A sketch of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev at his 2013 arraignment.Nicolaus Czarnecki/Metro

(STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE) -- Anti-terror officials and the FBI have increased "engagement" with state and local law enforcement since a congressional committee exposed a "troubling gap" that existed during the Boston Marathon bombing and its aftermath.

A follow-up report written by the Homeland Security Committee found the FBI and Joint Terrorism Task Forces now provide regular briefings on open terrorism cases to state and local agencies.

The review was prompted by the 2013 bombings carried out by Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, and the committee said it is "pleased" with the progress made since that episode.

"This follow-up report builds upon the information gathered from our fact-finding trips to Russia, Boston, and other law enforcement hubs across the US," U.S. Rep. William Keating, a Bourne Democrat and committee member, said in a statement.


Keating and others plan to attend a Business Executives for National Security roundtable discussion on the marathon bombings on Wednesday.

The report also found ongoing challenges in countering the flow of U.S. fighters to Iraq and Syria, quoting the February testimony of the FBI's assistant director for counterterrorism to underscore the threat.

"I don't know every person there and I don't know everyone coming back. So it's not even close to being under control," Michael Steinback, the assistant director, said.

The committee has also encouraged public-outreach efforts to build on the "see something, say something" campaign, noting the FBI did not know the marathon bombers' identities until scanning Tamerlan's fingerprints nine hours after grainy photos of the two were released.

"Had someone who knew either of the Tsarnaevs stepped forward and contacted police, MIT Police Officer Sean Collier might be alive today," the committee wrote, referencing the officer killed by the brothers days after the bombing.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection now emails Joint Terrorism Task Forces about high-risk travelers' movements, and the border agency is working with the FBI to coordinate data and automatically flag the travel of particular individuals, the report found.

The initial report found "missed opportunities" to contact Tamerlan when he traveled to Russia and back, and citing a classified letter, the committee said it is "encouraged" by efforts to maintain an accurate Terrorist Screening Database.

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