Two explosions at Boston marathon finish line

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Re: Two explosions at Boston marathon finish line

Postby seemslikeadream » Mon Apr 17, 2017 11:52 am


Photo credit: Adapted by WhoWhatWhy from HHS and Sadettin Canbay / Flickr (CC BY 2.0)
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) just released previously unseen notes from a 2011 interview with Tamerlan Tsarnaev. The release puts a new wrinkle in the murky backstory of its relationship to the ringleader of the Boston marathon bombing.

Tsarnaev told the agents that four men dressed in suits had previously come looking for him (date not specified). They wanted to “talk to Tamerlan,” the report states. The men, who are described as “young” and “handsome,” identified themselves as FBI agents to someone whose name is redacted in the report.

According to the summary, the four men said they would return the next day, but did not — at least by the time of the interview.

The interview summary, known internally by the FBI as a form 302, adds a new and intriguing piece to the puzzle of when the Bureau first had contact with Tamerlan Tsarnaev.

In an ongoing effort to shed light on the events leading up to the Boston bombing, WhoWhatWhy requested information about the government’s interactions with Tamerlan through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) multiple times in various ways. Each time we were denied access.

Some of that information, specifically the two-page interview summary, was finally released last week to the FBI’s records vault, a kind of electronic “reading room” reserved for what the government calls “frequently requested records.” It’s not clear why the FBI released the report at this time.

Officially, the FBI maintains that Tamerlan was first brought to the Bureau’s attention by a March 2011 Russian “warning” about his possible radicalization. As a result of this warning, he was interviewed by a counterterrorism agent (CT Agent) as part of an “assessment.”

The newly released 302 summary is presumably the record of that interview, conducted roughly six weeks after Russia’s tip. The assessment was closed about a month later.

The Bureau claims it sought more information from the Russians but did not receive any response.

The way the report is written invites speculation about Tamerlan’s Russian connection.

“The men said they would be back ‘the next day’ but did not return. [Redacted] and TAMERLAN have not heard from them since. TAMERLAN doesn’t know anyone who may be upset with him.”

“TAMERLAN has never had any problems with Russians in the US due to his Chechen heritage… Putin and Medvedev are the problem not the Russian people. TAMERLAN has had Russian friends in the US,” the report reads.

Although no definitive conclusions can be drawn from these two paragraphs, it does appear that the “problems with Russians” was the topic that brought the mystery men to Tamerlan’s door.

It’s not clear from the summary whether the agents who wrote the report initiated contact or whether Tsarnaev called the Bureau because he thought they were looking for him.

The summary does not reveal whether the Bureau knows who the mystery men were and, predictably, the FBI is staying mum. A spokesperson told the Daily Beast somewhat cryptically that the Bureau is letting “the document speak for itself.”

Were the the four men agents from another FBI division, or from another intelligence agency? Or were they imposters? We don’t know. But in light of new revelations that many in Boston’s local law enforcement community think Tamerlan Tsarnaev played the role of an informant for the FBI, the document speaks volumes.

In her new book Maximum Harm: the Tsarnaev Brothers, the FBI, And the Road to the Marathon Bombing, Boston-based reporter Michele McPhee claims many in local law enforcement now believe Tamerlan was playing multiple roles as an informant for the FBI and possibly the CIA in the years leading up to the bombing (For a WhoWhatWhy review of McPhee’s book, click here).

It’s possible the four mystery men were from another agency and used the FBI as cover. It’s possible they returned after the date of Tamerlan’s interview. It’s also possible that Tamerlan had numerous other encounters with federal agents — it’s just that none of that is mentioned in this particular interview summary.

FBI, 302, Tamerlan Tsarnaev
An image of the interview summary
Photo credit: FBI and Wikimedia

For our part, WhoWhatWhy has documented evidence that the Bureau repeatedly flip-flopped about its interactions with Tamerlan.

Initially, when Tamerlan’s identity was made public after he was killed in a shootout with police — and while his younger brother Dzhokhar was still hiding in a drydocked boat — the FBI denied having any contact with either of the bombing suspects. The feds didn’t admit to having known Tamerlan until after Russian media reports quoting the mother of the Tsarnaev brothers; she said that the FBI had interviewed Tamerlan two years before the bombing, under suspicion of being a radical.

Only after the mother’s report appeared did the FBI acknowledge that agents had conducted an “assessment” of Tamerlan after the March 2011 warning from Russian security officials. The Bureau claimed to have found no link between Tamerlan and any “terrorism activity.”

But doubts about when the Bureau first took an interest in Tamerlan have surfaced. The day after Tamerlan’s death and Dzhokhar’s capture, a “senior law enforcement official” told The New York Times that in January 2011 two FBI agents from the Boston field office interviewed Tamerlan and family members. These interviews took place three months before Russia’s warning.

Tsarnaev’s mother told Russian media that agents met with Tamerlan and family members numerous times. She said the Bureau was “controlling him [Tamerlan], they were controlling his every step.”

Two months after the bombing, then-FBI Director Robert Mueller admitted during congressional testimony that Tamerlan’s name had in fact come up twice in FBI files prior to Russia’s warning. “His name came up in two other cases,” he said.

The exchange was noteworthy. Mueller was fielding pointed questions from Rep. Steve King (R-IA) about when the Bureau first learned of Tamerlan Tsarnaev. King had just returned from Russia, where he received a briefing from Russian officials on what they knew about Tamerlan. King and other lawmakers had traveled to Russia to get information about the Tsarnaevs, in part because of FBI stonewalling.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, Tamerlan Tsarnaev
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, FBI Suspects 1 and 2.
Photo credit: FBI

There has been a lot of finger-pointing between US and Russian officials about who knew what and when about Tamerlan Tsarnaev and what he was up to. Not long after the bombing an unnamed “high-ranking” official told The New York Times that the bombing might have been averted had the Russians not withheld information they had on Tsarnaev. The obvious implication from the Times article: it was Russia’s fault.

Russian officials vehemently dispute this, claiming they repeatedly shared their concerns about Tsarnaev with their American counterparts, only to be told to mind their own business. This would make sense if the FBI thought Tamerlan was what intelligence agencies call a “valuable asset.”

Whatever the truth about who knew what and when, it’s clear both country’s security services were playing a dangerous cat-and-mouse game, withholding what they knew or even suspected about Tsarnaev.


And now we can add this mysterious report about four men who claimed to be agents of the FBI visiting Tamerlan at some time prior to his 2011 interview. Who were these men?

Tamerlan Tsarnaev, Ibrahim Todashev
Photo credit: FBI, Orange County Corrections Department / Wikimedia


Another intriguing part of the report is its date: April 22, 2011.

According to McPhee in Maximum Harm, the FBI was in contact with Russia’s Federal Security Service (which takes the acronym FSB in English) the very same day as Tamerlan’s interview. The topic? Another Russian immigrant with a Muslim background living in Boston: Ibragim Todashev.

Todashev, a mixed martial arts fighter and friend of Tamerlan, was shot and killed in Florida by federal agents who were interviewing him after he allegedly attacked them. Agents say he was in the process of confessing to his and Tamerlan’s participation in a 2011 triple murder in Waltham, Massachusetts, when he flipped a coffee table, striking one of the agents in the head. The shooting was deemed justified as self-defense by a review conducted by the Florida State Attorney.

McPhee reveals that the delegation of US Congressmen who went to Russia after the bombing were made aware of a communication between the FBI and the FSB on the topic of Ibragim Todashev. The date of that communication? April 22, 2011, the same day as Tamerlan’s FBI interview.

That means it’s possible, even likely, that Ibragim Todashev is the name redacted from the 302 summary and that he was the individual initially approached by the four mysterious men. Was the FBI querying the FSB for information on Todashev? This seems entirely plausible, although the Bureau has not offered up any details to the public since he was shot and killed by an FBI agent weeks after the Boston bombing.

About four months later, Tamerlan and his friend Ibragim allegedly committed the savage murder in Waltham. Inexplicably, neither was interviewed about the murder at the time, despite being known associates of the victims, and despite the fact that both of them were on the FBI’s radar.

Or maybe it’s because they were on the FBI’s radar that they weren’t questioned.

According to McPhee, “seasoned investigators” from the Boston area told her that Tsarnaev wasn’t questioned because he was “too valuable as an asset” to the FBI to be investigated for the murder of three drug dealers. Maybe Todashev got a free pass too.

Robert Mueller, Steve Cohen
FBI Dir. Robert Mueller (left) Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN), 2013.
Photo credit: Watch the video on C-SPAN

It appears the Bureau is not coming entirely clean about its pre-bombing knowledge of Ibragim Todashev either.

Then-FBI Director Robert Mueller was asked about this by another Congressman who had been to Russia, Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN). If McPhee is correct, Cohen could also have been aware of the communication between FBI and FSB about Todashev the day Tamerlan was interviewed. In fact, Cohen asked Mueller how the FBI first became aware of Todashev. “Was it through the FSB, or was it your own investigation?,” Cohen asked. Mueller dodged the question by telling Cohen: “We came upon him in a variety of ways.”

WhoWhatWhy discovered previously that Todashev’s name appears multiple times in FBI indices in the years before the bombing. However, we did not see any entries from 2011. As with Tsarnaev, the Bureau clearly had an interest in Todashev long before he died at the hands of an FBI agent.

What is it about the pre-bombing contacts between Tamerlan Tsarnaev, Ibragim Todashev and the Bureau that necessitates all the secrecy and subterfuge we’ve seen since the bombing? Maybe those four mystery men know. ... on-bomber/

Author and Journalist Discusses Why the Government’s Story is Unraveling

Robert Mueller Obama Briefing
FBI Director, Robert Mueller, briefs President Obama on the Boston Marathon bombings. He resigned in September of 2013, only months after the bombings occurred. Photo credit: By Pete Souza/Flickr
For nearly four years, WhoWhatWhy has written repeatedly about the Boston Marathon bombing. In dozens of investigative articles, we have shown how the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) official version of the tumultuous events of April 2013 did not make sense.

Now, longtime Boston investigative journalist Michele McPhee argues persuasively in her new book, “Maximum Harm,” that the feds have been keeping important information about this tragedy from the public.

