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History > 2013 > USA > Terrorism (II)





President Obama Speaks on Explosions in Boston

President Obama makes a statement from the briefing room

about the explosions at today's Boston Marathon. April 15, 2013.

YouTube > White House

 Published on Apr 15, 2013














Three Are Accused

of Impeding Boston Bombing Inquiry


May 1, 2013
The New York Times


They were perhaps Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s closest friends during his two years at college, an American classmate from high school and two Russian-speaking students from Kazakhstan. The Kazakhs seemingly had money and drove expensive cars. They entertained Mr. Tsarnaev at their off-campus apartment, and he partied with them in New York. One of them lent Mr. Tsarnaev a black BMW after he smashed his Honda Civic in an accident.

And in the wake of the twin bombs that exploded last month at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, federal prosecutors now say, the three showed just how close their friendship was: two of them decided to put a backpack and fireworks linking Mr. Tsarnaev to the blasts into a black trash bag, and toss it into a Dumpster. Prosecutors say the third later lied to investigators when asked about it.

The two Kazakhs, Dias Kadyrbayev and Azamat Tazhayakov, were charged on Wednesday with destroying evidence to obstruct the federal inquiry into the marathon bombings. Their American friend, Robel K. Phillipos, was charged with lying to impede the investigation.

The story behind their arrest, detailed in lengthy affidavits, paints a vivid portrait of Mr. Tsarnaev in the days after the bombing, and portrays a dorm-room scene of confusion as the three young men, stunned to realize that their friend was being sought as a terrorist, debated whether and how to help him.

And it chillingly lays bare the skill with which Mr. Tsarnaev appears to have concealed plans for the bombing from even his most intimate associates. Three days after the blasts, as photographs of the then-unidentified suspects blanketed television and the Internet, Mr. Kadyrbayev sent Mr. Tsarnaev a text message: one photograph, he wrote, bore a marked resemblance to him.

“lol,” Mr. Tsarnaev coolly replied. “you better not text me.”

He added: “come to my room and take whatever you want.”

Later that evening, he told interrogators, he came to see that request as a thinly veiled plea to cover up his crime.

Should the three men be found guilty, they would face potentially stiff penalties: up to five years in prison for the two Kazakhs, eight years for Mr. Phillipos and up to $250,000 fines for each of the three. Mr. Kadyrbayev, 19, and Mr. Tazhayakov, 20, have been held in jail since last week, ostensibly on suspicion of violating their student visas by not attending class at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth, where they had studied with Mr. Tsarnaev.

All four men entered classes there in the fall of 2011, but Mr. Phillipos dropped out and returned to Cambridge, where he and Mr. Tsarnaev had attended Cambridge Ringe and Latin High School together. A university spokesman said that Mr. Kadyrbayev was not currently enrolled, and that Mr. Tazhayakov remained a student but had been suspended until the charges against him were resolved.

In one respect, the two Kazakh students seem an odd match for Mr. Tsarnaev and Mr. Phillipos. Sent from oil-rich Kazakhstan to study in the United States, Mr. Tazhayakov and Mr. Kadyrbayev appear to have come from wealthy families. Mr. Kadyrbayev’s Facebook page features photographs of him on beaches in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and Dubai. Mr. Tazhayakov’s page indicates he comes from Atyrau, a petroleum center at the mouth of the Ural River. By contrast, the Cambridge homes of Mr. Tsarnaev and Mr. Phillipos are hard-worn apartment houses in working-class neighborhoods.

But the four quickly became close after starting classes, the affidavit and interviews with friends suggest, in part because Mr. Tsarnaev and the two Kazakh students all spoke fluent Russian. Mr. Tazhayakov struck up a friendship with Mr. Tsarnaev first, and appeared the closest to him, said Jason Rowe, a sophomore who was Mr. Tsarnaev’s freshman dorm roommate.

A Cambridge friend of Mr. Tsarnaev’s said their friendship began to ebb after Mr. Tsarnaev met the two Kazakhs. Photographs posted online suggest a deepening relationship with the foreign students; in one undated shot, Mr. Tsarnaev drapes an arm over a broadly smiling Mr. Kadyrbayev as the two sit at a kitchen table, plates of food laid out before them.

Despite dropping out of school and returning to Cambridge, Mr. Phillipos also appears to have become fast friends with the Kazakh students, visiting them frequently in the apartment they shared in New Bedford, about three miles from the Dartmouth campus.

And Mr. Kadyrbayev and Mr. Tazhayakov apparently traveled often to Cambridge, Mr. Kadyrbayev to meet “repeatedly” with the Tsarnaev family, the criminal complaint against him states.

By last year, Mr. Tsarnaev and the two Kazakhs appear to have become constant companions. A 2012 photograph, possibly from last November, shows the three posing in Times Square, bundled against the cold, the Kazakh students grinning broadly. “New York is so ratchet on black Friday it’s ridiculous,” Mr. Tsarnaev wrote on Twitter that month. “I’m on to bed son.”

That world would rapidly begin to come apart a few months later.

An affidavit by Special Agent Scott P. Cieplik of the F. B.I. released Wednesday did not detail the men’s reactions to the bombings — one of their lawyers said they had been “shocked and horrified” — but it makes clear that for days afterward, they had no inkling that Mr. Tsarnaev might have been involved.

On Wednesday, two days after the explosions, Mr. Kadyrbayev drove to Mr. Tsarnaev’s dormitory and, standing outside, chatted while Mr. Tsarnaev smoked a cigarette, the affidavit quotes Mr. Kadyrbayev as saying. Later, Mr. Tsarnaev drove to the New Bedford apartment and stayed until about midnight.

Only one detail seemed amiss. Mr. Tsarnaev, whose long and unmanageable hair had been an object of wry posts on his Twitter account, had suddenly cut his mop short.

The next day, Mr. Tazhayakov told the F.B.I., Mr. Tsarnaev drove him home from a university class, dropping him off about 4 p.m. An hour or more later, Mr. Kadyrbayev called Mr. Phillipos as he was driving to the apartment from Boston with an urgent message: turn on the television news when you get home.

Investigators had released grainy photographs of two bombing suspects, lifted from video surveillance cameras. One of the suspects, Mr. Phillipos said, looked familiar.

The sequence of events that followed, patched together from separate F.B.I. interviews with Mr. Phillipos and the two Kazakhs, is not precisely clear. Sometime before 7 p.m., the three men drove to Mr. Tsarnaev’s Pine Dale Hall dormitory room. His roommate said Mr. Tsarnaev had left a couple of hours earlier.

As the visitors watched a movie, the affidavit states, they noticed a backpack stuffed with fireworks that had been emptied of their powder. Mr. Kadyrbayev “knew when he saw the empty fireworks that Tsarnaev was involved in the bombing,” the affidavit states.

He resolved to protect him.

At 8:43 p.m., Mr. Kadyrbayev sent the text message to Mr. Tsarnaev noting his resemblance to the photographs, and read the nonchalant reply. Mr. Tazhayakov told the F.B.I. that when Mr. Kadyrbayev showed him Mr. Tsarnaev’s request to “take whatever you want,” he concluded that he would never see his friend again alive.

Later that evening, Mr. Phillipos and Mr. Tazhayakov said, the three went back to Mr. Tsarnaev’s dorm room. When they returned to their apartment, they were carrying the backpack, fireworks, a jar of Vaseline and Mr. Tsarnaev’s laptop, all of which are now in the custody of federal agents.

Mr. Phillipos initially told the F.B.I. he did not recall going to Mr. Tsarnaev’s dorm room that night, then said later that they had gone there, but left without entering, the authorities said. Only six days later would he recant: actually, Mr. Kadyrbayev texted him at 9 p.m. to “go to Jahar’s room,” where the three men took the laptop and evidence.

Back home, Mr. Phillipos said, the three “started to freak out, because it became clear from a CNN report that we were watching that Jahar was one of the Boston Marathon bombers.” Mr. Kadyrbayev asked him “if he should get rid of the stuff.”

“Do what you have to do,” he said he told him.

Shortly thereafter, the bag and the fireworks were tossed into the apartment complex Dumpster.

The next afternoon, as Mr. Tazhayakov watched, a garbage truck emptied it and drove away.


Reporting was contributed by Ian Lovett and Jess Bidgood from Boston;

Michael S. Schmidt from Washington; William K. Rashbaum

and Serge F. Kovaleski from New York;

and Kitty Bennett from St. Petersburg, Fla.

    Three Are Accused of Impeding Boston Bombing Inquiry, NYT, 1.5.2013,






The President and the Hunger Strike


April 30, 2013
The New York Times


President Obama said a lot of important things on Tuesday about the prison in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. It is a blight on the nation’s reputation. It mocks American standards of justice by keeping people imprisoned without charges. It has actually hindered the prosecution and imprisonment of dangerous terrorists. Even if Guantánamo seemed justified to some people in the immediate aftermath of the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, those justifications are wearing thin. It is unsustainable and should be closed.

We were pleased that Mr. Obama pledged to make good, finally, on his promise to do just that. But that reaction was tempered by the fact that he has failed to do so for five years and that he has not taken steps within his executive power to transfer prisoners long ago cleared for release. Mr. Obama’s plans to try to talk Congress into removing obstacles to closing the prison do not reflect the urgency of the crisis facing him now.

As of Tuesday morning, Charlie Savage reported in The Times, 100 of the 166 inmates at Guantánamo are participating in a hunger strike against their conditions and indefinite detention. Twenty-one have been “approved” for force-feeding, which involves the insertion of a tube through their nostrils and down their throats.

Mr. Obama defended the practice. “I don’t want these individuals to die,” he said.

Most people don’t. But a recently published bipartisan report on detainee treatment by the Constitution Project said “forced feeding of detainees is a form of abuse and must end.” The World Medical Association has long considered forced feeding a violation of a physicians’ ethics when it is done against a competent person’s express wishes, a point that was reinforced on April 25 by Dr. Jeremy Lazarus, president of the American Medical Association, in a letter to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.

There is no indication that the inmates being force-fed were unconscious or incapable of making decisions. And virtually all inmates at Guantánamo have never been charged with any crime and never will be. Nearly 90 have been cleared for release, and another large group can never be tried because they were tortured or there is no evidence they were involved in a particular attack. Only six are facing active charges before a military tribunal.

Mr. Obama was asked about the hunger strike at a White House news conference. “I think it is critical,” he said, “for us to understand that Guantánamo is not necessary to keep America safe. It is expensive. It is inefficient. It hurts us in terms of our international standing. It lessens cooperation with our allies on counterterrorism efforts. It is a recruitment tool for extremists.”

Mr. Obama said permanent detention without trial is “is contrary to who we are. It is contrary to our interests.”

Mr. Obama correctly said that Congress passed malicious laws that restrict the use of federal money to transfer Guantánamo detainees to other countries and prohibit sending them to be tried in federal courts, which, unlike the military tribunals, are competent to do that.

But those laws were lent political momentum by the Obama administration’s bungling of an attempt to try Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the 9/11 mastermind, in a federal court. And, since then, Mr. Obama has approved a dangerous expansion of military detention of terrorist suspects.

If he is serious about moving toward closure, there are two steps proposed by the American Civil Liberties Union that could get the ball rolling. He could appoint a senior official “so that the administration’s Guantánamo closure policy is directed by the White House and not by Pentagon bureaucrats,” the A.C.L.U. said, and he could order Mr. Hagel to start providing legally required waivers to transfer detainees who have been cleared. Senator Dianne Feinstein, the chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, has urged Mr. Obama to urgently review the status of those prisoners — a primary issue for the hunger strikers.

The hunger strike is an act of desperation over policies even Mr. Obama says cannot be defended. It is his responsibility to deal with it — and close the prison.

    The President and the Hunger Strike, NYT, 30.4.2013,






Investigators Obtain DNA

From Widow of Bombing Suspect


April 29, 2013
The New York Times


Federal authorities are closely scrutinizing the activities of the wife of the dead Boston Marathon bombing suspect in the days before and after the attacks.

The authorities are looking at a range of possibilities, two senior law enforcement officials said, including that she could have — wittingly or unwittingly — destroyed evidence, helped the bombers evade capture or even played a role in planning the attacks. As part of the investigation, F.B.I. agents are trying to determine whether female DNA found on a piece of a pressure cooker used as an explosive device in the attacks was from Katherine Russell, the wife of Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the officials said.

One of the officials said that a fingerprint had also been found on a bomb fragment and that investigators had tried to collect DNA and fingerprint samples from several people whom the authorities are scrutinizing in addition to Ms. Russell.

Federal authorities took a sample of Ms. Russell’s DNA on Monday in Rhode Island, where she has been staying with her parents, the officials said.

Her lawyer, Amato A. DeLuca, has said that Ms. Russell was shocked when she learned that her husband and brother-in-law were suspected of involvement in the attack. “We want to state what we stated before: Katie continues to assist in the investigation in any way that she can,” he said Monday in an e-mail.

The focus on Ms. Russell is part of the wider effort by the F.B.I. to determine who else may have played a role aiding the bombers. While the authorities do not believe the bombers were tied to a larger terrorist network or had accomplices, they remain skeptical that others did not know of their plans or did not help them destroy evidence. A law enforcement official said that authorities were investigating individuals who may have helped the suspects in some way after the bombings. The official would not elaborate.

Ms. Russell, 24, grew up in North Kingstown, R.I., and is the daughter of a physician. She met Mr. Tsarnaev at Suffolk University, her lawyer said. She converted to Islam and married him in 2010.

Mr. DeLuca has said that Ms. Russell does not speak Russian, so she could not always understand what her husband was saying.

On Monday, another lawyer was added to the defense team of the surviving bombing suspect, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19. Judy Clarke, one of the nation’s foremost experts in death penalty cases, took the case at the behest of Mr. Tsarnaev’s three federal public defenders.

Ms. Clarke’s past clients include Susan Smith, who was convicted of drowning her two children, Theodore J. Kaczynski, the Unabomber, and Jared Loughner, who killed six people at an event held by Representative Gabrielle Giffords in Arizona. All avoided the death penalty and received life sentences instead.

“In light of the circumstances in this case, the defendant requires an attorney with more background, knowledge and experience in federal death penalty cases than that possessed by current counsel,” federal Magistrate Judge Marianne B. Bowler wrote in her order appointing Ms. Clarke, who is based in San Diego.


Katharine Q. Seelye, Richard A. Oppel Jr.

and John Eligon contributed reporting.



This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: April 30, 2013

An earlier version of this article misspelled

the name of the Rhode Island town where Katherine Russell grew up.

It is North Kingstown, not North Kingston.

    Investigators Obtain DNA From Widow of Bombing Suspect, NYT, 29.4.2013,






The Lesson of Boston


April 27, 2013
The New York Times


IF only it were as simple as the drones coming home to roost. That would be comforting somehow. In giving us a tidy cause, it would give us a clear remedy: rain less death in distant lands, and worry less about death in our own.

If only it could all be chalked up to immigration leniency or an F.B.I. blunder. We could get tougher on both fronts, turning a warier eye toward anyone aspiring to come here, cracking the whip over at Quantico. And maybe then we could vanquish the worry that blooms darkly inside many of us when we visit a thronged landmark or attend the kind of richly symbolic event, like the Boston Marathon, whose violent disruption carries all the extra horror its disrupters intend.

Last week was one of theories, of hobbyhorses, of political complaints and agendas being hitched like so many train cars to what happened on that brutal afternoon in Boston.

The assailants’ radicalization proved that we must scale back our military campaigns and take a humbler posture in the world. The assailants’ firepower (overstated, it turns out) made a case for gun control.

We had to be more expansive in our embrace of Muslims, who become agents of destruction because they’re targets of suspicion. We had to slough off political correctness and patrol mosques.

Oh, the pitfalls of the amnesty our country grants and the big heart it opens to determined pilgrims from the third world! Oh, the peril of all our aimless, alienated young men! (Are there many other kinds?)

But these broad-brush diagnoses, many of them conveniently tethered to a proposed solution, weren’t entirely or even ultimately about policy, sociology or anything so concrete. They were about something much more nebulous and much less easily mastered.

They were about fear. And they were about the ardent, persistent, poignant hunger to believe that in a society of free information and free movement and clashing ideologies and gaudy dreams that don’t come true — in other words, in this splendid but difficult experiment known as the United States of America — we can somehow prevent disaster, somehow inoculate ourselves. With a sufficiently probing analysis of a suspect’s Twitter feed, with the designation of a broken 19-year-old as an enemy combatant, we could unravel the riddle, then adjust to and obey the truths at its core.

On NBC’s “Meet the Press” last weekend, Doris Kearns Goodwin described a celebration that erupted in the bar where she happened to have been when it was reported that the younger of the brothers Tsarnaev was captured: “Everybody was just screaming, ‘Thank God we got him alive,’ because they want the answer to the question, why?”

And over the days that followed they got — we got — many answers. We learned that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was easily swayed by Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, a sibling dynamic of an utterly routine stripe.

We learned that the Internet and social media sped one or both of them to wicked influences and let them steep in anger and twisted thoughts, the way the Internet and social media let anyone concentrate on a specific obsession, a single cluster of emotions.

We learned that they’d plucked bomb-making instructions from the Web, in much the way someone else might retrieve a guacamole recipe.

All in all we learned at least as much to amplify our anxieties as to quiet them, because the Tsarnaevs were seemingly inconspicuous, haphazard terrorists, and because the picture that emerged didn’t really yield a set of instructions for staving off the manner of mayhem they allegedly engineered from occurring again. It suggested how easily this can happen in a land of liberty, governed by a compact of trust.

THE brothers had ample reason to love America. More reason, it would seem, than to hate it. When their family, of Chechen heritage, asked for refuge, America said yes. It extended them opportunities, gave them hope. Dzhokhar went to the same high school that Ben Affleck and Matt Damon had attended, and when he graduated, the city of Cambridge, Mass., awarded him a $2,500 scholarship for his future studies.

But college didn’t go well for him, just as Tamerlan’s boxing career — he’d once aspired to represent this country in the Olympics — didn’t pan out. And the big promises of our country no doubt make its disappointments all the more crushing. But the big promises also make us who we are.

The brothers apparently objected to our interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan. But do we know that they wouldn’t have had some other plaint, some other prompt, if those interventions had never occurred? They postdated 9/11, whose authors had a brimming portfolio of alternate grievances.

Where there’s a capacity for fury, justifications aren’t hard to come by. Timothy McVeigh, the Oklahoma City bomber, cited the government’s raid on the Branch Davidians in Waco, Tex., as one of his prods. He was neither Muslim nor immigrant, just unhinged, a characterization that also fits Anders Behring Breivik, who blamed Europe’s acquiescence to multiculturalism for his killing of 77 people in Norway in 2011. Terrorism isn’t a scourge we Americans alone endure, and it’s seldom about any one thing, or any two things.

Our insistence on patterns and commonalities and some kind of understanding assumes coherence to the massacres, rationality. But the difference between the aimless, alienated young men who do not plant bombs or open fire on unsuspecting crowds — which is the vast majority of them — and those who do is less likely to be some discrete radicalization process that we can diagram and eradicate than a dose, sometimes a heavy one, of pure madness. And there’s no easy antidote to that. No amulet against it.

There’s also a danger built into the American experiment, the very nature of which leaves us exposed. Our rightly cherished diversity can make the challenge of belonging that much steeper. Our good fortune and leadership mean that we’ll be not just envied in the world, but also reviled.

The F.B.I. averted its gaze from the older Tsarnaev brother after it couldn’t find any conclusive alarms because that’s what the government is supposed to do, absent better information. We don’t want it to go too far in spying on us. That means it will fail to notice things.

While we can and will figure out small ways to be safer, we have to come to terms with the reality that we’ll never be safe, not with unrestricted travel through cyberspace. Not with the Second Amendment. Not with the privacy we expect. Not with the liberty we demand.

That’s the bargain we’ve made. It’s imperfect, but it’s the right one.

    The Lesson of Boston, NYT, 27.4.2013,






A Battered Dream, Then a Violent Path


April 27, 2013
The New York Times


BOSTON — It was a blow the immigrant boxer could not withstand: after capturing his second consecutive title as the Golden Gloves heavyweight champion of New England in 2010, Tamerlan Anzorovich Tsarnaev, 23, was barred from the national Tournament of Champions because he was not a United States citizen.

The cocksure fighter, a flamboyant dresser partial to white fur and snakeskin, had been looking forward to redeeming the loss he suffered the previous year in the first round, when the judges awarded his opponent the decision, drawing boos from spectators who considered Mr. Tsarnaev dominant.

From one year to the next, though, the tournament rules had changed, disqualifying legal permanent residents — not only Mr. Tsarnaev, who was Soviet-born of Chechen and Dagestani heritage, but several other New England contenders, too. His aspirations frustrated, he dropped out of boxing competition entirely, and his life veered in a completely different direction.

Mr. Tsarnaev portrayed his quitting as a reflection of the sport’s incompatibility with his growing devotion to Islam. But as dozens of interviews with friends, acquaintances and relatives from Cambridge, Mass., to Dagestan showed, that devotion, and the suspected radicalization that accompanied it, was a path he followed most avidly only after his more secular dreams were dashed in 2010 and he was left adrift.

His trajectory eventually led the frustrated athlete and his loyal younger brother, Dzhokhar, to bomb one of the most famous athletic events in this country, killing three and wounding more than 200 at the Boston Marathon, the authorities say. They say it led Mr. Tsarnaev, his application for citizenship stalled, and his brother, a new citizen and a seemingly well-adjusted college student, to attack their American hometown on Patriots’ Day, April 15.

Mr. Tsarnaev now lies in the state medical examiner’s office, his body riddled with bullets after a confrontation with the police four days after the bombings. He left behind an American-born wife who had converted to Islam, a 3-year-old daughter with curly hair, a 19-year-old brother charged with using a weapon of mass destruction, and a puzzle: Why did these two young men seemingly turn on the country that had granted them asylum?

Examining their lives for clues, the authorities have focused on Mr. Tsarnaev’s six-month trip to the Russian republics of Chechnya and Dagestan last year. But in Cambridge, sitting on the front steps of the ramshackle, brown-shingled house where the Tsarnaev family lived for a decade, their 79-year-old landlady urged a longer lens.

“He certainly wasn’t radicalized in Dagestan,” the landlady, Joanna Herlihy, said.

Ms. Herlihy, who speaks Russian and was friends with the Tsarnaevs, said she told law enforcement officials that his trip clearly merited scrutiny. But she said that Mr. Tsarnaev’s embrace of Islam had grown more intense before that.

As his religious identification grew fiercer, Mr. Tsarnaev seemed to abandon his once avid pursuit of the American dream. He dropped out of community college and lost interest not just in boxing but also in music; he used to play piano and violin, classical music and rap, and his e-mail address was a clue to how he once saw himself: The_Professor@real-hiphop.com. He worked only sporadically, sometimes as a pizza deliverer, and he grew first a close-cropped beard and then a flowing one.

He seemed isolated, too. Since his return from Dagestan, he, his wife and his child were the only Tsarnaevs living full time in the three-bedroom apartment on Ms. Herlihy’s third floor.

Mr. Tsarnaev’s two younger sisters had long since married and moved out; his parents, now separated, had returned to Dagestan, his mother soon after a felony arrest on shoplifting charges; and his brother had left for the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth, returning home only on the occasional weekend, as he did recently after damaging his 1999 green Honda Civic by texting while driving.

“When Dzhokhar used to come home on Friday night from the dormitory, Tamerlan used to hug him and kiss him — hold him, like, because he was a big, big boy, Tamerlan,” their mother, Zubeidat, 45, said last week, adding that her older son had been “handsome like Hercules.”

Not long after he gave up his boxing career, Mr. Tsarnaev married Katherine Russell of Rhode Island in a brief Islamic ceremony at a Dorchester mosque in June 2010. She has declined to speak publicly since the attacks.

His wife primarily supported the family through her job as a home health aide, scraping together about $1,200 a month to pay the rent. While she worked, Mr. Tsarnaev looked after their daughter, Zahira, who was learning to ride the tricycle still parked beside the house, neighbors said. The family’s income was supplemented by public assistance and food stamps from September 2011 to November 2012, state officials said.

It was probably not the life that Anzor Tsarnaev had imagined for his oldest child, who, even as a boy, before he developed the broad-shouldered physique that his mother described as “a masterpiece,” dreamed of becoming a famous boxer.

But then the father’s life had not gone as planned, either. Once an official in the prosecutor’s office in Kyrgyzstan, he had been reduced to working as an unlicensed mechanic in the back lot of a rug store in Cambridge.

“He was out there in the snow and cold, freezing his hands to do this work on people’s cars,” said Chris Walter, owner of the store, Yayla Tribal Rug. “I did not charge him for the space because he was a poor, struggling guy with a good heart.”

Tamerlan Tsarnaev was born on Oct. 21, 1986, five years before the dissolution of the Soviet Union, in Kalmykia, a barren stretch of Russian territory by the Caspian Sea. A photograph of him as a baby shows a cherubic child wearing a knit cap with a pompom, perched on the lap of his unsmiling mother, who has spiky black bangs and an artful pile of hair. Strikingly, she did not cover her head then, as she does now; she began wearing a hijab only a few years ago, in the United States, prodded by her son just as she was prodding him, too, to deepen his faith.

When he was still little, his parents moved from Kalmykia to Kyrgyzstan, a former Soviet republic, where their other three children were born. They left there during the economic crisis of the late 1990s and spent a few brief months in Chechnya, then fled before the full-scale Russian military invasion in 1999. They sought shelter next in his mother’s native Dagestan.

In an interview there, Patimat Suleimanova, her sister-in-law, said the family had repeatedly been on the run from war and hardship in those days. “In search of peace, they kept moving,” she said.

Finally, Anzor Tsarnaev sought political asylum in the United States. He arrived first, with his younger son, in the spring of 2002. His older son, a young man of 16, followed with the rest of the family in July 2003.

Their neighborhood in Cambridge was run-down, with car repair lots where condominiums have since arisen. But the city has long been especially welcoming to immigrants and refugees; its high school has students from 75 countries.

The schools superintendent, Jeffrey Young, described Cambridge as “beyond tolerant.”

“How is it that someone could grow up in a place like this and end up in a place like that?” he said of the Tsarnaevs.

Unlike his little brother, who was well integrated into the community by the time he started high school, Mr. Tsarnaev was a genuine newcomer when he entered the Cambridge Rindge and Latin School, from which he graduated in 2006. Enrolled in the large English as a Second Language program, he made friends mostly with other international students, and his demeanor was reserved, one former classmate, Luis Vasquez, said.

“The view on him was that he was a boxer and you would not want to mess with him,” Mr. Vasquez, now 25 and a candidate for the Cambridge City Council, said. “He told me that he wanted to represent the U.S. in boxing. He wanted to do the Olympics and then turn pro.”

Jumping right into boxing after his arrival in the United States, he called attention to himself immediately in more ways than one. During registration for a tournament in Lowell, he sat down at a piano and lost himself for 20 minutes in a piece of classical music. The impromptu performance, so out of place in that world, finished to a burst of applause from surprised onlookers.

“He just walked over from the line and started playing like he was in the Boston Pops,” his trainer at the time, Gene McCarthy, 77, recalled.

Having trained in Dagestan, where sport fighting has an impassioned following, Mr. Tsarnaev boxed straight-legged like a European and not crouched, American-style. He also incorporated showy gymnastics into his training and fighting, walking on his hands, falling into splits, tumbling into corners. So as he started working out in Boston-area clubs — and winning novice tournament fights — he made an impression, although not an entirely positive one.

“For a big man, he was very agile,” said Tom Lee, president of the South Boston Boxing Club. “He moved like a gazelle and was strong like a horse. He was a big puncher. But he was an underachiever because he did not dedicate himself to the proper training regimen.”

In 2009, Mr. Tsarnaev won the New England Golden Gloves championship in the 201-pound division, which qualified him for the national tournament in Salt Lake City in May. Introducing what would become his signature style, he showed up overdressed, wearing a white silk scarf, black leather pants and mirrored sunglasses.

Stepping into the ring, as The Lowell Sun described it, Mr. Tsarnaev floored Lamar Fenner of Chicago with an explosive punch that required an eight-count from the referee, and then he seemed to control the rest of the fight.

Bob Russo, then the coach of the New England team, said: “We thought he won. The crowd thought he won. But he didn’t.”

Mr. Fenner’s mother, Marsha, said her son had called her the night of his “bout with the bomber,” thrilled to have defeated an opponent he described as unnervingly strong. Her son, who died of heart problems last year at 29, ended up coming in second in the tournament and turning professional, she said.

If Mr. Tsarnaev was chastened by the defeat, it did not temper his behavior. During a preliminary round of the New England Golden Gloves in 2010, in a breach of boxing etiquette, he entered the locker room to taunt not only the fighter he was about to face but also the fighter’s trainer. Wearing a cowboy hat and alligator-skin cowboy boots, he gave the two men a disdainful once-over and said: “You’re nothing. I’m taking you down.”

The trainer, Hector Torres, was furious and subsequently lodged a complaint, arguing that Mr. Tsarnaev should not be allowed to participate in the competition because he was not a citizen.

As it happened, Golden Gloves of America was just then changing its policy. It used to permit legal immigrants to compete in its national tournament three out of every four years, barring them only during Olympic qualifying years, James Beasley, the executive director, said. But it decided in 2010 that the policy was confusing and moved to end all participation by noncitizens in the Tournament of Champions.

So Mr. Tsarnaev, New England heavyweight champion for the second year in a row, was stymied. The immigrant champions in three other weight classes in New England were blocked from advancing, too, Mr. Russo said.

Mr. Tsarnaev was devastated. He was not getting any younger. And he was more than a year away from being even eligible to apply for American citizenship, and there appeared to be a potential obstacle in his path.

The previous summer, Mr. Tsarnaev had been arrested after a report of domestic violence.

His girlfriend at the time had called 911, “hysterically crying,” to say he had beaten her up, according to the Cambridge police report. Mr. Tsarnaev told the officers that he had slapped her face because she had been yelling at him about “another girl.”

Eventually, charges against him would be dismissed, the records show, so the episode would not have endangered his eventual citizenship application.

But his life was changing. He married. He had a child. And he largely withdrew from Cambridge social life, and from many of the friendships he had enjoyed. “He had liked to party,” said Elmirza Khozhugov, 26, his former brother-in-law, who lost touch with him in 2010. “But there was always the sense that he felt a little guilty that he was having too much fun, maybe.”

In 2011, the Russian security service cautioned the F.B.I., and later the C.I.A., that “since 2010” Mr. Tsarnaev had “changed drastically,” becoming “a follower of radical Islam.” The Russians said he was planning a trip to his homeland to connect with underground militant groups. An F.B.I. investigation turned up no ties to extremists, the bureau has said.

In early 2012, Mr. Tsarnaev left his wife and child for a six-month visit to Russia. His parents, speaking in Dagestan, portrayed it as an innocuous visit to reconnect with family and to replace his nearly expired passport from the Republic of Kyrgyzstan with a Russian one. His father said he had kept his son close by his side as they visited relatives, including in Chechnya, and renovated a storefront into a perfume shop.

