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Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s body was claimed by his family on Thursday after his widow, Katherine Russell, declined to take his remains.
Department of Public Safety spokesman Terrel Harris said a funeral home retained by Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s family picked up the 26-year-old’s remains. He said he had no more information about plans for the remains.
The medical examiner determined Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s cause of death on Monday, but officials said it wouldn’t become public until his remains were released and a death certificate was filed. It was unclear on Thursday evening whether the death certificate had been filed.
Katherine Russell, who has been living with her parents in North Kingstown, Rhode Island, learned this week that the medical examiner was ready to release his body and wanted it released to his side of the family, her attorney Amato DeLuca said days ago.
Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s uncle Ruslan Tsarni, of Maryland, said Tuesday night the family would take the body.
Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s body was claimed by his family on Thursday after his widow, Katherine Russell, declined to take his remains
“Of course, family members will take possession of the body,” Ruslan Tsarni said.
“We’ll do it. We will do it. A family is a family.”
After the hearse believed to be carrying Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s body departed Boston, television stations reported that their helicopters followed it to the Dyer Lake Funeral Home in North Attleboro. About 20 protesters gathered outside the funeral home. An Associated Press photographer later saw a hearse leaving the home escorted by two police cars.
Dyer-Lake Funeral Director Tim Nye told The Sun-Chronicle newspaper late Thursday that the body was only brought to his funeral home temporarily and was transported to another facility, but didn’t say where.
Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who had appeared in surveillance photos wearing a black cap and was identified as Suspect No. 1, died days after the bombing.
Boston Marathon April 15 bombing, using pressure cookers packed with explosives, nails, ball bearings and metal shards near the race’s finish line, killed three people and injured more than 260 others.
Authorities said Tamerlan Tsarnaev and his younger brother Dzhokhar later killed a Massachusetts Institute of Technology campus police officer and carjacked a driver, who escaped.
Authorities said that during the gunbattle with police, the Tsarnaev brothers, ethnic Chechens from Russia who came to the US about a decade ago, set off another pressure cooker bomb and tossed grenades before the older brother ran out of ammunition.
Police said they tackled the older brother and began to handcuff him but had to dive out of the way at the last second when the younger brother, 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, drove a stolen car at them. They said the younger brother ran over Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s body as he drove away from the scene to escape.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was captured later, wounded and bloody, hiding in a tarp-covered boat in a suburban Boston backyard. He is in a federal prison and faces a charge of using a weapon of mass destruction to kill.
Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev initially planned to attack Boston’s 4th of July Independence Day celebrations, US media have reported.
But they finished making the bombs more quickly than expected at Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s home, anonymous US officials are quoted as saying.
It is unclear if they planned to target a specific event, but Boston hosts major 4th of July festivities each year.
Meanwhile, the body of Tamerlan Tsarnaev has been claimed by family.
A spokesman for the Massachusetts Department of Public Safety confirmed a funeral home hired by his relatives picked up the remains on Thursday.
The suspect’s widow, Katherine Russell, gave consent a day earlier for the body to be released.
Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev initially planned to attack Boston’s 4th of July Independence Day celebrations
His uncle Ruslan Tsarni, who lives in the state of Maryland, said on Tuesday night the family would take the remains.
The medical examiner has said Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s cause of death has been determined, but the information will not be released until a death certificate has been filed. It was unclear if that had happened on Thursday evening.
Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, died after a gun battle with police during which he was run over by his younger brother as he fled the scene in a vehicle, police have said.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, who was later captured and is recovering in a prison hospital from gunshot wounds, reportedly told FBI investigators of the plan for a 4th of July attack.
He also told interrogators that the two of them had initially considered suicide attacks, the New York Times reports.
Instead Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev decided to use pressure-cookers to make the two bombs they allegedly detonated on April 15 near the Boston Marathon finish line, killing three people and wounding 264.
Also according to the newspaper, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev told investigators he and his brother had listened to internet sermons by Anwar al-Awlaki, a US-born al-Qaeda suspect killed in a 2011 drone strike in Yemen.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev faces a possible death sentence if convicted for his alleged role in the Boston attack.
Tamerlan Tsarnaev lived with his wife, Katherine Russell, and their three-year-old daughter, Zahara, in an apartment in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Police have said they found bomb material at the residence.
The FBI has removed evidence, including DNA samples, from the Rhode Island home of Katherine Russell’s parents, where she has been staying since her husband’s death.
Katherine Russell’s lawyers say she did not know much about her husband’s activities because she spent most of her time outside the home working as a health aide while he watched their child.
Three of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s college friends appeared in court on Wednesday, accused of obstructing the police investigation into the attacks.
Police say Azamat Tazhayakov and Dias Kadyrbayev – both from Kazakhstan – threw away the suspect’s backpack after realizing he was one of the bombers.
Robel Phillipos, a US citizen, is accused of lying to investigators.
The backpack was recovered at a landfill site. A lawyer for Dias Kadyrbayev told CNN his client had turned over the laptop to the FBI, but did not specify when.
A newly released mugshot show Katherine Russell, the widow of suspected Boston bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev, as she looked in 2007 at the time of her arrest for stealing $67 worth of clothing from an Old Navy store in Warwick, Rhode Island.
The picture shows Katherine Russell as an 18-year-old, in the accompanying police report she is described as “skinny” with hazel eyes and red or auburn hair – now firmly concealed by her Hijab.
Since Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s death on April 19, Katherine Russell has taken refuge at her family’s home in Rhode Island and has been doing everything she can to distance herself from Tsarnaev.
Still, now as a single mother, she has had to sit her 3-year-old daughter, Zahara, down and tell her what happened to her father, Tamerlan Tsraneav, a relative has revealed.
Katherine Russell, the widow of suspected Boston bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev, as she looked in 2007 at the time of her arrest for stealing $67 worth of clothing from an Old Navy store in Warwick
“Daddy has gone to heaven and he still loves her very much,” Katherine Russell Tsarnaev allegedly told her daughter of her father’s absence, as People magazine reports.
“She broke the news as gently as possible, but Zahara wants to know why.”
Earlier this week Katherine Russell Tsarnaev released a statement through her lawyer Amato DeLuca, saying that she wants her husband’s body released to the Tsarnaev family.
In addition to declining to claim the body herself, which is her right as his spouse, Katherine Russell Tsarnaev has also reverted to using her maiden name.
One of Tamerlan’s sisters, Bella Tsarnaev, told ABC that she and her sister Ailina plan to offer their brother a proper Muslim burial. Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s uncle, Ruslan Tsarni, also said on Tuesday that the family would take the body.
“We will do it,” he told the Associated Press.
“A family is a family.”
On Tuesday, Amato DeLuca said Katherine Russell mourned the loss of life from the bombings.
Robel Phillipos has been identified as the American student arrested on Wednesday in the Boston Marathon bombings alongside Azamat Tazhayakov and Dias Kadyrbayev and charged with making false statements to police and obstructing justice in a terrorism investigation.
Robel Phillipos, 19, is charged with knowingly and willfully making false statements to investigators.
According to the FBI, three friends and schoolmates of detained Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev were arrested and charged Wednesday with conspiracy to obstruct justice for throwing away belongings of the latter and lying to investigators.
Azamat Tazhayakov and Dias Kadyrbayev, both 19 and of New Bedford, and Robel Phillipos, 19, of Cambridge appeared at the U.S. District Court in Boston where a federal magistrate read them the charges and their rights. The three are former students of the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, where Dzhokhar Tsarnaev also studied.
Robel Phillipos is charged with knowingly and willfully making false statements to investigators in relation with the Boston Marathon bombings
According to an FBI affidavit recounting the charges, Azamat Tazhayakov and Dias Kadyrbayev, who are Kazakhs holding expired student visas, and Robel Phillipos took the laptop and backpack of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev from his dorm room on April 18. At the time, the FBI released photos of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and his older brother, Tamerlan, as suspects in the April 15 bombings that killed three people and wounded more than 260 others.
Dias Kadyrbayev texted Dzhokhar Tsarnaev joking that he looked like the suspects aired on TV and he replied by texting “LOL” and telling them to go to his room and get whatever they want.
The affidavit cited Robel Phillipos’ testimony to investigators that Azamat Tazhayakov and Dias Kadyrbayev freaked out upon returning to their apartment in New Bedford as the Tsarnaevs were named suspects.
The three decided to dispose of the backpack, which contained empty fireworks shells believed used by the suspects in making the improvised explosives that remotely detonated near the Boston Marathon finish line. They thought doing so would keep Dzhokhar Tsarnaev out of trouble.
Investigators later found and recovered the backpack and its contents in a landfill after getting a tip.
The affidavit said Dias Kadyrbayev knew Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was involved in the marathon bombings.
Robel Phillipos, for his part, initially told investigators he never went to Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s dorm room. In a later interview, he admitted going to the dorm room and getting Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s laptop and backpack.
The charges could meet Azamat Tazhayakov and Dias Kadyrbayev each a 5-year sentence and $250,000 fine if found guilty.
Robel Philippos faces an 8-year sentence and the same amount of fine. The next hearing on the Kazakhs is on May 14 while Robel Phillipos’ next hearing will be on Monday, May 6.
New reports reveal Saudi Arabia sent a written warning about Tamerlan Tsarnaev to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in 2012, long before Boston Marathon blasts, according to a senior Saudi government official with direct knowledge of the document.
It appears the Saudi warning came separately from the multiple red flags raised by Russian intelligence in 2011, and was based on human intelligence developed independently in Yemen.
Citing security concerns, the Saudi government also denied an entry visa to Tamerlan Tsarnaev in December 2011, when he intended to make a pilgrimage to Mecca, the source said.
Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s plans to visit Saudi Arabia have not been previously disclosed.
The Saudis’ warning to the U.S. government was also shared with the British government and it “did name Tamerlan specifically”, according to the source.
