Monday, May 13, 2013

Kessler: Behind The Boston Bombing Case

Ronald Kessler, veteran journalist and author of several books on the CIA, the Secret Service and the FBI, offers a piece on the Boston Marathon bombing case at

Like it or not, the FBI’s failure to continue monitoring Boston Marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev for possible terrorist activity goes back to guidelines that were created to stop the bureau’s abuses under former Director J. Edgar Hoover.

Back then, the FBI conducted surveillance of anti-government activists regardless of whether there was intelligence or other information showing that they support terrorist activity. That meant the FBI not only violated their rights, it lost its focus when it came to pinpointing real criminal activity.

As we now know, the FBI opened an investigation of Tsarnaev, the older of the two brothers who detonated bombs at the Boston marathon, after the bureau received a tip in 2011 from Russian authorities that he might be sympathetic to Islamist radical causes. The FBI found no indication that Tsarnaev might be planning terrorist activity and closed the case.

Few people are as knowledgeable about the FBI’s counterterrorism efforts as Arthur M. "Art" Cummings II, who headed FBI counterterrorism and counterintelligence investigations until 2010. Cummings put in place so-called "trip wires" that have led to roll-ups of dozens of terrorist plots. As an example, the FBI asks companies or laboratories that supply certain chemicals or biological materials to report any suspicious purchases to the FBI or police.

Cummings says that under Justice Department guidelines originally put in place after Hoover died, the FBI could not have continued to watch the older brother after finding no indication of a potential threat.

You can read the rest of the piece via the below link:

I interviewed Ronald Kessler for Counterterrorism magazine. You can read the interview via the below link: 

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