CaptureMaybe you heard: the Russians are responsible for the Boston Marathon Bombing. At least indirectly.

That’s what the New York Times says. Had the Russians told the Americans everything they knew about Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the bombing might have been averted by the FBI. The Times knows this because it was told so by an anonymous “senior American official” who got an advance look at a report from the “intelligence community.”


Anyone who still entertains the fantasy that America is a vigorous, healthy democracy with an honest and reliable security apparatus and an honest, competent, vigilant media need only consider this major news leak just published as a New York Times exclusive. It pretty much sums up the fundamental corruption of our institutions, the lack of accountability, and the deep-dyed complicity of the “finest” brand in American journalism.

Killing Two Birds with One Stone

Just days before the first anniversary of the Boston bombing on April 15, some unnamed “senior American official” puts the blame for the bombing squarely on…Vladimir Putin.

It takes a keen understanding of certain members of the American media to know they will promote, without question, the latest “intelligence community” version of events. Which is that responsibility for the second largest “terror attack” after 9/11 should be pinned on the Russians, currently America’s bête noir over Ukraine.

Consider the cynical manipulation of public opinion involved here. The government permits, presumably authorizes, a high official—the Attorney General or someone of that status, perhaps even the Vice President—to leak confidential information for no apparent purpose beyond seeking to put a damper on legitimate inquiries into the behavior of the American government at the most fundamental level.

And the world’s vaunted “newspaper of record”—its brand largely based on insider access and the willingness of powerful figures to give it “hot stuff” in return for controlling public perceptions— shamelessly runs this leak with no attempt to question its timing or provenance.

Let’s look at what this article actually says. Here’s the opening paragraph:

The Russian government declined to provide the FBI with information about one of the Boston marathon bombing suspects two years before the attack that likely would have prompted more extensive scrutiny of the suspect, according to an inspector general’s review of how U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies could have thwarted the bombing.

And here’s the “takeaway”:

While the review largely exonerates the FBI, it does say that agents in the Boston area who investigated the Russian intelligence in 2011 could have conducted a few more interviews when they first examined the information.

The FBI agents also could have ordered turkey sandwiches instead of pastrami, which surely would have been a little healthier.


So, New York Times, should we trust the anonymous individual, or more importantly, the report that none of us have seen?

The report was produced by the inspector general of the Intelligence Community, which has responsibility for 17 separate agencies, and the inspectors general from the Department of Homeland Security and the Central Intelligence Agency.

Now, the Times doesn’t offer any useful context on why these reviews took place, beyond a pro forma effort to respond to complaints from a handful of congressional members (see this and this). The article does not address the quality or credibility of this “self-investigation” and the overall track record of these investigators. Nor does it express undue interest in why the report appears to have been finished just in time for the anniversary of the bombing.

In our view, the article is one hundred percent “stovepiping.” That’s when claimed raw intelligence is transmitted directly to an end user without any attempt at scrutiny or skepticism. This is irresponsible journalism, and it is the kind of behavior (from The New York Times again) that smoothed the way for the U.S. to launch the Iraq war in 2003.

The Times doesn’t even point out how self-serving the report is, coming from an “intelligence community” that has been publicly criticized for its actions leading up to the Boston Marathon bombing and its behavior since. (For more on the dozens of major reasons not to trust anything the authorities say about the Boston Bombing, see this, this, and this. For perspective on the media’s cooperation with the FBI in essentially falsifying the Bureau’s record throughout its history, see this).

Now let’s consider the core substance of the new revelations:

[A]fter an initial investigation by the F.B.I., the Russians declined several requests for additional information about Mr. Tsarnaev….

Did the Times ask the Russians about this? Did they find out if the Russians actually “declined” several requests, or whether they ever got back to the FBI?

The anonymous official notes one specific piece of evidence that the Russians did not share until after the bombing: that intercepted telephone conversations between Tamerlan Tsarnaev and his mother included discussions of Islamic jihad. The official speculates that this information might have given the FBI greater authority to conduct surveillance of the suspects.

CaptureHowever, the reality is that the Russians had already warned that Tamerlan was an Islamic radical, and it is not clear how this additional information would necessarily have provided anything truly substantive to add to a request for spying authority.

It’s also highly questionable, based in part on Edward Snowden’s revelations, whether the FBI or the NSA were actually adhering to such restrictions on spying anyway.  Finally, it’s worth noting how truly remarkable it is that the Russians shared such intelligence at all. That they didn’t want to volunteer that they were capturing telephone calls is not that surprising, on the other hand.

Hiding the Real Story?