“It was very specific” and warned that “something was going to happen in a major U.S. city”. The document did not name Boston or suggest a date for his planned attack.
If true, the account will produce added pressure on the Homeland Security department and the White House to explain their collective inaction after similar warnings were offered about Tamerlan Tsarnaev by the Russian government.
A DHS official denied, however, that the agency received any such warning from Saudi intelligence about Tamerlan Tsarnaev.
And so the White House: “We and other relevant U.S. government agencies have no record of such a letter being received,” said Caitlin Hayden, a spokesperson for the president’s National Security Council.
The letter likely came to DHS via the Saudi Ministry of Interior, the agency tasked with protecting the Saudi kingdom’s homeland.
However, a Homeland Security official confirmed Tuesday evening on the condition of anonymity that the 2012 letter exists.
Meanwhile, House Homeland Security Committee chairman Mike McCaul plans to announce on Wednesday an investigative hearing to probe what U.S. intelligence knew prior to the Boston attacks.
Separately, President Barack Obama announced Tuesday that the U.S. government will launch a wide-ranging inquiry into the sharing of information among the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Department of Homeland Security and other intelligence and law-enforcement agencies of the federal government.
The internal review will be led by Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and several inspectors general.
It is not yet clear whether information from Saudi Arabia will be involved in James Clapper’s inter-agency review.
Saudi Arabia sent a written warning about Tamerlan Tsarnaev to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in 2012, long before Boston Marathon blasts
It appears the Saudi government alerted the U.S. in part because it believed American authorities should be inspecting packages that came to Tamerlan Tsarnaev in the mail in order to search for bomb-making components.
The written warning also allegedly named three Pakistanis who may be of interest to British authorities. The official declined to provide more details about the warning to the UK, but said the two governments received the same information.
The Ministry of Interior, he said, sent the letters in 2012, likely after Tamerlan Tsarnaev returned from Russia to the US in July.
President Barack Obama’s published schedule indicates that he met in the Oval Office with Prince Mohammed bin Naif bin Abdulaziz, the Saudi Interior minister, on January 14, 2013.
The Saudis denied Tamerlan Tsarnaev entry to the kingdom when he sought to travel to Mecca in December 2011 for a pilgrimage known as an Umrah – one that is undertaken during months that don’t fall within the regular Hajj period of the year.
That rejected application came one month before he traveled to Russia, where U.S. intelligence sources believe he acquired training enabling him to construct and detonate the bombs that he and his younger brother Dzhokhar placed hear the Boston Marathon’s finish line.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, is in federal custody at a prison medical facility.
The Saudi official speculated that Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s residence in the US might have made it more difficult for him to gain entry into the kingdom.
“U.S.-based Muslims who become radicalized and want to visit Mecca create an unusual problem,” he said, compelling the Saudi government “to carefully examine applications”.
In the wake of the April 15 Boston Marathon bombings, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal met with Secretary of State John Kerry on April 16, and then had an unscheduled meeting with President Barack Obama on April 17.
“This is the DNA of the Saudi government,” said the Saudi official, referring to officials in the royal court in Riyadh.
“This is how they work. They sent the letter, but that wasn’t enough. They then sent the top guy to meet personally with the president.”
The Saudi official dismissed the idea that Tamerlan Tsarnaev was likely trained by al-Qaeda while he was outside the US last year.
The Saudis’ Yemen-based sources, he explained, said militants referred to Tamerlan dismissively as “the volunteer”.
“He was a gung-ho, self motivated jihadi who wasn’t tasked by a larger group,” he said.
“There is no reason for anyone in Afghanistan to have in his thinking a scenario like this.
“He took the initiative. That’s why they call him <<the volunteer>>.”
“The Boston thing is beneath them,” he said of al Qaeda.
“They don’t think like this. This is like a firecracker to them. They want something big.”
Tamerlan Tsarnaev may have boasted about his plans online, the Saudi official said, offering an explanation for how Yemen-based sources first learned of him. Islamist militants have well-developed social networks that can enable news to migrate quickly across vast distances.
The Saudi government sometimes tracks such radicals by launching fake jihadi websites to attract extremists. The Ministry of Interior then tracks them electronically, often across the world, and shares information with governments it considers friendly, including the US.
The Saudi intelligence services have a long history of providing credible information to America and Great Britain about looming threats.
“This is the fourth time the Saudi Arabian government has given the U.S. specific intel” about a possible terror plot, the official said, citing prior warnings about Richard Reid, the so-called shoe bomber who repeatedly tried to light a fuse in his shoe to bring down American Airlines flight 63 bound for Miami in December 2001.
He also cited the 300-gram “ink-cartridge bombs” planted on two cargo planes headed for the US from Yemen in October 2010. Those explosives were intercepted in Dubai, and at an East Midlands airport in Great Britain.
Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s namesake was a 15-century Central Asian warlord who referred to himself as “the sword of Islam”. Sometimes spelled “Tamerlane” in English, he was known for his cruelty.
When he conquered Baghdad, Tamerlane reportedly made a pyramid of human skulls from unfortunate residents of that city.
Although still revered in Chechnya and throughout Central Asia, the original Tamerlane is sometimes vilified in modern-day Saudi textbooks.
Neuroscientists in Boston have asked for a chance to examine Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s brain to try and find some explanations for the marathon attacks.
Dr. Michael Craig Miller argued in the Boston Globe that Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s brain should be studied “as closely as our forensic experts have studied a few blocks along Boylston Street” – the scene of the double blasts on April 15.
He works as a psychiatrist at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in the city, where Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, died and his younger brother, Dzhohkar Tsarnaev, 19, was treated after a stand-off with police.
Dr. Michael Craig Miller claimed that we are all keen for more details about Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s radicalization, and also the reported aggression and anger of the suspect.
Neuroscientists in Boston have asked to examine Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s brain to find some explanations for the marathon attacks
The doctor acknowledged that many people are looking for explanations as to why the two men allegedly plotted and executed the attacks that killed three people and injured more than 260.
Dr. Michael Craig Miller claimed in the Boston Globe that Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s brain is an “opportunity to examine important and interesting evidence that is there for the taking”.
Tamerlan Tsarnaev died after a battle with armed police on April 19 but his body has yet to be claimed.
Dr. Michael Craig Miller said that Dr. Robert Cantu and Dr. Robert Stern of Boston University’s Center for the Study of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) have already expressed an interest in Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s brain.
CTE is a degenerative brain disease that was initially discovered in boxers. And Dr. Micahel Craig Miller believes that Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s boxing career could have caused this or another condition in the suspect.
He concedes that: “We are not likely to agree about the meaning of what is found in the brain of the suspected bomber.”
Dr. Michael Craig Miller quoted Doctors Cantu and Stern who point out that any evidence of a brain disease “would not necessarily have been the cause of Tsarnaev’s premeditated, violent behavior”.
He argued that in the aftermath of the bombings we have concentrated on “the aspects of politics and culture, or of social and family life, that may breed violent behavior”.
Dr. Michael Craig Miller is asking to study Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s brain as it “may teach us a small but important bit about the biology of violence”.
Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s family has received more than $100,000 in welfare benefits over the last decade, according to the Boston Herald.
Details of the benefits – which included cash, food stamps and housing assistance – are contained within more than 500 documents that were handed over from Massachusetts welfare officials to a committee of state lawmakers on Monday.
The documents have not been released publicly, but a person who has reviewed them told the Boston Herald that the “breadth of the benefits the family was receiving was stunning”.
The paper also spoke to Massachusetts Rep. David Linsky about the documents, who promised a thorough review of the assistance that the family received.
“I can assure members of the public that this committee will actively review every single piece of information we can find because clearly the public has a substantial right to know what benefits, if any, this family or individuals accused of some horrific crimes were receiving,” said David Linsky, the committee’s chairman.
It has been previously reported that deceased Boston bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev and his wife Katherine Russell relied on food stamps and public assistance from 2011 to 2012, soon after they became parents.
Last Friday, the Massachusetts Department of Transitional Assistance detailed how the couple received food stamps from September 2011 to November 2012.
Tamerlan Tsarnaev and Katherine Russell, who married in June 2010, are believed to have become parents to their daughter, Zahara, in 2011, in the months before they began receiving the aid.
Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s family has received more than $100,000 in welfare benefits over the last decade
In addition to food stamps, the young family also benefited from TAFDC (Transitional Aid to Families with Dependent Children), a program for low income parents with dependent children.
TAFDC is paid out twice a month and can be directly deposited into a recipient’s bank account.
The assistance was paid to Katherine Russell, since a person must be a U.S. citizen, or eligible non-citizen, to receive the aid.
While they took the government aid, Katherine Russell would sometimes clock as many as 80 hours a week while her unemployed husband stayed at home.
Ultimately Katherine Russell Tsarnaev’s income made the couple ineligible for welfare and they stopped receiving state money in November 2012.
Welfare officials have been forced to divulge details of the aid that was paid out to the family of the bombing suspects.
Mass. Gov. Patrick Deval told state agencies last week that they should not discuss the details of what government assistance Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev had received, citing privacy concerns.
Welfare information is not available for public release unless the person in question provides their consent, but it is available to lawmakers.
Massachusetts State Rep. David Linsky called on the state’s Department of Transitional Assistance to provide him with the information.
David Linksy issued an ultimatum on Thursday to welfare officials, giving them 24 hours to provide the information.
The letter from Rep. David Linsky was provided to the Boston Herald.
“My office is working to fully comply with your request,” DTA interim commissioner Stacey Monahan wrote in his report to Rep. David Linsky, saying they were only providing a summary “given the great interest in this matter”.
In addition to the aid paid out to Tamerlan Tsarnaev and Katherine Russell, both alleged Boston bombers had benefited from welfare since their parents Anzor and Zubeidat Tsarnaev collected foodstamps and TAFDC – from 2002 to 2004 and again in 2009 to 2011.