But American officials say Mr. Tsarnaev arrived in Russia months before his father returned to Dagestan and so did not have the continuous tight supervision described by his father.

Also, Mr. Tsarnaev, with no apparent sense of urgency about his travel documents, waited months to apply for a Russian passport, and returned to the United States before the passport was ready for him.

After his return, Mr. Tsarnaev applied for American citizenship, a year after he was eligible to do so. But the F.B.I. investigation, though closed, had caused his application to be stalled. Underscoring how detached he had become, he no longer had any valid passport, or international travel document, and Cambridge, to which he had a hard time readapting, was now his de facto home more than ever.

He grew a five-inch beard, which he shaved off before the bombings, and interrupted prayers at his mosque on two occasions with outbursts denouncing the idea that Muslims should observe American secular holidays. He engaged neighbors in affable conversations about skiing one week and heated ones about American imperialism the next.

At a neighborhood pizzeria, wearing a head covering that matched his jacket, he explained to Albrecht Ammon, 18, that “the Koran is great and flawless, and the Bible is ripped off from the Koran, and the U.S. used the Bible as an excuse to invade different countries.”

“I asked him about radical Muslims that blow themselves up and say, ‘It’s for Allah,’ ” Mr. Ammon said. “And he said he wasn’t one of those Muslims.”


Deborah Sontag and Serge F. Kovaleski reported from Boston,

and David M. Herszenhorn from Makhachkala, Russia.

Reporting was contributed by Michael Schwirtz, John Eligon,

Ian Lovett and Dina Kraft from Boston; Andrew Roth from Makhachkala;

Richard A. Oppel Jr. and Julia Preston from New York;

and Andrew E. Kramer from Moscow. Kitty Bennett

and Sheelagh McNeill contributed research.

    A Battered Dream, Then a Violent Path, NYT, 27.3.2013,






The Guantánamo Stain


April 25, 2013
The New York Times


All five living presidents gathered in Texas Thursday for a feel-good moment at the opening of the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum, which is supposed to symbolize the legacy that Mr. Bush has been trying to polish. President Obama called it a “special day for our democracy.” Mr. Bush spoke about having made “the tough decisions” to protect America. They all had a nice chuckle when President Bill Clinton joked about former presidents using their libraries to rewrite history.

But there is another building, far from Dallas on land leased from Cuba, that symbolizes Mr. Bush’s legacy in a darker, truer way: the military penal complex at Guantánamo Bay where Mr. Bush imprisoned hundreds of men after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, a vast majority guilty of no crime.

It became the embodiment of his dangerous expansion of executive power and the lawless detentions, secret prisons and torture that went along with them. It is now also a reminder of Mr. Obama’s failure to close the prison as he promised when he took office, and of the malicious interference by Congress in any effort to justly try and punish the Guantánamo inmates.

There are still 166 men there — virtually all of them held without charges, some for more than a decade. More than half have been cleared for release but are still imprisoned because of a law that requires individual Pentagon waivers. The administration eliminated the State Department post charged with working with other countries to transfer the prisoners so those waivers might be issued.

Of the rest, some are said to have committed serious crimes, including terrorism, but the military tribunals created by Mr. Bush are dysfunctional and not credible, despite Mr. Obama’s improvements. Congress long ago banned the transfer of prisoners to the federal criminal justice system where they belong and are far more likely to receive fair trials and long sentences if convicted.

Only six are facing active charges. Nearly 50 more are deemed too dangerous for release but not suitable for trial because they are not linked to any specific attack or because the evidence against them is tainted by torture.

The result of this purgatory of isolation was inevitable. Charlie Savage wrote in The Times on Thursday about a protest that ended in a raid on Camp Six, where the most cooperative prisoners are held. A hunger strike in its third month includes an estimated 93 prisoners, twice as many as were participating before the raid. American soldiers have been reduced to force-feeding prisoners who are strapped to chairs with a tube down their throats.

That prison should never have been opened. It was nothing more than Mr. Bush’s attempt to evade accountability by placing prisoners in another country. The courts rejected that ploy, but Mr. Bush never bothered to fix the problem. Now, shockingly, the Pentagon is actually considering spending $200 million for improvements and expansions clearly aimed at a permanent operation.

Polls show that Americans are increasingly indifferent to the prison. We received a fair amount of criticism recently for publishing on our Op-Ed page a first-person account from one of the Guantánamo hunger strikers.

But whatever Mr. Bush says about how comfortable he is with his “tough” choices, the country must recognize the steep price being paid for what is essentially a political prison. Just as hunger strikes at the infamous Maze Prison in Northern Ireland indelibly stained Britain’s human rights record, so Guantánamo stains America’s.

    The Guantánamo Stain, NYT, 25.4.2013,






No Room for Radicals


April 24, 2013
The New York Times


JUST hours after the two suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing were identified as Muslims, Representative Peter T. King of New York, the Republican chairman of the House Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence, called for an “increased surveillance” of Islamic communities in the United States. “I think we need more police and more surveillance in the communities where the threat is coming from,” he told National Review. “The new threat is definitely from within.”

Mr. King’s hypothesis, and the widespread surveillance policies already in effect since 9/11, assume that the threat of radicalization has become a matter of local geography, that American Muslims are creating extremists in our mosques and community centers.

But what we’re learning of the suspects, the brothers Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, suggests a different story, and one that has itself become familiar: radicalization does not happen to young people with a strong grounding in the American Muslim mainstream; increasingly, it happens online, and sometimes abroad, among the isolated and disaffected.

The YouTube page of Tamerlan Tsarnaev, for example, does not contain a single lecture from a scholar, imam or institution in America. One report suggests that he found the theology taught in a local Cambridge mosque, the Islamic Society of Boston, unpalatable: while attending a Friday service in which an imam praised the life and work of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Mr. Tsarnaev shouted that the imam was a “nonbeliever.” The younger Tsarnaev brother seems to have rarely attended a mosque at all.

Representative King’s theories also fail to explain why, if young people are being radicalized within mainstream Islamic communities, there aren’t more attacks like the one in Boston. By some measures Islam is the fastest-growing religion in the United States, and the last decade has seen a rapid expansion of Muslim institutions across the country.

Yet what’s most obvious to anyone who has spent time in these communities is that whether they are devotional or educational, focused on the arts or on interfaith cooperation and activism, this mediating set of American Muslim institutions is keeping impressionable young Muslims from becoming radicalized.

Take the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center and its range of devotional, arts and educational programs, from preschool to a seminary. Or Chicago’s Inner-City Muslim Action Network, complete with a medical clinic, civic leadership education and a summer music festival that draws on the biggest names of Muslim hip-hop to promote peace through community organizing. Or Zaytuna College in Berkeley, Calif., the nation’s first four-year Islamic liberal arts school.

These institutions and others have different aims, but they abide by a common idea: if the center of Judaism is the law, and the heart of Christianity is love, what Islam requires, above all else, is mercy. And whether on display in health care provided for the poor at South Los Angeles’s UMMA Community Clinic, or in a patiently handled Arabic lesson that will one day lead a new convert into the fullness of the tradition, Islamic mercy, preached and practiced within the community, allows no room for radicalization.

Representative King and others have it exactly, completely wrong — the American Muslim community has actively and repeatedly, day in and day out, rejected such radicals on religious grounds: they do not know mercy.

More than a decade since 9/11, this should no longer be any secret. Across the nation, the doors are open, and more are opening every day. And despite whatever misplaced fears the Boston bombings evoke about radical Islam and homegrown terror, we’ll all find ourselves increasingly secure as more Muslims heed the call — coming to Islam as it is in the United States, as a real, living community.


Suhaib Webb is the imam of the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center.

Scott Korb, who teaches writing at New York University

and the New School, is the author of

“Light Without Fire: The Making of America’s First Muslim College.”

    No Room for Radicals, NYT, 24.3.2013,






2 U.S. Agencies

Added Boston Bomb Suspect to Watch Lists


April 24, 2013
The New York Times


WASHINGTON — Despite being told in 2011 that an F.B.I. review had found that a man who went on to become one of the suspects in the Boston Marathon bombings had no ties to extremists, the Russian government asked the Central Intelligence Agency six months later for whatever information it had on him, American officials said Wednesday.

After its review, the C.I.A. also told the Russian intelligence service that it had no suspicious information on the man, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who was killed in a shootout with the police early last Friday. It is not clear what prompted the Russians to make the request of the C.I.A.

The upshot of the American inquiries into Mr. Tsarnaev’s background was that even though he was found to have no connections to extremist groups, his name was entered into two different United States government watch lists in late 2011 that were designed to alert the authorities if he traveled overseas.

The picture emerging Wednesday was of a counterterrorism bureaucracy that had at least four contacts with Russian spy services about Mr. Tsarnaev in the year before he took a six-month trip to Russia in 2012, but never found reason to investigate him further after he returned, or at any time before last week’s attacks in Boston that killed 3 people and injured more than 260.

Lawmakers this week criticized federal officials for failing to share investigative leads in the months leading up to the attack, and the new disclosures are likely to increase Congressional scrutiny of why the authorities did not pay more attention to an overseas visit that may have helped radicalize Mr. Tsarnaev.

After the C.I.A. cleared him of any ties to violent extremism in October 2011, it asked the National Counterterrorism Center, the nation’s main counterterrorism agency, to add his name to a watch list as a precaution, an American intelligence official said Wednesday. Other agencies, including the State Department, the Homeland Security Department and the F.B.I., were alerted.

That database, the Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment, or TIDE, contains about 700,000 names. It is the main repository from which other government watch lists are drawn, including the F.B.I.’s Terrorist Screening Database and the Transportation Security Administration’s “no fly” list.

The information conveyed to the watch list included a transliteration from Cyrillic of Mr. Tsarnaev’s name — “Tamerlan Tsarnayev” — two dates of birth (both incorrect, officials said), and one possible variant spelling of his name.

The first Russian request came in March 2011 through the F.B.I.’s office in the United States Embassy in Moscow. The one-page request said Mr. Tsarnaev “had changed drastically since 2010” and was preparing to travel to a part of Russia “to join unspecified underground groups.”

In response, counterterrorism agents in the F.B.I.’s field office in Boston, near where Mr. Tsarnaev was living, began a review to determine whether he had extremist tendencies or ties to terrorist groups. The review included examining criminal databases and conducting interviews with Mr. Tsarnaev and his family.

The agents concluded by June 2011 that they could not find any connections to extremists, and in August the results of the assessment were provided to the Russians, according to the United States official. At the time, F.B.I. agents requested additional information on Mr. Tsarnaev and asked to be informed of any further developments.

In closing out its report, the F.B.I.’s field office in Boston added Mr. Tsarnaev’s name to a second watch list, the Treasury Enforcement Communications System, or TECS, which was set up to send an electronic message to customs officials whenever Mr. Tsarnaev left the country.

Shortly thereafter, the F.B.I. repeated its request to the Russians for more information. The Russians, however, did not respond with anything new.

But a month later, the Russians sent the C.I.A. the same request for information on Mr. Tsarnaev that they had sent the F.B.I. .

That request prompted the C.I.A. to review its databases for information on Mr. Tsarnaev, but the agency came to a similar conclusion as the F.B.I. Around that time, the F.B.I. learned of the request to the C.I.A. and for the second time since providing its findings to the Russians in June, it went back and asked them for additional information on Mr. Tsarnaev, according to the official.

The official said the Russians never provided any additional information on Mr. Tsarnaev until after he was killed as he and his brother, Dzhokhar, tried to evade police officers who were chasing them in Watertown, Mass.

When Tamerlan Tsarnaev left the country on Jan. 12, 2012, for a six-month trip to Dagestan and Chechnya, predominantly Muslim republics in the North Caucasus region of Russia, his flight reservation set off a security alert to customs authorities, the homeland security secretary, Janet Napolitano, told a Senate committee on Tuesday.

But Mr. Tsarnaev’s departure apparently did not set off a similar alert on the TIDE watch list because the spelling variants of his name and the birth dates entered into the system — exactly how the Russian government had provided the data months earlier — were different enough from the correct information to prevent an alert, a United States official said.

When Mr. Tsarnaev returned in July, the travel alert “was more than a year old and had expired,” Ms. Napolitano said.

The new details about the investigation and the coordination between American intelligence emerged as the deputy F.B.I. director, Sean Joyce, and other top counterterrorism officials briefed lawmakers for a second day Wednesday. But members of the House Intelligence Committee left closed briefings on Capitol Hill with many unanswered questions about what or who radicalized the suspects.

    2 U.S. Agencies Added Boston Bomb Suspect to Watch Lists, NYT, 24.4.2013,






Officer’s Killing Spurred Pursuit in Boston Attack


April 24, 2013
The New York Times


CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Officer Sean A. Collier was 27, not much older than the Massachusetts Institute of Technology students he watched over as a campus police officer, and he sometimes joined them in a game of darts or Xbox. So when an ambulance staffed by students rolled past his parked patrol car last Thursday night, he flashed his blue lights to say hello. The students answered with their red lights.

It was just a little after that routine interaction, the police said, that a pair of men approached Officer Collier’s squad car from behind and shot him to death, in what some law enforcement officials said appeared to have been a failed attempt to steal his gun. In the anguished scene that followed, the student emergency medical technicians were called back to the patrol car they had just passed, where they tried in vain to save Officer Collier’s life.

The killing of Officer Collier, who was mourned Wednesday at a campus memorial at which Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. spoke, was the first bloody altercation in a nearly 24-hour chain of violent events that left one of the brothers suspected in the Boston Marathon bombings dead and ended with the capture of the other. Interviews with law enforcement officials and witnesses painted a clearer picture of what happened during that chaotic period, and correct some of the information that officials gave out as they hunted the most wanted men in America.

Police officials initially announced that officers had “exchanged gunfire” Friday evening with the surviving suspect, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, as he hid in a boat in the backyard of a house in Watertown, Mass. Now several law enforcement officials say no gun was found in the boat, and officials say they are exploring what prompted officers to fire at Mr. Tsarnaev, who some feared was armed with explosives.

Law enforcement officials now say they have recovered only one gun elsewhere, which they believe was used by Mr. Tsarnaev’s older brother, Tamerlan — not the three previously reported. And initial reports that the brothers first came to the attention of the police after robbing a 7-Eleven were wrong. The police were called to a gas station convenience store early Friday after a man who said he had been carjacked by the marathon bombers escaped and sought help.

The catalyst that set the violent night in motion was the shooting death of Officer Collier, officials said. It came about five hours after the F.B.I. released pictures of the two suspects in the bombings and asked the public’s help in identifying them.

“I consider him a hero,” Boston’s police commissioner, Edward Davis, said in an interview this week. “It was his death that ultimately led to the apprehension. The report of the shot officer led to all those resources being poured in.”

Officer Collier was killed around 10:30 p.m., police officials said — just half an hour before his 3-to-11 shift was to end.

While there is video of two men approaching Officer Collier’s car, three law enforcement officials said, it does not clearly show their faces. But investigators now believe the brothers killed the officer to get another gun.

“He had a triple-lock holster, and they could not figure it out,” a law enforcement official said. “There is evidence at the scene to suggest that they were going for his gun.”

The killing brought a huge influx of police officers into Cambridge, so plenty of officers were in the area later that night when a 911 call reported a carjacking by two men claiming to be the marathon bombers.

The two men apparently split up after the killing, and when the carjacking occurred, before midnight, a lone man approached a parked Mercedes-Benz sport utility vehicle and tapped on the passenger-side window, officials said. Why the men separated was among the many details of the night that were still unclear even a week later.

After the driver lowered the window, the man reached in, opened the door, climbed in and pointed a gun, saying, “Did you hear about the Boston explosion?” and “I did that,” according to an affidavit filed Monday with the criminal complaint charging Dzhokhar Tsarnaev with the bombings.

The gunman, who law enforcement officials believe was Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, removed the magazine from his gun and showed the driver that a bullet was in it, according to the affidavit. “I am serious,” he was quoted as saying.

The gunman then forced the driver to head for another location, where they picked up a second man, who officials believe was Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. The brothers loaded something in the trunk of the S.U.V., the affidavit said. They then took $45 and a bank card from the carjacking victim, it said.

They pulled into the Memorial Drive Shell gas station and Mary’s Deli food mart at Memorial Drive and River Street in Cambridge after midnight. Video surveillance shows the victim of the carjacking fleeing to a Mobil gas station across the street, according to Alan Mednick, the Shell station’s general manager. The brothers did not buy anything, Mr. Mednick said.

“Maybe they were going to try and buy something, but the guy took off running,” he said.

At the Mobil station, Tarek Ahmed, 45, was working the overnight shift when, he said, a panicked man “came in running.”

“He opens the door,” Mr. Ahmed recalled in an interview. “I stood up. He was screaming, saying: ‘Call the police. They have bombs. They have a gun. They want to kill me.’ I thought he was drunk.”

Then Mr. Ahmed realized he was serious.

“He ran behind the counter and ran into the back room, a storage room, and locked the door,” Mr. Ahmed recalled. “At this moment, I believe him. He was honest, that somebody wanted to shoot him. So I took the phone, and I called 911.

“I tried not to look outside at anything. I wanted to make it appear as if nothing was wrong. I was hoping the suspects didn’t see where he went. At the same time, I told the police what happened. As I’m talking to the police, I back up slowly and knock on the storage room door. The guy opened the door, and I handed him the phone.”

The carjacking victim left his cellphone in the Mercedes, a law enforcement official said, allowing officials to track it.

They caught up with S.U.V. in Watertown, where the men “threw at least two small improvised explosive devices” out of the car, the affidavit said.

A furious gunfight ensued on Laurel Street in Watertown, where more than 200 rounds were fired, officials said. A transit police officer, Richard H. Donohue, was shot in his right leg and critically wounded during the gunfight.

Chief Edward P. Deveau of the Watertown police said the suspects were shooting at seven of his officers on a side street and throwing explosives at them.

“One of the officers coming in had at least one bullet go through his windshield, and had the wherewithal to put the car in gear and let it roll down the street while he is able to get out and take up a position,” the chief said. “And eventually it hit a parked car. They were shooting at it because they think there is somebody in it.”

Tamerlan Tsarnaev was wounded in the gunfight and then, law enforcement officials and witnesses said, was hit by the carjacked Mercedes, which his brother used to escape.

Mike Doucette, 27, a chimney sweep who lives on the street, described seeing one brother shot and fall to the ground. He was still moving when the other brother went “screaming up the street” in the S.U.V.

“I yelled to the cops, ‘Watch out!’ ” Mr. Doucette said in an interview. But the car hit the wounded brother, he said, and “his body was tumbling underneath.”

As Friday dawned, state officials urged people in the Boston area to stay behind locked doors, and all transit service was shut down — paralyzing the metropolitan area as officials searched for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. That evening they lifted the order, fearing he had escaped.

Then, close to 7 p.m., they got a call from a Watertown man. The man, Dave Henneberry, had stepped out of his house after the authorities gave residents the all-clear, then noticed something askew with his boat and went to fix it, said John Duffy, 66, a close friend. The boat was called the Slip Away II.

A little later, Mr. Henneberry decided to return to the boat. “So he brought a ladder out of the garage and laid it against the boat,” Mr. Duffy, who has talked to Mr. Henneberry several times about the episode, said in an interview. “He took about three steps up the ladder and looked inside the boat and sees blood on one side of the deck. And he is questioning himself, ‘Did I cut myself the last time I was out here?’

“Then he sees blood on the other side of the deck,” Mr. Duffy said. “Then he looks over the engine compartment and sees a body. His words were, ‘I levitated off the ladder.’ He does not remember going back into the house. He told his wife, ‘Lock the doors,’ and he called 911.”

A call went out over the police radio. “They have a boat with blood on it, and they believe someone’s on the boat,” it said. Police officials initially said the boat was in the backyard of a house just outside the perimeter of the area where investigators had conducted door-to-door searches all day. But Commissioner Davis, of the Boston police, said this week that the boat had been inside the perimeter.

“It was an area that should have been checked,” he said. “We are not sure how long he was in the boat. There was a pool of blood near where the car was dumped about four or five blocks away from the boat.”

It is still not clear what prompted officers to fire into the boat. “Shots fired, multiple shots!” someone was heard saying on the radio, before another call went out: “All units hold your fire! Hold your fire.”

Commissioner Davis said that “we will have to see what prompted the volley of shots before the cease-fire was ordered by a superintendent of the Boston police.”

A state police helicopter used thermal imaging technology to show where the suspect was hiding in the boat, and a robotic arm attached to a police vehicle was used to pull the tarp back.

Then, around 8:45 p.m., Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was taken alive.


Wendy Ruderman reported from Cambridge,

Serge F. Kovaleski from Boston,

and Michael Cooper from New York.

Reporting was contributed by Katharine Q. Seelye from Boston,

William K. Rashbaum and Erica Goode from New York,

and Michael S. Schmidt from Washington.

    Officer’s Killing Spurred Pursuit in Boston Attack, NYT, 24.4.2013,






For Wounded, Daunting Cost;

for Aid Fund, Tough Decisions


April 22, 2013
The New York Times


WASHINGTON — For victims of the Boston Marathon bombings, the terrible physical cost may come with a daunting financial cost as well.

Many of the wounded could face staggering bills not just for the trauma care they received in the days after the bombings, but for prosthetic limbs, lengthy rehabilitation and the equipment they will need to negotiate daily life with crippling injuries. Even those with health insurance may find that their plan places limits on specific services, like physical therapy or psychological counseling.

Kenneth R. Feinberg, the lawyer who has overseen compensation funds for victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the shootings at Virginia Tech and other disasters, arrived in Boston on Monday to start the difficult work of deciding who will be eligible for payouts from a new compensation fund and how much each person wounded in the bombings and family of the dead deserves.

The One Fund Boston, which Mayor Thomas M. Menino of Boston and Gov. Deval Patrick of Massachusetts created a day after the bombings, has already raised more than $10 million for victims and their families. At the same time, friends and relatives have set up dozens of smaller funds for individual victims.

For at least 13 victims who lost limbs, including William White of Bolton, Mass., expenses may also include renovations to their homes that make it easier for them to get around.

“What if his stairs are at the wrong incline, or he needs a ramp, or the cobblestones in his backyard are uneven?” said Benjamin Coutu, a friend of the White family who helped create a donation page on a fund-raising Web site for Mr. White and his wife and son, who were also wounded in the blasts. “People who are insured in these situations think, ‘Wow, I’m O.K., I’m covered.’ It’s not until a month or two later that they realize, ‘I’m covered for the bare bones.’ ”

The overall medical costs are difficult to estimate, especially since it is not yet clear how much rehabilitation or future surgery the victims with the worst injuries will need. But as a basis for comparison, medical costs for shooting victims average about $50,000, said Ted Miller, a senior research scientist at the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation who studies the costs of injuries.

For Mr. Feinberg, whom city and state officials asked to administer the One Fund Boston, the first task is to determine how much money is going to be available through it. Most donations typically arrive in the first month after a disaster, he said, adding that the fund-raising window should ideally be brief. “I’m a big believer, in most of these programs, that the fund should be a very small duration,” Mr. Feinberg said in a phone interview. “Because you’ve got to begin to get the money out the door to the people who really need it, and you’ve got to know how much you’re going to distribute.”

The thornier job, though, will be figuring out who qualifies for the funds and how much each victim who survived — as well as the families of the three who died — should receive. More than 170 people were wounded in the blasts, and more than 50 remain in the hospital.

Mr. Feinberg said that he would seek input from victims and their families before deciding on a formula. For victims of the Virginia Tech shooting, he said, compensation amounts were based on how long they were in the hospital. After the movie theater shooting in Aurora, Colo., victims who were paralyzed or suffered traumatic brain injuries received just as much as the families of those who died.

“You can’t pay everyone the same if someone has a broken ankle versus a brain injury,” he said. “There’s got to be some sliding scale.”

After the shootings in Aurora, some of the hospitals who treated victims agreed to limit what they charged and to waive charges entirely. Tim Gens, executive vice president of the Massachusetts Hospital Association, said that the hospitals treating the Boston victims had not yet discussed how to handle billing, but that it would be decided case by case.

For the uninsured, Mr. Gens said, Massachusetts has a charity care fund that covers all or part of their costs, depending on their income. Each hospital also has its own policies for waiving costs in certain situations, he said.

Meanwhile, Mr. Gens said, “For those who have insurance, there really shouldn’t be an issue.” Massachusetts requires most of its residents to have health insurance, although a small number refuse to comply or get waivers. It is not yet clear how many of the wounded were visiting from other states, or how many were uninsured.

“Massachusetts has been the leader of ‘let’s create health insurance for everyone,’ ” said Dr. Miller of the Pacific Institute.“So it will be very interesting to see how that plays out in terms of how the costs get borne.”

Charlie Baker, a former chief executive of Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, one of the state’s largest insurers, predicted that given the circumstances, most insurance companies and employers would cover as much care as victims needed, regardless of what their policy allowed.

“If, say, they have a physical therapy benefit with an annual limit of 30 visits, I just don’t see a lot of employers saying, ‘Stick to the benefit,’ ” Mr. Baker said. “They’re going to say ‘go for it’ as long as the treatment is medically helpful.”

Rich Audsley, special adviser to a committee that helped distribute $5.4 million raised for victims in Aurora, said he wished there had been enough money to cover the needs of people who were not physically injured but suffered emotional trauma from witnessing the shootings or having victims die in their arms. Mr. Audsley said that he hoped some of the One Fund Boston money would go to community agencies that can provide counseling.

“We’re talking about emotional scars for many people that will be with them for the rest of their lives,” Mr. Audsley said.

Mr. Coutu, the family friend of some victims, said that while Mr. Feinberg figures out a formula for distributing money from the larger compensation fund, smaller fund-raising efforts could provide crucial interim help. The one for the White family has raised more than $55,000 so far.

“The great thing about these sorts of micro-fundraisers is they can access the funds immediately,” Mr. Coutu said. “This is theirs.”

After the 9/11 attacks, Mr. Feinberg compensated victims’ families by calculating the likely lifetime earnings of the dead. He won praise for his handling of the fund, which was created by Congress and paid more than $7 billion in taxpayer funds to more than 5,000 survivors and families of the dead. But it was an emotionally charged process.

“When people come to see me,” he said of disaster victims and their families, “I’d be better off with a divinity degree or a degree in psychiatry.”

    For Wounded, Daunting Cost; for Aid Fund, Tough Decisions, NYT, 22.4.2013,






Boston Suspect Is Charged

and Could Face the Death Penalty


April 22, 2013
The New York Times


BOSTON — Lying grievously wounded in a hospital bed, the surviving suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings admitted on Sunday to playing a role in the attacks, said law enforcement officials, and on Monday he was charged with using a weapon of mass destruction that resulted in three deaths and more than 170 injuries.

Uttering the word “no” once, but mostly nodding his responses, the suspect, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, was charged in a brief but dramatic bedside scene in the intensive care ward of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, where he is recovering from multiple gunshot wounds sustained during his capture last week.

Mr. Tsarnaev made his admission on Sunday morning to specially trained F.B.I. agents who had been waiting outside his hospital room for him to regain consciousness. After he woke up, they questioned him, invoking a special Justice Department public safety exception that allowed them to interrogate him without telling him he had the right to remain silent.

In the course of questioning him about whether he knew of any other active plots or threats to public safety, he admitted that he had been involved in laying the bombs that killed three people at the finish line of the Boston Marathon.

He said that he knew of no other plots and that he and his brother had acted alone, and he said he knew of no more bombs that had not been detonated.

At the legal hearing Monday, he shook his head in response to most questions. The brief bedside session began when Magistrate Judge Marianne B. Bowler asked a doctor whether Mr. Tsarnaev was alert, according to a transcript of the proceeding.

“You can rouse him,” the judge told the doctor.

“How are you feeling?” asked the doctor, identified in the transcript as Dr. Odom. “Are you able to answer some questions?” He nodded.

Judge Bowler then read Mr. Tsarnaev his rights. Also present were two United States attorneys and three federal public defenders, who will be representing him. Judge Bowler asked if he understood his right to remain silent, to which he nodded affirmatively, according to the transcript.

The only word Mr. Tsarnaev uttered, apparently, was “No,” after he was asked if he could afford a lawyer.

Judge Bowler said, “Let the record reflect that I believe the defendant has said, ‘No.’ ”

At the end of the session, Judge Bowler said: “At this time, at the conclusion of the initial appearance, I find that the defendant is alert, mentally competent, and lucid. He is aware of the nature of the proceedings.” If convicted, he faces the death penalty or life behind bars.

Mr. Tsarnaev is being treated for what court papers described as possible gunshot wounds to the “head, neck, legs and hand.” One law enforcement officer said the wound to the neck appeared to be the result of a self-inflicted gunshot. The charges were lodged in a criminal complaint unsealed Monday in United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts, the first step in a lengthy process.

The White House said that Mr. Tsarnaev would not be placed in military detention. “We will prosecute this terrorist through our civilian system of justice,” said Jay Carney, the White House press secretary.

He noted that it was illegal to try an American citizen in a military commission, and that a number of high-profile terrorism cases had been handled in the civilian court system, including that of the would-be bomber who tried to bring down a passenger jet around Christmas 2009 with explosives in his underwear.

The charges against Mr. Tsarnaev were made public about the same time that Boston, like many cities across the country, held a moment of silence at 2:50 p.m., the time of the explosions a week before. Hundreds of people gathered in Copley Square, near the scene of the attacks, after which church bells tolled mournfully in a cold, wintry wind.

Already, hundreds of mourners had attended a funeral at St. Joseph Church in Medford, Mass., for Krystle Campbell, the 29-year-old restaurant manager killed near the finish line of the marathon. In the evening, hundreds more attended a memorial service at Boston University for Lu Lingzi, 23, a Chinese graduate student who was killed in the bombings.

A service is planned Wednesday for Sean Collier, 26, the M.I.T. campus police officer who was killed in his car Thursday night.

Mr. Tsarnaev and his brother, Tamerlan, 26, are accused of going on a violent spree that ended in Tamerlan’s death and Dzhokhar’s capture in a boat parked in a driveway in Watertown, Mass., about seven miles west of Boston. New details were included in the affidavit accompanying the criminal complaint, which also outlined the evidence that law enforcement agencies have collected linking the two suspects to the bombings. However, there was no mention in the affidavit of the killing of the campus police officer, nor any explanation why it was not mentioned.

The affidavit, sworn by Daniel R. Genck, an F.B.I. special agent assigned to the Joint Terrorist Task Force in Boston, cited surveillance video as it detailed the movements the brothers made around the time of the bombings.

In chilling detail, the affidavit described how a man it referred to as “Bomber Two,” whom it identified as Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, could be seen “apparently slipping his knapsack onto the ground.”

Video from a nearby restaurant, Forum, showed the bomber remaining in place, checking his cellphone and even appearing to take a picture with it, the affidavit said. Then he seemed to speak into his phone.