In this week’s WhoWhatWhy podcast with Jeff Schechtman, McPhee fingers Tamerlan Tsarnaev as an FBI informant gone rogue. She talks about compelling evidence that the Tsarnaev brothers were not the bombmakers, and asks how Tamerlan was able to travel back and forth to Russia despite being on two government watch lists and having no apparent financial resources.

She also discusses the role that the US intelligence community played in covering up the key fact that Tamerlan Tsarnaev was one of its protected “assets.”

If you’ve been following this story here on WhoWhatWhy, this is a must listen.

Editor’s Note: see here for our in-depth book review of Maximum Harm.

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Full Text Transcript:
As a service to our readers, we provide transcripts with our podcasts. We try to ensure that these transcripts do not include errors. However, due to a constraint of resources, we are not always able to proofread them as closely as we would like and hope that you will excuse any errors that slipped through.

Jeff Schechtman: Welcome to Radio WhoWhatWhy. I’m Jeff Schechtman.

Almost four years ago to the day, on April 15, 2013, two homemade bombs detonated 12 seconds and 210 yards apart, near the finish line of the annual Boston Marathon. 3 people were killed, several hundred others were injured, including sixteen who lost limbs. Beyond these facts, the story of the Tsarnaev brothers and the complex web of events that led to that day are very much an open question. The more or less official narrative long touted by authorities of the lone wolf Muslim extremist has long since been discredited. The story that is emerging of what really might have happened in Boston has some eerie parallels to today’s headlines: Russia, the FBI, FBI informants, counterterrorism agents not informing the FBI, etc. And now a new book by longtime Boston-based investigative journalist Michele McPhee brings new light to the story and reinforces what many have been trying to point out for many years. Michele McPhee has been nominated for three Emmy awards for investigative journalism and works as a Boston-based producer for Bryan Ross’s investigative unit at ABC News. She’s the host of the Daily Radio Talk Show and wrote an award-winning column for the Boston Herald. She’s the author of numerous books and articles, and it is my pleasure to welcome Michele McPhee here to talk about her latest work: Maximum Harm: The Tsarnaev Brothers, the FBI and the Road to the Marathon Bombing. Michele, thanks so much for joining us.

Michele McPhee: What an introduction! Thank you so much for having me.

Jeff Schechtman: As you began to try and uncover the layers and layers and layers of this story, to what extent did you work back from the official narrative and try and uncover or was that something that essentially went out the window pretty early on as you began to find out more and more about what had transpired vis-à-vis the Tsarnaev brothers?

Michele McPhee: As early as April 18, 2013 and many will remember that as the day that the FBI released the photos of suspect White Hat and suspect Black Hat. It seemed odd. The press conference was abrupt, local law enforcement had complained that the FBI released the images to television reporters and to the public before they consulted with anyone in any of the surrounding towns. But as early as Tuesday, you might recall that the FBI overtook a hangar at the Black Falcon Terminal, a cruise terminal here in Boston. There, they were going through reams and reams of evidence, most importantly photos and videos taken from the scene. On Tuesday, I got a phone call from multiple forces talking about an altercation that took place in this evidence hangar. What had happened was there were a number of FBI agents that were sitting at one of these terminals off in a corner and they appeared to be comparing photos of suspect Black Hat and suspect White Hat to photos, including a mugshot of people who looked like the older brother: Tamerlan Tsarnaev. There was a verbal altercation at the terminal. There were accusations hurled. You knew, once again, the FBI knew and you didn’t share it with us. From that point forward, there were just non-stop murmurings about whether or not the FBI knew exactly who the marathon bombers were and once again, they weren’t sharing. You may recall that Boston has a long and sordid history of infuriating local law enforcement with cases like Whitey Bulger and Mark Rossetti, who were FBI sponsored informants who were essentially given a free pass to continue to commit crimes as grotesque as murder, and Whitey Bulger did.

Jeff Schechtman: What is it about Boston and the arrangements that exist there between the police, the FBI, other law enforcement that seems to constantly lead back to these cases happening?

Michele McPhee: I don’t know what it is about Boston, but I know that it keeps happening. This particular case was egregious, especially when Sean Collier was assassinated in cold blood. Of course, in Maximum Harm, I’m not blaming federal officials in any way for what took place on April 15, 2013. Informants have always been a necessary evil in order to combat everything from biker gangs and organized crime, and most recently after 9/11, terrorism. It’s necessary to make these unholy alliances with confidential informants in order to take down these terrorists. Nobody is blaming the government for what took place on April 15, but certainly, if they know who the Tsarnaev brothers were, I think it really raises an eyebrow. I’m incredulous and I know a lot of other people are, that the FBI talks about an open case against Tamerlan Tsarnaev in March of 2011. In fact, just this week, the FBI very strangely released a single report about one of the visits they had made to Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s home in 2011 and talking about how he was desperate to become a citizen. But what the FBI didn’t tell us at the time was why they didn’t recognize Tamerlan Tsarnaev. Now you and I, we’ve been in this profession for a while, if you interviewed somebody, face to face multiple times and then their picture emerges as a suspect in the marathon bombing, don’t you think that you would remember what they look like?

Jeff Schechtman: Talk a little bit about the fact though, that the FBI seemed to lose control of their informant in this case, particularly when one looks at the trips back and forth that Tamerlan Tsarnaev took between Russia and the US and moving back and forth with complete impunity.

Michele McPhee: Well, in some reports it was a different agency altogether for that sort of travel. Remember, the FBI cannot operate overseas and the CIA cannot operate domestically, but when you look into Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s history from his arrival in the United States in 2002, he had a connection to the CIA via his uncle. We all remember, perhaps the uncle that came out and declared his nephews were losers. He was sort of a national celebrity for a little bit just because he was outspoken about what his nephews had done. Well, Ruslan Tsarnaev in 2002, was married to Samantha Ankara Fuller, who was the daughter of a CIA official named Graham Fuller. In 2002, Graham Fuller was the CIA station chief in Ankara, Turkey, which is exactly where the whole Tsarnaev family originated their political asylum case from. The whole family from Russia gets into the country via Ankara, Turkey, where Ruslan’s father-in-law was the station chief. Obviously, the FBI was not the only agency that had interaction with Tamerlan Tsarnaev, but how they lost control, and that’s what you’re referring to, is this travel. Tamerlan Tsarnaev had raised alarm bells in Russia with counterterrorism officials. They sent a warning to the FBI legal attaché in Russia saying: “We have intercepted text messages between a Canadian jihadi and Tamerlan Tsarnaev. We’re concerned; this is the information we have been able to gather.” That, of course is what sparked the FBI’s original visits to the Tsarnaev household in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Well, apparently they opened the case and they claimed they shut the case in June. But that didn’t stop any interaction between the FSD and American counterterrorism officials. In September of 2011, the FSD sent a second letter, this time to the CIA saying we’ve intercepted more alarming text messages and emails between Tamerlan Tsarnaev of Cambridge, Massachusetts and well known jihadi and jihadi sympathizers here in Russia. We believe he is going to travel to Russia and join the jihad. Well, inexplicably that was ignored and in January of 2012, that’s exactly what Tamerlan Tsarnaev did. The only action that US counterterrorism officials took was adding him to two separate terror watch lists. So, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, when he left the country in January of 2012 was on two terror watch lists, he did not have an American passport, he traveled with a passport that had been issued in Kyrgyzstan and yet while he was in Russia, he reported that passport stolen. He spent more than six months in a terrorist hotbed in Dagestan and returned while on two separate watch lists, this time without his Kyrgyz passport and breezes through customs with no problems whatsoever. A lot of people in law enforcement say that people had to have pulled the strings to allow Tamerlan to get in and out of the country with such ease while he’s on all of these terror watch lists.

Jeff Schechtman: To what extent was the Department of Homeland Security involved and what was their interaction with the FBI in this case?

Michele McPhee: Well, the Department of Homeland Security had a completely separate case going on, which targeted a group of Eritrean drug dealers who were running drugs up and down the east coast and mailing and sending some of the money back to al-Shabaab. That was a very important case to the Department of Homeland Security. One of the targets in that case just happened to be a close friend of Tamerlan Tsarnaev. That case was taken down with the help of a confidential informant that many people believe was Tamerlan Tsarnaev.

Jeff Schechtman: Talk a little bit about the FBI’s persistent denials of their involvement with Tsarnaev.

Michele McPhee: I think there’s a term for it; it’s called fedspeak. Despite their carefully worded denials, there is really no conclusive evidence that they didn’t use him as an informant. In fact, there’s this persistent evidence that they did. Because upon Tamerlan’s return to the United States, he immediately was a candidate for citizenship. Now, we all know the USCIS has a policy that you can’t even apply to become a naturalized American citizen if you’ve been arrested. It’s called the good moral character clause. Tamerlan Tsarnaev had been arrested in 2009 for a domestic violence charge. So it was completely inexplicable and remains inexplicable to this day how somebody with that kind of a violent arrest record, who is unemployed, who just returned from a trip overseas where he had been spotted interacting with terrorists, somebody who was on these terror watch lists, suddenly is a candidate for citizenship. Not only was his naturalization application reopened, but it was backtracked according to the instructor general’s report by his FBI handler, somebody who is assigned to the counterterrorism unit of the Boston FBI office. So there was this back and forth, when he gets back, all of a sudden he’s going to be citizen, there’s a back and forth between the Department of Homeland Security saying “Hold on a minute, this guy is not eligible for citizenship,” they would reach out to the FBI, the FBI would urge the Department of Homeland Security, “No no, we found nothing wrong with this guy, please give him the citizenship.” This went back and forth until January 23, 2012, when Tamerlan Tsarnaev went to the Federal Building for what he believed would be his last visit before becoming a full-fledged American citizen. There was another bureaucratic snafu, something went wrong and Tamerlan Tsarnaev snapped. He ripped up his application; he petitioned for a name change. He wanted to change his name to Muaz in honor of a slain Chechen rebel. He left there angry and weeks later, he was buying the biggest and loudest pyrotechnics at a Phantom Fireworks in Seabrook, New Hampshire.

Jeff Schechtman: What else was going on with Tsarnaev that led to him snapping that day?

