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National security experts agree Boston bombers could be linked to Al Qaeda

More information is emerging about the two brothers believed to have set the bombs off at the Boston Marathon. Two national security experts agree there could be a connection between them and Al Qaeda. (AP Photo/FBI)

More information is emerging about the two brothers believed to have set the bombs off at the Boston Marathon.

Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev, 19, and his older brother, Tamerlan, who was killed during a violent night in Cambridge, had been living together on Norfolk Street in Cambridge.

An uncle, Ruslan Tsarni of Montgomery Village, Md., told The Associated Press that the men lived together near Boston and have been in the United States for about a decade. They came from the Russian region near Chechnya, which has been plagued by an Islamic insurgency stemming from separatist wars.

National Security and Counter Terrorism Expert Ed Turzanski, with Foreign Policy Research Institute, tells KIRO Radio Seattle’s Morning News that he’s not surprised to find out the suspects are from Chechnya.

“It’s not so much a surprise as it is a cause for grave concern because as you look at what has happened in Chechnya and the way in which terrorism has played itself out there, but also how Chechens have gone to other countries to be part of the jihadist movement, it’s very disconcerting and a game changer of sorts that these young men have come here.”

But did they come here with malicious intent or did those thoughts arise after they moved to the United States?

Turzanski thinks it may be the former.

“We need to know when they were radicalized because it’s very likely they came here the way they are. It’s not that they came here and then through the Internet or through some other sources became radicalized,” says Turzanski. “That’s the greater concern and that is more along the pattern of what has happened in other countries.”

Raymond Tanter, a professor at Georgetown, and former member on the National Security Council, tells Seattle’s Morning News he thinks it may be just the opposite.

“My preliminary analysis is that this is an example of an international homegrown terrorist, that is kids who came here and got angry at the United States while they were here,” says Tanter. “They were amateurs but they had an international connection.”

What they do seem to agree on is that these suspects could be connected with Al Qaeda, even if they never trained directly with them.

“There’s a level of sophistication about the bombs specifically in the energy supplies and backup they had that speaks to something a little bit above just the kid who goes on Inspire Magazine and tries to copy what they see on the Internet,” says Turzanski.

Turzanski says other than their Chechnyan heritage, he finds it very interesting that they never made any attempt to disguise their identities, either before or after leaving the bombs at the finish line. With one of the brothers still at large he says police in Boston and nearby communities have good reason to take every precaution.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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