— billmon (@billmon1) April 10, 2014
So, just in time for the anniversary, the FBI has thoroughly investigated what went wrong before the Boston Marathon bombing, and wouldn’t you know it — it was those godless Russians who callously refused to share. Also too, if only our Local Heroes had been given the authority to read more Americans’ emails and riffle through more American drawers, everything would have been different and better. Per the NYTimes patriotic puff piece:
WASHINGTON — The Russian government declined to provide the F.B.I. with information about one of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects that would most likely have led to more extensive scrutiny of him at least two years before the attack, according to an inspector general’s report…
“They found that the Russians did not provide all the information that they had on him back then, and based on everything that was available the F.B.I. did all that it could,” said a senior American official briefed on the review…
The review is similar to an internal review the F.B.I. conducted after the bombing. In that review, the bureau found that its agents had been restrained from conducting a more extensive investigation because of federal laws and Justice Department guidelines that prevent them from using surveillance tools like wiretapping in investigations like those conducted on Mr. Tsarnaev before the bombings…
While the review largely exonerates the F.B.I., it does say that agents in the Boston area who investigated the Russian intelligence in 2011 could have conducted a few more interviews when they first examined the information….
Yeah, good luck convincing us about that, guys. The FBI does not have a sterling reputation in these parts. And there are persistent rumors that the heroic local Waltham police force missed a chance to get Tamerlane Tsarnaev off the streets months before the bombing, either because the FBI warned them off or just that ‘nobody cared about a couple drug dealers getting iced’. Even our local law’n’order tabloid, the Boston Herald, could not find it in their hearts to wave the Security Theatre flag:
Questions have been raised about how the FBI and intelligence agencies handled Russian intelligence tips that Tamerlan Tsarnaev was linked to Islamic extremists in Dagestan in the year before the April 15, 2013 bombing. After the bombing, the FBI released photos of the Tsarnaevs as unidentified suspects they were seeking days after the bombings, apparently not recognizing Tamerlan though agents had interviewed him the year before.
The Homeland Security Committee report faulted poor information sharing between agencies and questioned officials’ contention that the bombings could not have been prevented, but didn’t lay blame for failing to prevent the attacks on any specific agencies or individuals.
“As House Homeland Security found no smoking gun, neither did the ICIG (Intelligence Community Inspector General) report,” the official said.
There is nothing about the whole Tsarnaev saga that doesn’t stink, and the repercussions will probably last at least as long as the search for Whitey Bulger. But pretending that “more surveillance” would’ve kept a badly damaged immigrant with a family history of failure and too many murky ties to the security forces of at least three nations from reading bad stuff on the interwebs is just bass-akwards. There are certainly any number of turning points which don’t lead to dead and wounded innocents on a sunny April day, but all of them would have involved using information already available to better effect.
(And, yes, I appreciate that hindsight is always 20/20. Doesn’t excuse the current whocoodaknowd roundelay and the naked grab for more Security Theatre power.)