Michele McPhee: I think he had become increasingly radicalized. Back in Russia, every person that he met with that had been reported by the Russian Interior Ministry was tracking kills. So, there were 8 high level Islamic militants who were being sought. They would be spotted by Tamerlan Tsarnaev and a short time afterwards, they would be tracked and at least these 8 were killed. The last raid by the Russian Interior Ministry came in July of 2012. Everyone, including some of the people that Tamerlan had been in contact with that initiated the initial warning to the FBI and the CIA. There was a raid and everyone in this terrorist training camp was slain and Tamerlan Tsarnaev hightailed it out of the region the very next day with a one way ticket, paid for in cash from Moscow to Boston, where again he breezes through customs, not a problem.

Jeff Schechtman: How was the ticket paid for? Where did the money come from? What do we know about that?

Michele McPhee: We know absolutely nothing about that, but considering that the FBI report that was released just this week talks about how Tamerlan Tsarnaev told agents that he was too broke, too unemployed to go to the hajj, really, I think raises a lot of questions about how he was able to leave the country, travel to Russia, stay there without a job, without any money and suddenly pay 2050 euro cash for a one way ticket back to Boston.

Jeff Schechtman: Talk a little bit about Janet Napolitano’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee where she was asked about some of this and the answers were less than forthcoming.

Michele McPhee: They were less than forthcoming and in one case, was an outright lie. One of the explanations she had for Tamerlan’s travel in and out of the country was that his name was misspelled on the travel documents. In the book, you will see that I [reveal?] the travel documents and his name was spelled exactly how everyone knew his name should be spelled, so that fell flat on its face. A short time after her testimony, Janet Napolitano resigned. She wasn’t the only high ranking Department of Homeland Security official, a DOJ official to resign. You’ll recall that the FBI director, Bob Muller, who ironically had been the US Attorney in Boston when Whitey Bulger was running amuck,well, the FBI director quit in April. The head of the Boston FBI quit in April. Even the Middlesex County District Attorney, who had had a hand in a very strange, unsolved triple homicide that took place in Massachusetts on the ten-year anniversary of 9/11, he quit too. The bodies were falling. These officials clearly were not being forthcoming. We’ve heard Michael McCaul, the chairman of the Homeland Security Committee in the House has said over and over again that the FBI steadfastly refused to cooperate with Congress in either public hearings or in classified settings with Congress. McCaul at one point was apoplectic and exploded during a hearing, saying that this information does not belong to the FBI, this information belongs to the American people. You might recall that a bipartisan delegation of Congressional lawmakers travelled to Russia for answers with Steven Seagal, the action hero. You honestly can’t make this stuff up! You have the action hero, Steven Seagal from Hard to Kill leading Congress into Russia and when a Massachussetts lawmaker named Bill Keating, a former prosecutor returned, he told reporters that the FSD was more forthcoming than the FBI.

Jeff Schechtman: What is your sense of why the FBI has been so blatant and in trying to cover this up in the face of, as you’ve laid it out here and as we’ve talked about, pretty obvious evidence?

Michele McPhee: Well, I think they can. If you look at the very carefully worded denials, it doesn’t say hey, we never had any contact with Tamerlan or we weren’t running Tamerlan; it says we didn’t recruit Tamerlan. I think that’s exactly what many in the federal government have become masterful at, this mincing of words, the very careful selection of vocabulary. Okay, so they didn’t recruit him. It’s pretty evident that Tamerlan had contact with the CIA long before he got involved with the FBI, but they certainly had a role to play in helping Tamerlan Tsarnaev get his citizenship. I think that the denials are hey, we didn’t give him a top echelon informant number, a different agency did, but that doesn’t absolve the FBI from any sort of accountability of what happened and why they didn’t share the information that they did know about Tamerlan Tsarnaev with local law enforcement. Ed Davis, the former Boston police commissioner testified in front of Congress that the FBI didn’t share information with its own officers on the joint terrorism taskforce.

Jeff Schechtman: Talk a little bit about the citizens of Boston and your sense of the reaction to this story as it continues to unfold.

Michele McPhee: I think initially people were somewhat incredulous. They wanted to see the evidence. You’re read the book; this is not a theory. This is in a tin foil hat conspiracy spinout. This is a roadmap of all of the evidence. Everything in that book is annotated. There’s police reports, there’s trial testimony, there’s Homeland Security reports, there’s the inspector general’s report that was commissioned by James Clapper. There is evidence that shows that something went terribly wrong with Tamerlan Tsarnaev. He has been made a promise and when that promise didn’t come through, he snapped. The denials are going to remain consistent because they remained consistent for 30 years about Whitey Bulger too.

Jeff Schechtman: Why didn’t more of this come out? Why didn’t Judy Clark bring more of this out at the brothers’ trial?

Michele McPhee: Because the federal judge, George O’Toole immediately issued an order in the case that no conclusion of Tamerlan Tsarnaev whatsoever should be made during this trial and anytime Tamerlan’s name came up, it prompted an immediate outrage from federal prosecutors and they kept a tight lid on anything about Tamerlan. To this day, there are more than 1100 documents in the Tsarnaev case that are sealed, which is absolutely unusual. The case has been adjudicated, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has been sentenced to death and every week – you can follow the case through the appeals process – every week his new defense team and his appeal is demanding that these files that they want access to be unsealed and every week, a federal judge says you’re not getting the files.

Jeff Schechtman: What, if anything do we think that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev knows about all of this?

Michele McPhee: I’m not sure how much he knows. People want to portray him as this hapless little brother who followed Tamerlan down Boylston Street, that’s definitely not that case. His Twitter account, his social media shows that he had these jihadi viewpoints and he was following radical Islam for years before those bombs were detonated on Patriots Day four years ago. Do I think that he knew that his older brother was cooperating with the federal government? Probably not. Do I think that Ibragim Todashev, the man who was slain in Orlando, Florida in May of 2013 as he was being grilled about the unsolved Massachusetts triple homicide on the ten-year anniversary of 9/11 knew about Tamerlan’s cooperation? Absolutely. You might recall that early on in the case, his defense team filed paperwork, talking about how the FBI tried to make Tamerlan Tsarnaev an informant. I’m not the only one talking about this. This has been swirling through law enforcement circles in Massachusetts since the bombs went off. The defense team has hinted at this over and over again. It’s just that I think this is finally that Maximum Harm, which took a ton of work and ceaseless reporting, provides the evidence that I think Judy Clark failed to produce when she was defending Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

Jeff Schechtman: It’s interesting that so much of this, or little bits and pieces that came out initially and certainly during the trial, certainly it was as you say swirling around, that it was always met with the argument that this was somehow conspiracy theory and not true and just total nonsense and now we’re finding out a very different story.

Michele McPhee: Exactly. It’s long been a tactic that if you can’t kill the message, kill the messenger so it’s easy to portray people who believe this as conspiracy theorists or they’re going down a rabbit hole of nuttiness but there’s a paper trail. Facts are very stubborn things which is why you have not seen, since the book was released on April 4, you have not seen a denial from anyone in the federal government. The FBI has not come out and denied the facts in the book, they’ve only said that they haven’t tried to recruit Tamerlan Tsarnaev. It’s going to be tough for anyone in the federal government to deny these facts because these are facts. Another fact that should have everyone in the country startled is the federal government has said on the record: during Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s trial and since after his trial that the Tsarnaev brothers did not build those bombs. Well, the immediate response to that should be from everyone in the nation, then who did? Why aren’t you looking for them? That’s another one of the mysteries that is tackled in the book, about this very bizarre robbery that took place ten minutes before the MIT police officer Sean Collier was executed and during that 7/11 robbery, there was a former MIT employee who has been identified as that robber, still not arrested but in June of 2013 was arrested for a different crime altogether when he threatened his mother and said I’ve done something that I’m going to have to answer God for. His mother told police that her son had been friends with Tamerlan Tsarnaev. Police execute a search warrant in his home and find every single component of the bombs that were detonated at the Boston Marathon, including ball bearings that were signature to the bombs that detonated at the finish line. Strangely and inexplicably, that man, Daniel Morley, was not prosecuted for the bombmaking material he had in his home or the threats he made against his mother or never even questioned in connection with the 7/11 robbery which his own family members have identified him as a suspect. Instead, he was put in a mental institution in Massachusetts for two years. Many people believe he was cooperating with the federal government in a different case regarding anarchists and anonymous and now he’s free, driving a bus full of senior citizens when there are a lot of people in Massachusetts who truly believe that he is the true bomb builder.

Jeff Schechtman: Is there still a Rosetta Stone for this out there? Is there something that we still need to see, to find, to understand that would help put all of this in an even clearer perspective?

Michele McPhee: I think this is a matter for Congress. I cannot wrap my head around the fact that this isn’t the only time, but certainly the FBI’s steadfast refusal to cooperate with Congressional investigations is something that the whole country should be up in arms over. At this point, I truly believe that there should be a Congressional investigation into the use of confidential informants. Steven Lynch, who is a Democrat in Massachusetts has filed ceaseless legislation about FBI accountability. We’ve had horrendous cases here in Boston, but these cases have existed all over the country of course, but here in Boston, Steven Lynch is especially upset about four men who are erroneously in prison, two died in prison to protect Whitey Bulger. We know that as early as two years ago, there was another mob captain who was suspected of being involved in the shooting death of a Massachusetts state trooper who had been given a pass because he was cooperating with the FBI against the mob. I think that the real thing that needs to happen is that the Homeland Security officials who had any interaction with Tamerlan whatsoever, whether it be the CIA, the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security Drug Agency, that everybody should have to answer questions about exactly what happened and not humena-humena like Janet Napolitano did in front of Congress with this nonsense that the reason they let a guy who was on two terror watch lists leave the country, spend 6 months getting radicalized and come back in, leaves – I think there needs to real questions about that.

Jeff Schechtman: Will this, in your view be grounds for more lawsuits to be brought by victims’ families against the government?

