Investigating the Boston Bombers’ Foreign Ties
There is still much we don’t know about the Boston Marathon bombers. It will take time to piece together a more complete picture of their backgrounds. But the investigation has taken an important turn since late last week, as U.S. intelligence and counterterrorism officials are delving into their possible ties to jihadist groups based overseas.
Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the older brother of the deadly duo, first raised red flags more than two years ago, when Russia alerted the FBI to his increasingly radicalized worldview.
The Bureau has issued a statement explaining that “a foreign government asked the FBI for information about Tamerlan Tsarnaev” in early 2011. The Washington Post reports that, according to a “law enforcement official,” the “request came from the Russian government,” which was “concerned about Tsarnaev’s potential ties to Chechen terrorists.” Other press outlets have reported the same.
The FBI says that the request from the foreign government (Russia) “was based on information that he was a follower of radical Islam and a strong believer, and that he had changed drastically since 2010 as he prepared to leave the United States for travel to the country’s region to join unspecified underground groups.”