FILE PHOTO- A deal between agriculture workers and growers could allow for an immigration overhaul bill, said Sen. Dianne Feinstein, shown this month in San Francisco. AP
As Boston recovers from the marathon bombings and media outlets continue to uncover the details of the suspects and their families, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Ca.) has focused her attention on the FBI.
Based on a tense FBI briefing to members of Congress Tuesday, two US senators in particular were interested in knowing why the bombing suspect was not followed more closely by the FBI.
The suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev who died in a firefight with Boston police Thursday night was contacted by the FBI prior to the Boston incidents according to several news outlets.
Tamerlan first caught the attention of the FBI after Russian officials contacted US officials based on a trip Tamerlan made to Dagestan last year.
At the time, officials were trying to figure out if he became involved with Chechen separatists or Islamic extremists.
According to Reuters, the FBI interviewed Tamerlan in Massachusetts in 2011 but said there was no cause for concern.
When discussing the role of the FBI, Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) and the top Republican on the Senate intelligence committee said,
“I can’t say the FBI dropped the ball, I don’t see anybody yet that dropped the ball. That may develop.”
In that same FBI briefing Feinstein added,
“We had a full discussion back and forth over the process that’s followed, and we need to keep at that, and we need to see if there are any loopholes in it, and that we fix those loopholes.”
Zubeidat Tsarnaeva, mother of Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the two men accused of setting off bombs near the Boston Marathon finish line on April 15, 2013 in Boston, walks near her home in Makhachkala, Dagestan, southern Russia, Tuesday, April 23, 2013. (AP Photo/Ilkham Katsuyev)
According the suspects’ mother Zubeidat Tsarnaeva, the FBI was keeping a close eye out on the older brother Tamerlan. Zubeidat told media that the FBI had contacted her because they were “afraid” of him.
“They were telling me that Tamerlan was really an extremist leader and they were afraid of him. They told me whatever information he is getting, he gets from these extremists’ sites.”
Mrs. Tsarnaeva added that Tamerlan first caught the attention of the FBI back in 2008. She said they met with Tamerlan “at least five” times since approximately late 2011, when Tamerlan made his trip to Dagestan.
The suspects’ father Anzor Tsarnaev also claims that the FBI was monitoring Tamerlan.
In an interview with The Wall Street Journal Anzor said FBI agents talked to Tamerlan in 2011. According to Anzor, the FBI told Tamerlan,
“We know what sites you are on, we know where you are calling, we know everything about you. Everything.”
According to Anzor, the FBI was also interested in his son’s activity on the Russian site www.islam.ru.
The FBI responded to these claims by saying after checking Tamerlan and his family’s travel records, online behavior and social ties they “did not find any terrorism activity,” according to The Guardian.