Rep. Peter King questions FBI's 2011 investigation of Tamerlan TsarnaevBy ROBERT BRODSKY AND KEVIN DEUTSCH
April 20, 2013
Rep. Peter King is asking the Obama administration for a classified intelligence briefing after the FBI revealed on Friday that it had questioned one of the suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing two years ago but found no links to terrorism.
Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who was killed early Friday in a shootout with police, was interviewed by the FBI in the summer of 2011 at the request of a foreign government, which has been identified by a federal law enforcement source as Russia.
But the FBI found no links to terrorism, either foreign or domestic, and released Tsarnaev.
King (R-Seaford), a member and former chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, worries that the FBI may have missed something.
"Did they move too quickly by letting this guy off the hook?" King said in an interview on Saturday. "Should they have looked more carefully?"
King said he is drafting a letter with Homeland Security Committee chairman Michael McCaul (R-Texas) to Attorney General Eric Holder and FBI director Robert Mueller, requesting a classified meeting on the 2011 interview with Tsarnaev.
King said he wants to know "what information was given and what was done with it."
The FBI said in a statement released Saturday that the agency had investigated Tsarnaev after receiving intelligence from a foreign government that he was "a follower of radical Islam and a strong believer, and that he had changed drastically since 2010." That government feared that Tsarnaev was preparing to leave the U.S. to travel to that country "to join unspecified underground groups."
A federal law enforcement source told Newsday on Saturday that the Russians were worried about Tsarnaev's possible connections to Chechen extremists.
The FBI said it checked federal databases, looking for "derogatory telephone communications, possible use of online sites associated with the promotion of radical activity, associations with other persons of interest, travel history and plans, and education history."
The FBI said it interviewed Tsarnaev and other family members in Boston but did not find any links to terrorism. The bureau said it forwarded their findings to the foreign government in the summer of 2011, along with requests for specific additional information about Tsarnaev. The FBI said it never received that additional information.
The Russian Embassy in Washington, D.C., did not return several requests for comment.