Locals say Feds didn’t warn them about Tsarnaevs

| May 9, 2013

This sounds familiar to me; Fox News reports that the Boston police commissioner, Edward Davis told them that the Federal law enforcement people involved in investigating Tamerlan Tsarnaev for his terror ties and his return to Chechnya;

Davis and Massachusetts homeland security official Kurt Schwartz testified that their officers were not looped in on Tsarnaev until after the bombing.

“At no time prior to the bombings did any member of the Massachusetts State Police or the fusion center have any information or knowledge about the Tsarnaev brothers,” Schwartz said.

Current and former lawmakers at the committee hearing Thursday expressed disbelief at the lack of information-sharing.

Sounds a little like what the Army said about the Feds not sharing what they knew about Nidal Hasan before the Fort Hood murders/terrorist attacks. So, I thought we’d learned our lesson from nearly four years ago, apparently not.

Now I’m not so naive to believe that the Boston cops could have done much about the Tsarnaev brothers and their dastardly plot, but, there’s the next time and the time after that. I thought that’s what the Homeland Security Department was supposed to do after the FBI’s failure to warn everybody that terrorists were training to fly airplanes, but not so worried about learning how to land them. Homeland Security is supposed to be a clearinghouse for terrorist-related information. But apparently, they’re more worried about veterans and blue-haired ladies

Category: Terror War

Comments (20)

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  1. PintoNag says:

    Homeland Security, like all the federal law enforcement agencies,is worried about their power and their budget. In that order. The only liason I ever heard of working between a state law enforcement agency and a federal agency was the DEA and Georgia Bureau of Investigation — And look how that turned out.

  2. Foxbat says:

    There was a triple murder of 3 Jews a year or so ago. One of them was Tsarnaev’s only US friend. The Boston PD might have considered him a suspect if they knew he was radicalized.

  3. MCPO NYC USN (Ret.) says:

    So Boston PD does not have any members on the FBI Boston JTTF … not.

    More accurately, perhaps the information was classified and all the right people were not briefed on it because so few state and local LEO’s have federal security clearances.

    But what do I know!

  4. PintoNag says:

    Well, now what we have to do is make sure all those folks that were injured by that classified information had the proper security clearances to be injured; otherwise they shouldn’t have been in the area of the classified information to begin with. Right?

    /sarc off

  5. MCPO NYC USN (Ret.) says:

    @ 4 … just my point … it piises me off!

  6. OWB says:

    A federal agency which demands the receipt of info but does not share it? No. Couldn’t be.

    Yeah, that was sarcasm.

  7. Hondo says:

    PintoNag: it’s a very old problem. Some information has to be protected and kept close hold for a any number of very good reasons. But that same information also can’t be acted on if it’s not known by the right people.

    Balancing those two competing concerns is a damned difficult call. Sometimes the process works well – see the millennium bomber cases. Other times, the process doesn’t work so well – see the 9/11 commission report.

    And sometimes you never really know if the information would have made any difference either way.

  8. Ex-PH2 says:

    I don’t understand.

    How come the FBI could track down and arrest two bombmakers in Chicago last year (during Occupy NATO, and Tounisi the bar bomber) and five others in Cleveland last year (bridge bombers), but the Boston PD was left uninformed and out of the loop about the Tsarnaevs.

    I don’t get that.

  9. Isanova says:

    Do you really want Homeland Security informing the police about you if all they had was some message from Russia and their own investigations cleared you?

  10. 2/17 Air Cav says:

    There’s the local cops and the FBI. There’s oil and water. Neither mix.

  11. PintoNag says:

    @7 Hondo, I’m the first person to trust our federal law enforcement agencies. They are very well trained, and are one of the main reasons that multiple terroristic threats around the country have been neutralized over the last several years.

    But they have one lamentable problem, and that is an incessant turf war with each other. At the worst, they act like rival gangs. And they treat state and local agencies worse. I don’t know why–when they can be so professional in so many other aspects–they act like this, particularly when innocent lives are at stake.

  12. Hondo says:

    PintoNag: I’m speculating, but I’d guess some of the info avaliable on the Tsarnaevs was other than normal and routine LE information.

    Very few non-Federal police have a security clearance. Without one, receiving such information can be legally quite problematic.

  13. PintoNag says:

    Hondo: I would think that same reason is going to make civilian trials of suspected terrorists difficult. Getting undercover agents who handle that kind of information on the stand, or even get the files they developed admitted into court, is going to be a huge pain in the neck.

  14. OWB says:

    Guess this is precisely why some of us object to the collection of so much data in general. Why have it if it is not used? Meanwhile, what can be stored can be retrieved, and not necessarily by persons with good intentions.

  15. DaveO says:

    Two points to consider:

    Boston Police are making statements to shift attention away from themselves: lawyers are lined up and ready to submit lawsuits. According to the Law of Deep Pockets, the Feds are the obvious target.

    Boston Police are not a monolithic organization. The two officers shot (one died) were Cambridge police. The suspected bomber (due process) was found in a 3rd jurisdiction. Different jurisdictions, different capabilities and competencies.

    I think law enforcement has learned its lesson. Most of us here are small-L libertarian in our personal philosophy. Law enforcement could have picked up Tsarnaev in Russia, prevented him from returning to the US of A by taking his visa, picked him/them up at any time prior to the bombing.

    But we haven’t surrendered our personal and civil liberties. I know Obama wants Nakoula to be the new normal, but if our names were put on a terrorist watch list (and being an Evangelical Christian, White, Male, Military Veteran and Veteran of OEF, I likely am), would we want the police to roll us up even though we are innocent?

    Law enforcement learned its lesson, and it can’t act so long as we are a free people. Boston PD making this statement is CYA to stay out of the courts. In the old days we called this Cowardice.

  16. Hondo says:

    PintoNag: you are correct, dear lady. Classification issues do indeed sometimes royally complicate criminal prosecutions. Google “greymail” or “graymail” and ignore the results concerning spam.

    OWB: 2-edged sword. Information that is collected and stored can be misused. Information that is not collected and stored cannot be misused – but that also means it can’t be used, either. Pick which error you wish to risk; you can’t avoid both.

    Personally, I tend towards being OK with collection and storage, provided appropriate and effective safeguards are in place against misuse. But I do have concerns even then. No safeguards are perfect, and even the best ones can be either too “tight” or too “loose” in particular cases or circumstances. And there is always human error.

  17. Hondo says:

    DaveO: c’mon. Nakoula was a felon on probation who had been explicitly ordered by the courts to stay off the Internet. He violated his parole – rather publicly, if I recall correctly – and got caught.

    Yes, it’s possible he’s being targeted. If so, he was dumb enough to put himself in a position to make that trivially easy. And either way: as a felon who committed a parole violation he gets little sympathy from me.

  18. MAJMikehotmail.com says:

    The Defense of the Reich, opps sorry, Homeland Security is more interested in feeling up airline passengers and strip searching Granny. After 10+ years, I don’t feel a bit safer

  19. streetsweeper says:

    Local police can and do develope their own intel. It’s the only way they know what is going down on their beat. Toss in someone thats a transnational criminal or organization, then its DHS/FBI turf. Should the FBI have listened to the former comrades at KGB? er FSB? Shoulda coulda woulda.

    Sort of like Nidal Hassan. How many know USACID has a fully functioning crim-intel branch? Should the FBI have passed their info to USACID? Hell yes. But then, USACID is a civilian force instead of military these days and so….

  20. B Woodman says:

    What!? The Feds share information on suspected person-of-interest!?? But-but- that would be PROFILING. And profiling is RACIST. And we can’t have any of that.