Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) said he believes that the Chechen terror suspects weren’t trying to flee with their stockpile of explosives and other weapons, but were heading for another attack – perhaps in another city.
King, former longtime chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, said officials are probing a trip that the older brother, Tamerlan Tzarnaev, 26, took to Russia last year. “Maybe that’s when they were radicalized,” he said.
Ethnic Chechens Tamerlan and Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev, 19, spent their childhoods in Dagestan, next to Chechnya and sharing the same Islamic separatist movement.
King said he hasn’t heard of the American Chechen community embracing Islamic radicalism, but “we do have to look carefully to make sure there are no other co-conspirators.”
“As of my understanding there’s no evidence that the younger brother has traveled outside the country at all,” he added.
The congressman said local authorities need to be engaged in building up intelligence in their own communities to catch grass-roots radicalization. “Something happened to these two and it has to be examined and examined fully,” he said.
King said he doesn’t think the brothers were fleeing last night when they shot a police officer, carjacked a vehicle and set off with more bombs. Many of these were chucked at police cars as they picked up the stolen car’s trial and gave chase.
“I don’t think these two ever intended to escape,” he said, noting the “second round of explosives for a second round of attack.”
“To me, this can only be used for a second round of attacks.”
“It’s impossible, impossible for them to do such things,” the suspects’ mother, Zubeidat Tsarnaeva, told CNN. “…He never told me he would be on the side of jihad.”
Claiming it was a “setup,” the mother said the feds were tracking her son and his movements as he got more into Islam.
“I don’t find any of it to be true,” King said. “It’s really offensive… here’s a country that gave them asylum.”
“I don’t blame them for saying good things about their sons even though they’re murderers… but to be lashing out at the United States is going much, much too far.”
King said he wasn’t aware of the men being on the FBI’s radar, though early reports when details about the suspects broke early Friday morning indicated they weren’t unfamiliar to federal authorities.