Was Tsarnaev On A Watchlist?
There is more and more information trickling out about the two men believed responsible for the Boston Marathon bombings. Most tantalizing, is how close the government might have come to preventing the attack from occurring in the first place.
The FBI interviewed Tamerlan Tsarnaev back in 2011, after being warned by Russian security services. And we learned yesterday that the government was aware that the elder brother returned to Russia just last year.
“Yes, the system ‘pinged’ when he left the United States. By the time he returned to the investigations, the matter had been closed,” Department of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Lawmakers went into a classified session afterwards, where they heard more about what the government knew and when it knew it. Reuters reported this morning that Tamerlan was on a highly-classified list of people connected to terrorist activities.
This co-called TIDE list is sprawling, with more than 540,000 entries, and is maintained by the National Counterterrorism Center. And it’s only one of many such databases that the government maintains.
Philip Mudd, a senior research fellow at the New America Foundation. He is a 20 year veteran of the CIA and former deputy director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s National Security Branch.
Reuters “The name of one of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, was listed on the U.S. government’s highly classified central database of people it views as potential terrorists. But the list is so vast that this did not mean authorities automatically kept close tabs on him, sources close to the bombing investigation said on Tuesday.”
Boston Globe “Tsarnaev’s younger brother never seemed strapped for cash, according to people who knew him at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth where he was a sophomore. But Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was a scholarship student who earned spending money by selling marijuana, say three people who bought drugs from the 19-year-old.”
Daily Beast “Agents and cops may forget a name, but they seldom forget a face. And had an investigator exclaimed, “Hey, I know that guy!” the FBI and the Boston cops could have been outside the Tsarnaev home in 15 minutes. Tamerlan and his younger brother, Dzhokhar, might have been grabbed before the public release of their pictures, before they turned so desperate that they walked up to the cruiser where Collier sat and allegedly executed him.”
Other stories from this show:
WBUR's Sacha Pfeiffer is co-hosting Radio Boston while Meghna Chakrabarti is on maternity leave.
- Listen: Weekdays, 3 p.m. on 90.9 FM
- Live Call-In: (800) 423-TALK
- Listener Voicemail: (617) 358-0607