New IG report blames Russia for withholding info on Boston Marathon bomber

posted at 9:21 am on April 10, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

What did Russia know, and when did it know it, about the two brothers who launched a terrorist attack on the Boston Marathon a year ago? As the anniversary date approaches, a new report from the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community largely lets the FBI off the hook for not identifying Tamerlan Tsarnaev as a domestic threat. Instead, the IG finds that Russia withheld critical information from the US about Tsarnaev’s activities, including a phone call recording in which the older brother discussed Islamic jihad … with his mother, as the New York Times reports:

Russian officials had told the F.B.I. in 2011 that the suspect, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, “was a follower of radical Islam and a strong believer” and that Mr. Tsarnaev “had changed drastically since 2010 as he prepared to leave the United States for travel to the country’s region to join unspecified underground groups.”

But after an initial investigation by the F.B.I., the Russians declined several requests for additional information about Mr. Tsarnaev, according to the report, a review of how intelligence and law enforcement agencies could have thwarted the bombing.

At the time, American law enforcement officials believed that Mr. Tsarnaev posed a far greater threat to Russia.

The new inspector general’s report found that it was only after the bombing occurred last April that the Russians shared with the F.B.I. the additional intelligence, including information from a telephone conversation the Russian authorities had intercepted between Mr. Tsarnaev and his mother in which they discussed Islamic jihad.

The IG concludes that the FBI did a proper investigation with the information they received, but they could have worked a little harder to expand their knowledge of the Tsarnaevs, too:

While the review largely exonerates the F.B.I., it does say that agents in the Boston area who investigated the Russian intelligence in 2011 could have conducted a few more interviews when they first examined the information.

Despite the elder Tsarnaev’s travels to Dagestan and his apparent connections to unrest in the region, neither the FBI nor the IG could find any evidence that Tsarnaev or his brother Dzokhar belonged to a terrorist organization. They acted on their own volition, it seems. Without the two Tsarnaevs connecting to a wider network for support in this attack, it’s doubtful that the FBI could have stopped it all by themselves, either.

That doesn’t mean that the FBI should be let off the hook entirely, though. One senior official called them “homegrown violent extremists,” but that’s not quite the case either. The months-long trip that Tamerlan took to Dagestan had to have played a significant role in his radicalization. If anything, the lesson from that information is that foreign-born American residents who stay for months in areas known for radical Islamist violence should come under more scrutiny than Tsarnaev did, regardless of how much information the governments of those regions share.

Lindsey Graham called this failure “a mistake” after the trip to Dagestan became public knowledge, saying, “It’s people like this that you don’t want to let out of your sight.” Hopefully we’ve learned that lesson now.

CNN also reported on the IG’s conclusions this morning:


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

As soon as the FBI found out from the Russkies that the bro’s, at least, had the potential of committing terrorist acts here, O’ should have immediately dispatched Billary to their residence, armed with a Reset Button….

vnvet on April 10, 2014 at 9:27 AM

For lack of working results, the government is now pitching Russia as a Bush agent. And, with no ‘evidence that Tsarnaev or his brother Dzokhar belonged to a terrorist organization’, NSA and IRS continue to hound U.S. citizens.

Willys on April 10, 2014 at 9:29 AM

To be fair, the US federal government was occupied with a far greater threat than the Tsarnaevs: Tea Party groups.

rbj on April 10, 2014 at 9:32 AM

Are Russia and Putin the new Bush as in “It’s Bush’s fault? The Muslim murdered people before the bombing and they didn ‘t catch him. Was Putin supposed to solve the murderers?

Buddahpundit on April 10, 2014 at 9:33 AM

Here again – where was the NSA with all it’s technology?

jake-the-goose on April 10, 2014 at 9:35 AM

Thank you for using a picture other than the usual grinning happy picture of speedbump.

Happy Nomad on April 10, 2014 at 9:35 AM

Didn’t he beat his wife? He should have gotten thrown out of the country at that point. Thank God liberals are scrounging up the worst degenerates they can find and bringing them to the US for cultural enrichment.

