Significance of Boston suspects' connection to Chechnya

Former CIA operative on latest in investigation


This is a rush transcript from "Your World," April 19, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: You have heard by now, probably ad nauseam, that the suspects are originally from Chechnya. Of course, that's the breakaway region from Russia that of course has had a history of violence, and some of it dramatic violence, against Moscow subway stations, schools, institutions, you name it.

That connection alone has drawn the attention of the federal authorities. Is it right to?

Former CIA operative Michael Scheuer joining us now.

Michael, what are to make of just that? Association does not mean anything beyond that, but it is raising some eyebrows. What do you think?

MICHAEL SCHEUER, FORMER CHIEF OF CIA BIN LADEN UNIT: Well, Chechnya and the North Caucasus, the six republics there are very much in the state of war with Russia.

And it has evolved, Neil, over time from a nationalist cause into an Islamist cause. Al Qaeda has been active there. Different Islamic groups have been active there. The Saudis have pumped in missionaries and money for religious training.

It is a place that is part of the international jihad at the moment. And it seems to me that it's not unreasonable to assume that -- that those people attacked us in part for an Islamist motivation. And the whole movement declared war on the United States, the North Caucasus Islamist movement, about two years ago. So it's not a well-known story, but the facts are out there.

CAVUTO: Indeed.

We're looking at video from several of the more memorable Chechen rebel attacks in Russia, including a movie theater, a subway station. I think in the case of the movie theater, it didn't start there, but they gathered all their eventual victims there, even at government buildings in Moscow.

So some of the more extreme elements have a history of violence. And they're increment about it, in case of going after school kids, I think at one time more than four dozen of them.


CAVUTO: So, the fact of the matter is, the extreme elements at least, to which we have no idea whether these brothers are associated, are pretty bad guys.


Well, any Russian war, Russians against Russians, is going to be very brutal. I think we have not got the -- how brutal the Russians were because the Russians don't allow the journalists to go down into the North Caucasus. But it's clearly an eye-for-an-eye war, Neil.

And also the Chechens have been fighting in Afghanistan since the 1980s, but especially against us since we have been there in 2001. So there's a large number of Chechens who are battle-trained and able to give instruction to other people who are...


CAVUTO: Well, do you think that is what happened here, Michael?

The feeling seems to be, originally when this happened, that we're focusing on these two guys, these two brothers, as it turns out, where we're fairly confident, sure that it's these guys, and by inference only these guys. Then I heard from another -- a number of other security experts who say, well, for them to have carried out what they carried out, they had to have some help, they had to have some -- some others working with them.

Do you buy that? And -- because that raises the specter of help from Chechnya or whatever.

SCHEUER: Yes, I think, Neil, looking at the operation, I think two people could have carried that off, but there had to be some kind of training involved in terms of constructing the bombs. And I think at the end of the day...


CAVUTO: Well, why -- why -- why do you say there would have to be help if you could I guess do this via a lesson on the Internet?

SCHEUER: Well, it seems to me that those bombs were pretty professionally made, that they were not that unstable. And that just would suggest to me -- and I could be completely wrong -- that there was some expertise involved, and -- and this one gentleman apparently was in Russia for six months last year. So he may have had the opportunity to gain that training.

CAVUTO: All right, Michael Scheuer, thank you very much, your expertise always appreciated.

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