'Red Flags and Warnings' Missed in Boston Bombings
“What is the protocol if you do find a possible additional attack that’s being planned?” King asked. “Should that police department be notified? It could have been Philadelphia or anyone along the Atlantic Coast.”
Davis said he thinks that police departments “may be holding the information too closely in the interest of prosecution or having justice be the only thing that we think about. Because in addition to justice, there is the issue of public safety.”
He told the committee that level of information shared between federal and local law enforcement has been “critical” to the department’s success in fighting terrorism.
“Make no mistake about this, Boston Police, Watertown Police, none of us could have had the success we had without the larger community,” Davis said.
Nevertheless, he urged the committee to mandate more information sharing.
Deveau said small police departments like his should have access to the Boston area’s Joint Terrorism Task Force – one of many task forces around the country led by the FBI and the Justice Department.
“When something like this happens, we need to have access to that table,” Deveau said. “We need to have a seat right away.”
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has pleaded not guilty to a 30-count indictment. He is scheduled to stand trial in federal court in November. Federal prosecutors are pursuing the death penalty for the attacks.
The anniversary is also marked by the release of a report by the Inspector General for the Intelligence Community that “identified a few areas where broader information sharing between agencies may have been required, or where broader information sharing in the future should be considered.”
Though the full document is classified, the Directorate of National Intelligence released a 32-page summary of the report that notes two years before the attacks “the FBI received information from the FSB alleging that Tamerlan Tsarnaev and Zubeidat Tsarnaeva were adherents of radical Islam and that Tamerlan Tsarnaev was preparing to travel to Russia to join unspecified underground groups in Dagestan and Chechnya.”
“In September 2011, the FSB provided the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) information on Tamerlan Tsarnaev that was substantively identical to the information the FSB had provided to the FBI in March 2011. In October 2011, the CIA provided information obtained from the FSB to the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) for watchlisting purposes, and to the FBI, Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and the Department of State for their information. Upon NCTC’s receipt of the information, Tamerlan Tsarnaev was added to the terrorist watchlist,” the report continues.
“Three months later, Tamerlan Tsarnaev traveled to Russia, as the lead information stated he was preparing to do. However, Tsarnaev’s travel to Russia did not prompt additional investigative steps to determine whether he posed a threat to national security.”
A Justice Department review found that the FBI counterterrorism agent in charge of checking out the allegations on Tsarnaev didn’t contact local law enforcement, visit his mosque, or interview his wife or friends. The agent also didn’t ask Tsarnaev’s parents about his travel or jihadist sympathies.
Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee Chairman Tom Carper (D-Del.) said his panel will be holding a hearing later this month to further delve into the intelligence inspector general’s report.
“As I often like to say, the road to improvement is always under construction,” Carper said. “…While nothing we do will be able to bring back the loved ones lost or restore the lives of the victims that are forever altered, we owe it to the victims and their friends and families to learn as much as we can from this tragedy and work to prevent terror events like this from happening again.”