Boston suspects had "spontaneous" bomb plan for New York

NEW YORK/WASHINGTON Fri Apr 26, 2013 8:52am EDT

Suspects wanted for questioning in relation to the Boston Marathon bombing April 15 are seen in handout photo released through the FBI website, April 18, 2013. REUTERS/FBI/Handout

Suspects wanted for questioning in relation to the Boston Marathon bombing April 15 are seen in handout photo released through the FBI website, April 18, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/FBI/Handout

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NEW YORK/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The two brothers suspected of carrying out last week's deadly Boston Marathon bombing decided, after the FBI released photos of them, to drive to Manhattan and detonate more explosives in Times Square, New York City officials said on Thursday.

Their plan unraveled when they realized a Mercedes sport utility vehicle they had hijacked on April 18, three days after the Boston bombing, did not have enough gasoline for the journey, said New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly.

New York has been on heightened alert since the September 11, plane hijackings in 2001 destroyed the World Trade Center and officials said the plan by the Boston bombing suspects, ethnic Chechens Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, showed America's most populous city remained a magnet for attackers.

Manhattan's Times Square was the target of an attempted car bombing by a Pakistan-born U.S. citizen in May 2010.

In the sharpest criticism of President Barack Obama's security policies since the blasts, a Republican senator said the Boston bombing, which killed three people and wounded 264, illustrated a "broken" national security system.

This week, lawmakers demanded answers about what the U.S. government knew about the suspects before the bombing, especially Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, who Russia had asked the FBI to question in 2011 over concerns he may have been a radical Islamist. He died on Friday in a shootout with police.

The surviving brother, 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, is recovering from wounds in a Boston hospital since he was captured on Friday night and told investigators of the alleged Times Square plan.

"Questioning of Dzhokhar revealed that he and his brother decided spontaneously on Times Square as a target," Kelly told a news conference with New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. "They would drive to Times Square that same night.

"That plan, however, fell apart when they realized that the vehicle that they hijacked was low on gas and ordered the driver to stop at a nearby gas station," Kelly said.

At the time, the men still had six explosive devices, including a pressure-cooker bomb of the type used at the marathon and six pipe bombs, he said.

When they stopped to refuel, the driver of the vehicle escaped, Kelly said. The driver alerted authorities and set off a late-night chase and shootout in suburban Watertown, where police say the suspects threw improvised explosives at officers. Hours earlier, the brothers had shot and killed a Massachusetts Institute of Technology campus police officer in Cambridge, authorities said.

Earlier on April 18, the FBI released photos and video of the at the scene of the Boston bombing.

One Republican congressman said investigators have identified "persons of interest" in the United States to whom they would like to speak, some of them because of calls made from Tamerlan Tsarnaev's cell phone.

"There are also persons of interest here that we would like to more fully understand," said Mike Rogers, the chairman of the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee. "Their relationship and what role, if any, they may have played in that whole radicalization process. They are just still persons of interest, so they are not named."

Rogers also said investigators want to learn more about Tamerlan Tsarnaev's 2012 visit to Russia.

PARENTS SAY SONS INNOCENT

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was formally charged on Monday in the hospital with crimes that could carry the death penalty.

His lawyer, Miriam Conrad, declined to comment on whether her client was still talking with investigators.

The U.S. Marshals Service, which is responsible for holding and transporting suspects outside of prison, declined to comment on whether or when Tsarnaev might be moved from the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

The brothers' father said he planned to travel to the United States from Russia to bury his older son, Tamerlan Tsarnaev.

"I am going to the United States. I want to say that I am going there to see my son, to bury the older one. I don't have any bad intentions. I don't plan to blow up anything," Anzor Tsarnaev told reporters in Makhachkala, the capital of Russia's Dagestan region.

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick said investigators might be interested in speaking to the parents.

"There are a lot of questions unanswered about the whys and the hows, and anybody who may be able to shed some light on that is of interest to law enforcement," Patrick said.

