Massachusets Democrat William Keating, back from a congressional fact finding trip to Russia, says that his hosts believe the Boston bombings could have been prevented.
Russian intelligence officials believe that if U.S. authorities had acted on warnings about Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the Boston Marathon bombings could have been prevented, U.S. Rep. William Keating said Saturday after returning from a congressional delegation trip to Russia.
The Massachusetts Democrat, who met with Russian intelligence officials Thursday, said he was provided with details on how U.S. intelligence agents were warned in 2010 that Tsarnaev was preparing to join a terrorist cell in the southern Russian region of Dagestan, the Boston Globe reported.
Keating told reporters at Boston's Logan International Airport that a top Russian counterintelligence official told the delegation that "if we had the level of information sharing that we do now, then the bombings might have been avoided," according to the report.
He said he learned that information was sent from Russian officials to the U.S. government about Ibragim Todashev, a friend of Tsarnaev who was killed by an FBI agent in Florida on May 22 while being questioned in the bombing probe, the Boston Globe reported.
Keating told reporters he agrees with the assessment made by Russian officials on the marathon attack and expects to participate in FBI briefings on the Todashev killing.
On Friday, Keating told The Associated Press that Russian officials showed him a letter they sent to the FBI in March 2011, warning that Tsarnaev had plans to join insurgents in Chechnya.
Keating said the letter contained a lot of details about Tamerlan Tsarnaev, including his birthday, telephone number, cellphone number, where he lived in Cambridge and information about his wife and child. He said it also referenced the possibility that Tsarnaev might be considering changing names.
There is more to that FBI interrogation of Mr. Todashev than we have been led to believe. And since his subsequent shooting has yet to be adequately explained, what the Russians told us about him becomes an urgent matter to investigate.
It should be pointed out that there is no guarantee that the FBI would have informed local authorities about their suspicions regarding Tamerlan Tsarnaev even if Russian intel had been more explicit. That's the real scandal of the Boston bombings; once again, as we saw pre-9/11, agencies are reluctant to share information about potential terrorists - to the detriment of the security of American citizens.