Congressional Report Cites Communications Lapses Before Marathon Bombing


A sharply critical congressional report yesterday said federal officials suffered multiple communication failures in the year before the Boston Marathon bombing and called on authorities to tighten up scrutiny of “hot lists'' of potential terrorism suspects when they embark on foreign travel, the Boston Globe reports. The report from the House Committee on Homeland Security takes the FBI, Customs and Border Protection, and other officials to task for missing opportunities to scrutinize Tamerlan Tsarnaev after he was first investigated by the FBI in 2011.

The report stops short of blaming any particular agency for failing to focus more attention on Tsarnaev, but it paints a damning portrait of a lack of coordination between them. It casts doubt on assertions by the FBI and other agencies that greater attention on Tsarnaev would not have prevented the bombings. “There were opportunities in which greater sharing of information might have altered the course of events,” the report says adds. “Such failures must not be allowed to persist.” In alarming detail, congressional investigators detailed how Customs and Border Protection officials missed opportunities to detain Tsarnaev for questioning at JFK Airport in New York, even though alerts were triggered when he booked air travel to and from Russia in 2012. Another key finding: the FBI needs to do a better job of sharing information about potential terror suspects with local police.

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