Report: Russia withheld info on Tamerlan Tsarnaev - Boston News, Weather, Sports | FOX 25 | MyFoxBoston

Report: Russia withheld info on Tamerlan Tsarnaev

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BOSTON (MyFoxBoston.com) -- A new report claims the Russian government withheld information about Boston Marathon bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev.

The information could have put Tsarnaev under a microscope at least two years before the attacks.

According to the New York Times, Russian officials first contacted the FBI in 2011, notifying them that Tsarnaev was a follower of radical Islam and had drastically changed since the year before as he prepared to leave the U.S. to travel to Russia and join unspecified groups.

The FBI did an initial investigation, but the Russians declined several requests after that for additional information, the newspaper reports. Without that information, U.S. officials believed Tsarnaev posed a greater threat to Russia and didn't uncover any links to terrorist groups.

The Times quotes a new Inspector General's report that is expected to be shared with members of Congress Thursday. The report says it was only after the bombings in 2013 that Russia shared that additional information with the U.S., including a phone conversation they had intercepted between Tsarnaev and his mother in which they allegedly discussed Islamic jihad.

Federal law enforcement agencies are under new scrutiny for missing other red flags, including a warning from Russian intelligence agencies that Tsarnaev might try to change his name. He did try to change his name to Muaz, filing forms at a federal immigration office in Boston in August 2012. The L.A. Times reports he took that name after an Islamic militant killed in 2009 by Russian forces and that it was the nickname given to him by rebels during his six-month visit to Dagestan.

Congressman Bill Keating is on the House Homeland Security Committee that will be briefed on the Inspector General's review. He has been critical of the FBI for not following Tsarnaev after his return from Dagestan.

"There were four, maybe five, red flags, each one of those could've been very impactful and they were missed," said Rep. Keating. "Some by human error, some because the agencies weren't coordinating, some of them just barriers in jurisdiction, some of them were law enforcement just didn't share the info with each other. Those things have to change."

The Congressman believes making changes will prevent another tragedy.

Tamerlan Tsarnaev was killed in Watertown just a few days after the bombings. His brother, Dzhokhar, was found hiding in a boat. He is facing the death penalty for his alleged role in the April 2013 bombings.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's defense team has been seeking new documents related to Tamerlan as they work to make the case that he was the instigator behind the attacks.

To read more: nytimes.com

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