FBI overlooks Russian warnings about suspects

by Staff

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the younger brother of the two Boston Marathon bombing suspects, told the FBI last Thursday that the duo was targeting Times Square for their next attack, according to CBS News. The plan was to plant numerous bombs in the heart of the New York landmark; the brothers had one pressure cooker bomb and five pipe bombs left among their supplies for the attack.

New York Police Department Commissioner Raymond Kelly says the brothers discussed the Times Square plan while driving in a stolen Mercedes SUV after they fatally shot Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer Sean Collier.

“That plan, however, fell apart when they realized that the vehicle they hijacked was low on gas and ordered the driver to stop at a nearby gas station,” Kelly said.

The owner of the SUV was able to flee and call the police while the two were fueling up on gas. Immediately after the call was placed, the car chase began in Watertown where the older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, would eventually die.

Meanwhile, the U.S. national security systems are getting more criticism. According to the Washington Post, Tamerlan Tsarnaev was no stranger to the FBI. In March 2011, Russian security officials warned the FBI by saying Tsarnaev was “a follower of radical Islam” and that he had severely changed since 2010. Despite this crucial information, Tsarnaev was able to travel to Caucasus where he joined unspecified underground groups.

The FBI defended its handling of the Russian warning by saying it inspected Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s Internet activity and checked government databases. According to FBI findings at that time, there was nothing suspicious. In conjunction with a neglected alert about Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s plan to leave the country appearing on the system, House Intelligence Committee Chairman and former FBI agent Mike Rogers said that traveling isn’t derogatory information.

“It’s hard to say they did something wrong … and that area is far down on our priority list,” Rogers said.

According to The Boston Globe, on Sunday key lawmakers suspected the two brothers may have not acted entirely alone. Currently, law enforcement officials continue to investigate the possibility of outside training and encouragement from other extreme groups.

However, the comments surrounding this issue are diverse. Chairman of the Armed Services Committee Senator Carl Levin stated, “Unless there’s additional information that pops up, I’m not critical of their actions.”

In contrast, Senator Lindsey Graham said this case “is becoming, to me, a case study in system failure.”