The Times does mention, almost in passing, what should have been the key point of an article: the timing of the “news” regarding the report:

It has not been made public, but members of Congress are scheduled to be briefed on it Thursday, and some of its findings are expected to be released before Tuesday, the first anniversary of the bombings.

This leak, which clears the FBI of all charges of incompetence or worse, comes just when the “American conversation” will again intensely focus on the nature of the “war on terror” and the trustworthiness of our vast secret state.

It also comes, most conveniently for the Bureau, at the precise moment when Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s defense counsel has been seeking to learn the exact chronology and nature of the FBI’s interaction with the Tsarnaev family.

Months ago, we ran Peter Dale Scott’s rumination on whether the FBI could have recruited Tamerlan Tsarnaev as an informant, as it has done thousands of times before with other immigrants of a similar profile. Recently, the defense for Tamerlan’s younger brother, Dzhokhar, essentially claimed this was correct—that the Bureau at least attempted to recruit the older Tsarnaev. That has been cursorily reported by the major media, but no one seems to have connected the dots linking this claim to the new report that conveniently exonerates the FBI for failing to take action against the Tsarnaevs in time to stop the bombing.

A Curious Little Slip

As we have previously reported, it was the same duo of New York Times national security reporters, Schmidt and Schmitt, who had first, inadvertently it seems, raised a tremendously important question: when did the Tsarnaev family first come to the attention of the FBI?

CaptureThe Russian warning to the US about Tamerlan Tsarnaev purportedly came in March 2011.

But according to an earlier article by Schmitt and Schmidt (along with a third reporter), the Bureau’s first contact with the Tsarnaevs came in January 2011. Though the Times did not make anything of this fact, it would be enormously consequential—because it would mean that the FBI was interacting with the Tsarnaevs two months before the Russians suggested the US take a close look at Tamerlan Tsarnaev.

If that was in error, the Times should have issued a correction. But it hasn’t. (Neither Schmidt nor Schmitt responded to WhoWhatWhy’s emails requesting comment.)

Interestingly, Schmidt and Schmitt, in subsequent articles, including the recent one, make no more mention of this early FBI contact. As it stands, the New York Times is on record of having asserted, again based on what sources told it, that the FBI was interacting with the Tsarnaevs before the Russians ever contacted it. If that early report was true, then by definition, the Inspector General’s report (and the leaked article about it) would be calculated parts of a cover-up about an FBI foul-up.

Conversely, if the early report was in error, then we need to know who provided it, or how they got that information wrong. Serious investigators know not to reject anomalies and “wrong” early reports as simply the result of haste or rumor without at least checking out the possibility that the early reports were right—but were later suppressed because they might cause problems to someone in power.


It is worth noting that the revelations in the new report—sure to be picked up by other media outlets that tend to repeat unquestioningly whatever the Times publishes—will be all the average American remembers about the FBI’s failure to prevent the Marathon bombing, and what may lie behind that failure.

Most members of the public will never know of the substantial indications that something is seriously wrong with what the government has put out about this affair. They will only recall that the FBI was somehow “cleared.” And they will probably remember that Putin’s Russia was somehow at fault.

In the final analysis, what we have just witnessed is the kind of arrant manipulation that shows the contempt of the “system” for the “people.” The “best” news organization gets another exclusive story. The US government gets to point its finger again at the Russian bogeyman. The FBI and the security apparatus get another free pass.

And the American people, once again, are fed pig slop and told to imagine sirloin.


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Betty Johnson

It really doesn’t matter what the Russians may have given the FBI. If a Russian intelligence communique suggests that someone could be dangerous, then one should take that very seriously.

What is clear is that the FBI knew the Tsarnaevs were involved in jihadist movements back home and had the potential to do something dangerous in the US. The fact that the Tsarnaevs weren’t monitored 24/7/365 is astounding incompetence on the part of the FBI. Given the most rudimentary facts, any judge would have allowed surveillance of the Tsarnaevs since 2011.

Regarding the NY Times. I now read Russia Today to get a more accurate account of world affairs.


To think that people like you have a vote…

The Tsarnaev’s were wholly innocent patsies. They thought they were helping their adoptive country fight terrorism, and prepare its defenses via exercises. They paid for that mistake. God bless their innocence.


This is so convoluted now we are never going to know the truth. It stinks of evil.


I disagree. The Russians , playing a cat and mouse game, were telling the CIA they knew what they were up to training up assets
I admit i too now read RT for news Wow.


The New York Times places their main propaganda above the center fold on the frontpage so that people standing in line at Starbucks will glance at it as they wait to order/pay for their morning coffee




Doesn’t Rupert Murdoch own it now?

