Patterico's Pontifications


Report: FBI Told Bomber’s Family They Knew He Was an “Extremist Leader”

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:55 pm

Daily Mail:

One of the brothers suspected of the Boston Marathon bombings had direct contact with Chechen terrorists – and was ‘monitored’ by investigators for five years.

The Mail on Sunday has learned that the FBI put Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, under surveillance after receiving an explicit warning from the Russian intelligence services.

But despite apparently telling his mother that Tamerlan was an ‘extremist’ leader, the FBI eventually discounted the possibility that he was a threat.

This is apparently why Russia contacted us about him:

Despite all this, the FBI found no substantive evidence that he was engaged in terror-related activities though they continued to ‘monitor his internet use and contacts’.

According to an intelligence source, Russia remained convinced that Tamerlan, an ethnic Chechen, was in ‘direct contact’ with Islamist militants, most likely based in the strife-torn southern Russian region of Dagestan, where he lived for two years with his family prior to moving to the US.

. . . .

Yesterday the brothers’ mother, Zubeidat, said the FBI once told her that Tamerlan was ‘really an extremist leader and that they were afraid of him’. She added: ‘He was controlled by the FBI for five years. They knew what my son was doing. They were following every step of his.’

And his father, Anzor Tsarnaev, said investigators warned his son: ‘We know what sites you are on, we know where you are calling, we know everything about you. Everything. We are checking and watching.’

I’m taking this with a grain of salt right now, but the idea that he may have escaped deportation — and definitely was the subject of an inquiry from the Russian government, and made a six-month trip to Russia that apparently raised no red flags:

The significance of the trip was magnified late Friday when the F.B.I. disclosed in a statement that in 2011 “a foreign government” — now acknowledged by officials to be Russia — asked for information about Tamerlan. The request was “based on information that he was a follower of radical Islam and a strong believer, and that he had changed drastically since 2010 as he prepared to leave the United States for travel to the country’s region to join unspecified underground groups.”

The senior law enforcement official said the Russians feared he could be a risk, and “they had something on him and were concerned about him, and him traveling to their region.” Chechen extremists pose a greater threat to Russia than they do to the United States, counterterrorism specialists say, though some of the groups have had ties to Al Qaeda.

But the F.B.I. never followed up on Tamerlan once he returned, a senior law enforcement official acknowledged on Saturday, adding that its investigation did not turn up anything and it did not have the legal authority to keep tabs on him.

Now, the “extremist leader” comment may have been an empty threat — an interrogation technique. But the whole report raises questions that need to be answered.

Time to drag out Hil in front of the cameras to ask: WHAT DOES IT MATTER?

We have four dead Americans!!!!1!! What difference, at this point, does it make that we totally overlooked a ton of red flags? AAAAAUUGH! OUTRAGE!!!1!!

I guess we’ll find out if the Kabuki works again.

Refreshing Honesty from Bill Maher

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 5:45 pm

Refreshing honesty from Bill Maher:

On HBO’s “Real Time” on Friday night, host Bill Maher entertained CSU-San Bernardino professor Brian Levin, director of the Center for Study of Hate and Extremism, who maintained that despite the events in recent days, religious extremism isn’t only a product of Islam.

But Maher took issue with that claim, calling it “liberal bullshit” and said there was no comparison.

“You know what, yeah, yeah,” Maher said. “You know what — that’s liberal bullshit right there … they’re not as dangerous. I mean there’s only one faith, for example, that kills you or wants to kill you if you draw a bad cartoon of the prophet. There’s only one faith that kills you or wants to kill you if you renounce the faith. An ex-Muslim is a very dangerous thing. Talk to Salman Rushdie after the show about Christian versus Islam. So you know, I’m just saying let’s keep it real.”

I am not an Islamophobe, and I am friendly with plenty of perfectly peaceful and wonderful Muslims. I don’t believe in tarring an entire religion, or all its followers, with the actions of a crazed segment of its adherents. And other religions have had histories of extreme violence.

That said, Maher is right, today: there’s only one faith that kills you for cartoons. It can’t be against our moral code to tell the truth about this. You can’t fix a problem until you acknowledge it. And the extremist faction of this religion is a real problem, and we all need to confront it.

Maher is a rank asshole much of the time, but it’s nice when he is forthright about issues like this.

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