“A few seconds after he finishes the call, the large crowd of people around him can be seen reacting to the first explosion,” the court papers said. “Virtually every head turns to the east (towards the finish line) and stares in that direction in apparent bewilderment and alarm. Bomber Two, virtually alone among the individuals in front of the restaurant, appears calm. He glances to the east and then calmly but rapidly begins moving to the west, away from the direction of the finish line.”

“He walks away without his knapsack, having left it on the ground where he had been standing,” the court papers said. “Approximately 10 seconds later, an explosion occurs in the location where Bomber Two had placed his knapsack.”

Just seven hours after the F.B.I. released pictures of the two suspects on Thursday afternoon to the public, one of the suspects emerged in Cambridge, pointing a gun at a man sitting in his car.

The affidavit said that the driver eventually escaped and his stolen vehicle was located soon thereafter in Watertown. As the two suspects drove around, they tossed at least two small improvised explosive devices from the car window, the affidavit said. When the police caught up with the men on Laurel Street, they engaged in a gunfight.

At the scene of the shootout, the F.B.I. found more clues: two unexploded improvised explosive devices and the remnants of “numerous” exploded devices, which were similar to those found at the scene of the marathon bombings — and at least one was in a pressure cooker, the affidavit said. “The pressure cooker was of the same brand as the ones used in the Marathon explosions,” it said.

As the legal process was playing out, investigators were still working feverishly to determine the motives for the attacks. A lawyer for Katherine Russell, who married Tamerlan Tsarnaev in 2010, said that Ms. Russell found out that her husband was a suspect in the bombings only after the authorities released the photos on Thursday.

“She was shocked,” said the lawyer, Amato A. DeLuca. “She had no idea.”

Mr. DeLuca said that he had been speaking with law enforcement authorities but declined to say whether Ms. Russell had. He also declined to elaborate on whether his client had seen changes in her husband recently. He did say that his client did not speak Russian, so she could not always understand what her husband was saying.


Katharine Q. Seelye reported from Boston,

Michael S. Schmidt from Washington

and William K. Rashbaum from New York.

Reporting was contributed by Michael Cooper

and John Eligon from New York;

Richard A. Oppel Jr., Serge F. Kovaleski and Jess Bidgood from Boston;

and Peter Baker from Washington.

    Boston Suspect Is Charged and Could Face the Death Penalty, NYT, 23.4.2013,






Officials Say They Had No Authority

to Watch Older Suspect


April 22, 2013
The New York Times


WASHINGTON — Amid questions about whether the F.B.I. missed an opportunity to discover that one of the suspects in the Boston Marathon bombings may have become an extremist, law enforcement officials defended their actions on Monday, saying they had no legal basis to monitor him in the months leading up to the attack.

The agency first looked into the suspect, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, in 2011 in response to a request from Russia, which told the F.B.I. that he “was a follower of radical Islam.” But once investigators closed the background check on Mr. Tsarnaev after concluding that he posed no terrorist threat, a senior law enforcement official said, it would have been a violation of federal guidelines to keep investigating him without additional information.

“We had an authorized purpose to look into someone based on the query we received,” the official said. “You can do a limited investigation based on that request.”

Senior F.B.I. and intelligence officials will be forced to explain to the Senate Intelligence Committee in a classified briefing on Tuesday the steps they took — and did not take — before and after Mr. Tsarnaev returned last July from a six-month trip to Chechnya and Dagestan, predominantly Muslim republics in the North Caucasus region of Russia.

In a statement Monday, Senator Mark Udall, a Colorado Democrat on the panel, said: “There are many questions I want answered, such as how and when the suspects became radicalized, details of the F.B.I.’s initial investigation into Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s activities, the nature of the terrorist threat in southern Russia, and more information on our counterterrorism cooperation with Moscow.”

The exchange between the F.B.I. and Russian authorities on Mr. Tsarnaev’s potential links to extremist groups has cast a spotlight on a counterterrorism relationship that has endured even as diplomatic relations between the countries have gone through ups and downs.

However, it also reflects what Daniel Benjamin, the State Department’s former top counterterrorism official, said on Monday was “a culture of wariness” between the two former cold war rivals. Even as the United States responds to Russian requests for details on potential extremists, Mr. Benjamin said, the authorities must be careful not to provide information that could “expose sources and methods or get us involved in an abuse of human rights that we couldn’t condone.”

Soon after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, Moscow and Washington created a special counterterrorism working group to help improve cooperation.

James W. McJunkin, a former top F.B.I. counterterrorism official, recalled a long-running investigation a few years ago into possible money laundering and other material support to terrorist groups by American citizens of Chechen or Russian origin in several Northeastern states.

Russian authorities provided the F.B.I. with cellphone numbers and e-mail addresses of several possible suspects, and even though the inquiry in the end did not yield any arrests, Mr. McJunkin said, “we now have a better understanding of how these kinds of cases work and how we can better recognize trends and patterns.”

In Mr. Tsarnaev’s case, the Russian government expressed fear that he could be a risk “based on information that he was a follower of radical Islam and a strong believer, and that he had changed drastically since 2010 as he prepared to leave the United States for travel to the country’s region to join unspecified underground groups,” the F.B.I. said in a statement.

The F.B.I. responded by checking government databases for any criminal records or immigration violations as well as activity on Web sites that promote extremist views and activities. The investigators found no derogatory information, officials said.

When they asked the Russians for more information to justify a search of Mr. Tsarnaev’s phone records, travel history and other more restricted information, they received no reply, a senior United States official said.

As a last resort, the F.B.I. sent two counterterrorism agents to interview Mr. Tsarnaev and members of his family. According to an F.B.I. statement, “The F.B.I. did not find any terrorism activity, domestic or foreign.”

After Mr. Tsarnaev’s visit to Dagestan and Chechnya, signs of alienation emerged. One month after he returned to the United States, a YouTube page that appeared to belong to him was created and featured jihadist videos.

Posting such videos alone, without overt threats of violence, should not necessarily sound alarms, some counterterrorism specialists said Monday.

“I tend to view this stuff as certainly interesting, and evincing some degree of extreme beliefs, but probably not exactly a flashing warning sign,” said Evan F. Kohlmann, a terrorism analyst with the consulting company Flashpoint Global Partners.

Anecdotes suggest that Mr. Tsarnaev became more religious in the last several years and may have embraced more conservative Islamic ideas.

On Monday, a spokesman for the Islamic Society of Boston, a Cambridge mosque, said Mr. Tsarnaev disrupted a talk there in January, insulting the speaker and accusing him of deviating from Islam by comparing the Prophet Muhammad to the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. It was the second time he had disrupted an event at the mosque because he felt that its religious message was too liberal, said the spokesman, Yusufi Vali, according to a report in The Boston Globe.

    Officials Say They Had No Authority to Watch Older Suspect, NYT, 22.4.2013,






In Questions at First, No Miranda for Suspect


April 22, 2013
The New York Times


A senior United States official said Monday that federal authorities invoked a public safety exemption to standard criminal procedures and questioned Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on Sunday without telling him that he had the right to remain silent, in order to learn whether he knew of remaining active threats.

Once the authorities felt satisfied that no such threat existed, a magistrate judge was brought to Mr. Tsarnaev’s bedside at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center on Monday. He was informed of his rights and the charges against him in the presence of a lawyer.

Mr. Tsarnaev, 19, nodded his understanding and during the proceedings spoke only one word — “no” — when asked if he could afford a lawyer. One was appointed for him.

The charges — use of a weapon of mass destruction that caused death — were recited to him by William Weinreb, a federal prosecutor, who also told Mr. Tsarnaev that they carried a maximum penalty of death. Under federal law, the term “weapon of mass destruction” refers to virtually any explosive charge aimed at harming people.

The magistrate, Marianne B. Bowler, said toward the end of the short proceedings, “I find that the defendant is alert, mentally competent and lucid. He is aware of the nature of the proceedings.”

The extraordinary developments — a public safety exemption followed by a bedside initial court appearance — were the opening moves in what promises to be a contested and complex legal case that could end in a federal death penalty in a state that does not have one.

There was already much debate about whether a public safety exemption could be invoked and what kinds of questions Mr. Tsarnaev could be asked during the exemption.

A federal official said that Mr. Tsarnaev admitted to a role in the bombings during the exempted questioning. Whether that statement could be admitted in court later remained murky. The exemption would have to be upheld by a judge who determined that it was properly invoked. The judge would also have to rule whether the questioning hewed closely to public safety issues.

On the other hand, it remained unclear whether such an admission would be needed, given video and other evidence against Mr. Tsarnaev and his brother, Tamerlan, 26, who was killed.

Whether the case will come to trial also remains unclear. Daniel C. Richman, a law professor at Columbia University, said Mr. Tsarnaev’s lawyer would do all he could to persuade his client to cooperate fully with the authorities in order to mitigate his punishment to life imprisonment.

“The first conversation between him and his lawyer will be the lawyer saying it will serve you to speak up now,” Mr. Richman said.

But Christopher Slobogin, a law professor at Vanderbilt University, said he doubted the government would be interested in much of a deal.

“He could plead guilty and hope to get something less than the death penalty, but there would be a public uproar if he got life in prison,” Mr. Slobogin said.

He added, however, that Mr. Tsarnaev’s lawyer could try to assert that his client was insufficiently sentient during the federal investigation on Sunday night and that his statements were coerced in an unconstitutional manner even if there was a legitimate concern for public safety and even if the next day the magistrate asserted that he was able to follow the proceedings.

Donald A. Dripps, a law professor at the University of San Diego, said the description of the bombs used in Boston last week as weapons of mass destruction was completely appropriate.

“If the device had gone off at a slightly higher altitude, there would have been a lot more deaths,” Mr. Dripps said. “These bombs were clearly built for that purpose.”

Federal authorities said they had made proper use of the public safety exemption to the Miranda rule.

“When you uncover a plot like this, you need to quickly be able to find out if there are other threats,” a senior official said.

    In Questions at First, No Miranda for Suspect, NYT, 22.4.2013,






Boston Begins to Say Goodbye

to Victims of the Bombings


April 21, 2013
The New York Times


MEDFORD, Mass. — Boston began to say goodbye on Sunday to those it lost last week. Its leaders — religious as well as political — fanned out, in front of naves and cameras, to do what they could to reassure grieving parishioners and constituents that the danger had passed. Or that for those who are gone, “life,” as Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley put it, “is not ended, merely changed.”

Memories were not the only thing etched for some mourners.

As Melanie Fitzemeyer, who baby-sat for Krystle Campbell two decades ago, walked to Ms. Campbell’s wake along with hundreds of others at a brick-and-frame funeral home on Main Street here, she took off her jacket and rolled up her sleeve. Incised on her arm was a two-line tattoo she had gotten the night before, at a parlor owned by one of Ms. Campbell’s cousins.

“Boston Strong,” the top line read in black letters scored into the length of her forearm, the surrounding skin still pink and tender.

“1983 Krystle 2013,” read the bottom.

Ms. Campbell, a 29-year-old restaurant manager, died after last Monday’s bombing at the Boston Marathon from wounds sustained near the finish line of a race she tried to see every year. Ms. Fitzemeyer, 39, knew her longer than most, and remembered her as an exuberant child. “She liked to paint and color and make things,” she said.

Ms. Campbell will be buried on Monday, and the wake here on Sunday was the first time anyone was able to say goodbye so intimately to any of the victims. Dozens came from Harvard — where her mother and brother work, as she once did — while 50 leather-and-denim clad members of motorcycle clubs stood across the street. Some told photographers to move down the street.

“We’re just trying to keep the nonsense away,” one biker explained after he and two friends blocked a cameraman.

Other bikers waited quietly, they said, in case a rumored picket by the Westboro Baptist Church materialized. “We’re just here to create a respectful barrier for the family,” said Tony Rossetti, a Middlesex County sheriff’s deputy who is the president of the Boston chapter of the Enforcers Motorcycle Club, where he is known as Preacher.

Reassurance seemed to be the message from top city and state officials on the Sunday news shows.

Mayor Thomas M. Menino said that what he knew suggested that the two brothers suspected of carrying out the attack had operated by themselves. “All of the information that I have, they acted alone,” he said on “This Week” on ABC.

The danger has passed, Gov. Deval Patrick said on “Face the Nation” on CBS. “The immediate threat, I think all of law enforcement feels, is over, based on the information we have,” he said. “And that is a good thing, and you can feel the relief at home here.”

Yet the investigation continued, with officials struggling to learn whether the brothers had help or were operating in league with anyone. Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, died after a shootout with the police in Watertown, Mass., early Friday morning, and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, was captured that night in Watertown and now lies grievously wounded in a Boston hospital bed.

At the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston, Cardinal O’Malley said some of the more than 170 wounded in the bombings had prayed there one week ago. He named the four who lost their lives — three who died at the finish line and a police officer who was killed three nights later in a fatal encounter with the Tsarnaev brothers, officials say — and said they would live in eternity.

“We must be a people of reconciliation, not revenge,” the cardinal said. “The crimes of the two young men must not be the justification for prejudice against Muslims and against immigrants. The Gospel is the antidote to the ‘eye for an eye and tooth for a tooth’ mentality.”

Cardinal O’Malley, who has criticized the Democratic Party for its support for abortion rights, said that more than one million abortions annually “is one indication of how human life has been devalued.” But he also criticized lawmakers in Congress — by implication, most of them Republicans — by saying that a failure to “enact laws that control access to automatic weapons is emblematic of the pathology of our violent culture.”

“I hope that the events of this past week have taught us how high the stakes are,” the cardinal said at the end of his homily. “We must build a civilization of love, or there will be no civilization at all.”

His words resonated with Maureen Quaranto, a nurse practitioner. She was working as a volunteer in a medical tent at the marathon when the bombs went off. On Sunday, she drove from her home in Plymouth, Mass., and then lingered after the service, tears in her eyes.

“It just gives you time to reflect,” she said. “Jesus said to forgive him.”

Mayor Menino and Governor Patrick called on everyone in the state to come together for a moment of silence at 2:50 p.m. Monday — precisely one week after the bombings. That will be followed by the ringing of bells across Boston and the commonwealth.

On Monday night at Boston University, students and faculty and staff members will gather on campus in honor of Lu Lingzi, 23, the Chinese graduate student who was killed in the bombing.

“We will remember her and everything good that a bright, ambitious, and engaging student represents in our community, and, hopefully, speak about the values that make our community strong, even under such terrible circumstances,” Robert A. Brown, the president of the university, wrote in an e-mail announcing the gathering.

Another memorial is expected this week at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to honor Sean A. Collier, 26, the campus police officer who was killed.

“I am profoundly grateful for the service and supreme sacrifice of Officer Collier, who was an extraordinary young man, an excellent police officer, and a truly beloved member of our community,” Eric Grimson, the chancellor of M.I.T., wrote in an e-mail on Sunday.

The fourth victim, Martin Richard, 8, was mourned on Sunday in Dorchester at the church attended by his family.

There were signs that the Boston area was returning to normal.

Late Sunday afternoon, Mayor Menino briefed reporters about a five-phase plan to reopen the area where the attack occurred. It will involve decontamination, structural building assessments and debris removal.

Newbury Street, the busy retail thoroughfare that runs parallel to Boylston Street, where the blasts took place, was bustling on Sunday, with visitors clutching shopping bags and relaxing in restaurants. But they were also drawn by the hundreds to gaze over the metal barriers cordoning off the six blocks around the marathon’s finish line.

“It’s been really eerie,” said Calla Gillies, a 24-year-old real estate agent who lives inside the area, which she can gain access to with proof of residence. “We’re just still as scared because it’s empty. It feels like the marathon was yesterday.”


Jess Bidgood and Katharine Q. Seelye contributed reporting from Boston.



This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: April 21, 2013

Because of editing errors, an earlier version of this article

misstated the name of one of the Boston Marathon victims

and the university she attended. Her name was Lu Lingzi, not Lingzi Lu,

and she attended Boston University, not Brown.

The article also incorrectly described the reason the university

closed on Friday.

It shut down during the search for the bombing suspects,

not to honor Ms. Lu.

    Boston Begins to Say Goodbye to Victims of the Bombings, NYT, 21.4.2013,






G.O.P. Lawmakers Push

to Have Boston Suspect Questioned

as Enemy Combatant


April 21, 2013


WASHINGTON — Some Republican lawmakers want President Obama to declare the surviving Boston bombing suspect an enemy combatant in order to question him without a lawyer and other protections of the criminal justice system, intensifying a recurring debate over how to handle terrorism cases arising inside the United States.

But while the suspect, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, a naturalized American citizen, is a Muslim, there is no known evidence suggesting that he is part of Al Qaeda. The United States is engaged in an armed conflict with Al Qaeda, not all Muslim extremists. As a result, the dispute is pushing beyond familiar arguments and into new territory.

Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, is among the earliest and most vocal proponents of declaring Mr. Tsarnaev an enemy combatant. Others include Senators Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, Saxby Chambliss of Georgia and John McCain of Arizona, as well as Representative Peter T. King of New York, all also Republicans.

The Obama administration has said it thinks terrorism suspects arrested inside the United States should be handled exclusively in the criminal justice system. It has indicated no intention to do otherwise in Mr. Tsarnaev’s case, but the issue is taking on political currency, underscoring a major divide on national security legal policy.

Senator Carl Levin, a Michigan Democrat who is the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said in a statement that the laws of war did not apply to Mr. Tsarnaev and that there was so far no evidence that he was “part of any organized group, let alone Al Qaeda, the Taliban or one of their affiliates — the only organizations whose members are subject” to detention as a part of war.

“In the absence of such evidence, I know of no legal basis for his detention as an enemy combatant,” Mr. Levin said. “To hold the suspect as an enemy combatant under these circumstances would be contrary to our laws and may even jeopardize our efforts to prosecute him for his crimes.”

In an interview, Mr. Graham acknowledged that if no evidence were to emerge linking Mr. Tsarnaev to Al Qaeda, then he should not continue to be held as an enemy combatant. But he argued that given the need to swiftly find out if Mr. Tsarnaev knew of other planned attacks or terrorist operatives, the government could and should hold him as a combatant while it searched for any such links.

“You can’t hold every person who commits a terrorist attack as an enemy combatant, I agree with that,” Mr. Graham said. “But you have a right, with his radical Islamist ties and the fact that Chechens are all over the world fighting with Al Qaeda — I think you have a reasonable belief to go down that road, and it would be a big mistake not to go down that road. If we didn’t hold him for intelligence-gathering purposes, that would be unconscionable.”

Mr. Graham said 30 days of confinement and interrogation as an enemy combatant would be an appropriate amount of time to allow the government to look for evidence that would justify his continued detention under the law of war. He also said he believed that federal judges would grant the government that amount of leeway.

Beyond the absence of known links between Mr. Tsarnaev and Al Qaeda, it is also unclear whether the Constitution permits the government to hold citizens arrested on domestic soil as enemy combatants. Though Mr. Graham believes that it would be lawful, other lawmakers disagree. Neither Congress nor the Supreme Court has resolved the question.

During the Bush administration, the Supreme Court upheld the indefinite military detention of Yaser Esam Hamdi, an American citizen who was captured carrying a weapon on the Afghanistan battlefield.

But the court never resolved the case of another American, Jose Padilla, whom the Bush administration held as an enemy combatant for several years after his arrest in Chicago. Two different federal appeals courts disagreed about whether it was lawful to hold someone like Mr. Padilla in indefinite detention without trial, and the Bush administration transferred him back to the civilian court system before the Supreme Court took up the case.

In the Hamdi ruling, Justice Sandra Day O’Connor wrote “there is no bar to this nation’s holding one of its own citizens as an enemy combatant.” But she also wrote the decision was limited to Mr. Hamdi’s “narrow circumstances.” She also said the purpose of wartime detention was to keep captured enemies from returning to fight, adding, “Certainly, we agree that indefinite detention for the purpose of interrogation is not authorized.”

Mr. Graham said the purpose of holding Mr. Tsarnaev as a military detainee would be to question him at length without any lawyer. Though the Obama administration has said it would use a public-safety exception to the Miranda rule to question him for a period without warning him of his rights to remain silent and have a lawyer, Mr. Graham said that would at best gain only a few days before a lawyer intervened.

Mr. Graham also acknowledged that ultimately Mr. Tsarnaev must be transferred back to the civilian criminal justice system for prosecution, because the statute authorizing military commissions — which he helped write — does not apply to United States citizens. Mr. Graham, one of the leading Republican voices opposing the torture of terrorism suspects, emphasized that interrogation as an enemy combatant would not mean inflicting suffering on Mr. Tsarnaev in order to make him talk, and that anything he said in military detention should not be used as courtroom evidence.

But Mr. Graham rejected the view that the Federal Bureau of Investigation might be equally or more effective than intelligence officials at persuading Mr. Tsarnaev to provide information, even with a defense lawyer at his side, since the law enforcement officials would have the leverage of being able to float more favorable treatment in exchange for cooperation as part of a potential plea bargain. He said interrogators needed to build a rapport with a prisoner, suggesting that any presence of a lawyer would disrupt that dynamic.

“That is, to me, the dumbest way to induce someone to talk,” he said of such tools and tactics of law enforcement officials. “I want intelligence officials trained in the intelligence process to have a chance to talk to him, without a lawyer.”

    G.O.P. Lawmakers Push to Have Boston Suspect Questioned as Enemy Combatant,
    NYT, 21.4.2013,






How to Handle a Terrorism Case


April 21, 2013
The New York Times


Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina apparently has a thermal-imaging device for detecting the motivation of the man arrested on suspicion of bombing the Boston Marathon. He and three other Republican lawmakers declared — without the benefit of evidence — that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev should be considered an enemy combatant, not a criminal, and should be held by the military without access to a lawyer or the fundamental rights that distinguish this country from authoritarian regimes.

Mr. Graham’s reckless statement makes a mockery of the superb civilian police work that led to the suspect’s capture, starting with a skillful analysis of video recordings of the marathon. The law enforcement system solved the case swiftly and efficiently, led by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and local police, and as shocking as the attack was, there is no reason civilian prosecutors, defense lawyers and courts cannot continue to do their work — especially since they have proved themselves far better at it than the military.

Mr. Tsarnaev is a naturalized American citizen, an inconvenient fact for the pressure-him-at-Gitmo crowd. He cannot be tried in a military commission, a legal system reserved for aliens. Even to be held by the military without trial would require a showing that he is associated with a declared enemy of the United States, such as Al Qaeda or the Taliban. So far there isn’t any visible connection between the Tsarnaev brothers and anyone more malevolent. Their Islamic or Chechen heritage alone is hardly proof of jihadist intent.

Fortunately the Obama administration has ignored the posturing and declared that Mr. Tsarnaev, like all citizens and even alien terrorists captured on American soil, will be tried in the federal courts. He will soon be charged with terrorism under federal statutes, and will be represented by the federal public defender’s office.

Federal and local officials intend to take their time, however, in giving a Miranda warning to the suspect, advising him of his right to remain silent. (Even if Mr. Tsarnaev remains too wounded to speak, he still deserves his rights.) There is a public safety exception to the Miranda requirement, allowing investigators to question suspects about imminent threats, like bombs or specific terror conspiracies, before the warning is given and then use that information in court. In 2010, unfortunately, the administration improperly told agents that they could expand that exception for terror suspects even when threats were not imminent.

It is not clear whether that expansion, which has yet to be tested in court, is being employed in this case. But the Obama administration, no less than Republicans, should not allow the raw emotions associated with a terrorism case to trample on the American system of justice.

    How to Handle a Terrorism Case, NYT, 21.4.2013,






Struggle at Home Intrudes

on Chechen Haven in America


April 21, 2013
The New York Times


NEEDHAM, Mass. — Four days after the Boston Marathon bombings, Ali Tepsurkaev was at work on a construction site on Nantucket when his boss approached him to deliver the news: the two prime suspects had been identified as ethnic Chechens.

For Mr. Tepsurkaev, 33, who fled the wars in Chechnya more than a decade ago, immediate disbelief turned quickly to fear and despair. The violence that had once consumed his homeland had found him again, this time shattering the quiet refuge he had found here in New England.

“I was so upset, I couldn’t work,” said Mr. Tepsurkaev, who soon left his Nantucket home to be with his extended family here in Needham, a Boston suburb. “I left my guys. I couldn’t finish. It felt so horrible.”

Until a few days ago, most Chechens in the United States lived largely anonymous lives. Few Americans even knew what and where Chechnya was.

Now, two Chechen brothers are at the center of one of the most serious terrorist attacks on the United States since Sept. 11, 2001. While the motivations behind the bombings are still unknown, the attack has made Chechnya, a mostly Muslim region in Russia, a focus of American scrutiny, and it has thrust Chechens living here into an unwanted spotlight.

Several Chechens in the Boston area and elsewhere said the attack had left them feeling exposed — and embarrassed. Some worry about being branded terrorists in a country that they credit with offering them sanctuary.

For most of them, the attacks raised fears that their past was somehow catching up with them. Hundreds of thousands of people were killed in two vicious wars between Russian troops and Chechen separatists in the 1990s and early 2000s. The wars led to widespread destruction in Chechnya and spawned a violent Islamist insurgency that created even more misery.

Many Chechens fled, taking their traumas and battle scars with them. Most stayed in Europe. But a handful, perhaps no more than a thousand, came to the United States, where few expected to see the kind of the indiscriminate slaughter that had engulfed their homeland, particularly an attack committed by fellow Chechens.

Mr. Tepsurkaev, who has a wife and 3-year-old daughter, said seeing two Chechens held responsible for the Boston attack had left him feeling irrational guilt.

“Most of us would be dead right now if it wasn’t for the United States giving us a home and saving us from all the violence,” he said. “It feels embarrassing for us. After all this hospitality we’re getting from Americans, to hear that some Chechen....” he said, breaking off. “It’s hard. It’s difficult to explain.”

He spoke with a reporter over tea at his uncle’s house across from a playground here in Needham, about 10 miles from the bombing suspects’ home in Cambridge.

He was surrounded by cousins close to the age of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, the younger of the two suspects, who was taken into custody on Friday. Two of the cousins, Islam and Maryam Baiev, are planning to go to college in the fall to pursue careers in medicine. They speak English with no accent, but can still banter easily in both Chechen and Russian.

“I remember them in the dungeon just hiding from the bombs,” Mr. Tepsurkaev said of his cousins. “They’ve seen the screaming, they’ve seen the blood, but as you see they’re getting educated here, trying to get into college and living their lives. No hate, no violence. They’ve seen it, that’s why they appreciate it even more.”

“But these guys who haven’t seen anything,” he said about the bombing suspects. “I have no idea what kind of crazy ideas they have going on in their head.”

The two suspects, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and his older brother Tamerlan, 26, lived in Dagestan, a region in Russia that borders Chechnya, and in Kyrgyzstan, a former Soviet republic that is now independent, before coming to the United States as children. But they had never lived in Chechnya itself.

“Any attempt to make a connection between Chechnya and the Tsarnaevs, if they were guilty, is futile,” Ramzan A. Kadyrov, Chechnya’s leader, said in a post on Instagram. “They were raised in the United States and their views and convictions formed there. The roots of evil must be sought in America.”

None of the Chechens interviewed said they had more than a passing knowledge of the Tsarnaev brothers, who are accused of killing three people and wounding more than 170 in the bombing at the marathon and then going on a rampage that left one police officer dead and another struggling to survive.

A 28-year-old Chechen immigrant, who refused to be named because he feared reprisals against his family in Chechnya, said that there were, at most, five or six Chechen families living in the Boston area, but they had little contact with one another. He said he visited the Tsarnaevs’ home two years ago, after Anzor Tsarnaev, the suspects’ father, returned from a hospital stay.

He said Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who was killed in a shootout with the police on Friday, was “a nice guy, physically strong and very funny.” Beyond that, he said, he knew little about the family.

Some Chechens say they have felt uneasy since the suspects’ background was revealed. And at least one senator has already evoked the Boston attack in a call for stricter immigration laws.

“It’s something they are very nervous about because there is a history of ethnic discrimination and suspicion against them in Russia,” said Almut Rochowanski, of the Chechnya Advocacy Network, which works with Chechen refugees in the United States. “I have actually had to calm down my Chechen-American contacts and assuage their fears, telling them things like Americans have dealt with this issue long enough now to know not to discriminate against entire groups.”

Albina Digaeva, 34, who fled in 1998 and now studies at a Los Angeles college, said she was afraid to take the subway after learning the suspects were Chechen.

“Maybe it was an overreaction, but it was my initial reaction,” said Ms. Digaeva, who is an observant Muslim and wears a head scarf. “It’s just that after living through the war and experiencing that in Russia, it just brought back all these memories.”

Amrina Sugaipova, a linguist who moved to Portland, Ore., from Chechnya in 2001 said she was distressed by some portrayals of Chechens in the news media since the bombing suspects’ identities and backgrounds were released.

“I’ve read all kinds of stories with people saying very negative things about the nation,” she said, referring to Chechnya. “I really hope Chechens won’t be profiled here, but I suspect they are going to be following every step we do.”

Mr. Tepsurkaev was just as pessimistic.

“Now when I meet someone, and they ask where I’m from, it will be difficult to say that I am Chechen,” he said. “I fear that it will affect my relationships with Americans.”

    Struggle at Home Intrudes on Chechen Haven in America, NYT, 21.4.2013,






Search for Home Led Suspect to Land

Marred by Strife


April 21, 2013
The New York Times


MAKHACHKALA, Russia — Tamerlan Tsarnaev had already found religion by the time he landed in Dagestan, a combustible region in the North Caucasus that has become the epicenter of a violent Islamic insurgency in Russia and a hub of jihadist recruitment. What he seemed to be yearning for was a home.

“When he came, he talked about religion,” said his aunt, Patimat Suleimanova, who saw him a few days after he arrived in January 2012.

It was 15 months before Mr. Tsarnaev would be killed during a wild, bloody standoff with the police, who believe he planted deadly bombs near the finish line of the Boston Marathon.

He flew in to the airport here in Makhachkala, where the plate-glass windows of the arrival hall frame a mosque with twin minarets stretching skyward. He had already given up drinking alcohol, grown a close beard and become more devout, praying five times a day.

The reunion with his aunt and uncle in their third-floor apartment on Timiryazeva Street was a happy one, marked by contrasts with his life in America. “He said, ‘The people here are completely different. They pray different,’ ” Ms. Suleimanova recalled in an interview Sunday.

“Listen to the call to prayer — the azan — that they play from the mosque,” Mr. Tsarnaev said, according to his aunt. “It makes me so happy, to hear it from all sides, that you can always hear it — it makes me want to go to the mosque.”

“What, you can’t hear the mosques there in America?” she recalled asking, and he replied, “Something like that.”

Mr. Tsarnaev stayed for six months in Makhachkala, the capital of Dagestan, where he had spent most of his teenage years and where his parents had returned to live after several years in the United States. Those six months have become a focus for investigators who are trying to understand why he and his brother might have carried out the attack in Boston, and especially, whether they were connected to any organized terrorist network.

But the emerging portrait of Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s time here seems inside out. Dagestan, which has been known to grow and export terrorists like those who carried out the deadly 2010 bombings in the Moscow subways, seems in this case to have been a way station for a young man whose path began and ended somewhere else.