Michele McPhee: The lawsuits that have been brought against the FBI for the Whitey Bulger murders and families who are completely innocent have gone nowhere. I think that’s part of the issue. The government has escaped any culpability whatsoever when these rogue informants go bad. I think that the informer program is an absolute necessary evil. We need these unholy alliances to take down a multitude of criminals but when it goes terribly wrong, which Tamerlan Tsarnaev is not the first and I’m sure he won’t be the last, there should some sort of accountability and there should be measures put in place by Congress that prevent somebody like Tamerlan Tsarnaev from going back. Let’s be abundantly clear. In the end, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was not found by law enforcement and a lot of people believe that’s because the FBI – I know this to be true – when Dzhokhar escaped that wild bomb and bullet in Watertown, he was bleeding. He abandoned that stolen Mercedes and he staggered up a tree, leaving bloody handprints and a blood trail behind. At the time, I was in Watertown like so many other reporters and I was getting text messages from sources saying we’re going to get him, we have a blood trail and then those same sources were told to back off, it was an FBI scene and so the Boston Police Homicide Squad, the state police that had dogs, they were told to back off and we all know that in the end, who found Dzhokhar? A civilian who was going out for a cigarette. The top on his boat was strew and he went to investigate. A civilian! Despite the National Guard doing door to door searches and cops in riot gear without a warrant going into people’s homes, in the end, it was a civilian who found Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and when that boat was surrounded, there was a sniper from the NEMLEC Swat Team who was on the second floor of that civilian’s home and he heard Dzhokhar say over again, “The FBI is going to kill me, the FBI is going to kill me.” I don’t think that’s the case whatsoever, but it is incredibly strange that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was bleeding profusely, he leaves these bloody handprints up and down the street where he jumped out of that vehicle and yet they didn’t find him for nearly an entire day. I think it raises a whole new spectrum of questions. Then of course, there’s the question of what they were doing in Watertown in the first place. There is a police report that is referenced in Maximum Harm about Dzhokhar Tsarnaev emerging from 89 Dexter Avenue, which is right around where the shootout took place. There was a story in Saudi Arabia about a student who lived in that house, who had been pulled out of that place by the FBI and arrested but you never heard another word about that guy again, you never heard about 89 Dexter Ave again. Nobody knows where the bombs were built. At the very least, I think there should be some concerns about who else worked with those brothers, who built the bombs and why are we not all that concerned about finding those people?

Jeff Schechtman: There have also been reports that even prior to the bombing that they were an inordinate number of federal officials, counterterrorism officials, FBI officials in the Boston area. What do we know about that?

Michele McPhee: I’m not sure. I don’t know anything about that. I don’t dive into that in Maximum Harm. I think that’s where people can dismiss this sort of journalism as conspiracy theories: we saw all of these people with punisher backpacks on near the finish line. I mean it’s not unusual to – especially after 9/11 – to have a heavy presence of law enforcement and federal officials in an area for a major event, an international event like the Boston Marathon, the iconic Boston Marathon. However, if you looked at Cambridge on the night of April 18, 2013, and that’s how the book opens. When you looked at Cambridge and you see that the Cambridge police department responded to multiple 911 calls placed by concerned residents, the whole state’s on edge, the city’s on edge and people were calling 911 and reporting suspicious vehicles outside of their homes in Cambridge, Mass right around the neighborhood where the Tsarnaevs live, right around MIT, right around the areas where two of the codefendants live. There were surveillance teams, we’ve come to learn from the FBI in Cambridge before the photos were released, after the photos were released. Those FBI agents were, let’s just say very uncooperative with Cambridge police officers to the point where there was an altercation between the Cambridge police commissioner and a high ranking official in the Boston FBI office and all of that took place before Sean Collier was killed. So if the FBI knew who these brothers were, they should have shared that information and Sean Collier might be alive today.

Jeff Schechtman: Michele McPhee, the book is Maximum Harm: The Tsarnaev Brothers, the FBI and the Road to the Marathon Bombing. Michele, I thank you so much for spending time with us today here on Radio WhoWhatWhy.

Michele McPhee: Thank you so much for having me, really I enjoy the show so much.

Jeff Schechtman: Thank you. Thank you for listening and joining us here on Radio WhoWhatWhy. I hope you join us next week for another Radio WhoWhatWhy podcast. I’m Jeff Schechtman. ... le-mcphee/
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Re: Two explosions at Boston marathon finish line

Postby seemslikeadream » Wed Oct 25, 2017 8:36 am

DOJ Continues to Block Media Access to Tsarnaev

For over two years now, WhoWhatWhy has been trying to get the government to give us the details of the justification behind incarcerating convicted Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev under a repressive confinement regime known as Special Administrative Measures (SAMs). SAMs make it nearly impossible for the media to have any access to prisoners.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) refuses to budge and continues to deploy the dubious logic that to confirm or deny the existence of SAMs would be an unwarranted invasion of Tsarnaev’s privacy. This was in response to a request we filed back in 2015 through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), seeking documents about the conditions of Tsarnaev’s confinement. The DOJ denied our request and subsequent appeal.

And yet, the Bureau of Prisons (BOP), a division of DOJ, readily confirms that Tsarnaev is in fact being held under SAMs.

WhoWhatWhy twice submitted requests to interview Tsarnaev to the warden of the maximum-security federal penitentiary in Florence, Colorado, referred to as ADX Florence. We sent one in October 2015, and another in August 2017; both times we were told we could not interview him because “Inmate Tsarnaev has Special Administrative Measures,” which, among other things, “restricts [his] communication, to include contact with the media.”

Essentially a form of solitary confinement, SAMs typically bar prisoners from communicating with anybody outside their prison cells, except for a very small number of pre-approved individuals, such as attorneys and inmates’ family members. SAMs were originally justified as a way to prevent members of organized crime from sending to compatriots outside the prison messages that could conceivably result in death or serious bodily injury. In the case of Tsarnaev, this justification rings hollow since DOJ insists that he and his brother Tamerlan had no “nexus” to any terrorist group and acted completely on their own.

But it also has the effect of giving the government total control over the narrative and backstory of a troubling event like the Boston Marathon bombing. No one from the media can speak with Tsarnaev and even his defense team and family are severely restricted in what they can reveal about their communications with him.

ADX Florence
The US Penitentiary, Administrative Maximum Facility in Florence, Colorado. (ADX Florence)

Back in April 2016, we highlighted the Kafkaesque situation for a prisoner under SAMs.

We wrote about how DOJ denied our first request under FOIA exemption 7(C); the department stated that “lacking [Tsarnaev’s] consent … even to acknowledge the existence of such records … could reasonably be expected to constitute an unwarranted invasion of his personal privacy.” 7(C) is meant to protect the privacy of individuals whose records are held by law enforcement agencies.

We appealed, pointing out that BOP had already confirmed the existence of the SAMs, and it was the very existence of the SAMs that prevented us from getting Tsarnaev’s “consent.” However, DOJ affirmed the denial of our initial request under a slightly modified “categorical” invocation of exemption 7(C) and added for good measure that it was not even “required to conduct a search for the requested records.”

The day after our article ran, officials in the DOJ’s Office of Information Policy (OIP) emailed each other links to the article. How do we know? Because we FOIA’d our FOIA request.


We had hoped to gain some insight into the decision-making process behind the rejection of our FOIA request and appeal. The results were not very enlightening.

We obtained 29 pages from the DOJ’s OIP in total — 10 of which are the requests and appeals we sent, with their corresponding responses. Another three and a half pages are blacked out and labeled “Non-Responsive Records.” We’re still waiting on records related to the initial request, which are processed by a different office.

It’s not clear what, if anything, OIP officials had to say about our article other than linking to it. Most of the substance of each email between OIP officials is redacted.

Melanie Ann Pustay, OIP
OIP Director Melanie Ann Pustay. Photo credit: DoJ

The balance of the heavily redacted records are processing worksheets and emails between OIP employees. Anything related to decision-making about the appeal is blacked out under (b)(5), the infamous “withhold it because you want to” exemption. FOIA experts roundly criticize the exemption because of its broad language and its increasing use by executive branch agencies.

It’s Who You Know?


In our ongoing effort to chip away at the wall of silence surrounding Tsarnaev, we also sent him a letter asking if he was willing to be interviewed. We were hoping to preempt any “without his consent” reasoning that we had encountered previously. The envelope was returned — opened — and accompanied by a notice indicating that the “correspondence was not delivered to the inmate because the inmate is not approved to correspond from [sic] you.”

Interestingly, director Peter Berg of Patriots Day, the Hollywood production about the Boston Marathon bombing, was quoted as saying he had corresponded with the incarcerated Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

“I did a lot of research on them,” director Peter Berg supposedly told Total Film magazine. “I met women who had dated them. I met the boxing coach of the older brother. I met the landlord. I wrote two letters to Dzhokhar in prison; he wrote one back [emphasis added].”

We sought confirmation of the above statement from Berg’s production company. No one responded to our multiple phone messages or emails seeking clarification. It’s not clear whether Berg misspoke, was misquoted, or whether he actually did let slip the fact that he was granted special access to this otherwise gagged individual of great public interest.

We know, from the fact that DOJ monitors news stories about itself, that they take a keen interest in how they are seen by the public. Is it possible Berg, with his favorable-to-law- enforcement portrayal of the marathon bombing, was granted special access to this mystery of a young man?

We’ll let you know if anyone from Berg’s office gets back to us. ... -tsarnaev/
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Re: Two explosions at Boston marathon finish line

Postby MacCruiskeen » Tue Nov 14, 2017 2:25 pm

November 13, 2017

Federal Appeals Court Agrees to Accept Evidence for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s Innocence

Paul Craig Roberts

On October 26 attorney John Remington Graham explained on this website why he suspects that the trial of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the surving brother of the alleged Boston Marathon bombing, is a case of judicial murder. ... al-murder/

He wrote: “As a last hurrah as a lawyer, I recently filed a motion in behalf of three American citizens before the First Circuit in the appeal of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, asking that they be recognized as friends of the court, so they can show that, on the basis of facts actually of record before the federal district court in Boston, Dzhokhar did not detonate a pressure-cooker bomb on Boylston Street on April 15, 2013, as charged in the indictment. The government and major media of the United States have created such confusion and libelled the accused so foully that it is impossible for the average citizen relying on newspapers to imagine that Dzhokhar is innocent. Major media waged a lock-step propaganda campaign against Mr. Tsarnaev.”

On November 11, Mr. Graham informed me that the Federal Appeals Court for the First Circuit granted his intervention of amicus curiae. This means that the Appeals Court will accept evidence that Dzhokhar is innocent—a case not made by Dzhokhar’s appointed attorney at the trial. ... innocence/

Bravo. Mr Graham is a very brave man.
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Re: Two explosions at Boston marathon finish line

Postby seemslikeadream » Tue Dec 26, 2017 11:09 pm

On Boston Bombing, Right to Know is Zero

Tamerlan Tsarnaev, CPB, Boston
It has been nearly five years since two bombs exploded at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, and nearly three years since the conclusion of the trial of the sole surviving Tsarnaev brother, Dzhokhar. And yet, the government continues to maintain radio silence over many crucial questions related to the bombing.

