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Should the U.S. government have known about the Boston plot?

April 22nd, 2013
04:43 PM ET

When Former CIA official Philip Mudd saw the video of the younger Boston bombing suspect, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, with his jacket on and his hat on backward exposing his face, Mudd immediately began to doubt any connections to foreign financing and training.

“If someone is going to claim this is a huge international conspiracy turn the cap around and put the hoodie on,” Mudd told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Monday. “The characteristics of this so far are not that sophisticated, despite the horror of what happened.”

It is harder to find the homegrown terrorist Mudd said, because they don’t have an expanded circle of communication and they do not pick hard targets. 

The FBI says it looked into the older brother at the request of the Russian government, but obviously those actions were not enough to stop the attacks in Boston last week.

So what should the U.S. government have done?

“The FBI should do the same thing with a lead from the Russian service as it would with a tipster in the United States,” Mudd said.

The government shouldn’t ask whether these brothers were radicals, according to Mudd, but rather were there indications that they were considering an act of violence, breaking federal law.

In hindsight, there do appear to be many red flags including a YouTube page that appears to have belonged to the older brother, Tamerlan, had a playlist page labeled “terrorists.”

But Mudd says while it’s now clear there were red flags before the bombings, he contended that even if the government had been aware of those clues, they could have been easily overlooked in the immense amount information that organizations, like the FBI, come across all the time.

“If you’re going to down that road of more aggressively pursuing people like this, for every one that you find – as you open up the aperture – you’re going to have five-hundred false positives,” Mudd said. “If that’s the price you want to pay – not only in terms of resources, but in terms of doing things that Americans aren’t going to be uncomfortable with – I’d say stand back put your seatbelts on; that’s not a world you want to live in.”


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soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. sterlingmichaels

    When friends see posts on social networks that are potentially alarming we need to have a trusted authority whom we can flag this concern and report it. Not to be a big brother and there should DEFINITELY be recourse for fals and abuse of the system but we can help to alleviate such situations and potentially prevent events like this in the future.

    April 22, 2013 at 5:16 pm | Reply
  2. Shuaeb benhaleem

    Dear bright journalist and excellent corresponding over the world thank you for doing your job carefully
    with full successful more and more successful lady Christian Amanpour. full respectaple best regards.Friend Shuaeb

    April 22, 2013 at 5:59 pm | Reply
  3. jimmy lim

    US govt should serious;y consider ceasing the immigration of muslim immigrants. Otherwise US will be asking for more terrorist acts like Boston and Foothood massacre by a muslim leftenant

    April 23, 2013 at 6:21 am | Reply
    • Bugl3t

      Oh, please.... profiling a race (or religion) doesn't stop terrorism. The US govt. knew about Pearl Harbor and had warnings for 9/11... but it didn't stop either. Would you remove the Irish from Ireland? How about the Spanish from Mexico and other central and south American countries... At some point, ALL people of ALL races/creeds do stupid and violent and misguided things, often killing the innocent. Who reallly knows what the older brother's reasons were?

      April 23, 2013 at 12:45 pm | Reply
  4. jimmy lim

    2 muslims terrorists in Boston, 1 dead and 1 arrested. 2 related to Al queda arrested in Canada with another 2 muslim terrorists just arrested inSpain. How come there are no Christian or Hindu or Buddhist terrorists? What are the odds? Very strange, dont you think so?

    April 23, 2013 at 7:05 am | Reply
    • Jadviga GOXHI

      I agree with you !

      April 23, 2013 at 7:26 am | Reply
    • Bob

      Aurora- white Christian. Newtown- white Christian. Tucson Arizona- white Christian. Much high body counts than Boston.

      April 23, 2013 at 1:45 pm | Reply
      • jimmy lim

        Typical ignorant american. Have you ever travelled beyond the shores of US to other parts of the world? Do you read widely and ask questions? Or just live in your cellar?

        April 23, 2013 at 10:04 pm |
    • Bob

      Ever hear of the IRA?

      April 23, 2013 at 1:46 pm | Reply
      • jimmy lim

        Goodness me. Why r some of you american so ignorant n backward? IRA is about Northern Ireland and the Republic. It would be the equivalent of the indians or eskimos fighting over say the independence of say Alaska. Its about territory. The Boston bombings, 7/7, madrid,mumbai were about muslims trying to defend Islam (as said by Dzhokhar Tsarnave). They r envious of your lifestyle and also the wars in Afghan and Iraq. They want amercans or the west to pay and they also want the west to follow their isalmic way of life. Got it?

        April 23, 2013 at 10:01 pm |
  5. Robes Mendes

    So what should the U.S. government have done?
    1) Put Tamerlan in a FBI`s list of suspects, in 2011 (adress,photo, relatives,etc)
    2) When pictures of bombing suspectcs were realesed,immediately confronting it with Tamerlan`s datas on FBI`s list
    3) Then, BINGO!, the suspects are identified and immediately arresteds!!! ( before the assassination of two officers)

    Simple like that.

    April 23, 2013 at 9:35 am | Reply
  6. hugh addison bobbitt

    investigate the drugs and all the illegal going on in the dept of corrections in south carolina. i have been there and tell you from personal experience. more drugs and illegal contraband than on the street.i will attest to this. mainly from the correction officers. thanks

    April 24, 2013 at 12:58 am | Reply

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