The Associated Press

Rep. Keating: Russians Believe Bombings Were Avoidable

BOSTON — U.S. Rep. William Keating said Russian intelligence officials believe the Boston Marathon bombings could have been avoided if federal authorities had acted on their warnings about bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev.

The Massachusetts Democrat was part of a congressional delegation that met Thursday with Russian security officials in Moscow. Keating told The Associated Press on Friday that Russian officials showed him a letter they sent to the FBI in March 2011, warning that Tsarnaev had plans to join insurgents in Chechnya.

Tsarnaev died following a shootout with police three days after the April 15 bombing. Authorities believe he carried out the attack with his brother Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who was captured alive and remains in custody.

Keating said the letter contained a lot of details about Tamerlan Tsarnaev, including his birthday, telephone number, cellphone number, where he lived in Cambridge and information about his wife and child. He said it also referenced the possibility that Tsarnaev might be considering changing names.

The Russians also had information about his mother, including her Skype address, Keating said.

Keating told the AP that the Russians believed Tsarnaev wanted to go to Palestine and engage in terrorist activities, but was unable to master the language.

“That was the level of detail they were providing in this letter,” Keating said.

Keating said the intelligence officials believed that if Russia and the U.S. had worked together more closely, the bombings might have been averted. He said a top Russian counterintelligence official told the delegation that “had we had the same level of communication as we do now, the Boston bombing may never have happened.”

FBI officials declined comment Friday.

After getting the March 2011 letter from the Russians, the agency did a cursory investigation and closed its assessment on Tsarnaev.

The April 15 Marathon explosions killed three people and injured more than 260.

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  • maraith

    Apparently Putin disagrees. The KGB or whatever it is called now is enjoying watching the FBI/CIA squirm.

  • Lee

    isn’t it irresponsible to make that type of statement based upon the information that he planned on joining an insurgency in Dagestan? How is that related or indicative of cause and effect? It is pretty easy to play armchair quarterback some time after the fact. There are probably plenty of people planning on doing a lot of things but “planning” is a pretty vague word. People “plan” to quit smoking, lose weight, earn a million dollars all the time and how many actually act upon it or do it. And how does one draw a straight line from knowledge of joining an insurgency in a foreign country to preventing a domestic event?

  • cuvtixo

    Is it possible that Keating is regurgitating sketchy propaganda from Russian intelligence? (and what agency is it from exactly; FSB, SVR?) I think Keating has a duty to be more skeptical- for example, I’m not impressed with them knowing the mother’s Skype address. I’m pretty sure a simple name search would find such info.

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