While the fallout from the Boston Marathon bombings is raising new questions — did the government’s intelligence apparatus under Barack Obama fail to track the comings and goings of a terrorist in the making? — it may answer some for Boston police. It may help them close the books on three unsolved murders.
The Boston Gobe is reporting that Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the brother killed in a shootout with the FBI last week, may have committed a 2011 triple homicide. The victims, three young men, were found inside an apartment in the Boston suburb of Waltham, their throats slit, their bodies sprinkled with marijuana. One of the victims, according to relatives, had been close friends with the older Tsarnaev brother.
The Globe quotes Stephanie Guyotte, a spokeswoman for the Middlesex district attorney’s office, as saying:
We’re eager to pursue any new leads or information. It has been reported that [Tamerlan Tsarnaev] knew one of the deceased victims. It remains an open investigation.
While the death certificates of two of the victims, Brendan H. Mess, 25, and Rafael M. Teken, 37, say they were killed on Sept. 12, relatives of one of the murdered men claim they died on Sept. 11 — the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon and a highly symbolic date for Islamic extremists.
In the meantime, as more details of Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s past come into focus, it is appearing increasingly as though the FBI dropped the ball once again, as it did in the months leading up to Sept. 11, 2001. The Week writes:
Soon after authorities identified the two suspects, it was revealed that a foreign government — now known to be Russia — had asked the FBI in 2011 for information about any potential links between Tamerlan and terrorist groups. The FBI said it had checked up on Tamerlan and found nothing alarming, so the agency moved on.
How the FBI could have moved on so quickly prompted calls from some lawmakers for more details about that initial investigation. The FBI’s response: The agency asked its Russian counterparts for more information to conduct a deeper search, but the Russians never responded. Of its own accord, the FBI then sent agents to interview Tamerlan and his family, determined he posed no threat, and wiped its hands clean of the matter. The FBI also says it had no legal authority to do anything else at that time.
Cut and dry, right?
Except Russia may have actually warned U.S. authorities about Tamerlan not once, but multiple times— directly contradicting the FBI’s claim that a lack of Russian input led to the case being dropped. Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), who along with other members of the Senate Intelligence Committee was briefed Tuesday on the FBI’s investigation, said Russia had repeatedly warned the FBI about Tamerlan, including at least one time since October 2011. The FBI has said it interviewed Tamerlan in the summer of 2011.
It will be interesting to watch the reaction of the Obama administration as the story develops. Keep an eye in particular on the president, who made much political hay over the raid on the bin Laden compound and subsequently claimed that al Qaeda was on its heels His handlers were partly successful at sweeping the Benghazi attack that killed four Americans under the rug, but those people were members of the diplomatic corps. The Boston Marathon bombings killed civilians, one of them an 8-year-old. How will the man who fancies himself the great protector of our nation’s future generations explain away the killing of one of them on American soil after having declared the “war on terror” to be over?
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