Chechnya Terror Link to U.S. Well-Established by Feds Since 9/11
White House press secretary Jay Carney said Kerry was just "speaking generally about the nature of terrorism" in his comments about Tamerlan Tsarnaev's 2012 trip.
"The State Department has clarified that Secretary Kerry was not reflecting any new information or conclusion about the individuals involved," Carney said. "…This investigation is proceeding apace, and we're still in the phase of getting questions answered. We're not making final assessments."
It was revealed today that six months after warning the FBI about Tsarnaev, Russia’s Federal Security Service tipped off the CIA about extremist ties of the Chechen immigrant in September 2011.
“The CIA then nominated him for inclusion in the watchlisting system and, given his status as a U.S. person, shared the information with the appropriate Federal Departments and Agencies specifying that Tamerlan may be of interest to them,” an anonymous U.S. intelligence official said in a statement Wednesday.
Tsarnaev was added to a roll of more than half a million people in a listing that expired after one year.
“The CIA shared all the information provided by the foreign government including two possible dates of birth, his name and a possible name variant as well. No information was incorrectly entered in the watchlisting system, all the information was shared precisely as the foreign government provided it,” the official said.
While Tsarnaev's family claims the brothers were brainwashed by a mysterious Armenian convert at the mosque named "Misha," House Homeland Security Chairman Mike McCaul (R-Texas) said today "there's some concern" that Tsarnaev was trained in Chechnya.
"The reason I say that is because the explosive devices that he used were highly sophisticated devices," he said on CNN.
McCaul also indicated that his committee is next in line for congressional hearings -- "so we can find out, number one, how did this happen, what went wrong, and then how can we fix it to prevent it from happening again."
Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) warned investigators not to buy too easily into Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's hospital-bed claims that the brothers were self-radicalized by watching online videos and had no connection with any outside terrorist groups.
"I don't see how we can accept that," King said on CNN. "…I don't see why he would be giving up any accomplices he may have or talk about any connections his brother may have had in Chechnya or Russia, so I think to me, what he is saying is such a small part of the overall picture."
"…I mean, you hear that the older brother is involved in radical activities from the Russians, plus you find out he's reading Inspire magazine, plus you find out he's being inspired by radical imams, then to me that's all we factored in as to the level of surveillance that he should receive."