Police Commissioner: Feds Didn't Share Intel on Boston Bombing Suspects Before Attack

May 9, 2013 - 4:08 PM

Edward Davis

Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis testified about the Boston Marathon bombing on May 9, 2013 before the House Homeland Security Committee. Kurt Schwartz, right, undersecretary for Massachusetts' Executive Office of Public Safety and Security, also testified. (CNSNews.com/Penny Starr)

(CNSNews.com) – No intelligence about the two suspects in the April 15 bombing at the Boston Marathon finish line was shared with local law enforcement prior to the attack, according to Boston Police Commissioner’s testimony at a House Homeland Security hearing.

Committee Chairman Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) asked Edward Davis at Tuesday’s hearing about what knowledge his police force had about the older of the two brothers, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, and his suspected links to Islamic.

“I’d like to ask you a few questions about before the bombing,” McCaul said. “Before the bombing, were you aware of the Russian intelligence warning regarding Tamerlan and the fact that he may travel overseas to meet with extremists?”

Davis explained that four officers are assigned to the Joint Terrorism Task Force – a partnership between federal and local law enforcement – but he had no knowledge of anyone hearing about Tamerlan’s travel to the Chechen region of Russia.

“We were not, in fact, informed of that particular development,” Davis said.

“It’s fair to say that your police officer assigned to the Joint Terrorism Task Force did not know this information?” McCaul asked.

“That’s correct,” Davis said.

“Would you have liked to have known that information?” McCaul asked.

“In hindsight, certainly,” Davis answered.

“Before the bombing were you aware that, based on the squad’s intelligence, that the FBI opened an investigation into Tamerlan?

“We were not aware of that,” Davis said.

“Would you have liked to have known about that?” McCaul asked.

“Yes,” Davis said.

“Before the bombing were you aware that Mr. Tamerlan traveled to the Chechen region?” McCaul asked.

“No, we were not,” Davis said.

“Again, would you have liked to have known that?” McCaul asked.

“Yes,” Davis answered.

McCaul asked Davis if he was aware of the suspects’ alleged online connection with Jhadist websites, to which Davis said he was not.

“And, again, would you have liked to have known that fact?” McCaul said.

“Yes,” Davis said.

“We know there was a Department of Homeland Security officer in the Joint Terrorism Task Force who was alerted of Mr. Tamerlan’s overseas trips – trip to Russia, the Chechen region. Were you aware of that information before the bombing?” McCaul asked.

“I was not,” Davis said.

“Were the officers on your assigned Joint Terrorism Task Force aware of this?” McCaul asked.

“They told me they received no alert on that individual prior to the bombing,” Davis said.

The exchange continued with Davis explaining that it was not until after a shoot out between police and the two suspects, which left Tamerlan dead, that their identity was learned.

“Commissioner Davis, if you had had this information before the bombing would you have been – your police force – would you have done anything differently?” McCaul asked.

“It’s very hard to say,” Davis said. “We would certainly look at the information.

“We would certainly have talked to the individual,” Davis said. “From the information I received, the FBI did that, and they closed the case out.

“I can’t say that I would have come to a different conclusion based upon the information that was known at that particular time,” Davis said.

“If you knew the Russian intelligence warning that this man’s an extremist who had traveled overseas and the fact that he did travel overseas and came back to the United States – would that not have caused you to give this individual a second look?” McCaul asked.

“Absolutely,” Davis said.

McCaul then turned to witness Kurt Schwartz, undersecretary for the Massachusetts’s Office of Public Safety and Security, to ask him if law enforcement personnel at the state level were aware of the two brothers and possible ties to Islamic extremism prior to the bombing through the Department of Homeland Security’s “fusion center” in Massachusetts.

Fusion centers are designed to allow federal, state and local law enforcement share intelligence about terrorist threats to the homeland.

“My understanding is at no time prior to the bombing did any member of the Massachusetts State Police or the fusion center have any information or knowledge about the Tsarnaev brothers,” Schwartz said.

(CNSNews.com) – No intelligence about the two suspects in the April 15 bombing at the Boston Marathon finish line was shared with local law enforcement prior to the attack, according to Boston Police Commissioner’s testimony at a House Homeland Security hearing.

Committee Chairman Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) asked Edward Davis at Tuesday’s hearing about what knowledge his police force had about the older of the two brothers, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, and his suspected links to Islamic.

“I’d like to ask you a few questions about before the bombing,” McCaul said. “Before the bombing, were you aware of the Russian intelligence warning regarding Tamerlan and the fact that he may travel overseas to meet with extremists?”

Davis explained that four officers are assigned to the Joint Terrorism Task Force – a partnership between federal and local law enforcement – but he had no knowledge of anyone hearing about Tamerlan’s travel to the Chechen region of Russia.

“We were not, in fact, informed of that particular development,” Davis said.

“It’s fair to say that your police officer assigned to the Joint Terrorism Task Force did not know this information?” McCaul asked.

“That’s correct,” Davis said.

“Would you have liked to have known that information?” McCaul asked.

“In hindsight, certainly,” Davis answered.

“Before the bombing were you aware that, based on the squad’s intelligence, that the FBI opened an investigation into Tamerlan?

“We were not aware of that,” Davis said.

“Would you have liked to have known about that?” McCaul asked.

“Yes,” Davis said.

“Before the bombing were you aware that Mr. Tamerlan traveled to the Chechen region?” McCaul asked.

“No, we were not,” Davis said.

“Again, would you have liked to have known that?” McCaul asked.

“Yes,” Davis answered.

McCaul asked Davis if he was aware of the suspects’ alleged online connection with Jhadist websites, to which Davis said he was not.

“And, again, would you have liked to have known that fact?” McCaul said.

“Yes,” Davis said.

“We know there was a Department of Homeland Security officer in the Joint Terrorism Task Force who was alerted of Mr. Tamerlan’s overseas trips – trip to Russia, the Chechen region. Were you aware of that information before the bombing?” McCaul asked.

“I was not,” Davis said.

“Were the officers on your assigned Joint Terrorism Task Force aware of this?” McCaul asked.

“They told me they received no alert on that individual prior to the bombing,” Davis said.

The exchange continued with Davis explaining that it was not until after a shoot out between police and the two suspects, which left Tamerlan dead, that their identity was learned.

“Commissioner Davis, if you had had this information before the bombing would you have been – your police force – would you have done anything differently?” McCaul asked.

“It’s very hard to say,” Davis said. “We would certainly look at the information.

“We would certainly have talked to the individual,” Davis said. “From the information I received, the FBI did that, and they closed the case out.

“I can’t say that I would have come to a different conclusion based upon the information that was known at that particular time,” Davis said.

“If you knew the Russian intelligence warning that this man’s an extremist who had traveled overseas and the fact that he did travel overseas and came back to the United States – would that not have caused you to give this individual a second look?” McCaul asked.

“Absolutely,” Davis said.

McCaul then turned to witness Kurt Schwartz, undersecretary for the Massachusetts’s Office of Public Safety and Security, to ask him if law enforcement personnel at the state level were aware of the two brothers and possible ties to Islamic extremism prior to the bombing through the Department of Homeland Security’s “fusion center” in Massachusetts.

Fusion centers are designed to allow federal, state and local law enforcement share intelligence about terrorist threats to the homeland.

“My understanding is at no time prior to the bombing did any member of the Massachusetts State Police or the fusion center have any information or knowledge about the Tsarnaev brothers,” Schwartz said.