Here’s what we know.
On October 18, 2013, six months after the Marathon Terrorist Attack (MTA) on April 15, 2013, an issue came up relating to the FBI’s involvement in the investigation of the MTA. It first came to the public’s attention through a letter written by Senator Chuck
Cratsley Grassley to FBI Director James Comey. Cratsley Grassley wrote: “Did the FBI have the suspects under physical surveillance at any time prior to releasing the photos to the public?”
He continued: “In the hours leading up to the shooting of Collier and the death of the older suspect involved in the bombing, sources revealed that uniformed Cambridge Police Department officers encountered multiple teams of FBI employees conducting surveillance in the area of Central Square in Cambridge. It is unclear who the FBI was watching, but these sources allege the Cambridge Police Department, including its representation at the (Joint Terrorism Task Force), was not previously made aware of the FBI’s activity in Cambridge.”
He added: “Continued reluctance on the part of the FBI to share information with local law enforcement, especially in the wake of the Whitey Bulger saga and your ongoing Mark Rossetti investigation, would be extremely troubling,”
The FBI responded:
“Joint Release from Massachusetts Law Enforcement Agencies:
Boston, MA – In response to media inquiries about recent news reports relating to the marathon bombings, Special Agent in Charge of the Boston Division, Vincent Lisi, Colonel Timothy Alben of the Massachusetts State Police and Commissioner Edward Davis of the Boston Police released the following statement:
Previously, members of the Joint Terrorism Task Force have responded to similar questions relating to whether or not the FBI, Boston Police, Massachusetts State Police or other members of the Joint Terrorism Task Force knew the identities of the bombers before the shootout. Members of the Joint Terrorism Task Force did not know their identities until shortly after Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s death when they fingerprinted his corpse. Nor did the Joint Terrorism Task Force have the Tsarnaevs under surveillance at any time after the Assessment of Tamerlan Tsarnaev was closed in 2011. The Joint Terrorism Task Force was at M.I.T., located in Cambridge, MA, on April 18, 2013, on a matter unrelated to the Tsarnaev brothers. Additionally, the Tsarnaev brothers were never sources for the FBI nor did the FBI attempt to recruit them as sources.
There has been recent reporting relating to whether or not the FBI, Boston Police, Massachusetts State Police or other members of the Joint Terrorism Task Force knew the identities of the bombers before the shootout with the alleged marathon bombing suspects, and were conducting physical surveillance of them on April 18, 2013. These claims have been repeatedly refuted by the FBI, Boston Police, and Massachusetts State Police.
To be absolutely clear: No one was surveilling the Tsarnaevs and they were not identified until after the shootout. Any claims to the contrary are false.” (emphasis in original)
Here’s my problem with all this. First, the joint release. Why are the State and Boston Police a part of it? We know that the Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) was not involved in what the FBI was doing. It was never told of the Russian communication to the FBI about Tamerlan; nor was its members part of any of the FBI teams in Cambridge. The question to the FBI should have been answered by the FBI without fudging the matter by adding agencies that knew nothing about it.
So you must take out what the JTTF knew from the answer to the question what the FBI knew. All we have left is the FBI was in Central Square, Cambridge the night of April 18, 2013, and the member of the JTTF from Cambridge did not know it. The FBI says it was unrelated to the Tsarnaev brothers. But it doesn’t tell us why they were there?
It had to be something related to the MTA since that was the uppermost priority of the FBI three days after the bombing and all agents were working that case. It obviously had to be something related to the people who had been identified in the photographs earlier that day as the terrorists. We’ve learned how two people (white hat and black hat) were picked out as the ones who did the bombing and had been targeted. We’ve heard about the debate that occurred over the public release of their pictures.
So we know at the time these FBI teams were in Cambridge the FBI at a minimum knew what the people who committed the MTA looked like. We know they were in Central Square, Cambridge near by the home of Tamerlan Tsarnaev.
Nothing makes sense to me other than the teams were looking for Tamerlan Tsarnaev. The big question is: Why is the FBI denying it?
Original misspelled Senator Chuck Grassley’s name. hat tip to bostonboomer for calling it to my attention.