Anzor Tsarnaev's former wife, Zubeidat Tsarnaeva, angrily denied that her son had any role in the attack and criticized police for shooting him while apprehending him.

Tsarnaeva does not plan to accompany her former husband on his trip. One factor that may have influenced her decision is an outstanding arrest warrant for her in Massachusetts.

A warrant for Zubeidat Tsarnaeva's arrest was issued on October 25 after she failed to make a court appearance on shoplifting-related charges, according to Natick District Court Clerk Brian Kearney.

'WITCH HUNT'

In Washington, the focus remained on intelligence leading up to the Boston Marathon bombing. Tamerlan Tsarnaev had been on a federal database of potential terrorism suspects and the United States had twice been warned about him by Russian authorities. Congressional testimony this week focused on whether the FBI made mistakes in tracking him.

"We're in the post-event witch-hunt phase, which is predictable," said James Clapper, director of national intelligence, at a conference in Crystal City, Virginia. "I think it would be a real good idea to not hyperventilate for a while now until we actually get all the facts."

Nonetheless, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham blamed the administration for failing to stop the attack.

"I just know the system is broken. The ultimate blame I think is with the administration," the South Carolina senator told reporters, linking the bombings with last year's killing of a U.S. diplomat during an attack on a diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya.

"Between Benghazi and Boston, to me we're going backwards, not forward, in terms of national security," Graham said.

(Additional reporting by Tim McLaughlin, Svea Herbst-Bayliss, Aaron Pressman, Ross Kerber in Boston, Deborah Charles in Crystal City, Virginia, Alissa de Carbonnel in Makhachkala, Russia, and Atossa Araxia Abrahamian in New York; Writing by Scott Malone and Alex Dobuzinskis; Editing by Paul Thomasch, Mary Milliken and Christopher Wilson)

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Comments (1)
SKYDRIFTER wrote:
How should America think?

So far, all 4-15 bombing indications point to a lone-wolf frustrated “causist” who dragged his younger brother into a deadly ‘revenge’ scheme.

Who wouldn’t think of the Tsarnaev brothers as being ‘totally guilty’ of first-degree murder; add the usual peripheral charges? Give the younger brother his trial & execute him. That’s no big deal – totally “American.” In all seriousness, I have no objection. I don’t care if he and his brother were either ‘duped’ or ‘allowed’ by the FBI, et al, they obviously did the worst of the alleged deeds. Let him pay the obvious price.

If he and his brother were factually “duped;” his capture and death will send a powerful warning to any who would similarly aspire – That’s the purpose of the justice system. Let the “Bad Boy” song echo in everyone’s head.

But, how should these brothers be regarded? They are said to be “terrorists.” So, what threshold did they cross, so as to be labeled and treated as full-blown “terrorists?” Most importantly, how may others on American soil qualify for that same “terrorist” label – with the common sense expectation of a law enforcement “terrorist response?” The key term being “expectation.”

About this “terrorist” thing. How many Americans – if they stopped to think for a few minutes – would lump gang drive-by shootings as ‘terrorism?’ Or, should we re-think; and “politically erase” the term “Narco-Terrorism” from the public vocabulary?

Seal the American-Mexican border? It’s not on the agenda – and won’t be. Why? It’s not “politically correct” to think; let alone ask. Don’t go there; it’s dangerous and a waste of time.

Terrorism; that’s what we’re supposed to be thinking about. How many well known & long-standing gangs in America operate on behalf of the cartels in Mexico, alone? Forget about drugs, for the moment. How much violent ‘terrorism’ do they wreak on America; on a routine basis?

Since we can apparently ‘accept’ the cartel-related gang shootings and killings as being “routine,” should those be re-packaged as something less than “terrorism?” Or, since so much of the gang violence relates to profits, should we qualify “terrorism” as being political or idealistic; and not-for-profit violence?

But, there’s the matter of so many of these gangs funding the phenomenally violent cartels in Mexico, Latin America and South America. Do the cartels have a special exemption from the “terrorist” label? What makes them any different than the Taliban? The cartels kill legitimate government figures and their families in the same fashion as the Taliban.

