Homeland Security Committee Report on Boston Bombing

March, 2014, the Majority Staff of the Committee on Homeland Security released their House Homeland Security Committee Report on the Boston bombing.  Just so we’re all on the same page here I want to make sure you realize this is the House Homeland Security Committee’s report.  This report wasn’t prepared by FOX or the UK Daily Mail.  This is the US federal government.  The Committee that can thank their existence on 9/11 shenanigans.  One of their jobs, according to their own website is to “provide Congressional oversight for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and better protect the American people against a possible terrorist attack.”  Well amen to that, right?  And Homeland Security needs a watchdog, am I right?  Now that we’re clear on who they are, on to the report.

To summarize the report, it delves into Tamerlan’s personal history and lists several areas of inadequacies within Homeland Security and between federal agencies vs. local agencies.  It pretty much covers all the things Homeland Security should have worked on years ago but eh.  They’ll get to it.  The first part of the report discusses the background history in the Caucasus.  I’m not one to judge whether this information is accurate.  Obviously this part of the world is not my expertise.  The report moves on to the Tsarnaev family, discussing their life in Kyrgyzstan, their subsequent move to the US in 2002 (Tamerlan came in 2003), Tamerlan’s marriage and his daughter.  In regards to Jahar, the report states, “His grades were poor, but by nearly all public accounts he was well-liked and social, and was known to drink and smoke marijuana with friends.”  It adds, “He also reportedly maintained a close relationship with his older brother.”  You’ve probably assumed that this family/background information came from FBI and Homeland Security documents created during earlier investigations of Tamerlan and the Boston bombing investigation.  Nah.  Footnotes show the information came from news articles published by the Wall Street Journal, New York Daily News and the Daily Mail Reporter, just to name a few.  Uh huh.  News reports.

The 2011 letter from Russia to the FBI regarding Tamerlan and his mother stated that Tamerlan might radicalize, return to Russia and join extremist groups.  The FBI  coordinated an assessment on Tamerlan but felt the letter lacked any real compelling evidence.  They checked his phone communications, online sites, travel history, education history and conducted personal interviews with him and his family.  They found nothing.  But that didn’t stop them from adding Tamerlan to the anti-terrorism database TECS to keep track of his travels.  If Tamerlan tried to board an international flight, data entry into TECS by the FBI would have informed authorities at the airport of “specific actions upon encounter”  to be taken (which obviously never happened).   Bottom line?  The FBI wanted to be contacted if he decided to leave the country.  And TECS is not a stand alone program – it contains loads of information including the Terrorist Screening Database and other government and criminal databases to name a few.

On March 22, 2011 the government placed an alert on Tamerlan but by June 24, 2011 they closed their assessment after coming up completely empty handed.  TheThe Motherland FBI claimed they contacted Russia, told them they had no further information, requested more from the Motherland but never received a reply.  The report goes on to discuss Tamerlan’s travel to Russia in January of 2012.  It reads, “Federal investigators are still working to piece together details of his visit…”  You know what that means, right?  Yeah.  They can’t find any evidence linking Tamerlan to radicalization.  And they still can’t.  Yes, there’s talk of Mahmoud Mansour Nidal, Canadian William Plotnikov, Gadzhimurad Dolgatov, and Mikhail Allakhverdov (“Misha”), but absolutely nothing has come of these things.  Interestingly, the one person the FBI has dismissed as suspect is “Misha,” the one man who is suspect to working for the US government.

The report goes on to say that Tamerlan reported attended prayers at a mosque (gasp!) and he got into shouting matches with the preachers there because they were encouraging their followers to celebrate American holidays.  The report then states, “Unfortunately, this information was not shared with the authorities, and therefore did not contribute to what Federal investigators knew about Tamerlan Tsarnaev…”  Seriously here people?  I mean, I realize it’s an investigation of sorts but come on.  You don’t see me calling the 1-800 terrorist line because the Jehovah’s Witnesses have shown up at my door for the thirty-eight thousandth time this month, telling me I need to give up celebrating Christmas and my birthday.  Is this really crucial information?  It must be.  The Committee on Homeland Security got this solid rock of information for their report from an Associated Press article entitled, “Tamerlan Tsarnaev Mosque Outbursts Described.”  Yup.  The Associated Press.  For a Congressional investigation.  Wow.

At this point, the report reads, “The Committee shall refrain from commenting on Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s potential radicalization because there are few if any news sources that wrote about it out of sensitivity to the ongoing court proceedings relating to his involvement in the the Boston Marathon bombing.”  

Part IV of the report discusses the bombing at the marathon.  I particularly enjoy the part where it talks about the FBI detaining the Saudi national as a suspect, who “voluntarily” allowed the FBI to ransack his apartment.  Yes, I’m certain the Saudi’s experience went down like THIS and not THIS.  Certain.  The report touches on the Collier murder and again we read that the Tsarnaevs’ motive for committing the crime was to steal his gun.  *Sigh*  Alas, don’t be too annoyed with this regurgitation, this isn’t coming from official government and police reports.  It’s coming from footnote 67 in the report that cites The New York Times.  Yeah, baby.  This report has “Official” stamped all over it.  The report’s source for “Danny” and the carjacking?  “‘CAPTURED!!!'” Boston Police Announce Marathon Bombing Suspect In Custody”  by CNN.  As to the report’s statements that Jahar ran Tamerlan over but then Tamerlan was still able to “resist being put into handcuffs” (after being shot twelve dozen times or so), yeah, that came from The New York Times.

Let me make this perfectly clear, if it’s not already:  There is very little deduction in this report that comes from any sort of official authoritative report or investigation.  Very, very little.  Or so it clearly appears.  The report skips over Jahar being completely unarmed in the boat and reports that “several media outlets reported that a handwritten note had been scrawled on the interior of the boat…” Mmhmm…the Committee hasn’t seen the chicken scratches either.  The report addresses the triple murder and states that the murder may have been “ideologically driven.”  Huh.  What happened to robbery motive as stated in the Florida investigation of the shooting of Ibragim Todashev just released this past week?  Just Ashton’s opinion?

I’m going to give the Committee a break for a second and let you know that they did ask for information from the FBI, DHS and the ODNI (Office of the Director of National Intelligence) and all three told the Committee they would not be sending any information to them.  However, there were briefings that occurred after the fact between the Committee and the FBI, DHS and an agency within the ODNI.  But at the end of the day, the FBI kinda refused to hand over much even though they’re kinda not allowed to do so – at least not information that pertains to Tamerlan since it would not affect the ongoing investigation against Jahar.  Eh.  What are ya going to do, right?

The report ends with their recommendations for information sharing, TFO’s, and the TECS (you know, like why didn’t the FBI correct the spelling of Tamerlan’s name or birthdate in the system after being alerted to the errors so maybe the system would have caught Tamerlan leaving the country).  The Committee also appears to be a big fan of the “If You See Something, Say Something” program.  Because remember, the FBI said four days after the bombing and as reported by the media (who’s a good enough source for a Congressional investigation), “For 100 years, the FBI has relied on the public to be it’s eyes and ears.”   Uh huh.

Frankly, I’ve seen Facebook statuses that are more informative and with better sources than this report.

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