Since the Tsarnaevs are Chechen immigrants, some wondered why they received aid. But the state agency explained that they were considered eligible for the public assistance.
“The Tsarnaev parents were eligible to receive benefits as legal, non-citizen residents who were granted asylum status and met the basic eligibility criteria for DTA, including household income levels, presence of dependent children and other factors,” the DTA interim commissioner Stacey Monahan said in a letter addressed to David Linsky, Chairman of the House Post Audit and Oversight Committee.
The Herald had reported that sources who knew Tamerlan Tsarnaev said that though he sported a flashy appearance, he failed to earn very much money for his family and was essentially a stay-at-home dad.
His younger brother, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, has been described as more entrepreneurial.
Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, died early on April 19 after a shoot-out with police in Watertown, Massachusetts.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, was captured late on April 19 after an extensive manhunt.
Nadine Ascencao, Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s ex-girlfriend, has revealed that he tried to turn her against the U.S. and beat her if she wore Western clothing.
Nadine Ascencao, 24, says that over the course of her relationship with Tamerlan Tsarnaev, he was transformed from a fun-loving student into an Islamic extremist who shunned American life.
She lost her virginity to the Chechen immigrant and said she was besotted with him – but now she admits she had a “lucky escape”.
Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, was killed in a stand-off with police four days after he and his brother Dzhokhar, 19, apparently set off two bombs at the Boston Marathon on April 15.
Since the terror attack, which left three by-standers dead and more than 270 injured, Tsarnaev brothers’ interest in Islamic terror has been revealed.
Nadine Ascencao, Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s ex-girlfriend, has revealed that he tried to turn her against the U.S. and beat her if she wore Western clothing
Nadine Ascencao told The Sun: “One minute he’s this funny, normal guy who liked boxing and having fun, the next he is praying four times a day, watching Islamic videos and talking insane nonsense.
“He became extremely religious and tried to brainwash me to follow Islam. Tamerlan said I couldn’t be with him unless I became a Muslim. He wanted me to hate America like he did.”
Tamerlan Tsarnaev apparently stopped her from listening to pop music or watching television, and tried to control who she spent time with.
“Tamerlan told me I should only talk to Muslim girls, not other <<slutty>> girls,” Nadine Ascencao said.
When she wore Western clothing, Tamerlan Tsarnaev would fly into a rage and even attack her, Nadine Ascencao added.
“He hated my tight trousers and made me wear long skirts,” Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s ex-girlfriend told The Sun.
“Towards the end I was wearing a hijab. He once ripped a pair of my jeans and hit me in the face with them.”
Nadine Ascencao and Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s relationship seems to have hit the rocks after he started seeing Katherine Russell after meeting her at a nightclub.
Tamerlan Tsarnaev would apparently play the two women off against each other, pitting them in competition to learn Islamic verses.
A police report from July 2009 indicated that he slapped Nadine Ascencao during an argument at their home in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
She called 911 to complain, but although Tamerlan Tsarnaev was arrested and charged with assault the charges were dropped before trial.
The couple broke up later that year after three years together, and Tamerlan Tsarnaev went on to marry Katherine Russell, who converted to Islam in order to be with him.
Nadine Ascencao says she had no contact with her ex-boyfriend in the years before he launched his terror attack this month, but was questioned by the FBI over her links to the Islamic extremist.
“When they said Tamerlan was dead, I didn’t cry,” she told The Sun.
“I was more shocked Dzhokhar was involved. He was a nice kid.”
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, is currently in police custody in hospital after being injured in a shoot-out with police which led to his arrest hours after Tamerlan’s death on April 19.
William Plotnikov is a new figure that emerged in the story of Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s conversion to violent extremist Islam.
Nicknamed “The Canadian”, William Plotnikov was a 23-year-old boxer from Canada who Tamerlan Tsarnaev met online and may have visited during his trip to Russia last year.
William Plotnikov, a Muslim convert from Toronto, could have spurred Tamerlan Tsarnaev to direct his against the US, new reports reveal.
The Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta reports that Tamerlan Tsarnaev went to Dagestan – a Russia republic torn by jihadist terrorism – to join an Islamic militia and fight against Russian forces in July 2012.
One day after William Plotnikov was killed by Russian security forces, Tamerlan Tsarnaev fled to Moscow. The next day he was back to the United States.
William Plotnikov, a Muslim convert from Toronto, could have spurred Tamerlan Tsarnaev to direct his against the US
Another contact Tamerlan Tsarnaev had in Dagestan – Makhmud Mansur Nidal, 19 – was also killed by Russian forces during his six-month visit to the war-torn region.
Novaya Gazeta suggests William Plotnikov may have turned Tamerlan Tsarnaev against the United States.
“It seems that Tamerlan Tsarnaev came to Dagestan with the aim of joining the insurgents. It didn’t work out..,” a security source told the newspaper.
“After Nidal and Plotnikov were destroyed and he lost his contacts, Tsarnaev got frightened and fled.”
Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s parents moved them to the US from the troubled Dagestan region years ago.
The similarities between William Plotnikov – who was called “The Canadian” by the other militiamen – and Tamerlan Tsarnaev are uncanny.
Both men were competitive boxers as teenagers. Both seemed to have suddenly turned to radical Islam in 2009 and quickly became interested in violent jihad being waged in Dagestan – where Islamic militias are targeting the moderate Sufi Muslims and fighting Russian security forces who control the region.
Both were born in Russian republics and later moved to the West, where they struggled to fit in.
It is unknown whether Tamerlan Tsarnaev and William Plotnikov ever met in person.
At one point, Tamerlan Tsarnaev visited his aunt in Toronto – the same city where Plotnikov lived with his parents.
William Plotnikov seized and interviewed by Russian authorities in 2010. At that time told them that Tamerlan Tsarnaev was one of the people he communicated with online.
Novaya Gazeta reports that the two communicated via a site associated with the World Assembly of Muslim Youth, a non-governmental organization.
William Plotnikov was then released by the Russians and went on to join an Islamic militia and take up arms against Russian security forces in Dagestan.
In February 2012, Tamerlan Tsarnaev traveled to Dagestan.
Novaya Gazeta reports that he was seen “more than once” by Russian intelligence units with Makhmud Mansur Nidal, 19, a half-Palestinian Dagestani who is believed responsible for a twin bomb attack in the capital Makhachkala that killed 13 people.
The Rhode Island home of Katherine Russell Tsarnaev’s parents have been visited by FBI agents reportedly to take a sample of her DNA after traces of a woman were found on one of the bombs used in the Boston Marathon attacks.
Spokesman Jason Pack confirmed that agents investigating the Boston bombings visited the North Kingstown home of Katherine Russell’s parents, where Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s widow has been staying since the attacks.
According to The Wall Street Journal, FBI agents went to the house today to collect a DNA sample from Katherine Russell in a bid to rule out her involvement in the bombings.
An official close to the case told the newspaper that female DNA has been found on at least one of the bombs used in the Boston Marathon attacks. Though investigators haven’t determined whose DNA it is or whether the DNA means a woman helped the two suspects carry out the bombings.
FBI agents investigating the Boston bombings visited the North Kingstown home of Katherine Russell’s parents, where Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s widow has been staying since the attacks
Jason Pack said the FBI visited the house as part of its investigation into the April 15 blasts, which killed three people and injured hundreds more.
“The FBI is there as part of our ongoing investigation, but we aren’t permitted to discuss specific aspects of our case,” the agency said in a statement.
After agents finished their job, Katherine Russell Tsarnaev, 24, left with her attorneys through a separate door. She was later photographed smiling as she left a Providence law center with her attorney.
Katherine Russell’s attorneys have previously said she and her family were in shock when they learned of the allegations against her husband Tamerlan and brother-in-law, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.
Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, was killed in a gun battle with police while surviving suspect 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has been charged with using a weapon of mass destruction.
No one has yet come to claim Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s body, which is in the custody of the Office of Chief Medical Examiner, said Department of Public Safety spokesman Terrel Harris.
The medical officer has determined Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s cause of death, but won’t release the information until the body has been claimed, Terrel Harris told The Boston Globe.
Katherine Russell converted to Islam before marrying Tamerlan Tsarnaev and having his child, 3-year-old daughter, Zahara.
The mysterious Misha, identified as Mikhail Allakhverdov and thought to be the missing link in explaining the radicalization of Boston bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev, has broken his silence to speak out from his home in Rhode Island on Sunday.
Accused by members of the Tsarnaev family of being the mastermind behind the Boston Marathon attacks which killed three and injured over 280 people, Mikhail Allakhverdov has come forward in hope of setting the record straight.
Frenzied speculation surrounded his role in April 15th’s attacks, with some asking whether “Misha” was part of a wider terror cell or incredibly, if he was a Russian mole – sent to spy on Tamerlan Tsarnaev.
His very absence from the investigation fueled the conspiracy theories – but now he has come forward to declare himself innocent and that crucially the FBI do not believe he had any part in the bombings.
Christian Caryl from the New York Review of Books tracked down Mikhail Allakhverdov to his family home in Rhode Island – to a lower middle class neighborhood.
The meeting between Christian Caryl and Mikhail Allakhverdov confirms right away that he does have the widely reported distinguishing reddish beard mentioned by members of the Tsarnaev family.
Living with his parents in a tidy apartment, Mikhail Allakhverdov flat out denied any part in Tamerlan, 26 and 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s murderous attacks.
Confirming he is indeed a convert to Islam, Misha said he did know Tamerlan Tsarnaev in 2009 as he spoke to Christian Caryl in Russian.
“I wasn’t his teacher. If I had been his teacher, I would have made sure he never did anything like this,” Mikhail Allakhverdov said to the New York Review of Books.
The mysterious Misha, identified as Mikhail Allakhverdov and thought to be the missing link in explaining the radicalization of Boston bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev, has broken his silence
Mikhail Allakhverdov, 39, is of Armenian-Ukrainian descent and lives with an American girlfriend with his elderly parents.