Since the 2013 bombing, WhoWhatWhy has made dozens and dozens of records requests through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and other records request laws, from multiple government agencies, in an effort to fill in some of the many holes in the story that remain after a secretive federal investigation and trial. The results have been mixed, to say the least.

Most of the ongoing secrecy relates to the deceased mastermind and main bombing perpetrator: the older brother Tamerlan.

The lead prosecutor who secured the conviction against Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, William Weinreb, even admitted that “it is fair to say that there are still a number of questions unanswered about that case.”

And a surprising number of Boston’s local law enforcement question whether the FBI is coming clean about what it knows about the now-deceased Tsarnaev brother.

As we wrote back in July, some of these enduring questions are:

* How was Tamerlan able to travel back and forth to the country from which he sought asylum in 2012, despite being on multiple terror watchlists?

* Why was he not questioned about the 2011 murder of three of his friends?

* Was Tamerlan working for the US government in some capacity?

* Was the FBI or some other federal agency using Tamerlan’s desire to become a US citizen as leverage?

* Did the Tsarnaevs have help constructing the bombs?

* Was anyone else involved in planning or inspiring the plot?

Besides the big questions, our ongoing efforts to track down and verify even mundane details about the bombing reveal a flawed and seemingly arbitrary system for making government documents public. Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s travel records, for instance.

In September, we wrote about our attempts through FOIA to ascertain details of the confinement conditions of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. We also detailed our multiple requests to the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) to interview Tsarnaev. The process was nothing short of a Kafkaesque wilderness of mirrors.

Obtaining “public” records through FOIA has always been imperfect. And although improvements have been made, requesters are largely in the dark about what agencies might be holding back; most agencies’ search practices and criteria are like an impenetrable black box.

WhoWhatWhy’s efforts at obtaining Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s 2012 travel records are a case in point. First off, the elder Tsarnaev brother is deceased. His records are ostensibly public information — and the public has a right to know more about him.

Back in July, we sent Customs and Border Protection (CBP) a request for “arrival” and “departure” records produced when Tsarnaev traveled to Dagestan by way of Moscow in 2012. According to official accounts, Tsarnaev flew out of JFK International January 21, 2012, and returned to JFK July 19, 2012.

The apparent ease with which Tsarnaev flew in and out of the US to a known hotbed of terroristic activity (Dagestan), despite being on multiple watch lists, is one of the enduring mysteries about the elder brother.

Consider also that the Russians, who had flagged him as a dangerous radical well before US officials watch-listed him, also allowed him to fly in and out of their country unimpeded.

So it piqued our interest when it came to our attention that there were early news reports, supposedly based on documentary “travel records,” that Tsarnaev had actually flown out of JFK January 12 — not January 21 as was claimed officially. This was based on a story reported by NBC News affiliate New York 4, which makes reference to “documents” that they “obtained.”

The report even describes a photograph of Tsarnaev on one of the documents. The January 12 date was repeated by multiple media outlets and was even cited by then head of the Department of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano when she testified before Congress about the bombing investigation.

Tamerlan Tsarnaev, JFK, airport
Photo credit: Adapted by WhoWhatWhy from Doug Letterman / Wikimedia.

WhoWhatWhy reached out multiple times to the reporters who wrote the article and asked if they would either confirm — or correct — what was written in the article or, at the very least, describe what type of documents they were referencing. They “respectfully declined.”

Spoiler alert: New York 4 screwed up the travel dates. But the fact that they were citing actual documents with contradictory dates was intriguing given that Tsarnaev’s travel to Russia was shady to begin with. So we tried to verify or disprove on our own.

A deep dive through Tsarnaev’s 256 pages of immigration records (or A-file), much of which is redacted, is no help because it only documents his arrival at JFK airport July 19, 2012. His departure, six months earlier, is either not included in the A-file, or it is blacked out under one of the file’s many redactions. (Tsarnaev’s A-file was released to the FBI’s “electronic reading room,” which is what happens when three or more requests are made for the same records. WhoWhatWhy was one of those requesters.)

So the only other option to clear up the mystery was FOIA.



In July of this year, we requested “all arrival/departure records for Tamerlan Tsarnaev” from CBP. By the end of August (which is a pretty quick turnaround as FOIA goes) CBP furnished us the results of its search. There was only one problem, they provided Tsarnaev’s “arrival” records only.

WhoWhatWhy called CBP’s FOIA liaison to ask how it was possible they couldn’t find a corresponding departure record. The liaison indicated that a search was conducted with the information that was provided in the request — that was the result.

So we appealed, pointing out that it was widely reported in the media, and government officials were on the record stating, that Tsarnaev had in fact traveled out of the country in January 2012 and that CBP must, therefore, have records of his departure. We also included — under the assumption that maybe the name search “Tamerlan Tsarnaev” was the problem — a long list of possible name variants we collected from Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s A-file and from an Intelligence Community Inspector General (IGIC) report.

The IGIC report probed some of the “intelligence failures,” like how Tsarnaev’s travels in and out of the country eluded any additional scrutiny despite the fact that he was on multiple watch lists, each of which characterized him as a dangerous individual. Part of IGIC’s determination was that some of the watch list information about Tsarnaev included incorrect transliterations and incorrect birth dates. So we included all of those too.

This time, we received five pages, including a “Person Encounter List,” a “Person Encounter Detail” (the sought-after departure records), and two “Person Encounter Detail[s]” documenting his return to the US July 19, 2012.

The “departure” records indicated that he indeed left JFK January 21, not January 12 as New York 4 had erroneously reported. The name on the additional records: “Tamerlan Tsarnaev.”

It was unclear, then, why the search for documents in the initial request didn’t produce the same records — so we FOIA’d our FOIA request. We asked for “all records, including emails, search slips, index entries, and/or memos” produced as a result of our initial request and subsequent appeal. Surprisingly, CBP’s “final response” came the very next day.

The results: “we were unable to locate or identify any responsive records, based upon the information you provided in your request.”

We appealed, pointing out the absurdity of the proposition that CBP would not be able to find its own FOIA processing records. A month and a half later we finally received 42 pages of FOIA processing records.

Another spoiler alert: It’s not exactly clear in the records why the initial request only came up with Tsarnaev’s arrival records. But Tsarnaev’s Alien Identification Number (A-number) does appear in the subject line of one of the FOIA official’s emails — so maybe they had searched using that. It’s hard to tell. Presumably, CBP officials would know what is the most efficient way to search for records. Why not just search that way to begin with?

Instead, the tertiary initial search for records ends up exhausting one of only two opportunities available — short of suing — forcing requesters to appeal just to get the records they were entitled to in the first place. And if at that point the requester disputes the legitimacy of the redactions in the documents, or what was provided — too bad.

Yes, we ultimately did get the documents we were after. But only after getting the proverbial middle finger and an all-too-common runaround from CBP.

It’s tempting to chalk the terrible state of information requesting up to the usual incompetent government trope. But the responses from all of the federal agencies are so consistently bad, that one has to wonder whether it is terrible by design.

Jill Vaglica contributed to this article. ... know-zero/
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Re: Two explosions at Boston marathon finish line

Postby seemslikeadream » Tue Jan 30, 2018 8:31 am

Boston-Based Journalist Uncovers Threat to Public Safety

Daniel Morley
With few exceptions, most major news outlets faithfully repeat the official account of what led to the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, despite a number of still-unanswered questions.

The standard version of events pushed by federal agencies is that Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, Muslim immigrants who had fallen on hard times, were disillusioned with America and were “radicalized” on the internet. Acting as co-conspirators and equals, they decided to exact revenge on their adoptive country by blowing up the Boston Marathon, without the involvement of anyone else — full stop. Case closed.

From the beginning, however, WhoWhatWhy has questioned this facile storyline put out by the FBI. There was — and still is, five years on — an unprecedented level of official secrecy surrounding the case.

But it’s important to juxtapose all that secrecy — by itself unusual — with the deluge of “unauthorized leaks” to the media from anonymous officials. What the public has been subjected to is secrecy-cum-spin. Steering the narrative by handing out self-serving “scoops” to establishment news outlets has largely discouraged any deeper inquiry.

It got so bad that the defense team for the surviving Tsarnaev brother, Dzhokhar, filed multiple motions pleading with the judge to order an investigation into the leaks.

Five years later, there are still many questions about the bombing that authorities have failed to answer. Perhaps the most troubling question for those living in Boston is: Who made the bombs?

And if the FBI knows, why hasn’t it bothered to tell the public?

Tamerlan Tsarnaev, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev
Tamerlan Tsarnaev (front) and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, AKA suspects 1 and 2, on the day of the marathon bombing. Photo credit: FBI

WhoWhatWhy has documented how the government, from the beginning of the investigation through the conclusion of the trial, played a frustrating game of hide-the-ball regarding how the Tsarnaevs got the bombs. And from the time the bombs went off until late in Dzhokhar’s trial, law enforcement officials, explosives experts and even the prosecution claimed that the bombs were “sophisticated,” and that it would have been difficult for the Tsarnaevs to construct them without outside help or training. NBC News reported that FBI agents testifying at Dzhokhar’s trial said that the bombs were built in Tamerlan’s apartment using instructions downloaded from al Qaeda’s online magazine, Inspire.

However, according to ABC News, analysts at the FBI’s Terrorist Explosive Device Analytical Center (TEDAC) determined the bombs had a “much more sophisticated design than that in the online magazine.” Retired Army Lt. Gen. Mike Barbero, former director of the Joint IED (Improvised Explosive Device) Defeat Organization (JIEDDO), told ABC News: “For a ‘novice’ pair of IED builders and emplacers, for them to work as they did, to be effective, that indicates to me a level of sophistication that they received some sort of training from somewhere.”

And a May 2014 motion filed by prosecutors states that:

The Marathon bombs were constructed using improvised fuses made from Christmas lights and improvised, remote-control detonators fashioned from model car parts. These relatively sophisticated devices would have been difficult for the Tsarnaevs to fabricate successfully without training or assistance from others.

