imformation or been willing to admit that they have it. In the age of Miranda they couldn’t use it in a prosecution. I don’t blame the Russians.

burt on April 28, 2013 at 2:43 PM

When the jihadi’s can boast talent like this, we can all be fooled.

bloggless on April 28, 2013 at 2:48 PM

…law enforcement under JugEars… is more concerned about not prosecuting the mama for ripping off Lord & Taylor… if she comes back here to see her boys…Eric Holder will be worried about her civil rights…

KOOLAID2 on April 28, 2013 at 2:52 PM

“The system worked” – Russia

Electrongod on April 28, 2013 at 2:54 PM

But 9-11 happened under George Bush. How do you just sweep away the deadliest attack on U.S soil if you want to compare attacks under Presidents?! Lol.

Politricks on April 28, 2013 at 2:39 PM

Already cleaned your clock on that one yesterday. bin Laden himself said after 9/11 that those attacks were intended to punish Bill Clinton, not George Bush, and that they were supposed to happen on Clinton’s Watch. The only reason they didn’t was because Mohammed Atta told bin Laden he needed more training time.

bin Laden specifically mentioned Clinton by name several times in his 1996 Fatwah, but never mentioned Bush once.

Just curious-how would you have had Bush (or Clinton, for that matter) prevent those attacks from taking place, in a way that you would approve of?

(Starts Sundial)

Del Dolemonte on April 28, 2013 at 2:57 PM

Flashback

LaughterJones on April 28, 2013 at 2:42 PM

That was…interesting.

tom daschle concerned on April 28, 2013 at 2:57 PM

The FBI were confronted with words like Muslim and Jihad and were paralyzed into inaction. Or perhaps it was Muslim feelgood Friday at FBI headquarters and they were running things when the info came in.

BL@KBIRD on April 28, 2013 at 2:42 PM

No they weren’t, because Dear Leader had those words removed from all FBI Training Manuals in October of 2011.

Del Dolemonte on April 28, 2013 at 2:58 PM

It’s a sure bet that if Tamerlan had lived to see trial, the American Left would do everything to keep this tidbit out of evidence. But he didn’t survive, and the LSM focus seems more on blaming a dead guy then getting justice for the victims. Punk Kid Brother should be the prime aim, not what-ifs concerning a dead terrorist.

Liam on April 28, 2013 at 2:59 PM

I hate that picture.
That bi$ch can roast too.

WE-the most powerful country in the world…
But dropping quick on the smart power scale.
Thank you to all that led us there.

bazil9 on April 28, 2013 at 3:03 PM

As it was, Russian authorities told the FBI only that they had concerns that Tamerlan and his mother were religious extremists. With no additional information, the FBI conducted a limited inquiry and closed the case in June 2011.

I thought they closed the case in the middle of Tamerlan’s trip to Russia and that is why his leaving pinged the system but there was no ping of him returning. That would put the case being closed somewhere between January 2012 and July 2012. I think what the WaPo means to say is that the FBI ended their investigation (which is now called the even more superficial “inquiry”) in June 2011.

The Russians contacted the FBI on March 4 2011 and it appears the Russians had the phone calls earlier than that an was part of the basis for the the Russian contacting us. I wonder if the FBI had the CIA listen for Tamerlan’s international calls and whether Tamerlan called Russia at all between March 4, 2011 and when the case was “closed” in the system.

The Russians contacted the CIA 7 months later (and several weeks after hearing from the FBI) and the CIA requested Tamerlan be added to TIDE then but it didn’t, so I have to wonder what the pinging was based on. If Tamerlan is not in TIDE, then what the event of Tamerlan’s leaving the US for Russia pinging against? Some other list?

I can’t imagine Nappy meant that everyone pings the system but didn’t want to say it. Well, yes I actually can imagine Nappy trying to pull the wool over our eyes that way, but she didn’t because that would mean Tamerlan pinged it on his way back and she said that didn’t ping.

Anyway, This write-up by Stephen Hayes which I got via Instapundit late last night is much more worth reading than this story by the WaPo.

Dusty on April 28, 2013 at 3:03 PM

@Del, Yes.

Islam? repeat after me…
religion.of.peace.
No such think as Jihad,Muslim/Islamic terror.
Just peaceful people with a few radical people here and there.
Lone wolfs. Hassan.