On Sunday, the most feared terrorist group in the Caucasus, the Mujahideen of the Caucasus Emirate, issued a statement dismissing speculation that Mr. Tsarnaev had joined them and denying any responsibility for the Boston Marathon attack. “The Mujahideen of the Caucasus are not fighting against the United States of America,” the statement said. “We are at war with Russia, which is not only responsible for the occupation of the Caucasus but also for heinous crimes against Muslims.”

This continuing strife between Islamic militants and the Russian authorities receives little attention outside Russia, but it has yielded a long string of terror attacks, many of them in Dagestan, that have caused many more deaths than the three in Boston. It is a cycle of bloodshed that Mr. Tsarnaev would have experienced close at hand when he was living here.

Yet, during his six months in Makhachkala, according to relatives, neighbors and friends, he did not seem like a man on a mission, or training for one. Rather, they said, he was more like a recent graduate who could not quite decide what to do with himself. He slept late, hung around at home, visited family and helped his father renovate a storefront.

“The son helped his father,” Vyacheslav Kazakevich, a family friend, said in an interview. “They started at 8 in the morning. When I passed by, they were working on the inside of the store, laying tiles. He didn’t go anywhere; no friends came to see him. His father wanted to open a perfume shop.”

Even so, his life’s narrative had been one of constant motion — so much so that the authorities and relatives in recent days have given differing accounts. According to his aunt, he was born in Kalmykia, a barren patch of Russian territory along the Caspian Sea. His family moved to Kyrgyzstan, an independent former Soviet republic in Central Asia, then to Chechnya, the turbulent republic in the Russian Federation that is his father’s ancestral home. Then to Dagestan. And then to America, where Tamerlan finished high school, married and had a daughter, now a toddler.

Wherever he went, though, he did not quite seem to fit in. He was a Chechen who had never really lived in Chechnya, a Russian citizen whose ancestors were viciously oppressed by the Russian government, a green-card holder in the United States whose path to citizenship there seemed at least temporarily blocked.

By January 2011, he somehow had attracted official attention in Russia, which thought he might be a follower of radical Islam and asked the United States for information about him. The F.B.I. interviewed Mr. Tsarnaev and his family in Boston but found no sign of terrorism activity at that time, the agency said.

Dagestan may have made him feel more at home than the United States, but it was a strange place to find comfort, given the nearly nonstop violence and the persistent unease it engenders among those who live here.

In the days just before Mr. Tsarnaev visited, a 13-year-old was wounded after picking up a package booby-trapped with a hand grenade, and a traffic police post was fired upon by someone with a grenade launcher.

Two weeks after his arrival, another grenade was tossed in a residential area. It was apparently meant to draw the police into an ambush, because several minutes later, in a pattern eerily similar to the marathon bombing, a larger bomb hidden in a garbage pail went off, killing a small child and injuring another.

And so it went all the time he was in Dagestan: two or three deadly bombings a month on average, constant “special operations” in which the federal police killed dozens of people they said were Muslim insurgents, and numerous other attacks.

After a police operation in early February 2012, the Russian authorities boasted that they had killed the last known suspect in the Moscow subway bombings. Capturing militants alive to put them on trial is not necessarily a priority.

All of Mr. Tsarnaev’s movements during his trip last year are not known. His father, Anzor, in interviews has described the trip as innocuous and said he nearly always knew where his son was. They twice traveled together to Chechnya to visit relatives, the father said, but he otherwise stayed near home.

Dagestan is a place where the graffiti outside one mosque says, “Victory or Paradise.”

Living in such circumstances may have had an impact on Mr. Tsarnaev even if he did not join any organized militant group, said Mairbek Vatchagaev, president of the Association of Caucasus Studies in Paris. He noted that the violence is worse in Dagestan than in Chechnya or Ingushetia, neighboring republics that are also predominantly Muslim and have a history of violence.

Mr. Vatchgaev and others noted the numerous crosscurrents in Mr. Tsarnaev’s profile: the sleeping-in that could conflict with morning prayers, for instance, or his desire to leave the United States but also to become an American citizen. Mr. Tsarnaev applied for citizenship last fall, three months after returning from Dagestan and around the time it was granted to his younger brother, Dzhokhar.

Something, it seems, may have driven Tamerlan Tsarnaev to violence, and Russian news outlets have reported that investigators are looking into connections he may have had with mosques known to promote extremist views.

But relatives said they could not fathom how the young men they knew could be the terrorists who bombed the Boston Marathon. Their aunt, Patimat Suleimanova, said, “They couldn’t commit an act like this.”


Ellen Barry and Andrew E. Kramer contributed reporting from Moscow,

and Eric Schmitt from Washington.



This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: April 22, 2013

An earlier version of this article referred incorrectly to an interview

with Patimat Suleimanova. It took place on Sunday,

not on Saturday.

    Search for Home Led Suspect to Land Marred by Strife, NYT, 21.4.2013,






Suspects Seemed Set for Attacks Beyond Boston


April 21, 2013
The New York Times


WASHINGTON — The two men suspected in the Boston Marathon bombings were armed with a small arsenal of guns, ammunition and explosives when they first confronted the police early Friday, and were most likely planning more attacks, the authorities said Sunday.

United States officials said they were increasingly certain that the two suspects had acted on their own, but were looking for any hints that someone had trained or inspired them. The F.B.I. is broadening its global investigation in search of a motive and pressing the Russian government for more details about a Russian request to the F.B.I. in 2011 about one of the suspects’ possible links to extremist groups, a senior United States official said Sunday.

New details about the suspects, their alleged plot and the widening inquiry emerged on Sunday, including the types of weapons that were used and the bomb design’s link to a terrorist manual. Lawmakers also accused the F.B.I. of an intelligence failure, questioning whether the bureau had responded forcefully enough to Russia’s warnings.

The surviving suspect, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, remained in a Boston hospital in serious condition. The authorities said they believed that he had tried to kill himself, because a gunshot wound to his neck “had the appearance of a close-range, self-inflicted style,” the senior United States official said.

As investigators intensified their search for clues, the investigation’s focus shifted in the last two days from a manhunt that relied heavily on cutting-edge surveillance technology to help track down the suspects to more traditional investigative methods. Those approaches include interviews with friends, relatives and others who knew the suspects and examinations of computers, phones, writings and their possessions.

More details of what the authorities said was the original plot were becoming clearer. The Boston police commissioner, Edward Davis, said the authorities believed that Mr. Tsarnaev and his older brother, Tamerlan, 26, had planned more attacks beyond the bombings at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, which killed three people and wounded more than 170. When the suspects seized a Mercedes-Benz sport utility vehicle and held the driver hostage, they told him that they planned to head to New York, the senior United States official said Sunday.

It was not clear whether the suspects had told the driver what they planned to do there.

Mr. Davis told CBS News’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday: “We have reason to believe, based upon the evidence that was found at that scene — the explosions, the explosive ordnance that was unexploded and the firepower that they had — that they were going to attack other individuals.”

Along with determining that the suspects had made at least five pipe bombs, the authorities recovered four firearms that they believe the suspects used, according to a law enforcement official. The authorities found an M-4 carbine rifle — a weapon similar to ones used by American forces in Afghanistan — on the boat where the younger suspect was found Friday night in Watertown, Mass., 10 miles west of Boston.

Two handguns and a BB gun that the authorities believe the brothers used in an earlier shootout with officers in Watertown were also recovered, said one official briefed on the investigation. The authorities said they believe the suspects had fired roughly 80 rounds in that shootout, in which Tamerlan Tsarnaev was fatally wounded, the official said.

Among the unanswered questions facing investigators are where the suspects acquired their weapons and explosives, how they got the money to pay for them, and whether others helped plan and carry out the attack last Monday. Mayor Thomas M. Menino of Boston said he believed the brothers were not affiliated with a larger network. “All of the information that I have, they acted alone, these two individuals, the brothers,” he said on ABC News’s “This Week.”

Some investigators said they believe the suspects used a design for the pressure-cooker bombs they allegedly detonated from a manual published in the online English-language magazine of Al Qaeda’s affiliate in Yemen. Mr. Menino said Tamerlan had “brainwashed” his younger brother to follow him and “read those magazines that were published on how to create bombs, how to disrupt the general public, and things like that.”

The suspects’ uncle Ruslan Tsarni, who lives in Maryland, said in an interview on Sunday that he had first noticed a change in the older brother in 2009. Mr. Tsarni sought advice from a family friend, who told him that Tamerlan’s radicalization had begun after he met a recent convert to Islam in the Boston area. Mr. Tsarni said he had later learned from a relative that his nephew had met the convert in 2007.

As scrutiny increased on how the brothers had been radicalized, Representative Michael McCaul, a Texas Republican who heads the Homeland Security Committee, and Representative Peter T. King, a New York Republican on the panel, sent a letter to the directors of three of the nation’s leading intelligence-gathering agencies calling the F.B.I.’s handling of the case “an intelligence failure.”

They said Tamerlan Tsarnaev was the fifth man since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks to be suspected of committing terrorism while under investigation by the bureau. Agents had questioned him in 2011 in response to a request from the Russian government, a year before he traveled to Chechnya and Dagestan, predominantly Muslim republics in the North Caucasus region of Russia. Both have been hotbeds of militant separatists.

The request from the Russian government was directed to the F.B.I.’s legal attaché at the American Embassy in Moscow in January 2011, a senior United States official said. Tamerlan spent six months in Chechnya and Dagestan in 2012.

The Russians feared Tamerlan could be a risk, and said their request was “based on information that he was a follower of radical Islam and a strong believer, and that he had changed drastically since 2010 as he prepared to leave the United States for travel to the country’s region to join unspecified underground groups,” the F.B.I. said in a statement Friday.

A senior United States official said Sunday that despite requests from American officials for more details at the time, this was all the information the Russians provided.

The F.B.I. responded by checking “U.S. government databases and other information to look for such things as derogatory telephone communications, possible use of online sites associated with the promotion of radical activity, associations with other persons of interest, travel history and plans, and education history,” it said in the statement.

The bureau sent two counterterrorism agents from its Boston field office to interview Tamerlan and family members, a senior United States official said Saturday.

According to the F.B.I.’s statement, “The F.B.I. did not find any terrorism activity, domestic or foreign,” and conveyed those findings to “the foreign government” — which officials say was Russia — by the summer of 2011.

Representative Mike Rogers, a Michigan Republican and former F.B.I. agent who heads the House Intelligence Committee, defended the bureau, saying on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that it “did a very thorough job.” But on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, said: “The fact that we could not track him has to be fixed. It’s people like this that you don’t want to let out of your sight, and this was a mistake. I don’t know if our laws are insufficient or the F.B.I. failed, but we’re at war with radical Islamists, and we need to up our game.”

The F.B.I. has pressed Russian authorities for more details about Moscow’s original request on Tamerlan, as well as any information the Russian intelligence services have developed since then, according to a senior United States official.

These discussions are “sensitive,” the official said, because of the differences in protocol and laws between the two countries, and the Russians’ reluctance to disclose confidential intelligence to foreign governments.

Tensions also escalated Sunday over how to handle the case of the surviving suspect. Some Republican lawmakers want President Obama to declare Dzhokhar Tsarnaev an “enemy combatant,” putting him into military detention and questioning him at length without a lawyer.

But the administration has said terrorism suspects arrested inside the United States should be handled exclusively in the criminal justice system, and gave no sign it intends to do otherwise in Mr. Tsarnaev’s case. Moreover, there is no evidence suggesting that he is part of Al Qaeda; the United States is engaged in an armed conflict with Al Qaeda, not all Muslim extremists.

In the days after the bombing, analysts and agents for the F.B.I. used special video technology that allowed them to string together hours and hours of footage and to enhance the quality.

They will now begin to employ more conventional techniques. As prosecutors worked to complete the criminal complaint against Mr. Tsarnaev, hundreds of police detectives and F.B.I. agents — including members of the Joint Terrorism Task Force in Boston, plus nearly 250 agents from 24 of the F.B.I.’s 56 field offices — continued to work on the investigation, officials said.

Their efforts included analyzing records from the brothers’ phones and computers, to find associates and witnesses and extremist group affiliations. The agents also scoured credit card records and other material seized from their apartment and car for evidence of bomb components, the backpacks used or any other evidence that could tie them to the bombings.


Reporting was contributed by Marc Santora,

William K. Rashbaum and Ethan Bronner from New York;

Brian Knowlton and Charlie Savage from Washington;

and Emmarie Huetteman from Montgomery Village, Md.

    Suspects Seemed Set for Attacks Beyond Boston, NYT, 21.4.2013,






After Night of Terror in Boston Suburb,

a Dawn of Doughnuts and Relief


April 20, 2013
The New York Times


WATERTOWN, Mass. — All of Boston rode a roller coaster of emotions last week, from horror at the bloody bombings during the annual marathon to a grim wait under lockdown while the suspects were pursued, to pure euphoria once the second suspect was captured in a parked boat.

And by Saturday, suddenly, life had almost snapped back into place. Pedestrians and traffic reclaimed the streets of Watertown.

Dunkin’ Donuts was open, and Mardy Kozelian, 49, a building inspector, brought in his children. Like everyone else, he was relieved to be able to go outside. He was also relieved that SWAT teams were no longer barging into homes here and military Humvees no longer occupied the streets.

“Last night, a lot of people wished they had a gun in their house,” Mr. Kozelian said. “It’s crazy that in 12 hours it’s back to normal.”

But all around Watertown, the only subject was the surreal transformation of this quiet suburban town into a stage for the final act of a gruesome drama that had played out all week. People spent Saturday trying to make sense of it.

Mike Doucette, 27, a chimney sweep, had witnessed one of the most unsettling moments of the whole week — when one of the suspects was escaping the scene of a shootout and drove over the other, his older brother, who had been mortally wounded. The brothers were identified as Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, who is now hospitalized, and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, who died after the shootout.

Mr. Doucette said that the older brother was already lying in the street after the shootout and the younger one was speeding away from the scene when the undercarriage of the car caught the older brother. He said the car dragged the older brother about 30 feet, right in front of Mr. Doucette’s house, where a dark streak remains in the street. When the younger brother bumped into a police cruiser, the body was dislodged, Mr. Doucette said.

The scene had become a tourist site by Saturday, with people taking pictures, not only of the bloodstained street, but also where fragments of shrapnel had lodged in the siding of several houses.

Franklin Street, where the younger brother was captured on Friday hiding in a boat, remained blocked off on Saturday. But it quickly became a destination for curious neighbors and camera crews. David Henneberry, the owner of the boat, was not available for interviews, but neighbors said he was retired and very fond of the craft, which he used for fishing.

As people milled around the street, very few said they were concerned that no one had read Mr. Tsarnaev his Miranda rights. Perhaps the most adamant was DeAnna Finn, who lives a few houses from where the suspect was captured. “Civil rights?” she asked rhetorically. “When you do something like this, you just signed a contract giving away your rights.”

She declared: “An eye for an eye. Stick him in a cell with a pressure cooker,” a reference to the crude devices the suspects are believed to have used to set off explosions at the marathon, which killed 3 people on Monday and injured more than 170 others.

One resident who disagreed on this topic was Pamela Rosenstein, 44, who is a project director at “Nova” for WGBH-TV, a public broadcaster in Boston. “They have to proceed as carefully within the judicial system as they did in capturing him,” she said.

Other neighbors were amazed at the number of bullet holes around town, in the walls of people’s houses, in trees and in stop signs.

“Houses are full of bullet holes,” said Laura Buch, a musicologist in Watertown, “and it’s miraculous that none of the people inside are full of bullet holes.”

At the same time, investigators from the F.B.I. were interviewing neighbors and retracing the path that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev took during his rampage through town. Investigators in white hazardous-materials suits were taking pictures on Saturday of the boat, from which the white shrink wrap had been removed, revealing that the boat’s windshield had been broken.

“Now we’re back to being the most boring street in the country,” said Stacy Rolfe, 30, a catering manager, who said that as the second suspect fled through town in the wee hours of Friday, he ran right past her front door.

Dumitru and Olga Ciuc lived just a couple of doors down from where the boat was parked, and on Friday night, a police officer ordered them out, although he let them take their dog.

When the Ciucs, who immigrated to the United States from Romania, were allowed to return later that night to the house where they have lived for more than 20 years, they found the ransacked remnants of a SWAT command center. Officers had taken positions in second-floor rooms of their home that overlooked the 20-foot boat. Dressers were shifted about, and blinds and windows were removed. In a room that their granddaughter uses, a flower-patterned comforter had been thrown about, and a “Dora the Explorer” music book and large stuffed dog were splayed on the bed, under a pile of windows and blinds.

Mr. Ciuc picked up a window panel from the bed to reinstall it into what was now a gap in his wall where a stiff wind blew through, whipping up shiny, silver curtains. He smirked.

“Oh, my God,” he said. “I love the F.B.I.”

On Saturday morning, Sunny McDonough, 34, a hairstylist and accountant who lives in Watertown, brought her 3-year-old daughter to Dunkin’ Donuts for a treat after having been cooped up for so long.

Ms. McDonough said she expected the ordeal to bring more people to Watertown. “Now we’re on the map,” she said. “And I think our property values are going to go up by 10 percent. Everyone knows where we are now, and they might be more inclined to visit and go to the diner and the stores.

“We’re really a safe, suburban community,” she said — and then caught herself and smiled. “Except for the terrorist hiding in the boat.”


Katharine Q. Seelye reported from Watertown, Mass.,

and John Schwartz from New York.

John Eligon contributed reporting from Watertown.

    After Night of Terror in Boston Suburb, a Dawn of Doughnuts and Relief, NYT, 20.4.2013,






Immigration and Fear


April 20, 2013
The New York Times


Much of the country was still waking up to the mayhem and confusion outside Boston on Friday morning when Senator Charles Grassley decided to link the hunt for terrorist bombers to immigration reform.

“How can individuals evade authorities and plan such attacks on our soil?” asked Mr. Grassley, the Iowa Republican, at the beginning of a hearing on the Senate’s immigration bill. “How can we beef up security checks on people who wish to enter the U.S.?”

The country is beginning to discuss seriously the most sweeping overhaul of immigration since 1986, with hearings in the Senate last week and this week, and a possible vote by early summer. After years of stalemate, the mood has shifted sharply, with bipartisan Congressional coalitions, business and labor leaders, law-enforcement and religious groups, and a majority of the public united behind a long-delayed overhaul of the crippled system.

Until the bombing came along, the antis were running out of arguments. They cannot rail against “illegals,” since the bill is all about making things legal and upright, with registration, fines and fees. They cannot argue seriously that reform is bad for business: turning a shadow population of anonymous, underpaid laborers into on-the-books employees and taxpayers, with papers and workplace protections, will only help the economy grow.

About all they have left is scary aliens.

There is a long tradition of raw fear fouling the immigration debate. Lou Dobbs ranted about superhighways from Mexico injecting Spanish speakers deep into the heartland. Gov. Jan Brewer told lies about headless bodies in the Arizona desert. And now Representative Louie Gohmert, a Texas Republican, is warning of radical Islamists posing as Hispanics and infiltrating from the southern border.

But the Boston events have nothing to do with immigration reform. Even if we stop accepting refugees and asylum seekers, stop giving out green cards and devise a terror-profiling system that can bore into the hearts of 9-year-olds, which seems to be Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s age when he entered the United States, we will still face risks. And we will not have fixed immigration.

There is a better way to be safer: pass an immigration bill. If terrorists, drug traffickers and gangbangers are sharp needles in the immigrant haystack, then shrink the haystack. Get 11 million people on the books. Find out who they are.

The Senate bill includes no fewer than four separate background checks as immigrants move from the shadows to citizenship. It tightens the rules on employment verification and includes new ways to prevent misuse of Social Security numbers. It has an entry-exit visa system to monitor traffic at borders and ports.

And if we are serious about making America safer, why not divert some of the billions now lavished on the border to agencies fighting gangs, drugs, illegal guns and workplace abuse? Or to community policing and English-language classes, so immigrants can more readily cooperate with law enforcement? Why not make immigrants feel safer and invested in their neighborhoods, so they don’t fear and shun the police? Why not stop outsourcing immigration policing to local sheriffs who chase traffic offenders and janitors?

As we have seen with the failure of gun control, a determined minority wielding false arguments can kill the best ideas. The immigration debate will test the resilience of the reform coalition in Congress. Changes so ambitious require calm, thoughtful deliberation, and a fair amount of courage. They cannot be allowed to come undone with irrelevant appeals to paranoia and fear.

    Immigration and Fear, NYT, 20.4.2013,






F.B.I. Interview Led Homeland Security

to Hold Up Citizenship for One Brother


April 20, 2013


Department of Homeland Security officials decided in recent months not to grant an application for American citizenship by Tamerlan Tsarnaev, one of two brothers suspected in the Boston Marathon bombings, after a routine background check revealed that he had been interviewed in 2011 by the F.B.I., federal officials said on Saturday.

Mr. Tsarnaev died early Friday after a shootout with the police, and officials said that at the time of his death, his application for citizenship was still under review and was being investigated by federal law enforcement officials.

It had been previously reported that Mr. Tsarnaev’s application might have been held up because of a domestic abuse episode. But the officials said that it was the record of the F.B.I. interview that threw up red flags and halted, at least temporarily, Mr. Tsarnaev’s citizenship application. Federal law enforcement officials reported on Friday that the F.B.I. interviewed Mr. Tsarnaev in January 2011 at the request of the Russian government, which suspected that he had ties to Chechen terrorists.

The officials pointed to the decision to hold up that application as evidence that his encounter with the F.B.I. did not fall through the cracks in the vast criminal and national security databases that the Department of Homeland Security and the F.B.I. review as a standard requirement for citizenship. The application, which Mr. Tsarnaev presented on Sept. 5, also prompted “additional investigation” of him this year by federal law enforcement agencies, according to the officials. They declined to say how far that examination had progressed or what it covered.

The handling of Mr. Tsarnaev’s application could be crucial for the Obama administration in the Senate debate that began this week over a bipartisan bill, which the president supports, for a sweeping immigration overhaul. Some Republicans skeptical of the bill have said they will watch the Boston bombings investigation to see if it reveals security lapses in the immigration system that should be closed before Congress proceeds to other parts of the bill, including a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants.

The record of the F.B.I. interview was enough to cause Homeland Security to hold up Mr. Tsarnaev’s application. He presented those papers several weeks after he returned from a six-month trip overseas, primarily to Russia, and only six days after his brother, Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev, 19, had his own citizenship application approved. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is in custody and is in serious condition in a hospital.

Late last year, Homeland Security officials contacted the F.B.I. to learn more about its interview with Tamerlan Tsarnaev, federal law enforcement officials said. The F.B.I. reported its conclusion that he did not present a threat.

At that point, Homeland Security officials did not move to approve the application nor did they deny it, but they left it open for “additional review.”

Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s record also showed that he had been involved in an episode of domestic violence in 2009. His father, Anzor, said in an interview on Friday in the Russian republic of Dagestan, where he lives, that Tamerlan had an argument with a girlfriend and that he “hit her lightly.”

Under immigration law, certain domestic violence offenses can disqualify an immigrant from becoming an American citizen, and perhaps expose him to deportation. But the Homeland Security review found that while Mr. Tsarnaev was arrested, he was not convicted in the episode. The law requires a serious criminal conviction in a domestic violence case for officials to initiate deportation, federal officials said.

Both Tsarnaev brothers came to the United States and remained here legally under an asylum petition in 2002 by their father, who claimed he feared for his life because of his activities in Chechnya. Both sons applied for citizenship after they had been living here as legal permanent residents for at least five years, as the law requires.


William K. Rashbaum and Michael S. Schmidt contributed reporting.

    F.B.I. Interview Led Homeland Security to Hold Up Citizenship for One Brother, NYT, 20.4.2013,






Manhunt’s Turning Point Came in the Decision

to Release Suspects’ Images


April 20, 2013
The New York Times


WASHINGTON — With thousands of tips pouring in from the public, investigators for the Federal Bureau of Investigation were homing in on the Boston Marathon bombing suspects on Thursday morning — or so they thought.

By that afternoon, however, the promising leads had collapsed, and officials confronted a risky decision: proceed without the help of the public to avoid tipping off the suspects or publicize images of them and risk driving them deeper into hiding or worse.

F.B.I. officials, who had been debating all week whether to go to the public, were ultimately convinced that they had to release the photographs because the investigation was stalling and bureau analysts had finally developed clear images of the suspects from hours of video footage.

“We were working the videos, and the footage was getting better and better as the week went on, and by Thursday we got a good frontal facial shot,” a senior law enforcement official said. “That tipped it.”

The official added: “With that type of quality photo, there was no doubt about who they were. We had these murderers on the loose, and we couldn’t hold back, and we needed help finding them.”

The decision — which involved Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. and Robert S. Mueller III, the director of the F.B.I. — was one of the most crucial turning points in a remarkable crowd-sourcing manhunt for the plotters of a bombing that killed three people and wounded more than 170.

While the decision to publicize the suspects’ identities resulted in the arrest of one of the men, it set in motion a violent string of events that lasted for 26 hours. Over that time, a police officer was killed, one of the suspects died, several officers sustained life-threatening injuries and one of the country’s major cities was shut down.

On Saturday morning, the younger of the two suspects, Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev, 19, remained in serious condition at a Boston hospital. His brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, died early Friday after a shootout with the police.

The authorities knew that broadly distributing the images — some captured by ubiquitous surveillance cameras and cellphone snapshots and winnowed down using sophisticated facial-recognition software — would accelerate the digital dragnet, but they did not realize the level of chaos it would create.

Intelligence and law enforcement officials said the authorities in Boston weighed the risks of some mayhem against their growing fear that time was slipping away and that heavily armed and increasingly dangerous men, and possibly accomplices, could wage new attacks in the Boston area or beyond.

Federal authorities involved in the case had briefed administration and Congressional officials on their hopes to arrest the suspects early Thursday without revealing their hand. But those plans vanished by that afternoon.

“We thought we had good leads,” the senior law enforcement official said. “We were working on some stuff, and we got to a point where it leveled off, and then there was nothing imminent, so we moved with what we thought would result in identifying them.”

The authorities first developed information about the suspects’ whereabouts late Thursday when one of them was seen in video footage that was being reviewed from a convenience store in Cambridge that had just been robbed.

Shortly after the suspects left the convenience store, the authorities received a report that a police officer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology had been ambushed and killed.

And then, for two hours, there was no sign of the suspects.

It was only after the suspects decided not to kill the owner of a sport utility vehicle that had been carjacked and instead threw him out of his car around 1 a.m. — a decision that ultimately undid their plans to elude the authorities — that they re-emerged on the authorities’ radar.

“If he stayed in the car, they could have tried to drive to New Hampshire or something — it would have added some real time to things, which would have been bad and who knows what they would have done,” the law enforcement official said. “They were desperate and acting pretty crazy.”

The driver called 911, telling the authorities that the two people who had held him up at gunpoint had said they were the marathon bombers. The authorities put out an all-points bulletin for the S.U.V., and officers in Watertown, 10 miles west of Boston, spotted it just minutes later.

A chaotic chase ensued, with the suspects throwing pipe bombs out of the speeding vehicle. Of the five that were thrown, three exploded, injuring several officers.

The suspects were ultimately cornered by the police and, over several minutes, engaged in a shootout in the middle of Watertown. Armed with handguns and long firearms, the suspects injured several officers. The older suspect, who was strapped with explosives, was killed as he approached the officers.

After Tamerlan Tsarnaev was shot, the younger brother — who was low on ammunition — shifted to the driver’s seat of the car from the passenger’s seat, slammed it into reverse, ran over his brother, sped away and quickly abandoned the vehicle. From that point until he was captured roughly 20 hours later, he was again off the authorities’ radar.

It was only at that point that the authorities learned the identities of the suspects. As the authorities and emergency responders were rushing the older brother to the hospital, the F.B.I. used a small portable machine to scan the suspect’s fingerprint, and it quickly returned the result: Tamerlan Tsarnaev.

At the hospital, efforts to save his life were unsuccessful.

With a name, the F.B.I. and other investigators began an intensive search of their databases, and agents fanned out across the country to interview family members and others who might have known the suspects. That led the authorities to uncover the files from two years ago revealing a request from the Russian government that the F.B.I. conduct a background check on the older brother to determine if he had been radicalized.

The F.B.I. had determined that he was not a threat, and Tamerlan Tsarnaev traveled to the Dagestan and Chechnya regions of Russia early last year.

By early Friday, Watertown had been transformed into an armed camp, with hundreds of police officers and agents searching house by house, and the Boston area was shut down.

But by 6 p.m. Friday, there was still no sign of the young fugitive, and Gov. Deval Patrick lifted the restrictions.

That order allowed a Watertown resident to go outside for the first time all day, where he spotted blood on a boat in his backyard. He pulled back the tarp on top, peered in and saw a young man covered in blood.

Within minutes, police cars were screaming toward the home. Shots were fired. By 8:45 p.m., Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, whom the authorities believed had suffered a bullet wound at some point in the chaos, was in custody and being rushed to the hospital.

    Manhunt’s Turning Point Came in the Decision to Release Suspects’ Images, NYT, 20.4.2013,






Legal Questions Riddle Boston Marathon Case


April 20, 2013
The New York Times


The capture of the Boston Marathon bombing suspect raises a host of freighted legal issues for a society still feeling the shadow of Sept. 11, including whether he should be read a Miranda warning, how he should be charged, where he might be tried and whether the bombings on Boylston Street last Monday were a crime or an act of war.

The suspect, Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev, 19, was taken, bleeding, to a hospital on Friday night, and it remained unclear on Saturday whether he was conscious.

The authorities would typically arraign a suspect in a courtroom by Monday, a process that involves his being represented by a lawyer.

Most experts expected the case to be handled by the federal authorities, who were preparing a criminal complaint, including the use of weapons of mass destruction, which can carry the death penalty because deaths resulted from the blasts.

The decision to seek the death penalty must be made by Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. Under federal law, prosecutors must go through what is known within the Justice Department as a death-penalty protocol, under which the United States Attorney’s Office and Justice Department lawyers in Washington analyze all aspects of the crime, as well as the defendant’s background, criminal history and other characteristics.

“I think we can expect the prosecution to put together a meticulous case based on the forensic evidence, the videos, eyewitness test and any statements that the surviving defendant makes to the authorities,” said Kelly T. Currie, who led the Violent Crimes and Terrorism section in the Brooklyn United States Attorney’s Office from 2006 to 2008, where he supervised a number of terrorism prosecutions.

“I would think it’s going to be a very strong case, and ultimately all the pieces put together are cumulatively going to show a pretty full mosaic of this defendant’s actions leading up to the attack and in its wake,” Mr. Currie said.

Massachusetts has no death penalty, so a defense attorney in this case might seek to have the case tried in state court. State and county officials might also be eager to prosecute the defendant in the deaths of four of their residents.

President Obama described the attack that Mr. Tsarnaev and his older brother, Tamerlan, 26, were accused of committing as “terrorism.” Tamerlan Tsarnaev was killed.