Government prosecutors also wrote in that same motion that the fact they didn’t find any significant amounts of explosive powder in the Tsarnaevs’ apartment or cars “strongly suggest[s] that others had built, or at least helped the Tsarnaevs build, the bombs, and thus might have built more.”

So what does all this mean? It’s pretty clear the brothers were involved in constructing the bombs. It’s possible — even likely — they had help.

We also showed how much of the evidence the government presented, particularly about the bomb-making materials, was (intentionally?) selective and vague. This allowed prosecutors to imply that younger brother Dzhokhar played a direct role in preparing the bombs, without actually stating flatly who did what.

Ultimately, testifying FBI agents and the prosecution engaged in rhetorical gymnastics when it came to exactly where the bombs were made.

Recently, Newsweek published an article with the provocative headline: “Whoever Built the Boston Marathon Bombs Is Still on the Loose, Able to Kill Again.” In it, Boston-based investigative journalist Michele McPhee reviews a perplexing case involving bomb-making materials discovered two months after the Marathon bombing. This case was brought against a former Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) employee, Daniel Morley, only to be subsequently dismissed.

What’s perplexing is that there were a number of suggestive similarities between the bomb-making materials found in Morley’s bedroom and the materials used to construct the bombs that exploded at the Boston Marathon finish line. And this was not the only “coincidental” connection between Morley and the Tsarnaevs.

The Newsweek article expands on previous reporting McPhee did for her book about the marathon bombing, Maximum Harm: The Tsarnaev Brothers, the FBI, and the Road to the Marathon bombing. Among other startling revelations, McPhee’s book reports a significant strain of skepticism among Boston’s local law enforcement that the feds revealed all they know about the backstory of Tamerlan Tsarnaev.

And, as McPhee documents throughout the Newsweek article, multiple local law enforcement officers who were involved in the Morley case before the FBI came in remain baffled as to why the charges against Morley weren’t pursued further.
Michele McPhee, Maximum Harm.
Michele McPhee, author of Maximum Harm. Photo credit: ForeEdge and Michele McPhee

Less than two months after the bombing, police responded to a domestic disturbance in the small suburb of Topsfield outside of Boston, according to a police report reviewed by McPhee. Morley, 27 years old at the time, had allegedly attacked his mother and her boyfriend — both of whom then fled the house and called the police. Morley’s mother, Glenda Duckworth, told the police her son was acting erratically — behavior that had been building over the previous eight weeks, according to McPhee.

After a tense four-hour standoff in which Morley threatened to burn the house down and hijack an airplane, police finally coaxed him out of the house and sent him off to a mental health facility for treatment.

But when police searched Morley’s bedroom, they found something startling: “His room was a well-stocked bomb-making facility, and it had several components identical to those in the explosive devices used at the Boston Marathon,” McPhee writes in Newsweek.

There was “a staggering cache of explosive materials: metallic BBs, electrical wires, batteries, cell phone parts, circuit boards … buckets of aluminum foil, bags of powdery rice flour, tubs of chemicals, hobby fuse and wires … [and] fire starters.” He also had various firearms, ammunition and knives. A shed on the property that his mother described as a “work area” contained even more “known elements in homemade bombs.”

Most chillingly, he had a six-quart Fagor pressure cooker just like the ones that had exploded among marathon spectators only weeks before. Police also found an even bigger 24-quart pressure cooker in a closet next to a bag of fertilizer commonly used to make explosives.

Is it possible that Morley was just a copycat inspired by the Marathon bombing? McPhee told WhoWhatWhy in an email that the Topsfield police report indicates Morley was in possession of the materials “before the Boston Marathon [bombing].”

The FBI “didn’t find anything”?
According to a state trooper McPhee spoke with, FBI agents showed up on scene without having been called. The FBI ultimately seized the evidence that Topsfield police had collected — only to return it months later with the terse and vague statement “we didn’t find anything,” a Topsfield police commander told Newsweek.
police evidence, Daniel Morley
Police evidence found at the Morley residence. Photo credit: TBMB

Morley was initially charged by the Essex County prosecutor “with two counts of assault and battery, making a bomb/hijack threat and a threat to commit a crime.”

But the charges were ultimately dropped. The prosecutor did not explain the decision other than to issue a statement through his spokesperson: “Mr. Morley must comply with Department of Health, including medications, and not abuse his family.” The Essex County spokesperson referred all questions to the FBI.

The Bureau refused to answer any of Newsweek’s questions related to Morley. WhoWhatWhy reached out to the FBI requesting comment on the Newsweek article, but did not receive a response.

The FBI’s handling of Morley’s case is especially curious when one considers the way the Bureau has dealt with other individuals suffering from psychological problems who have engaged in any kind of activity associated with terrorism.

The FBI has ensnared dozens of individuals with mental health problems in elaborate terrorism “stings.” In many cases, paid undercover informants lured these individuals into a terroristic plot in an effort to see if they’d take the bait — even going so far as to provide the person of interest with the means to carry out a bogus attack (See here, here, here and here).

In the Morley case, the FBI failed to prosecute an individual who had allegedly amassed all the materials needed to carry out a real attack like the one that caused so much death and destruction at the Boston Marathon.

Keeping the Bomb Maker Under Wraps?
Ultimately, Morley was held at three different mental health facilities for about two years, then released about a month after Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s trial concluded. One local cop remarked to McPhee: “That’s a good way to keep someone out of sight until the trial is over.”

Jerry Flynn, executive director of the New England Police Benevolent Association, told McPhee: “It is incredibly troubling to look at the facts surrounding this guy Daniel Morley, and have no understanding whatsoever about why the FBI got involved … why the charges were dismissed and how the circumstances about his connection to the Marathon bombers were kept quiet [ellipsis in original].”

According to McPhee, “investigators” — it’s not clear which investigators — “suspect Morley also knew Tamerlan — they were in the same criminal justice class at Bunker Hill community college in 2008 and were both devotees of mixed martial arts.”

McPhee’s longform article is worth reading, as it details many other disturbing facts about Morley’s actions related to the Marathon bombing. But the FBI’s current disinterest in Morley, as documented in her article, seems especially relevant because it follows a pattern we’ve noticed.

Other Strange Incidents
WhoWhatWhy has pointed out other instances of strangely selective behavior toward individuals connected to the Tsarnaevs and/or the bombing.

There was an apparent “scorched earth” campaign of harassment, intimidation, and in one case killing, of individuals associated with the Tsarnaevs. Many of these people were close to the Tsarnaevs, and could, presumably, have filled in key details about the brothers’ backstory.

We have also written about other individuals who, like Morley, appeared to have plausible — indeed suspicious — connections to the case, but who were, as far as we can tell, ignored by investigators.

The very fact that some of these questions are slowly dripping out into the mainstream is a positive development. For our part, we will continue to chisel away at the still-formidable dam of secrecy. ... tsarnaevs/
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Re: Two explosions at Boston marathon finish line

Postby seemslikeadream » Mon Apr 16, 2018 12:40 pm

on Fox, Corey Lewandowski just criticized Comey for failing to protect Boston during the April 2013 Marathon bombing. Comey became FBI director in September 2013.

Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s Classified History

It’s been half a decade since two bombs exploded at the finish line of the 2013 Boston Marathon, yet the government continues to maintain a seemingly impenetrable wall of silence around what it knows about the primary instigator of the attack that traumatized a major city for nearly a week — bombing mastermind Tamerlan Tsarnaev.

It’s been four years since the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community wrote an “unclassified summary” of a report (IGIC Report) that laid out what federal agencies knew about Tamerlan Tsarnaev in the years leading up to the bombing. But most of that report — commissioned by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) — remains classified.

However, the inspectors general (IGs) expressed their own displeasure with the level of secrecy veiling the final report: in its first few lines they asked for a review of the protocols — known as “classification and sensitivity designations” — used to withhold the majority of it.

In our ongoing efforts to make public as much as possible about the history of Tamerlan Tsarnaev, WhoWhatWhy requested through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) those classification designation reviews.

It’s now been more than two years — and we’re still waiting.

Tamerlan’s younger brother, Dzhokhar, was convicted and sentenced to death in 2015 for his role in the attack. He’s currently being held at the US government’s maximum-security penitentiary in Florence, Colorado. Tamerlan was killed in a shootout with police days after the bombing and many important details about his history died with him.

Tamerlan: ‘Known’ Wolf
It’s understandable that much of the public assumes we’ve already learned all there is to know about the older Tsarnaev brother. After all, oceans of ink were spilled after the bombing on morbid human-interest stories describing how Tamerlan went from one-time immigrant success story — a Golden Gloves champion boxer — to a murderous monster filled with anger and resentment toward his adoptive country.

But as we’ve pointed out repeatedly, many of the facts the public learned about Tamerlan’s history with federal agencies were based on “leaks” to the media from anonymous law enforcement officials. In other words, most of what we know about him could be called the “unofficial record.”

FBI, lone wolf
Photo credit: Adopted by WhoWhatWhy from background (Jim Larrison / Flickr – CC BY 2.0), wolf statue (William Garrett / Flickr – CC BY 2.0), and J Edgar Hoover building (Cliff / Flickr – CC BY 2.0).

The FBI claims to have had no interest in Tamerlan until the Russians sent a warning in 2011 to the FBI and the CIA about his radicalization — suggesting that he might fly to Russia to engage in terrorist activity there. The Bureau said it conducted an assessment based on the warning, but concluded that he represented no danger. The assessment was closed six months later.

And yet, for some reason Tamerlan was watch-listed in multiple ways, at least one of which labeled him armed and dangerous and required a secondary screening of him if he tried to board an airplane. Nonetheless, Tamerlan flew to Russia months later, but that somehow didn’t trigger any second looks at the airport — by US or Russian officials. The strange fact that Russian officials allowed Tsarnaev to fly back to Russia — despite its purported concerns about him — hints at the possibility that Tsarnaev was part of some cat and mouse game between both country’s security services.

The 32-page unclassified summary of the IGIC Report — the official record — provides very little in the way of substance about Tamerlan’s interactions with federal agencies. Instead, it reaffirms a narrative that had already been developed by those leaks to the media in the early days of the investigation: Tamerlan slipped through the cracks, but not to worry, steps have been taken to ensure better “information sharing” between federal agencies. It’s not clear how information sharing would have prevented anything considering that all agencies involved deny knowing that he was becoming radicalized.