Crime Reporter

In light of the ACLU’s lawsuit against the FBI and Federal Prosecutor Carmen Ortiz, the implications of this intelligence information may overshadow Dzhokhar’s trial in ways that may shock the American public.

Ortiz and the FBI are backed into a corner on this one: either they did recruit Tamerlan and were using him – as they have before – to instigate phony terrorism attacks so they could justify their billion-dollar Homeland Security gravy train OR they willfully ignored information provided by the Russians – complete or non-complete – and that blunder led to the Boston Marathon bombing, which killed three and injured many.

No matter which tactic they take, the bloom is off the rose and all one can smell is manure.

I hope the younger brother’s attorneys continue to push for a trial both for his sake and for the sake of the American public who are being kept in the dark about these matters.

Either the kid really is a patsy manipulated by the FBI as some have wondered or the FBI is simply incompetent and all the security community’s spying on us has done nothing toward our safety and everything toward trashing our Fourth Amendment rights.


Good comment, but I hate to be a booger but the ACLU does seem to be a “Gatekeeper” organization (like many have said). I rightfully predicted that the ACLU would get involved in suing the government over the Snowden NSA files. I also said they would lose their case and that would be mostly the last we heard about all those NSA files (that have never been published). And that’s what happened. They seem to get involved in cases to make it look like someone is actually doing something, but then it always goes south which actually helps the government’s case everytime. So when I see the ACLU involved I don’t get too comforted. Greenwald, in my opinion, is highly involved in “operations”, and of course, Greenwald has been associated with the ACLU for a long time.

Crime Reporter

You have a point there, but is it so much that the ACLU intends for things to “go south,” or is it that our courts have no intention, what-so-ever, of following the Constitution?


They never did intend to follow the Constitution. Ever. Read the Slavery Law of 1760 enacted by the Virginia House of Burgesses.


Correct. The ACLU is a “floating sign” of a Big Other working for justice acting as a mask to disguise its emptiness. A Zizekian interpretation.

barbara henninger

One thing the ACLU complaint does is to bring into focus the question of what, exactly, is the JTTF. “The Massachusetts JTTF conducts hundreds of investigations in Massachusetts every year. Yet little is known about their structure and function. For example there is no publicly available list of agencies that participate in Massachusetts JTTF, and it is unclear what protocols and chain of authority govern local police officers when they work with this federal task force.”


It’s a conundrum eh.

barbara henninger

Suppose they just continue to stonewall? What then?

Crime Reporter

Appeals court, not that they’re much better. People just need to wake up, but Duck Dynasty is so much easier.


How convenient. Yellow cake anyone? That was the grey lady too. So trustworthy…

Robert Miller

We also know that the boys’ uncle, Ruslan Tsarni, was running a group supporting Chechen rebels out of his father-in-law’s address. His father-in-law, Graham Fuller, was CIA, NatSec, and part of Reagan’s ensemble during Iran-contra.

You’d think that the CIA would do background checks on the families of employees.


Please address the report directly, instead of addressing the propaganda version of it.


When we published this, the report had not been released. In addition, 99 percent of the public will never read that report–but will rely on the New York Times’ shorthand summary of the biggest revelation. But thanks for telling us what to do, “SomeoneWatching”(!) LOL


I’m reading the report and it looks propaganda too! How can you trust any of these people? These agencies are working to destroy our nation, just like they have done throughout the world. Some day the people who work for these agencies will be up for crimes against humanity, only this time it will be REAL justice, no b.s. like the Nuremberg bread and circus.


That’s the meaning of Snowden’s act. We can’t trust them at all, even when they might be telling the truth.


The fact is, after reading the report, it does not blame the Russians at all. It’s pretty damning as to the FBI CT agent, however, although not directly. The CT Agent doesn’t recall doing this, doesn’t recall doing that… he pretty much doesn’t recall anything. The memory of this agent is one huge empty hole!

I don’t think you should blame Russ for addressing the propaganda version which has nothing in common with the actual version. I think you should call out the NY Times for actually releasing such a propaganda version. Because that is the version that will be spread all around the world, as the MSM everywhere usually just copy the NY Times, as if it was the Bible. That is the main point of Russ’ article – the NY Times completely made up a new version of the report – only to push the government’s agenda against Russia. And that is something that should be called out and I applaud Russ for doing that.


All of it is so insidious. They have us all paying for these terror attacks via our tax dollars and funding these terror organizations like the FBI. What else can you call them but some of the world’s most notorious terror organizations. I often wonder how anyone can work for them. Are they all psychopaths?

