World News

Tuesday 22 July 2014

Bomber's mother on terror database

Published 27/04/2013|08:31

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Zubeidat Tsarnaeva, mother of the Boston bombing suspects (AP)

US intelligence agencies added the mother of the Boston bombing suspects to a government terrorism database 18 months before the bombings, two officials said.

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She called it "lies and hypocrisy" and said she has never been linked to crimes or terrorism.

The CIA asked for the older suspect, now dead, and his mother to be added to a terrorist database in the autumn of 2011, after the Russian government contacted the agency with concerns that both had become religious militants, according to officials briefed on the investigation.

About six months earlier, the FBI investigated Tamerlan Tsarnaev and his mother, Zubeidat Tsarnaeva, also at Russia's request, one of the officials said. The FBI found no ties to terrorism.

The younger suspect, 19-year-old Dzhohkar Tsarnaev, was moved overnight from a hospital to a federal prison medical centre to continue his recovery from a throat wound and other injuries suffered during a getaway attempt. Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, died in a shootout with police.

Also, FBI agents picked through a landfill near the campus of the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, where Dzhohkar Tsarnaev was a student. FBI spokesman Jim Martin would not say what investigators were looking for. An aerial photo in Friday's Boston Globe showed a line of more than 20 investigators, all dressed in white overalls and yellow boots, picking over the garbage with shovels or rakes.

The revelation that the FBI had also investigated Zubeidat Tsarnaeva and the CIA arranged for her to be added to the terrorism database deepened the mystery around the family. The Tsarnaevs are ethnic Chechens from southern Russia who immigrated to the Boston area in the past 11 years. Tsarnaeva, a naturalised US citizen who has appeared on television interviews since the attacks and reversed her decision to return to the US after the bombings, has said her sons could never have been behind the deadly attacks and believes they were framed.

Being in that database does not mean the US government has evidence that links someone to terrorism. About a year ago, there were some 745,000 names in the database. Intelligence analysts add names and partial names to TIDE when terror-related intelligence is shared with them.

Tsarnaeva said it would not surprise her if she was listed in a US terror database. "It's all lies and hypocrisy," she said from Dagestan. "I'm sick and tired of all this nonsense that they make up about me and my children. People know me as a regular person, and I've never been mixed up in any criminal intentions, especially any linked to terrorism."

A search of US criminal records showed only that Tsarnaeva was arrested in June 2012 in Natick, Massachusetts, on a shoplifting charge over the theft of 1,624 dollars (£1,048) worth of women's clothing from a Lord & Taylor department store. She was arrested and charged with larceny and two counts of malicious or wanton property damage. Tamerlan had travelled to Russia in January 2012 and returned in July.

Press Association

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