The trial didn’t tell us much about Tamerlan either. Prosecutors succeeded in preventing much of anything about the older brother being entered into evidence — and thereby kept him out of the official record.

There were a series of classified documents filed under seal with the court during the trial, presumably about Tamerlan, but those were never shared with Dzhokhar’s attorneys. They are similarly being withheld from his appellate attorneys, too.

The Non-Report
The IGs who wrote the report suggest that the public will not be fully informed — that “[many of the activities and events that occurred during the period [prior to the Marathon bombing] cannot be included in this unclassified summary.” In fact, the first thing readers encounter is a sort of disclaimer that reads like a protest.

The IGs first tell us that we’re only getting 32 pages summarizing a 168-page report. Then, we are made aware that the:

Redactions in this document are the result of classification and sensitivity designations we received from agencies and departments that provided information to the [IGs] for this review. As to several of these classification and sensitivity designations, the [IGs] disagreed with the bases asserted. We are requesting that the relevant entities reconsider those designations so that we can unredact those portions and make this information available to the public [emphasis added].

It’s been four years since the IGs wrote that. We don’t even know if the reviews were ever conducted.

Forestalling of Information Act?
WhoWhatWhy has been regularly emailing to follow up on this important request. Each time, we were told of the specific number of requests ahead of us “in the queue” (hundreds). At one point, we were told that if we narrowed the request “to just a new review of the document itself,” the DNI “would likely be able to respond sooner.”

Tamerlan Tsarnaev
Photo credit: Facebook and Dave Newman / Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

We complied. We also requested, separately, “copies of the requests made by the [IGs] to the ‘relevant entities’ and their subsequent response regarding unredacting the information the [IGs] felt should be made public.”

It’s been a year and a half since we narrowed the request. And DNI has sent nothing. At one point, DNI stated they would provide no more estimates — which is highly irregular because they are obliged to provide good faith estimates.

In an effort to discover what progress, if any, the DNI’s FOIA office has made on our requests, we requested copies of the FOIA processing records produced so far — a FOIA of the FOIAs so to speak.

DNI’s response was as questionable as its “no more estimates” response. DNI claims that until the underlying requests about the IGIC Report are completed, it can’t process the request for FOIA processing records. Attorney and FOIA expert Kel McClanahan told WhoWhatWhy, “Oh that’s nuts … there’s no provision for that.”

WhoWhatWhy left multiple messages with the ODNI seeking comment. We have yet to hear back.

Regular Schmo or Secret Agent Man?
The government has, by and large, succeeded in having it both ways with Tamerlan Tsarnaev. He was just a disgruntled loser, but everything in his history is withheld as a matter of “national security.”

In other words, the government had to simultaneously convince the public that Tamerlan and his brother were monsters with an obvious track record of incriminating behavior to back it all up, all the while maintaining they couldn’t possibly have predicted Tamerlan would do something so violent.

Consider, according to the IGs who wrote the unclassified summary report, that all of the information in the report — most of which remains classified — relates to “activities and events” that took place prior to the bombing.

Consider further, that the IGs complained in the document that they were being stonewalled by the FBI during their investigation, meaning there may be more “activities and events” that didn’t even make it into the classified portion.

WhoWhatWhy has submitted more than 85 FOIA requests seeking records about Tamerlan Tsarnaev and the bombing — the vast majority of which have been denied.

If Tamerlan was just some lone nut, wouldn’t the government want to dump all it knows about him out in the public? Why is everything about him still “classified” five years later? ... d-history/
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Re: Two explosions at Boston marathon finish line

Postby chump » Mon Apr 16, 2018 8:55 pm

Official RNS News
Published on Apr 19, 2013
The aunt of the two suspects in the Boston bombings says she doesn't believe they were involved in the crime and says the FBI has no evidence other than pictures of the two young men walking on the street near the finish line.

Maret Tsarnaeva, who lives in Toronto, told CBC News by phone Friday that she hadn't yet contacted her brother Anzor, 46, who is the father of the two men, Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

"My nephews cannot be part of this terrible, horrible act that was committed in the streets of Boston," she said.

"I know these two nephews — smart boys, good boys — they have no motive for that. They have no ideas to be going to this kind of act. It's just not the case, it cannot be true."

Tsarnaeva said she has lived in Canada since 1996 and had studied at the University of Manitoba. She said she hasn't seen her nephews for five or six years.

However, she said she spoke to the oldest, 26-year-old Tamerlan, two years ago when his daughter was born, and then again a year ago.

She said Tamerlan is married to a woman that she described as a Christian, and that he's been staying at home taking care of his daughter while his wife worked. About two years ago, she said, he became more interested in his Muslim faith, and started praying five times a day.

Tsarnaeva said she isn't ready yet to believe Tamerlan is dead. She also said she spoke to someone at the FBI on Friday morning to tell them the two men are her nephews and that they are innocent, but that authorities have not contacted her.

It's because of the Chechen connection, she said, that her nephews are being targeted, but she pointed out that the two had spent only a year in Chechnya when the family attempted to move back. Dzhokhar was a toddler at the time, she said. Once war broke out, they left and eventually ended up in the U.S. as refugees in 2002.

Tsarnaeva, who says she was a lawyer in Kyrgyzstan, questions the evidence authorities have on her nephews.

"They are allowed to walk on the streets of Boston," she said. "They live in Cambridge, Norfolk street, which is five minutes from the cross-border between Cambridge and Boston. It's Monday, they are walking, maybe, you know, walking around for their business. Backpacks? How can this be suspicious, carrying backpacks? At the age of these boys.


Mindful that this affidavit may be filed or displayed as an offer of proof with her authorization in public proceedings contemplated by the laws of the United States of America, and in reliance upon Title 28 of the United States Code, Section 1746, Maret Tsarnaeva deposes and says:

I am the paternal aunt of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev who has been prosecuted before the United States District Court for Massachusetts upon indictment of a federal grand jury returned on June 27, 2013, for causing one of two explosions on Boylston Street in Boston on April 15, 2013. In the count for conspiracy, certain other overt acts of wrongdoing are mentioned. As I understand the indictment, if Dzhokhar did not carry and detonate an improvised explosive device or pressure-cooker bomb as alleged, all thirty counts fail, although perhaps some lingering questions, about which I offer no comment here, might remain for resolution, subject to guarantees of due process of law, within the jurisdiction of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

I am currently living in Grozny, the capital of Chechnya which is a republic within the Russian Federation. My academic training included full-time studies in a five-year program of the Law Faculty at the Kyrgyz State University, and I also hold the degree of master of laws (LL. M.), with focus on securities laws, granted by the University of Manitoba while I lived in Canada. I am qualified to practice law in Kyrgyzstan. I am fluent in Russian, Chechen, and English, and am familiar with other languages. I am prepared to testify under oath in public proceedings in the United States, if my expenses are paid, and if my personal safety and right of return to my home in Chechnya are adequately assured in advance.

Aside from other anomalies and other aspects of the case on which I make no comment here, I am aware of several photo exhibits, upon which the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) relied, or of evidence which their crime laboratory has produced, and certain other reports or material. Together, these plainly show that Dzhokhar was not carrying a large, nylon, black backpack, including a white-rectangle marking at the top, and containing a heavy pressure- cooker bomb, shortly before explosions in Boston on April 15, 2013, as claimed by the FBI and as alleged in the indictment for both explosions. On the contrary, these photo exhibits show unmistakably that Dzhokhar was carrying over his right shoulder a primarily white backpack which was light in weight, and was not bulging or sagging as would have been evident if it contained a heavy pressure-cooker bomb. The only reasonable conclusion is that Dzhokhar was not responsible for either of the explosions in question.

On or about June 20-21, 2013, during their first trip to Russia, which lasted about ten days more or less, Judy Clarke and William Fick, lawyers from the federal public defender’s office in Boston, visited my brother Anzor Tsarnaev, and his wife Zubeidat, respectively the father and mother of Dzhokhar. The meeting was at the home of Dzhokhar’s parents in Makhachka which is in the republic of Dagestan adjacent to the republic of Chechnya, and about three hours’ drive from Grozny. My mother, my sister Malkan, and I were present at this meeting. Zubeidat speaks acceptable English. Mr. Fick is fluent in Russian.

Laying aside other details of the conversation on June 20-21, 2013, I wish to note the following:

— The lawyers from Boston strongly advised that Anzor and Zubeidat refrain from saying in public that Dzhokhar and his brother Tamerlan were not guilty. They warned that, if their advice were not followed, Dzhokhar’s life in custody near Boston would be more difficult;

— Mme Clarke and Mr. Fick also requested of Anzor and Zubeidat that they assist in influencing Dzhokhar to accept the legal representation of the federal public defender’s office in Boston. Mr. Fick revealed that Dzhokhar was refusing the services of the federal public defender’s office in Boston, and sending lawyers and staff away when they visited him in custody. In reaction to the suggestion of Mr. Fick, lively discussion followed;

— As Dzhokhar’s family, we expressed our concern that the federal public defender’s office in Boston was untrustworthy, and might not defend Dzhokhar properly, since they were paid by the government of the United States which was prosecuting him, as many believe for political reasons. Dzhokhar’s parents expressed willingness to engage independent counsel, since Dzhokhar did not trust his government-appointed lawyers. Mr. Fick reacted by saying that the government agents and lawyers would obstruct independent counsel;

— I proposed that Dzhokhar’s family hire independent counsel to work with the federal public defender’s office in order to assure proper and effective representation of Dzhokhar. Mr. Fick replied that, if independent counsel were hired by the family, the federal public defender’s office in Boston would withdraw;

— Mr. Fick then assured Anzor and Zubeidat that the United States Department of Justice had allotted $5 million to Dzhokhar’s defense, and that the federal public defender’s office in Boston intended to defend Dzhokhar properly. Zubeidat then and there said little concerning assurances of Mr. Fick. But for my part, I never believed that the federal public defender’s office in Boston ever intended to defend Dzhokhar as promised. And my impressions from what happened during the trial lead me to believe that the federal public defender’s office in Boston did not defend Dzhokhar competently and ethically.

