The Marathon Aftermath – F.B. I. – A Few Bad Ideas – (3)

Commisoner DavisOn May 9 Commissioner Ed Davis of the Boston Police testified before a Washington DC Congressional committee. The committee’s chairperson is Michael McCall a Republican from Texas. Unfortunately, looking at his background he worked in the US attorney’s office in Texas and then as a Deputy Attorney General in the Department of Justice. He’s not one to upset the FBI’s nice apple cart but we’ll just have to see.

Commissioner Davis said he was first told about Tsarnaev’s background on the morning that Tsarnaev was killed in a confrontation with police in Watertown. He was not aware of an earlier FBI investigation into Tsarnaev, even though there are three Boston police detectives and one sergeant working full-time on the Boston Joint Terrorism Task Force.

It’d be interesting to know when that Friday morning the FBI told him; or even more, when did the FBI first know that this person was the Tamerlan Tsarnaev it interviewed in 2011.  When between the bombing on April 15, the time it focused in on his photograph, or after it first put out the photographs on 5:00 p.m. on Thursday and on Friday morning when it disclosed its information to Commissioner Davis did it discover he was previously interviewed by FBI agents. How did the discovery come about?

In response to the statement of Davis that he never knew about the 2011 meeting even thought he had police officers assigned to the Joint Terrorism Task Force, and also to the statement of Kurt Schwartz that prior to the bombings the Massachusetts State Police and the state Fusion Center, a clearinghouse for intelligence information, also had no knowledge of Tamerlan Tsarnaev the Boston SAC Richard DesLauriers issued a statement that said in main part:

“Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTFs) members, including the state and local members, are responsible for maintaining awareness of possible threats to their respective jurisdictions. To manage and provide accessibility to the significant number of assessments conducted by the JTTF, each task force member has access to Guardian, a web-based counterterrorism incident management application [which provides] all users with the capability to search all incidents for threat trend analysis. . . . 

Boston JTTF members, including representatives from the Boston Police Department (BPD), were provided instruction on using Guardian, . . . which would allow them to be fully informed of all JTTF activity that may affect Boston and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. . . .  the BPD, have representatives who are full-time members of the JTTF, and specifically had representatives assigned to the JTTF squad that conducted the 2011 assessment of deceased terrorism suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev.  As set forth by law and policy, assessments may be carried out to detect, obtain information about, or prevent or protect against federal crimes or threats to the national security or to collect foreign intelligence when the information provided to the FBI does not rise to a level that would allow for the opening of a predicated investigation. By their very nature, and in accordance with U.S. constitutional restrictions, JTTF members are limited in the types of investigative methods that can be utilized in an assessment.

In 2011 alone, the Boston JTTF conducted approximately 1,000 assessments, including the assessment of Tamerlan Tsarnaev, which was documented in the Guardian database. The Tsarnaev assessment was thorough, comprehensive, and fully compliant with law and policy. . . . “

There was a lot of other verbiage in the statement but the FBI is saying it was not them who messed up even though it did the investigation but the Boston police who could have found hidden in the 1,000 assessments that of Tsarnaev. We don’t know what that assessment said. We don’t know whether it would have alerted the Boston PD to anything. We don’t know what it said about what the FBI agents did. We do know that the FBI agents sitting on the same team as the Boston Police and others did not mention to them verbally that they had a suspect the Russians had told them about. We do know they are in the same room with these others and hid this information. Why did that happen?

The FBI assured us it did a thorough, comprehensive assessment of him. We know that isn’t true when it didn’t ask the other cops if they knew anything about him. Why the big secret?

We can’t find out since we have nothing to measure anything by. It’s all hidden. We don’t know what was in the Guardian data base. We’re jammed in because the FBI won’t own up its own problems. It suggests the Boston PD should have done more when it is all on the FBI.

I’ve learned in my years as a prosecutor that the FBI’s not a team player. It keeps what it knows to itself and fears sharing. It’s like the man who hides his stupidity by refusing to speak. It can’t stand embarrassment. It can’t wait to  quickly shove the blame onto others.

We can’t let this happen. This is a case where the target is right on its back. The usual blame shifting should not work. The FBI alone failed. It was not the Boston Police or anyone else.

Commissioner Davis said no one from UMass Dartmouth came forward after the pictures were released (he was wrong), he said he didn’t know if anyone from the Mosque came forward, nor did he mention if any of Joker’s friends in Cambridge came forward. His inability to answer these questions is typical of what happens to people working hand-in-hand with the FBI, they’re kept in the dark. Why is this?

What we want to know is why the FBI didn’t stay in-house before it released the photographs; didn’t it know the suspects would be spooked; and when did it first learn the suspects identity?  Did it learn who they were and then decide it would go out on its own to capture them? Did it bungle the surveillance and cause them to panic and flee?  Was it more interested in getting credit for itself rather than including other law enforcement?

Self-serving specially crafted and edited statements tossing the blame on others are not what we need. We need the truth.

Why no mainstream media editorials demanding we be told  what happened in this case? We’re not going to go away until we get the answers. This is not just Boston that we care about but the rest of America. If the FBI erred, lets find out why and correct it. If not, accept the full responsibility for a job well done. How is it we let the FBI hide the truth?

(You’ll note I underlined a section starting with “and in accordance with U.S. constitutional restrictions . . . ”  I want to speak to that tomorrow.)


3 thoughts on “The Marathon Aftermath – F.B. I. – A Few Bad Ideas – (3)

  1. I am also not %100 sure why and would love to know why they are so secretive, but I would say a little bit of all of the above. ( or below )

    ” What we want to know is why the FBI didn’t stay in-house before it released the photographs; didn’t it know the suspects would be spooked; and when did it first learn the suspects identity? Did it learn who they were and then decide it would go out on its own to capture them? Did it bungle the surveillance and cause them to panic and flee? Was it more interested in getting credit for itself rather than including other law enforcement? ”

    As usual Matt, great write up !

    1. Craig:

      Thanks. The big problem is we can’t get answers yet no one seems bothered. The FBI might have done everything right but its refusal to tell us what happened makes me doubt it.

      1. Very true. I also feel the same about its refusal to inform us. I also wonder why they did not share with the Boston PD ? Not only did they not, but it seems they went to certain lengths to keep it from them. Why not get all the help you can from people on the same side of the law as the Feds ? I had read that when whitey was at the height of running things that the mass state troopers and the Boston PD were keeping info from each other due to a possible leak of information to whitey. Is it possible the Feds don’t trust any other agency in the great city of Boston due to what had happened in the past ? It doesn’t seem to me that the BPD could have done that bad a job if they were asked to assist. I heard Agent Deslauriers speaking publicly when the marathon attack occurred and he seemed kind of shakey in his public speaking and very uncomfortable and that made me look at him and his agency a bit differently, as what you see and hear as a first impression for me is huge when assessing ones character and what kind of a person they are overall. I do also believe that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but when you are in a higher position of power such as he is and the public is relying on you to get something done that being nervous does not look good at all.

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