Sat, Apr 12, 2014 - Page 7 News List

Marathon bombing report cites lapses among spy agencies

Reuters, WASHINGTON

Information that may have intensified US scrutiny of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev fell through the cracks in communications among US law enforcement agencies and between the US and Russia, according to a US report released on Thursday.

The report, conducted by inspectors general of various US intelligence agencies, found that Russia alerted the US in 2011 that Tsarnaev might pose a threat. However, the case was later closed because the FBI found no link between Tsarnaev and terrorism.

Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, Chechen brothers who lived in the Boston area, are suspected of planting bombs near the race’s finish line on April 15 last year in an attack that killed three people and injured more than 260.

Tamerlan Tsarnaev died after a gunfight with police. His brother is awaiting trial on charges that could lead to the death penalty if he is convicted.

After receiving information from Russia in March 2011 that Tamerlan Tsarnaev was an adherent of radical Islam, the FBI sent two letters to Russian spy agencies requesting more information.

The report “found no documentation or other information that the Russian intelligence agency responded to either letter prior to the bombings.”

The report also found that the FBI agent assessing the threat Tsarnaev posed did not contact local law enforcement, visit the mosque he attended, or interview the suspect’s wife or friends.

The report, on which members of the US Congress were briefed on Thursday, was conducted by the CIA and the US Departments of Justice and Homeland Security. The agencies recommended that the FBI and Homeland Security clarify their procedures in investigating terrorism.

The report also recommended that the FBI establish a procedure for sharing information about potential threats.

A similar recommendation came out of a report on the bombing that was issued late last month by the US House of Representatives Homeland Security Committee, which said a “greater sharing of information might have altered the course of events.”

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