The administration has said it planned to begin questioning the younger Mr. Tsarnaev for a period without delivering the Miranda warning that he had a right to remain silent and to have a lawyer present.

Normally such a warning is necessary if prosecutors want to introduce statements made by a suspect in custody as evidence in court, but the administration said it was invoking an exception for questions about immediate threats to public safety. The Justice Department has pressed the view that in terrorism cases the length of time and type of questioning that fall under that exception is broader than what would be permissible in ordinary criminal cases, a view upheld by a federal judge in the case of the man convicted of trying to bomb a Detroit-bound airliner in 2009.

Civil libertarians have objected to the more aggressive interpretation of the exception to the Miranda rule, which protects the Constitutional right against involuntary self-incrimination. Anthony D. Romero, the executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union, said that it would be acceptable to withhold Miranda before asking whether there were any more bombs hidden in Boston, but that once the F.B.I. went into broader questioning, it must not “cut corners.”

But some prosecutors suggested that if any confession was unnecessary to convict him, then the F.B.I. might keep him talking without a warning without ultimately invoking the more disputed version of the public-safety exception to introduce it in court.

“I see a fairly strong case against this young man based on a great deal of evidence so, as a prosecutor, the top of my list would not be necessarily to Mirandize him and get a usable confession,” said David Raskin, a former federal prosecutor in terrorism cases in New York.

At the same time, some Republican senators, including John McCain of Arizona and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, argued that using the criminal-justice system was a mistake and that Mr. Tsarnaev should instead be held indefinitely by the military as an “enemy combatant,” under the laws of war, and questioned without any Miranda warning or legal representation, in order to gain intelligence.

Still, there is not yet any public evidence suggesting that Mr. Tsarnaev was part of Al Qaeda or its associated forces — the specific enemy with which the United States is engaged in an armed conflict. And some legal specialists also doubted that the Constitution would permit holding a suspect like Mr. Tsarnaev as an enemy combatant.

“This is an American citizen being tried for a crime that occurred domestically, and there is simply no way to treat him like an enemy combatant — not even close,” said Alan M. Dershowitz, a Harvard law professor and seasoned defense lawyer.

Whether legal proceedings take place in state or federal court — and both could occur, one after the other — a defense lawyer for Mr. Tsarnaev could contend that a fair trial was impossible in the Boston area and seek to have it moved. The lawyer could argue that so many people in Boston were affected by the bombings that no objective jury could be empaneled. The trial of Timothy McVeigh, the Oklahoma City bomber responsible for killing scores and injuring hundreds in 1995, was moved to Colorado.

On the other hand, witnesses and officials are all in the Boston area, and a trial that required them to travel extensively could be seen by a judge as an inappropriate burden on the community.

Based on statements by the authorities to date, the case against Mr. Tsarnaev appears relatively strong. The F.B.I. released videos showing him and his brother at the marathon in the area of the explosions, carrying backpacks like those that forensic tests indicated contained the pressure-cooker bombs that killed three and maimed scores. Boston’s top F.B.I. official said when the videos were released that Mr. Tsarnaev, then identified as Suspect 2, placed one bag at the site of the second explosion, outside the Forum restaurant, moments before the second blast.

Law-enforcement officials have also said the brothers admitted to the bombings — as well as to the killing on Thursday night of a Massachusetts Institute of Technology campus police officer — to a man whose car they stole at gunpoint. There is, in addition, the possibility of testimony by one of the bombing victims, a man whose legs were blown off, who told the F.B.I. that he saw Tamerlan Tsarnaev place the other bomb.

Officers who exchanged gunfire with the brothers Friday morning would also be witnesses, and their testimony would most likely focus on the gun battle.

Thomas Anthony Durkin, a defense lawyer and former assistant United States attorney in Chicago, said he doubted that a fair trial could be had for Mr. Tsarnaev anywhere in the country, given the emotion around the case. In any case, he said, the primary goal of a defense lawyer would be “to save his life.”

To that end, he and others said, three factors would most likely be highlighted — Mr. Tsarnaev’s relative youth, at 19; the influence his older brother seems to have had on him; and his own impressive past of sports, friendships and academic performance.

Mr. Dershowitz, who said that any lawyer who took the case would become the most despised person in the country, agreed that a number of factors should play a role in preventing the death penalty. On the other hand, he noted, Mr. Tsarnaev is accused of putting down “a bag full of nails and bombs in front of an 8-year-old kid, and that will probably trump everything.”

    Legal Questions Riddle Boston Marathon Case, NYT, 20.4.2013,






Debate Over Delaying of Miranda Rights


April 20, 2013
The New York Times


WASHINGTON — The Obama administration’s announcement that it would question the Boston Marathon bombing suspect for a period without first reading him the Miranda warning of his right to remain silent and have a lawyer present has revived a constitutionally charged debate over the handling of terrorism cases in the criminal justice system.

The administration’s effort to stretch a gap in the Miranda rule for questioning about immediate threats to public safety has alarmed advocates of individual rights.

Anthony Romero, the executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union, said it would be acceptable for the Federal Bureau of Investigation to ask the suspect, Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev, 19, a naturalized American citizen, about “imminent” threats, like whether other bombs are hidden around Boston. But he said that once the F.B.I. gets into broader questioning, it must not “cut corners.”

Mr. Tsarnaev remained hospitalized on Saturday for treatment of injuries sustained when he was captured by the police on Friday night, and it was not clear whether he had been questioned.

“The public safety exception to Miranda should be a narrow and limited one, and it would be wholly inappropriate and unconstitutional to use it to create the case against the suspect,” Mr. Romero said. “The public safety exception would be meaningless if interrogations are given an open-ended time horizon.”

At the other end of the spectrum, some conservatives have called for treating terrorism-related cases — even those arising on American soil or involving citizens — as a military matter, holding a suspect indefinitely as an “enemy combatant” without a criminal defendants’ rights. Two Republican senators, John McCain of Arizona and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, called for holding Mr. Tsarnaev under the laws of war, interrogating him without any Miranda warning or defense lawyer.

“Our goal at this critical juncture should be to gather intelligence and protect our nation from further attacks,” they said. “We remain under threat from radical Islam and we hope the Obama administration will seriously consider the enemy combatant option.”

The Miranda warning comes from a 1966 case in which the Supreme Court held that, to protect against involuntary self-incrimination, if prosecutors want to use statements at a trial that a defendant made in custody, the police must first have advised him of his rights. The court later created an exception, allowing prosecutors to use statements made before any warning in response to questions about immediate threats to public safety, like where a gun is hidden.

The question applying those rules in terrorism cases arose after a Nigerian named Umar Farouk Abdulmuttalab tried to blow up a Detroit-bound airliner on Dec. 25, 2009. After landing in Michigan, he was given painkillers for burns and confessed to a nurse. He also spoke freely to F.B.I. agents for 50 minutes before going into surgery.

After he awoke, the F.B.I. read Mr. Abdulmuttalab the Miranda warning, and he stopped cooperating for several weeks.

Republicans portrayed the Obama administration’s handling of the case in the criminal justice system as endangering national security, setting the template for a recurring debate.

In late January 2010, Mr. Abdulmuttalab’s family and lawyer persuaded him to start talking again, and he provided a wealth of further information about Al Qaeda’s branch in Yemen. Later, during pretrial hearings, his lawyers asked a federal judge, Nancy G. Edmunds, to suppress the early statements.

But Judge Edmunds ruled that the statement to the nurse had been voluntary and lucid despite the painkillers, and that the 50-minute questioning was a “fully justified” use of the public safety exception. She declined to suppress the statements, and Mr. Abdulmuttalab pleaded guilty and was sentenced to life in prison.

By then, the Justice Department had sent the F.B.I. a policy memo urging agents, when questioning “operational terrorists,” to use a broad interpretation of the public safety exception. The memo asserted that giving the “magnitude and complexity” of terrorism cases, a lengthier delay is permissible, unlike ordinary criminal cases.

“Depending on the facts, such interrogation might include, for example, questions about possible impending or coordinated terrorist attacks; the location, nature and threat posed by weapons that might post an imminent danger to the public; and the identities, locations and activities or intentions of accomplices who may be plotting additional imminent attacks,” it said.

Judge Edmunds’s ruling was seen by the administration as confirmation that its new policy was constitutional — and that it was neither necessary nor appropriate to put domestic cases in military hands.

Stephen Vladeck, an American University law professor, said the middle ground sought by the administration has put both the civil libertarian and national security conservative factions in a bind.

“This is the paradox of progressive national security law, which is how do you at once advocate for the ability of the civilian courts without accepting that some of that includes compromises that are problematic from a civil liberties perspective?” he said. “The paradox is just as true for the right, because they are ardent supporters of things like the public-safety exception, but its existence actually undermines the case for military commissions.”

    Debate Over Delaying of Miranda Rights, NYT, 20.4.2013,






Suspects With Foot in 2 Worlds,

Perhaps Echoing Plots of Past


April 20, 2013
The New York Times


Three years ago, when Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was assigned by his high school English teacher to write an essay on something he felt passionate about, he chose the troubled land of his ancestors: Chechnya. He wrote to Brian Glyn Williams, a professor at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth.

“He wanted to know more about his Chechen roots,” recalled Mr. Williams, a specialist in the history of Chechnya, a predominantly Muslim republic in Russia’s southern Caucasus Mountains. “He wanted to know more about Russia’s genocidal war on the Chechen people.”

Mr. Tsarnaev was born in Dagestan and had never lived in neighboring Chechnya, relatives said, but it fascinated him. The professor sent him material covering Stalin’s 1944 deportation of the Chechens to Central Asia, in which an estimated 30 percent of them died, and the two brutal wars that Russia waged against Chechen separatists in the 1990s, which killed about 200,000 of the population of one million.

As law enforcement and counterterrorism officials try to understand why Mr. Tsarnaev, 19, and his older brother, Tamerlan, 26, would attack the Boston Marathon, they will have to consider a cryptic mix of national identity, ideology, religion and personality.

Even President Obama, when he addressed the nation on Friday night after Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was captured, seemed to be searching for answers. “Why did young men who grew up and studied here, as part of our communities and our country, resort to such violence?” he said.

It remains to be seen whether personal grievance or some type of ideology drove the Tsarnaevs to pack black powder into pressure cookers to kill and maim people they had never met, as investigators say they did.

Both brothers were open about their devotion to Islam, and Tamerlan’s Web postings suggested an attraction to radicalism, but neither appears to have publicly embraced the ideology of violent jihad. The construction of the bombs used in Boston resembled instructions in the magazine Inspire, the online publication of the Al Qaeda branch in Yemen, but the design is also available elsewhere on the Internet.

Their relatives have expressed anguished bafflement at their reported actions, and it is conceivable that the motive for the attack will remain as inscrutable as those of some mass shootings in recent years.

Still, as investigators try to understand the brothers’ thinking, search for ties to militant groups and draw lessons for preventing attacks, they will be thinking of a handful of notable cases in which longtime American residents who had no history of violence turned to jihadi terrorism: the plot to blow up the New York subway in 2009, the Fort Hood shootings the same year and the failed Times Square bombing of 2010, among others.

“I think there’s often a sense of divided loyalties in these cases where Americans turn to violent jihad — are you American first or are you Muslim first? And also of proving yourself as a man of action,” said Brian Fishman, who studies terrorism at the New America Foundation in Washington.

Mr. Fishman cautioned that it was too early to draw any firm conclusions about the Tsarnaev brothers, but said there were intriguing echoes of other cases in which young men caught between life in America and loyalty to fellow Muslims in a distant homeland turned to violence, partly as a way of settling the puzzle of their identity.

Akbar Ahmed, the chairman of Islamic studies at American University in Washington, described such men: “They are American, but not quite American.” His new book, “The Thistle and the Drone: How America’s War on Terrorism Became a War on Tribal Islam,” examines how tribal codes of hospitality, courage and revenge have shaped the reaction to American counterterrorism strikes.

“They don’t really know the old country,” Professor Ahmed said of young immigrants attracted to jihad, “but they don’t fit in to the new country.”

Add feelings of guilt that they are enjoying a comfortable life in America while their putative brothers and sisters suffer in a distant land and an element of personal estrangement — say, Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s statement in an interview long before the attack that after five years in the United States, “I don’t have a single American friend” — and it is a combustible mix.

“They are furious,” Mr. Ahmed said. “They’re out to cause pain.”

After about a decade in the United States, the Tsarnaev brothers had both enrolled in college — the elder brother at Bunker Hill Community College, though he had dropped out; the younger at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth. Tamerlan was a Golden Gloves boxer and was married with a child; Dzhokhar had been a popular student at a Cambridge school and earned a scholarship for college.

On the face of it, they were doing reasonably well. But the same might have been said, at least at certain stages in their lives, of those behind other recent attacks. Faisal Shahzad, who staged the failed Times Square bombing at age 30, had graduated from the University of Bridgeport in Connecticut, earned an M.B.A. and worked as a financial analyst. He married an American-born woman of Pakistani ancestry, and they had two children. But as he became steadily more focused on radical religion, he traveled to Pakistan and sought training as a terrorist.

Just six months earlier, in November 2009, Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, then 39, was accused of opening fire on a crowd of soldiers and civilians at Fort Hood, Tex., killing 13 people. Born in Virginia to Palestinian parents, he had graduated from medical school and become an Army psychiatrist.

But he began to ponder what he felt was a conflict between his duty as an American soldier and his allegiance to Islam. Months before the shootings, investigators say, he consulted Anwar al-Awlaki, the radical Yemeni-American cleric who was later killed in an American drone strike, about whether killing his fellow soldiers to prevent them from fighting Muslims in Afghanistan would be justified.

Even Najibullah Zazi, the Afghan-American who plotted to attack the New York subway with backpacks loaded with explosives, spent five years as a popular coffee vendor in Manhattan’s financial district, with a “God Bless America” sign on his cart. He was 24 at the time of his arrest.

In the history of Islamic radicalism, there are far more prominent figures who spent time in the United States. The Egyptian Sayyid Qutb, who would become the most influential philosopher of jihad against the West, visited on an educational exchange program from 1948 to 1950, developing a deep-seated revulsion for what he saw as American materialism and immorality.

In the 1980s, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, who went on to plan the Sept. 11 attacks, spent four years studying in North Carolina, earning an engineering degree. His American sojourn did not stop him from devoting the next two decades to plotting against Western and American targets.

If the grim Chechen history that Mr. Williams, the University of Massachusetts professor, shared with Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, turns out to be part of their motivation, one might have expected their anger to have been directed at Russians, not Americans. But in the mid-1990s, Mr. Williams said, the Chechen separatist movement split between those who focused locally on the struggle for independence and others who saw their fight as part of a global jihad.

In the propaganda pioneered by Al Qaeda, terrorism is merely self-defense against a perceived American war on Islam. There has been no more stark statement of this belief than the courtroom declarations of Mr. Shahzad as he pleaded guilty and was sentenced to life without parole for the failed bombing in Times Square.

Calling himself “a Muslim soldier,” Mr. Shahzad denounced the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and drone strikes in Pakistan and Yemen. The drones, he said, “kill women, children, they kill everybody.”

“It’s a war, and in war, they kill people,” he added. “They’re killing all Muslims.”

    Suspects With Foot in 2 Worlds, Perhaps Echoing Plots of Past, NYT, 20.4.2013,






Bomb Investigation Pivots to a New Mystery: Motive


April 20, 2013
The New York Times


With one suspect dead and the other captured and lying grievously wounded in a hospital, the investigation into the Boston Marathon bombings turned on Saturday to questions about the men’s motives, and to the significance of a trip by one of the bombers took to Chechnya.

Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who was killed early Friday after a shootout with police in Watertown, Mass., traveled to Russia for six months in 2012. Law enforcement officials are now conducting a review of that trip to see if Mr. Tsarnaev might have met with extremists or received training from them while abroad, current and former intelligence and law enforcement officials said.

Kevin R. Brock, a former senior F.B.I. and counterterrorism official, said, “It’s a key thread for investigators and the intelligence community to pull on.”

The investigators began scrutinizing the events in the months and years before the fatal attack, as Boston began to feel like itself for the first time in nearly a week. Monday had brought the bombing, near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, which killed three and wounded scores, and the tense days that followed culminated in Friday’s lockdown of the entire region as police searched for Mr. Tsarnaev’s younger brother from suburban backyards to an Amtrak train bound for New York City.

On Saturday morning, federal prosecutors were drafting a criminal complaint against Mr. Tsarnaev’s brother and suspected accomplice in the bombings, Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev, 19, who was wounded in the leg and neck and had lost a great deal of blood when he was captured Friday evening. The F.B.I. and local law enforcement agencies continued to gather evidence and investigate the bombings, the slaying of a Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer Thursday night and the subsequent battle with the police that left another officer critically wounded.

An official said the criminal complaint would likely include a constellation of charges stemming from both the bombings and the shooting, possibly including the use of weapons of mass destruction, an applicable charge for the detonation of a bomb. That charge, the official said, carries a maximum penalty of death. While Massachusetts has outlawed the death penalty, federal law allows it.

President Obama and Republican lawmakers devoted their weekly broadcast addresses to the Boston attack, with both sides finding a common voice over the five days of uproar and lockdown leading up to the death of the elder Mr. Tsarnaev, an amateur boxer who seemed to follow a path of anger and alienation, and the capture of his seemingly more easygoing and Americanized brother.

In his weekly address, the president applauded the “heroism and kindness” on display in the aftermath of the bombings. “Americans refuse to be terrorized,” he said. “Ultimately, that’s what we’ll remember from this week.”

In the Republican response, Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina sounded a note of national unity. While the bombers hoped to “shake the confidence of a city,” he said, “they have instead only strengthened the resolve of our nation.”

The seeds of arguments to come were already apparent, however. Questions arose concerning the arrest and prosecution of the surviving brother, and whether he should be given a Miranda warning and other elements of constitutional rights in criminal cases. Further attention surrounds the government’s early scrutiny of Tamerlan Tsarnaev and whether warning signs may have been missed.

In the hours after the arrest, Senators Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and John McCain of Arizona, both Republicans, issued a statement late Friday calling for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who is a naturalized American citizen, to be treated like a terrorist, not a criminal, with reduced constitutional rights and no right to remain silent as promised in Miranda warnings.

“It is absolutely vital the suspect be questioned for intelligence gathering purposes,” the statement said. “The least of our worries is a criminal trial which will likely be held years from now.”

The statement, released on Mr. Graham’s Facebook page, was immediately attacked by civil libertarians like Ellis Hughes of Durham, N.C., who wrote, “That is immoral, unconstitutional and wrong. Don’t let your fear or political ambitions damage our moral compass.”

In fact, investigators did invoke what the Justice Department has called a public-safety exception to delay the discussion of the Miranda rule with Mr. Tsarnaev.

As federal officials now step up their investigation, an important element will be the trip the elder brother made to Russia and Chechnya in 2012. In early 2011, the F.B.I. said in a statement, “a foreign government” — now acknowledged by officials to be Russia — asked for information about Tamerlan, “based on information that he was a follower of radical Islam and a strong believer, and that he had changed drastically since 2010 as he prepared to leave the United States for travel to the country’s region to join unspecified underground groups.” A senior law enforcement official said they feared he could be a risk, and “they had something on him and were concerned about him, and him traveling to their region.”

The bureau responded to the request by checking “U.S. government databases and other information to look for such things as derogatory telephone communications, possible use of online sites associated with the promotion of radical activity, associations with other persons of interest, travel history and plans, and education history,” the statement explained. The bureau also interviewed Tamerlan Tsarnaev and family members. According to the statement, “the FBI did not find any terrorism activity, domestic or foreign,” and conveyed those findings to “the foreign government” by the summer of 2011. As the law enforcement official put in, “We didn’t find anything on him that was derogatory”

Mr. Tsarnaev did travel to Russia early last year and returned six months later, on July 17, a law enforcement official said. He spent most of the time with his father in Makhachkala, the capital of the Dagestan region, the men’s father, Anzor Tsarnaev, told a Russian interviewer, but “we went to Chechnya to visit relatives,” he said.

Members of the Tsarnaev family in Makhachkala recalled those interviews vividly. In an interview in Russia, Zubeidat Tsarnaeva, the mother of the two men, said that the F.B.I. had questioned her older son closely. She recalled that they told her he was “an excellent boy,” but “At the same time they told me he is getting information from really, extremist sites, and they are afraid of him.”

The state news agency RIA Novosti quoted the father, Anzor Tsarnaev, about the F.B.I. agents close questioning, “two or three times,” of Tamerlan. The elder Tsarnaev, who lives in a five-story, yellow brick building in a working-class neighborhood of the city, recalled that the agents told his son, “We know what you read, what you drink, what you eat, where you go.” He said that they told Tamerlan that the questioning “is prophylactic, so that no one set off bombs on the streets of Boston, so that our children could peacefully go to school.”

Those comments, he said, disturbed him. “This conversation took place a year and a half ago. But there is a question, why would they talk about it then?”

Zubeidat Tsarnaeva expressed confidence in her sons’ innocence. “I am 100 percent sure this is a set-up,” she told an interviewer on Russia Today. Growing up, she said, “Nobody talked about terrorism.” While her older son “got involved in religion, religious politics five years ago,” she said, “he never told me that he would be on the side of jihad.”

It was in the aftermath of the visit to Dagestan and Chechnya, however, that the most obvious alienation emerged. One month after Tamerlan Tsarnaev returned to the United States, a YouTube page that appeared to belong to him was created and featured multiple jihadi videos that he had endorsed in the past six months. One video features the preaching of Abdul al-Hamid al-Juhani, an important ideologue in Chechnya; another focuses on Feiz Mohammad, an extremist Salafi Lebanese preacher based in Australia. He also created a playlist for Russian musical artist Timur Mucuraev, one of which promotes jihad, according to the SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors statements by jihadists.

Mr. Tsarnaev and his younger son first came to the United States legally in April 2002 on 90-day tourist visas, federal law enforcement officials said. Once in this country, the father applied for political asylum, claiming he feared deadly persecution based on his ties to Chechnya. Dzhokhar, who was 8 years old, applied for asylum under his father’s petition, the officials said, and became a naturalized citizen on Sept. 11 of last year. Tamerlan Tsarnaev came to the United States later, and applied applied last September 5 to become a United States citizen, federal law enforcement officials said.

Although Anzor Tsarnaev has said that his older son’s citizenship application was denied — and certainly would have been if he were under suspicion as a potential terrorist — the officials said it was still in process and had not been either approved or denied.

As a routine part of his application, Tamerlan was subject to a criminal background check by the F.B.I. Authorities there confirmed that he had been involved in a domestic violence incident during the time he was a green card holding resident, the officials said. A review of the incident delayed Tamerlan’s citizenship application, the officials said, but it was not deemed it serious enough to halt it.

The return to normal from the total lockdown that paralyzed the city on Friday will be gradual. On Saturday morning Logan International Airport was still being operated at a heightened state of security.

Reporting was contributed by Michael S. Schmidt from Washington, Ellen Barry from Moscow, Katherine Q. Seelye from Boston and Julia Preston from New York.

    Bomb Investigation Pivots to a New Mystery: Motive, NYT, 20.4.2013,






Violent Trail Adds 2 Victims,

Officers Linked by Friendship and Dedication


April 19, 2013
The New York Times


The violent overnight trail carved through Greater Boston by the two suspects in the Boston Marathon bombings has left in its wake two more victims, both young police officers who became friends as classmates in a police academy. Now one officer is dead, and the other is hospitalized, fighting for his life.

The tragic intertwining of these four lives began around 10:20 Thursday night, when, according to law enforcement officials, the police at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology received reports of gunfire on the Cambridge campus. Responding officers soon found their colleague, an M.I.T. officer, Sean A. Collier, 26, dead from multiple gunshots after possibly being ambushed in his police vehicle.

As investigators were determining that two men — believed to be the suspects, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, and his brother, Dzhokhar, 19 — had shot Officer Collier, word came from another part of Cambridge of a carjacking of a Mercedes-Benz sport utility vehicle at gunpoint by two men who would release its owner a half-hour later.

Within two hours, some of the officers who had responded to the shooting at M.I.T. were racing to Watertown, about five miles to the west, where the local police had tried to pull over the carjacked vehicle. In the ensuing shootout, the older Mr. Tsarnaev was shot dead, and a Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority police officer, Richard H. Donohue, 33, was seriously wounded.

Throughout the night and into the day, most of the nation focused its attention on the search for the younger Mr. Tsarnaev, a dragnet that had the Boston area in a nerve-jangling lockdown. Meanwhile, friends and family members of the two officers mourned and worried on the sidelines of an unfolding international event.

Officer Collier was a compact man with a crackling intellect who seemed born to be a police officer. “People come into police work for a lot of reasons,” the M.I.T. police chief, John DiFava, said. “He was one of those who came on because it was really what he was meant to do with his life.”

Sean Collier grew up in Wilmington, a leafy town of about 22,000 people less than 20 miles north of Boston. After high school, he graduated from Salem State University with a degree in criminal justice and eventually began working as an information-technology employee for the Police Department in Somerville, a congested blue-collar city hard against Cambridge.

According to Somerville’s mayor, Joseph A. Curtatone, everybody in the city seemed to know Mr. Collier, even though he was a kid from Wilmington. In addition to vastly improving the Police Department’s Web site, he immersed himself in the community, volunteering, for example, with the Somerville Boxing Club, a youth-outreach program, the mayor said.

“It’s like he was a lifer here,” Mr. Curtatone said.

But he yearned to shed civilian garb for a police uniform. When Mr. Collier applied for a job with the M.I.T. police, Chief DiFava had already received high recommendations for this young man from the chief’s neighbor, a Somerville deputy police chief, and a cousin, a Somerville police officer.

In January 2012, Mr. Collier joined the ranks of nearly 60 M.I.T. police officers, all armed with semiautomatic pistols. Their job is to keep safe a small city of 11,000 people, many of them foreign graduate students who, Chief DiFava said, “come from places where the cops are not their friends.”

But the chief said Officer Collier won over many students, in part by joining the Outing Club, whose members hike, ski and explore the New England outdoors.

“And I’ll tell you, they loved him,” Chief DiFava said.

That affection is reflected in many online reminiscences from students who recalled his easygoing but protective nature. Among the outdoors crowd, he was known for his willingness to yodel, for sharing his pepperoni snacks, and for making the most of every moment, as when he wrote a note inviting people to hike a part of the White Mountains on the anniversary of an ascent of Mount Everest by the Polish mountaineer Krzysztof Wielicki:

“... so feel free to bring any Polish dishes, wear Poland’s colors (red and white), bring a Polish flag (because you know you have one laying around your apartment), or just actually be from Poland (cool!) to commemorate this awesome feat.”

But Officer Collier harbored his greatest passion for police work. An M.I.T. colleague, Officer Robert Molino, recalled that the young officer arrested a “bad egg” shortly after he was hired, so impressing some Boston police officers that they called him Cobra, a nickname that stuck.

Officer Collier recently bought a Ford pickup truck, and he was hinting to friends that he was about to leave M.I.T. for another job. Mayor Curtatone of Somerville confirmed that the city was about to hire Officer Collier as a police officer.

“He would have been a superstar for us,” the mayor said.

On Thursday, Officer Collier once again donned the light blue shirt and dark blue trousers of an M.I.T. police officer. Toward the end of his shift, the officer who had a way of putting foreign students at ease was shot and killed, the police say, by brothers from another country.

A few hours later, Officer Donohue — Officer Collier’s friend from the M.B.T.A. Transit Police Academy’s 25th Municipal Police Officers Class, in 2010 — was shot once during a gunfight with the two brothers. He was taken to Mount Auburn Hospital in Cambridge, where he was listed Friday night in critical but stable condition.

Officer Donohue grew up in Winchester, a pleasant suburb several miles north of Boston. After high school, he attended the Virginia Military Institute, where a schoolmate, Jake Copty, remembered him as “a fun and laid-back cadet with a wicked sense of humor.”

According to The Boston Globe, Officer Donohue and his wife have a 7-month-old son and live in Woburn, where neighbors say he is a good athlete and runner. The Globe also reported that his former neighbors in Winchester had honored him by lining their yards with small American flags.

Just three months ago, the M.B.T.A. transit police chief, Paul MacMillan, awarded Officer Donohue a certificate of commendation for rushing to the aid of a man stabbed in the throat in Boston’s Chinatown station. On Friday, Chief MacMillan was honoring the officer again.

“Facing extraordinary danger, Officer Donohue never hesitated in fully engaging the terrorists in order to protect the citizens of the commonwealth,” the chief said in a statement. “I am extremely proud of him, and cannot say enough about his heroic actions.”

Meanwhile, the Collier family members issued a statement of their own, expressing heartbreak over the loss, and saying the only solace is in knowing that their Sean had died doing what he had committed his life to do, and bravely.


Dina Kraft contributed reporting from Cambridge, Mass.

    Violent Trail Adds 2 Victims, Officers Linked by Friendship and Dedication, NYT, 19.4.2013,






The Mind of a Terror Suspect


April 19, 2013
The New York Times


While the Boston area lay paralyzed by a lockdown, with one terror suspect dead and another on the loose as a massive manhunt filtered through the area’s arteries, we got a better sense of the second young man.

It’s complicated.

The suspects were brothers. The one who was on the loose was taken into custody on Friday evening. He was the younger of the two, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19. The elder, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, was killed in a confrontation with authorities, but not before participating in the fatal shooting of an M.I.T. police officer, the carjacking of an S.U.V. and the shooting of a transit police officer, who was critically injured.

They were from Chechnya. Tamerlan was a boxer; Dzhokhar, a college student.

“A picture has begun to emerge of 26-year-old Tamerlan Tsarnaev as an aggressive, possibly radicalized immigrant who may have ensnared his younger brother Dzhokhar — described almost universally as a smart and sweet kid — into an act of terror,” The Boston Globe reported Friday.

The Globe quoted a person named Zaur Tsarnaev, who the newspaper said identified himself as a 26-year-old cousin of the suspects, as saying, “I used to warn Dzhokhar that Tamerlan was up to no good.” Tamerlan “was always getting into trouble,” he added. “He was never happy, never cheering, never smiling. He used to strike his girlfriend. He hurt her a few times. He was not a nice man. I don’t like to speak about him. He caused problems for my family.”

But what about that image of Dzhokhar as sweet?

On Friday, BuzzFeed and CNN claimed to verify Dzhokhar’s Twitter account. The tweets posted on that account give a window into a bifurcated mind — on one level, a middle-of-the-road 19-year-old boy, but on another, a person with a mind leaning toward darkness.

Like many young people, the person tweeting from that account liked rap music, saying of himself, “#imamacbookrapper when I’m bored,” and quoting rap lyrics in his tweets.

He tweeted quite a bit about women, dating and relationships; many of his musings were misogynistic and profane. Still, he seemed to want to have it both ways, to be rude and respectful at once, tweeting on Dec. 24, 2012: “My last tweets felt too wrong. I don’t like to objectify women or judge anyone for their actions.”

He was a proud Muslim who tweeted about going to mosque and enjoying talking — and even arguing — about religion with others. But he seemed to believe that different faiths were in competition with one another. On Nov. 29, he tweeted: “I kind of like religious debates, just hearing what other people believe is interesting and then crushing their beliefs with facts is fun.”

