WBUR

Rep. Keating On Bombings: ‘This Will All Go Under A Microscope’

BOSTON — In response to the bombings, Massachusetts U.S. Rep. William Keating has promised a complete review of the nation’s anti-terrorism programs.

Keating, a member of the House Committee on Homeland Security, says lawmakers have long been concerned about the threat of so-called “homegrown” terrorists.

In committee briefings on the marathon bombings, Keating says one consistent issue has been the lack of information sharing between the U.S. and Russia. Especially about Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who was killed in a shootout with police last month.

Keating points out that Russian authorities did express concerns to the U.S. about the older Tsarnaev brother that seem to have been lost. Tamerlan Tsarnaev was interviewed by the FBI and listed in a U.S. database of potential terrorists, which Keating says shows that better information gathering might have helped.

“Our initial briefings said that the agents involved played by the book correctly,” Keating said. “The question will be: Do we change the book? One question I have is even the lower level information doesn’t seem to have been shared with the Joint Terrorism Task Force in Boston. This will all go under a microscope.”

Keating maintains that the nation’s intelligence system has dramatically improved since 9/11. But he says there needs to be a shift in focus to deal with an emerging new threat: that of domestic terrorism.

“What we also have learned in the Homeland Security Committee over the last two years is time after time being told that the greatest threat facing our country right now is domestic or homegrown, radicalized terrorists,” Keating said. “Because they don’t have to go through the burden of going through the borders. They don’t have to assimilate into our culture. All those things make the risks that we face and the challenges we face greater.”

Keating has sent an aide to Moscow to meet with Russian officials and find out more. That staffer will brief the Homeland Security Committee when it holds hearing on the marathon bombings next week.

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