The Tsarnaev Brothers Raise Questions About Our National Security State

Let’s start with something simple: the elder brother bomber, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, put up a YouTube video advocating Jihadi extremism and violence.

So please tell me again why the government needs warrantless wiretap authority to keep us safe!

But that is only small piece of the puzzle. We’ve all seen the information. In 2011, the Russian government allegedly worried about some kind of connection between Tamerlan Tsarnaev and terrorist groups. They informed the US government and requested that Tsarnaev be interviewed and investigated. The FBI did so. They found no such connections and released him.

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About half a year later, Tsarnaev made a “mysterious” visit to Russia and was there for six months. I find that really interesting. I would guess that Russian authorities would flag someone like him if they went to the trouble to have him investigated in the United States. I don’t understand how his name didn’t raise any alarms at the border. Or did he have a passport with a different name? Who could supply such a thing?

I’m not the only one asking such questions:

“A Republican-led House committee is asking the Obama administration for all information on the Boston bombing suspect once suspected of engaging in terrorist activities, saying the tragedy marks another intelligence failure and raises ‘serious questions about the efficacy of the federal counter-terrorism efforts.’ The letter was sent Saturday by the House Committee on Homeland Security to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, National Intelligence Director James Clapper and FBI Director Robert Mueller. In the letter, Committee Chairman Rep. Mike McCaul says bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev appears to be the fifth person since 9/11 to participate in a terror attack, despite being under FBI investigation.”

Some are claiming there is nothing to worry about:

“‘The FBI did its due diligence’ Rep. Mike Rogers said on NBC’s ‘Meet the Press.’ Rogers, R-Mich., a former FBI agent, also suggested Tsarnaev could have made overseas trips under an alias.”

But how do you travel overseas under an alias? It if were easy, then there is no point in pretending that requiring ID is helping national security. If it required sophisticated knowledge and means, and/or money, then this is evidence, again, that Tsarnaev had help. How did the FBI miss these connections when they investigated him?

In my opinion, nothing is more important than finding out what the FBI knew and when they knew it. We need Congress to investigate how the elder Tsarnaev went to Russia and returned without causing a reaction on the part of either government. What exactly did they investigate and how quickly was Tsarnaev able to radicalize after that investigation without their knowledge.

Specifically, we need to find out if he had any further contact with the FBI or with people working for the FBI (including “snitches”). We also need to know if the FBI knew about the YouTube videos and when. Also: how soon after the bombs went off did it the FBI consider the possibility that it might be the Tsarnaev brothers?

Frankly, I still find it hard to believe that the bombs were sponsored by a wider group. But that trip to Russia raises a host of questions that we need answered. The FBI seems to be at the center of the mystery.

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