New York’s Republican Congressman Peter King is among a growing group of lawmakers demanding answers from the FBI about what department officials knew about the Boston bombings and suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s travel to Russia.
“I can understand if maybe the FBI didn’t get all the information they should have gotten or maybe it wasn’t available the first time through, but then for instance, when the Department of Homeland Security knew that he was going to Russia (the older brother) apparently they couldn’t get back to the FBI because under FBI regulations the case had been closed by then,” King said on Jansing & Co.
Texas Republican Michael McCaul said something similar earlier on The Daily Rundown Wednesday.
“When I was briefed by the FBI they told me they had no knowledge of his overseas trip to the Chechnya region, when in fact the Secretary then testifies and says that they got pinged, that there was a flag that went up that did indicate he was traveling to Russian and to the Chechen region,” McCaul said.
In 2011, the FBI was contacted by Russian authorities about Tamerlan Tsarnaev. The Russians said he was a strong believer of radical Islam. The FBI interviewed him and determined he was not a threat and closed the case. FBI investigators the contacted Russia for more information on Tsarnaev but did not hear back.
After a Senate Intelligence Committee briefing, lawmakers raised questions about “stovepipes” or bureaucratic barriers, information sharing that was a big issue after the September 11th attacks. Senators Susan Collins and Saxby Chambliss both expressed dismay over the flow of information. King suggests the FBI alter procedures to be able to follow-up on a case like Tamerlan Tsarnaev, or at least share their information with the Boston police department.
“It’s working much better than it was on 9/11, but it’s not working as well as it should,” King said on Jansing & Co.
Senator Marco Rubio suggested the threat is changing.
“We need to be prepared for Boston-type attacks, not just 9/11-type attacks,” Rubio told The New York Times Tuesday.
“It’s very difficult for al Qaeda to launch attacks from overseas. The attacks are going to come from within the country from people who are off the radar screen. Which means, it’s harder to find out who they are - that requires more intensive investigation,” King said.
McCaul also suggested in a Fox News interview Wednesday that the bomb the suspects made was sophisticated and suggested they had some kind of training. Officials have said it appears the Tsarnaev brothers were acting alone and built the bomb with instructions found online in an English-language Al Qaeda magazine.
“If I had to bet I would say there was training, there was sophistication into these bomb, every bomb worked,” King said, “To me this indicates a higher level of training than just the ordinary person putting bombs together in their house.”