Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) said believes the Boston bombing would have turned out differently had the FBI known in 2011 about the wiretapped conversation in which Tamerlan Tsarnaev and his mother talked jihad.
“There’s no doubt that if the Russians had given the FBI the information they had regarding the mother and the son and their views on the mother’s radicalization and the son’s radicalization, it would have dramatically changed the investigation,” King said.
U.S. officials said they were notified about the call only after the bombing.
“It would have caused the FBI to go further, and to, again, get to the bottom of this a lot more quickly, and possibly headed this entire disaster off,” King said.
The former Homeland Security Committee chairman also said there’s “no way of knowing” if the Russians are being forthcoming now.
“They don’t want to give us any information which is going to give away any of their sources, any of their methods. So, it’s sort of a bit of a dance here. They want to give us as much as they can, which helps them, but they don’t want to give us anything which would give us an idea as to how they do their intelligence.”
That includes spying on the United States.
King said Meet the Press Sunday that he believes the FBI gave Tsarnaev the benefit of the doubt during its 2011 interview with the Chechen immigrant after Russia’s tip.
“I’m just saying there were two other instances that I thought if the FBI had looked further, and if they had realized that — how often do you find someone having three separate coincidences regarding possible terrorist activity? And I thought they were too quick to close that out,” King said. “And also, they should have done more as far as going to the local mosque, going to the imam and just checking him out a lot more than they did. It was — to me, there was enough smoke there that — you know, whether or not there was fire, there was enough smoke that that investigation should have been kept more active.”
He also said the brothers must have had outside help in the bombing.
“And I have no evidence of it, but when you find, you know, this many bombs put together so well — getting all the equipment, getting all the devices, putting it together, assembling it — it’s very difficult for me to believe that two people could have done that on their own, especially living in a tiny apartment with his wife and his daughter, the other brother going to school. Just too much — too much that was perfectly synchronized here for this just to be two — you know, two guys doing it on their own,” King said.
“I believe that there had to be some sort of facilitation, at least, possibly co-conspirators, but certainly other people involved. I mean, again, no guarantees, but if I had to bet right now, I would say yes, one way or the other, we are going to find that other people were involved.”