When Russian counterterrorism agents interrogated Islamic insurgent William Plotnikov in 2011, he named Boston Marathon Bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev “a fellow extremist,” according to Rep. William Keating (D-MA).
This interrogation prompted “Russian authorities to ask the FBI to investigate Tsarnaev in 2011.” But no one will say whether the Russians told the FBI of the possible direct link between Tsarnaev and Plotnikov or between Tsarnaev and another jihadist, Mansur Mukhamed Nidal.
That information is expected to come out this week, when the House Homeland Security Committee holds a hearing on the Boston Marathon bombings.
Plotnikov moved from Canada to Dagastan to fight against Russians for Chechnya. He was killed during a Russian police raid in the summer of 2012. Nidal was killed during a separate raid in the summer of 2012.
If in fact Tsarnaev’s ties to Plotnikov can be substantiated, experts say it creates a much larger problem for investigators. As Georgia Regents University professor Craig Albert put it: “You don’t go to Dagestan and just meet a jihadist. If Tamerlan was able to go there and make contact with this individual, somebody else must have know about him as well, which implies a larger connection than we’re aware of.”