The terrorist tracking task force in Boston failed to act on notices that one of the alleged Boston Marathon bombers had traveled to and from Russia last year, FBI Director Robert Mueller told the Senate Appropriations subcommittee that handles the Justice Department’s budget, reports Politico. Mueller said authorities would “do better” next time in following up on such information.
Mueller said that before Tamerlan Tsarnaev went to Russia last year, the Joint Terrorism Task Force was notified by a database known as TECS (formerly Treasury Enforcement Communications System). Tamerlan’s travel was being flagged because the Russian intelligence service told the FBI in 2011 he’d become more religious and was interested in joining Islamic radical groups in Russia. “When [Tamerlan] returned to the United States there as an automatic message that was pushed out that also came to the task force in that way and there was no additional action taken on that,” Mueller said. “It may well have been because of the numerous inquiries that we handle. [ ] That particular Joint Terrorism Task Force in any given year handles hundreds of similar assessments and leads and the like.” Mueller said changes are being made to make sure such notices are followed up on.