There are plenty of questions about the two Chechen brothers believed responsible for the Boston Marathon bombing, and a top national security expert says much of the way things have played out “stink to high heaven.”
Terrorism expert Ed Turzanski told KIRO Radio’s Dori Monson Show he’s concerned about the spread of terrorism from Chechnya, calling the breakaway republic’s chief export “foreign fighters or jihadists who go to fight in the name of Islam to places like Iraq and Afghanistan.”
“What does it say that a youngster at the age of nine comes here, lives in a country where he makes friends, he has tremendous educational opportunities, looks like he’s on his way to a medical career, and then one day decides, instead of finishing the term paper, he’s going to go blow up the Boston Marathon,” Turzanski asks.
Turzanski finds it mystifying Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, was able to elude capture despite a massive gunfight with police that left his brother Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, dead. He questions how they could pull off such an elaborate bombing, then subsequently act so careless once their photos were circulated.
If the pair are tied to Chechen insurgents, who waged a bloody battle for years with Russia, it would be the first time the fighters from the former Soviet Republic have struck in the United States. But NBC News reported Friday leaders of the militant group insisted they have no connection, and called the investigation “completely muddled.”
“The news that the brothers attacked police officers, carjacked a man and did an array of other things, instead of going into hiding, looks strange at the very least,” says the official source of the Chechen insurgency, the Kavkaz Center, in a blog post accusing officials of launching an anti-Chechnya “PR campaign.”
It’s not the only question being raised about the bombing suspects and handling of the investigation. KIRO Radio’s Dori Monson has a few of his own.
“We know that the government has been involved in a disinformation campaign with the media,” says Monson.
Monson points out authorities showed photos of supposed suspects to select media members Thursday, only to unveil pictures of different suspects at a news conference Thursday afternoon that showed the two brothers near the scene of the bombing.
“There is someone within the investigative unit of the story that has done the FBI a huge disservice,” says Fox News reporter Bill Hemmer, one of the media members shown the false images.
“They set up websites and made it seem like they were in search of other individuals,” says Hemmer. “Who was it on the inside that would even take those images, think about establishing a website, and then put out misinformation?”
Monson speculates it was a deliberate attempt to deceive either the media, suspects or both that led to CNN’s widely-maligned report that a suspect had been arrested Tuesday.
“John King at CNN is a solid reporter. I don’t think he cooked that out of the ether. Somebody in law enforcement told him that,” says Monson.
It’s far too soon to draw any definitive conclusions, but Turzanski called on Congress to demand explanations about both the bombing and the investigation “if for no other reason than to kill the rumors.”