Darth Executor on April 10, 2014 at 9:36 AM

Not that I believe the Russians are incapable of being scum, there seems to be a leaning toward Russia as the new blame-all for everything that Dog Eater or his people get wrong.

Bishop on April 10, 2014 at 9:36 AM

Oh please, give me a break. The Russians helped us (they didn’t have to) and now the FBI is whining that they didn’t (as the FBI would put it) give up their confidential sources and methods? Look, if you’re so freakin’ incompetent, and spending all your terrorism resources, spying on the wrong people then you have nobody but yourself to blame.

Fenris on April 10, 2014 at 9:37 AM

New IG report blames Russia for withholding info on Boston Marathon bomber

‘Cause the USA can’t be responsible for it’s own security…….

Electrongod on April 10, 2014 at 9:40 AM

FBI is a useless organization.

Conservative4Ever on April 10, 2014 at 9:41 AM

Convenient?

workingclass artist on April 10, 2014 at 9:42 AM

Convenient?

workingclass artist on April 10, 2014 at 9:42 AM

Unexpected?

not in Obama’s regime..

Electrongod on April 10, 2014 at 9:43 AM

To be fair, the US federal government was occupied with a far greater threat than the Tsarnaevs: Tea Party groups.

rbj on April 10, 2014 at 9:32 AM

Exactly, & while the IRS was looking for tax issues with conservatives, The NSA was snooping through our email, DHS was searching 8 year old blonde girls and WWII amputees, etc etc…

Irritable Pundit on April 10, 2014 at 9:44 AM

Here is why the IG report is basically saying…

(1) It is up to Russian intelligence services and law enforcement to protect America.

(2) When some Jihadist blows something up in America it is a foreign intelligence service that should be blamed for not protecting Americans, not the FBI, CIA, NSA, and all the other multi-billion dollar U.S. government run operations.

What a joke of a report.

William Eaton on April 10, 2014 at 9:46 AM

Looks like the obama crybaby tactic of “it’s not my fault”, and blame somebody else has spread to all of our government agencies.

rjh on April 10, 2014 at 9:47 AM

Convenient?

workingclass artist on April 10, 2014 at 9:42 AM

It’s not your J.Edgar FBI cowboy.

docflash on April 10, 2014 at 9:52 AM

That’s right! Invade Russia!!!111!!!11!!!!

vlad martel on April 10, 2014 at 9:53 AM

Quelle Surprise! Another investigation placing blame on someone other than those in charge. The information Russia didn’t give us would have been nice but it wasn’t critical information, including the phone call. Russia told the FBI all that they needed to know — Tsarneav was a Islamic radical.

I’ll tell you why it is that Russia probably cut off the information spigot: “At the time, American law enforcement officials believed that Mr. Tsarnaev posed a far greater threat to Russia.”

Blowing off tracking Tsarnaev with an attitude of ‘it’s not our problem, it’s your problem’, isn’t the best way to cooperate with someone who has more information than you.

Dusty on April 10, 2014 at 9:54 AM

The Tsarnaevs should’ve never been in the United States. Why isn’t their joke refugee status put front and center?

Pincher Martin on April 10, 2014 at 9:55 AM

That’s right! Invade Russia!!!111!!!11!!!!

vlad martel on April 10, 2014 at 9:53 AM

Don’t laugh a lot of meglomancis ended their careers invading that place…

William Eaton on April 10, 2014 at 9:55 AM

And Jeb for Prezident!!!111!!1111

vlad martel on April 10, 2014 at 9:56 AM

New IG report blames Russia for withholding info on Boston Marathon bomber

That’s so 20th century of them.

Happy Nomad on April 10, 2014 at 9:57 AM

So…we’re relying on a country that is increasingly hostile to us to protect us. Okay. Makes sense.

Smart power! Forward!

dreadnought62 on April 10, 2014 at 9:57 AM

the lesson from that information is that foreign-born American residents who stay for months in areas known for radical Islamist violence should come under more scrutiny than Tsarnaev did, regardless of how much information the governments of those regions share.

