Russia Claims It Ignored U.S. Warning of Terror Attack Because It Was ‘Too Vague’


Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) Director Sergey Naryshkin claimed Tuesday a warning from U.S. intelligence about the March 22 terrorist attack in Moscow was ignored because it was “too vague.”

“Yes, indeed, the Federal Security Service received certain information from U.S. intelligence agencies that such an unfortunate event is possible,” Naryshkin admitted during a Moscow press briefing.

“However, as our Russian colleagues mentioned, the information was too general and did not allow us to fully identify those who participated in this terrible crime,” Naryshkin said.

The Russian government has attempted to blame the United States and Ukraine for aiding and abetting the brutal terrorist attack, which the Islamic State jihadist organization rapidly claimed.

The U.S. responded to these insinuations by saying it gave Russia information about an impending attack two weeks before alleged ISIS gunmen murdered over 130 people at the Crocus City Hall concert venue. The U.S. embassy in Moscow issued a public warning on March 7 that “extremists” had “imminent plans to target large gatherings in Moscow, to include concerts.”

U.S. officials later revealed that the CIA station in Moscow issued a private warning to the Russian government on March 6, the day before the embassy broadcast its public alert. The private warning was more detailed, including the identity of ISIS-K (the “Khorasan” or Asian branch of the Islamic State) as the likely perpetrators.

Three days before the Crocus City Hall massacre, Russian strongman Vladimir Putin gave an address to Federal Security Service (FSB) officials in which he dismissed “provocative statements” from the West about possible terrorism in Russia as “outright blackmail” and a sinister effort to “intimidate and destabilize our society.”

The situation became even more awkward for Putin’s police state when sources in Iran said on Monday that the Iranian government, a close ally of Russia, also provided an early warning of the imminent attack.  

Writing at Canada’s Globe and Mail on Tuesday, Russia expert Amy Knight suggested an explanation for these puzzling lapses in Russia’s huge and oppressive security apparatus was that Putin wanted the attack to happen, so he could rally internal support by blaming it on the U.S. and Ukraine:

The circumstances surrounding the March 22 attack suggest that the FSB may have enabled the terrorists. At 6:54 p.m. four men drove up to the concert hall in a white Renault filed with firearms and waited there for more than an hour. No one questioned their presence, although a video posted on Telegram showed they were parked in front of a police van. At 7:58 p.m. they left the car and started firing at people on the street, after which they entered the concert hall, shooting everyone in sight. They then doused the premises with gasoline and set it on fire. By 8:11 p.m., they were racing to their car.

How did these four migrants from Tajikistan, at least one of whom was unemployed, manage to inflict such carnage in just 13 minutes? One of the accused men said he was recruited by the anonymous mastermind on Telegram for 500,000 rubles ($7,329). But it is unlikely that ISIS would use Telegram because it is too risky. Also, ISIS typically recruits Islamic religious fanatics; these men, according to their relatives, were not practicing Muslims.

And why did the terrorists encounter no resistance? There were no armed security personnel at the event, attended by more than 4,000 people. And the Special Rapid Reaction Squad of the National Guard, located just three kilometers from the venue, inexplicably took almost an hour to arrive on the scene. As for the regular police – whose headquarters are in the building next to Crocus City Hall and who regularly patrol the area – they were nowhere to be seen.

Knight noted that the four accused ISIS shooters will be “tried in secret,” so the full truth of the Crocus City Hall attack may never be known, but “the Kremlin’s narrative has so many holes that even gullible Russians might begin to question it.”

Those gullible Russians seem to be keeping their mouths shut for the time being, as Putin plows ahead with using the March 22 attack as a pretext for even more vicious crackdowns against Russian citizens, especially those of Central Asian origin, as Foreign Policy (FP) detailed on Monday:

Last week, a shopping pavilion owned by Central Asian migrants was burned down in the city of Blagoveshchensk on the Russia-China border. In Kaluga, southwest of Moscow, a group of unknown perpetrators beat up three Tajik citizens on the street, one of whom was later hospitalized. Migrants from Kyrgyzstan were reportedly held at Sheremetyevo Airport outside Moscow for two days only to be later returned home. There are reports from across Russia that customers are refusing the services of taxi drivers of Tajik nationality. Kyrgyzstan already has called on its citizens not to travel to Russia, and the Tajik Embassy in Russia has told its nationals in the country to stay at home.

Human rights lawyer Valentina Chupik told FP she has “received more than 2,500 calls from migrants in Russia since the terrorist attack complaining about illegal detentions and searches.” Other human rights activists said Putin is using the terrorist attack to push a “fortress Russia” mentality on war-weary citizens, an image of Russia under siege from all sides by an unholy alliance of the United States, NATO, Ukraine, and Central Asian Islamic terrorists.


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