The Boston Marathon Bombing One Year Later: A Detailed Look

at the Vast Failures, Falsehoods and Cover-ups of the FBI and CIA


Keith Maart

 April 14, 2014


  1. The Initial Russian Warning Letter and the FBI’s “Alleged” Investigative Actions

  2. The FBI’s Dropped Leads/Investigation Errors and Russia’s Warning to the CIA

  3. Russia’s Letters about Tamerlan’s Radicalization Provide Sufficient Evidence for Needed Warrants

  4. Tamerlan’s Terrorist Watchlisting Blunders, Cover-Ups and Critical Open Questions

  5. Other Warnings and Missed Opportunities Relating to Tamerlan — Incompetence or Complicity?

  6. The FBI’s Absurd and Non-Transparent Internal Review of Its Own BMB Failures

  7. The House Committee on Homeland Security’s BMB Report — BMB Investigation for Idiots

  8. The Inspector Generals’ BMB Report and Its Disinformation and Propaganda Campaign

  9. The End of Truth, Transparency and Accountability, and the Real Crimes of the BMB

         References and Endnotes
On April 11, 2013, Director of National Intelligence, James (“I gave the least untruthful answer”) Clapper, met with the House Select Committee on Intelligence to present US intelligence’s 2013 Worldwide Threat Assessment.[1] According to Clapper, “The topic that’s foremost on all our minds this year is sequestration” (mandatory budget cuts). Despite the fact that the intelligence budget had more than doubled since 9/11, Clapper was aghast at the possibility that sequestration would cut it a whole seven percent in a world filled with many perceived threats to America, the country with an intelligence and homeland security budget that is greater than the total government budgets of 196 of 222 other countries in the world.[2] The 9/11 attacks turned out to be a huge economic coup for US intelligence and the rest of the national security apparatus, and Clapper was determined to fight for his big slice of the budget pie in (as he saw it) a dangerous world full of many evil-doers.


Tsarnaev brothersOn April 15, 2013, Clapper’s hopes to avert big sequester cuts to the intelligence budget were fulfilled when two supposed lone wolves, Tamerlan Tsarnaev (right) and his younger brother Dzhokhar Tsarnaev (left), allegedly pulled off the first Islamist terrorist attack inside the United States since 9/11. With the explosion of two pressure cooker bombs in the closing minutes of the Boston Marathon, Clapper had his sequester prayers answered (to lessen the impending intelligence budget cuts and to put America on guard that the Islamic bogeymen is still out there and wants to do us harm). Indeed, a month after the marathon bombing FBI Director Robert Mueller testified in front of the Senate FBI Oversight and Appropriations Committee and warned that sequester cuts to the intelligence budget could lead to more BMB type attacks.[3] Despite sequestration cuts for most agencies, the FBI’s 2013/14 enacted fiscal budget of $8.3billion was actually $200 million greater than the previous year.[4]   


On April 19, 2013, CBS News broke the story that the Boston FBI interviewed and investigated Tamerlan on counterterrorism-related matters just two years earlier. According to CBS, the FBI initially tried to deny their  previous contact with Tamerlan, an attempted falsehood that was quickly exposed by Tamerlan’s mother’s confirmation that the FBI interviewed Tamerlan and also the rest of the family.[5] The FBI’s first instinct was to lie and to try and cover-up the highly embarrassing fact that they knew Tamerlan and had investigated him previously for terrorism connections and capabilities, the type of crime he allegedly committed in the BMB. Unfortunately, the FBI and other US intelligence agencies have persisted with falsehoods, obfuscation, and cover-ups to this date. Couple those issues with the pathetic mainstream media (MSM) gatekeepers and congressional oversight committees, which are mere lapdogs, and we are left with a very dangerous threat to our democracy and to the vital underlying principles of transparency and accountability.


The Boston Marathon Bombing (BMB) appears to be the usual alarmist message from the likes of the FBI and CIA to remind us that Islamic terrorists are still lurking in the shadows and that we need to keep spending hundreds of billions of dollars and give up further civil liberties and privacy so the US national security apparatus can “keep us safe”. This paper presents an in-depth investigation into the many BMB intelligence failures and will help expose the many lies, cover-ups, and apparent complicity by US intelligence.  It is by far the most detailed and comprehensive analysis of the BMB to date, and among other important findings, provides documented evidence showing the following crucial facts and points:


1.    The Boston FBI conducted a poor and reprehensible 3-month investigation of Tamerlan Tsarnaev in 2011 and dubiously missed significant evidence that showed Tamerlan’s threatening Islamic radicalization at that time. (Sections A and B)

2.    Contrary to FBI statements, the 2011 Russian warning “letters” regarding Tamerlan (one letter also included information on Ibragim Todashev) were significant in content and showed that Tamerlan had contacts with foreign Islamic militants/agents, was visiting jihadist websites, and was looking to join jihadist groups in the Caucasus  and the Palestinian (Occupied) Territories. (Sections A and C)

3.    Contrary to FBI statements, evidence available at the time of Tamerlan’s 2011 investigation appears to have provided sufficient probable cause to obtain FISA warrants that would have probably allowed for NSA wiretaps and other more encompassing surveillance tools. (Section C)

4.    The FBI interviewed Tamerlan at least a couple of times and conducted surveillance outside his Cambridge apartment. At the time of the BMB, Tamerlan should have been a prime suspect and the FBI should have had photographs of Tamerlan that would have allowed them to identify him from the BMB video utilizing the FBI’s state of the art face recognition lab (Section B)

5.    Inconceivable and rudimentary human errors (not systemic) were made in Tamerlan’s terrorism watchlisting process which have been covered-up and obfuscated by US intelligence and the unquestioning MSM. (Section D)

6.    The FBI and CIA have given the same excuses for their BMB intelligence failures that they gave for their many 9/11 intelligence failures while providing little to no transparency or accountability. (Sections A and D)

7.    Although never reported in the MSM, Russia’s FSB vehemently deny that the FBI ever asked them for additional information on Tamerlan. Russia asked the FBI to provide them with contact names and dates but there’s no evidence the FBI ever provided the information. (Section C)

8.    The CIA’s terrorism watchlisting criteria for Tamerlan at a minimum suspected him of preparing for terrorist-related activities and the watchlist entry stated that he might be “armed and dangerous.” These facts contradict the FBI’s findings that Tamerlan did not even have one derogatory terrorism issue. (Section D)

9.    The FBI not only failed to alert local and state law enforcement officials in the Joint Terrorism Task Force about Tamerlan’s terrorism investigation but also did not even check with these authorities to see if they might have had information on Tamerlan, just one of the many indications of the very poor FBI investigation. (Sections A and D)

10.  There’s evidence that the Russian FSB contacted US intelligence around November 2012 and informed them that Tamerlan had met with Islamic militants while in Dagestan in the first half 2012. This should have given US intelligence the right and the immediate need to reopen their investigation of Tamerlan. (Section E)

11.  There’s strong evidence that Tamerlan’s Uncle Ruslan Tsarni, who established the narrative of Tamerlan’s Islamic radicalization, had CIA and Chechen rebel connections, but this was not investigated by the FBI. (Secction B)

12.  The three investigations conducted into the BMB intelligence failures are pitiful shams with little transparency and false claims that do not address most of the critical issues and questions on the BMB’s intelligence failures. (Sections F, G and H).


The American public has been told many lies by US intelligence in regards to the BMB and there are at least a couple of dozen critical open questions relating to the many intelligence failures and cover-ups by the FBI, CIA and DHS. This paper basically shows that certain individuals and elements of US Intelligence made many basic and inexplicable errors that enabled Tamerlan Tsarnaev to pull off the BMB. Given the extremely poor transparency to date and the many unanswered critical questions, it would be naïve and even foolish to discount the possibility of US intelligence’s complicity in the BMB. In fact, the evidence presented in this paper will show that Tamerlan may have been a US intelligence asset who ultimately ended up as a dead patsy.


A. The Initial Russian Warning Letter and the FBI’s “Alleged” Investigative Actions

The US spends approximately $75 billion on intelligence and another $70 billion on homeland security every year (combined 8% of discretionary spending with military spending another 38%) and with those astronomical numbers, you would think the intelligence agencies could stop making the same mistakes over and over again.[6] As in the 9/11 attacks, there were significant intelligence failures in the BMB by the FBI, CIA and DHS. Also similar to 9/11, these intelligence failures are being covered-up by the intelligence agencies giving the exact same excuses such as the simple misspelling of a suspect’s name causing confusion for terrorist watchlists, or the intelligence agencies not sharing vital information. The 9/11 Commission spent a lot of time and money identifying many alleged intelligence failures and those failures occurred again in the BMB case. Indeed, an investigation by the House Committee on Homeland Security into the BMB stated, “Many of the Committee’s recommendations … echo recommendations included in the 9/11 Commission Report.”[7] It is unconscionable for intelligence agencies to cite the same old excuses while still providing little to no transparency or accountability for their failures.


