Thursday, May 9, 2013

Boston police chief: Feds did not inform us of Russian warnings on Marathon bombers

Testifying on Thursday at a House Homeland Security Committee hearing on the Boston Marathon bombing, Massachusetts Undersecretary of Public Safety Kurt N. Schwartz and Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis told lawmakers that the F.B.I. did not inform Boston police of the warnings it had received from Russia about one of the bombers, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, or the investigation the FBI had opened on his younger brother, Dzhokhar, until after Tamerlan had died following a gun battle with police on April 19.

Davis and Schwartz also testified that four city police representatives who work with the F.B.I. on a Joint Terrorism Task Force were also never told about the warnings the FBI had received.

“When information is out there that affects the safety of my community, I need to know that,” Davis told lawmakers.

When asked whether he would have taken a closer look at Tamerlan had he been aware of the Russian intelligence warning, Davis replied: "Absolutely!"

Former committee chairman Joe Lieberman said in testimony that, "The fact that neither the FBI nor the Department of Homeland Security notified the local members of the Joint Terrorism Task Force is really a serious and aggravating omission."

“Though it would not have been easy," Lieberman said, "it was possible to prevent the terrorist attacks in Boston. Why didn’t they involve the local law enforcers who could have stayed on this case and picked up signals?”

However, President Obama - who is widely renowned both for his proficiency in keeping people misinformed and his deep admiration for the "low-information" crowd - recently praised the FBI and Department of Homeland Security, telling reporters at a news conference that, "Based on what I've seen so far, the FBI performed its duties, the Department of Homeland Security did what it was supposed to be doing."

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