His father is an Armenian Christian and his mother is an ethnic Ukrainian.
Speaking to the New York Review of Books, Mikhail Allakhverdov’s father said: “We love this country. We never expected anything like this to happen to us.”
Mikhail Allakhverdov confirmed to the New York Review of Books that he knew Tamerlan Tsarnaev in 2009 when he lived in Boston but none in the years since.
He declined to elaborate on his relationship with Tamerlan Tsarnaev and how he became friends – but would not say why he ceased speaking to the Boston bomber.
However, Misha denied that he had ever met any of Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s family – which contradicts their claims that he would be seen discussing Islam with the elder Tsarnaev brother late at night at the family’s kitchen table.
He also confirmed he had been interviewed by the FBI and that he has cooperated with the investigation:
“I’ve been cooperating entirely with the FBI. I gave them my computer and my phone and everything I wanted to show I haven’t done anything. And they said they are about to return them to me.
“And the agents who talked told me they are about to close my case.”
An FBI spokesman in Boston declined to comment on an ongoing case – but confirms recent reports that “Misha” is not thought to be connected to the bombings.
Accused by Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s uncle, Ruslan Tsarni, of radicalizing his nephew, Mikhail Allakhverdov became known only by the name “Misha” as wild speculation grew as to his identity or even if he was real.
“It started in 2009. And it started right there, in Cambridge,” Ruslan Tsarni told CNN after the attacks.
“This person just took his brain. He just brainwashed him completely.”
On Friday the FBI revealed that they now know the identity of the American known as Misha who helped radicalize the Boston bombing suspects.
Family members of dead bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev have described Misha as the guiding influence in the elder bomber developing radicalized views.
Speculation as to who Misha is has varied wildly in the past week, with some suggesting he is the mastermind behind the marathon bombings while others believe he could be a Russian spy – sent to identify and keep tabs on young men like Tamerlan Tsarnaev who are at risk of turning to militant Islam.
Up till Sunday all that was known about Misha is that he is an Armenian man in his 30s with distinctive red beard and that he has disappeared – no longer living in the Cambridge, Massachusetts area.
However, before Sunday’s revelations family members had been telling reporters that in the years before the Boston marathon bombings, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, fell under the strong influence of a new friend, a Christian who converted to Islam and who steered the religiously apathetic young man towards adopting strong Islamic views.
Tamerlan Tsarnaev was killed in a police shootout four days after the bombings on April 15th.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, was charged last Monday with using a weapon of mass destruction to kill, and he could face the death penalty if convicted.
Under the tutelage of a friend known to the Tsarnaev family only as Misha, Tamerlan gave up boxing and stopped studying music, his family said. He began opposing the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Tamerlan Tsarnaev turned to websites and literature claiming that the CIA was behind the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001, and Jews controlled the world.
According to Ruslan, Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s radicalization happened right under the nose of his mother, Zubeidat Tsarnaeva.
Ruslan Tsarni, one of the Boston bombers’ uncles living in the U.S., was previously married to a CIA officer’s daughter for three years.
Ruslan Tsarni, formerly known as Tsarnaev, who publicly denounced his two terrorist nephews’ actions and called them “Losers”, even lived with his father-in-law agent Graham Fuller in his Maryland home for a year.
Graham Fuller was forced to explain the relationship on Saturday as news of the family link emerged online.
The former CIA agent told Al-Monitor that his daughter, Samantha, was married to Ruslan Tsarni, whose surname was then Tsarnaev, for three to four years in the 1990s.
Ruslan and Samantha divorced in 1999 more than ten years after Graham Fuller left the CIA in 1987.
“Samantha was married to Ruslan Tsarnaev [Tsarni] for 3-4 years, and they lived in Bishkek for one year where Samantha was working for Price Waterhouse on privatization projects,” Graham Fuller said.
“They also lived in our house in [Maryland] for a year or so and they were divorced in 1999, I believe.
“I, of course, retired from CIA in 1987 and had moved on to working as a senior political scientist for RAND.”
Graham Fuller said his son-in-law showed no interest in the agency or politics but spoke generally about his family in Chechnya.
The former CIA agent said any attempts to portray the relationship as a link between the security agency and the two terrorists was “absurd”.
Ruslan Tsarni, formerly known as Tsarnaev, was married for three years to CIA agent Graham Fuller’s daughter Samantha
“Like all Chechens, Ruslan was very concerned about his native land, but I saw no particular involvement in politics,” Graham Fuller told Al-Monitor.
“I doubt he even had much to say of intelligence value other than talking about his own family’s sad tale of deportation from Chechnya by Stalin to Central Asia. Every Chechen family has such stories.”
Graham Fuller visited Samantha and Ruslan Tsarni in Bishek, as a former Russian history graduate himself interested in “Soviet minorities”.
He said he may have met the terror suspects’ father, Anzor Tsarnaev, there once and his daughter knew the Tsarnaev family when Tamerlan was a toddler and before his younger brother Dzhokhar was born.
“I for one was astonished at the events, and to find myself at two degrees of separation from them,” Graham Fuller added.
Ruslan Tsarni, who lives in Montgomery Village, Maryland, was thrust into the spotlight as the names of his two nephews, Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, emerged in connection to the Boston terror attack.
He stood on his driveway and attacked the two men calling them “Losers”.
Ruslan Tsarni has since reported a rift between his family and that of his brother Anzor’s and said his older nephew Tamerlan had become increasingly extreme in his religious views.
He said he last spoke to Tamerlan Tsarnaev in 2009 when he declared he was dropping out of school to do “God’s business” and Ruslan Tsarni was concerned at his religious fervor.
“[The bombing] has nothing to do with Chechen … He put a shame on our family, he put a shame on the entire Chechen ethnicity,” Ruslan Tsarni told broadcasters in the aftermath of the bombings.
Ruslan Tsarni also told reporters that Tamerlan Tsarnaev had a friend called Misha who “brainwashed” him.
“This person just took his brain. He just brainwashed him completely,” he said.
FBI agents said they had tracked down Misha and believed he had no link to the terror attacks.
Anzor Tsarnaev, father of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects, says he is postponing a trip to the U.S. to visit his hospitalized son Dzhokhar and collect Tamerlan’s body due to his spiking blood pressure.
Anzor Tsarnaev, 47, told The Associated Press on Sunday that he is “really sick” and his blood pressure had spiked.
He said last week that he planned to travel from Russia to the U.S. with the hope of seeing his younger son, who is under arrest, and burying his elder son, who was killed in a clash with police.
The news comes days after it was revealed that the suspects’ mother, Zubeidat Tsarnaeva, was placed on a CIA watchlist 18 months before the Boston Marathon attack.
Anzor Tsarnaev confirmed that he is staying in Chechnya, a province in southern Russia, but did not specify whether he had been hospitalized.
Until Friday, Anzor Tsarnaev and the suspects’ mother had been living in the neighboring province of Dagestan.
Zubeidat Tsarnaeva claimed she had to call an ambulance for her husband on Thursday but did not elaborate on what happened.
It was revealed last week that both parents have left their home in Dagestan for another part of Russia.
Anzor Tsarnaev is postponing a trip to the U.S. to visit his hospitalized son Dzhokhar and collect Tamerlan’s body due to his spiking blood pressure
Zubeidat Tsarnaeva was never planning to accompany her husband to the U.S. because she faces felony shoplifting charges here.
On April 25, the parents held a bizarre press conference in which they claimed that the gruesome carnage of the Boston attacks, which killed three people and injured more than 280, were staged by the U.S. government.
“America took my kids away from me,” Zubeidat Tsarnaeva cried.
“I’m sure my kids were not involved in anything.”
She went so far as to claim that the blood covering the streets after the blasts was in fact paint.
Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, was killed in a police shootout on April 19 and 19-year-old Dzhokhar was taken into custody – alive, but badly injured – less than 24 hours later in Watertown, Massachusetts following a massive manhunt.
After spending nearly a week in a Boston hospital recovering from gunshot wounds sustained during a firefight with police, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was transferred to the Federal Medical Center Devens on April 26.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has been charged in the Boston Marathon attacks and is facing a maximum sentence of the death penalty or life in prison.
The Tsarnaev family emigrated to the U.S. a decade ago, but both parents returned to Russia last year.
Anzor Tsarnaev said Thursday that he was planning to travel to the U.S. as soon as Friday, but hadn’t yet bought a plane ticket.
Banging the table in front of him, Anzor Tsarnaev said: “I am going to the United States. I want to say that I am going there to see my son, to bury the older one.
“I don’t have any bad intentions. I don’t plan to blow up anything. I am not angry at anyone. I want to go find out the truth.”
Zubeidat Tsarnaeva, 45, also described a figure known only as “Misha” – who has been pinpointed as a source of radicalization for her son Tamerlan Tsarnaev.
The mother said that he was a “very nice man”, of Armenian origin and living in Boston. “Misha” is also apparently a convert to the Islamic faith.
Anzor Tsarnaev has already been interviewed by Russian and American authorities – and would face further interviews if he ever gets to the U.S.
According to a new report, Russian authorities secretly recorded one of the Boston bombers discussing jihad with his mother, Zubeidat Tsarnaeva, in 2011 but failed to alert U.S. security agencies.
U.S. officials were told for the first time this week that two calls of note were discovered when the Russian internal security service, the RSB, were bugging calls at the Tsarnaevs family home in Dagestan, according to reports.
The recording picked up a “vague conversation” about jihad between either Dzhokhar or Tamerlan Tsarnaev and their mother Zubeidat Tsarnaeva, the Associated Press reported.
It also picked up a phone call between Zubeidat Tsarnaeva and a man under FBI investigation living in Southern Russia.
American security sources anonymously revealed the information to the news agency and said if the calls had been flagged to the FBI, the agency may have conducted a more detailed investigation into the two men.