In any event, I am aware that, following the meeting on June 20-21, 2013, Mme Clarke and Mr. Fick continued to spend time with Anzor and Zubeidat, and eventually persuaded Zubeidat to sign a typed letter in Russian to Dzhokhar, urging him to cooperate wholeheartedly with the federal public defender’s office in Boston. I am informed by my sister Malkan, that Zubeidat gave the letter to the public defenders, shortly before their departure from Russia on or about June 29, 2013, for delivery to Dzhokhar.

During subsequent trips Mme Clarke and Mr. Fick to see Dzhokhar’s parents in Makhachkala, the strategy for defending Dzhokhar was explained, as I learned from my sister Malkan. The public defender’s office in Boston intended to contend at trial, as actually has happened since, that Tamerlan, now deceased, was the mastermind of the crime, and that Dzhokhar was merely following his big brother. I was firmly opposed to this strategy as morally and legally wrong, because Dzhokhar is not guilty, as FBI-generated evidence shows. Some ill- feeling has since developed between myself and Dzhokhar’s parents over their acquiescence.

On or about June 19, 2014, during their visit to Grozny over nearly two weeks, three staff members from the public defender’s office in Boston visited my mother and sisters in Grozny. I am told that they also visited Dzhokhar’s parents in Makhachkala.

The personnel visiting my mother and sisters in Grozny on or about June 19, 2014, included one Charlene, who introduced herself as an independent investigator, working in and with the federal public defender’s office in Boston; another by the name of Jane, a social worker who claimed to have spoken with Dzhokhar; and a third, by the name of Olga, who was a Russian- English interpreter from New Jersey. They did not leave business cards, but stayed at the main hotel in Grozny, hence I presume that their surnames can be ascertained.

I was not present at the meeting in Grozny on or about June 19, 2014, but my sister Malkan, who was present, called me by telephone immediately after the meeting concluded. She revealed to me then the details of the conversation at the meeting. Malkan and I have since spoken about the visit on several occasions.

Malkan speaks Russian and Chechen and is willing to testify under oath in public proceedings in the United States through an interpreter in Russian, if her expenses are paid, and if her personal safety and right of return to her home in Chechnya are adequately assured in advance. She relates, and has authorized me to state for her that, during the conversation on June 19, 2014, in Grozny, Charlene the independent investigator stated flatly that the federal public defender’s office in Boston knew that Dzhokhar was not guilty as charged, and that their office was under enormous pressure from law enforcement agencies and high levels of the government of the United States not to resist conviction. [Remember what happened to Lynne Stewart, the federally appointed public defender who actually served her client. She was sentenced to prison.]

This affidavit is executed outside of the United States, but the foregoing account is true to the best of my knowledge, information, and belief, and subject to the pains and penalties of perjury under the laws of the United States of America.

Given on this 17th day of April 2015.

/s/ Maret Tsarnaev

(... con'd with comment by her atty.)

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Re: Two explosions at Boston marathon finish line

Postby seemslikeadream » Tue Oct 23, 2018 7:18 pm

some of the notes handwritten by Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, from his hospital bed, days after 2013 Boston Marathon bombing. He was answering FBI questioning; his jaw was wired shut after surgery. Notes are newly released by US court.



Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's attorneys want more time on appeal

In this Friday, April 19, 2013 Massachusetts State Police photo, 19-year-old Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev raises his hand from a boat at the time of his capture by law enforcement authorities in Watertown, Mass. (AP Photo/Massachusetts State Police, Sean Murphy)
Credit: Associated Press

In this Friday, April 19, 2013 Massachusetts State Police photo, 19-year-old Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev raises his hand from a boat at the time of his capture by law enforcement authorities in Watertown, Mass. (AP Photo/Massachusetts State Police, Sean Murphy)
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's lawyers want more time to present his opening argument for a new trial, explaining the appellate brief will span several hundred pages and raise 17 issues, including "multiple errors" in how the Boston Marathon bomber's jury was selected and the use of his hospital-bed confession to secure evidence against him.

The document is currently due to be filed Nov. 19 in the U.S. Court of Appeals in South Boston.

The public defenders yesterday moved for an extension to Dec. 19.

The attorneys are also waiting on related motions to be decided by the U.S. District Court - among them, obtaining access to the sealed questionnaires of 1,355 Massachusetts residents who made up the original jury pool.

They noted in their motion, "Nearly half of the record in this case remains sealed."

Tsarnaev, 25, has been in solitary confinement at the federal Supermax penitentiary in Florence, Colo., since his conviction and jury imposed death sentence three years ago for the April 15, 2013, terrorist bombings of the marathon finish line in Copley Square.
On Sunday, the appellate team filed in district court a motion to suppress statements Tsarnaev made to the FBI post-arrest, which was originally filed by his trial lawyers in May 2014.

The document details how Tsarnaev required intubation to be kept alive at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center after a high-powered gunshot during his capture fractured his skull and he was additionally shot in the face, throat, jaw, left hand and both legs.

Following emergency surgery, he was medicated with Fentanyl.and his jaw wired shut.

Communicating by handwritten notes, Tsarnaev justified the murders of race spectators Martin Richard, 8, Boston University graduate student Lingzi Lu, 23, and restaurant manager Krystle Campbell, 29, by telling agents, "Americans are killing people overseas. They needed to feel the same pain ... America is at war, is it not? I did what is necessary."

He said MIT Police Officer Sean Collier, 27, was shot to death in his cruiser in a failed bid to steal his service weapon.

When apparently asked about the radicalization of his older brother Tamerlan, who was killed in a firefight with police in Watertown as the sblings tried to flee to New York with more pressure-cooker bombs, Tsarnaev replied, "You gotta talk to God on this one buddy. Theres (sic) no one else that convinced him. The man had a wife and daughter. Can you imagine how much you have to believe in something to give that up?" ... _on_appeal

Tsarnaev’s hospital interrogation submitted as part of death penalty appeal

John R. EllementOctober 22, 2018
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.
Three people were dead from the bombs that had exploded at the Boston Marathon finish line. An MIT police officer was dead, slain in an attempt to grab his gun. One terrorist, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, was dead, killed in a shootout days later with police in Watertown.

And now FBI agents were in a Boston hospital, questioning Tsarnaev’s younger brother, Dzhokhar, who had slipped away from the shootout and hidden in a boat in a Watertown back yard.

He had been shot in the head, face, throat, and jaw before he was captured on April 19, 2013. So when agents questioned him, Tsarnaev answered by scrawling in thick black ink onto a three-hole notebook.

The 68 pages of handwritten notes were kept from public view — until now.

The 10 top local news stories from metro Boston and around New England delivered daily.
Federal prosecutors did not use Tsarnaev’s handwritten notes during his 2015 trial, but attorneys handling the appeal of the death sentence he received have filed them as part of the case for judges on the First US Circuit Court of Appeals who will decide whether Tsarnaev’s trial was fair.

During the interrogation, Tsarnaev described his motivation, and noted that his thinking had been influenced by his brother who had, in turn, been influenced by Islamic terror organizations’ postings on social media.

“American is at war is it not? I did what is necessary. My people are dying,’’ he wrote. “Were at war my friend . . . Where are your troops? Are you not killing innocent people in Afghan, Iraq?”

He said both he and his brother expected to die as a result of their terror attack — but that they were prepared for that outcome because they considered themselves to be mujahideen, combatants inspired to act by their Muslim faith.

“We are able to protect our people and our religion,’’ he wrote. “I don’t know what you have on the mujahideen . . . but we are promised when we die we die with smiles on our faces.”

The interrogation was conducted between April 20 and 22 in 2013 by FBI agents whose primary task was to determine whether the Tsarnaev brothers had allies planning similar terror attacks, according to court records. Tsarnaev repeatedly said he and his brother acted alone.

He wrote that “only me and bro” were responsible for building the bombs, armed with gunpowder drained from fireworks, and for the attack at the finish line.

“We told no one. I mean who in their right mind agree to that? I guess it just at that point your only inviting someone to either die or go to jail,’’ he wrote, adding it was “dangerous [because] you never know who you can trust.”

Throughout, Tsarnaev focused on one question, “do you have my bro?” and repeatedly asked in multiple ways and at varying times what his brother’s status was.

“Is my brother alive,’’ he wrote in large letters and then circled them with a thick line of black ink to underscore its importance to him. “That’s the one question I had . . . Is he alive, show me the news! . . . Where is he?”

During the interrogation, Tsarnaev demanded to speak with a lawyer and at multiple points appeared to refer to his medical status. “Lawyer. Human rights . . . please let me rest,’’ he wrote. “Lawyer? I am exhausted you said you were going to let me sleep . . . I don’t have to answer that now man. Let me sleep. Lawyer.”

The questioning ultimately stopped when a federal magistrate judge appointed a lawyer for Tsarnaev.

Before it was halted, Tsarnaev said he and his brother had, on the spur of the moment, decided to attack the Marathon, knowing that there would be a lot of people there, but not because they had planned to target the race in advance. Instead, he said, they had finished making their remote-controlled bombs at about the same time the Marathon was being held.

“We really didn’t know what was going to happen . . . [and]we heard about the Marathon,’’ he wrote.

At another point in the interrogation, Tsarnaev defended his sister-in-law, Katherine Russell Tsarnaev, who was never charged even though she was living with the two brothers in the shared apartment on Norfolk Street in Cambridge. Tsarnaev wrote she worked 15-hour days and that he and his brother made sure she never saw them as they drained gunpowder from fireworks to use in their bombs.

“She didn’t know about the fireworks or nothing. She is innocent. She’s an American with an American family,’’ he wrote. When the agents apparently indicated she was going to face charges, he wrote, “Oh, please, you are trying to have an innocent woman arrested.”

Although it’s not clear if the notes are arrayed in chronological order, Tsarnaev’s last note appeared to indicate that he had finally learned that his brother was dead.

“Where is my bro,” he wrote. “Are you sure.’’

During the bombing, 8-year-old Martin Richard, Krystle Campbell, and Lingzi Lu were killed. MIT police Officer Sean Collier was killed on April 18, 2013, while sitting in his cruiser on campus in Cambridge.

Boston Police Sergeant Dennis ‘DJ’ Simmonds suffered a head injury during the Watertown shootout when the Tsarnaevs threw explosives at police. Simmonds suffered a fatal brain aneurysm about a year later, according to Boston police. Boston police consider him the fifth person killed by the terror bombers. ... story.html
The only card he has left to play is his resignation
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