Even if no further links with al-Qaeda or related groups (such as the Caucasus Emirate) are discovered, it is still not correct to claim, as so many media outlets now do, that the brothers were “self-radicalized.” They were radicalized and trained by al-Qaeda–whether in cyberspace or outside of it. It is also likely, moreover, that older brother Tamerlan, the ring leader, came into contact with influential individuals in either Boston and/or Dagestan who guided his intellectual development toward becoming a jihadist. Whether those individuals formally belonged to a terrorist organization or not, they were doing its bidding as long as they were urging violence against the West.
The post also mentions the absurdity of the fact that this alleged autonomy is being reported solely because the surviving terrorist says it’s so. If the press can keep this idea floating for a while, it can continue to pretend that what these two monsters did isn’t really representative of the Islamic terror that’s been relentlessly hyperactive for over thirty years. It is the most elaborate game of “Avoid the Obvious” ever played and they really don’t want to admit they’ve lost.