South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham charged on Sunday that the U.S. intelligence community “missed obvious warning signs” on Boston Bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev reminiscent of the days preceding 9/11.
“It’s a failure to share information and missing obvious warning signs,” said Graham, appearing on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” “We’re going back to the pre-9/11 stove piping.”
Asked what the U.S. need to do by host Bob Schiefer, Graham pointed to the need for what he described as an extensive post mortem following reports that the Russian government warned both the FBI and CIA of Tsarnaev’s ties to radical Islamists as far back as March and November of 2011 respectively.
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“The FBI investigated the older brother but never shared the information with the Fusion cell in Boston so people in the Boston area knew to be on the lookout,” according to Graham.
“When he goes back to Russia in January 2012 the system pings at DHS, but DHS doesn’t share the information with the FBI or the CIA,” he explained. “And when he comes back in 2012 he creates a YouTube channel of his own making where he got radical extremist videos that he’s watching and interacting with.”
Graham insisted that any of those events should have triggered an FBI visit.
“We’re going to have to up our game. And when one of these guys goes into the system — and they leave the country — we’ve got to make sure we know where they’re going, and interview them,” Graham asserted. “And when somebody in the database like this begins to openly interact with radical Islamic websites, an FBI agent knock on his door and say you told us before, ‘you wanted to be an Olympic boxer, you love this country.’ What the hell’s going on here? We’re watching you.”
Graham also warned that the U.S. cannot afford to ignore the growing Syrian crisis.
“We need to get involved and there’s a growing consensus in the U.S. Senate that the United States should get involved,” he said.
But Graham, like Sen. John McCain in an earlier interview on “Meet the Press,” said that the U.S. does not need to have soldiers on the ground in Syria.
“One way you can stop the Syrian air force from flying is to bomb the Syrian air bases with Cruise missiles,” according to the Republican lawmaker. “You don’t need to go deep into Syria to do that. If you could neutralize the air advantage the Syrian government has over the rebels, I think you could turn the tide of battle pretty quickly.”
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