There was no evidence of a plot against America in the calls, according to the report.
Russian authorities secretly recorded one of the Boston bombers discussing jihad with his mother, Zubeidat Tsarnaeva, in 2011 but failed to alert U.S. security agencies
The news comes as the FBI attempts to defend itself against criticism that it failed to fully investigate Tamerlan Tsarnaev that year.
In January, the FBI investigated and interviewed the family after Russian authorities flagged the elder bomber as a possible security threat.
It is not clear why the phone calls would not have been reported to American security officers as part of that briefing and the RSB were unavailable for comment.
Following their probe, the FBI concluded Tamerlan Tsarnaev did not present a threat and ceased monitoring him stating they saw no links to “terrorism activity, domestic or foreign”.
Sen. Lindsay Graham (R. South Carolina) said the agency had “dropped the ball” in that probe.
On Friday, the New York Times reported that the Russian government followed up their concerns over Tamerlan Tsarnaev six months later – asking the CIA for whatever information it had on him.
It is not clear what prompted the Russian request but the CIA review agreed with the FBI that Tamerlan Tsarnaev posed no threat.
As a precaution they placed him on a 70,000 name watch-list called the Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment (TIDE).
However, there were mistakes in both the spelling of his name and in his date of birth, so his six month departure from the country in 2012 wasn’t properly identified, according to the Times.
The first Russian request came in March 2011 through the FBI’s office in the United States Embassy in Moscow.
In a one-page request they said Tamerlan Tsarnaev “had changed drastically since 2010” and was preparing “to join unspecified underground groups”.
By June 2011 the FBI said they were satisfied he provided no threat and notified Russia.
They also added Tamerlan Tsarnaev to another watch-list – the Treasury Enforcement Communications System.
According to the Times, the FBI repeatedly went back to Russia to request more detail but they failed to provide any new information.
Zubeidat Tsarnaeva has come under increasing scrutiny in recent days given her outspoken denial of her sons’ actions and wild accusations of a cover-up.
She has repeatedly said her sons were framed and even claimed blood on the streets, after the bombings, was paint.
On Friday, it emerged agents now consider Zubeidat Tsarnaeva “a person of interest” in their investigation.
“She [Zubeidat Tsarnaeva] is a person of interest that we’re looking at to see if she helped radicalize her son, or had contacts with other people or other terrorist groups,” Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger, a Democrat from Maryland, who serves on the House Intelligence Committee, said.
Both sons appear to have had a close relationship with their mother.
Just before his death Tamerlan Tsarnaev made a final call to her saying: “Mama I love you.”
She was intending to travel with her husband to the U.S. last week but both delayed those plans.
Zubeidat Tsarnaeva said any suggestion she has links to terrorist activity are “lies and hypocrisy”.
Zubeidat Tsarnaeva, the mother of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, was put on the CIA terrorist watchlist 18 months before the tragedy, US officials said on Friday.
Two lawmakers revealed Zubeidat Tsarnaeva is now considered a “person of interest” in the federal investigation into the Boston attack.
The lawmakers said that investigators have traveled to Dagestan, Russia, to learn more from close associates who knew the suspects’ mother.
Zubeidat Tsarnaeva shot back, saying that claims that she had ties to terrorist activity were “lies and hypocrisy”.
In a series of bizarre media interviews, Zubeidat Tsarnaeva has staunchly defended her sons Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who are accused of the terrorist attack on April 15 that left 3 dead and more than 260 injured.
Zubeidat Tsarnaeva, 45, has sparked outrage for her incendiary comments to the media and now officials say they are probing her possible involvement in the tragedy.
“She [Zubeidat Tsarnaeva]is a person of interest that we’re looking at to see if she helped radicalize her son, or had contacts with other people or other terrorist groups,” Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger, a Democrat from Maryland, who serves on the House Intelligence Committee, said on Friday.
Rep. Michael McCaul, the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, said investigators are looking into whether the mother encouraged her son, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, to embrace Islam extremism.
“The mother in my judgment has a role in his radicalization process in terms of her influence over him (and) fundamental views of Islam,” the Texas Republican told reporters.
Michael McCaul added that a team of US investigators had traveled to the Chechen region to interview sources who knew the family.
Unnamed officials have also reveled that the CIA asked for the Boston terror suspect and his mother to be added to a terrorist database in the fall of 2011, after the Russian government contacted the agency with concerns that both had become religious militants, according to officials briefed on the investigation.
About six months earlier, the FBI investigated Tamerlan Tsarnaev and his mother, Zubeidat Tsarnaeva, also at Russia’s request, one of the officials said.
The FBI found no ties to terrorism.
The revelation that the FBI had also investigated Zubeidat Tsarnaeva and the CIA arranged for her to be added to the terrorism database deepened the mystery around the family.
Zubeidat Tsarnaeva slammed officials who are trying to implicate her.
“It’s all lies and hypocrisy,” she told The Associated Press from Dagestan.
“I’m sick and tired of all this nonsense that they make up about me and my children. People know me as a regular person, and I’ve never been mixed up in any criminal intentions, especially any linked to terrorism.”
A former official of the Russian government told Congress on Friday that Cold War-era distrust may have made American officials less inclined to act on tips from Russian security services about one of the alleged Boston Marathon bombers.
Andranik Migranyan, a former member of the President Council of the Russian Federation, told a House Foreign Affairs subcommittee on Friday that Russia and the United States have long viewed each other warily.
Zubeidat Tsarnaeva, the mother of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, was put on the CIA terrorist watchlist 18 months before the tragedy
Because of that, he said, American officials, in his words, “just didn’t pay enough attention” when Russian agencies asked the FBI and CIA to look into bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev.
The Tsarnaevs are ethnic Chechens from southern Russia who immigrated to the Boston area in the past 11 years.
This new revelation shows that both major intelligence agencies were aware of his possible terrorist ties, as it has been reported that the Russians contacted the FBI about Tamerlan Tsarnaev earlier that year.
The FBI conducted an investigation and did not find he had any terror connections.
Tamerlan Tsarnaev was listed on the US government’s highly classified central database of people it views as potential terrorists.
But the list is so vast that authorities did not automatically keep close tabs on him, sources close to the bombing investigation said on Tuesday.
The details come as it’s revealed that Russian authorities had contacted the US government repeatedly about Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s suspected ties to radical Islam, according to senators briefed on the FBI investigation.
The FBI has previously said that it was only contacted once regarding a potential threat posed by Tamerlan Tsarnaev, but after an investigation, found nothing of concern.
Following a closed briefing of the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday, Sen. Richard Burr, a Republican representing North Carolina, said he believed that Russia alerted the United States about Tamerlan Tsarnaev in “multiple contacts”.
Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, was killed in a police shootout early on April 19, while his younger brother Dzhokhar, 19, was captured later that day.
Prosecutors say the brothers, ethnic Chechens who had been living in the United States for more than a decade, planted two bombs that exploded near the finish line of the marathon on April 15.
Sources said Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s details were entered into the Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment (TIDE) list, a database maintained by the National Counterterrorism Center, because the FBI spoke to him in 2011 while investigating a Russian tip-off that he had become a follower of radical Islamists.
The FBI found nothing to suggest he was an active threat, but all the same placed his name on the TIDE list. The FBI has not said what it did find about Tamerlan Tsarnaev.
But the database, which holds more than half a million names, is only a repository of information on people who US authorities see as known, suspected or potential terrorists from around the world.
Because of its huge size, US investigators do not routinely monitor everyone registered there, said officials familiar with the database.
As of 2008, TIDE contained more than 540,000 names, although they represented about 450,000 actual people, because some of the entries are aliases or different name spellings for the same person.
Fewer than 5% of the TIDE entries were US citizens or legal residents, according to a description of the database on the NCTC website.
The TIDE database is one of many federal security databases set up after the September 11, 2001, attacks.
The database system has been criticized in the past for being too cumbersome, especially in light of an attempted attack on a plane in 2009. Intelligence and security agencies acknowledged in Congress that they had missed clues to the Detroit “underpants bomber” Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab.
Officials said after the incident that he had been listed in the TIDE database.
Republican Senator Susan Collins said there were problems in sharing information ahead of the Boston bombings, too.
“This is troubling to me that this many years after the attacks on our country in 2001 that we still seem to have stovepipes that prevent information from being shared effectively,” she said.
Susan Collins was speaking after the FBI gave a closed-door briefing to the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday, but she did not elaborate.
However, in the case of Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the issue appeared to be that because he was not deemed an active threat, his name was only briefly on a list that would have triggered monitoring.
Tamerlan Tsarnaev was not put on the “no-fly” list that would have banned him from boarding an airplane in the United States. Neither was he named on the Selectee List, which would have required him to be given extra security screening at airports.
Another list, the Terrorist Screening Database, is a declassified version of the highly classified TIDE with fewer details about terrorist suspects. One source said Tamerlan Tsarnaev was on this list, too.
After being put in the TIDE system, Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s name was entered in another database, this one maintained by the Homeland Security Department’s Customs and Border Protection bureau which is used to screen people crossing US land borders and entering at airports or by sea.
Tamerlan Tsarnaev was flagged on that database when he left the United States for Russia in January 2012 but no alarm was raised, presumably because the FBI had not identified him as a threat after the interview.
When he returned from Russia six months later, Tamerlan Tsarnaev had already been automatically downgraded in the border database because there was no new information that required him to continue to get extra attention.
So he did not get secondary inspection on his re-entry at New York’s JFK Airport. It was unclear exactly what the procedure was for such a downgrade.
Sean Joyce, deputy director of the FBI, defended the FBI’s performance in the Boston bombings at two closed hearings in Congress on Tuesday.
While government agencies declined to publicly discuss how the watch list system handled Tamerlan Tsarnaev, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano disclosed some details at a separate, open hearing on immigration on Capitol Hill.