His politics seemed jumbled. He was apparently a 9/11 Truther, posting a tweet on Sept. 1 that read in part, “Idk why it’s hard for many of you to accept that 9/11 was an inside job.” On Election Day he retweeted a tweet from Barack Obama that read: “This happened because of you. Thank you.” But on March 20 he tweeted, “Evil triumphs when good men do nothing.” This sounds like a take on a quote from Edmund Burke, who is viewed by many as the founder of modern Conservatism: “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev had strong views on the Middle East, tweeting on Nov. 28, “Free Palestine.” Later that day he tweeted, “I was going to make a joke about Hamas but it Israeli inappropriate.”

Toward the end of last year, the presence of dark tweets seemed to grow — tweets that in retrospect might have raised some concerns.

He tweeted about crime. On Dec. 28 he tweeted about what sounds like a hit-and-run: “Just saved a bunch of money on my car insurance by switching my car into reverse and driving away from the accident.” And on Feb. 6 he tweeted, “Everything in life can be free if you run fast enough.”

He posted other tweets that could be taken as particularly ominous.

Oct. 22: “i won’t run i’ll just gun you all out #thugliving.”

Jan. 5: “I don’t like when people ask unnecessary questions like how are you? Why so sad? Why do you need cyanide pills?”

Jan. 16: “Breaking Bad taught me how to dispose of a corpse.”

Feb. 2: “Do I look like that much of a softy?” The tweet continued with “little do these dogs know they’re barking at a lion.”

Feb. 13: “I killed Abe Lincoln during my two hour nap #intensedream.”

The last tweet on the account reads: “I’m a stress free kind of guy.” The whole of the Twitter feed would argue against that assessment.

    The Mind of a Terror Suspect, NYT, 19.4.2013,






Boy at Home in U.S., Swayed by One Who Wasn’t


April 19, 2013
The New York Times


One was a boxer, one a wrestler. One favored alligator shoes and fancy shirts, the other wore jeans, button-ups and T-shirts.

The younger one — the one their father described as “like an angel” — gathered around him a group of friends so loyal that more than one said they would testify for him, if it came to that.

The older one, who friends and family members said exerted a strong influence on his younger sibling — “He could manipulate him,” an uncle said — once told a photographer, “I don’t have a single American friend. I don’t understand them.”

A kaleidoscope of images, adjectives and anecdotes tumbled forth on Friday to describe Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, the two brothers suspected of carrying out the bombings at the Boston Marathon that killed three people and gravely wounded scores more.

What no one who knew them could say was why the young men, immigrants of Chechnyan heritage, would set off bombs among innocent people. The Tsarnaevs came with their family to the United States almost a decade ago from Kyrgyzstan, after living briefly in the Dagestan region of Russia. Tamerlan, who was killed early Friday morning in a shootout with law enforcement officers, was 15 at the time. Dzhokhar, who was in custody Friday evening, was only 8.

In America, they took up lives familiar to every new immigrant, gradually adapting to a new culture, a new language, new schools and new friends.

Dzhokhar, a handsome teenager with a wry yearbook smile, was liked and respected by his classmates at Cambridge Rindge and Latin School, where celebrities like Ben Affleck and Matt Damon had walked the halls before him. A classmate remembered how elated he seemed on the night of the senior prom. Wearing a black tuxedo and a red bow tie, he was with a date among 40 students who met at a private home before the event to have their photos taken, recalled Sierra Schwartz, 20.

“He was happy to be there, and people were happy he was there,” Ms. Schwartz said. “He was accepted and very well liked.”

A talented wrestler, he was listed as a Greater Boston League Winter All-Star. “He was a smart kid,” said Peter Payack, 63, assistant wrestling coach at the school. In 2011, the year he graduated, was awarded a $2,500 scholarship by the City of Cambridge, an honor granted only 35 to 40 students a year.

For Tamerlan, life seemed more difficult.

A promising boxer, he fought in the Golden Gloves National Tournament in 2009, and he was noticed by a young photographer, Johannes Hirn, who took him as a subject for an essay assignment in a photojournalism class at Boston University. “There are no values anymore,” Tamerlan said in the essay, which was later published in Boston University’s magazine The Comment. “People can’t control themselves.”

Anzor Tsarnaev, the brothers’ father, who returned to Russia about a year ago, said in a telephone interview there that his older son was hoping to become an American citizen — Dzhokhar became a naturalized citizen in 2012, but Tamerlan still held a green card — but that a 2009 domestic violence complaint was standing in his way.

“Because of his girlfriend, he hit her lightly, he was locked up for half an hour,” Mr. Tsarnaev said. “There was jealousy there.” Tamerlan later married and had a small child. He was interviewed by the F.B.I. in 2011 when a foreign government asked the bureau to determine whether he had extremist ties, according to a senior law enforcement official.

Yet Dzhokhar admired and emulated his older brother.

Peter Tean, 21, a high school wrestling teammate, said that he thought Dzhokhar’s intense interest in rough-and-tumble sports came from a desire to be like his brother.

“He’s done these violent sports because his brother’s a boxer,” Mr. Tean said. “He really loves his brother, looks up to him.”

At the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, Dzhokhar began to struggle academically. According to a university transcript reviewed by The New York Times, he was failing many of his classes. The transcript shows him receiving seven failing grades over three semesters, including F’s in Principles of Modern Chemistry, Intro to American Politics and Chemistry and the Environment. According to the transcript, Dzhokhar received a B in Critical Writing and a D and D-plus in two other courses.

San, 22, a former classmate at the university who would identify himself only by his first name, said that Dzhokhar had told him he was having trouble in some courses.

“He was talking about how he wasn’t doing as good as he expected,” San said. “He was a really smart kid, but having a little difficulty in college because going from high school to college is totally different.”

San said that he would be willing to testify on Dzhokhar’s behalf.

“I feel like all of his friends would do that,” he said.

In Cambridge, where Dzhokhar lived in the third-floor unit of a caramel-colored wood-frame triple-decker on Norfolk Street, the brothers were often seen together. It is a multicultural neighborhood where hardware stores and butcher shops are mixed with cafes and Brazilian and Portuguese restaurants. Neighbors said that people were constantly coming and going at the apartment and that they were uncertain who lived there and who was just visiting. Sometimes they saw people from the unit in the backyard. Tamerlan was fond of doing pull-ups on the trellis, they said.

The brothers’ uncle Ruslan Tsarni, 42, said that on the night before he was killed, Tamerlan had called Mr. Tsarni’s older brother. “He said to my brother the usual rubbish, talking about God again, that whatever wrong he had done on his behalf, he would like to be forgiven,” said Mr. Tsarni, who lives in Montgomery Village, Md., outside Washington. “I guess he knew what he had done.”

Both brothers had a substantial presence on social media sites. On VKontakte, Russia’s most popular social media platform, Dzhokhar described his worldview as “Islam” and, asked to identify “the main thing in life,” answered “career and money.” He listed a series of affinity groups relating to Chechnya, where two wars of independence against Russia were fought after the Soviet Union collapsed, and a verse from the Koran: “Do good, because Allah loves those who do good.”

Their father said that Tamerlan would take his younger brother to Friday Prayer, but dismissed the idea that Dzhokhar had become devout, saying that they sometimes caught him smoking cigarettes.

“Dhzokhar listened to Tamerlan, of course, he also listened to us,” he said. “From childhood it was that way. He had his own head on his shoulders, he was a very gifted person. He had a gift of kindness, calmness, fairness — you understand, goodness? For him to do what they’re saying, it doesn’t it doesn’t fit him at all, it is not possible. Not at all.”

In Kyrgyzstan, the Tsarnaevs were part of a Chechen diaspora that dates back to 1943, when Stalin deported most Chechens from their homeland over concerns they were collaborating with the invading Nazi Army. Most returned to Chechnya in the 1950s, after the death of Stalin and lifting of the deportation order, but some stayed. The deportation was a searing, and in some cases, radicalizing experience.

Adnan Z. Dzarbrailov, the head of a Chechen diaspora group in Kyrgyzstan, said in a telephone interview that the Tsarnaev family lived near a sugar factory in the small town of Tokmok, about 40 miles from Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan. The last member of the family left years ago, he said. He described them as “intelligentsia” and said that Dzhokhar and Tamerlan’s aunt was a lawyer.

Yet that history does little to explain how the brothers became wanted criminals in a horrific act of terrorism, their images captured on grainy surveillance tape and broadcast across the nation.

Gilberto Junior, who owns an auto body shop in Somerville, just saw them as “regular kids,” even if they had a taste for expensive cars.

So it did not especially alarm him when Dzhokhar rushed in on Tuesday, the day after the bombing, and said he needed his car immediately, never mind that the repairs had not been done and the white Mercedes wagon had no bumper and no taillights.

The younger Tsarnaev brother seemed nervous, he said. He was biting his nails and his knees were bending back and forth a bit; it occurred to Mr. Junior that he might be on drugs.

“At the time I didn’t think about anything,” Mr. Junior said. “How could I judge him? I knew that he was nervous.”


Reporting was contributed by Richard A. Oppel Jr., John Eligon,

Adam B. Ellick and Dina Kraft from Cambridge, Mass.;

Ellen Barry from Moscow; Andrew E. Kramer from Yekaterinburg, Russia;

Julia Preston from New Haven; and Emily S. Rueb from New York.

Kitty Bennett, Susan C. Beachy and Sheelagh McNeill

contributed research.

    Boy at Home in U.S., Swayed by One Who Wasn’t, NYT, 19.4.2013,






Beslan Meets Columbine


April 19, 2013
The New York Times



I COULD always spot the Chechens in Vienna. They were darker-haired than the Austrians; they dressed more snappily, like 1950s gangsters; they never had anything to do.

There are thousands of Chechen refugees in Austria, and thousands more in Poland, France, Turkey, Kazakhstan, Dubai and elsewhere (as well as scattered communities in the United States). Wherever they are, they stand out, a nation apart.

The word most linked to “Chechen” is “terrorist,” because of the attacks against the audience at Moscow’s Dubrovka Theater in 2002, against children in Beslan, North Ossetia, in 2004, and now the marathon in Boston. But terrorists were only ever a tiny fraction of the population. A more accurate word to link to “Chechen” would be “refugee.” Perhaps 20 percent, perhaps more, of all Chechens have left Chechnya in the last 20 years.

Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev, the 19-year-old suspect in the Boston bombings, was born to a Chechen family. He was just a baby when Boris N. Yeltsin sent tanks to subdue his rebellious nation. At this point, we know very little about the suspect’s motivations. It’s unclear how much time, if any, he’d spent in Chechnya, while he spent years living in the United States. All we know is that, for his generation, Chechnya has always been a place of violence, abductions, widows, orphans and rape: a place to escape from, not to go home to.

The war for control of this scrap of territory in southern Russia has lasted almost without break from 1994 to the present day, and has cost uncounted thousands of lives. When I first visited its capital, Grozny, in the early 2000s, it was a wasteland of twisted steel, shattered concrete and chewed-up asphalt. Chechens would show me postcards of the city before the Russian artillery had done its work, with its smart houses and the pleasant promenades along the Sunzha River. But I think even they had ceased quite believing that the postcards showed the same city. It’s no surprise so many fled.

In 2008, I spent a month traveling through Europe’s Chechen diaspora, trying to understand how the people had been affected by what they had survived. I met Birlant and her husband, Musa, in the town of Terespol, the entry point for Chechens coming to claim asylum in Poland. Birlant’s father and brother had been shot in front of her. Now she lived in a bleak hostel in a pine forest, along with 48 other Chechen families, and hated it there; they wanted to go to Austria.

“If you cannot treat people like people, then why won’t they let us go to a country that will?” asked Musa.

It was a sentiment I often heard. Wherever they were, they wanted to go somewhere else, do something else, be someone else. Could I take them to London? Perhaps life was better where I lived. Musa called me for years after that one brief meeting, from Helsinki, from Stockholm, from Oslo, never sounding any happier.

Umar Israilov in Vienna was different. He was learning German, looking for a job. He had found a lawyer to seek redress through the European Court of Justice for the abuse he had suffered. He gave me hope. Umar might have been tortured. He might be poor and discriminated against. But here was a Chechen refugee who spoke about the future as something to look forward to.

He was shot dead less than a year later, in January 2009. An Austrian jury accepted prosecutors’ argument that the Kremlin’s allies in Chechnya had been annoyed that he was talking to journalists and sent assassins after him.

There is injustice in every direction for Chechen refugees. They lost their homes in a war they did not start, ended up in countries they did not want to be in and faced retaliation if they spoke out. It is hardly surprising that the Internet is full of forums where they discuss their predicament; the predicament of their compatriots at home; the predicament of fellow Muslims in Afghanistan, Syria or Iraq.

We do not know what pushed Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who was captured after a standoff with police in a Boston suburb Friday night, and his brother, Tamarlan, 26, who was killed after a police chase the night before, over the edge. Perhaps among the motivations was a 2007 appeal from the Chechan militant leader Doku Umarov. “Today in Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Palestine, our brothers are fighting,” he said. “Our enemy is not Russia only, but everyone who wages war against Islam.”

But there was enough in America already to alienate young men like Adam Lanza, Dylan Klebold and all the other mass murderers in recent history. There are enough weapons to kill anyone you want, and a madman can always find an excuse for murder if he looks for one.

Combine the fact that the Tsarnaev brothers were apparently isolated young men in America with the fact that they had access to the full power of jihadist ideology. Perhaps what we saw in Boston was Beslan meets Columbine; Sandy Hook meets Dubrovka. Let us hope that those two toxic varieties of modern violence never meet again.


Oliver Bullough is the author of “Let Our Fame Be Great:

Journeys Among the Defiant People of the Caucasus.”

    Beslan Meets Columbine, NYT, 19.4.2013,






2nd Bombing Suspect Caught

After Frenzied Hunt Paralyzes Boston


April 19, 2013
The New York Times


BOSTON — The teenage suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings, whose flight from the police after a furious gunfight overnight prompted an intense manhunt that virtually shut down the Boston area all day, was taken into custody Friday night after the police found him in nearby Watertown, Mass., officials said.

The suspect, Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev, 19, was found hiding in a boat just outside the area where the police had been conducting door-to-door searches all day, the Boston police commissioner, Edward Davis, said at a news conference Friday night.

“A man had gone out of his house after being inside the house all day, abiding by our request to stay inside,” Mr. Davis said, referring to the advice officials gave to residents to remain behind locked doors. “He walked outside and saw blood on a boat in the backyard. He then opened the tarp on the top of the boat, and he looked in and saw a man covered with blood. He retreated and called us.”

“Over the course of the next hour or so we exchanged gunfire with the suspect, who was inside the boat, and ultimately the hostage rescue team of the F.B.I. made an entry into the boat and removed the suspect, who was still alive,” Mr. Davis said. He said the suspect was in “serious condition” and had apparently been wounded in the gunfight that left his brother dead.

A federal law enforcement official said he would not be read his Miranda rights, because the authorities would be invoking the public safety exception in order to question him extensively about other potential explosive devices or accomplices and to try to gain intelligence.

The Boston Police Department announced on Twitter: “Suspect in custody. Officers sweeping the area,” and Mayor Thomas M. Menino posted: “We got him.”

President Obama praised the law enforcement officials who took the suspect into custody in a statement from the White House shortly after 10 p.m., saying, “We’ve closed an important chapter in this tragedy.”

The president said that he had directed federal law enforcement officials to continue to investigate, and he urged people not to rush to judgment about the motivations behind the attacks.

The discovery of Mr. Tsarnaev came just over 26 hours after the F.B.I. circulated pictures of him and his brother and called them suspects in Monday’s bombings, which killed three people and wounded more than 170. Events unfolded quickly — and lethally — after that. Law enforcement officials said that within hours of the pictures’ release, the two shot and killed a campus police officer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, carjacked a sport utility vehicle, and led police on a chase, tossing several pipe bombs from their vehicle.

Then the men got into a pitched gun battle with the police in Watertown in which more than 200 rounds were fired and a transit police officer was critically wounded. When the shootout ended, one of the suspects, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, a former boxer, had been shot and fatally wounded. He was wearing explosives, several law enforcement officials said. But Dzhokhar Tsarnaev (joe-HARR tsar-NAH-yev) managed to escape — running over his older brother as he sped away, the officials said.

His disappearance, and fears that he could be armed with more explosives, set off an intense manhunt. SWAT teams and Humvees rolled through residential streets. Military helicopters hovered overhead. Bomb squads were called to several locations. And Boston, New England’s largest city, was essentially shut down.

Transit service was suspended all day. Classes at Harvard, M.I.T., Boston University and other area colleges were canceled. Amtrak halted service into Boston. The Red Sox game at Fenway Park was postponed, as was a concert at Symphony Hall. Gov. Deval Patrick of Massachusetts urged residents to stay behind locked doors all day — not lifting the request until shortly after 6 p.m., when transit service in the shaken, seemingly deserted region was finally restored.

As the hundreds of police officers fanned out across New England looking for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, investigators tried to piece together a fuller picture of the two brothers, to determine more about the bombing at the Boston Marathon.

The older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, (tam-arr-lawn tsar-NAH-yev) was interviewed by the F.B.I. in 2011 when a foreign government asked the bureau to determine if he had extremist ties, according to a senior law enforcement official. The government knew that he was planning to travel there and feared that he might be a risk, the official said.

The official would not say which government made the request, but Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s father said that he traveled to Russia in 2012.

“They had something on him and were concerned about him and him traveling to their region,” the official said. The F.B.I. conducted a review, examining Web sites that he had visited, trying to determine whether he was spending time with extremists and ultimately interviewing him. The F.B.I. concluded that he was not a threat. “We didn’t find anything on him that was derogatory,” the official said. The F.B.I. released a statement late Friday confirming it had scrutinized Mr. Tsarnaev but “did not find any terrorism activity, domestic or foreign.” It had requested more information from the foreign government, it said, but had not received it.

Now officials are scrutinizing that trip, to see if he might have met with extremists while abroad.

The brothers were born in Kyrgyzstan, an official said, and were of Chechen heritage. Chechnya, a long-disputed Muslim territory in southern Russia, sought independence after the collapse of the Soviet Union and then fought two bloody wars with the authorities in Moscow. Russian assaults on Chechnya were brutal, killing tens of thousands of civilians as terrorist groups from the region staged attacks in central Russia.

The older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, traveled to Russia from the United States early last year and returned six months later, on July 17, a law enforcement official said. His father, Anzor Tsarnaev, said his son had mostly stayed with him at his home in Makhachkala, the capital of the Dagestan region, but that the two men had also visited Chechnya.

“We went to Chechnya to visit relatives,” Mr. Tsarnaev said in an interview in Russia.

The trip will come under intense scrutiny to determine whether he met with extremist groups or received training, current and former intelligence and law enforcement officials said. Kevin R. Brock, a former senior F.B.I. and counterterrorism official, said, “It’s a key thread for investigators and the intelligence community to pull on.”

Anzor Tsarnaev, who maintained that his sons were innocent and had been framed, said that during the trip to Chechnya his son had “only communicated with me and his cousins.”

The hunt for the bombing suspects took a violent turn Thursday night when the two men are believed to have fatally shot an M.I.T. police officer, Sean A. Collier, 26, in his patrol car, the Middlesex County district attorney’s office said. After that, a man was carjacked nearby by two armed men, who drove off with him in his Mercedes S.U.V.

At one point, the suspects told the man “to get out of the car or they would kill him,” according to a law enforcement official. But then they apparently changed their plans, and forced the man to drive, the official said. At one point, the older brother took the wheel.

“They revealed to him that they were the two who did the marathon bombings,” the official said, adding that the suspects also made some mention to the man of wanting to head to New York. At one point they drove to another vehicle, which the authorities believe was parked and unoccupied. There, the suspects got out and transferred materials, which the authorities believe included explosives and firearms, from the parked car to the sport utility vehicle.

The victim was released, uninjured, at a gas station on Memorial Drive in Cambridge, law enforcement officials said.

After he called the police, they went off in search of his car, and a frenzied chase began.

The police and the suspects traded gunfire, and “explosive devices were reportedly thrown” from their car, law enforcement officials said. A transit police officer, Richard H. Donohue, was shot in the right leg and critically wounded.

Officer Donohue had nearly bled to death from his wound when he arrived at the hospital, said a person familiar with his treatment. The hospital’s trauma team gave him a transfusion and CPR, and got his blood pressure back up, but he was still on a ventilator, the person said.

Finally, the brothers faced off against the police on a Watertown street in what officials and witnesses described as a furious firefight.

A Watertown resident, Andrew Kitzenberg, 29, said he looked out his third-floor window to see two young men of slight build engaged in “constant gunfire” with police officers. A police vehicle “drove towards the shooters,” he said, and was shot at until it was severely damaged. It rolled out of control, Mr. Kitzenberg said, and crashed into two cars in his driveway. The gunmen, he said, had a large, unwieldy bomb that he said looked “like a pressure cooker.”

“They lit it, still in the middle of the gunfire, and threw it,” he said. “But it went 20 yards at most.” It exploded, he said, and one man ran toward the gathered police officers. He was tackled, but it was not clear if he was shot, Mr. Kitzenberg said.

The explosions “lit up the whole house,” another resident, Loretta Kehayias, 65, said. “I screamed. I’ve never seen anything like this, never, never, never.”

Meanwhile, Mr. Kitzenberg said, the other man got back into the sport utility vehicle he had been driving, turned it toward officers and “put the pedal to the metal.” The car “went right through the cops, broke right through and continued west.”

He left behind his older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who had been gravely wounded, and who was taken to Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

Dr. David Schoenfeld, who was catching up on paperwork at his home in Watertown after midnight on Friday, had heard the sirens, and then the gunfire, and the explosions. So he called Beth Israel Deaconess, where he works in the emergency room, and told them to prepare for trauma patients for the second time this week.

He said that he arrived about 1:10 a.m. Fifteen minutes later, an ambulance carrying Tamerlan Tsarnaev pulled up. He was handcuffed, unconscious, and in cardiac arrest, Dr. Schoenfeld said.

As a throng of police officers looked on, Dr. Schoenfeld and a team of other trauma doctors and nurses began to perform CPR.

“There was talk before the patient arrived about whether or not it was a suspect,” Dr. Schoenfeld said. “But ultimately it doesn’t matter who it is, because we’re going to work as hard as we can for any patient who comes through our door and then sort it out after. Because you’re never going to know until the dust settles who it is.”

The trauma team put a breathing tube in the patient’s throat, Dr. Schoenfeld said, then cut open his chest to see if blood or other fluid was collecting around his heart. His handcuffs were removed at some point during the resuscitation attempt, he said, because “when the patient is in cardiac arrest and we’re doing all these procedures, we need to be able to move their arms around.”

The team was unable to resuscitate him, and pronounced him dead at 1:35 a.m. Only as they prepared to turn the body over to the police did Dr. Schoenfeld look closely at the patient’s face and see that he resembled one of the suspects whose pictures had been released by the F.B.I. hours earlier. “We all obviously had some suspicion given the really large police presence,” he said, “but we didn’t have a clear identification from the police.”

Dr. Schoenfeld, whose emergency room treated a number of people injured in the bombings on Monday, said he had not had time to process what he had been through early Friday.

“I can’t say what I’ll be feeling as I reflect on this later on,” he said in an interview before Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was captured. “But right now I’m more concerned with everybody who’s still out there and still in harm’s way.”

He added, “I worry about everybody in the city, that everyone’s going to be O.K.”


Katharine Q. Seelye reported from Boston,

and William K. Rashbaum and Michael Cooper from New York.

Reporting was contributed by Richard A. Oppel Jr.

and John Eligon from Cambridge, Mass.;

Jess Bidgood from Watertown, Mass.;

Serge F. Kovaleski and Timothy Rohan from Boston;

Ravi Somaiya from New York;

Eric Schmitt and Michael S. Schmidt from Washington;

Andrew Siddons from Montgomery Village, Md.;

Sebnem Arsu from Istanbul;

Ellen Barry and Andrew Roth from Moscow;

and Andrew E. Kramer from Asbest, Russia.



This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: April 19, 2013

An earlier version misspelled the name of a resident

who described the police activity in Watertown, Mass.

He is Andrew Kitzenberg, not Kitzenburg.

An earlier version of this article also misstated

where the suspects and police exchanged gunfire.

It is Dexter Avenue, not Dexter Street.

    2nd Bombing Suspect Caught After Frenzied Hunt Paralyzes Boston, NYT, 19.4.2013,






Eerie Stillness

at the Center of a Frenzied Crime Scene


April 19, 2013
The New York Times


BOSTON — The scene was extraordinary. The hub of the universe, as Boston’s popular nickname would have it, was on lockdown from first light until near dark on Friday. A vast dragnet for one man had brought a major American city to a standstill.

The people were gone, shops were locked, streets were barren, the trains did not run. The often-clogged Massachusetts Turnpike was as clear as a bowling lane.

With just a few words from Gov. Deval Patrick, this raucous, sports-loving, patriotic old city became a ghost town. The governor had said to stay away, stay inside. His warning applied not only to the city, but to a half-dozen comfortable towns just outside its limits. The entire region had become a gigantic active crime scene.

The lockdown caught many residents off guard, including Michael Demirdjian, 47, a postal worker who was pulled over by a flock of police cars while trying to take his new puppy to his home in Watertown near the scene of a dramatic early morning shootout.

“They were everywhere,” Mr. Demirdjian said of investigators. “My backyard, everybody’s backyard, front yard, up and down the streets.” His house was blocked off, so he spent much of the day marooned in a mall parking lot where the news media had set up.

Todd Wigger, 25, a software salesman, used the occasion to take a nap. When he blinked awake on Friday afternoon, he was surprised to see how empty the streets were outside his South End apartment.

“This time Friday, there’s lots of traffic and beeping horns,” he said as a plastic bag wafted across Dartmouth Street, a four-lane thoroughfare, unobstructed by cars. But he said he respected the police and wanted to help any way he could. “So here we are,” he shrugged, “waiting and wondering.”

This seemed to be the general attitude as residents contemplated the marathon bombings, which killed three people and injured more than 170 others.

Janet Hammer, 59, a physician assistant, said in a phone interview from her home in Cambridge, near the scene of much police activity, that the streets were deserted.

“Everyone here is really obeying,” she said, not out of fear but out of civic respect and trust. “People realize that you have to actually allow space for this investigation.” After a pause, she added, “I don’t know how long we’ll do it — at some point, people will want a gallon of milk.”

The Red Sox canceled their home baseball game, leaving their opponents, the Kansas City Royals, stuck at a downtown hotel. The Bruins canceled, too, frustrating hockey fans who just a few nights earlier had welcomed the team back by joining in singing the national anthem, with tears in their eyes.

Barbara Moran, 42, a science writer who was home in Brookline with her husband and two energetic young children, said the unexpected time off was like a snow day without the snow. “We made cookies, read books, watched videos and I looked at my watch and it was only 9 a.m.,” she said. At that point, she set up the trampoline, hoping the children would wear themselves out.

The harder part was answering questions from her 5-year-old about why they suddenly had the day off. (She settled on, “There are bad men out there.”)

The day was riddled with false alarms.

Parts of Commonwealth Avenue, a major artery through Boston, were blocked off while agents checked for a potential danger in Kenmore Square. When that alarm proved false, another danger zone popped up somewhere else. And for some, the day and the wall-to-wall news coverage became tedious.

At least one business decided to buck the tide.

Loic Le Garrec, owner of Petit Robert Bistro, sent an e-mail to his loyal patrons telling them that the restaurant would be open for dinner Friday night.

He said he received some negative e-mails from people who felt he was trying to make money off a bad situation. But he said this was not so. After the dreary business of the last week, he said, he wanted to give people something to look forward to.

“Most people need a place to go after staying in the house all day,” he said, “and the staff needs the work.”

But mainly, he said, he thought shutting down the city sent the wrong message.

“We shouldn’t be hiding,” he said over the clatter of dishes. “It’s not us that are wrong here.”

As it happened, the restaurant opened its doors just as city and state officials announced they were lifting the lockdown.


Jess Bidgood contributed reporting from Watertown, Mass.

    Eerie Stillness at the Center of a Frenzied Crime Scene, NYT, 19.4.2013,






Dragnet Shuts Boston;

One Suspect Is Slain but Second Man Is on Loose


April 19, 2013
The New York Times


BOSTON — One of the suspects in the Boston Marathon bombings was killed early Friday morning after leading the police on a wild chase after the fatal shooting of a campus police officer, while the other was sought in an immense manhunt that shut down large parts of the area. Gov. Deval Patrick of Massachusetts said residents of Boston and its neighboring communities should “stay indoors, with their doors locked.”

The two suspects were identified by law enforcement officials as brothers. The surviving suspect was identified as Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev, 19, of Cambridge, Mass., a law enforcement official said. The one who was killed was identified as his brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26. The authorities were investigating whether the dead man had a homemade bomb strapped to his body when he was killed, two law enforcement officials said.

The manhunt sent the Boston region into the grip of a security emergency, as hundreds of police officers conducted a wide search and all public transit services were suspended.

Col. Timothy P. Alben of the Massachusetts State Police said investigators believed that the two men were responsible for the death of a Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer and the shooting of an officer with the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, the region’s transit authority. “We believe these are the same individuals that were responsible for the bombing on Monday at the Boston Marathon,” he said.

Officials said that the two men were of Chechen origin. Chechnya, a long-disputed, predominantly Muslim territory in southern Russia sought independence after the collapse of the Soviet Union and then fought two bloody wars with the authorities in Moscow. Russian assaults on Chechnya were brutal and killed tens of thousands of civilians, as terrorist groups from the region staged attacks in central Russia. In recent years, separatist militant groups have gone underground, and surviving leaders have embraced fundamentalist Islam.

The family lived briefly in Makhachkala, the capital of the Dagestan region, near Chechnya, before moving to the United States, said a school administrator there. Irina V. Bandurina, secretary to the director of School No. 1, said the Tsarnaev family left Dagestan for the United States in 2002 after living there for about a year. She said the family — parents, two boys and two girls — had lived in the Central Asian nation of Kyrgyzstan previously.

The brothers have substantial presences on social media. On Vkontakte, Russia’s most popular social media platform, the younger brother, Dzhokhar, describes his worldview as “Islam” and, asked to identify “the main thing in life,” answers “career and money.” He lists a series of affinity groups relating to Chechnya, and lists a verse from the Koran, “Do good, because Allah loves those who do good.”

One former schoolmate of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev at Cambridge Rindge and Latin School in Massachusetts described him as “very sweet,” adding, “I never heard anyone say a bad word about him.” Another, Meron Woldemariam, 17, the manager of the school volleyball team that Mr. Tsarnaev had played for, said that he had left the team in the middle of the season to wrestle. She described him as normal — sociable, friendly and fun to talk to. He was a senior when she was a freshman.

The older brother left a record on YouTube of his favorite clips, which included Russian rap videos, as well as testimonial from a young ethnic Russian man titled “How I accepted Islam and became a Shiite,” and a clip “Seven Steps to Successful Prayer.”