What gets me about all of this, too, is that 4 of the “big wigs” stepped down from their posts not long after the Boston Marathon False Flag. The head of Boston’s FBI branch (he’s now working for a transportation security company…isn’t that just scary!!), FBI head Mueller (who was brought onboard right before 9/11), Janet Napolitano head of Homeland Security, and the Boston Chief commissioner.

And then they pin it all on some young kid they almost murdered.


You have read 1984 haven’t you?

Crime Reporter

Who is it today? Eurasia or Eastasia?


No, they don’t have us paying for terror attacks. That’s too expensive. They have us paying for street theater.


FBI (low level) wanted to recruit informants.
CIA (low level) wanted to recruit Jihadists to attack targets in Chechnya.
Tsarnaevs have family connections to CIA/USAID in the form of their uncle Ruslan Tsarni (Tsarnaev).
Russia warned FBI twice about Tamerlan, but only the first warning is talked about anymore.
Saudi officials claim to have also warned about Tamerlan, denied by the US and by the Saudi gov’t.
Tsarnaev’s mother disclosed 5 years of FBI interaction with the boys.

And more…

Tsarnaev Uncle’s Organization May Have Funded Terrorists

Is This the Man Who “Radicalized” Dzhokhar Tsarnaev?

Russian Report of Tamerlan Tsarnaev at Jamestown Foundation

My take on this Times article:

Why should Russia help the US at all when the US helps terrorists attack Russian targets in Chechnya? This alerting of the FBI was likely a test to see what the US would do about this obvious terrorist/Jihadist travelling back and forth between the two nations. When the US did ABSOLUTELY NOTHING, they had their answer.

Maybe the Times should look a little harder into the doing absolutely nothing issue. As well as the suspicious evidence I linked above?


What are “tribal personnel”?

“While sponsored by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Joint Terrorism Task Forces (JTTFs) are composed of federal, state, local and tribal personnel and are based in more than 100 cities nationwide, including Boston. The JTTF is a collaborative environment that allows for the completely unrestricted flow of investigative information among task force members.”


Crime Reporter

Cursory Google search doesn’t explain it, but after some digging, it seems to refer to law enforcement on Native American reservations – “tribal police.”

That probably doesn’t apply in Boston, but in other parts of the country, there would be a need to include tribal investigators on a joint task force.


The best part of the actual report – it acknowledges the existence of January 2011 communications. It’s redacted, but it’s there (page 18).
Also, NSA information from 2012 (page 20).
In other words, the FBI is lying through their teeth. They knew Tamerlan and he was under surveillance. Period.

Crime Reporter

Odd that they all try to change their names to “Tsarni” when they get involved with… well… some alphabet agency. Ruslan and Tamerlan and the name the younger brother used to purchase a throw-away phone was allegedly Jahar Tsarni.


Go back to the pictures. Look carefully, doubly so if you know Boston. Then ask yourself – who could have planted this dastardly smoke bomb anyway, which left so many bad actors rolling on the sidewalk in red paint. Who, I ask who? It cannot be Putin. It has to be someone who always wanted to direct. Putin already does. I’d look for people who aimed for the Oscars and only managed to make public service movies about brushing your teeth or using a condom. They finally teamed up with the Homeland Security and FEMA and voila! Immortality!


Boston Police Officer Wounded in Shootout with Bombing Suspects Dies on Duty

Elisabeth Ritter-Blaser

Now the FBI are seeking another tool to blame it all on the Russians – how interesting. If the FBI contacted the Tsarnaev family prior to the intelligence warning from Russia then it lies on the FBI to answer some serious questions here.

Why is the FBI so eager to seek others that they can blame it on? Is it because they realize in some way how their stories of the guilt of the Tsarnaev brothers are inconsistent whichever way they’re sliced, and that more and more people begin to question ? It is well known that the FBI works hand in hand with the CIA and that Ruslan Tsarni is connected to the CIA. I do believe that RuslanTsarni does know much more than he has revealed. He for sure will never have peace unless he decides to stand up for Dzhokhar. I am bleeding for this young man because he was at the wrong time at the wrong place and has ended up in a cruel corrupt system. From a human standpoint of view Dzhokhar has no chance to escape this whole madness he is in now but from God’s standpoint of view all is possible. Dzhokhar deserves the right for a new fair unbiased trial for sure. He had never the chance to defend himself properly instead he was pressured into silence to this very day. I hope and pray that in the near future we will hear his side of the story without him fearing for his life and his family relatives and that he may be healed in a way as he can handle it. The God from the Bible has the last word on this whole issue. This to know gives me great comfort.


The Russians interfered in our elections. Just like they are accused in the Boston Bombing. Love to blame those Russians.

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