“Yes, the system pinged when he was leaving the United States. By the time he returned, all investigations – the matter had been closed,” Janet Napolitano told the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday.
The FBI has identified the American known as Misha who helped radicalize the Boston bombing suspects Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev.
Family members of Tamerlan Tsarnaev have described Misha as the guiding influence in the elder bomber developing radicalized views.
Speculation as to who Misha is has varied wildly in the past week, with some suggesting he is the mastermind behind the marathon bombings while others believe he could be a Russian spy – sent to identify and keep tabs on young men like Tamerlan Tsarnaev who are at risk of turning to militant Islam.
To date all that is known about Misha is that he is an Armenian man in his 30s with distinctive red beard and that he has disappeared – no longer living in the Cambridge, Massachusetts area.
However, family members have been telling reporters that in the years before the Boston Marathon bombings, Tamerlan Tsarnaev , 26, fell under the strong influence of a new friend, a Christian who converted to Islam and who steered the religiously apathetic young man towards adopting strong Islamic views.
“It started in 2009. And it started right there, in Cambridge,” said Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s uncle Ruslan Tsarni to CNN from his home in Maryland.
“This person just took his brain. He just brainwashed him completely.”
Tamerlan Tsarnaev was killed in a police shootout Friday, April 19. His younger brother, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, was charged Monday with using a weapon of mass destruction to kill, and he could face the death penalty if convicted.
Under the tutelage of a friend known to the Tsarnaev family only as Misha, Tamerlan gave up boxing and stopped studying music, his family said. He began opposing the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Tamerlan Tsarnaev turned to websites and literature claiming that the CIA was behind the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001, and Jews controlled the world.
According to Ruslan Tsarni, Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s radicalization happened right under the nose of his mother, Zubeidat Tsarnaeva.
Ruslan Tsarni said that Misha was around 30-years-old and that he was an Armenian who, unusually for such a largely Christian people, had converted to Islam.
Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s relationship with Misha could be a clue in understanding the motives behind his religious transformation and, ultimately, the attack itself.
Although The Daily Beast claims that now officials know more about Misha he might be a less important part of the case than previously thought.
During his hospital room interrogation, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev told FBI agents this week that he and his brother were influenced by the internet sermons of Anwar al-Awlaki, the American-born preacher who was killed in a US drone strike in Yemen in September 2011.
There is a long trail of hardened terrorists who have acknowledged coming under his sway. Among them are Faisal Shahzad, the Pakistani-American who attempted to set off a car bomb in Times Square in May 2010, and Nidal Malik Hasan, the US Army officer who killed 13 people in a shooting spree at Fort Hood in 2009.
The charismatic cleric was seen by the Obama administration as a uniquely dangerous terrorist because of his sermons, his intuitive grasp of US culture, and a burning desire to strike his birth nation.
As authorities try to piece together that information, they are touching on a question asked after so many terrorist plots: What turns someone into a terrorist?
Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev emigrated in 2002 or 2003 from Dagestan, a Russian republic that has become an epicenter of the Islamic insurgency that spilled over from the region of Chechnya.
They were raised in a home that followed Sunni Islam, the religion’s largest sect. They were not regulars at the mosque and rarely discussed religion, said Elmirza Khozhugov, 26, the ex-husband of Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s sister, Ailina.
Then, in 2008 or 2009, Tamerlan Tsarnaev met Misha, a slightly older, heavyset bald man with a long reddish beard. Elmirza Khozhugov didn’t know where they’d met but believed they attended a Boston-area mosque together.
The FBI has identified the American known as Misha who helped radicalize the Boston bombing suspects Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev
Misha was an Armenian native and a convert to Islam and quickly began influencing his new friend, family members said.
Once, Elmirza Khozhugov said, Misha came to the family home outside Boston and sat in the kitchen, chatting with Tamerlan Tsarnaev for hours.
“Misha was telling him what is Islam, what is good in Islam, what is bad in Islam,” said Elmirza Khozhugov, who said he was present for the conversation.
“This is the best religion and that’s it. Mohammed said this and Mohammed said that.”
The conversation continued until Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s father, Anzor, came home from work.
“It was late, like midnight,” Elmirza Khozhugov recalled.
“His father comes in and says, <<Why is Misha here so late and still in our house?>> He asked it politely. Tamerlan was so much into the conversation he didn’t listen.”
Elmirza Khozhugov said Tamerlan’s mother, Zubeidat Tsarnaeva, told him not to worry.
“Don’t interrupt them,” Elmirza Khozhugov recalled the mother saying.
“They’re talking about religion and good things. Misha is teaching him to be good and nice.”
As time went on, Tamerlan Tsarnaev and his father argued about the young man’s new beliefs.
“When Misha would start talking, Tamerlan would stop talking and listen. It upset his father because Tamerlan wouldn’t listen to him as much,” Elmirza Khozhugov said.
“He would listen to this guy from the mosque who was preaching to him.”
Anzor Tsarnaev became so concerned that he called his brother, Ruslan Tsarni, worried about Misha’s effects.
“I heard about nobody else but this convert,” Ruslan Tsarni said.
“The seed for changing his views was planted right there in Cambridge.”
It was not immediately clear whether the FBI has spoken to Misha or was attempting to.
While Misha is a very common name across the former Soviet Union, Dan Amira makes the point that “there can’t be that many bald, red-bearded Armenian Muslims in Boston”.
Respected national security writer Laura Rozen took to Twitter to speculate that Misha could be “the kind of mole Russia plants to keep on eye on émigré communities of concern”.
Indeed, she theorizes that Misha could even be the source that tipped off Russian security services to Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s conversion to radical Islam in 2011.
Tamerlan Tsarnaev became an ardent reader of jihadist websites and extremist propaganda, two US officials said. He read Inspire magazine, an English-language online publication produced by al-Qaeda’s Yemen affiliate.
The young man loved music and, a few years ago, he sent Elmirza Khozhugov a song he’d composed in English and Russian. He said he was about to start music school.
Six weeks later, the two men spoke on the phone. Elmirza Khozhugov asked how school was going.
“I quit,” Tamerlan Tsarnaev said.
“Why did you quit?” Elmirza Khozhugov asked. “You just started.”
“Music is not really supported in Islam,” he replied.
“Who told you that?”
“Misha said it’s not really good to create music. It’s not really good to listen to music,” Tamerlan Tsarnaev said, according to Elmirza Khozhugov.
Tamerlan Tsarnaev took an interest in Infowars, a conspiracy theory website. Elmirza Khozhugov said Tamerlan was interested in finding a copy of the book The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, the classic anti-Semitic hoax, first published in Russia in 1903, that claims a Jewish plot to take over the world.
“He never said he hated America or he hated the Jews,” Elmirza Khozhugov said.
“But he was fairly aggressive toward the policies of the US toward countries with Muslim populations. He disliked the wars.”
One of the Tsarnaev brothers’ neighbors, Albrecht Ammon, recently recalled an encounter in which Tamerlan argued about US foreign policy, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and religion.
Albrecht Ammon said Tamerlan Tsarnaev described the Bible as a “cheap copy” of the Quran, used to justify wars with other countries.
“He had nothing against the American people,” Albrecht Ammon said.
“He had something against the American government.”
Elmirza Khozhugov said Tamerlan Tsarnaev did not know much about Islam beyond what he found online or what he heard from Misha.
“Misha was important,” he said.
“Tamerlan was searching for something. He was searching for something out there.”
However, the Boston bombers mother, Zubeidat Tsarnaeva, denied reports that her sons had been radicalized by a mysterious convert to Islam named Misha.
“Nonsense. He was just a friend,” Zubeidat Tsarnaeva told ABC News by phone today shortly before she sat down with FBI investigators for a second day of interviews here in the restive region of Dagestan, in southern Russia.
Zubeidat Tsarnaeva said Misha knew a lot about Islam and that it was interesting to learn from him, but denied his views were extreme.
She said their relationship with Misha, an Armenian with a red beard whose identity and full name remain a mystery, was short because he moved to another part of the United States since. She would not say where.
Throughout his religious makeover, Tamerlan Tsarnaev maintained a strong influence over his siblings, including Dzhokhar, who investigators say carried out the deadly attack by his older brother’s side, killing three and injuring 264 people.
“They all loved Tamerlan. He was the eldest one and he, in many ways, was the role model for his sisters and his brother,” said Elmirza Khozhugov.
“You could always hear his younger brother and sisters say, <<Tamerlan said this>>, and <<Tamerlan said that. Dzhokhar loved him. He would do whatever Tamerlan would say.”
“Even my ex-wife loved him so much and respected him so much,” Elmirza Khozhugov said.
“I’d have arguments with her and if Tamerlan took my side, she would agree: <<OK, if Tamerlan said it>>.”
Elmirza Khozhugov said he was close to Tamerlan when he was married and they kept in touch for a while but drifted apart in the past two years or so.
He spoke to the AP from his home in Almaty, Kazakhstan. A family member in the United States provided the contact information.
“Of course I was shocked and surprised that he was Suspect No. 1,” Elmirza Khozhugov said, recalling the days after the bombing when the FBI identified Tamerlan Tsarnaev as the primary suspect.
“But after a few hours of thinking about it, I thought it could be possible that he did it.”
Danny, aka Jiang Lantan, is a 26-year-old Chinese entrepreneur whose Mercedes was carjacked by Boston Marathon bombers Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev last Thursday evening.
The incident occurred at almost 11p.m. when the man, who has asked to only be identified by his American nickname Danny, but now known by Chinese bloggers as Jiang Lantan, had just pulled his car to the curb on Brighton Avenue, Boston.
While Danny was texting, a man in dark clothes approached his car and knocked on the window. Before the driver could react the man had unlocked the door, climbed in and was brandishing a silver handgun, according to the Boston Globe.
The man, who would later be identified as Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, asked Danny if he had followed the news about Monday’s Boston Marathon bombings.
“I did that,” said the man.