…Duh?…so glad to know that Russia or other countries are now responsible for Americas safety!

KOOLAID2 on April 10, 2014 at 10:00 AM

“…. including information from a telephone conversation the Russian authorities had intercepted between Mr. Tsarnaev and his mother in which they discussed Islamic jihad.”

Let me guess. The NSA didn’t snag that one.

Whoops.

Dusty on April 10, 2014 at 10:02 AM

Those cowardly Ruskies don’t stand a chance against our integrated LGBT army….

vlad martel on April 10, 2014 at 10:03 AM

Intelligence agencies of most countries have both official and unofficial information sharing agreements with each other. The information the Russians refused or failed to share was derived from a communications intercept. They obviously did not want to reveal that capability. Comments about how the NSA was too busy monitoring Americans and the Tea Party, etc. are silly. Once the information from the Russians was in the hands of the FBI, it was in their purview to use their “wiretapping” capability to monitor the Tsarnevs’ communications.

rlwo2008 on April 10, 2014 at 10:03 AM

Here is why the IG report is basically saying…

(1) It is up to Russian intelligence services and law enforcement to protect America.

(2) When some Jihadist blows something up in America it is a foreign intelligence service that should be blamed for not protecting Americans, not the FBI, CIA, NSA, and all the other multi-billion dollar U.S. government run operations.

What a joke of a report.

William Eaton on April 10, 2014 at 9:46 AM

To take this thought further….what the IG report is saying that we don’t need the “FBI, CIA, NSA, and all the other multi-billion dollar U.S. government run operations.” anymore.

Conservative4Ever on April 10, 2014 at 10:04 AM

…Comments about how the NSA was too busy monitoring Americans and the Tea Party, etc. are silly.

rlwo2008 on April 10, 2014 at 10:03 AMNo, it’s exactly on point. The Russians gave us a heads up, and that’s exactly how the NSA et al spends their time, rather than following the heads up competently.

Agree with the rest, basically the same as what I said earlier.

Fenris on April 10, 2014 at 10:12 AM

Let me guess. The NSA didn’t snag that one.

Whoops.

Dusty on April 10, 2014 at 10:02 AM

Islamic Jihad wasn’t one of the keywords they were looking for.

Had Speedbump and his mom been discussing a tea party, history might be different.

Happy Nomad on April 10, 2014 at 10:19 AM

Sorry, this is the same group that sets people up with fake “terrorists” and gets convictions. This just seems like an expansion on the name misspelling excuse. Our guys are so busy with their “oversight” that they couldn’t find their azz with both hands. All I need to remember is 9/11/2001 and how quickly we knew who those guys were and that the government seemed to know a lot about people who had overstayed their visas. I think it is safe to say our guys are doing it wrong.

Cindy Munford on April 10, 2014 at 10:33 AM

Once the information from the Russians was in the hands of the FBI, it was in their purview to use their “wiretapping” capability to monitor the Tsarnevs’ communications.

[rlwo2008 on April 10, 2014 at 10:03 AM]

Why and how? Would they have needed a warrant? Would the threshold for probable cause be lower via the Patriot Act or something to get one? If there was no lower threshold, or if it wasn’t available, would the say so of the Russians be enough probable cause? On the last bit, I don’t think it sufficient.

One thing not mentioned, but I presume to be so, was that Tsarnaev’s call to his mother was an international call. I don’t even want to know that the Russians are monitoring US interstate or local phone calls. I mention this because that would be the only way the FBI would be truly effective. i.e., US calling. On international calls the NSA would be better fit to monitor, which they could have done regardless of whether the or not the FBI was truly or actively interested in the Tsarnaevs. They could also have done their unconstitutional metadata queries on numbers that Tsarnaev called until they got connection to Kevin Bacon without much fuss from the American public, because they have a freakin’ actual suspect.

Dusty on April 10, 2014 at 10:41 AM

I don’t blame the FBI, they were instructed to look the other way as a first response to beautiful Islam and it’s Muslims who are always there to help the FBI on delicate Muslim things.

