First we hear that Russia had intelligence on Tamerlan Tsarnaev in 2011, but the FBI says they investigated and found nothing that caused them any concern. In fact, the FBI stated that they had run an extensive background check on Tamerlan and found nothing.
Now we are being told that Saudi Arabia also had concerns about Tamerlan Tsarnaev and sent a written letter to the Department of Homeland Security in 2012. Their intelligence raised such concerns on Tamerlan that the Saudi government refused to issue him a visa in December of 2011. He claimed that he wanted to make a pilgrimage to Mecca, but no one at this time is saying what his real motive was.
A Saudi official has said that they told the US that they believed that ‘something was going to happen in a major US city’ and it specifically named Tamerlan in the letter. This information was also shared with the British government. The Saudi’s say they did not know what city or when, just that Tamerlan was involved in a plot to do something in major city.
To no surprise, the Department of Homeland Security and the White House are both denying any knowledge of a letter from the Saudi government concerning Tamerlan Tsarnaev. An unidentified official at DHS said:
“DHS has no knowledge of any communication from the Saudi government regarding information on the suspects in the Boston Marathon Bombing prior to the attack.”
A spokesperson for the president’s National Security Council issued a similar statement, saying:
“We and other relevant U.S. government agencies have no record of such a letter being received.”
However, an official with DHS who insists on anonymity said that the 2012 letter from the Saudi government does exist.
I was surprised to read that an aide to a GOP member of the House Homeland Security Committee defended the White House statement saying:
“It is possible the Department of Homeland Security received the information from the Saudi government but never passed it on to the White House. Communication between DHS and the White House’s national security apparatus isn’t always what it should be.”
“I can easily see it happening where one hand didn’t know what the other was doing because of a turf war.”
“Just like the different agencies in the Boston JTTF [Joint Terrorism Task Force] want credit for breaking the Tsarnaev case, they sometimes jealously guard the very intel they should be sharing the most freely. Sometimes it makes no sense at all.”
Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX) is Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee and he has vowed to launch an investigative probe to find out exactly what intelligence the US had prior to the Boston bombings. President Obama also said that the government will launch an investigation on the sharing of intelligence information among the FBI, DHS, other intelligence agencies and law enforcement.
There are two points I wish to make here. One is that with all of the Benghazi cover-up involving the State Department and the White House, how will anyone know for sure about who knew what? They already have a track record of lying, so what’s to stop them from continuing to lie to save their butts?
Secondly, what about all of the proposed gun control laws requiring universal background checks on all gun owners and would be gun owners? If the laws had passed, the FBI would have the responsibility to conduct the extensive background checks on millions of American gun owners. Considering how badly they failed with the background check on Tamerlan Tsarnaev, after being given a warning by Russia, how effective are they going to be in running the background checks on perspective gun purchasers?