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Russia Repeatedly Warned U.S. Intelligence About Boston Bombers

The U.S. Congress published a new report detailing the shortcomings of U.S. intelligence efforts leading up to the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings.

The bipartisan report illustrates the failure of cooperation between various U.S. intelligence agencies — a problem that has plagued the intelligence community since the 9/11 attacks — and highlights that Russia issued a number of warnings to the U.S. concerning the activities of Tamerlan Tsarnaev, one of the two Chechen brothers accused of carrying out last year's Boston Marathon bombings.

"The Russian government expressed concerns that he [Tamerlan Tsarnaev] had become radicalized and that he might return to Russia and join extremist groups there," the report, published on Thursday by the House Committee on Homeland Security, says.

The report reveals that Russian intelligence services warned the FBI about Tsarnaev in 2011.

The U.S. scrapped a brief investigation into Tsarnaev after concluding he had no links to terrorism.

"The FBI did not find any evidence of terrorist activity, and this information was provided to the Russian government in the summer of 2011," the report states.

Russian intelligence agencies then sent a cable to the CIA, reiterating the 2011 memo's warning. The next month, Tsarnaev was entered into the TECS system, a large database that stores data on immigration and information from lists of criminals and terrorists kept by other governments.

Tsarnaev's name was red flagged in case he popped up during international travel.

In 2012, authorities intended to interview Tsarnaev upon returning to the U.S. after spending six months in Russia's Dagestan republic, suspecting he could have been trained as terrorist. But a misspelling of his name allowed him to avoid questioning.

The report provides detailed information on North Caucasus terror networks, as well as the history of the Tsarnaev family and a timeline of the events of the day of the bombing, including the manhunt for the brothers.

The report also prescribes measures for improving national security. First and foremost cooperation between federal and local law enforcement should be expanded, in addition to greater information sharing between various federal terror and travel watch lists.

"This report addresses procedures, personal actions, and a failure of information sharing that must be changed," said Representative Bill Keating, a member of the committee that wrote the report. 

Michael McCaul, the committee's chairman, stressed the importance of the report's recommendations saying they are "critical to fixing serious gaps in our counterterrorism efforts."

On April 15 last year two explosions at the finish line of the Boston Marathon killed three people and injured over 260.

The Tsarnaev brothers were quickly identified as suspects in the bombings following the release of surveillance camera footage by the FBI.

Tamerlan Tsarnaev was killed in a gunfight with police in the days following the bomb attack. His younger brother, Dzhokhar, tried to flee the city, but was wounded and later arrested and is now awaiting trial in federal court, scheduled to begin in November.

If convicted, he could face the death penalty.

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