I sure hope there’s more to this than the Journal is letting on, because if the odds of a completely innocent explanation are as high as they imply, it’s a major cloud of suspicion over Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s wife for no reason at all.
Investigators have found female DNA on at least one of the bombs used in the Boston Marathon attacks, though they haven’t determined whose DNA it is or whether that means a woman helped the two suspects carry out the attacks, according to U.S. officials briefed on the probe.
The officials familiar with the case cautioned that there could be multiple explanations for why the DNA of someone other than the two bombing suspects—Tamerlan Tsarnaev and his younger brother, Dzhokhar—could have been found on remnants of the exploded devices. The genetic material could have come, for example, from a store clerk who handled materials used in the bombs or a stray hair that ended up in the bomb…
One official familiar with the case said agents went to the house Monday to collect a DNA sample from Ms. Russell [i.e. Tsarnaev’s widow], the culmination of days of negotiations. FBI officials also have been negotiating with Ms. Russell’s attorney in recent days to get fuller access to question her, the officials familiar with the case said. The officials briefed on the investigation said the DNA request was needed to determine whether it matched the DNA found on the bomb remnants.
Couldn’t the material also have come from a female victim at the scene?
Supposedly there are still as many as a half-dozen people they’re “interested” in, although I think only one has suspicion swirling around her based on previous media reports. Then again, why would it be surprising if his wife’s DNA is on one of the bombs? Not every component in the device had a nefarious explanation. There’s a chance, I suppose, that one of the pressure cookers came from the family’s own kitchen. Tamerlan, who was famously domineering according to people who knew him, also might have told his wife to go out and buy one of the components he needed without explaining what it was for. Unless her DNA’s on the explosive itself, how would the feds ever prove that it didn’t end up there innocently? Unless Dzhokhar’s prepared to testify to that fact, I mean. Maybe in exchange for a plea deal?
Speaking of which:
This is a big deal. Breaking: Atty for Jared Loughner, Tuscon mass murderer, added to Tsarnaev defense team. Legend Judy Clarke#wcvb
— Jeffrey Toobin (@JeffreyToobin) April 29, 2013
Clarke’s specialty isn’t acquittal, it’s helping high-profile and obviously guilty defendants like Loughner avoid capital punishment. Maybe that means Dzhokhar Tsarnaev will be more likely to cooperate now, or maybe that means we’ll be paying for three hots and cot for this cretin for the next 60 years in exchange for nothing.
Update: Presented without comment.
Marciano: “Do you believe at any time when you knew Tamerlan that he could be a terrorist?”
Allen: “No, but I will say there were a couple of members who thought that he might be.”
Marciano: “What did they say?”
Allen: “Well, it’s when he began to actually pray, face towards Mecca and pray. Right away you heard comments: ‘This guy a terrorist? I think this guy’s a terrorist.’”
Update: Former CIA analyst Robert Baer is also wondering about a third person — not an accomplice per se, but a trainer.