Security officials face questions over Boston Marathon bombings

Law enforcement officials investigate the scene of the Boston Marathon bombings in Boston, Massachusetts, April 20, 2013. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
Law enforcement officials investigate the scene of the Boston Marathon bombings in Boston, Massachusetts, April 20, 2013. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

Top security officials face a grilling from lawmakers on Tuesday over whether authorities who have charged one man with the Boston Marathon bombings may have overlooked warning signs two years ago flagging the other suspect.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, was formally charged with using a weapon of mass destruction and malicious destruction of property resulting in death at a bedside hearing on Monday in his hospital room, where he was recovering from gunshot wounds suffered in shootouts with police.

Prosecutors say he and his elder brother Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, carried backpacks containing pressure cooker bombs that ripped through the crowd near the finish line of the world-renowned race on April 15, killing three people and wounding more than 200.

Tamerlan Tsarnaev was shot in an exchange of gunfire with police and run over by his younger brother early on Friday, police said. He later died at a hospital. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev fled on foot but was captured later that day following a massive manhunt.

Russian authorities flagged the elder Tsarnaev in 2011 as a possible Islamist radical, and some lawmakers have accused the FBI of failing to act thoroughly enough after Russia’s security services raised their concerns. The FBI questioned him in 2011.

Top investigators were slated to brief the full House of Representatives on Tuesday about the failure to spot the danger.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev told investigators in his hospital room that he and his brother acted alone, without any help, according to reports by CNN and the New York Times. He said his older brother was the driving force behind the bombings, according to CNN.

The Times reported that he admitted to the bombings in questioning by investigators on Sunday. These reports could not be independently confirmed.

The younger Tsarnaev, an ethnic Chechen who is a naturalized U.S. citizen, will be tried in a civilian rather than a military court. Some Republican lawmakers had called on the Obama administration to designate him as an enemy combatant, which would have restricted his rights.

Evidence against him is now likely to be presented to a grand jury by prosecutors who will seek a formal indictment.

Both charges against Tsarnaev carry the possibility of the death penalty. Given the apparent evidence against him, plea negotiations are likely, legal experts said.

EMIGRATED FROM DAGESTAN

He can be seen in video taken by security cameras placing a backpack near the finish line of the marathon, according to the criminal complaint that alleges he acted in concert with his older brother.

The complaint drew from video and still images captured by security cameras, the media and the public at the race before and after the bombing.

The complaint, which did not mention a motive for the bombings, said that 30 seconds before the first explosion, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev started fidgeting with his cellphone. After the blast, virtually everyone around him turned toward the blast “in apparent bewilderment and alarm,” while he appeared calm, it said.

He then left his backpack on the ground and walked away, the complaint said. About 10 seconds later the second explosion ripped through the crowd.

The Tsarnaev brothers emigrated to the United States a decade ago from Dagestan, a predominantly Muslim region in Russia’s Caucasus.

The elder brother, a legal U.S. resident, visited relatives in the volatile region of Chechnya for two days during his six-month trip out of the United States last year, his mother, Zubeidat Tsarnaeva and aunt, Patimat Suleimanova, told Reuters in Dagestan on Monday.

U.S. authorities were investigating whether he became involved with Chechen separatists or Islamist extremists there.

In his hospital bed, the younger Tsarnaev, a local college student, was alert and nodded on Monday when questioned by federal Magistrate Judge Marianne Bowler, according to a transcript of the bedside legal proceeding.

The bombings killed Krystle Campbell, a 29-year-old restaurant manager, Chinese graduate student Lingzi Lu, 23, and 8-year-old Martin Richard. A campus police officer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology was shot and killed by the two brothers on Friday, police said.

As of Monday, Boston-area hospitals were still treating at least 48 people, with at least two listed in critical condition.

Ten people lost limbs from the bombs packed with nails and ball bearings.

One of them, dance instructor Adrianne Haslet-Davis, interviewed from her hospital bed by CNN, lost her foot in the blast but vowed to dance again.

She said she never lost consciousness and following the blast crawled on her elbows to seek help. “I remember everything,” she told CNN.

Prosecutors will be deciding whether to seek the death penalty against Tsarnaev, and that decision is expected within weeks.

His capture capped a tense 26 hours after the FBI released the first pictures of the two bombing suspects, who were still unidentified, on Thursday.

 


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Chestnut Hill College student found dead Wednesday morning

A 22-year-0ld Chestnut Hill College student was found dead this morning inside a college dormitory, police said.

International

Nearly 300 missing after South Korean ferry capsizes

Almost 300 people were missing after a ferry capsized off South Korea Wednesday, in what could be the country's biggest maritime disaster in over 20 years.

News

Explosions in new Boston Marathon bomb panic, 'twisted'…

A fresh Boston Marathon terror alert, which caused Bomb Squad officers to order an evacuation while two controlled explosions were carried out, was today being…

Local

D.A. Williams opens new unit to focus exclusively…

D.A. Seth Williams announced Tuesday that he has opened a new unit focused entirely on investigating wrongful conviction claims.

Television

TV watch list, Wednesday, April 16: 'The Americans,'…

'The Americans' Philip and Elizabeth face "painful turns" in their missions. Maybe next week they'll have a nice easy mission with no moral ambiguity? Probably…

Movies

Review: 'Bears' is a cute Disney doc about…

Disney's latest nature doc, "Bears," doesn't completely shy away from the fact that its subjects would devour you (or eachother) if they had the chance.

Television

'Orphan Black's' Jordan Gavaris talks Felix's Season 2…

Jordan Gavaris plays heroically helpful foster sibling Felix to main clone Sarah on "Orphan Black." We talked to him about what’s ahead for him in…

Going Out

Here's what to do in Philly this weekend

FILM 'Through a Lens Darkly'  Thursday, April 17, 6 p.m. Philadelphia Photo Arts Center 1400 N. American St. Free, RSVP required, 215-232-5678 www.philaphotoarts.org Join Philadelphia…

U.S. Soccer

Andrew Wenger has big shoes to fill on…

Lancaster County native Andrew Wenger will feel pressure to fill the shoes of departer forward Jack McInerney.

NBA

NBA Power Rankings: Are the Spurs frauds? Could…

NBA Power Rankings: Are the Spurs frauds? Could the Mavericks surprise?

NBA

Sixers, Michael Carter-Williams give fans a happy ending…

The 2013-14 season for the 76ers has nearly come to a close.

NHL

Flyers must make Rangers feel their presence

Perhaps it’s the proximity of the two biggest cities in the East, because whenever these two square off the intensity seems to rise.

Food

Wahlbergs expanding Wahlburgers fast food joint across North…

Wahlburgers, a fast casual burger restaurant founded by brothers Mark, Donnie, and Paul Wahlberg and subject of a new A&E Network’s original series, “Wahlburgers”, announced expansion plans in North America,…

Wellbeing

Could a facelift give you the edge at…

It's not just women lining up for procedures.

Home

Steal home decorating tips from Nattystyle blogger Natalie…

Despite the towering ceilings and enviable exposed brick, it’s easy to see how Natalie Decleve’s apartment could be considered a challenge. Perched above the streets…

Home

How to plant a garden in the city

Small on space but big on gardening? You can still have that welcoming oasis of fresh air with an urban garden. Peter Smith, owner of…