Blasts indicate ongoing snags in sharing data,senators say

  • Article by: Eric Schmitt and Julia Preston
  • New York Times
  • April 23, 2013 - 11:21 PM

– As investigators sought answers to what or who radicalized the suspects in the Boston Marathon bombings, leading lawmakers said Tuesday that potentially important clues about at least one of the men may not have been widely shared within investigative circles months before the attack.

Emerging from a two-hour hearing with three senior law enforcement and intelligence officials, several members of the Senate intelligence committee questioned how the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security had apparently handled information about Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, the suspect who was killed Friday in a shootout with the police.

“I’m very concerned that there still seem to be serious problems with sharing information, including critical investigative information,” said Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine. “That is troubling to me that, this many years after the attacks on our country in 2001, that we still seem to have stovepipes that prevent information from being shared effectively, not only among agencies but also within the same agency, in one case.”

Sen. Saxby Chambliss of Georgia, the committee’s ranking Republican, also voiced worries that efforts to break down barriers of communication between federal intelligence and law enforcement agencies after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks may have starting creeping back.

“We’re going to continue to look at whether or not all the information was adequately shared and given to all the law enforcement agencies,” he said. “If it wasn’t, we’ve got to fix that.”

Neither senator would identify what information was not shared adequately and which agencies were involved, but the issue seemed to center on Tsarnaev’s six-month trip in early 2012 to Dagestan and Chechnya, predominantly Muslim republics in the North Caucasus region of Russia. Both have been hotbeds of militant separatists.

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