“And I just killed a policeman in Cambridge.”
Danny says he has been able to fill in important blanks between the murder of MIT police officer Sean Collier, just before 10:30 p.m. on April 18, and the Watertown shootout that ended just before 1 a.m. with the death of Tamerlan Tsarnaev and the serious wounding of his brother Dzhokhar, 19.
Jiang Lantan has described a truly harrowing ordeal which included a bizarre mix of bursts of life-threatening violence and everyday conversation on mundane subjects such as girls, how much payments on his Mercedes ML 350 were, the iPhone5 and whether anyone still listens to CDs.
At one point Tamerlan Tsarnaev told Danny not to look at his face, to he said he would not remember his face.
The bomb suspect replied: “It’s like white guys, they look at black guys and think all black guys look the same. And maybe you think all white guys look the same.”
In another moment during the carjacking, the suspects were disappointed that Danny did not have any CDs in his car. They flipped through the radio avoiding news stations and later put on a CD of chatting after they had made a stop.
To begin with Jiang Lantan was driving his car with Tamerlan Tsarnaev in the passenger seat beside him, while Dzhokhar following behind in a sedan. Later the brother’s moved all the gear into Danny’s car and Tamerlan drove.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev enters a gas station in Cambridge, Massachusetts, wearing a gray hoodie and carrying snacks on Thursday evening
The late-night drive lasted an hour and a half. At one stage during his ordeal, Danny says a friend called him on his phone and he was told by Tamerlan Tsarnaev that he would be killed if he spoke to the person in Chinese.
“Death is so close to me,” said Danny, recalling his thinking at the time.
“I don’t want to die.”
“I have a lot of dreams that haven’t come true yet,” said the student from central China, who attended a graduate school at Northeastern University before joining a tech start-up company.
Jiang Lantan had come to the US in 2009 for a master’s degree and graduated in January 2012, before returning to China to await a work visa.
He had returned two months ago, however he chose to told Tamerlan Tsarnaev that he was still a student and had been in the US barely a year.
Jiang Lantan says the brothers had some difficulty understanding his English when he tried to tell them he was from China.
“Oh, that’s why your English is not very good,” said Tamerlan Tsarnaev.
“OK, you’re Chinese… I’m a Muslim.”
“Chinese are very friendly to Muslims!” Danny said.
“We are so friendly to Muslims.”
Danny also revealed that could hear the brothers openly discussing driving to New York, although he couldn’t make out if they were planning another attack or just looking to escape.
Fortunately for Danny there was a problem because his car was almost out of gas and then a set of circumstances played out which afforded him an opportunity to escape his captors.
In search of petrol they stopped at a Shell Station and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was forced to go inside the Shell Food Mart to pay for petrol.
When Tamerlan Tsarnaev put his gun in the door pocket to fiddle with a navigation device, Danny seized his moment to escape.
“I was thinking I must do two things: unfasten my seatbelt and open the door and jump out as quick as I can. If I didn’t make it, he would kill me right out, he would kill me right away.”
He unbuckled his seat belt, opened the door, then slammed it behind, and sprinted off at an angle that would be a hard shot for any marksman.
“F***!” he heard Tamerlan Tsarnaev saying, but the man did not follow.
Jiang Lantan reached the safe haven of a Mobil station across the street and sought cover in a supply room, while he shouted at the clerk to call 911.
Authorities have said that Danny’s quick-thing escape allowed police to swiftly track down the Mercedes, abating a possible attack by the Tsarnaev brothers on New York City and precipitating a wild shootout in Watertown that killed Tamerlan and left a severely injured Dzhokhar hiding in the neighborhood.
After an hour of talking to police – as the shootout and manhunt erupted in Watertown -Danny was brought to East Watertown for a “drive-by lineup”, studying faces of detained suspects in the street from the safety of a cruiser.
He did not recognize the suspects in the line-up. He spent the night talking to local and state police and the FBI before being dropped at home at 3 p.m. the next afternoon.
Jiang Lantan said, when he was back in Cambridge, after questioning: “I think, Tamerlan is dead, I feel good, obviously safer. But the younger brother – I don’t know.”
Danny had wondered if Dzhokhar Tsarnaev had discovered his address and would come looking for him. But the police knew the wallet and registration were still in the bullet-riddled Mercedes, and that a wounded Dzhokhar could not have gone far.
That night, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was caught, ending a harrowing week across Greater Boston and in particular for Jiang Lantan.
NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg has said the Boston Marathon suspects Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev planned to detonate the rest of their explosives in Times Square.
Michael Bloomberg said Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the surviving suspect, had told the FBI he and his brother Tamerlan “spontaneously” decided that New York would be next.
Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly told reporters the suspects had a pressure cooker bomb and five pipe bombs.
Three people died and over 260 were wounded in the April 15 Boston Marathon attack.
“Last night we were informed by the FBI that the surviving attacker revealed that New York City was next on their list of targets,” Michael Bloomberg said during Thursday’s news conference at city hall.
“He and his older brother intended to drive to New York and detonate those explosives in Times Square.”
NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg has said the Boston Marathon suspects Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev planned to detonate the rest of their explosives in Times Square
Raymond Kelly said the brothers had planned to head to New York after hijacking a car and its driver in Boston last Thursday night.
“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,” Raymond Kelly said, adding that the driver escaped and alerted police.
Police intercepted the brothers in the stolen car, prompting a gun battle that left 26-year-old Tamerlan Tsarnaev dead.
Michael Bloomberg praised Massachusetts law enforcement for their work in stopping the suspects, saying “we know they had the capacity to carry out the attacks”.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, is said to have travelled to New York at least once last autumn.
He is now in police custody in hospital and has been charged with using a weapon of mass destruction to kill people.
Before reportedly telling investigators he and his brother planned an attack on Times Square, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev had said they were planning to go to New York “to party” after the bombings.
Following 16 hours of interrogation, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev stopped responding to investigators’ questions after being read his legal rights to remain silent and have a lawyer, US media report.
Michael Bloomberg said there was no evidence New York was currently a target, but that the Tsarnaevs’ alleged plan proved the city remained a prime location for people who want to “bomb and kill Americans”.
On Thursday afternoon, police vehicles lined Times Square in a show of force, with officers standing shoulder to shoulder.
“Why are they standing like that? This is supposed to make me feel safer?” Elisabeth Bennecib, a tourist from France, told the Associated Press.
“It makes me feel more anxious, like something bad is about to happen.”
The suspects’ father, Anzor Tsarnaev, has said he will travel imminently to the US. The family wants to take Tamerlan’s body back to Russia. But it is not clear if his former wife will join him.
Zubeidat Tsarnaeva left the US and failed to make a court appearance after being arrested last June on suspicion of stealing $1,624 of women’s dresses from a Massachusetts department store.
Zubeidat Tsarnaeva, the mother of the Boston marathon bombers, says she regrets that her family emigrated to the US, more than 10 years ago.
At a news conference in the Russian republic of Dagestan, where she now lives, Zubeidat Tsarnaeva said America had taken her children away from her.
The Boston bombers’ mother also reiterated she was sure her sons were not involved in the attack.
It is being reported that Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, was added to a terrorism database 18 months ago at the CIA’s request.
Three people were killed and more than 260 wounded when two devices exploded at the Boston marathon on 15 April.
“I would prefer not to have lived in America. Why did I go there?” Zubeidat Tsarnaeva said at Thursday’s news conference in Makhachkala, Dagestan.
At a news conference in the Russian republic of Dagestan, where she now lives, Zubeidat Tsarnaeva said America had taken her children away from her
“I thought America would protect us. America took my kids away from me… I’m sure my kids were not involved in anything.”
Tamerlan Tsarnaev was killed a few days after the bombing during a shootout with police.
His younger brother, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, was captured and charged in connection with the attack.
The suspects’ father, Anzor Tsarnaev, has said he will travel to the US on Thursday or Friday. The family wants to take Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s body back to Russia.
Zubeidat Tsarnaeva, 45, has said she is still undecided whether to go, AP news agency reports, because she was charged with shoplifting in the US last year and fears arrest if she returns.
In questioning from his hospital bedside, where Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is being treated for gunshot wounds, he has reportedly said he and his brother Tamerlan were angry about the US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
In 2012, Tamerlan Tsarnaev spent six months with relatives in Dagestan, which has an Islamist militant insurgency.
But congressmen said on Wednesday after closed-door briefings that the brothers are not believed to have had direct contact with a militant organization.
Meanwhile, there are questions as to whether the authorities did enough to prevent the bombings.
US media report that Tamerlan Tsarnaev was added in 2011 to the Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment (TIDE), at the request of the CIA.
The database contains as many as 745,000 entries; individuals on that list are not necessarily on the so-called terrorist watch list.
The FBI investigated after Russian authorities alerted US counterparts to the activities of Tamerlan Tsarnaev, saying he had become a follower of radical Islam.
About six months before the CIA requested his name be added to TIDE, the FBI asked the Russians for more information about the elder brother but received none, and closed its investigation.
US officials said earlier that their intelligence community had no information about threats to the marathon ahead of last week’s attacks.
After a classified briefing at the House intelligence committee on Wednesday, Democratic Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger said he believed the FBI was not at fault.
Boston bomb suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev was added to a terrorism database 18 months ago at the request of the CIA, officials have told US media.
The FBI has already said it investigated Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, but had found no evidence of a threat.
Tamerlan Tsarnaev was killed during a police chase last week. His brother Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, is in custody over the bombs.
Three people were killed and more than 260 wounded when two devices exploded at the Boston Marathon on April 15.
A US politician earlier confirmed the bombs were set off by remote control.
But the devices were not sophisticated and apparently had to be triggered from a few streets away.
Officials said Tamerlan Tsarnaev had been added to the Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment (TIDE) on the request of the CIA.
