April 30, 2013

BOSTON (AP) — President Barack Obama said Tuesday that the U.S. will review whether any sensitive intelligence was missed that could have prevented the deadly bombings at the Boston Marathon but said his counterterrorism bureaucracy “did what it was supposed to be doing.”

Obama told a news conference that the review, which will last just 90 days, will help determine if all the information was shared properly. Brothers Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, both Russian natives who lived for several years in the U.S., are accused of using a weapon of mass destruction during the April 15 marathon. Three people were killed and more than 260 injured when two bombs exploded near the finish line.

Republican lawmakers question whether the administration’s law enforcement and intelligence agencies failed to share crucial counterterrorism information — the same error blamed for missing clues before the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

The question centers on whether the FBI, CIA and Homeland Security Department shared enough with each other about Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who died in an escape attempt a few days after the bombings. The Russian government had tipped off the FBI and the CIA about his possible links to militancy. His brother, Dzokhar, also a suspect, is in custody.

“Based on what I’ve seen so far, the FBI performed its duties, the Department of Homeland Security did what it was supposed to be doing,” Obama said. But the president said the review would help determine whether “there were additional things that could have been done.”

The review also will look at whether there is more the government can do to stop people within the U.S. who might become radicalized and plan attacks. One of the dangers the U.S. faces is people who might decide to attack because of “whatever warped, twisted ideas they may have,” he said.

Tamerlan Tsarnaev first came to the attention of U.S. officials in early 2011, when Russia told the FBI that Tamerlan and his mother were religious extremists.
The FBI investigated them, and the Tsarnaevs’ names were added to a Homeland Security Department database used to help screen people entering and leaving the
U.S. But the FBI found nothing linking them to religious extremists or terrorists, and asked the Russians twice for more information to help with the investigation. The FBI never heard back and closed its investigation in June 2011.

In the fall of that year, the Russians reached out to the CIA with the same concerns. The CIA shared this with the FBI and asked that the names of Tamerlan and his mother, Zubeidat Tsarnaeva, be entered into a massive government database of people with suspected terrorist ties. The FBI again reached out to Russia for more information and never heard back.

When Tamerlan Tsarnaev traveled to and from Russia in 2012, his travel did not raise alarms because the FBI had closed its investigation into him.

Obama also said the U.S. and Russia are overcoming Cold War era suspicions to co-operate on the investigation, while the top U.S. diplomat announced plans to travel to Russia.

Obama acknowledged that suspicions still exist, but he added that Russian President Vladimir Putin has assured him that Russia is committed to help and that the two sides are looking for ways to improve counterterrorism co-operation more broadly.

Secretary of State John Kerry is headed to Russia next week to meet Putin and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. The talks are expected to touch on the attack in
Boston and a host of bilateral tensions.

Kerry told reporters Tuesday his upcoming trip to Russia is “overdue.”

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  • noz
    1 May 2013 at 6:28 pm - Reply

    obama have two faces, going around in circles to make it look like he is serious in the issue of counterterrorism. the benghazi terror attack killing obama’s appointees remain without clear cut solution by sweeping the controversies under the rug. the benghazi terror attack now in the news radars ones more, crawling out of the rug. potential benghazi terror witnesses being intimidated by obama’s administration to shut up of what they knew about the benghazi terror attack. obama’s allegiance is to the muslims of the globe, signify his loyalty to his muslim father. the ring with signet in arabic religious allah scripts, obama has been wearing the arabic ring for over 30 years at age 20, converted the arabic ring to his wedding ring, look closely at his wife, she is not wearing the same ring, her ring does not even look like a wedding ring. obama always admire mosques he visited more than the christian churches, supposably he is of christian faith as he claimed to be. americans skepticisms on how obama will handle terrorism got buried on the killing of osama bin laden, proves government must learn the hard way terrorism did not go away with the assassination of osama bin laden. lesson for the POTUS is muslims act of terrorisms is the hardest to negate, the radical muslims are spread out worldwide tracking them down is difficult. there are 1.62 billion muslims, radicalized estimated at 28% ready to inflict terror in the name of allah to their adversaries. the muslim terrorists number one adversaries is the USA.