President Obama and top House Republicans were publicly at odds Monday over how cooperative Russia has been in providing information about the suspected Boston Marathon bombers, who have direct ties to Russia.
Obama told Russia President Vladimir Putin by phone Monday he appreciates “the close cooperation that the United States has received from Russia on the Boston marathon attack,” according to the White House.
However, Republican New York Rep. Peter King suggested earlier in the day that Russia might be withholding information, including details about one of the suspected bomber’s 2012 trip to Russia.
“The Russians did not give us all the information they have,” King told Fox News. “One of the reasons is, they still don't trust us and we don't trust them.”
Authorities have identified the bombers as ethic Chechen brothers Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaeva, who emigrated with their parents from southern Russia to the United States a decade ago.
Russian security officials alerted U.S. intelligence officers about possible links between Chechen terrorists and Tamerlan, prior to his six-month trip to Russia, where his parents returned to live in recent years.
Among the questions is whether Tamerlan, a Muslim and purported mastermind of the terror attack, received bomb-making help in Russia or was radicalized there.
The Tsarnaevs are said to have dropped, then detonated two bombs near the finish line of the April 15 marathon, killing three and injuring more than 260.
The 26-year-old Tamerlan Tsarnaev was killed several days later in a shootout with police. The 19-year-old Dzhokhar was captured alive but wounded and is now at a medical detention center.
“There is a lot that we just don’t know,” Rep. Mike Rogers, a Michigan Republican and chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, told ABC News on Sunday. “That’s why many say, hey, the Russians need to step up to the plate here and provide us better information. I think they have information that would be incredibly helpful that they haven’t provided yet.”
Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss of Georgia told CBS News on Sunday that Russia’s effort has been only “cursory.”
Obama also shared concerns with Putin about the possible use of chemical weapons in Syria and expressed his condolences about the fire last week outside of Moscow that killed dozens of people, the White House said.