No go chase you some dangerous Catholics
and whack a hail Mary.

bazil9 on April 28, 2013 at 3:06 PM

Islam? repeat after me…
religion.of.peace.
No such think as Jihad,Muslim/Islamic terror.
Just peaceful people with a few radical people here and there.
Lone wolfs. Hassan.

No go chase you some dangerous Catholics
and whack a hail Mary.

bazil9 on April 28, 2013 at 3:06 PM

…don’t forget about the Baptists…Evangelists…etc…on the potential terror group lists!…bigot B9!
(:->)

KOOLAID2 on April 28, 2013 at 3:15 PM

Politricks on April 28, 2013 at 2:39 PM

You incredible fools on the left – see Clinton and how he let Osama slide away, on a motorbike, while Clinton…The land paid dearly for the rest of it.

The muzzies will get your heads, first. They hate you with passion.

Schadenfreude on April 28, 2013 at 3:25 PM

Del Dolemonte on April 28, 2013 at 2:57 PM

…or AlGore, the chad-man?

Schadenfreude on April 28, 2013 at 3:27 PM

…don’t forget about the Baptists…Evangelists…etc…on the potential terror group lists!…bigot B9!
(:->)

KOOLAID2 on April 28, 2013 at 3:15 PM

Those 2 do scare me a tad, LOL- I tease.
Yeah..them too.

Although, In the last 5 years..I have found out I am a bigot,a racist,
a hobbit,a heartless goon who wants grandma to die, a red neck, a nut job, a neo-confederate,a mentally ill civilization destroyer. So, technically..your correct. ;)

bazil9 on April 28, 2013 at 3:32 PM

Obama failed the nation.

And laughs as the media licks his spittle.

Great times!

profitsbeard on April 28, 2013 at 3:37 PM

Jihad would indicate Muslim extremism, and Dear Leader does not ever speak of it. He encourages his flunkies to ignore it, as it does not exist in his world view.

Philly on April 28, 2013 at 3:45 PM

The fact is that the FBI has learned their job is not to relentlessly seek the truth, or to protect the homeland, but to attempt to do so without discovering anything inconvenient to the prevailing political beliefs and needs of the Administration – which were, in this case, that there is no such thing as a bad muslim and Obama’s magical charm has defanged any terrorists he failed to kill. Agents which pursued the Tsarnaev brothers (as Bob Belvedere has designated them, “Speedbump & Gilligan”) too aggressively would incur displeasure from above.

Even LEOs learn fairly quickly who they work for, and it is not the citizenry.

Adjoran on April 28, 2013 at 3:46 PM

So, blaming the Russians for not disclosing another vague part of the puzzle is just a dodge. Had it been made available, the “investigation” might have been open an extra day, no more. Without a smoking gun and video evidence, there was no way the FBI was going to act against a muslim – even an illegal alien.

They didn’t even notify the Massachusetts terror unit they were looking at Speedbump. That’s how serious their “investigation” was.

Adjoran on April 28, 2013 at 3:49 PM

Obama failed the nation.

And laughs as the media licks his spittle.

Great times!

profitsbeard on April 28, 2013 at 3:37 PM

…his spittle?…SEE!…conservatives are WAY too nice!…you had the first two letters right for that werm…worm!

KOOLAID2 on April 28, 2013 at 3:52 PM

Well, here is an interesting tidbit about Uncle Ruslan:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2315929/Boston-terror-suspects-uncle-married-CIA-officers-daughter-shared-home-agent.html

onlineanalyst on April 28, 2013 at 4:12 PM

Sure some people got blown up but at least our Obama purged FBI didn’t tap any of their phone calls, that would have profiling & racist!

Chessplayer on April 28, 2013 at 4:14 PM

Of course Russia didn’t tell us. How many times were they supposed to sound the alarm? Obama didn’t answer the first two calls. Why call a third time? This is in no way Russia’s fault.

Ronnie on April 28, 2013 at 5:17 PM

FBI in full-on CYA mode…

Ace ODale on April 28, 2013 at 5:52 PM

Lord, this woman is so hammy.

Blake on April 28, 2013 at 6:18 PM

I really am sick of all the photos of this ugly bitch.

SunSword on April 28, 2013 at 8:29 PM

Putin isn’t right all the time, but when he is, he is. Flashback.

LaughterJones on April 28, 2013 at 2:40 PM

When Odumbo told Putin that he would have more flexibility after the election, Putin exercised his own flexibility to send the Tsarnaev brothers to the States, and let the Americans worry about them–one less problem in Putin’s backyard.

Steve Z on April 29, 2013 at 11:25 AM