April 24, 2013

FBI Warned Multiple Times About Boston Bomber
Oops, Islamic Emirate of the Caucuses is Designated FTO

First we were told the FBI had been warned about Tamerlan Tsarnaev in 2010. Then we were told that they had been warned a second time in 2012. Now, the Boston Globe is reporting that the FBI had been warned "multiple times". So, more than twice?

Russian authorities contacted the US government with concerns about Tamerlan Tsarnaev not once but “multiple’’ times, including an alert it sent after he was first investigated by FBI agents in Boston, raising new questions about whether the FBI should have paid more attention to the suspected Boston Marathon bomber, US senators briefed on the inves­tigation said Tuesday.
We're also now learning that Tsarnaev was on a flight watch list, but that his watch status had expired by the time he flew back to the US. I'm not sure what the big deal is about this: being on a watch list doesn't mean much other than you get not only the usual hassle by the TSA, but go through secondary and tertiary hassles as well. In other words, being on or off the "watch list" would have done precisely zilch since.

But if the reports about multiple warnings from Moscow pan out, then I'm becoming increasingly sure of my theory about why Tamerlan Tsarnaev was given a pass by the FBI.

It's because the US State Department refuses to list the violent Islamist extremists in Chechnya and Dagestan as "terrorists".

So, the FBI goes to investigate Tsarnaev. That he's linked to websites like the Kavkaz Center or VDagestan. But since The Islamic Emirate of the Caucuses and affiliated groups haven't been designated "terrorists" by State then they FBI has nothing to go on to further the investigation.

By definition Tsarnaev isn't linked to terrorists. Chechen rebels = not terrorist.

This isn't a matter of semantics, it's a matter of law.

The FBI is being truthful when they say they couldn't investigate Tamerlan Tsarnaev further because according to their own definitional guidelines he was not linked to "terrorists".

As far as I can gather, only the leader of the group -- Dokku Umarav -- has been designated a terrorist, but the group itself has not.

So, blame Hillary Clinton for the Boston bombings. It was her State Department, which she led during the period in which the Russians warned us, which failed to designate the Chechen separatists as "terrorists".

UPDATE by Rusty: Oops, it looks like I was wrong here. The Islamic Emirate of the Caucuses has been designated an FTO -- and it was on Hillary's watch that it was done.

So, my initial theory has to be wrong. I'll go ahead an leave the post so I won't be accused of pushing something I said which proved to be wrong down the memory hole.

As I tell my students frequently: being surprised at being wrong is something that happens only to the young or extremely arrogant.

But I can't help but wonder the extent to which the Chechen jihad is on the radar of the FBI? Certainly it will be now, but prior to the Boston bombings? I'm guessing not so much.

I also can't help but wonder the extent to which this designation covers Dagestani rebels? If federal agents would even be aware of the connection between groups operating in Dagestan and in Chechnya?

Ok, so there you have it. I was wrong. I don't expect it will be the last time.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 10:53 AM | Comments |