Let me just put this FBI press release out there for you. It’s dated April 19, 2013, by the way: this will be important later.
2011 Request for Information on Tamerlan Tsarnaev from Foreign Government
The two individuals believed to be responsible for the Boston Marathon bombings on Monday have been positively identified as Tamerlan Tsarnaev, now deceased, and Dzhokar Tsarnaev, now in custody. These individuals are brothers and residents of Massachusetts. Tamerlan Tsarnaev was a legal permanent resident and Dzhokar Tsarnaev is a naturalized U.S. citizen. Charges have not yet been filed against Dzhokar Tsarnaev and he is presumed innocent.
Tamerlan Tsarnaev, age 26, was previously designated as Suspect 1, wearing a black hat. Dzhokar A. Tsarnaev, age 19, was designated as Suspect 2, wearing a white hat. Both were born in Kyrgyzstan.
Once the FBI learned the identities of the two brothers today, the FBI reviewed its records and determined that in early 2011, a foreign government asked the FBI for information about Tamerlan Tsarnaev. The request stated that it was based on information that he was a follower of radical Islam and a strong believer, and that he 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.
In response to this 2011 request, the FBI checked U.S. government databases and other information to look for such things as 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 also interviewed Tamerlan Tsarnaev and family members. The FBI did not find any terrorism activity, domestic or foreign, and those results were provided to the foreign government in the summer of 2011. The FBI requested but did not receive more specific or additional information from the foreign government.
The foreign government which made this request – and whose name the FBI carefully did not mention – was, of course, Russia. That the feds had been aware of the possibility of Islamist terrorism will no doubt startle folks who get all their news from NPR, given that they were being told as recently as Tuesday, April 16th, that the FBI was thinking that domestic right-wing extremists were likely involved:
…but never mind that right now. The important thing is, now we understand just why it was apparently so important to have that information transmitted to Vladimir*. Clearly the Russians are less than impressed with the current administration’s ability to keep track of, and act on, what is actually going on…
PS: We will now pause while the same group of people that thought that George W Bush should be held responsible for every hang-nail, paper cut, and unsatisfying bowel movement in Central Asia now explain to us why Barack Obama should not be blamed for a lapse of judgement that helped lead to Boston being bombed, shut down, and subject to a running firefight through the streets.
PPS: I suspect that some people are asking right now, But what could the FBI have done? Well, for a start they could have pulled this information on Monday as part of their preliminary survey of “people of interest” and started showing pictures of said people of interest to witnesses. Or told those “people of interest” to come in. There’s a Boston cop who might still be alive if that had happened; shoot, maybe even Tamerlan Tsarnaev might have lived if he had been usefully panicked just a day or so earlier.
*Hey, who here still thinks that trusting that North Korea can’t lob a missile past, say, Denver is a viable long, mid, or even short-term national security strategy? Anybody? Hello?