Alvi Karimov, the spokesman for Ramzan A. Kadyrov, leader of Chechnya, said the Tsarnaev brothers had not lived in Chechnya for many years. He told the Interfax news service that, according to preliminary information, the family “moved to a different region of the Russian Federation from Chechnya many years ago.” He continued, “Then the family lived for a long time in Kazakhstan, and from there moved to the United States, where the members of the family received residency permits.”

“In such a way, the figures who are being spoken about did not live in Chechnya at a mature age, and if they became ‘bad guys,’ then this is a question that should be put to the people who raised them,” he said.

Early Friday, a virtual army of heavily armed law enforcement officers was going through houses in Watertown, outside of Boston, one by one in a search for the second suspect. The police had blocked off a 20-block residential area and urged residents emphatically to stay inside their homes and not answer their doors.

The Boston police commissioner, Edward Davis, said, “We believe this to be a man who’s come here to kill people, and we need to get him in custody.”

In Washington, as well as in the Boston area, law enforcement and counterterrorism officials were scrambling to determine whether the two brothers had any accomplices still at large and whether they had any connections to foreign or domestic terrorist organizations.

Intelligence analysts were poring over the brothers’ e-mails, cellphone records and postings on Facebook and other social media for clues. Authorities have also started interviewing family members, friends and other associates for information about the men, and any possible ties to extremist groups or causes, officials said.

Federal officials are also investigating any travel by the brothers outside the United States, perhaps to receive training. “They will take these guys’ lives apart,” said one senior retired law enforcement official.

The older brother apparently traveled to Turkey in 2003. The Turkish interior minister, Muammer Guler, confirmed reports that he had arrived there on July 9, 2003, with three others carrying the same surname, and left the country 10 days later from Ankara, the capital, the semiofficial Anatolian News Agency reported.

“It is estimated that they were a family,” Mr. Guler said. “We established that they had no connection with Turkey.”

There was no information on Tsarnaevs’ next destination after Ankara.

As the manhunt grew in intensity, law enforcement officials throughout New England tried to chase down leads.

The authorities in Boston notified transit police officials that there was a possibility the surviving suspect had boarded the last Amtrak train from Boston bound for New York City in the early morning on Friday, according to an official with knowledge of the matter.

The New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority Police, which has authority over the tracks in New York and Connecticut, along with the police from Norwalk, Ct., stopped that train between the East Norwalk and Westport, Ct., stations; the Norwalk Police Department’s SWAT team swept the train, but did not find the suspect, the official said. While the authorities believe it was unlikely he was aboard, they were reviewing video surveillance footage from the stations in Providence, New Haven and New London to be sure that the suspect did not get off before the train was stopped and searched.

At least one Metro North train, operated by the M.T.A. on the same tracks over which Amtrak travels, was also stopped by the Westport Police for reasons that were unclear, the official said.

And the Connecticut State Police announced that it had received information suggesting that the suspect could be operating a gray Honda CRV, with a Massachusetts registration number 316 ES9. “Connecticut troopers are posted strategically in our state and continue to communicate with Massachusetts authorities,” the state police said in a statement.

In Boston, where gunfire ricocheted around a tranquil neighborhood, residents were later told to go into their basements and stay away from windows.

The pursuit began after 10 p.m. Thursday when two men robbed a 7-Eleven near Central Square in Cambridge. A security camera caught a man identified as one of the suspects wearing a gray hooded shirt.

About 10:30 p.m., the police received reports that Sean Collier, a campus security officer at M.I.T., had been shot while he sat in his police cruiser. He was found with multiple gunshot wounds, according to a statement issued by the acting Middlesex district attorney, Michael Pelgro, Cambridge Police Commissioner Robert C. Haas and the M.I.T. police chief, John DiFava. The officer was taken to Massachusetts General Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

A short time later, the police received reports of an armed carjacking of a Mercedes sport-utility vehicle by two males in the area of Third Street in Cambridge, the statement said. “The victim was carjacked at gunpoint by two males and was kept in the car with the suspects for approximately a half-hour,” the statement said. He was later released, uninjured, at a gas station on Memorial Drive in Cambridge.

The police immediately began to search for the vehicle and pursued it into Watertown. During the chase, “explosive devices were reportedly thrown from car by the suspects,” the statement said, and the suspects and police exchanged gunfire in the area of Dexter Avenue and Laurel Street.

During that exchange, a transit police officer was shot and critically wounded. The wounded transit police officer was identified as Richard H. Donohue, and he was taken to Mt. Auburn Hospital, where he was listed in critical condition Friday morning.

The officer had nearly bled to death from a gunshot wound to his right leg when he arrived at the hospital, said a person familiar with his treatment. The hospital’s trauma team gave him a blood transfusion and cardiopulmonary resuscitation, and got his blood pressure back up, but he was still on a ventilator, the person said.

A Watertown resident, Andrew Kitzenberg, 29, said he looked out his third-floor window to see two young men of slight build in jackets engaged in “constant gunfire” with police officers. A police S.U.V. “drove towards the shooters,” he said, and was shot at until it was severely damaged. It rolled out of control, Mr. Kitzenberg said, and crashed into two cars in his driveway.

The two shooters, he said, had a large, unwieldy bomb that he said looked “like a pressure cooker.”

“They lit it, still in the middle of the gunfire, and threw it,” he said. “But it went 20 yards at most.” It exploded, he said, and one man ran toward the gathered police officers. He was tackled, but it was not clear if he was shot, Mr. Kitzenberg said.

The explosions, said another resident, Loretta Kehayias, 65, “lit up the whole house.” She said, “I screamed. I’ve never seen anything like this, never, never, never.”

Meanwhile, Mr. Kitzenberg said the other man got back into the S.U.V., turned it toward officers and “put the pedal to the metal.” The car “went right through the cops, broke right through and continued west.”

The two men left “a few backpacks right by the car, and there is a bomb robot out there now,” he said.

During this exchange, an MBTA police officer was seriously wounded and taken to the hospital.

At the same time, Tamerlan Tsarnaev was critically injured with multiple gunshot wounds and taken to Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital in Boston, where he was pronounced dead at 1:35 a.m., officials said.

A doctor who works at Beth Israel, and who lived in the area of the chase and shootout, said he was working at home around 1 a.m. when he heard the wailing sirens. He said at a news conference at Beth Israel that he recognized that something was wrong and alerted his emergency room to prepare for something.


Katharine Q. Seelye reported from Boston,

and Michael Cooper from New York.

Reporting was contributed by Richard A. Oppel Jr, Jess Bidgood,

Serge F. Kovaleski and John Eligon from Boston;

William K. Rashbaum and Ravi Somaiya from New York;

Eric Schmitt from Washington;

Sebnem Arsu from Istanbul and Ellen Barry from Moscow.



This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: April 19, 2013

An earlier version misspelled the name of a resident

who described the police activity in Watertown, Mass.

He is Andrew Kitzenberg, not Kitzenburg.

An earlier version of this article also misstated

where the suspects and police exchanged gunfire.

It is Dexter Avenue, not Dexter Street.

    Dragnet Shuts Boston; One Suspect Is Slain but Second Man Is on Loose, NYT, 19.4.2013,






One Suspect in Boston Bombing Is Dead


April 19, 2013
The New York Times


One of two suspects wanted in Monday’s deadly Boston marathon bombing was killed early Friday in a violent standoff with the police in a quiet residential neighborhood just west of Boston. The second suspect remained at large following what authorities described as a deadly crime spree that left one police officer dead and another seriously wounded.

One suspect, seen in pictures released Thursday by the Federal Bureau of Investigation wearing a black hat, had been shot , said Timothy P. Alben of the Masschusetts State Police in a press conference early Friday morning. Authorities later confirmed that he had died. The other suspect, pictured in a white hat, was at large, likely extremely dangerous and the subject of a sweeping manhunt in Watertown, a quiet residential community near Boston.

“We believe this to be a terrorist,” said Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis. “We believe this to be a man who’s come here to kill people. We need to get him in custody.”

The marathon bombing killed three and wounded more than 170.

It seemed early on Friday as though it was the first in a series of violent crimes perpetrated by the two young men in the Boston area this week.

Police confirmed that, at around 10:30 p.m. there had been a robbery at a 7/11 store in Central Square, Cambridge, apparently by the white-hatted suspect.

Shortly afterward, a campus police officer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology was shot and killed while responding to a suspicious incident. Police chased the two suspects, apparently in a black Mercedes SUV, to Watertown, where two residents of Laurel Street said they heard what sounded like firecrackers going off shortly before midnight. When they looked out of their windows, they saw the two young men taking cover behind the black Mercedes, in a shootout with dozens of police about 70 yards away. A transit police officer was shot, said a police spokesman, Dave Procopio, and was in serious condition.

A Watertown resident, Andrew Kitzenberg, 29, said he looked out his third-floor window to see two young men of slight build in jackets engaged in “constant gunfire” with police officers. A police SUV “drove towards the shooters,” he said, and was shot at until it was severely damaged. It rolled out of control, Mr. Kitzenberg said, and crashed into two cars in his driveway.

The two shooters, he said, had a large, unwieldy bomb that he said looked “like a pressure cooker.”

“They lit it, still in the middle of the gunfire, and threw it. But it went 20 yards at most.” It exploded, he said, and one of the two men ran toward the gathered police officers. He was tackled, but it was not clear if he was shot, Mr. Kitzenberg said.

The explosions, said another resident, Loretta Kehayias, 65, “lit up the whole house. I screamed. I’ve never seen anything like this, never, never, never.”

Meanwhile, the other young man, said Mr. Kitzenberg, got back into the SUV, turned it toward officers and “put the pedal to the metal.” The car “went right through the cops, broke right through and continued west.”

The two men left “a few backpacks right by the car, and there is a bomb robot out there now.” Police had told residents to stay away from their windows, he said.

At least two people, one of whom appeared to be a police officer and the other a man in handcuffs were taken from the scene in ambulances, said a Dexter Street resident who declined to give his name.

The F.B.I. early Friday released new images of the two young men being sought in the marathon bombings, as part of a campaign to identify them.


Jess Bidgood, Joan Nassivera, Anastasia Economides,

and Jeremy Zilar contributed reporting.



This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: April 19, 2013

An earlier version misspelled the name of a resident

who described the police activity in Watertown, Mass.

He is Andrew Kitzenberg, not Kitzenburg.

    One Suspect in Boston Bombing Is Dead, NYT, 19.4.2013,






F.B.I. Posts Images of Pair

Suspected in Boston Attack


April 18, 2013
The New York Times


BOSTON — In a direct appeal for help from the public, the F.B.I. on Thursday released pictures and video of two young men who officials believe may be responsible for the explosions that killed three people and wounded more than 170 during the Boston Marathon.

Officials said they have images of one of the men putting a black backpack on the ground just minutes before two near-simultaneous blasts went off near the finish line of the marathon at 2:50 p.m. on Monday. One video, which officials said they did not release, shows the two men walking slowly away after a bomb exploded while the crowd fled.

At a news briefing here, Richard DesLauriers, the special agent in charge of the F.B.I.’s Boston field office, initiated the unprecedented crowd-sourcing manhunt by urging the public to look at the pictures and video on the F.B.I.’s Web site, fbi.gov. The two men appear to be in their 20s, but Mr. DesLauriers did not characterize their appearance or offer an opinion as to their possible ethnicity or national origin.

“Somebody out there knows these individuals as friends, neighbors, co-workers, or family members of the suspects,” Mr. DesLauriers said firmly and grimly into the cameras. “Though it may be difficult, the nation is counting on those with information to come forward and provide it to us.”

Almost immediately, calls started flooding the bureau’s office complex in Clarksburg, W. Va. Traffic to the F.B.I.’s Web site spiked to the highest levels ever, an official said. For a brief time, the site was offline.

Typically, about two dozen analysts sitting in cubicles in Clarksburg answer calls 24 hours a day, seven days a week. But in the days after Monday’s attacks, the center was inundated with calls and it has since increased the numbers of analysts and agents, according to a law enforcement official.

Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. and Director Robert S. Mueller III of the F.B.I. were directly involved in the decision to release the images, a senior law enforcement official said.

Michael R. Bouchard, a former assistant director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, said that in releasing the pictures and video, the authorities took a calculated risk.

“If you don’t release the photos, the bad guys don’t know you’re on to them while you’re looking,” said Mr. Bouchard, who helped oversee the Washington-area sniper case in 2002 and now runs his own security firm in Vienna, Va. “If you do release them, you run the risk they see them and change their appearance or go underground. The authorities made a calculated decision the benefits of releasing the photos outweighed the risks of holding back and trying to identify them themselves.”

He said several characteristics in the images selected for release are distinctive: the emblem on one man’s hat, the backpacks they carried, their gaits, and seeing them walking together.

“They don’t know if these guys are from out of town, so they had to cast their net wider,” said Mr. Bouchard, who said the widespread use of social media and cellphones make such identifications easier than just a few years ago. “Now the public becomes a force multiplier.”

In the Washington sniper case, he said, the culprits’ car was spotted by a truck driver less than eight hours after photographs were made public.

At the briefing, Mr. DesLauriers did not specify what led the F.B.I. to call the two men suspects, but he said that the decision was “based on what they do in the rest of the video.” According to officials, when the blasts went off, most people fled in panic, but these two did not and instead walked away slowly, almost casually.

“We have a lot more video than what we released,” the official said. “The sole purpose of what we released was to show the public what they looked like.”

The fact that F.B.I. officials chose to make the video images public suggested to some people familiar with law enforcement tactics that they have not been able to match them with faces in government photo databases, said Jim Albers, senior vice president at MorphoTrust USA, which supplies facial recognition technology to the United States. The F.B.I. has a collection of mug shots of more than 12 million people, mostly arrest photos.

“The only conclusion you can reach is that they don’t have a match they have confidence in,” Mr. Albers said.

That could be a question of the quality of the images of the two suspects — the video clips posted by the bureau do not include high-resolution frontal images of the two men’s faces, as would be ideal for facial recognition software, Mr. Albers said. Or it may be that the search software, which produces a list of matches ranked by probability, simply did not find a persuasive match.

One law enforcement official said that the suspects in the images captured the interest of the authorities because of their bags: crime scene investigators recovered portions of a shredded black backpack that they believe carried explosives, this official said, and they were able to determine the brand and model of the bag. The backpack carried by at least one of the men in the videos appeared to be a match, the person said.

The briefing Thursday took place a few hours after President Obama spoke at an interfaith service of healing at Boston’s Cathedral of the Holy Cross. Almost 1,800 people packed the pews and hundreds more outside listened intently as his words were broadcast into the morning sun.

His theme was the marathon, both as road race and metaphor, and he began his remarks with the same phrase that he used to end them: “Scripture tells us to run with endurance the race that is set before us.”

He mourned the dead and assured the maimed that they were not alone. “We will all be with you as you learn to stand and walk and, yes, run again,” he said. “Of that, I have no doubt. You will run again.”

He spoke in personal terms. With a nod to his years as a student at Harvard Law School and to his speech at the 2004 Democratic convention here when he burst on the national political stage, he embraced this heartbroken city as his own.

And whoever the perpetrators may be, Mr. Obama dismissed them as “small, stunted individuals who would destroy instead of build.” But mostly he rallied the living as he reflected this city’s determined spirit.

“Like Bill Iffrig, 78 years old — the runner in the orange tank top who we all saw get knocked down by the blast — we may be momentarily knocked off our feet, but we’ll pick ourselves up,” the president said. “We’ll keep going. We will finish the race.”

If the perpetrators sought to intimidate or terrorize Boston, he said, “well, it should be pretty clear by now that they picked the wrong city to do it.” The crowd cheered as if at a sports arena. “Not here in Boston.”

The president connected with Boston’s spirited sports fervor as he painted a more hopeful future in which “we come together to celebrate life and to walk our cities and to cheer for our teams when the Sox, then Celtics, then Patriots or Bruins are champions again — to the chagrin of New York and Chicago fans.” And this time next year, he said, “the world will return to this great American city to run harder than ever and to cheer even louder for the 118th Boston Marathon.”

The mourners clapped enthusiastically and gave him a standing ovation; as he returned to his seat, he wiped away a tear.

The interfaith service where Mr. Obama spoke, “Healing Our City,” brought together Christian, Muslim and Jewish religious leaders, as well as state and local leaders. Former Gov. Mitt Romney, who was Mr. Obama’s rival in last year’s presidential election, was among the dignitaries at the service.

Boston’s long-serving mayor, Thomas M. Menino, who recently announced that he would not seek a sixth term, rose from the wheelchair he has been using since he broke his leg last week and stood at the lectern to proclaim, “We are one Boston.” He said he had never loved the people of his city more.

“And yes, we even love New York City more,” he said to chuckles from the pews as he thanked Boston’s rivals for playing “Sweet Caroline,” an unofficial Boston Red Sox anthem, at Yankee Stadium.

Gov. Deval Patrick praised the city for its resilience and its compassion. “In a dark hour,” he said, “so many of you showed so many of us that darkness cannot drive out darkness, as Dr. King said; only light can do that.”

After the service, Pauline M. DiCesare, 76, of Wayland, Mass., who grew up in Boston, remained in her pew.

“It was very uplifting, something we all need,” she said, as her voice cracked with emotion. “It’s just the events of life. You’re down and you get up again and life goes on, one step after another. Like the president said, the sun will rise tomorrow.”

Outside the Gothic cathedral, Dina Juhasz, a nurse from Natick, Mass., who was at the marathon and helped treat the wounded, said she appreciated the service. “It’s way too early for closure,” she said. “It was a moment of acknowledgment to say this was horrific and we are a community and we’re going to get through this. It’s a beginning.”

Contact the F.B.I. with information at 1-800-CALL-FBI (1-800-225-5324) or bostonmarathontips


Katharine Q. Seelye reported from Boston,

Michael S. Schmidt from Washington, and Michael Cooper from New York.

Reporting was contributed by John Eligon,

Richard A. Oppel Jr. and Jess Bidgood from Boston;

William K. Rashbaum from New York; and Eric Schmitt

and Scott Shane from Washington.

    F.B.I. Posts Images of Pair Suspected in Boston Attack, NYT, 18.4.2013,






Where Finish Line Is a Crime Scene,

No Talk of Defeat


April 18, 2013
The New York Times


BOSTON — On marathon day, Boylston Street has always been a place of completion and celebration instead of tragic disruption, a straightaway toward home where medals are hung around satisfied necks, not where tourniquets are tightened around mangled legs.

Boylston represents old Boston with the Public Library and Copley Square, and new Boston with glassy department stores and restaurants and barhopping adventurers. If the address is not as chic as Newbury Street, which runs parallel, well, Newbury might have more upscale shopping, but it does not have the final three and a half blocks of the Boston Marathon.

And yet Boylston Street is no longer simply a festive place where, every third Monday in April, the ache of running 26.2 miles melts into exhausted gratification. With the bombings that killed 3 and wounded more than 170, Boylston joined Oklahoma City and ground zero and Shanksville, Pa., as the latest name on a grim terror roll call.

On a cloudless early afternoon Wednesday, as word spread of video of a suspect, the finishing area of the marathon remained eerily quiet and vacant, cordoned off by crime-scene tape and metal barricades and the presence of police officers. Investigators in white protective suits walked shoulder to shoulder, carrying wands, searching for minute evidence. One dropped to his hands and knees, face near the ground as if in prayer.

A sense of desertion, of hurried and unplanned removal, accompanied catastrophe and jittery mourning. National flags of the United States, Algeria, Australia and the Bahamas were visible from a block away, still fluttering along the abandoned course. Bottles of water stood on tables, no runners around to drink. A medical tent in which doctors had treated the shattered calm and splintered limbs remained near the finish.

“We’re on the list of some of the most horrendous acts that have happened in this country,” said Paul Norton, 55, a video producer for an insurance company, as he took a lunchtime walk near the finish area. “I think they’ll bounce back. The question is, in what form? There will need to be changes.”

The challenge, Mr. Norton said, will be to “preserve the spirit of one of the premier events in our city while maintaining heightened security.”

As happened after the 9/11 attacks and natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina, a familiar attitude of resilience, defiance and commitment to recover has prevailed. Kevin Cullen, a columnist for The Boston Globe, said in a television interview that Boston cared deeply about only three things: “Politics, sports and revenge.”

Established in 1897, a year after the modern Olympics began, the Boston race is considered the oldest continual marathon. A feeling expressed by many is that the race will not be diminished by the bombings, and will return bigger and stronger. This optimism stems, in part, from the notion that because the marathon is held every year, it provides an annual opportunity for renewal and replenishment.

Amby Burfoot, 66, who won the 1968 Boston Marathon, encouraged organizers to enlarge the field in a celebratory run next year, as they did for the 100th running of the race in 1996. A number of runners said they planned to return in 2014, many to finish what they were not allowed to complete when the race was halted Monday, and to show gratitude for volunteers and residents who received widespread praise for their assistance in the tumult of the bombings.

“Are we going to let whoever did this defeat us, or are we going to rise above it?” said Steve Michalski, 43, who works with autistic children in Salt Lake City and who finished Monday’s race before the bombings.

Noting that participants in Boston must run qualifying times to enter and that marathon running requires extreme dedication with months of training, Mr. Michalski said: “These people have a drive to succeed and take on challenges. They are not easily scared off.”

As he watched investigators near the finish line, Mark Sandham said he felt certain that one or more surviving victims would enter Boston in the future, either in a wheelchair or on foot, and that it would be a triumphant indication of the city’s resolve.

“You know it’s going to happen,” said Mr. Sandham, 50, an insurance underwriting manager. “It’s going to be a huge emotional moment.”

Jeff Putt, 39, jogged as near to the marathon course as he could during a lunchtime workout. He ran Boston in 2009 and said he planned to run again this year until he was injured from overtraining. For him, Boylston Street has always meant “the finish.” He said he even buys his running shoes at a store nearby because it is at the finish line.

As did others, Mr. Putt, an engineer who works in information technology, said he hoped the bombings would not alter the character of the marathon. It has long been a holiday celebration of neighborhoods and community and continuity, with the course lined by hundreds of thousands of fans, drawn by a generational and civic pull, watching the race as their parents and grandparents did.

“It’s always been so open, people coming in and out,” Putt said. “I hope it retains its spirit and doesn’t become as restrictive as New Year’s Eve in New York.”

Memorials sprung up along the perimeter of the approximately 12-block crime scene, with well-wishers placing flowers and signs of support. “Keep on Running Boston,” said one sign.

At Newbury and Dartmouth Streets, Mike Noori, 52, of Atlanta, placed a dozen white roses at a barricade. One had its stem cut short in memory of Martin Richard, an 8-year-old who, according to news accounts, died in the blast while returning to meet his mother after hugging his father at the finish line.

The roses had been intended for Sina Noori, 45, Noori’s wife, a breast cancer survivor who said she entered Monday’s race a year after undergoing a double mastectomy. Ms. Noori, an interior designer, was about a half-mile from the finish when the bombs detonated. She plans to return in 2014 to complete the race and to show thanks for the strangers who lent her a phone and gave her a ride to reconnect with her husband after the race was stopped.

“We don’t want the evil people who did this to get the satisfaction of changing the symbol of Boston, which is freedom of movement, companionship, sportsmanship,” said Mr. Noori, an electrical engineer.

Donna Murphy, 54, a nurse from Victoria, British Columbia, joined other participants Wednesday in a show of solidarity by wearing blue marathon shirts and jackets trimmed in gold as they walked near the finish. She also vowed to return in 2014 for her fifth Boston Marathon.

“As somebody told me,” Ms. Murphy said, “they’ve made a lot of people angry and they’re all faster than this person who did this.”

    Where Finish Line Is a Crime Scene, No Talk of Defeat, NYT, 18.4.2013,






Bombings End Decade

of Strikingly Few Successful Terrorism Attacks

in U.S.


April 16, 2013
The New York Times


WASHINGTON — The bombing of the Boston Marathon on Monday was the end of more than a decade in which the United States experienced strikingly few terrorist attacks, in part because of the far more aggressive law enforcement tactics that arose after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

In fact, the Sept. 11 attacks were an anomaly in an overall gradual decline in the number of terrorist attacks since the 1970s, according to the Global Terrorism Database, one of the most authoritative sources of terrorism statistics, which is maintained by a consortium of researchers and based at the University of Maryland.

Since 2001, the number of fatalities in terrorist attacks has reached double digits in only one year, 2009, when an Army psychiatrist killed 13 people at Fort Hood, Tex., officials say. That was a sharp contrast with the 1970s, by far the most violent decade since the tracking began in 1970, the database shows.

But the toll of injuries in the double bombing in Boston, with 3 dead and 176 wounded, ranks among the highest casualty counts in recent American history, exceeded only by Sept. 11, the 1993 World Trade Center attack, the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing and the poisoning of restaurant salad bars with salmonella bacteria by religious cultists in Oregon in 1984.

“I think people are actually surprised when they learn that there’s been a steady decline in terrorist attacks in the U.S. since 1970,” said Gary LaFree, a University of Maryland criminologist and the director of the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism, which maintains the database.

In the 1970s, about 1,350 attacks were carried out by a long list of radical groups, including extremists of the left and the right, white supremacists, Puerto Rican nationalists and black militants, Dr. LaFree said. The numbers fell in the 1980s, as the groups were eroded by arrests and defections, and again in the 1990s, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, which had inspired or covertly supported some violent leftist groups, Dr. LaFree said.

He said there were about 40 percent more attacks in the United States in the decade before Sept. 11 than in the decade after.

“As a result of 9/11, there’s been a revolution in the way law enforcement treats this problem,” Dr. LaFree said. “Police agencies, led by the F.B.I., are far more proactive. They’re interrupting the plots before the attacker gets out the door.”

Spectators at the Boston Marathon described a heavy security presence, as has become standard at public events since 2001, including bomb-sniffing dogs that were deployed before the race. But the attack demonstrated an adage in counterterrorism: security officials have to be good all the time, and terrorists have to be good only once.

The terrorism consortium counted six past marathons disrupted by violent episodes: three in Northern Ireland and one each in Bahrain, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. The only deaths occurred in Colombo, Sri Lanka, in 2008, when a Tamil Tiger militant blew himself up as a marathon started, killing 14 people and wounding 83 others.

Bruce Hoffman, a terrorism expert at Georgetown University, said that a marathon was a particularly difficult event to secure. “It’s a 26-mile route, densely packed in places, and you can’t search people the way you can for a stadium event,” he said.

One other statistic offers a cautionary note as investigators search for clues about the identity of the perpetrators of the Boston attack. About half of the attacks worldwide, and nearly a third of those in the United States, have never been solved, Dr. LaFree said.

    Bombings End Decade of Strikingly Few Successful Terrorism Attacks in U.S., NYT, 16.4.2013,






Officials Highlight Challenge of Protecting

New York From Attacks


April 16, 2013
The New York Times


As hundreds of thousands of commuters, debarking from a conveyor belt of trains and buses, flowed into New York City on Tuesday morning, they were greeted by a painfully familiar sight:

Sentries of uniformed officers with assault weapons strapped to their chests. Bomb-sniffing dogs. And baggage checkpoints outside subway entrances.

Such is life, post-Sept. 11, in a city that has learned to take no chances — a lesson only underscored by the bomb attack on Monday in Boston.

“The fact is, there remain people who want to attack us,” Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said at a news conference at City Hall on Tuesday afternoon. “As a country, we may not be able to thwart every attack; we saw that yesterday. But we must continue to do everything we possibly can to try.”

Yet even as the mayor and the police commissioner outlined the steps being taken to protect the city, the challenges of safeguarding a global destination like New York were made clear in the attacks in Boston.

The police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation can harden particular buildings, making it more difficult for a terrorist to be able to plant a car bomb nearby. But the Boston Marathon bombings represented a worst possible case realized: a major urban event, like the New Year’s Eve ball drop or the Thanksgiving Day Parade, where amorphous crowds converge in the streets.

The New York City police commissioner, Raymond W. Kelly, who also appeared at the news conference, noted the reality that plugging every security hole during grand-scale events, like the New York City Marathon, would be almost impossible.

“You always have to constantly re-evaluate, but there are certain events that are going to be open, just by their very nature,” Mr. Kelly said. “The marathon is 26 miles long so, you know, there are points of vulnerability by definition, there are going to be.”

Less than an hour after the Boston explosions, New York City leaders increased the police presence around many landmarks like Rockefeller Center and the Empire State Building as well as storied hotels and houses of worship, Mr. Kelly said.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, speaking at a news conference in Albany on Tuesday, said he had directed state agencies, including the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services and the New York State Police, to be on heightened alert.

“There are no specific threats against New York City,” Mr. Kelly said. “But in the aftermath of the horrific day that Boston experienced, we prepared as if yesterday was a prelude to an attack here in New York, and that indeed has been our S.O.P., our standard operating procedure, since 9/11.”

Mr. Kelly said that he dispatched two sergeants to Boston on Monday evening so they could glean “granular information” about how the bombings were carried out and employ that knowledge to thwart a similar attack here. “Obviously we want to know why it was done and how it was done,” he said.

Both the commissioner and mayor urged New Yorkers to remain vigilant, keeping an eye out for suspicious behavior or packages. Within the last 24 hours, the police received 77 reports of a suspicious package, compared with 21 reports during a similar period a year ago, Mr. Kelly said.

None turned up any explosive devices; the Central Terminal building at La Guardia Airport was largely evacuated for about 45 minutes as emergency personnel investigated a suspicious device.

“It turned out to be part of a light fixture that had wires on it,” a Port Authority spokesman, Ron Marsico, said.

The fear of a copycat attack in New York was understandable, especially given the demands that a city like New York presents.

“Every weekend there is something, some event here,” Edward Mullins, the president of the Sergeants Benevolent Association, said. “The volume of events is tremendous, and the exposure then becomes greater simply because the volume is greater.”

He noted the difficulty in securing every garbage can, manhole cover or parked car. And even with the Police Department’s additional baggage checkpoints at subway entrances, there are never enough, he said.

“If we set up a check area on 42nd and 8th Avenue, somebody can still get on the subway at 14th Street and 3rd Avenue,” he said. “Just because you are searching me in one place doesn’t mean you can’t go through the backdoor and get into the subway someplace else.”


Thomas Kaplan contributed reporting.

    Officials Highlight Challenge of Protecting New York From Attacks, NYT, 16.4.2013,






From Sandy Hook to Boylston Street,

Terror Anew


April 16, 2013
The New York Times


As she ran past each mile marker on Monday, Judy Toussaint thought about the next name on the back of her shirt, which listed the 26 children and educators who were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., on Dec. 14.

At Mile 26, she reached up to touch the banner with the 26 stars circling the Newtown emblem, which dedicated the last mile to the memory of the tragedy at the school, which her youngest daughter attends. And when she triumphantly finished her first Boston Marathon, her second marathon ever, and was reunited with her family she had a thought — she should really take everyone back to that banner for a picture to remember their day in Boston.