In early March 2011, the Russian security service (FSB) sent a warning to the FBI office in Moscow that Tamerlan Tsarnaev was a “follower of radical Islam” who had “changed drastically since 2010” and was preparing to travel to Russia’s turbulent Caucasus region to connect with underground militant groups. The Russians also expressed interest in Tamerlan’s mother, Zubeidat Tsarnaev, and were concerned that mother and son were very religious and strong believers, and could become militants if they returned to Russia. (These are the only two sentences that the FBI has released relating to the one and a quarter page Russian warning letter.[8]) According to ex-CIA agent Robert Baer, “Russian intelligence services don’t like the United States, they don’t provide tactical intelligence, and when they do, you better listen.”[9]


After CBS broke the story on April 19, 2013, that the FBI had interviewed and investigated Tamerlan two years earlier, the FBI went into damage control mode and issued a national press release later that same day stating that they had reviewed their records and had determined that “in early 2011, a foreign government [Russia] asked the FBI for information about Tamerlan Tsarnaev”, re-stating the same two aforementioned sentences about the Russian warning. The FBI went on to say that it had checked databases and other information to look for such things as derogatory phone communications, use of internet sites associated with Islamist radical activity, associations with other “persons of interest”, and travel history and plans. The FBI also stated that they interviewed Tamerlan and his family and that they did not find any terrorism activity, domestic or foreign.[10]    


The FBI also set up surveillance outside Tamerlan’s Cambridge, Mass., apartment. According to an anonymous official briefed on the matter, the bureau never entered the dwelling but did some light, intermittent surveillance, less than full-scale surveillance, but more than driving by the house. According to anonymous US officials, the effort yielded nothing to substantiate Russia’s suspicions, and on June 24, 2011, the FBI closed its assessment without adding a single derogatory note to Tamerlan’s file. However, Tamerlan’s name was allegedly placed on a broad FBI terrorism database called “Guardian”, which is available to members of the Boston Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF).[11] The Washington Post also reported that a Customs officer assigned to the Boston JTTF attached a “lookout” to Tamerlan’s name to the Treasury Enforcement Communications (TECS) watchlist report.[12] The JTTF, Guardian, and TECS are discussed in more detail in Section D below.


Not only did the FBI not notify state and local law enforcement authorities who have members in the JTTF about Tamerlan’s counterterrorism investigation but also they did not even check with any of the police departments to see if they had any information on Tamerlan.[13] One of the first places, if not the first place, one would expect the FBI to check for derogatory information about Tamerlan is the local police departments, or at least to request the state and local police officials in the JTTF to run checks with their respective police departments. This blatant blunder is just one of many pointing to the FBI’s poor and unacceptable investigation of Tamerlan.


In an interview with RT News on the day of Tamerlan’s death, April 19, 2013, Tamerlan’s mother makes the following statements in relation to the FBI’s contact with her and her son:[14]

  • The FBI used to come to Zubiedat’s house to talk to her about Tamerlan (apparently more than once).
  • The FBI told Zubiedat that Tamerlan was an extremist leader and they were afraid of him.
  • The FBI said they knew what extremist internet sites Tamerlan was visiting.
  • The FBI was counseling Tamerlan, they were counseling his every step.
  • Other FBI agent(s) told her that Tamerlan was an excellent boy and they had no problem with him.

Zubiedat’s last statement would seem to accord with the FBI’s alleged conclusion on Tamerlan, but why were other FBI agents stating that Tamerlan was an extremist leader and visited extremist internet sites? Were they possibly playing good cop/bad cop or helping establish Tamerlan’s covert identity (legend) as an Islamic extremist? Given the FBI’s attempt to lie about having known Tamerlan and his mother, and its continued poor transparency in this case, the FBI’s account of the facts have no more credibility than Zubiedat’s. What would a grieving mother’s motivation be to claim that she got two different responses about her son from the FBI and that they were counseling/monitoring him?


Supporting Zubiedat’s testimony is evidence from the legal proceedings of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. In defense legal filings on March 28, 2014, the defense states that based on information from Dzhokhar’s family and other sources, the FBI made more than one visit to talk with Tamerlan and his mother and father, questioned Tamerlan about his internet searches, and asked him to be an informant, reporting on the Chechen and Muslim community. The defense further states that they learned of “the FBI’s contacts with Tamerlan through other sources (including hearsay references contained in FBI 302s [interview summaries] from various community sources).” When the defense requested all records and documentation concerning FBI contacts with Tamerlan on February 28, 2014, the government replied two weeks later basically indicating they were not going to supply the documentation and denied that Tamerlan was a government (FBI) informant.[15]


The possibility that Tamerlan could have been a US intelligence asset has been raised by a number of people including ex-CIA agent Robert Baer and FBI 9/11 whistleblower Sibel Edmonds.[16] Edmonds’ worked for the FBI right after 9/11 as a translator, and has done extensive terrorism-related research on the Northern Caucasus/Central Asia region. Edmonds notes that Chechen “terrorists” are fighting on the US side in Syria and that there are past and present people in the US government who have sympathized overtly with the terrorists/rebels’ independence cause and who have advocated the covert use of Chechen  “terrorists” as proxies for US interests against Russia. Edmonds also notes that the US calls these Chechen militants “rebels” or “freedom fighters” as opposed to “terrorists” because they have been known to fight for American causes against others.[17] Until the FBI and CIA show some transparency in the BMB case and provide answers to the many critical open questions, no alternative hypothesis should be ruled out.       


B. The FBI’s Dropped Leads/Investigation Errors and Russia’s Warning to the CIA

Tamerlan TsarnaevA burning question at this point is why didn’t the Boston FBI consider Tamerlan a prime suspect in the BMB immediately after the event, given their terrorist-related investigation of him less than two years prior? The Boston FBI knew Tamerlan well, they interviewed him at least a couple of times, watched him from outside his apartment (stakeout agents almost certainly had photo of Tamerlan), and investigated him for three whole months in 2011.[18] Any law enforcement agency with a smidgen of intelligence or competence would first look at past counterterrorism investigations for possible suspects, especially one involving a foreign country tip with significant intelligence information. Not to do so would be grossly negligent, idiotic or even an indication of complicity.


It would also be naïve and even foolish to believe that the Boston FBI did not have some sort of photographic record of Tamerlan given their prior investigation.  Indeed, Tamerlan was a permanent US resident and there should have been at least a visa photo in his FBI file. These facts make the FBI’s allegation that they did not know Tamerlan in the BMB video they released on April 18, 2013, highly questionable and most likely a lie. The FBI probably has the best face recognition system in the world and could easily have connected Tamerlan’s photo records with the marathon videos.[19] The FBI could have apprehended Tamerlan alive and did not need the public’s assistance to identify a man they already knew well.

Ruslan TsarniConfirming Russia’s observation of Islamic radicalization of Tamerlan is the testimony of his uncle, Ruslan Tsarni (Tamerlan’s father’s younger brother, who changed his last name). Tsarni is the person most responsible for establishing the claim that Tamerlan was a radicalized Islamist when he gave a staged press conference interview at his DC area home the morning after Tamerlan was killed. Tsarni (aka Uncle Ruslan) states that he first noticed significant changes in Tamerlan and his mother in 2009. In an April 20, 2013, interview with CNN Tsarni stated that he spoke on the phone with Tamerlan in 2009 and that Tamerlan talked mostly about Islam, and called Tsarni an infidel. Tsarni then called a Chechen friend in Cambridge, Massachusetts, who knew Tamerlan and his family. The friend told Tsarni that some Armenian convert to Islam (Misha) had become Tamerlan’s friend and took his brains, and that Tamerlan spoke of jihad. When the CNN host asked Tsarni if that suggested radicalization to him, Tsarni responded, “This is when it started … it started in 2009.”[20] Tsarni is also the person who put the clueless MSM on a two week wild goose chase looking for the infamous Misha. 


It should be noted at this point that the MSM never vetted Tsarni and his past despite the fact that he provided the initial and most significant information on Tamerlan’s alleged Islamic radicalization. However, investigative journalist Daniel Hopsicker did an excellent five-part series on Tsarni’s past in late April/early May 2013. Hopsicker found that Tsarni had several very likely CIA connections including being a former son-in-law of a high level CIA Middle East official who has advocated using Chechen terrorists as proxies against Russia and other groups not supporting US interests. Hopsicker also discovered that Tsarni founded a company, and ran it from his ex-father-in-law’s house, which was likely involved in supporting Chechen terrorists.[21] Hopsicker’s findings are further evidence that Tamerlan was probably a US intelligence asset. It should also be noted that Tsarni’s current wife is Tamerlan’s cousin, and that Tamerlan apparently lived with Tsarni in 2002-03.[22] In the April 20, 2013, CNN interview Tsarni states that Dzhokhar came to his house in 2012 to see Ruslan’s wife and that he stayed 300 yards away while Dzhokhar was in the house but observed him from that distance.


So Russia, Tsarni and Tsarni’s Cambridge friend all stated that Tamerlan had become radicalized by 2010 at the latest. In addition there were also articles in the media that stated that Tamerlan’s Islamist tendencies may have started as early as 2008, including statements by Tamerlan’s ex-girlfriend.[23] If Tsarni and his friend realized that Tamerlan was radicalized by 2009, there must have been others who witnessed the same, but it looks like the FBI missed them too. Also contradicting the FBI’s finding is a CIA-initiated warning in the TECS watchlist report in October 2011 stated that Tamerlan might be armed and dangerous and that his detention was mandatory if he tried to leave or re-enter the US.[24] This is a strong and serious warning and not the type one would expect from an individual who did not get one derogatory comment when the FBI investigated him just four months earlier.  


So how did the Boston FBI miss Tamerlan’s radicalization, which was so obvious to everyone else? Did the FBI even talk to Tsarni and his friend in Cambridge (who was friends with the Tsarnaev family) who said Tamerlan had become radicalized and had talked about jihad as early as 2009? The US press found Uncle Ruslan overnight, so how could the FBI possibly have missed talking to the man that Tamerlan once lived with and who came from the same terrorist-ridden area as Tamerlan? A government internal review released in April 2014 stated that the Boston FBI could have conducted more interviews, and noted that the FBI only talked to Tamerlan’s immediate family and some people from his school.[25] This is yet another example of the poor investigation conducted by the Boston FBI.      


