Suspect Raised No Red Flags
Wall Street Journal (05/16/13) Barrett, Devlin; Gorman, Siobhan; Levitz, Jennifer
Officials investigating the Boston Marathon bombings say that it does not appear that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the younger of the two brothers accused of carrying out the attack, was ever truly radicalized. While Dzhokhar did tell investigators that he and his brother Tamerlan carried out the attack because they were upset about U.S. actions against Muslims, it does not appear that Dzhokhar was immersed in radical Islam to the same degree that Tamerlan was. For example, officials also say that while both men downloaded videos made by radical Muslim clerics, most of them were downloaded by Tamerlan. Dzhokhar’s freshman-year roommate at UMass Dartmouth, meanwhile, said that he saw no signs that Dzhokhar had any extremist beliefs. Officials say that if Dzhokhar did become radicalized, it likely happened right before the Boston Marathon bombings took place. But investigators have yet to find any evidence of any activity that could have served as a red flag, such as frequent visits to jihadist Web sites, the use of violent rhetoric, or suspicious purchases. Tamerlan, by contrast, was a classic example of a homegrown or lone wolf terrorist–someone who is largely isolated from society who comes from a broken family and is attracted to a poorly-defined cause, officials say. Counterterrorism officials say that if it turns out that Dzhokhar was indeed not radicalized, it could be an indication that some would-be terrorists are simply going to slip through the cracks of efforts to use certain characteristics to identify potentially dangerous individuals.
Man Who Allegedly Taught Bomb Making in Utah Arrested in Terrorism Case
Deseret News (UT) (05/16/13) Romboy, Dennis
A 30-year-old Uzbekistan national who is believed to be a member of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan was arrested in Boise, Idaho, on Thursday and charged with preparing to carry out a terrorist attack. According to the indictments filed in federal courts in Idaho and Utah, Fazliddin Kurbanov in January taught others how to build explosive devices and distributed information about manufacturing and using a weapon of mass destruction. As part of the bomb-making training he allegedly provided, Kurbanov showed trainees Internet videos and gave them written instructions that listed the materials that could be used to build a bomb as well as how to assemble those materials into a functional explosive device. Kurbanov is believed to have had some of those parts in his possession last November, including a hollow hand grenade, a hobby fuse, and aluminum powder. Kurbanov has also been charged with providing resources to the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, which the U.S. government considers to be a terrorist group, between last August and this month. The resources Kurbanov provided to the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan include his services as a member, computer software, and money, according to the indictment. Officials have not said whether the attack Kurbanov is believed to have been planning was imminent, nor have they said how they discovered the alleged plot.
Counter-Terrorism Leak Compromised an Informant, Sources Say
Los Angeles Times (05/16/13) Dilanian, Ken
U.S. officials have provided new information about the national security leak that lead the Justice Department to seize the telephone records of Associated Press journalists over a two-month period last year. Officials say that stories published by the Associated Press and several other news outlets in May 2012 compromised an informant who had infiltrated al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). The informant was not mentioned in the Associated Press’ May 7, 2012 story about a bombing plot by AQAP, though other news organizations were reporting on the informant’s role by the end of the following day. The informant reportedly was able to provide the U.S. information that led to a drone attack on a suspect in the 2000 U.S.S. Cole bombing, and had also convinced AQAP members that he wanted to bomb a U.S. commercial aircraft using an underwear bomb. Officials said that having an informant who had earned the trust of terrorists was extremely valuable, though they said they could no longer use the informant following the publication of the Associated Press story. The Justice Department is currently investigating the leak of the information about the informant, which Attorney General Eric Holder said was one of the most serious leaks he has ever seen. A former CIA lawyer, however, said Holder was exaggerating.
Wig-Wearing ‘CIA Spy’ in Russia ‘Was Investigating Boston Bombings’
Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) on Tuesday temporarily detained an employee of the U.S. Embassy in Moscow on charges of being an American spy. Ryan Fogle, a third secretary from the U.S. Embassy’s political section, was arrested in a sting operation for allegedly trying to recruit a Russian anti-terrorism official to provide him with information. The FSB said that Fogle was carrying a letter at the time of his arrest that promised the anti-terrorism official an initial payment of $100,000 and as much as $1 million per year for “long-term cooperation,” along with bonuses for additional information. In addition, the FSB said that Fogle had a kit that included items used to alter his appearance, such as wigs and sunglasses. The Russian Foreign Ministry concluded that Fogle was a CIA operative, and Russian authorities have ordered him to leave Moscow. A Russian newspaper, meanwhile, has reported that Fogle was looking for information about the suspects in the Boston Marathon bombings, who are from Russia. The Russian anti-terrorism official Fogle is accused of trying to bribe had been working in the North Caucasus, the area where the suspects are from. Some experts doubt the Russians’ story, saying that they believe Fogle may have been set up by Kremlin officials looking to boost their standing in the eyes of the Russian public.