Policy and Judgment Lapses – "Tamerlane, The Sword of Islam"

By Denise Simon, edited by Scott W. Winchell

UPDATE – 11PM Saturday – A link is embedded below but needs more prominence because it pertains to where Tamerlan Tsaraev was trained by Islamist/terrorists – “Getting the Caucasus Emirate Right” we hope this helps all understand the whole story!

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Named after the Turkic conqueror ‘Timur the Lame’, or ‘Tamerlane’; a vicious warrior of the 15th century who envisioned an Islamic recreation of the Mongol Empire as the ‘Sword of Islam’, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, born in Russia is now dead. His brother Dzhokhar, born in Kyrgyzstan, is on life support.

Four are now dead, three innocent civilians and one MIT police Officer, and so many more are injured, some gravely, including an MBTA police officer on their hands. Now it appears that to a debatable level, much of the blame can also be attributed to federal governmental failures, coupled with abominable appeasement policies, both foreign and domestic.

Tamerlan Tsaraev – before and after his younger brother ran over him with a vehicle

Those in Massachusetts are relieved this ‘week of terror’ is over, but all of America breathes a bit easier as well. We all shared in the grief and terror as we watched for untold hours as the events unfolded. Upon the capture of the last suspect, the Boston area broke out in unscripted and unplanned patriotic demonstrations, and those of us outside of New England felt their relief with a lump in each of our throats as we watched and cheered ourselves.

The scene at Fenway Park and in the Garden at the Red Sox and Bruins games today was also a sight to behold. All across the land that patriotic fervor can be seen and felt in unison.

Twelve years ago, the Tsarnaev brothers’ mother and father, who are now divorced; also the parents of their two sisters left war torn Kyrgyzstan and Dagestan due to Soviet occupation and strife in the region of the Northern Caucasus area where atrocities and radicalism were daily events. A few months later, the children reached the United States along with their Aunt. Some variation of both ‘refugee’ and ‘asylum’ status application was made. In about 2004, their father, Anzor, returned to Russia permanently.

Their mother is allegedly in Russia as well, as she left the U.S. earlier after being arrested on shoplifting charges, stealing approximately $1,200 worth of dresses, from a Lord and Taylor store located in the Boston Area.

Now, in the aftermath, we all wonder why these two young men became radicalized; turning to al Qaeda/Chechen style terror, purportedly in the name of Islam. We need to understand how people treated so well by their new country could turn on her so viciously. Perhaps we need to examine some recent history.

Two years ago, Vladimir Putin assigned Ramzan Kadyrov, who has now been accused of human rights violations and is a separatist fighter, to rule the Republic of Chechnya. Washington, DC has taken notice and secretly placed this man on a list making him eligible for sanctions over human rights violations. This is one of the causes for the resurgence of anger and radicalization of Chechen/Islamic extremists and separatist fighters. It is important to remember that this is the area that family ostensibly escaped from and is part of the reason they were brought to the Boston area.

In 2009, Tamerlan, the oldest of the four Tsarnaev children, was arrested for domestic violence and assault against a girlfriend, yet no additional red flag was placed on his name in the family file that would have been part of their refugee/asylum status. This is important due to their special status, the U.S. Attorney General’s office could have revoked his status at any time if laws were broken, in fact Tamerlan held a permanent resident visa. The youngest brother Dzohkar, had requested asylum status and later became a U.S. citizen on September 11, 2012. Tamerlan’s application for citizenship never hit the radar screen either.

In 2011, Vladimir Putin’s Russian intelligence agency reportedly contacted the FBI with a set of conditions and high concerns over this family and countless numbers of other radical Chechens (Chechnyans) in the United States. The SVR, the Russian External Intelligence Agency had material evidence on members of this particular family and their foreign extremist connections. They requested that the FBI open a case file and perform a complete investigation. (Read the FBI press release on this here.)

Younger brother Dzohkar Tsaraev entering the boat where he was captured in Watertown, Massachusetts

The FBI fulfilled the request and eventually closed the file after concluding they did not find anything substantial and made the judgment to take the matter no further. The FBI office in Boston formally closed the file and no more investigations or tracking was performed. The FBI notified the SVR of their findings.

Once again, Vladimir Putin, remaining concerned for Chechen extremists contacted Barack Obama late this week, earnestly offering support in the Boston bombing investigation, tendering additional unspecified cooperation. Both leaders recognized the urgent need for a more robust future collaboration on counter-terrorism and security issues. The White House declined to provide further or specific details on this case of cooperation as it related to the Tsarnaev brothers with specific emphasis on Tamerlan or others associated with the investigation.

There was an arrest now on his record, especially noting his special status, and after the FBI investigation case was closed, yet Tamerlan was allowed to travel to Russia? Tamerlan left via JFK in New York in January of 2012, arriving at Sheremetyevo Airport near Moscow and then traveled the 1,200 miles to Dagestan, an area bordering Cechnya. It is unknown at this time neither what other locations he visited while in Russia nor what his objectives, or now obvious, the training location, were during the six months he was in the volatile and heavily Islamic region. Tamerlan returned from this trip with a full beard, a common sign of sympathy and subscription to radical Islam.