In supporting contrast, if anyone pays serious attention to the news, the Syrian ‘rebels’ are loaded with American-certified terrorist elements. They are routinely receiving aid in all forms from the worst of those on America’s “terrorist list.”

The American reaction: We’re giving the Syrian ‘rebels’ millions of dollars in ‘humanitarian’ aid! Indirectly, we’re funding the Taliban and al Qaeda, by proxy.

In the Arab world, there is a famous philosophy which states: “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.” BUT, that’s a results-limited concept. The USA helped to form the Taliban. The USA supported bin Laden and his al Qaeda. That worked to drive the Russians out of Afghanistan – and bankrupt the Soviet Union. But, predictably, neither the Taliban or al Qaeda faded away.

Now, look where America is, relative to “terrorism.” We’re constructively funding the worst-of-the-worst terrorists – again! That’s not hypocrisy; that’s “stupid!”

Here’s the real ‘rub.’ Few appreciate that John Kerry didn’t deliver a bank check to the Syrian rebels; he arranged for the delivery of material goods. Those goods were paid for by the American tax-payers; they were expensive.

In the background, as usual, a set of corporate profiteers are laughing, all the way to their off-shore bank. That’s the way “Foreign Aid” works. But, Americans aren’t supposed to know or think about that. Americans don’t want to know the truth; they can’t handle the truth. Politicians and their corporate profiteers thrive in the ever so obvious bubble of the public American psychological denial.

Returning to the 4-15 bombings: However irrational, the Tsarnaev brothers will become heroes to the radical Islamic cause. The American media has published America’s vulnerability to terrorism – illustrating the facilitation by America’s own non-functional security mechanisms.

In reality, there is probably little threat to the American homeland by al Qaeda and the Taliban. They just want America to leave them alone – on their turf. If we remove U.S. military forces – and other Americans – from the obvious regions; the Taliban and al Qaeda have no significant beef with us. But, that is obviously subject to change – there are no guarantees.

In the meantime, what is the fate of America to become, as the well-known gangs continue to sell drugs to Americans, everywhere in America; from Wall Street offices to elementary school playgrounds. When these same gangs shoot up American neighborhoods, should America NOT feel “terrorized?” Or, in the “politically correct” conditioning of the American mind, should we evade the obvious rebuttal – “My brother is a drug addict; you can’t say that!”

Still, referring to the gangs, there is no effective domestic response to what any intelligent American should quite rationally think of as “terror.”

But, then there came 4-15; three people were killed. Others were badly mutilated; far more were wounded and injured. The American ‘security’ forces previously knew of the key perpetrator, as a viable terrorist threat. They did nothing; save changing their “story,” as the situational ethics demanded. At a minimum, Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s residency permit should have been revoked; but it wasn’t.

When the Tsarnaev brothers’ faces finally hit the media; it was common American citizens who identified them – not the super-funded and over-staffed ‘security’ forces – who already knew of Tamerlan. At the end, it was a common American citizen who located the surviving brother in his final hiding place. During the lock-down, roughly 2,000 ‘police’ were searching for the culprit in Watertown – and failed.

In the meantime, Boston and several surrounding towns were locked-down in an epic American police-state operation – with amazing speed and efficiency.

The infamous “conspiracy theorists” have been screaming warnings of just that, for years. Then, it finally happened. However brief; it happened – just as the “conspiracy theorists warned. There should be no doubt that it can happen again.

The lock-down was supposed to be “…. for your own safety.” It didn’t work to that end. Again, it was a common American citizen located the surviving brother in his final hiding place – AFTER the lock-down was lifted.

It has to be asked:

If the 4-15 ‘police’ lock-down of the finest of American citizens in Boston and the surrounding towns isn’t a “terrorist” wake-up call to America; what will it take?

How should America think – if we dare?

Apr 26, 2013 4:12pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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