After the FBI closed their assessment in late June 2011 an anonymous intelligence official claimed that the FBI allegedly sent Russian intelligence their findings in August 2011 and asked Russia if they had any additional information on Tamerlan but never received a response.[26] Inexplicably, the Russian FSB sent the same letter(s) they sent to the FBI on Tamerlan to the CIA in September 2011. There is basically no information in the MSM or elsewhere indicating whether the CIA conducted any additional investigation of Tamerlan. However, anonymous intelligence sources also claimed that the CIA wrote back to Russia in October 2011 notifying them they did not find that Tamerlan had any terrorist connections. The CIA itself alleges that they asked the Russians if they had any additional information on Tamerlan but that they never received a response.[27]  


Although never reported in the MSM, the Russian FSB denied that they ever received any US investigation findings on Tamerlan or any requests for additional information on him. Massachusetts Congressmen William Keating, who sits on the House Committee of Homeland Security, met with senior officers of Russia’s FSB in late May 2013, and these officers “vehemently” denied that any follow-up from the FBI occurred. In a July 31, 2013, letter to the incoming FBI Director, Keating requested that the FBI provide the dates and contact names for their alleged information requests.[28] However, Keating had not received a reply from the FBI by late October 2013 and it appears that he still had not received a reply by mid-March 2014.[29] There’s no evidence Keating ever got a response to his letter and when this author called Congressmen Keating for confirmation of a response, he was told he had to be a constituent of Keating in order to receive a reply.


It appears that the FBI’s non-response is what prompted the Russian FSB to send their warning letters to the CIA. Although it’s not clear whether the CIA did any additional investigative work on Tamerlan, they apparently added his name to several terrorist databases and watchlist reports, one of which is run by the FBI and to which the FBI chose not to add Tamerlan’s name. The MSM itself reported a number of different stories regarding which terrorist databases and watchlist reports Tamerlan’s name was added to. Perhaps this is attributable to the MSM’s anonymous intelligence sources’ ignorance , disinformation, or just poor reporting by the MSM. In any case there were significant mistakes and errors made by the CIA in the terrorist watchlist input process which basically allowed Tamerlan to travel to and from one of the most highly terrorist-ridden areas in the world without setting off any alarms or warnings to US intelligence. The many CIA errors and failures in watchlisting Tamerlan will be discussed in more detail in Section D. 


C. Russia’s Letters about Tamerlan’s Radicalization Provide Sufficient Evidence for Needed Warrants

The FBI contends that the March 2011 Russian letter did not provide enough information to open a “preliminary terrorism investigation” so they opened a lower level “assessment” on Tamerlan.[30] However, this does not appear to be the case as the information provided by Russia on Tamerlan was apparently substantial and included among other things, known associations with foreign militants, his visits to jihadist websites, and the desire to join jihad groups which should have given rise to a higher level of investigation and more significant surveillance tools.[31] A higher level of investigation also appears to have been warranted based on the CIA’s nomination of Tamerlan to the FBI’s TSDB watchlist. The minimum criteria for nominating a person to TSDB is basically that the individual is suspected of being engaged in conduct in preparation of terrorism activities (see Section D — TSDB Watchlist), which is obviously a threat to national security.


The criteria for a higher level preliminary terrorism investigation is a “basis of any allegation or information indicative of possible criminal activity or threats to national security.”[32] Surely, Russia’s knowledge of Tamerlan visiting jihadist websites and corresponding with, and planning to join, Islamic militants would certainly pose a potential threat to US national security. In addition, by adding Tamerlan’s name to the TSDB watchlist, the CIA was basically acknowledging that Tamerlan was preparing for terrorism activity, hence a threat to national security. Thus, it appears that the FBI should have opened a more in-depth preliminary terrorism investigation on Tamerlan and not just a lower-level assessment.  


Despite the FBI disclosing very little about the March 2011 letter’s content, some information has leaked out over the past year that seriously challenges the FBI’s claim that the Russian letter was vague and did not provide significant intelligence. There’s also evidence that the FBI received more information from Russia than what has previously been reported, including a letter that mentioned Ibragim Todashev.       


What has never been reported in the MSM or disclosed by the FBI is that Russia sent a second letter to the FBI on April 22, 2011. Keating obtained a readout of the March and April letters on his May 2013 visit to Russia and noted that the latter letter contained information on Ibragim Todashev under the heading of “matters of significance.” Keating’s July 2013 letter to the FBI asked if this communication initiated the FBI’s investigation into Todashev and if the information was shared with local authorities.[33] There is no evidence that Keating ever received a reply to his question and, curiously, Todashev was murdered by an FBI agent on May 22, 2013. The New York Times also reported that the US counterterrorism bureaucracy had at least “four contacts” with Russian spy services about Tamerlan in the year before he took a six-month trip to Russia in January 2012, meaning there may be at least two other Russian contacts that US intelligence has not divulged to the public.[34]


Several media reports over the last year have noted information from Russia’s March letter which should have provided the FBI with intelligence on Tamerlan’s association with violent radical Islamists, his intent to wage jihad, and his Islamic radicalization.[35] First, the Russian letter provided information that Tamerlan was in contact with a known Islamic militant in Dagestan named William Plotnikov.[36] Various US media organizations have reported that Russian intelligence questioned Plotnikov in December 2010, and that Tamerlan’s name came up as a person Plotnikov was in contact with on social networks and Muslim websites.[37] The Russians then started monitoring Tamerlan and observed him on jihadist websites. Congressman Keating states that this was one of the events that led Russia to contact and warn the FBI about Tamerlan.[38] Coincidently, Plotnikov was killed by Russian security forces on July 14, 2012, and Tamerlan left the country two days later.


Secondly, the Russian letter also stated that Tamerlan had previously hoped to travel to the Palestinian (Occupied) Territories to wage jihad, but decided not go because he did not speak Arabic.[39] Tamerlan’s plan to wage jihad in the Occupied Territories should have raised all kinds of red flags that he had the intention of inflicting acts of terrorism. Although there are not more specifics on this warning, Keating stated that the Russian letter was “quite detailed” and contained “the names, the addresses, the cellphone numbers, the iPad accounts, e-mail, and Facebook pages.”[40] While it’s been confirmed that this information was provided on Tamerlan and his mother, it may have also included at least similar information on Plotnikov whom Tamerlan was known to have communicated with on social networks.


Lastly, there is evidence that Tamerlan was also in terrorist-ridden Dagestan in 2011, before his FBI investigation. Time Magazine broke the story that Tamerlan was in Dagestan in (apparently early) 2011 at which time he was observed by the Russian security service attending a radical Salafi mosque that was a known hangout for Islamic militants.[41] Surprisingly, this author has not found any other MSM organizations that have reported on this important story. Firstly it shows Tamerlan’s association with a radical mosque that was a known hangout for militants.  (Tamerlan also met a militant at this mosque during his 2012 visit to the region, which is discussed in more detail in Section E.) Secondly, it gives further credence to Russia’s warning that Tamerlan was planning to travel to the Caucasus again to meet with militants.


Presumably, Russia’s FSB would probably have also included Tamerlan’s 2011 visits to the radical Dagestan mosque in its March 2011 warning letter, but that has not been confirmed. The FBI has stated that they looked into Tamerlan’s travel history,[42] so his 2011 trip should have come to the FBI’s attention, which should have caused them concern since he had just been to this region and Russia stated he was planning on returning to meet militants. Also, there is the possibility that Tamerlan may have traveled to Dagestan in 2011 under an assumed name, as Congressman Keating learned from the Russian FSB that Tamerlan used aliases.  


Russia’s FSB believes that if US authorities had acted on their “detailed warnings” about Tamerlan wanting to join an Islamic insurgency, the BMB could have been prevented.[43] Indeed, the Russian warnings appear significant and explicit based on just the few specifics from the March 2011 letter that have been leaked to date. The FBI appears to have had enough information to have obtained FISA warrants on Tamerlan that could probably have included NSA wiretaps.[44] The Russian letter provided information that Tamerlan was corresponding with a suspected foreign militant (Plotnikov), was visiting jihadist websites (presumably foreign websites), and was planning to meet foreign militants and join jihadist groups in the Caucasus and the Palestinian Territories. A FISA warrant can be issued for US citizens  or permanent residents (as Tamerlan was) if they knowingly engage in sabotage or international terrorism or are “preparing for such activities.”[45] A strong argument could have, and should have, been made in Tamerlan’s case for a FISA warrant under this provision that would also include wiretaps.


In the FBI press release on April 19, 2013, the FBI stated that they did not find that Tamerlan had any “terrorism activity,” domestic or foreign, despite the plethora of Russian foreign terrorism-related evidence in the March 2011 letter. In addition, just about all the media reports within the first several weeks after the BMB stated that the FBI closed Tamerlan’s case after they concluded he did not have any “terrorism connections.” However, as discussed, Tamerlan clearly exhibited many signs of an Islamic extremist and even discussed jihad and visited jihadist websites prior to his 2011 investigation. FBI agents also told Tamerlan’s mother that he was an extremist and they knew what extremist websites he was visiting. Russia warned that Tamerlan was a follower of radical Islam who had changed drastically since 2010 and Tamerlan’s Uncle Ruslan and his Cambridge friend said Tamerlan was radicalized and talked about jihad already in 2009. Tamerlan’s Islamic extremism and jihadist tendencies were noticeable by everyone except, apparently, for the dazed and confused FBI.


Under the laws and powers of the Patriot Act and FISA that were instituted after 9/11, the FBI did not have to show that Tamerlan had “terrorist connections” or even had engaged in “terrorist activity” in order to obtain FISA warrants. Indeed, showing that Tamerlan had Islamic radicalization tendencies and spoke of jihad should have provided enough probable cause for the FBI to obtain FISA warrants. Under FISA, the government just has to show that the information they seek is necessary to protect against hostile acts, sabotage, or terrorism, or concerns national security, US national defense or foreign affairs.[46] [47]Tamerlan’s behavior in 2011 clearly showed that he was at least likely to engage in hostile acts and that he posed a threat to US national security.

As briefly mentioned above and discussed in more detail in Section D, the CIA apparently had these exact concerns regarding Tamerlan based on the “terrorism criteria” for adding his name to the TSDB database.[48] Electronic surveillance of Tamerlan would have almost certainly uncovered his intended travel to terrorist-ridden Dagestan, and eventually his meetings there with Islamic militants in the first half of 2012, which could have then prevented the BMB.


