The administration of Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick has reportedly refused to release details of Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s government benefits, citing the dead terrorist’s right to privacy.
State agencies “flatly refused” to provide information regarding the taxpayer-funded lifestyle of the 26-year-old man and his accused accomplice brother, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, the Boston Herald reports.
State welfare spokesman Alec Loftus would only say Tamerlan Tsarnaev, his wife Katherine Russell and the couple’s 3-year-old daughter, Zahara, received benefits that ended in 2012. Loftus declined further comment, the newspaper reports.
Labor Department spokesman Kevin Franck echoed that sentiment, refusing to indicate whether Tsarnaev ever collected unemployment compensation.
Regarding Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s college aid, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth spokesman Robert Connolly said the school’s position was that student records, including academic and financial details, cannot be released without a student’s consent under federal law.
Cambridge officials and the family’s landlord also dodged questions on whether the brothers were ever on Section 8 assistance, the newspaper reports.
The Herald reported on Wednesday that Tamerlan Tsarnaev, his wife and 3-year-old daughter collected welfare until 2012 and that both Tamerlan and Dzhokhar received benefits through their parents “for a limited portion” of the time after they came to the U.S., which was around 2002. The Department of Transitional Assistance, however, would not release information about how long or how much they received.
It remains unclear how the accused bomber brothers financed their April 15 attack at the Boston Marathon, killing 3 people and injuring more than 200 others.
“It’s certainly relevant information that should be made public,” U.S. Rep. Stephen F. Lynch told the Herald. “There’s a national security interest No. 1. Secondly, there’s also a public interest in finding out whether these individuals were able to exploit the system and get benefits they weren’t entitled to.”