CIA tracked Tamerlan Tsarnaev 18 months before Boston attack and added him to terrorism database
The database contains as many as 745,000 entries, and individuals on that list are not necessarily on the so-called terrorist watch list.
The Russian authorities had alerted US counterparts to the activities of Tamerlan Tsarnaev, whose family has its origins in the war-torn Russian republic of Chechnya.
About six months before the CIA requested his name be added to TIDE, the FBI asked the Russians for more information about Tamerlan Tsarnaev but received none, and closed its investigation.
The authorities earlier said the US intelligence community had no information about threats to the Boston Marathon ahead of the April 15 attacks.
After a classified briefing in the House intelligence committee on Wednesday, Democratic Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger said he believed the FBI was not at fault.
“I feel, based on the testimony today, that the FBI did exactly what they would do and they followed through the protocols that were necessary once they got that information,” Dutch Ruppersberger told reporters.
He also said he had been told the bombs were detonated with a “garage door opener-type of device”.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was injured during the police manhunt and remains in hospital in a fair condition.
Officers captured him as he hid in a boat covered by a tarpaulin in a garden in Watertown, Massachusetts.
Officials initially had said Dzhokhar Tsarnaev exchanged gunfire with police for more than an hour before he was captured on Friday.
But the Associated Press quoted two unnamed officials as saying Dzhokhar Tsarnaev had been unarmed when he was captured.
The younger brother has been charged in hospital with using a weapon of mass destruction and malicious destruction of property resulting in death.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev could be sentenced to death if convicted on either count.
In bedside questioning, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has said he and his brother were angry about the US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
But the brothers are not believed to have had direct contact with a militant organization, politicians said after closed-door briefings.
It is suspected the brothers became radicalized online.
The suspects’ parents, Anzor Tsarnaev and Zubeidat Tsarnaeva, are due to arrive in the US on Thursday, Russian media reported.
The Tsarnaev family has origins in the predominantly Muslim republic of Chechnya in southern Russia.
Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev had been living in the US for about a decade at the time of the Boston Marathon attack.
In 2012, Tamerlan Tsarnaev spent six months with relatives in Dagestan, another Russian republic, which has an Islamist militant insurgency.
Two unnamed US officials have revealed to the Associated Press that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was unarmed when police captured him hiding inside David Henneberry’s boat in Watertown.
The report contradicts the Boston police department’s own account of Dzhokar Tsarnaev’s capture on Friday – after commissioner Edward F. Davis described a firefight between him and officers before the terror suspect was captured.
The New York Times also said an M4 rifle had been found on the boat – another claim contradicted by the latest revelations.
Officers had originally said they had exchanged gunfire with Dzhokhar Tsarnaev for more than one hour Friday evening before they were able to subdue him.
But on Wednesday, the law enforcement officials told the AP that no gun was found aboard the vessel.
It also contradicts many media accounts of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s final moments of freedom.
The New York Times reported that an M-4 carbine rifle – similar to the weapon used by American troops fighting in Afghanistan – was found aboard the boat and that officials had recovered two handguns and a bb gun used by the two brothers.
Two unnamed US officials have told the AP that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was unarmed when police captured him hiding inside the boat
The throat wound sustained by Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was also said by numerous law enforcement sources to be self inflicted.
Sources told Newsday that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s bullet wound looked to be self-inflicted, due to the location of the wound and the trajectory of the bullet.
Reuters reported that the Boston bomber was shot through the mouth by a round that exited through his neck.
Dozens of bullet holes were seen on the exterior of David Henneberry’s boat in photos taken shortly after the final standoff in the Watertown backyard.
The officials told the AP that say investigators only recovered a 9 mm handgun believed to have been used by Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s brother, Tamerlan, from the site of a gun battle Thursday night, which injured a Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority officer.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was believed to have been shot before he escaped.
Meanwhile the suspect told the FBI that they were angry about the US wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and the killing of Muslims there, officials said.
How much of those conversations will end up in court is unclear.
The FBI normally tells suspects they have the right to remain silent before questioning them so all their statements can be used against them.
Under pressure from Congress, however, the Department of Justice has said investigators may wait until they have gathered intelligence about other threats before reading those rights in terrorism cases.
The American Civil Liberties Union has expressed concern about that.
Regardless, investigators have found pieces of remote-control equipment among the debris and were analyzing them, officials said.
One official described the detonator as “close-controlled”, meaning it had to be triggered within several blocks of the bombs.
Tamerlan Tsarnaev was receiving Massachusetts welfare benefits in the lead up to the deadly attacks at the Boston Marathon.
Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, lived off state aid while his wife, Katherine Russell Tsarnaev, worked as a home healthcare worker, sometimes clocking as many as 80 hours a week while her unemployed husband stayed at home, Massachusetts welfare officials revealed on Wednesday.
Ultimately Katherine Russell’s income made the couple ineligible for welfare and they stopped receiving state money in 2012.
Sources who knew Tamerlan Tsarnaev said that though he sported a flashy appearance, he failed to earn very much money for his family and was essentially a stay-at-home dad.
His younger brother, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev,on the other hand, has been described as more entrepreneurial.
Katherine Russell Tsarnaev worked as a home healthcare worker, sometimes clocking as many as 80 hours a week, while her unemployed husband Tamerlan Tsarnaev stayed at home
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, who was a sophomore at University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, attended the school on a scholarship and earned petty cash selling marijuana, sources told the Boston Globe.
Investigators are scrutinizing the Tsarnaev brothers’ source of income, as they probe whether the pair received outside assistance for their attack, either from a radical group or foreign government.
Security experts have noted though that the modus operandi was relatively cheap, estimating that the materials for each of the pressure cooker bombs used at the Boston Marathon attack could have cost a total of $100 each.
It is not known when Tamerlan Tsarnaev and Katherine Russell, the mother of the couple’s 3-year-old daughter, began receiving the aid.
They “were not receiving transitional assistance benefits at the time of the [Boston Marathon blasts]”, Massachusetts Office of Health and Human Services spokesman Alec Loftus told the Boston Herald.
Both suspects believed to be behind the bombings, Tamerlan Tsarnaev and his brother, Dzhokhar, had also received welfare as children.
Their parents, Anzor Tsarnaev and Zubeidat Tsarnaeva, relied on state assistance when they moved to America from the Russian republic of Dagestan.
State officials have been reluctant to discuss whether the Tsarnaevs had received state money when they immigrated to the U.S. in the early 2000s.
Ultimately, after pressure from the press the state welfare benefits office divulged the information to the Boston Herald.
Zubeidat Tsarnaeva, the mother of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, has launched into a bizarre rant in which she claims she does not care if she or her youngest son are to be killed by US authorities.
Zubeidat Tsarnaeva, who now lives in Dagestan, Russia, said in an emotional telephone interview that she believes her sons, Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, have been framed for the bombings.
The suspects’ father, Anzor Tsarnaev, has already been interviewed by Russian and American authorities and will make his way to the United States along with his ex-wife as early as Thursday.
Their eldest son, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, died after a shootout with police in Watertown, Massachusetts on Friday, while Dzhokhar, 19, is in hospital recovering from a wound to the neck.
“If they are going to kill him, I don’t care,” Zubeidat Tsarnaeva told CNN of Dzhokhar.
“My oldest one is killed, so I don’t care. I don’t care is my youngest one is going to be killed today. I want the world to hear this.
‘And I don’t care if I am going to get killed too. And I will say Allahu akbar!”
Zubeidat Tsarnaeva has launched into a bizarre rant saying she does not care if she or her son Dzhokhar are to be killed by US authorities
While Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was reportedly injured from a self-inflicted gunshot wound as he sought to hide from police in a boat parked in a backyard, his mother said she does not believe this account.
“You know what I think? I think now they will try to make my Dzhokhar guilty because they took away his voice, his ability to talk to the world… They did not want the truth to come out,” Zubeidat Tsarnaeva said.
She added that the only reason her sons were targeted was because they were Muslim, adding that she saw footage of Tamerlan Tsarnaev being killed “really cruelly”.
U.S. authorities are on their way to speak with Zubeidat Tsarnaeva in the aftermath of the bombings.
It appears that Katherine Russell Tsarnaev, the widow of suspected Boston bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev, has a criminal record and is a confessed shoplifter.
According to a police report from 2007, Katherine Russell was arrested that year for stealing $67 worth of clothing from an Old Navy store in Warwick, Rhode Island.
And in an intriguing twist, Katherine Russell, who was 18 at the time, told officers she was married though she was living at parent’s North Kingstown home and did not meet Tamerlan Tsranaev until some two years later.
The startling revelation of this tawdry incident raises fresh questions over the past and character of the “all-American girl” “brainwashed” according to her friends, by her fanatic husband.
Katherine Russell, no 25, was arrested along with an unnamed female minor on 26 June 2007. Then, the police report states, she was “skinny” with hazel eyes and red or auburn hair – now firmly concealed by the Hijab. She is described as unemployed and married.
Katherine Russell Tsarnaev, the widow of suspected Boston bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev, has a criminal record and is a confessed shoplifter
Old Navy store security guard Linda Lewis stopped the girls having watched Katherine Russelll and her companion enter the store, select several items and put them in their handbags.
In 2011 Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s mother, Zubeidat Tsarnaeva, was charged with stealing several designer dresses worth $1,600 from a store in suburban Natick.
Katherine Russell’s foray was hardly on the same scale. She took five items valuing $67; her friend took three with a total item of $125.
She was placed in handcuffs and taken to Warwick Police Department.
According to the store Loss Prevention Agent Linda Lewis: “They admitted to shoplifting the items and handed the over without further incident.”
Katherine Russell was summonsed to appear at Kent County Courthouse where her charge was dismissed on paying a $200 fine and doing community service.
That fall Katherine Russell enrolled in a Communications course at Suffolk University, Boston, an act that led to her meeting Tamerlan Tsranaev in a nightclub and the relationship that would ultimately derail her college dreams completely.
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