US: Russia Didn't Share Crucial Info on Tsarnaev

Intercepted text messages might have prompted bigger investigation
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted May 11, 2013 11:40 AM CDT
Updated May 11, 2013 1:00 PM CDT
US Officials Fault Russia for Holding Back Tamerlan Info
Bukhari Abdel-Alim of the Islamic Funeral Services of Virginia removes flowers from one of two newly dug graves at a cemetery in Doswell, Va. Tamerlan Tsarnaev is believed to be in one of them.   (AP Photo/Luis M. Alvarez)

The Wall Street Journal has the latest in the blame game going on about what the FBI did or didn't do in regard to Tamerlan Tsarnaev: It quotes US officials as criticizing Russia for failing to hand over text messages it intercepted between Tsarnaev's mother and a relative that suggested her son wanted to join jihadist groups in that country. As has been previously known, Russia warned the FBI about Tsarnaev in 2011, but it didn't turn over any additional information about him when the FBI asked.

The text messages might have been enough to prompt a more thorough investigation of Tsarnaev than actually took place, says House Intelligence Committee chair Mike Rogers. The information "would have allowed the bureau to open an investigation where you could track [Mr. Tsarnaev's] communications," he said. "To me, that's where the ball really got dropped." Rep. Michael McCaul of the House homeland security panel echoed the point. Nor did Russian officials let the US know that it had Tsarnaev under close security during his trip home in 2012. (Click to read about Tsarnaev's controversial burial site.)

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