* Authorities learned of alleged plan from surviving suspect
* Father in Russia says he wants to visit United States
* "Broken" national security system - Republican senator
(Adds comments from Massachusetts governor, background)
By Edith Honan and Mark Hosenball
NEW YORK/WASHINGTON, April 25 The two men
suspected of carrying out last week's deadly Boston Marathon
bombing decided after authorities identified them to drive to
Manhattan and set off additional explosives in Times Square, New
York City officials said on Thursday.
Their plan unraveled only when they realized that a Mercedes
sport utility vehicle they had hijacked on April 18, three days
after the bombing, did not have enough gasoline for the journey,
Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said.
New York has been on heightened alert since the Sept. 11,
2001, hijacked plane attacks that destroyed the World Trade
Center. Officials said the Tsarnaev brothers' alleged impromptu
plan showed America's most populous city remained a magnet for
those who want to strike at the United States.
Times Square was the target of an attempted car bombing in
May 2010. A Pakistan-born U.S. citizen was arrested, admitted to
the plot and is serving a life prison term.
In the sharpest criticism of President Barack Obama's
security policies since the blasts, a Senate Republican said the
Boston bombing attack - which killed three people and injured
264 others, illustrated a "broken" national security system.
Kelly said investigators learned of the alleged Times Square
plan while questioning the surviving suspect, 19-year-old
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, in his hospital bed in Boston. Tsarnaev has
been recovering from his wounds there since being captured on
Friday night after an all-day manhunt that shut down much of
"Questioning of Dzhokhar revealed that he and his brother
decided spontaneously on Times Square as a target," Kelly told a
news conference with 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 fill up the vehicle, the driver of the
car escaped, Kelly said. The driver alerted authorities and
sparked a late-night car chase across the university town of
Cambridge, where police said the brothers shot and killed a
Massachusetts Institute of Technology campus police officer.
Earlier on April 18, the FBI identified the ethnic Chechen
brothers as suspects in the Boston bombing, releasing pictures
and video of them at the scene.
The chase ended in an extended gun battle in suburban
Watertown in which authorities said the suspects threw
improvised explosives at police. The older suspect, 26-year-old
Tamerlan Tsarnaev, was shot and died of his wounds.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was captured the next night in Watertown,
hiding in a boat parked in the backyard of a house. He was
formally charged on Monday in the hospital with crimes that
could carry the death penalty.
His lawyer, Miriam Conrad, declined to comment on Thursday
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 he might be moved from the Beth Israel
Deaconess Medical Center.
PARENTS SAY SONS INNOCENT
The father of the brothers said he planned to travel to the
United States from Russia to bury his older son, Tamerlan
"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
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 her 26-year-old son while apprehending him.
Tsarnaeva does not plan to accompany her former husband on
his trip. One factor that may have influenced Zubeidat
Tsarnaeva's decision not to travel with her former husband is an
outstanding arrest warrant in Massachusetts.
A warrant for Zubeidat Tsarnaeva's arrest was issued on Oct.
25 after she failed to make a court appearance on
shoplifting-related charges, according to Natick District Court
Clerk Brian Kearney.
Tsarnaeva was arrested in June at a department store on
suspicion of shoplifting $1,624 worth of women's dresses,
according to the Natick Police Department.
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 earlier in the 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."
Republican Senator Lindsey Graham told CNN he 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
said, linking the bombings with last year's killing of a U.S.
diplomat during an attack on a diplomatic compound in Benghazi,
"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; Editing by Paul Thomasch, Grant McCool and Peter