The FBI would have violated federal guidelines if they kept a Boston bombing suspect under investigation after initially concluding that he wasn’t a terror threat, according to a senior law enforcement official.
The FBI investigated Tamerlan Tsarnaev in 2011 after Russia alerted the United States that he had ties to radical Islamic groups, but dropped the probe after finding nothing to warrant an additional investigation.
“We had an authorized purpose to look into someone based on the query we received,” the official told the New York Times
. “You can do a limited investigation based on that request.”
The FBI will have a chance to explain its actions later Tuesday at a classified briefing of the Senate Intelligence Committee.
“There are many questions I want answered, such as how and when the suspects became radicalized, details of the FBI’s initial investigation into Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s activities, the nature of the terrorist threat in southern Russia, and more information on our counterterrorism cooperation with Moscow,” Democratic Sen. Mark Udall of Colorado said Monday in a statement.
The FBI said in a statement that Russia believed Tsarnaev was a threat “based on information that he 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.”
After the FBI’s initial investigation into Tsarnaev found no radical ties, they requested additional information from Russia, but received no reply, The Times reported.
After conducting an interview with Tsarnaev and members of his family, “the FBI did not find any terrorism activity, domestic or foreign,” the agency said.
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