Feds, Boston police respond to questions about pre-attack info

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May 9, 2013, 10:31 pm
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(NECN: Julie Loncich) - Criticism was sharp in the first day of federal hearings on the Boston Marathon bombings on Capitol Hill.  

"The idea that the feds have this information and it's not shared with the states and locals, defies why we created the department of homeland security in the first place," House Homeland Security Committee Chair Rep. Michael McCaul says.

Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis testified before the House Committee on Homeland Security that his department was never made aware the FBI had opened an investigation into Tamerlan Tsarnaev in 2011, never made aware he had traveled back to Russia and never made aware he had become increasingly involved in radical Islam.   

"Before the bombing were you aware that based on this Russian intelligence that the FBI opened an investigation into Tamerlan?" McCaul asked.

"We were not aware of that," Davis responded.

"Would you have liked to have known?" McCaul asked.

"Yes," Davis said.

But even with that information, Commissioner Davis testified it may not have prevented the attacks.

"I can't say that I would have done anything differently based upon the information known at that particular time," he said.

This testimony came as an LA Times investigation revealed Boston Police were warned by the Boston Regional Intelligence Center - funded by the dept of Homeland Security - that as many as five days before the marathon that the finish line was an area of increased vulnerability.

In response to that intelligence report, the Boston police department released a statement which reads in part, "There was no mention of a specific or credible threat detailing an imminent assault on the 2013 Boston Marathon and to confuse an internal warning outlining potential threats with a specific threat would be misleading."

The FBI also responded Thursday to members of the Boston police department on the Federal Terrorism Task Force and the apparent lack of communication, pointing to a web-based database of threats and its availability to all system users.

Meanwhile, the U.S. State Department is also weighing in. On Monday, Secretary of State John Kerry will sign a memorandum of understanding with Commissioner Davis to strengthen cooperation on building foreign law enforcement capacity.

Tags: Boston, FBI, Boston Police Department, Ed Davis, Julie Loncich, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Marathon bombings, Boston Marathon bombing investigation, michael mccaul, House Homeland Security Committee
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