D. Tamerlan’s Terrorist Watchlisting Blunders, Cover-Ups and Critical Open Questions

There is significant confusion and variation in the MSM about which terrorist watchlists/databases Tamerlan was added to. Unfortunately, the vague and ambiguous House Committee on Homeland Security’s BMB Report (Committee Report) does little to clarify the many discrepancies. However, there were significant errors and mistakes made in Tamerlan’s watchlisting process and they are important to understand. Given the wide discrepancies in Tamerlan’s watchlisting activity between the various MSM organizations and the Committee Report, this section will first provide a correct description of the watchlist program and the primary stories given in the MSM followed by the Committee Report explanation. The many critical open questions relating to Tamerlan’s watchlisting activity has not been properly explained or accounted for in the Committee Report and still needs to be addressed.       


FBI Guardian Database — Description and MSM Version: Only a few MSM organizations mentioned that the FBI allegedly added Tamerlan’s case to the Guardian database (no dates given), which is administered by the FBI.[49] Guardian is a broad terrorism-related database which records, stores and assigns responsibility for follow-up on counterterrorism threats and suspicious activity. It also records the outcome of the FBI’s handling of terrorists threats (as in Tamerlan’s case) and “suspicious incidents.”[50] Although an FBI field office like Boston might look at a couple of hundred suspected terrorism cases per year, the majority would consist of lower priority “Suspicious Activity Reports” (SAR).[51] A California fusion center indicated this was the case showing that many SAR’s contained no reasonable evidence of criminal activity but were primarily based on bias against racial and religious minorities.[52] According to a November 2008 audit by the DOJ the overwhelming majority of threat information in Guardian had no connection to terrorism.[53]


JTTF’s were established after 9/11 to improve information sharing and consist of federal, state and local law enforcement personnel who are members of a specific “fusion center.” Massachusetts state and local law enforcement officials assigned to the Boston area fusion center claim they were not notified by the FBI of their counterterrorism investigation of Tamerlan or his travel to and from the Caucasus.[54] As members of the JTTF, state and local offices are supposed to be kept apprised of terrorist activity in their respective areas. Relating to Tamerlan’s 2011 investigation, the FBI pointed out that the assessment was in the JTTF database and is available for JTTF members to view.[55] However, Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis has complained repeatedly that inputting such information in a shared database without actively alerting local officials is not sufficient.[56] Boston State Police spokesman David Procopio acknowledged that local law enforcement might have responded differently immediately after the attack (they would have apparently checked past terrorism investigations), when officials were trying to identify Tamerlan and his brother from surveillance images.[57]


FBI Guardian Database — Committee Report Version: Strangely, the Committee Report is silent on whether the Boston FBI added Tamerlan’s case to the Guardian database. Although the report recommends improvements to the Guardian database and JTTF information sharing, it does not say that the Boston FBI actually added Tamerlan’s assessment to the database. Although the FBI should have added Tamerlan’s case to the Guardian database, per the Committee Report, it does not appear that they did.


FBI Guardian Critical Questions and Issues:

1.    Did the Boston FBI add Tamerlan’s assessment to the Guardian Database, and if so, when?

2.    Why didn’t the Boston FBI alert state and local law officials to Tamerlan’s counterterrorism investigation?

3.    What are the annual average number and percentage of Boston FBI counterterrorism assessments that are low-level SAR’s vs assessments initiated by a foreign government’s intelligence?


NCTC TIDE Database — Description and MSM Version: There were several different stories in the MSM as to what terrorism databases and watchlists the CIA added Tamerlan to and what happened after he was added. However, most MSM organizations noted that the CIA allegedly added Tamerlan’s name to the Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment (TIDE) around October 2011.[58] TIDE is run by the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) and is the central terrorist identities system that also helps support other terrorist watchlists.


TIDE database information is classified and is available to counterterrorism professionals throughout the intelligence community and as of December 2012, contained over 875,000 names, most containing multiple minor spelling variations of names. US citizens and legal permanent residents (Tamerlan’s status) make up less than one percent of the listings. Both TIDE and many of the end-user watchlists are name-based, which means that people with names similar to those in the database may be stopped for additional screening by TSA or at port of entry.[59] The TIDE database itself does not provide any alerts when an individual enters or leaves the US.


NCTC TIDE Database — Committee Report Version: The CIA apparently nominated Tamerlan to TIDE via the FBI’s Foreign Terrorism Tracking Force; however, Tamerlan’s last name and birthday were incorrect. Tamerlan’s last name was spelled with an extra “y”, “Tsarnayev”, and his birth year was one year off (month and day correct).The NCTC informed the FBI that Tamerlan had been nominated to TIDE. However, the CIA did not ask the FBI, nor did the FBI volunteer, to add in their (correct) records on Tamerlan to TIDE/TSDB records, or to correct the spelling and date of birth errors. The FBI alleges that they were unable to nominate Tamerlan to TIDE/TSDB because to do so would require expanding Tamerlan’s 2011 assessment to a preliminary investigation and FBI concluded there was not sufficient evidence to do so.[60]       


NCTC TIDE Database Critical Questions and Issues:

1.    Who was the CIA agent that made such basic mistakes on the misspelling of Tamerlan’s name and his birth date? Why didn’t they check other government records on Tamerlan, such as his permanent resident visa? The CIA employee and possibly others need to be held accountable for this basic error.

2.    The TIDE database allows for multiple name variations. Why weren’t other name variations used for Tamerlan, such as, his correct name?

3.    The March 2011 Russian warning letter that the CIA reviewed included several aliases for Tamerlan. Why didn’t the CIA add Tamerlan’s aliases from the letter?[61]

4.    The NCTC TIDE Fact Sheet notes that “people with names similar to those in the database may be (accidently) stopped for additional screening.” If the CIA made just a very minor misspelling of Tamerlan’s last name, why didn’t his name still show up since it was so close (see Endnote 54)?   


FBI TSDB Watchlist — Description and MSM Version: As with Guardian, only a few MSM organizations reported that Tamerlan’s name was added to the Terrorism Screening Database (TSDB) by the CIA around October 2011.[62] The TSDB is an unclassified database and is commonly referred to as the Terrorist Watchlist and one of its primary sources of suspected terrorists is TIDE. A suspected terrorist in TIDE will be added to the TSDB if they meet two requirements: First, the biographical information on the individual must contain sufficient identifying data that person can be matched from a terrorist watchlist. Second, the individual must meet the “reasonable suspicion standard” which is basically a “determination that an individual is known or suspected to be or has been engaged in conduct constituting, in preparation for, in aid of or related to terrorism and terrorism activities.”[63] As of September 2008, the TSDB consisted of approximately 400,000 unique names and over 1,000,000 records (which include aliases and name variations).[64]   


The TSDB is run by the FBI’s Terrorist Screening Center (TSC) and feeds other watchlists such as TECS and the “No-Fly” list.[65] The TSDB’s “reasonable suspicion standard” basically states at a minimum that the individual is suspected of being engaged in conduct in preparation of terrorism activities. The reasonable suspicion language agrees with Russia’s warning about Tamerlan and runs contrary to the FBI’s conclusion about him.


FBI TSDB Watchlist — Committee Report Version: Although the Committee Report contains some redactions that make Tamerlan’s addition to the TDSB database a little vague, it appears that the NCTC provided an unclassified version of TIDE to the TSC to be added to the TDSB database. However, the minor errors in Tamerlan’s name misspelling and date of birth in TIDE were also allegedly entered into the TSDB.[66]  


FBI TSDB Watchlist – Critical Questions and Issues:

1.    By nominating and adding Tamerlan to TIDE and TSDB, the CIA basically felt that Tamerlan was suspected of preparing terrorist-related activities. If the FBI did not reach that conclusion, and they run the TSDB database, why didn’t they reject his name for nomination to that database?

2.    Given that the FBI did accept the CIA/NCTC’s TSDB nomination, wasn’t the FBI basically agreeing with the CIA’s determination, and shouldn’t that have prompted a higher level FBI investigation of Tamerlan? 

3.    Given that the FBI runs the TSDB, how was Tamerlan’s name misspelling and date of birth not corrected by the FBI when his name was entered in October 2011, given the following:

(a) There was allegedly already an FBI JTTF TECS entry on Tamerlan with the correct name.

(b) The Boston FBI had a case file on Tamerlan with all the correct information.


TECS Watchlist — Description and MSM Version: There are many different versions in the MSM relating to Tamerlan’s TECS watchlisting process, just about all of which came from “anonymous US intelligence officials.” TECS serves as the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) primary lookout system and can provide “alerts” for a variety of law enforcement needs, with US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) being the principal owner and primary user of TECS. One of TECS primary uses is the tracking of suspicious travelers exiting or entering the country. In addition to including potential terrorist suspects, the TECS watchlist also includes drug smugglers, money launderers, felons, etc., these latter categories being far less dangerous to national security than suspected terrorists such as Tamerlan. For subjects in the TDSB, CBP is usually alerted to suspect’s travel when a commercial airline forwards the passenger manifest to CBP using the Advanced Passenger Information System (APIS).[67] The primary purpose of APIS is to identify “high risk” passengers who may pose a risk or threat to national security and its report includes 8 data fields to better identify passengers and minimize identification mistakes.[68]     


There are many different variations in the MSM regarding Tamerlan’s TECS watchlisting, most of which are wrong or only partially correct per the Committee Report. Since the MSM information came from intelligence officials, the question is whether the conflicting information was accidental misrepresentations, flawed reporting, or intentional disinformation. Due to the MSM’s confusion and many variations relating to the TECS process, it is more constructive to look at the Committee Report’s findings on the matter and to note some of the significant MSM discrepancies with the report.


TECS Watchlist — Committee Report Version: Per the Committee Report, there were two TECS alerts placed on Tamerlan with the first one being placed by a customs officer in the Boston JTTF on March 22, 2011. The first alert provided contact information for the FBI agent leading Tamerlan’s investigation and requested that the agent be notified of Tamerlan’s international travel. Three days before Tamerlan’s flight to Russia in January 2012, a customs officer received and reviewed an alert about Tamerlan’s flight; however, the FBI and DHS cannot verify whether the TECS alert was shared with the FBI agent or anyone else.[69] There is no explanation why this important and verifiable fact has not been determined one year after the fact.   


