First reported by CBS News correspondent Bob Orr, the FBI admitted that they interviewed dead Boston Marathon bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev two years ago on suspicion of extremist ties, but failed to find any incriminating information and let him go.
From CBS'Bob Orr: FBIinterviewed Tamarlan Tsarnaev 2 yrs ago abt extremist ties, found nothing & closed file. More on CBS Evening News
— Major Garrett(@MajorCBS) April 19, 2013
The following is a part of a statement made by the FBI.
Once the FBI learned the identities of the two brothers today, the FBI reviewed its records and determined that in early 2011, a foreign government asked the FBI for information about Tamerlan Tsarnaev. The request stated that it was based on information that he was a follower of radical Islam and a strong believer, and that he had changed drastically since 2010 as he prepared to leave the United States for travel to the country’s region to join unspecified underground groups.
In response to this 2011 request, the FBI checked U.S. government databases and other information to look for such things as derogatory telephone communications, possible use of online sites associated with the promotion of radical activity, associations with other persons of interest, travel history and plans, and education history. The FBI also interviewed Tamerlan Tsarnaev and family members. The FBI did not find any terrorism activity, domestic or foreign, and those results were provided to the foreign government in the summer of 2011. The FBI requested but did not receive more specific or additional information from the foreign government.
Twenty-six-year-old Tamerlan Tsarnaev is the older of two brothers suspected to be responsible for the bombing in Boston on Monday that left three people dead, including an 8-year-old boy, and scores more injured.
In 2011, Tsarnaev, who was a permanent legal resident of the United States, was requested to be the subject of an investigation by a foreign government, reported to likely be Russia, because of suspected ties to Chechen extremists. After a sit-down interview, he was cleared.
The FBI initially denied interviewing Tsarnaev, but the brothers' mother, Zubeidat Tsarnaeva, told Russia Today that they had. She said that Tsarnaev got involved in "religious politics" about five years ago and never told her he was involved in "jihad."
"They used to come [to our] home, they used to talk to me... they were telling me that he was really an extremist leader and that they were afraid of him," Tsarnaeva said. "They told me whatever information he is getting, he gets from these extremist sites... they were controlling him, they were controlling his every step... and now they say that this is a terrorist act!"
Tsarnaev was killed in a gunfight with police early Friday morning and his 19-year-old bother, Dzhokhar, who is the second Boston Marathon bombing suspect, is in custody. The brothers' mother claims that her sons were set up and that Dzhokhar is especially innocent.
Listen to her interview with RT here: