There were some great final comments in the previous thread which I didn’t have a chance to reply to. Thanks Jane for the links to the Monica Perez pieces. Good stuff. And thanks to Barbara, who clearly stated one point about the Boston Globe article which I had tried (and failed) to convey. “… by pushing the idea that Tamerlan is mentally ill and not on a mission of jihad, the issue of the FBI possibly dropping the ball on following up on the Russian’s security alert becomes moot.”
People in high places have been asking what the FBI knew about the Tsarnaevs and when they knew it. Here’s why:
On April 18, the FBI asked us for help to identify their two suspects. They said they had no idea who they were.
After the suspects were identified, Zubeida Tsarnaev opened her inconveniently loud mouth to announce that the FBI already knew who Tamerlan was, and that they had been “all over him” and the rest of the family for several years.
After ZT’s revelations, the Feds backtracked. Oh yes, they did know a little bit about Tamerlan, because the Russians had sent them several warnings about the Tsarnaev family in 2011 and 2012. But, they couldn’t find any real problems with him, so they closed the case.
The new BG article questions the narrative that the Russians even considered Tamerlan a threat. “Several observers have raised doubts about [Russia’s] version. They say it would have been difficult, if not impossible, for Tamerlan to have met with members of the underground without drawing attention … It is unclear what prevented the FSB from seizing him when he was leaving Russia.”
What warnings did the Russians send to the FBI, why did they send them, and why did the FBI ignore them?
Why is this question important? Some people, e.g. Rep. Grassley of Iowa, apparently suspect the FBI of an entrapment scheme. Others, like most of us on this site, suspect a frameup.
There is a lot of speculation about Tamerlan’s possible CIA connections. This has led to further speculation that the brothers were actually recruited to help with a harmless bomb drill at the Marathon, and were then framed for the lethal bombing.
Here is a good review of the CIA issue:
So, Was Tamerlan a Jihadist?
If the Russians thought Tamerlan was dangerous, does that mean he was potentially dangerous to the US? He may have been exploring the possibility of fighting in Chechnya’s separatist struggle. Or, he may have been involved in CIA efforts to destabilize Russian power by supporting the separatists. IMO this is not the same thing as being a religion-based jihadist. I can see no reason why Chechen separatists would want to bomb people in Boston.
The BG article quotes Dzhokhar as saying: “[Chechnya] It’s where I come from. The Western world – they think we’re terrorists.” But the article seems to make light of the family’s allegations that Chechens have been “brutally victimized by the Russians.”
The Caucasus conflict is an ugly one on both sides. Chechen separatist forces have used terrorist tactics, presumably because they have to deal with the vastly superior force of the Russian army. But Amnesty International reports: “In 2008 the European Court of Human Rights adopted judgments in more than 30 cases finding that the Russian authorities were in violation … regarding the conduct of its forces in Chechnya or the failure to initiate prompt and effective investigations into enforced disappearances and deaths.” According to Wikipedia: “Some journalists” have accused Putin of using some very nasty false flag tactics to justify his invasion and re-taking of Chechnya.
Are the Chechens (including the Tsarnaevs) Evil Jihadist Monsters? To me that viewpoint seems way too simplistic.
The Chechen Connection and Ibragim Todashev
The FBI may have made an honest mistake in not stopping the BMB bombing. They can’t possibly keep track of every half-crazy Muslim who crosses their radar. They simply forgot that they had a file on Tamerlan.
OK, fine. But they made another huge mistake when one of their agents killed Ibragim Todashev. And, they have insisted on connecting this event to Tamerlan and by extension to the Marathon bombing. Which means that some of us are going to continue to ask questions about all of it.
What is the motive for the FBI’s harassment of Orlando-area Chechens? In addition to Todashev, this campaign has targeted his girlfriend and a male friend who were both arrested and then deported during the investigation of the Marathon bombing and the Watertown triple murder.
According to the Council on American Islamic Relations, the FBI has a strategy of forcibly recruiting members of the US Chechen community to act as informers, with the consequence of refusal being deportation. Was Todashev one of the reluctant informants? Was Tamerlan?
If this is the case (and of course, it’s only speculation) it might explain not only the killing of Todashev, but the FBI’s fudging of the facts about Tamerlan’s radicalization.
Here is a link to the latest on the Todashev case. The good news is that there is an independent investigation going on, with a possibility of criminal charges.