March 27, 2014, 07:32 am
Boston bombing report finds familiar flaws
By Mario Trujillo
A congressional review into the Boston Marathon bombings released Wednesday night found the attack exposed many of the same flaws pointed out nearly a decade ago, following 9/11.
The House Homeland Security Committee released the report "The Road to Boston," which largely called for increased information sharing among federal agencies and with local law enforcement.
"Many of the Committee's recommendations, along with a recommendation to strengthen Congressional oversight of homeland security, echo recommendations included in the 9/11 Commission Report," according to the report.
A review into the Fort Hood shootings also made many of the same recommendations, the committee points out. The report was led by Chairman Michael McCaul (R-Texas) and Rep. Bill Keating (D-Mass.).
"This once again demonstrates that nearly 10 years after the release of the finds of the 9/11 Commission, we have yet to fully address these challenges," the report concludes.
The committee made broad recommendations to improve public awareness of the threat of terrorism and urged government-wide accountability to "find new ways to proactively improve our homeland security."
The report highlighted a lack of information sharing among the federal government and with state law enforcement.
Specifically, the committee recommended the FBI's terror database be made available to local law enforcement with fewer barriers. It also recommended requiring agencies that have useful information for terror watch lists to proactively pass it along.
"Following through on the report’s recommendations is critical to fixing serious gaps in our counterterrorism efforts," McCaul said in a statement.
The Boston bombings, which killed three people and injured hundreds more in April, 2013, eventually led to the arrest of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and the death of Tamerlan Tsarnaev.
The report rehashed Tamerlan Tsarnaev's travel to Russia in 2012 and the Russian government's prior warning he had been radicalized and could attempt to travel back to the country. At the time, The FBI found no links to terrorism and requested more information from Russian authorities but did not receive any.
The report details Tamerlan Tsarnaev's travel to Russia in 2012 and his possible visits while there to Dagestan and Chechnya, based largely on media reports after the bombings.
Though an alert on his international travel was active in 2012, he did not receive the requested screening when traveling to Russia.
"Uncertainty continues to surround the question of which Federal agencies and investigators knew of Tamerlan Tsarnaev's travel to Russia," according to the report.
The committee concluded that his travel to the region raises questions but does not indicate a connection to a terror network.
The leaders of the committee cited their meeting with investigative journalists in Russia who claimed Tsarnaev met with a recruiter for Islamist insurgents in Dagestan. However, officials at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow said they found no evidence of the meeting.
"Furthermore, investigators have determined Tamerlan Tsarnaev likely did not attempt to 'go into the forest' — a euphemism for jointing Chechen rebel groups," the report concludes.
The committee said it would refrain from commenting on the "potential radicalization" of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev due to his scheduled trial.