BL@KBIRD on April 10, 2014 at 10:41 AM

Riiiigh, it was Russia. Are we sure it wasn’t Bush?

maryo on April 10, 2014 at 11:26 AM

Those cowardly Ruskies don’t stand a chance against our integrated LGBT army….

vlad martel on April 10, 2014 at 10:03 AM

Oh we have a winner!

maryo on April 10, 2014 at 11:28 AM

None of the Tsarnaevs should ever have been in America, and none of them should be in America now.

America’s political class should be going in fear of treachery trials for letting in people like this.

They are let in legally, they are let in illegally, they are let in semi-legally as refugees when they should not be let in. It’s all a disgrace.

David Blue on April 10, 2014 at 11:31 AM

The Tsarnaevs should’ve never been in the United States. Why isn’t their joke refugee status put front and center?

Pincher Martin on April 10, 2014 at 9:55 AM

This! This!!

David Blue on April 10, 2014 at 11:34 AM

That’s right! Invade Russia!!!111!!!11!!!!

vlad martel on April 10, 2014 at 9:53 AM

Better to destroy their oil and gas business by crushing prices, as the great President Ronald Reagan did.

slickwillie2001 on April 10, 2014 at 11:37 AM

[Cindy Munford on April 10, 2014 at 10:33 AM]

I wholeheartedly agree, Cindy. My concern is that the reason we’ve had so few actual serious attacks is that the government has flooded the information network with the farcical story that we’ve built up a wall of homeland security which is practically impregnable, when in fact that is mostly a fairy tale.

My main concern now, though is for our military service members on US bases, because the terrorists now know that they are sitting ducks and the military and civilian leadership have shown little interest in changing that.

Dusty on April 10, 2014 at 11:41 AM

The Tsarnaevs should’ve never been in the United States. Why isn’t their joke refugee status put front and center?

Pincher Martin on April 10, 2014 at 9:55 AM

This! This!!

David Blue on April 10, 2014 at 11:34 AM

Because racist, of course.

Irritable Pundit on April 10, 2014 at 11:55 AM

As I recall the ruskies warned the US multiple times and they knew he went back home for several months…after the unsolved deaths of three people. Sorry, I can’t accept this report

jaywemm on April 10, 2014 at 12:13 PM

I don’t buy.

The FBI had enough information and failed to act on it thoroughly. That was known long ago. We don’t need some apologist agency trying to provide cover.

TerryW on April 10, 2014 at 12:25 PM

Of course, the fact that the FBI, NSA and all the rest spent three days chasing Tea Party groups as the prime suspects because the media said they had to be responsible for the bombing had nothing to do with the way it all ended, huh?

Gator Country on April 10, 2014 at 12:55 PM

The agencies of this administration have taken note from their CIC, of how well pointing fingers at someone else to take the blame works so well for him. Why should the FBI be any different?

31giddyup on April 10, 2014 at 1:42 PM

What a crock. The Russians gave the Boston Bombers to the FBI on a silver platter, and twice.

VorDaj on April 10, 2014 at 2:01 PM

­

INC on April 11, 2014 at 12:45 AM

This is the same kind of thing as Instapundit’s post of unflattering pictures of Russians, 21ST CENTURY RELATIONSHIPS: Romantic Pictures From Russian Dating Sites, and many posts Hot Air has done lately pushing a false narrative on the Ukraine crisis (ignoring the obvious fact that the Western-backed coup knocked over a legal, democratically elected government), and the constant call-backs to Hitler as a precedent for Putin and to Russia as Communist (which it has not been for decades). Any stick is good enough to beat the Russians with now.

David Blue on April 11, 2014 at 7:09 AM

The Russians are innocent on this one unless it’s they who have been running American immigration policy since 1965, continuously to the present day. Because it’s mass immigration into Western countries, and not the fact that Russian flags fly in Sevastopol, that’s the threat.

David Blue on April 11, 2014 at 7:12 AM