The US government added the name of the dead Boston Marathon bombing suspect to a terrorist database 18 months before the deadly explosions, officials say.
Five days after the US determined who was allegedly behind the deadly Boston marathon terror attacks, Washington is piecing together what happened and whether there were any unconnected dots buried in US government files that, if connected, could have prevented the bombings.
The surviving suspect, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, reportedly told authorities that his older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, only recently recruited him to be part of the attack.
The CIA, however, added Tamerlan to a huge, classified database of known and suspected terrorists 18 months ago, officials told the Associated Press in an acknowledgment that will undoubtedly prompt congressional inquiry about whether the Obama administration adequately investigated tips from Russia that Tsarnaev had posed a security threat.
Shortly after the bombings, US officials said the intelligence community had no information about threats to the marathon before the April 15 explosions.
The US officials who spoke to AP were close to the investigation but asked not to be named.
Investigators have said the brothers, Russian-born ethnic Chechens, appeared to have been radicalised through jihadist materials on the internet and have found no evidence tying them to a terrorist group.
Tamerlan, whom authorities have described as the driving force behind the plot, was killed in a shootout with police. Dzhokhar is recovering in a hospital from injuries sustained during a getaway attempt.
The CIA made the request to add Tamerlan’s name to the terrorist database after the Russian government contacted the agency with concerns that he had become a follower of radical Islam.
About six months earlier, the FBI had separately investigated Tsarnaev, also at Russia’s request, but the FBI found no ties to terrorism, officials said.
Dzhokhar told the FBI that they were angry about the US wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and the killing of Muslims there.
In Russia, US investigators travelled to the predominantly Muslim province of Dagestan and were in contact with the brothers’ parents, hoping to gain more information.