US Representative Mike McCaul, Chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, said on CNN last Sunday that a "flag" should have been placed on Tamerlan Tsarnaev, after Russian intelligence warned the US that he had been radicalized in recent years.
McCaul is a former federal prosecutor. As reported last week, Russian intelligence told the FBI in 2011 that the Boston bombing suspect, the older of two brothers, was about to travel abroad "to join unspecified underground groups." The FBI last week admitted that it had interviewed the older brother in 2011, after initially denying it.
Tamerlan is alleged to have carried out the horrific Boston Marathon bombing, in which three people were killed and over 170 injured, with a large number of the injured suffering limb amputations due to the nature of the weapons, which targeted the lower extremities. The FBI has sought to portray the Russian intelligence warning as a "request for information" from the Russians in which no incriminating data was found.
But the FBI, in its statement on the 2011 interview with Tsarnaev, acknowledged that the 26-year-old Chechen citizen:
"was a follower of radical Islam and a strong believer, and that he had changed drastically since 2010 as he prepared to leave the United States for travel to the country’s region to join unspecified underground groups."
As the intelligence had forecast, Tsarnaev left for Chechnya the following year, in 2012, for up to six months. Congressman McCaul said that as one of the most violent and volatile regions in the world, it was reasonable to expect that Tsarnaev was making the journey to receive training.
"The American people need to understand that the Chechen rebels are some of the fiercest jihadist warriors out there...they have also made an alliance with Al Qaeda," said McCaul.
McCaul then said that Chechen jihadists were active in Iraq, and were clearly "in the fight."
"The older brother travels back to Russia, he spends six months there, and one of the first things he does is he puts up a website throwing out a lot of jihadist rhetoric," said McCaul.
"If he is on the radar and they let him go, why hasn't a flag been put on him?" said McCaul, a former federal prosecutor, referring to a type of surveillance or tracking status.
Civil liberties advocates have long decried the federal government's almost limitless ability, since 9/11, to conduct surveillance, monitor, and track subjects, including US citizens, when national security is cited as a reason. The Patriot Act passed immediately after 9/11 allows the government to intercept all electronic, telephone, and written communications, to obtain library records, financial records, and medical records, all without a court order. The National Security Agency (NSA) has built massive data collection and storage centers in Utah and other locations.
The older Tsarnaev brother, Tamerlan, deceased, was not an American citizen. He was therefore not entitled to even limited Fourth Amendment privacy rights.
In a joint letter with Rep. Peter King, in their roles as ranking members of the House Committee on Homeland Security, McCaul and King wrote to US Attorney General Eric Holder and Department of Homeland Security Director Janet Napolitano:
"[Tsarnaev] appears to be the fifth person since September 11, 2001, to participate in terror attacks despite being under investigation by the FBI."
The others named are Anwar al-Awlaki, a U.S.-born cleric, David Headley, an American who admitted scouting targets for a 2008 Islamic militant raid on Mumbai; Carlos Bledsoe, who killed an Army private outside a military recruiting office in in 2009; and Nidal Hasan. The 1993 World Trade Center bombing has also been revealed, by the New York Times and by CBS News, to be an FBI entrapment scheme which resulted in multiple deaths.
US Representative Mike Mccaul (R-TX) on CNN
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