The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

State and Nation

April 24, 2013

Lawmakers ask who knew what about bomb suspect

BOSTON (AP) — Lawmakers are asking tough questions about how the government tracked suspected Boston Marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev when he traveled to Russia last year, renewing criticism from after the Sept. 11 attacks that failure to share intelligence may have contributed to last week's deadly assault.

Following a closed-door briefing on Capitol Hill with the FBI and other law enforcement officials on Tuesday, Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said it doesn't appear yet that anyone "dropped the ball." But he said he was asking all the federal agencies for more information about who knew what about the suspect.

"There still seem to be serious problems with sharing information, including critical investigative information ... not only among agencies but also within the same agency in one case," said committee member Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine.

Lawmakers intensified their scrutiny as funerals were held Tuesday for an 8-year-old boy killed in the bombings and a campus police officer who authorities said was shot by Tsarnaev and his younger brother days later. A memorial service for the officer, 26-year-old Sean Collier, is scheduled for Wednesday. Vice President Joe Biden is expected to speak.

Also Wednesday, Boylston Street, where the blasts occurred, reopened to the public after being closed since the bombings.

While family said that the older Tsarnaev had been influenced by a Muslim convert to follow a strict type of Islam, brother 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev remained hospitalized after days of questioning over his role in the attacks. Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, was killed in a shootout with police last week.

Conflicting stories appeared to emerge about which agencies knew about Tamerlan Tsarnaev's six-month trip to Russia last year how they handled it. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano told the Senate Judiciary Committee on immigration legislation that her agency knew about Tsarnaev's journey to his homeland.

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