Published April 21, 2013
A Republican-led House committee is asking the Obama administration for all information on the Boston bombing suspect once flagged for possible radical ties, 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 said bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev appears to be the fifth person since 9/11 to participate in a terror attack, despite being under FBI investigation.
McCaul, R-Texas, said the incidents “raise the most serious questions about the efficacy of the federal counter terrorism efforts.”
Tsarnaev, 26, was killed early Friday morning in a police shootout. His 19-year-old brother, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, was captured by police that night and remains in the hospital.
The older Tsarnaev was interviewed by the FBI in 2011 before a six-month overseas trip, including time in Russia. In addition, he posted jihadist material on his social media site.
On Saturday, two U.S. law enforcement officials said the FBI was acting on information from the Russian intelligence security service that Tamerlan Tsarnaev was a follower of radical Islam.
“Yet Tsarnaev remained at liberty in this country to conduct the Boston attack, and it took days to publicly identify him as a suspect,” wrote McCaul, who wants the information by Friday.
Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., a committee member who also signed the letter, asked on “Fox News Sunday”: “Why didn’t the FBI go back and look at this?”
Still, the agency got some bipartisan support Sunday for its intelligence work and finding the bombing suspects.
“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.
Illinois Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin told NBC the FBI and related agencies need more resources.
“We need to invest in the resources necessary for law enforcement,” said Durbin, who acknowledges the Boston attacks might be a call for a review of U.S. intelligence efforts.
Two bombs place Monday near the Boston Marathon finish line killed three people and injured more than 180 others.
McCaul identified the others in the terrorist category as Anwar al Awlaki, David Headley, Carlos Bledsoe and Nidal Hasan.
He said Faruq Abdulmutallab also attempted a terror attack despite being identified to the Central Intelligence Agency as a potential terrorist. The so-called “underwear bomber” attempted to blow up a U.S. airliner on Dec. 25, 2009.
Al Awlaki was an American-born Al Qaeda member killed in a 2011 U.S. drone attack in Yemen. Headley is a Pakistani-American who pleaded guilty in 2010 to participating in terror attacks including the 2008 Mumbai, India, attacks that killed 164 people.
Bledsoe was born in Tennessee and converted to radical Islam before a 2009 attack on a military recruiting station in which he fatally shot an Army private.
Hasan, born in Virginia, is the Army officer accused of fatally shooting 13 people in 2009 at a military base in Fort Hood, Texas.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.