Russia caught bomb suspect on wiretap

April 27, 2013

U.S. officials said Saturday that Russian authorities secretly recorded a conversation in 2011 in which one of the Boston bombing suspects vaguely discussed jihad with his mother, an Associated Press report says.

Officials say a second call was recorded between the suspects’ mother and a man under FBI investigation living in southern Russia.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about the ongoing case.

They said the Russians shared this intelligence with the U.S. in the past few days.

The conversations are significant because, had they been revealed earlier, there might have been enough evidence for the FBI to initiate a more thorough investigation of the Boston bombing suspects’ family.

As it was, Russian authorities told the FBI only that they had concerns that Tamerlan Tsarnaev and his mother, Zubeidat Tsarnaeva, were religious extremists. With no additional information, the FBI conducted a limited inquiry and closed the case in June 2011.

Two years later, authorities say Tamerlan and his brother, Dzhohkar, detonated two homemade bombs near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, killing three and injuring more than 260. Tamerlan was killed in a police shootout and Dzhohkar is under arrest.

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Max Fisher | April 26, 2013