Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
A poster board with photos of those who died in the Boston Marathon bombing is put away during the House Homeland Security Committee at a hearing on "The Boston Bombings: A First Look," on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, May 9, 2013. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
Boston chief wasn’t told FBI got Tsarnaev warning
First Published May 09 2013 11:33 am • Last Updated May 09 2013 11:33 am

WASHINGTON • FBI agents did not tell Boston police they had receiving warnings from Russia’s government in 2011 about suspected bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev and had performed a cursory investigation, Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis told Congress Thursday, in the first hearing into last month’s terror attack on the Boston Marathon.

Davis said that none of four people he had assigned to the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force was aware that the FBI investigated the vague warning, found nothing and had closed the file. One of his detectives was in the dark despite being assigned to the unit that investigated Tsarnaev, Davis said.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

"They tell me they received no word about that individual prior to the bombing," Davis said.

Davis said he would have liked to have known but conceded that it might not have prevented the attack. The commissioner said his detectives would have wanted to interview Tsarnaev.

"The FBI did that and they closed the case out," he said. "I can’t say I would’ve come to a different conclusion based on the information at the time."

The House Homeland Security Committee hearing came less than three weeks after Tsarnaev died in a police shootout. His brother, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, was arrested and faces federal terrorism charges.

The committee chairman, Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, said the hearing will be the first in a series to review the government’s initial response, ask what information authorities received about the brothers before the bombings and whether they handled it correctly.

Thursday’s hearing was unlikely to shed much light on those questions. Nobody from the federal government testified.

But in a time of widespread budget cuts, the hearing began laying the groundwork for an expected push for more counterterrorism money. Both Davis and Kurt Schwartz, the Massachusetts homeland security chief, praised federal grants that for years have kept cities flush with money for equipment and manpower.

"People are alive today" because of money for training and equipment, Schwartz said.


story continues below
story continues below

McCaul and Rep. Bennie Thompson, the top Democrat on the committee, also spoke of the importance of federal money, as did former Sen. Joe Lieberman, one of the founders of the Department of Homeland Security, who took a new seat as a congressional witness.

"You can’t fight this war without resources," Lieberman said.

Lieberman said it would have been possible, albeit difficult, to have prevented the bombing. He said the U.S. should have shared threat information with state and local law enforcement.

"When you’re dealing with homegrown radicals, the community around them is going to be your first line of defense," Lieberman said. "State and local law enforcement will always have a better knowledge of the neighborhood, the institutions the people are going to be involved with."

In written testimony, Davis told lawmakers that cities should look at deploying more undercover officers and special police units and installing more surveillance cameras — but not at the expense of civil liberties.

"I do not endorse actions that move Boston and our nation into a police state mentality, with surveillance cameras attached to every light pole in the city," Davis said. "We do not and cannot live in a protective enclosure because of the actions of extremists who seek to disrupt our way of life."

Investigators used surveillance video from a restaurant near one of the explosions to help identify the Tsarnaev brothers.

"Images from cameras do not lie. They do not forget," Davis said. "They can be viewed by a jury as evidence of what occurred. These efforts are not intended to chill or stifle free speech, but rather to protect the integrity and freedom of that speech and to protect the rights of victims and suspects alike."



Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.