Senator: Russia Warned FBI Multiple Times

According to Senator Richard Burr, members of the Senate Intelligence Committee learned that Russia had contacted the United States multiple times about Tamerlan Tsarnaev. 

In a closed briefing on Tuesday, members of the Senate Intelligence Committee learned that Russia alerted the United States about Tsarnaev in “multiple contacts” — including “at least once since October 2011,” said Richard Burr, a Republican of North Carolina, speaking with reporters afterward.

Yesterday members of the Senate Intelligence Committee were briefed by Deputy FBI Director Sean M. Joyce and officials from the National Counter-terrorism Center and Homeland Security. The FBI had interviewed Tsarnaev in 2011 when it was tipped-off by Russia. The Bureau determined after investigating Tsarnaev that he did not pose a threat.

However, the FBI was unaware that Tsarnaev had traveled to Russia, while Secretary of Homeland Security Napolitano stated yesterday that DHS did know about the trip. 

The FBI has said it was not aware that Tsarnaev had traveled to Russia in 2012. Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, said Monday that the FBI told him it was not aware of the older Tsarnaev’s travels because his name had been misspelled on an airliner passenger list. US Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano confirmed the misspelling during a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee Tuesday, but she said Homeland Security nonetheless was aware of his trip.

After the closed door briefing, several Senators expressed concern about the sharing of intelligence information among departments. 

“I want to make sure that DHS is talking to the FBI,” said Senator Charles Grassley, the ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee. “It looks to me like there is a lack of communication.”

Members of the House also received a close-door briefing and had questions about intelligence lapses.  Rep. Michael McCaul, Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee said “I think there’s concern about knowledge about the individual’s trip to Russia and was that information shared between the FBI and Homeland Security.”