Tamerlan’s name also showed up on a CBP report on the date of the flight at JFK Airport (his departure airport) with the request that Tamerlan receive secondary screening (i.e., a full CTR secondary interview and a search of the subject). However, there is no indication that CBP officials at JFK examined Tamerlan’s TECS record or that he received any additional screening. The Committee Report suggests that this appears to be the case because the JFK CBP did not receive a specific request from the Boston JTTF to examine Tamerlan and because CBP officers considered Tamerlan to be “low-risk” compared to other TECS alert travelers that day.[70] However, this CBP action did not appear to follow protocol and it’s inconceivable how an individual on a terrorist watchlist would be a low priority under any circumstances.    


Upon his return from the North Caucasus in July 2012, the record holder (CBP officer placing alert) was again notified of Tamerlan’s intended travel. Once again, the FBI and DHS cannot verify from written or electronic records if this information was passed on to the FBI case agent who was supposed to be notified of Tamerlan’s international travel. Although there is a preceding redaction in the Committee Report, it appears that Tamerlan did not receive the requested secondary CBP screening by JFK customs upon his return because apparently the first TECS alert had expired (allegedly valid for only one year) and JFK customs never received an alert.[71] However, if this were the case, the customs officer assigned to the Boston JTTF should probably not have received an alert.   


The redacted Committee Report mentions a couple of times that a second TECS watchlist entry was added for Tamerlan but does not provide any specifics about it (presumably it was redacted). However, NBC News was apparently the only MSM organization to preview the Committee Report and some of its supporting documents, and they included information on the second TECS alert in an article on March 25, 2014. According to NBC, the second TECS alert was added by the CIA on October 20, 2011, and warns that Tamerlan may be “armed and dangerous.” The entry further states that Tamerlan’s detention is mandatory and to immediately call a lookout officer at the NCTC whether or not the CBP officer believes there is an “exact match,” and to advise person answering the phone that you have a code tip lookout intercept. However, allegedly neither the holder of the TECS alert nor the JFK CBP was alerted because of the simple misspelling of Tamerlan’s last name.[72]     


TECS Watchlist — Critical Questions and Issues: There were a number of MSM articles that sharply contradicted the Committee’s findings relating to the first TECS alert when Tamerlan returned in July 2012. The New York Times and other MSM organizations reported that Janet Napolitano, Secretary of Homeland Security at the time, stated that the first TECS alert, “was more than a year old and had expired,” and that no alert was given related to this TECS entry.[73] It should be noted that APAIS entries made in the TECS system are only valid for one year.[74] The question at this point is whether the TECS alert upon Tamerlan’s return was generated from the March 2011 TECS entry or from the October 2011 entry made by the CIA. If the return TECS alert was generated from the CIA entry, then the statement made by the Committee Report/NBC News that the second TECS entry did not generate an alert due to Tamerlan’s misspelled name is a lie. There are several other important questions relating to the TECS failures, including:   

1.    Who was the customs officer(s) in the Boston JTTF who received the two TECS alert and what did they say regarding whether they passed it on to the FBI case agent in charge of Tamerlan’s assessment?

2.    If the customs officer(s) did not notify the Boston FBI case agent, why not, since there were specific instructions for him to do so?

3.    Was the FBI case agent questioned under oath as to whether he received any of the TECS alerts from the JTTF customs officer(s) and what did he say?    

4.    Did the TECS system allow for other individuals besides the “record holder” to receive automatic electronic responses, and if so, was one set up for the lead FBI case agent, and did he receive it?

5.    Why would Tamerlan be a low-level TECS alert given he was on a terrorist watchlist and a threat to national security, while most people on TECS appear to be related to non-terrorism matters?

6.    Why didn’t the CIA agent who added Tamerlan to TIDE and TSDB check for his correct information and at least enter different variations for his last name, as is permitted for both databases?

7.    Doesn’t the TECS system have search algorithms that will identify a suspicious individual even if not all the information matches, including exact spelling of the last name?

8.    The October 2011 TECS entry states for the customs officer to contact the NCTC (if Tamerlan travels) even if there “is not an exact match.” Doesn’t this imply that TECS has the ability to identify an individual even if there is not an exact name/data match?  

9.    Did the first TECS entry made in March 2011 expire one year later as stated by Janet Napolitano?

10.  The second TECS alert noted that Tamerlan may be “armed and dangerous.” This statement does not accord with the FBI’s conclusion that Tamerlan was not a threat to national security, so what was the CIA’s basis for this statement?  


E. Other Warnings and Missed Opportunities Relating to Tamerlan — Incompetence or Complicity?

The Russians were right again when Tamerlan spent the first half of 2012 in the Caucasus, as US intelligence failed miserably and missed every opportunity thrown their way. Several MSM organizations even noted that Russian intelligence informed US intelligence in the second half of 2012 about Tamerlan’s travel to Dagestan where he met Islamic militants. Tamerlan’s apparently known travel to Dagestan in 2012 was a significant event that should have prompted the FBI to re-open their case and to put him under surveillance.  A US intelligence official actually had the audacity to say that it would not have made any difference if they had known about Tamerlan’s 2012 trip to that terrorist-infested region since their (atrocious) assessment found that Tamerlan did not have any connections to terrorism. This is another false claim indicating the FBI’s gross negligence or complicity.


Former counterterrorism official Jim Gurule noted that Tamerlan’s travel plans should have prompted new attention since it appeared to give weight to the Russian warning that Tamerlan planned to travel to the Caucasus to meet militants. Gurule said that authorities should have sought a (FISA) court warrant to monitor his cellphone and email while he was in Russia. “When he came back to the US, they should have pulled him out of the customs line, inspected his belongings, looked at his laptop and cellphone and questioned him about what he did in Dagestan,” said Gurule.[75] The US even has an anti-terrorism panel in Dagestan that could have observed Tamerlan during his visit.[76]


An April 29, 2013, Time article was at the forefront of reporting Tamerlan’s associations with Chechen militants while he was in Dagestan in 2012. The Time article cites Russia’s Navaya Gazeta, as “An independent newspaper with a strong reputation for investigative reporting.”[77] Citing sources in Russia’s FSB, it said Tamerlan met multiple times in Dagestan with a suspected Islamist militant named Mahmud Nidal. These meetings appear to be what prompted further requests to US intelligence agencies in November 2012, which suggests that the US intelligence (presumably FBI) was notified in the second half of 2012 that Tamerlan was in Dagestan meeting with militants.[78] Russian intelligence confirmed Tamerlan’s 2012 Dagestan meetings with the militant Nidal to the staff of Congressman Keating in May 2013.[79]  


On April 21, 2013, NBC broke a story relating to yet another Russian warning on Tamerlan in November 2012. According to NBC, a police official in Dagestan, stated that the Russian internal security service (FSB) contacted the FBI in November 2012 with some questions about Tamerlan and handed over a copy of a case file on him. According to the official, the police witnessed Tamerlan meeting six times in a Salafi mosque with an individual (apparently Mahmud Nidal) known to be involved in the militant Islamic underground movement. The militant and Tamerlan disappeared before the police had a chance to speak with Tamerlan. According to the police official, the FBI never responded to the FSB.[80] It should be noted that the NBC article was co-written by Michael Isikoff, a senior journalist who knows to substantiate such important facts with at least two sources. NBC never retracted or corrected the article.  


This story was also apparently confirmed by an April 30, 2011, Associated Press article that stated a Russian security official confirmed that Russia “shared their concerns” (regarding Tamerlan’s meetings with militants during his 2012 trip to Dagestan).[81] This is extremely damaging information for the FBI, because it indicates they had evidence linking Tamerlan to Islamic militants and should have re-opened their investigation of him at that time (around November 2012).


Another apparent warning relating to Tamerlan came in the second half of 2012 from Saudi Arabia. According to the UK Daily Mail, a highly placed Saudi official stated that Saudi Arabia had sent a warning to a high level official in the Department of Homeland Security. The Saudi official said he had direct knowledge of the document and that it alerted American authorities to inspect packages that came to Tamerlan in the mail and to search for bomb-making components. The Saudi said Tamerlan got the information from a website the Saudi government set up in Yemen to help detect potential terrorists. However, this story was quickly denied by both the Saudi embassy in Washington and by Homeland Security officials. Coincidently, Saudi’s foreign minister met with John Kerry on April 16 and then had an unscheduled appointment with President Obama on April 17.[82] The Daily Mail also stood by their reporting of the article and never retracted or corrected it.


Another missed opportunity for US intelligence is when Tamerlan posted jihadist videos on his YouTube account around November 2012. According to a number of media accounts, Tamerlan posted two videos under the category “terrorism” of a jihadist leader named Abu Dujana making a rambling speech to Muslim youths. Dujana appears to be from Imarat Kavkaz, a jihadist outfit allied to the main anti-Kremlin leader in the North Caucasus.[83] It is common knowledge that US intelligence monitors the Internet for extremist activity and this is just one more intelligence failure to add to a long list. Coincidently, the posting of Tamerlan’s YouTube video occurred around the time Russian security sources sent their November 2012 alert to the FBI.       


F. The FBI’s Absurd and Non-Transparent Internal Review of Its Own BMB Failures

On August 1, 2013, The New York Times reported that the FBI conducted several internal reviews of the BMB and concluded that there was little that agents could have done to prevent it. The FBI has not released any official information on these internal reviews and the only public information is what’s in the Times and several other press articles with basically the same information.[84] Unfortunately, the FBI’s released information contains several serious false claims and does not address the many failures and unanswered questions stated in Section D and other sections of this paper. Following is a brief summary of some of the more significant falsehoods:  

  • FBI False Claim #1: FBI agents were constrained from conducting a more extensive investigation because of federal laws that prohibit surveillance tools like wiretapping for the investigation they were conducting. This claim is clearly false as the many facts and evidence in the last three paragraphs of Section C show.
  • FBI False Claim #2: Had agents known Tamerlan had travelled to Russia in 2012, they probably would not have investigated him again because there was no new evidence that he had become radicalized. The Russian warning stated that Tamerlan intended to travel to the Northern Caucasus to meet Islamic militants and join insurgencies. Tamerlan’s actual travel to this area only 7 months after the FBI completed their shameful assessment should have provided support for Russia’s belief. In addition, there were two TECS alerts that required the FBI be contacted if Tamerlan traveled abroad, substantiating the FBI’s and CIA’s apparent concern.
  • FBI False Claim #3: The FBI did not find any information linking Tamerlan to extremist beliefs.  There was significant evidence of Tamerlan’s extremist beliefs by the 2011 investigation period which is discussed in detail in Sections B and C.
  • FBI False Claim #4: It is unclear whether the FBI was informed by the DHS in 2012 that Tamerlan had returned from his trip to Russia. The first TECS entry gave specific instructions for the customs officer in the Boston JTTF to notify the Boston FBI agent if Tamerlan traveled abroad, and the customs officer was notified upon Tamerlan’s departure and return. This should be clear at this point, and both the customs officer and FBI agent should be questioned under oath whether the FBI was notified.
  • FBI False Claim #5: After realizing that there was no formal way of notifying agents that someone they investigated may have been travelling outside the United States, the FBI and DHS changed their procedures so agents are given written notification that someone they investigated had traveled abroad. An acceptable process was already in place where the TECS record holder (JTTF customs officer in this  case) was instructed to notify the FBI case agent in charge whenever Tamerlan traveled left or re-entered the country.

G. The House Committee on Homeland Security’s BMB Report — BMB Investigation for Dummies

On March 25, 2014, the House Committee on Homeland Security issued a redacted report (Committee Report) that looked into the intelligence failures of the BMB.[85] The Committee Report was as dismal as the FBI’s internal investigation with 13 of 14 Democrats on the committee refusing to sign off on it, and the top Democratic Congressmen on the Committee, Bennie Thompson, claiming, “There is nothing particularly new or significant in it.”[86]


Indeed, 22 of 28 references in the three most critical sections of the Committee Report relating to what US intelligence knew about Tamerlan before the BMB came from media sources available to the general public, the same media articles whose primary sources were often anonymous off-the-record intelligence officials.[87] Of the 6 non-media sources, 2 were TECS entries, 3 were Committee briefings or answers to Committee questions from US officials, along with the March 4, 2011, Russian letter to FBI and CIA. The April 22, 2011, letter from the Russian FSB was never mentioned and there’s no evidence that the testimony given by US officials to the committee was under oath.


The Committee Report provides little new information on the intelligence failures and has not contributed any real transparency to, or accountability for, the many intelligence errors. Given the poor investigation by the House Committee, it cannot be determined if the errors were accidental or deliberate, and it does not even appear that the Committee talked to some of the key individuals responsible for the mistakes  It does not appear that the House Committee talked to the Boston FBI agent who led Tamerlan’s assessment or to the customs officer(s) in the Boston JTTF who received the two TECS alerts on Tamerlan as there are no statements in the report attributable to these individuals. Like the 9/11 Commission Report, it thoughtlessly claims “systemic” problems and excuses, when there were significant and obvious individual errors. Sufficient processes were in place and they should have worked, but specific people clearly failed to do what they should have done.


The members of the House DHS Committee should feel embarrassed for producing such a worthless and obvious cover-up report. The Committee Report shamefully states that “uncertainty continues to surround the question of which federal agencies and investigators knew of Tamerlan’s travel to Russia.” This is probably the most critical issue that needs to be determined as this was a major failure in the case that could have given the FBI the authority to put Tamerlan under surveillance in both the US and Dagestan which could have helped prevent the BMB. People failed, not the system, but the House DHS Committee is failing the people with its white-wash report.


As Section D showed, there are nearly two dozen significant open questions relating to Tamerlan’s watchlisting process and failures. Without adequate answers and transparency, the FBI’s failures and falsehoods will set a precedent for similar events in the future. Similar to the FBI’s internal investigation, the Committee Report does not adequately address the many errors and mistakes and makes a number of false claims, including:

  • Committee Report (CR) False Claim #1: The Russian letter lacked compelling derogatory information on exactly why Tamerlan posed a threat. The Russian letter included significant and specific derogatory information on Tamerlan which is discussed in detail in Section C.
  • CR False Claim #2: The FBI did not find any “evidence of terrorist activity” by Tamerlan and this information was provided to Russia in the summer of 2011. The Russian FSB denies that they ever got any information from the FBI (Section B).[88] Although the FBI may not have found “evidence of terrorist activity,” there was significant evidence or Tamerlan’s Islamic radicalization at the time that the FBI negligently or deliberately missed.
  • CR False Claim #3: Many specific details of Tamerlan’s radicalization remain somewhat vague … Tsarnaev family members (Ruslan Tsarni) allege that a man known as “Misha” further shaped Tamerlan’s views. Details about Tamerlan’s radicalization is not vague and there is substantial evidence discussed in Sections B and C that indicates Tamerlan was radicalized by 2009 or earlier, long before the FBI began their investigation of him.
  • CR False Claim #4: There is every indication that the 2011 assessment done on Tamerlan by the Boston JTTF was thorough, and exhausted all options available to investigators at the time. Sections B and C of this article clearly show that this was not the case and that the FBI missed significant evidence and did a very poor investigation of Tamerlan.

Surprisingly, the Committee Report did not mention the April 22, 2011, letter from Russia to the FBI that discussed Ibragim Todashev under “matters of significance” even though the Committee was fully aware of the letter, with some members apparently reading it on their trip to Russia in late May 2013.[89] The Committee Report briefly mentions the alleged Todashev/Tamerlan relationship and Todashev’s murder, but it ignores the important fact that Russia also apparently warned US intelligence about Todashev. In addition, the Committee Report states that the FBI and CIA asked Russia’s FSB for more information but never got a reply. However, at least Congressmen Keating of the House Committee is aware that the Russian FSB stated that they never got any additional information request from US intelligence, but the FSB denial was not mentioned in the Committee Report.[90]  


H. The Inspector Generals’ BMB Report and Its Disinformation and Propaganda Campaign

It’s said, if you keep repeating a lie over and over again, then people will eventually start believing it. That is obviously US intelligence’s modus operandi as it applies to their investigation of Tamerlan and their attempted cover-up of their many intelligence failures since the bombing. On April 9, 2014, anonymous intelligence officials started leaking information on the BMB report of the Inspector Generals of the FBI, CIA, DHS, and DOJ (IG Report). Instead of releasing the unclassified IG Report summary, off-the-record intelligence officials started leaking certain parts of the report to the likes of the The New York Times and The Boston Globe. And despite the rudimentary and significant number of US intelligence failures discussed in this article, the main story that was leaked was that the BMB was basically Russia’s fault because of one phone conversation between Tamerlan and his mother. 


Typical MSM headlines on April 9 and 10 read, “Russia Withheld Intel Before Boston Attack,” or “Russia Didn’t Share All Details on Boston Bombing.” The allegedly withheld Russian information that the anonymous intelligence official(s) were leaking concerned a phone call between Tamerlan and his mother in early 2011 in which Tamerlan “vaguely” discussed jihad with his mother.[91] This Russian warning was included in the March 2011 letter to the FBI and was previously discussed in Section C above. It stated that Tamerlan had hoped to travel to the Palestinian Territories to wage jihad, but decided not to go because he did not speak Arabic.[92] Note that this warning and several others in the March letter were direct enough, but the leakers are now complaining that Russia did not tell them that that warning came from a phone conversation between Tamerlan and his mother. The FBI alleges they asked Russia if they had more information on Tamerlan in 2011 but that Russia did not disclose that the call was between Tamerlan and his mother until after the BMB.[93]


One anonymous intelligence official questionably stated that had the FBI known what the Russians knew, i.e., that the Palestinian jihad phone call (“Jihad Call”) was between Tamerlan and his mother, the FBI “probably” would have been able to do more under investigative guidelines.[94] However, this is disinformation at best and flat out falsehood at worse. First, Russia’s FSB vehemently denied that the FBI ever asked them for additional information on Tamerlan and there is no public evidence that they did (see Section B).[95] Second, in addition to stating that Tamerlan had hoped to go to Palestinian Territories to join jihad, the Russian letter also included other substantial information including Tamerlan’s contacts with the suspected militant William Plotnikov, his visits to extremist websites, and his desire to travel to the Caucasus to join militant groups (see Section C). Lastly, if the FBI thought that knowing who the parties to the Jihad Call were was so important and could have changed the depth of their investigation then why didn’t they request this information up-front? Indeed, the FBI is alleged to have asked for additional information only at the end of the investigation.[96]


The IG Report leaks to date have not discussed the FBI’s missed evidence of Tamerlan’s Islamic radicalization in 2011, but one official stated that the Boston FBI could have conducted a few more interviews when they first examined the information. The FBI allegedly only interviewed Tamerlan, his mother and father, and some people at Tamerlan’s school.[97] The FBI missed interviewing several individuals such as Tamerlan’s Uncle Ruslan Tsarni and his Cambridge friend (also a friend of the Tsarnaev family) who attested to Tamerlan’s Islamic extremism and talk of jihad as early as 2009. The IG leaks do not state that if these facts were known in 2011, the FBI would have almost certainly been able to do more under investigative guidelines.  


