Boston bombing: Suspects' mother Zubeidat Tsarnaeva was added to terror database 18 months before bombing, officials say

 

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

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.

Dzhohkar Tsarnaev is charged with joining with his older brother in setting off the shrapnel-packed pressure-cooker bombs. He could face the death penalty.

Officials said that before he was advised of his constitutional rights to remain silent or consult a lawyer, Dzhokhar admitted to FBI interrogators that the brothers committed the bombings and that he was recruited by his brother to participate only a week or two before the attacks.

Dzhokhar was taken overnight from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Centre and transferred to the Federal Medical Centre Devens outside Boston, the US Marshals Service said. The facility at the former Fort Devens Army base treats federal prisoners.

Previously US officials have said only that the FBI investigated Tamerlan. But in March 2011, the Russians asked the FBI to look into Tamerlan and his mother because of concerns they were religious militants who planned to travel back to Russia, the official said.

The FBI found nothing to link either person to terrorism, and the FBI closed the investigations in June 2011. Then, the Russians in the autumn sent the same warning to the CIA. The CIA asked the US National Counterterrorism Centre to add the mother's and son's names to its huge, classified database of people known to be terrorists and those who are suspected of having terror ties, called the Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment, or TIDE.

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 told the AP 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.

Tsarnaeva accused US law enforcement of killing her elder son.

"They are already talking about that we are terrorists, I am terrorist, they've told that I was doing something terroristic," Tsarnaeva said.

A team of investigators from the US Embassy in Moscow has questioned both parents in Russia this week, spending many hours with the mother in particular over two days.

Some lawmakers in Washington have questioned whether the FBI adequately investigated Tsarnaev and his mother in 2011. Over the course of that year, the FBI reached out to Russia three times for more information, US officials said. The first time was in March 2011, when they received the initial tip from the Russians. The second was in June 2011 when they were preparing to close the investigation. The third time was in the fall of 2011 after the CIA received the same tip from the Russians.

One of the officials said the FBI never found the type of derogatory information on Tsarnaev and his mother that would have elevated their profiles among counterterrorism investigators or would have formally placed them on a terror watch list.

AP

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
people
News
A survey carried out by Sainsbury's Finance found 20% of new university students have never washed their own clothes, while 14% cannot even boil an egg
science...and the results are not as pointless as that sounds
News
politicsIs David Cameron trying to prove he's down with the kids?
News
Cumberbatch was speaking on US television when he made the comment (Getty)
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Tradewind Recruitment: English Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: We require a teacher of English for this co...

Recruitment Genius: Sales and Service General Administrator

£16000 - £19500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This leading provider of Atlas ...

Recruitment Genius: Maintenance & IT Assistant

£20200 - £24800 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Senior PHP Developer - Zend Framework

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This number one supplier of Coo...

Day In a Page

Woman who was sent to three Nazi death camps describes how she escaped the gas chamber

Auschwitz liberation 70th anniversary

Woman sent to three Nazi death camps describes surviving gas chamber
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea