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Homegrown terror: 'FBI thought Chechens would only attack Russians'

Published time: April 20, 2013 13:46

Police officers search house to house for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the surviving suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings, in a neighborhood in Watertown, Massachusetts April 19, 2013.(Reuters / Brian Snyder)

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The Tsarnaev brothers managed to slip through the US security net and commit the Boston attack because of oversights in American intelligence, experts told RT. This act of “homegrown” terror has raised serious questions about the role of the FBI.

The US press has traditionally portrayed Chechen terrorism as a specifically Russian issue, and as such assumed that they would not be hostile toward the US, journalist Neil Clark told RT in an interview.

“It could be because of their Chechen background, because I think the way that this conflict [the Chechen Wars of 1994-96 and 1999-2009] has been portrayed in the Western media, the American media, has been that the Russians have been the bad guys,” noted Clark. He suggested that this stigma attached to Chechnya could be the reason why security checks were not carried out on the Tsarnaev brothers arrived in the US.

“Their thought was ‘These people have a Chechen background if they’re going to be attacking anybody it’s going to be Russian targets, not American targets,’” said Clark. Dzhokhar had received US citizenship and lived in America for a number of years, while his older brother Tamerlan was a legal permanent resident.

Political commentator, Aleksandr Nekrasov noted there is a “certain state of shock that these two people are connected to Chechnya.” “But I think that they are shocked because I think that basically the intelligence services were expecting some loner, maybe some Nazi, some white supremacist, who got his grievances with the federal Government,” Nekrasov told RT. He went on to say that in spite of the existence of a YouTube account where the brothers broadcast the fact that they were from Chechnya and “didn’t hide the fact that they were terrorists,” the FBI did not flag the brothers as a potential terrorist threat.

Terror in US backyard

The fact that the two brothers were able to live in the US and were granted green cards while fostering extremist views has raised serious questions over the effectiveness of US law enforcement, geopolitical analyst from Stopimperialism.com, Eric Draitser believes.

“We, of course, know that many other incidents of terrorism in, so-called, homegrown terrorism raise very serious questions about the role of so called law enforcement in all of this,” commented Draitser. He then hinted that FBI was moving in to sweep details of the attack under the rug, “essentially relegating anyone, who asks those questions to the dust bin.” “We’ve seen the FBI taking over the investigation, we’ve seen the FBI systematically removing from the narrative the pictures of private military contractors in Boston,” Draitser concluded.

Nekrasov reiterated this point, emphasizing that the US War on Terror is being conducted in an often counterproductive way.

“I think the main problem here is that the war on terror across the world and the Middle East and elsewhere – I think it’s not actually conducted in a way that can prevent more terrorist attacks in the West and the US itself.”

Following the massive manhunt that led to the killing of Tamerlan Tsarnaev and the eventual capture of his younger brother Dzhokhar, former mayor of New York Rudolph Giuliani remarked that the US had considered Chechen terror groups an intrinsically Russian problem.

“We don’t have that kind of problem here in the US. If anything the US has expressed a little bit of sympathy for them [Chechens],” Giulani told Bloomberg.

The bombs that went off at the Boston Marathon on Monday killed three people and injured scores. The ensuing manhunt paralyzed the city and led to widespread panic. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is currently receiving medical treatment for injuries he sustained during his capture by police on Friday night.

Following the 9/11 attacks, Washington has taken wide-reaching measures and defense spending has hit unprecedented levels, with officials saying that was necessary to keep America safe.

As part of steps to boost security, US Department of Homeland Security was founded along with many other law-enforcement agencies, and the Patriot Act was passed. In addition, the US set up a very complex surveillance system, which included CCTV cameras in major cities, facial recognition technology and cyber surveillance. In addition to measures taken domestically within past 12 years, the US has waged to wars overseas that have cost the country more than $2 trillion.

However, after the Boston Marathon attack many critics believe that the money and resources were wasted and did not make Americans any safer.

Watch more in RT's Marina Portnaya's report.

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