The only two other material new issues that the leaks hit upon were related to the TECS alerts and apparently Tamerlan’s name misspelling in the TIDE/TSDB reports. Regarding the TECS alert, members of the IG investigation talked to the CBP officer in the JTTF who received both alerts and the FBI agent who headed Tamerlan’s assessment and was supposed to be notified by the CBP officer whenever Tamerlan left or re-entered the US. Not surprisingly, neither the CBP officer nor the FBI agent can recall any specific interaction they had about Tamerlan’s travels and the IG investigators could not find any other documentation showing that Tamerlan’s travel information was shared with anyone else in the JTTF; however, this contradicts some previous MSM reports that said FBI investigators were notified by word of mouth.[98] Regarding Tamerlan’s name misspelling, it appears that Tamerlan’s name was spelled in its Cyrillic (Russian) form in TIDE/TSDB, which makes the CIA’s error more ridiculous given that Tamerlan was a US legal permanent resident with multiple sources to determine the correct spelling.[99]     


The IG Report leaks state that the 19-page report does not deal with some of the gaps in intel or some of the missed opportunities to apprehend Tamerlan during his travel to and from Russia. An official further stated that the report offers little new information and emphasizes the need for greater communication but does little to document the earlier communication issues. The report almost completely avoids any discussion about whether the attacks could have been prevented, focusing instead on the response from federal, state, and local authorities.[100] In other words, do not expect much from the IG Report, because you’re not going to get it. If there is any new substantial information in the released IG Report, it will be reported in a supplement to this article.


I. The End of Truth, Transparency and Accountability, and the Real Crimes of the BMB

It is extremely easy for US intelligence to hide evidence and cover up any mistakes or crimes that they commit when they are investigating their own failures. Although the House Committee on Homeland Security conducted an investigation, it has offered little new additional information beyond what anonymous intelligence officials have revealed to the MSM to date. The ridiculous and worthless FBI internal review, the House Committee Report and the IG Report shows that US intelligence and its lapdog overseers have no intention of being honest with the American public and hold themselves above the law. Serious and avoidable errors were made in the investigation and watchlisting of Tamerlan Tsarnaev and at this point it is not known if they were accidental or deliberate. People failed and not the system and those people need to be held accountable, and much more information needs to be provided to the American public by the FBI, CIA and DHS.   


Ex-FBI Director Robert Mueller (who retired September 2013) did his best George W. Bush “heckuva job Brownie” imitation when he praised the Boston FBI agent(s) who conducted Tamerlan’s terrorism assessment for a job well done. It was a horrible job and these agents missed several significant signs that Tamerlan was a potentially dangerous radicalized Islamist, and they should be investigated and penalized for their incompetence or potential complicity. These agents did not even check with or notify the local police departments and allegedly did not interview Tamerlan’s Uncle Ruslan, with whom he lived just a decade earlier.


Another individual who clearly failed was the customs officer assigned to the Boston JTTF, who received alerts that Tamerlan was leaving and re-entering the country but who apparently failed to notify the necessary individuals per the TECS entry instructions. The apparent CIA agent who somehow misspelled Tamerlan’s last name on the TECS watchlist and who did not provide any alternative spellings for it (which is allowed) made an error one would expect from a 9-year-old. DHS also needs to explain why their search engine and the algorithms used to correct for such simple errors, did not work in Tamerlan’s case. 


The US public should not expect truth or transparency regarding the BMB from the intelligence agencies or its congressional overseers or the MSM gatekeepers. It is in their best interest, and in the best interest of their cronies, to implicate an Islamic extremist in the BMB in order to help perpetuate the extremely costly and highly questionable “war on terror”. There’s no logical or national security reason why the American public should not see such documents as the Russian letters, the interview transcripts of Tamerlan and his family, and other investigation documents redacted only for sources and methods and not the usual excessive redactions so often made by US intelligence. The FBI and the rest of US intelligence failed miserably in the BMB and they owe it to the American public to be transparent and provide the documents that prove their innocence. Without such transparency and accountability, how can there not be the conclusion of a criminal cover-up and potential complicity in the BMB crime?  


James Angleton was Chief of CIA Counterintelligence from 1954 to 1975 and he once stated, “Deception is a state of mind and the mind of the State.”[101] It would be naïve and even ignorant to dismiss the possibility that Tamerlan may have been a US intelligence asset infiltrating or even supporting Chechen rebels here or abroad. The possibility that Tamerlan was used as a patsy in the BMB not only has yet to be proven false but is plausible. Tamerlan’s likely US intelligence connection could help explain the FBI not finding one derogatory issue with Tamerlan’s radicalization despite a plethora of contradictory evidence and a comedy of rudimentary errors in his terrorism watchlisting process that let him slip in and out the terrorist-ridden Caucasus with US intelligence allegedly not having a clue. The American people have clearly been lied to by US intelligence, Congress, and the MSM in the case of the BMB, and it’s now up to the people to finally make them accountable for their cover-ups and potential crimes.


References and Endnotes

[1] Worldwide Threat Assessment to the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, Remarks as Delivered by James Clapper, April 11, 2013.


[2] List of Government Budgets by Country,

The USA’s 2012 combined intelligence (including military intelligence) and homeland security budget approximates $145 billion (see Endnote 6), which is greater than 196 of 222 country budgets (most 2011 estimates) from the above Wikipedia list of government budgets by country.    

[3] Senate Appropriations Subcommittee, FBI Oversight and 2014 Budget Request, Robert Mueller testimony, May 16, 2013.

[4] The 2014 fiscal budget runs from October 1, 2013, to September 30, 2014, and was being negotiated around the time of the BMB. Although the FBI was facing an approximately 7 percent mandatory sequestration cut, the FBI’s enacted 2014 fiscal budget was $8.34 billion vs the previous years $8.12 billion.

2014 Enacted Budget Amount:

2013 Enacted Budget Amount: 

[5]   “FBI interviewed Dead Boston Bombing Suspect Years Ago,” CBS News, April 19, 2013

[6] The links below provide US Budget information on Intelligence and Homeland Security. The Intelligence Budget includes a breakdown of military intelligence and the other intelligence costs relating to 16 other US intelligence agencies. It should be noted that the Department of Homeland Security was not created until after 9/11 with many of its expenses being new costs stemming from the “war on terror.” The percentages of intelligence ($75B), homeland security ($70B), and military costs ($670B) are based on the 2012 total US Budget ($3,540B) less entitlements ($1,510M) and interest costs ($223B) as the denominator.

Intelligence Budget Data, Federation of American Scientists,

Homeland Security Spending Since 9/11,,    


[7] House Homeland Security Committee Report, “The Road to Boston: Counterterrorism Challenges and Lessons from the Marathon Bombing,” US House of Representatives Committee on Homeland Security, March 25, 2014.


[8] Scott Shane, Michael Schmidt, and Eric Schmitt, “Russia’s Warning on Bombing Suspects Sets off a Debate,” The New York Times, April 25, 2013. 

Although many MSM reports stated the Russian letter was about one page, NBC New apparently saw a copy of the letter and stated it was one and a quarter pages (


[9] CNN Interview with Ex-CIA agent Robert Baer, CNN TV, April 25, 2013.


[10] FBI National Press Release, “2011 Request for Information on Tamerlan Tsarnaev From Foreign Government,” April 19, 2013.


[11] Greg Miller and Sari Horwitz, “Boston Case Highlights Limitations of US Counterterror Network,” The Washington Post, May 4, 2013.


[12] Gregg Miller and Sari Horwitz, The Washington Post, May 4, 2013, Ibid.

The Joint Terrorism Task Force is explained in more detail in Section D.


[13] House Homeland Security Committee Report, March 25, 2014, Ibid


[14] “They Were Set Up, FBI Followed Them for Years — Starwave’s mother to RT, RT News, April 19, 2013


[15] United States of America vs Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, Defense Legal Motion to Compel Discovery of Evidence (page 18-19), March 28, 2014.

[16] Sibel Edmonds, “USA: The Creator & Sustainer of Chechen Terrorism,”, April 19, 2013.


[17] Sibel Edmonds and James Colbert, “Sibel Edmonds on the Boston Bombing: The US Roots of Chechen Terrorism,”, April 23, 2013.


[18] Several BMB articles indicated that there was a lead FBI case agent on Tamerlan’s assessment but also alluded to the fact that other agents from the FBI Boston Field Office also assisted in the assessment. It’s likely that some ot the assisting agents may have helped in the surveillance of Tamerlan’s Cambridge apartment.

[19] Mineo Yoshino, “Computer-Assisted Facial Image Identification System,” FBI Forensic Science Communication, July 24, 2000.


[20] Ruslan Tsarni Interview with CNN on April 20, 2013.


[21] Investigative journalist Daniel Hopsicker did a 5-part series on Ruslan Tsarni’s past and showed several very likely CIA connections and one probable instance of providing support to Chechen terrorists/rebels. Titles and links to the five articles:

“Was Boston Bombers Uncle Ruslan with the CIA,”, April 22, 2013         

“Boston Bombers Uncle Ruslan was Halliburton Contractor,, April 24, 2013

“Boston Bombers Uncle Married Daughter of Top CIA Official,, April 26, 2013

“Uncle Ruslan Aid to Terrorists From CIA Officials Home,”, April 29, 2013

“Did the CIA Commandeer the Boston Bombing Investigation,”, May 3, 2013


[22] “Timeline: A look at Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s Past,” CNN News, April 22, 2013

The timeline states that Tamerlan lived with an uncle in Kazakhstan in 2002/03 and Ruslan Tsarni was also living  in Kazakhstan at this time. Tsarni had also mentioned in one of his many interviews that Tamerlan had lived with him before.

[23] Lydia Warren, “Bomber’s ex-Girlfriend Revealed: High School Sweetheart Slapped by Tamerlan Calls Him a Bully and a Little Tough Guy, The Daily Mail, April 23, 2013.

The DHS Committee Report (see Endnote 7) also states that Tamerlan met his wife in 2007, and that her friends noted Tamerlan’s increasingly extremist views. 


[24] Tom Winter, “Russia Warned US About Tsarnaev, But Spelling Issue Let Him Escape,” NBC News, March 25, 2014.


[25] Michael Schmidt and Eric Schmitt, “Russia Didn’t Share All Details on Boston Bombing Suspect, Report Says,” New York Times, April 9, 2014


[26] Michael Schmidt and Eric Schmitt, “2 US Agencies Added Boston Bomb Suspect to Watch Lists,” The New York Times, April 24, 2013.


