Claim: Saudi Arabia Wrote to Warn U.S. About Tamerlan Tsarnaev in 2012

Claim: Saudi Arabia Wrote to Warn U.S. About Tamerlan Tsarnaev in 2012

A Saudi Arabian government official claims his country warned the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) about Tamerlan Tsarnaev in writing in 2012, according to the Daily Mail.

The UK’s Daily Mail claims to have confirmed the existence of the letter, sent from the Saudi Ministry of Interior to the “highest level” of the department, with this unnamed Saudi official and a DHS official speaking on condition of anonymity. 

According to these sources, the Saudis took a hard line against Tsarnaev in December 2011, when they “denied an entry visa to [him], when he hoped to make a pilgrimage to Mecca,” one month before his trip to Russia.

They Saudi source says the country also warned Britain about Tsarnaev. They were “very specific,” he said, warning “something was going to happen in a major U.S. city.”

While the letter allegedly named Tamerlan Tsarnaev specifically, it was a “government-to-government” letter which did not name Boston nor predict when the attack would come. The Saudi official said the letter warned the U.S. it should be “inspecting packages that came to Tsarnaev in the mail, checking for bomb-making components.”

The Daily Mail’s source claimed jihadist networks condescendingly referred to Tsarnaev as “the volunteer,” saying al Qaeda would have deemed a plan to bomb the Boston Marathon too small–“a firecracker.” The Saudi government checks applications from radicalized U.S. Muslims seeking to visit Mecca more skeptically than from other nations, he added.

The White House and DHS publicly denied seeing any such letter from the Saudi government in 2012. One unnamed Republican aide suggested to the paper that DHS may have received this letter but failed to share it with the Obama Administration because intel agencies sometimes pursue credit in investigations to the detriment of swift results.