It is also important to mention that he was not debriefed upon his return. This is often a procedure conducted when foreign travel includes regions that are of particular interest. Wouldn’t it have been prudent to at least question him? This would be especially true of travel in such well-known violence plagued regions such as the Northern Caucasus. This area is historically known for being a virulent anti-Russian/pro-jihadist zone, the site of so much bloodshed in the past. It is also a place with a reputation for breeding some of the nastiest fighters on Earth. Clearly, this area is always one of Putin’s concerns and should have been one of ours.

Allegedly after his return, the FBI chose to reveal that they watched Tamerlan’s internet activity to key radical websites and postings, and had his own YouTube channel according to his own mother and Rudy Giuliani. They also monitored the same of his brother Dzhokhar on sites that include VKontakte which is a radical Islamist website. Despite all this activity, the FBI had still chosen not to place either of these two brothers on a terror watch list.

It is important to look again at whom the Chechens are, and who their affiliations are in their history:

Beslan School body bags – children
  • 2002: Chechen fighters armed with explosive vests attacked a Moscow theater and killed 130 people.
  • 2004: Chechen insurgents took over a school (Beslan) in North Ossetia killing 331 people, mostly children.
  • 2010: Two Chechen suicide bombers attacked a subway in Moscow killing 40.
  • 2011: The same radical fighters attacked an airport in Domodedovo killing 34.
  • 2012: There are many documented Chechen fighters in Syria and other war torn areas.

Apparently no good deed or U.S. pacification goes unpunished when the Obama administration demonstrates its passivity and deference to all things Islamic.

Both the Tsarnaev boys attended the Islamic Society of Boston mosque located in Cambridge. The Imam there is one Suhaib Webb, who invited Barack Obama to be a marquis keynote speaker on civil rights outreach for the American Islamic Congress. He was supposed to represent the Muslim Faith at the event Obama spoke at on Thursday in Boston but was replaced. It is also important to note that Governor Deval Patrick and Boston Mayor Menino have often been invited guests. Mayor Menino showed such generosity to the Imam and the mosque, that he sold land valued at $400,000 to the mosque for a mere $175,000.

But the kindness of America does not stop there. With refugee/asylum statuses (green-card) being so liberally doled out, the U.S. taxpayers also pay for programs that move these people to automatic ‘super status’, food and housing, with protections above that of regular citizens. This includes special legal protections, along with cash and medical assistance; all fully funded by the Federal government. This kindness is frequently extended to spouses, children, and other relatives as well. How nice of us?

There is an important difference between ‘refugee’ and ‘asylum’ status, especially concerning the Tsarneav family. ‘Refugee’ status only applies if the applicant is outside the United States; ‘asylum status’ only applies if they are already within the United States. There are countless Immigration and Naturalization judges that are in place to review cases of abuse or violations under these status designations. In the case of members of this family and particularly Tamerlan, he was in violation several times and the U.S. Attorney General’s office did nothing nor did the State Department or the Department of Homeland Security which is charged with monitoring all immigration and green cardholders.

The failures of the FBI, the DoJ, the State Department, and DHS, just in the case of the Tsarnaev brothers alone, are countless it appears barring more information coming forward. In the end however, had there been better follow through, the Boston Marathon would have likely ended successfully, and not led to a week of terror. Now we struggle with designating the only surviving terrorist – is it enemy combatant of the United States, or is it U.S. citizen who committed a crime?

Understanding that the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security had historical information on Tamerlan, this begs the question; did the FBI and or Fusion Center ever provide the Boston or neighboring Police Departments with an alert on Tamerlan or other associated people within his circle? What good is a Fusion Center if not? The likely response is no, otherwise, the Boston and area police would and could have been more proactive in the case prior to the Marathon or even alerting the universities of a potential threat assessment.

The FBI on April 18, 2013, after several starts, postponements and cancellations, held the now famous press conference where they revealed images and video. They provided special remarks about the two suspects involved in an effort to identify people already known to them?

Was this press briefing just meant to provide political and procedural cover for prior failures concerning at least Tamerlan Tsarnaev? There is no denying that there were major gaps and lapses in judgment in the case of these brothers, so we have to ask, what else do they know about other similar cases? What about those who possibly provided aid to these terrorists? Do we need to get the FBI to go back over what could be thousands of similar cases considering how many similarly situated people across the globe were give the same types of status?

The Obama Administration, including but not limited to DHS Director Napolitano, FBI Director Mueller, DoJ Director Holder, and Hillary Clinton, through her replacement John Kerry, Secretary of State are ultimately responsible! It is their policies, foreign and domestic, that appear to have created these “perfect storms”.