[27] Gregg Miller and Sari Horwitz, The Washington Post, May 4, 2013, Ibid.


[28] Congressmen William Keating, “Keating to FBI: We Need Answers to Boston Bombing,”, July 31, 2013.


[29] In an article in the October 27, 2013, Boston Globe Keating specifically states that he had not received an answer to a detailed letter he sent the FBI over the summer (the July 31, 2013 letter per Endnote 27). In a March 14, 2014 Boston Globe article, Keating stated, “Two trips to Russia and I get more information than I do going down the street 10 blocks in Washington.” This suggests Keating may not have gotten a response to his July 31, 2013, letter as of this date. Following are the links to the two Boston Globe articles:

Oct 27, 2013 Article:

March 14, 2014 Article:


[30] Gregg Miller and Sari Horwitz, The Washington Post, May 4, 2013, Ibid.


[31] Although the FBI has still not released more than two sentences describing the content of the March 2011 Russian letter, Keating received a readout of both the March 2011 and an April 2011 letter , in which he took notes (see Endnote 28). It also appears that certain members of the House Committee on Homeland Security were allowed to view the March 2011 and there is some information in the Committee Report describing some of the content of the letter (see Endnote 7). It also appears that journalist Tom Winter of NBC may have also viewed the March 2011 letter (see Endnote 24). NBC reported (3/25/14) that the March 2011 letter that Tamerlan was known to have associated with violent Islamists, suggesting more than only William Plotnikov.    

[32] FBI Domestic Investigations and Operations Guide (pages 6-1 to 6-3), October 15, 2011

[33] Congressmen William Keating,, Ibid.


[34] Michael Schmidt, The New York Times, April 24, 2013, Ibid. 


[35] See Endnote 31.


[36] Tom Winter, NBC News, March 25, 2014, Ibid.


[37] “Russian Agents Watched, Searched for Boston Bombing Suspect During Trip to Dagestan,” Associated Press, April 30, 2013. Reported by Fox News at:

[38] “The Lead” with Jake Tapper, CNN News Interview with Congressman William Keating, May 9, 2013.


[39] House Homeland Security Committee Report, March 25, 2014, Ibid.


[40] David Filipov and Bryan Bender, “Bombers Could Have been Thwarted, Keating Reports,” The Boston Globe, May 31, 2013.


[41] Simon Shuster, “Older Boston Suspect Made Two Trips to Dagestan, Visited Radical Mosque, Officials Say,” Time Magazine, April 22, 2013.


[42] FBI National Press Release, April 19, 2013, Ibid.


[43] Congressmen William Keating,, Ibid.


[44] “Surveillance Under the USA Patriot Act, American Civil Liberties Union, December 2010.


[45] Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court Section,

[46] Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA),, Ibid


[47] John Floyd and Billy Sinclair, “Government Avoids 4th Amendment Requirement of Probable Cause,”, January 8, 2011.


[48] The CIA added Tamerlan’s name to the TSDB Terrorism Watchlist in October 2011 and the criterion for including names on this watchlist is a “determination that an individual is known or suspected to be or has been engaged in conduct constituting, in preparation for, in aid of or related to terrorism and terrorism activities.”


[49] Gregg Miller and Sari Horwitz, The Washington Post, May 4, 2013, Ibid.


[50] “The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Terrorist Threat and Suspicious Incident Tracking System,” US Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General Audit Division, November 2008.


[51] The number of annual terrorist incidents handled by the Boston FBI field office is not known with certainty. However, per the DOJ’s “The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Terrorist Threat and Suspicious Incident Tracking System”, the FBI’s Philadelphia and Detroit field offices (the most similar to Boston’s in terms of total population and demographics) handled on average 12 per office per month or about 150 cases per year from October 2006 through June 2007.


[52] Lisa Elkins, “Suspicious Activity Report (SAR),”, November 13, 2013  


[53] “The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Terrorist Threat and Suspicious Incident Tracking System,” Ibid.


[54] Adam Kredo, “Failure to Communicate, Intelligence Sharing Could have helped Prevent Boston Marathon Bombing,” The Washington Free Beacon, May 9, 2013.  


[55] “Hearing on Bombings Exposes Failures in Intelligence sharing,” The Boston Globe, May 10, 2013.


[56] Bryan Bender, “Shutdown Delays Intelligence Review of Marathon Bombings,” The Boston Globe, October 27, 2013.


[57] Bryan Bender, Peter Schorm, Michael Kranish, and Matt Viser, “Mass. Antiterror Units were Unaware of FBI Probe of Tamerlan Tsarnaev, The Boston Globe, April 26, 2013.


[58] Michael Schmidt, and Eric Schmitt, The New York Times, April 24, 2013, Ibid.


[59] Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment (TIDE) Fact Sheet, National Counterterrorism Center.


[60] House Homeland Security Committee Report, March 25, 2014, Ibid.


[61] Congressmen William Keating,, Ibid.


[62] Gregg Miller and Sari Horwitz, The Washington Post, May 4, 2013, Ibid.


[63] Timothy Healy, Director, Terrorist Screening Center Federal Bureau of Investigation, Statement Before the House Judiciary Committee, March 24, 2010.


[64] Terrorist Screening Database,


[65]Timothy Healy, Director, Terrorist Screening Center Federal Bureau of Investigation, Ibid.


[66] House Homeland Security Committee Report, March 25, 2014.


[67] Timothy Healy, Director, March 24, 2010, Ibid.


[68] Privacy Impact Assessment Update for the Advanced Passenger Information System (APIS), Department of Homeland Security, June 23, 2011.

[69] House Homeland Security Committee Report, March 25, 2014, Ibid


[70] House Homeland Security Committee Report, March 25, 2014, Ibid

Note: the requested “CTR interview” was mentioned in the March 25, 2014 NBC News article and CTR appears to stand for “counterterrorism” interview. 


[71] Ibid


[72] Tom Winter, NBC News, March 25, 2014, Ibid.


[73] Michael Schmidt, and Eric Schmitt, The New York Times, April 24, 2013, Ibid.

[74] Timothy Healy, March 24, 2010, Ibid.

[75] Scott Shane, Michael Schmidt, and Eric Schmitt, The New York Times, April 25, 2013, Ibid   


[76] Greg Miller, “Anti-Terror Task Force was Warned of Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s Long Trip to Russia,” The Washington Post, April 25, 2013. 


[77] Simon Shuster, “The Boston-Bomber Trail: Fresh Clues in Rural Dagestan”, Time Magazine, April 29, 2013.


[78] Ibid.


[79]The Lead” with Jake Tapper, May 9, 2013, Ibid.


[80] Pervaiz Shallwani, Allan Cullison, and Evan Perez, “US is Probing Suspect’s Alleged Links to Militants,” Wall Street Journal, April 22, 2013.


[81]  Russian Agents Watched, Searched for Boston Bombing Suspect During Trip to Dagestan,” Associated Press, April 30, 2013. Reported by Fox News, Ibid.


[82] David Martosko and American Media Institute, “Saudi Arabian Ambassador in Washington now Denies his nation warned the United States about Tamerlan Tsarnaev in 2012,” UK Daily Mail, April 30, 2013.


[83] Luke Harding and Vikram Dodd, “Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s YouTube Account Shows Jihadi Radicalization in Pictures,” The Guardian, April 22, 2013.


[84] Michael Schmidt, “FBI Said to Find it Could Not Have Averted Boston Attack,” The New York Times, August 1, 2013.


[85] House Homeland Security Committee Report, March 25, 2014, Ibid.

[86] Matt Viser and Noah Bierman, “House Democrats Downplay Findings in Marathon Bombing Report,” The Boston Globe, March 27, 2014.


[87] The three most relevant sections of the Committee Report relating to the intelligence failures include: (1) 2011 FBI Assessment of Tamerlan Tsarnaev (page 11); (2) Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s Travel to Russia (page 13); and (3) Early (Tamerlan radicalization) Warnings (page 15). Although there are 30 references/endnotes in these three sections, two of them provide general explanations of the content from the body. Included in the media sources are a couple of general FBI press releases that were widely reported in the media.


[88] Congressmen William Keating,, Ibid.

[89] Congressmen William Keating,, Ibid.

[90] Congressmen William Keating,, Ibid.

Also see Section B and Endnotes 27 and 28.


[91] Eileen Sullivan and Matt Apuzzo, “Russia Caught Tamerlan and Mother on Wiretap Discussing Jihad,” Associated Press,  April 27, 2013. As reported in The Washington Times at following link:

[92] House Homeland Security Committee Report (page 11), March 25, 2014, Ibid.

[93] Michael Schmidt and Eric Schmitt, “Russia Didn’t Share All Details on Boston Bombing Suspect, Report Says,” New York Times, April 9, 2014

[94] Michael Schmidt and Eric Schmitt, New York Times, April 9, 2014, Ibid.

[95] Congressmen William Keating,, Ibid.

Also see Section B for detailed discussion of alleged FBI information request from the Russian FSB and Endnote 28.

[96] Michael Schmidt and Eric Schmitt, New York Times, April 9, 2014, Ibid.

[97] Michael Schmidt and Eric Schmitt, New York Times, April 9, 2014, Ibid.


[98] Bryan Bender and Noah Bierman, “Review Finds Marathon Bombing Exposed Communication Gaps,” The Boston Globe, April 10, 2014.

By The above article states that neither the customs officer nor the FBI agent could recall any specific interaction they had about Tamerlan's travels; however, several MSM articles in the weeks and months after the BMB reported that the customs officer did alert the FBI investigators by word of mouht only, including in this June 14, 2013 Boston Globe article: http// 

[99] Bryan Bender and Noah Bierman, The Boston Globe, April 10, 2014, Ibid.

[100] Bryan Bender and Noah Bierman, The Boston Globe, April 10, 2014, Ibid.

[101] James Jesus Angleton,