Authorities Seeking Up to Six Others in Bombing Probe

Monday, 29 Apr 2013 08:41 AM

By Melanie Batley

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Federal authorities are investigating up to six people associated with the Boston bombing suspects to see if they were aware of the plot or had any involvement in disposing evidence.

Katherine Russell, the widow of alleged bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev, is at the top of the list, The Wall Street Journal reported Monday. Officials are considering a possible subpoena to question her, but would prefer to arrange a voluntary interview. Russell’s lawyer has said she is “doing everything she can to assist with the investigation.”

Asked whether authorities are investigating other people, Maryland Democratic Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week,” “This is part of the investigation. This is a domestic investigation and it’s an international investigation. ... We’re looking at phone calls before and after the bombing.”

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Separately, a U.S. law-enforcement official said Russian authorities have recently provided the FBI with details of wiretapped phone calls in early 2011 between the mother of the bombing suspects, Zubeidat Tsarnaeva, and her son Tamerlan, including one call during which they discussed jihad, though without mention of a specific plot, the Journal reported.

At the time, information from the Russians prompted the FBI to launch a three-month investigation, but details of the wiretaps were not disclosed and it’s unclear whether that would have made a difference in the FBI’s decision to close the file instead of investigating further.

In a recent interview with the Journal, Zubeidat Tsarnaeva said she and her son talked about religion and came to believe in more orthodox Islamic practices but she denied they were extremists. She has said she believes her sons were framed.

Rep. Michael McCaul said Sunday on Fox News that authorities are focusing on Tsarnaeva’s role in possibly radicalizing her sons.

“I do believe if she comes into the United States, she will be detained and questioned,” the Texas Republican said.

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