The FBI did not know that deceased Boston Marathon bomber suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev went on a six-month trip to Dagestan and Chechnya, Russia in 2012 because his name was misspelled, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said Monday.”He went over to Russia, but apparently when he got on the aeroplane, they misspelled his name, so it never went into the system that he actually went to Russia,” Graham said on Fox News, saying he spoke to an assistant director of the FBI.
The F.B.I. interviewed Tsarnaev and his family in Boston after Russia’s warning, but found no sign of terrorism activity at the time.
Anzor Tsarnaev, the father of the suspected bombers, told The Wall Street Journal that FBI officers visited him about 18 months ago to discuss Tamerlan’s interests.
“They told me they were watching everything—what we look at on the computers, what we talked about on the phone,” he said. “I said that’s fine. That’s what they should be doing.”
The New York Times reports that the trip did not seem to radicalize Tsarnaev, who had already begun practicing devout Islam. But it could have provided the FBI with further incentive to find indications of violent behaviour.
“One of two things happened,” Graham said Monday on Fox News, “the FBI either dropped the ball or our system doesn’t allow the FBI to follow this guy in an appropriate fashion. I think once the Russians made the request, the FBI did a good job of looking at him. The reason we didn’t know he went to Russia is because the name was misspelled.”
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