Intel chief says review of bombing suspect investigation prudent

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Tuesday, April 30, 2013 - 6:34pm

(CNN) -- The nation's top intelligence official believes an independent review of how the government handled its investigation of a Boston Marathon bombing suspect prior to the attack is a prudent step "to ensure that nothing was missed."

James Clapper, the director of national intelligence, believes that all of the agencies involved in collecting and sharing information about Tamerlan Tsarnaev "took all the appropriate steps," says Clapper spokesman Shawn Turner.

The Intelligence Community inspector general, a watchdog that investigates risks, vulnerabilities and deficiencies within 16 intelligence-related agencies and departments across the government, will lead the review.

That office will coordinate with similar officials at the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security.

President Barack Obama said the review was standard and as far as he could tell the FBI did its job.

"We want to see is there in fact additional protocols and procedures that could be put in place that would further improve and enhance our ability to detect a potential attack," Obama said at a news conference on Tuesday.

Questions have been raised by some members of Congress about whether law enforcement and the intelligence community adequately investigated and shared information it received from the Russian government about Tsarnaev.

They have said gaps in intelligence-sharing should have been closed following the September 11, 2001, al Qaeda attacks on the United States.

Tsarnaev died following a shootout with police days after the April 15 marathon bombing that killed three people and injured more than 260 others. His brother, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, was captured and faces bombing-related charges.

In 2011, the Russians asked the FBI and later the CIA to investigate whether the elder Tsarnaev, an immigrant from the restive Caucasus region with

legal residence in the United States, had ties to jihadist causes. U.S. officials say the information provided was vague.

The FBI said a three-month probe turned up nothing derogatory about Tsarnaev. The agency also said the Russians never responded to requests for more details.

The case was closed.

Tsarnaev's name was put on a Customs and Border Protection list to alert officials in case he left the country

The CIA asked that his name be added to another file, the Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment (TIDE) list, which contains more than 700,000 names of suspected foreign and domestic terrorists.

Marathon bombing investigators are focusing closely on a trip Tsarnaev took to Russia in 2012, returning to the United States after six months. Family members have said that the trip included visits to Chechnya and Dagestan, regions known for radical Islamic insurgency.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano told lawmakers last week that Tsarnaev's departure pinged "the system" but noted that there was no reason to follow up because the FBI had found no suspicious activity in 2011.
 

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