Then came the first boom, then a second, not far from that banner. And then it was just frenzy, confusion, sirens, fear and the recognition that, impossibly, her remembrance of that terrible day had turned into a reprise, not just a tribute to those who died in Sandy Hook.

“I’m tired, not only from the marathon but emotionally as well; obviously we all have a lot to process as a family and a town,” she said Tuesday. “And now we need to reach out to the people of Boston as well, send support their way the way people did for us.”

Ms. Toussaint, a mother of three ranging in age from 9 to 14, was among a team of eight from Newtown who ran the marathon to honor those who died and to raise money for Newtown Strong, a charity formed after the tragedy to raise scholarship money for the surviving family members of those who died at Sandy Hook. None of the eight were injured, and they knew of no one else from Newtown who was injured in Boston.

For those from Newtown at the race and for those back home, the bombing on Monday was a terrifying coda to their own tragedy.

Teri Alves, a third-grade teacher at Sandy Hook Elementary, who was eight months pregnant and huddled with her students in a classroom closet on Dec. 14, said the Boston bombing stirred fears that she had long been trying to repress.

“Now everyone’s reeling again,” she said. “We’re all trying to be positive and move forward; then this happens.”

Ms. Alves ran in the 5K Sandy Hook Race for the Families in Hartford last month, an event that enlisted not only 15,000 runners at the race itself, but also tens of thousands more who ran it “virtually” from around the world, and made donations.

Now at home, with her baby daughter, who was born in January, and her older daughter, who is 3, Ms. Alves said she watched in horror as Boston’s tragedy unfolded. “It stirred up all of those sickening feelings,” she said, adding that she knew of many people who were running the marathon in support of Newtown families. “Everyone was excited, upbeat, and then, bam. The fact that this can happen anywhere, anytime; it’s just too much.”

The Newtown Strong team was organized in large part by two physicians, David Oelberg, who had trained in Boston and is now chief of the pulmonary section at Danbury Hospital, and Laura Nowacki, a pediatrician whose four children all went to Sandy Hook (the youngest still attends), and who was one of the doctors who rushed to the firehouse on Dec. 14 to treat the wounded children who never showed up.

Dr. Nowacki saw the marathon as a way to raise money, pay tribute and give a face to the massacre in Newtown. Struck by how much the marathon’s bucolic beginning reminded her of home, she finished the race and was back at her hotel when she first heard what had happened.

“You saw the police cars and heard the sirens; it felt like living in a war zone, the same way it was at Sandy Hook,” she said. “It was an awful thing to relive it all over again.” Still, she said: “We’re trying to focus on the good, the way people responded. As runners, you have to get through the pain no matter how awful, so we want to do something for the people of Boston. We know what they’re going through.”

Dr. Oelberg, running his 4th Boston Marathon and his 15th marathon over all, recalled a glorious day and a marathon experience like few others, now twisted beyond recognition.“There’s nothing like when you turn onto Boylston Street and you see the banners and hear the cheers,” he said. “It’s such a joyous experience when you cross the finish line, and now it’s stained by this horrible tragedy. I can’t get that thought out of my mind.”

He was also haunted by the way the team’s participation in the race had perhaps unknowingly connected Newtown more closely to another tragedy.

“It makes me feel bad that for the people directly affected by our tragedy, our presence in Boston may have just made some of their pain a little worse,” he said.

But then, of course, especially in the never-ending media hothouse of American life, it all gets linked up anyway. Back in Newtown the observances for Boston began Monday. There was an interfaith vigil on Tuesday at Trinity Episcopal Church, where the pastor, the Rev. Kathleen E. Adams-Shepherd, is from Boston.

“We really felt all the prayers from around the world and all the vigils that were held for us,” she said. “When something like this happens, we want to make sure we’re there for them, too.”


Elizabeth Maker contributed reporting.

    From Sandy Hook to Boylston Street, Terror Anew, NYT, 16.4.2013,






China Mourns the Death of a Student

in Boston Blast


April 17, 2013
The New York Times


HONG KONG - Mourning for a Chinese student who was the third victim killed in the Boston Marathon bombing rippled across her home country on Wednesday, when Internet sites and news reports described and celebrated a young woman whose ambitions for a career in finance were cut harshly short.

Boston University and the Chinese Consulate General in New York have said the victim was a graduate student at the school, but the consulate said her family asked that no personal details be disclosed. But a classmate, a Chinese university official and a state-run newspaper in her home city have said she was Lu Lingzi, who accompanied a friend to watch the Boston Marathon from near where the blasts shook the streets.

Even without government confirmation that Ms. Lu was killed in the bomb blast on Monday, Chinese Internet sites filled with mournful messages about a woman in her mid-twenties whose ambitions took her from a rust-belt hometown of Shenyang to Beijing and then the United States. Her account on Weibo, a Twitter-like Chinese service used by tens of millions of people, attracted more than 10,000 messages, mostly of condolence, in the hours after Chinese media widely reported her death.

“You are in heaven now, where there are no bombs,” said one typical message.

Ms. Lu’s own final message on Weibo, the Chinese microblogging service, was posted on Monday and showed a picture of a bowl of Chinese fried bread, and said “My wonderful breakfast.” Ms. Lu, shown on her Weibo page as a petite woman with thick, shoulder-length hair, said there that she enjoyed food, music and finance. Other Facebook photos showed her in poses at Toah Nipi, a Christian retreat center in southern New Hampshire.

Although mutual perceptions of China and the United States are often overshadowed by political rancor, Ms. Lu’s death gave a melancholy face to the attraction that America and its colleges exert over many young Chinese. More than 194,000 Chinese students were enrolled in U.S. colleges and universities in the 2011-12 academic year, far exceeding any other country outside the United States, according to the Institute of International Education. And Boston, with its many colleges and the cachet of Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has long been a magnet for them.

Ms. Lu, whose resume boasts of a succession of academic achievements and internships with financial firms, appeared to be among the many hoping that a U.S. degree would pave the way to a prestigious job in finance or business. She went to high school in Shenyang in northeast China, a cradle of state-driven industrialization that fell on hard times in the 1990s, and then studied international trade at the Beijing Institute of Technology, and statistics at Boston University, according to her resume on LinkedIn, a social networking Web site, where she also gave her score on the Graduate Record Examinations.

The American embassy in Beijing said it had been in contact with the dead woman’s family in China, as well as the family of a graduate student from Chengdu, in southwestern China, who was “gravely wounded” in the blast.

“We stand ready to provide any assistance to the family members to ensure they are able to personally deal with this tragedy as quickly and easily as possible,” an embassy statement said. “Our hearts go out to the families of all victims of this senseless act of violence.”

In China, the Shenyang Evening News, a state-run newspaper that announced Ms. Lu’s death on its Weibo account, darkened its Web page in honor of “A Shenyanger who passed away in a far away place.” An editor at the newspaper said Ms. Lu’s father confirmed his daughter’s death.

At the heart of the public mourning, however, there was a very private grief. Ms. Lu’s classmates, and students at her former college in Beijing, were reluctant to talk publicly about her death, other than to say that they respected her family’s wishes for privacy

A Ph.D. student in the School of Management and Economics, where Ms. Lu once studied, said she was surprised that the Chinese media had disclosed her name.

“Terrorist attacks always seem far away, yet suddenly it was so close,” said the student, who declined to give her name. “Some friends were thinking about applying for further studies in Boston. They’re quite worried.”

Wang Yao, a graduate student, who said she was Ms. Lu’s former classmate, begged reporters to leave the grieving family alone. “They asked to be left alone,” said Ms. Wang. “And that’s also the general understanding among our peer classmates,” she said

At a daily news briefing in Beijing on Wednesday, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Hua Chunying, discussed the Chinese victims, while not releasing the dead student’s name.

“Chinese leaders and the government are very concerned about the tragic death of a Chinese student and the severe injury of another in the Boston Marathon bombing case on April 15th,” Ms. Hua told reporters. She said the surviving student suffered serious injuries, but her “condition is quite stable.”


Additional research by Mia Li and Patrick Zuo in Beijing,

and Mary Hui in Hong Kong.

    China Mourns the Death of a Student in Boston Blast, NYT, 17.4.2013,






Victims, Ages 8 and 29,

Remembered for Kindness and Laughter


April 16, 2013
The New York Times


BOSTON — Martin Richard and Krystle Campbell, two of three people killed Monday at the Boston Marathon, shared something in common with most of those injured by the blasts. They were there to watch others. They were not supposed to be the subjects of a newspaper story.

Ms. Campbell, 29, who went almost every year to watch the runners cross the finish line, was standing with a friend. Martin, 8, was standing with his family.

On the campus of Boston University, administrators said Tuesday afternoon that the third person killed was a graduate student. The Chinese Consulate in New York said that the victim was a Chinese citizen but that it was not disclosing her name at the request of her family. The university said she was watching the race close to the finish line with two friends, one of whom was in stable condition at Boston Medical Center.

On Tuesday, mourners dropped flowers on the front steps of the gray two-story Victorian home where Martin lived with his family in the Dorchester section of Boston.

Martin’s mother, Denise, and sister, Jane, 6, were badly injured by the blast. His older brother Henry, 12, and his father, Bill, also survived the explosions, said a spokesman for the family.

It was a shockingly sad turn for a family that was well-liked and active in the community — one that ate four-cheese pizza and meatballs several nights a week at a local Italian restaurant. They attended St. Ann Parish Neponset, a Roman Catholic church. Bill Richard was president of the board of St. Mark’s Area Main Street, a community revitalization organization.

The operator of a clock at the center of the neighborhood froze the hands at 2:50 on Tuesday, the time of the first blast.

“Bad things happen, I understand that,” said Suzanne Morrison, a close friend of the family. “But why three times over that family endured what they endured yesterday, that’s something I’ll never be able to process.”

Martin was kindhearted and had an “infectious smile,” Ms. Morrison said. She said he had spent a school year in the same class as one of her daughters.

“He was the one boy that all the girls had a crush on,” Ms. Morrison said. “He didn’t shun the girls. He would play with them. He was just a great, great kid.”

Mr. Richard released a statement, thanking “our family and friends, those we know and those we have never met, for their thoughts and prayers. I ask that you continue to pray for my family as we remember Martin.”

Martin was a third grader at Neighborhood House Charter School. He was frequently in front of his house playing sports with his brother and sister, whom a neighbor described as a tomboy. A red bicycle helmet sat on the front lawn on Tuesday and there was a basketball hoop and hockey goal in the driveway.

“Very active, very normal American kids,” said a neighbor, Jane Sherman, 64, describing the Richard children.

Martin would always tell her hi, Ms. Sherman said, but he was afraid of her Rottweiler, Audra Rose.

About 10:30 on Monday night, Ms. Sherman said, she saw Mr. Richard walking into his house, looking “white as a sheet.” She asked him what was wrong but he did not answer. She then went to his house and asked a family friend who was at the Richard home what had happened.

“He said, ‘Martin is dead.’ ”

Ms. Campbell’s family initially was told that she was merely injured, according to her grandmother Lillian Campbell. Her identity was confused with that of a friend who had been standing with her. Ms. Campbell’s parents learned their daughter had died only when they entered the other woman’s hospital room, Lillian Campbell said.

“We’re heartbroken at the death of our daughter,” her mother, Patty Campbell, who could barely be understood through her tears, said in a statement she read on the porch of the family’s Medford home on Tuesday afternoon. “She was a wonderful person. She was sweet and kind and friendly and she was always smiling.”

Ms. Campbell worked long days and nights as a restaurant manager, most recently for Jimmy’s Steer House in Arlington, but friends said she never lost her sense of humor.

“She made everyone feel special, and in her line of work, it’s really hard,” said Laurie Jackson Cormier, who ran a park where Ms. Campbell managed a restaurant for a number of years. “They work so damn hard, and you don’t often come across everyone who has that attitude.”

Ms. Campbell grew up in Medford, graduating from the local public high school in 2001. She started working as a waitress in high school, and worked her way up to a job as the manager of Hingham branch of the Summer Shack, a popular chain of Boston seafood restaurants.

At the end of the summer season at the Summer Shack in 2009, she organized a hot dog eating contest to rid the restaurant of hundreds of unsold sausages.

“I figured it’s the last weekend of the season, so why not have some people come out and stuff their face?” she told The Boston Globe.

Ms. Campbell lived with her grandmother for almost two years, caring for her after a medical procedure, before moving recently to Arlington and taking a new restaurant job on the other side of the surf and turf divide.

Lillian Campbell said her granddaughter called several times a week and came to see her most weeks. They had a cup of tea and “lots of laughs about foolish things.”

“Every time she comes in the house to see anybody it’s a hug and a kiss, and that’s how she left,” Lillian Campbell said.

“ ‘Love you, Nana,’ that’s what she said.”

Cate Seely, a friend of Ms. Campbell’s, ran the marathon on Monday. On Tuesday, wearing her marathon jacket, she walked up to the Campbell family home with the red rose she received after finishing the race and left it on the front steps.


Kitty Bennett and Michael Roston contributed research.

    Victims, Ages 8 and 29, Remembered for Kindness and Laughter, NYT, 16.4.2013,






For Trauma Surgeons,

Saving Lives, if Not Legs, With No Time to Fret


April 16, 2013
The New York Times


BOSTON — So many patients arrived at once, with variations of the same gruesome leg injuries. Shattered bones, shredded tissue, nails burrowed deep beneath the flesh. The decision had to be made, over and over, with little time to deliberate. Should this leg be amputated? What about this one?

“As an orthopedic surgeon, we see patients like this, with mangled extremities, but we don’t see 16 of them at the same time, and we don’t see patients from blast injuries,” Dr. Peter Burke, the trauma surgery chief at Boston Medical Center, said.

The toll from the bombs Monday at the Boston Marathon, which killed at least three and injured more than 170, will long be felt by anyone involved with the city’s iconic sporting event. For the victims, the physical legacy could be an especially cruel one for a group that was involved in the marathon: severe leg trauma and amputations.

“What we like to do is before we take off someone’s leg — it’s extremely hard to make that decision — is we often get two surgeons to agree,” Dr. Tracey Dechert, a trauma surgeon at Boston Medical, said. “Am I right here? This can’t be saved. So that way you feel better and know that you didn’t take off someone’s leg that you didn’t have to take. All rooms had multiple surgeons so everyone could feel like we’re doing what we need to be doing.”

The widespread leg trauma was a result of bombs that seemed to deliver their most vicious blows within two feet off the ground. In an instant, doctors at hospitals throughout the city who had been preparing for ordinary marathon troubles — dehydration or hypothermia — now faced profound, life-changing decisions for runners and spectators of all ages.

Some victims arrived two to an ambulance, some with huge holes in their legs where skin and fat and muscle were ripped away by the bomb and with ball bearings or nails from the bombs embedded in their flesh. Others had severed arteries in their legs or multiple breaks in the bones of their legs and feet. The shock wave from the blast destroyed blood vessels, skin, muscle and fat. And at least nine patients — five at Boston Medical Center, three at Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital and one at Brigham and Women’s Hospital — had legs or feet so mangled they would need to be amputated.

Some of the attendant medical professionals, said Julie Dunbar, a chaplain at Beth Israel, were faced with “more trauma than most ever see in a lifetime, more sadness, more loss.”

There were only three fatalities, which doctors say was because the blast, low to the ground, mostly injured people’s legs and feet instead of their abdomens, chests or heads. And tourniquets stopped what could have been fatal bleeding in many.

Dr. Allan Panter, 57, an emergency-room physician from Gainesville, Ga., was standing 10 yards from the blast near the finish line, waiting for his wife, Theresa, to complete her 16th Boston Marathon. Assisted by others, he said he used gauze wraps to apply tourniquets to several victims, including a man who appeared to be in his late 20s who lost both of his lower legs in the blast. He said he saw another six or seven victims with belts tied around their wounded legs.

Tourniquets, once discouraged because they were thought to cause damage to injuries, have returned to favor and have been used to treat wounds inflicted by explosive devices in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Dr. Panter said.

“With blast injuries to the lower extremities that we’re getting in the Middle East, you bleed out,” he said. Tourniquets “can help save lives. I don’t know if they helped in this situation, but it sure couldn’t hurt.”

While there was some initial chaos in a medical tent near the finish line, and some screaming and moaning by victims, it was generally an orderly scene, Dr. Panter said. He assisted others in wheeling in a female victim who died, he said. He described 20 to 30 cots in the tent with IV bags that had been intended for dehydrated runners.

At least eight doctors and what seemed to be 20 or more nurses were stationed in the tent. A man with a microphone stood in the center of the tent to coordinate medical care. Arriving victims were assessed and categorized as 1 for critical, 2 for intermediate, 3 for “can wait” and “black tag” for anyone who appeared to be dead, Dr. Panter said. An emergency medical technician outside the tent coordinated ambulance service to hospitals.

“All in all, it was a pretty controlled environment,” said Dr. Panter, who has been an emergency-room physician for 30 years. “I’ve seen a lot worse. They were without question ready — not ready for those type of injuries, but they were prepared.”

Once victims were transported to Boston’s hospitals, doctors had to carefully coordinate their response. Each has a story of where they were when the bombs went off and how they rushed to help and how, in some cases, they somehow just missed being victims themselves.

Dr. Alok Gupta, who directed the surgical response at Beth Israel, said he often goes to the finish line of the marathon to watch the race. But this year he was so tired that he took a nap. Then he heard ambulance sirens and helicopters outside his home in Back Bay, near the marathon finish. He was just beginning to wonder why the sirens had not dissipated and why the helicopters were hovering when his cellphone rang.

“The call was broken up,” he said. “All I heard was ‘mass casualty.’ ” And “we need you,” he said.

He was out of the house in less than a minute and at the hospital five minutes later. Then he and his colleagues set to work. They cleared the emergency room, sending home those who could leave and sending others to beds elsewhere in the building. They cleared intensive care, sending patients to other areas of the hospital. Dr. Gupta directed a central command.

“Surgeons were notified, emergency-room physicians were notified, operating-room personnel were notified, everyone was notified,” he said. Cellphone service in Boston had been limited to prevent terrorists from using cellphones to detonate any more bombs, so doctors, nurses and other medical professionals were contacted with text messages.

About 10 minutes later, patients began to arrive. Each was put in a room and assessed. Doctors described the situation as calm and efficient.

Seven patients at Beth Israel went directly to the operating room for emergency surgery to stabilize them, stopping bleeding for example. Five went to intensive care. At Brigham and Women’s Hospital, six patients went to the operating room and nine to intensive care.

“I think a lot of these injuries are so devastating, it was pretty straightforward — they weren’t going to be able to salvage these things,” said Dr. Burke of Boston Medical Center. “We all would like to salvage whatever extremities we can, but one thing we’ve learned in trauma is when you get too much damage, you can create too much hassle, so you may get the amputation but it may be a year down the line. Ten operations, failed operations, addictions to narcotics for the chronic pains, all these kinds of things.” An early amputation, Dr. Burke added, can mean a quicker return to a normal life.

Borrowing a tactic used by the military in Iraq, doctors at Beth Israel used felt markers to write patients’ vital signs and injuries on their chests — safely away from the leg wounds — so that if a patient’s chart was misplaced during a transfer to surgery or intensive care, for example, there would be no question about what was found in the emergency room.

Those who needed surgery would often need more than one operation on subsequent days. Those with huge blast wounds that ripped out skin and muscle would need plastic surgery. Those with severed arteries would need surgery, too.

Most of the injured taken to Beth Israel were no older than 50, said Dr. Michael Yaffe, a trauma surgeon at the hospital. A few were runners, but most were spectators who had prime viewing positions near the finish line.

At about 2 a.m. on Tuesday, the Beth Israel medical team left for home, to return again at 6. They examined each patient before they left and again when they returned. Often, in trauma, the doctors said, patients will not notice some of their injuries until the major injury is taken care of.

The Boston Marathon is so special, a day to celebrate athleticism and the thrill of the sport. For those runners who trained for months and now can be facing months or years or rehabilitation, and the end of their running days, the bombs took away “the thing they loved,” Dr. Yaffe said.

In the moments after the explosions, some patients recalled that they “thought they would die as they saw the blood spilling out,” said Dr. George Velmahos, chief of trauma services at Massachusetts General Hospital. When they awoke Tuesday and realized they were still alive, they said they felt extremely thankful, some even considering themselves lucky, Dr. Velmahos said.

“It’s almost a paradox,” he said, “to see these patients without an extremity to wake up and feel lucky.”


Jess Bidgood and Richard A. Oppel Jr. contributed reporting.

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: April 16, 2013

An earlier version of a photo caption in this story

misspelled the surname of a physician

who helped treat leg injuries at the Boston Marathon.

It is Dr. Allan Panter, not Pantera.

    For Trauma Surgeons, Saving Lives, if Not Legs, With No Time to Fret, NYT, 16.4.2013,






In Grisly Image, a Father Sees His Son


April 16, 2013
The New York Times


BOSTON — When Jeff Bauman woke up in a hospital bed on Tuesday, an air tube was down his throat, both of his legs had been amputated at the knee, and his father was by his side. He tried to talk, but he could not.

He looked angry, as he motioned his arms up and out like shock waves and mouthed: “Boom! Boom!”

Jeff Bauman is the man in the photograph that has become an icon of the Boston Marathon attack, the one showing a bloodied, distraught young man, holding his left thigh, being wheeled away by a man in a cowboy hat. If the world could not identify him immediately, Mr. Bauman’s father — also named Jeff Bauman — certainly could.

That was his son with his legs destroyed, wearing a favorite shirt. That was his son.

When the explosions went off at the Boston Marathon, Jeff Bauman, 52, called his son’s cellphone again and again — no answer. He knew his son was there, to cheer for his girlfriend, Erin Hurley, who was running her first Boston Marathon. For an hour, he kept calling, calling. No answer.

Then his stepdaughter, Erika, called him. “Did you see the picture?” she asked. “Jeffrey’s on the news. He got hurt.”

“Are you sure? Are you sure?” He was shouting now.

“Yes! Yes! I’m sure!” she shouted back.

Mr. Bauman found the picture on Facebook. It was not the whole picture, the one that showed Jeff’s left leg blown off at the calf. He started calling Boston-area hospitals and found his son registered at Boston Medical Center. He and his wife, Csilla, drove from their home in Concord, N.H., and reached Jeff’s side just before 8 p.m.

The surgery was already done. Both Jeff’s legs had been amputated at the knee. He had lost an excessive amount of blood. During surgery, the doctors had to keep resuscitating him, giving him blood and fluids, because he had lost so much.

Jeff, 27, is a good kid, never got in trouble, his father said. He likes playing guitar. He works behind the deli counter at Costco. He plans to pay off his student loans and go back to school at the University of Massachusetts Lowell.

During the marathon, he was standing at the finish line waiting for Ms. Hurley, alongside her two roommates. Ms. Hurley was still about a mile away when the blasts went off, far enough away that she did not know what had happened. Why had everyone stopped?

Jeff was the first casualty brought to Boston Medical, his family was told. He went through the first operation and then a second, about 1 a.m., to drain internal fluids caused by the blunt trauma.

That night, Jeff’s half-brother, Alan, called from his boot camp at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Tex. His father told him Jeff had been hurt but did not say how badly. He planned to tell Alan the whole truth later.

The Baumans knew how lucky Jeff had been. “The man in the cowboy hat — he saved Jeff’s life,” Ms. Bauman said. Mr. Bauman’s eyes widened. He said: “There’s a video where he goes right to Jeff, picks him right up and puts him on the wheelchair and starts putting the tourniquet on him and pushing him out. I got to talk to this guy!”

The man in the cowboy hat, Carlos Arredondo, 52, had been handing out American flags to runners when the first explosion went off. His son Alexander was a Marine killed in Iraq in 2004, and in the years since he has handed out the flags as a tribute.

With the first blast, Mr. Arredondo jumped over the fence and ran toward the people lying on the ground. What happened next, he later recounted to a reporter: He found a young man, a spectator, whose shirt was on fire. He beat out the flames with his hands. The young man, who turned out to be Jeff Bauman, had lost the lower portion of both legs. He took off a shirt and tied it around the stump of one leg. He stayed with Mr. Bauman, comforting him, until emergency workers came to help carry him to an ambulance.

He helped only one man, Mr. Bauman.

On Tuesday afternoon, the Baumans wondered what had become of the man in the cowboy hat. They wanted to tell him that their son was alive, that he was moving his arms and legs.

But he might be in the hospital for two more weeks. What would he do when he was not so sedated? They plan to bring him his guitar. What would they say to him when he came to?

The elder Mr. Bauman covered his mouth with his hand. “I just don’t know,” he said, and he started to cry.


Binyamin Appelbaum contributed reporting from Boston,

and Kitty Bennett contributed research from New York.

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: April 16, 2013

An earlier version of a photo caption accompanying this article

stated incorrectly that the elder Jeff Bauman was recovering

from a double amputation.

It is his son, also named Jeff Bauman, who was injured.

    In Grisly Image, a Father Sees His Son, NYT, 16.4.2013,






Boston Bombs Were Loaded to Maim


April 16, 2013
The New York Times


BOSTON — The explosives that killed three people and injured more than 170 during the Boston Marathon on Monday were most likely rudimentary devices made from ordinary kitchen pressure cookers, except they were rigged to shoot sharp bits of shrapnel into anyone within reach of their blast and maim them severely, law enforcement officials said Tuesday.

The pressure cookers were filled with nails, ball bearings and black powder, and the devices were triggered by “kitchen-type” egg timers, one official said.

The resulting explosions sent metal tearing through skin and muscle, destroying the lower limbs of some victims who had only shreds of tissue holding parts of their legs together when they arrived at the emergency room of Massachusetts General Hospital, doctors there said.

Law enforcement officials said the devices were probably hidden inside dark nylon duffel bags or backpacks and left on the street or sidewalk near the finish line. Forensic experts said that the design and components of the homemade devices were generic but that the marking “6L,” indicating a six-liter container, could help identify a brand and manufacturer and possibly lead to information on the buyer.

New details about the explosives emerged as President Obamaannounced that the F.B.I. was investigating the attack as “an act of terrorism,” and made plans to come to Boston on Thursday for an interfaith service at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross.

But officials said they still had no suspects in custody and did not give the impression that they were close to making an arrest as they repeatedly noted that the investigation was in its infancy.

“The range of suspects and motives remains wide open,” Richard DesLauriers, the special agent in charge of the F.B.I.'s Boston office, said at a televised briefing on Tuesday afternoon. And, he added, no one has claimed responsibility.

At this stage of an inquiry, officials said it was not unusual for there to be no suspects. But with the paucity of leads, Mr. DesLauriers and others pleaded with members of the public to submit any photographs or video they may have taken at the blast site to help in the investigation. At the briefing, Mr. DesLauriers said that someone somewhere almost certainly heard a mention of the marathon or the date of April 15.

“Someone knows who did this,” he said. “Cooperation from the community will play a crucial role.”

Officials said that as of Tuesday afternoon, they had received more than 2,000 tips from around the world. As marathoners left through Logan Airport on Tuesday, security personnel reminded them of the importance of sharing their pictures with the F.B.I.

Counterterrorism specialists said the authorities would aim to match the faces of any possible suspects, using facial recognition software, against an array of databases for visas, passports and drivers’ licenses. “It’s our intention to go through every frame of every video that we have to determine exactly who was in the area,” Edward Davis, the Boston police commissioner, said at the news briefing. “This was probably one of the most well-photographed areas in the country yesterday.”

Boston was deserted on Tuesday morning, not only because many of the runners and spectators were leaving town, but also because yellow police tape and metal barriers still marked off a nearly mile-long area encompassing the two explosion sites, one that the police described as the most complex crime scene they had ever encountered.

At the morning commuter rush, the city’s subway system was uncharacteristically quiet, watched over by the police and SWAT teams. Stores on Newbury Street, Boston’s busy retail thoroughfare, were closed, and tables on the patio at Stephanie’s, a restaurant there, were still covered in dishes left there on Monday.

Among the three dead was an 8-year-old boy, Martin Richard of Dorchester. The boy had been watching near the finish line and then moved back into the crowd; the blast killed him and severely injured his mother and his sister.

Another spectator, Krystle Campbell, 29, of Arlington, Mass., also died Monday from injuries she suffered while watching the marathon, her grandmother Lillian Campbell said Tuesday.

The third person who died was identified by Boston University officials as a graduate student there, and the Chinese Consulate in New York said that she was a Chinese national. The university is waiting for permission from the family before releasing her name. She was watching the race close to the finish line, saidRobert Brown, president of the university, in an e-mail to the university community.

Given the force of the blasts, doctors at area hospitals said that the death toll could have been much higher but that the triage teams at the blast site had done a good job of sending the victims to the hospitals capable of handling them.

“The distribution worked wonderfully,” said Dr. Stephen K. Epstein, attending emergency physician at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. “It was very easy to match the number of patients to the resources available at each of the hospitals.”

Boston is home to some of the most renowned medical institutions in the country. Doctors at Massachusetts General Hospital said that none of the hospitals were overwhelmed, allowing victims to be attended to in rapid order and saving lives in the process. Some victims were wounded so badly that even a delay of a few minutes could have been fatal, doctors said.

The scale of the attack and the crude nature of the explosives, coupled with the lack of anyone claiming to have been the perpetrator, suggested to experts that the attacker could be an individual or a small group rather than an established terrorist organization.

“This could have been a one-person job,” said Bruce Hoffman, a terrorism specialist at Georgetown University. “That makes it much harder to track. When we catch terrorists, it’s usually because they’re part of a conspiracy and they’re communicating with one another.”

Nonetheless, a senior law enforcement official said that authorities were also looking into connections between pressure cookers and Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, the Qaeda franchise in Yemen, largely because the design of the explosive device was described in a 2010 issue of the group’s online English magazine, Inspire.

“The pressurized cooker is the most effective method,” the article said. “Glue the shrapnel to the inside of the pressurized cooker.” The article was titled “Make a Bomb in the Kitchen of Your Mom.”

Pressure cookers are designed to cook food quickly at high pressure. Pressure cooker bombs work when explosive powder is set off inside the pot and the resulting pressure builds until it exceeds the ability of the pot to contain it, creating a blast of tremendous force. Rudimentary explosive devices made from pressure cookers have been widely used in attacks in Afghanistan, India, Nepal and Pakistan, all countries where the cooking device is common, according to a Department of Homeland Security warning notice issued in 2010.

But they have occasionally turned up in attacks in the United States as well:Faisal Shahzad, an American citizen who attempted a car-bomb attack on Times Square in May 2010, had a pressure cooker loaded with 120 firecrackers among the improvised explosives in his S.U.V. The devices smoked but never exploded.

Instructions for assembling such devices can be found in many places on the Web, including in terrorism “cookbooks” popular among domestic extremists, and the Qaeda magazine is also easily available on the Internet. So the design did not necessarily point to a foreign connection.

A law enforcement official said that the pressure cooker in Boston “was badly damaged,” but that enough of it remained intact to identify it.

One brand of pressure cooker with “6L” on the bottom is made by the Spanish company Fagor, which, according to its Web site, is the fifth-largest appliance maker in Europe, with factories in six countries, including Spain, China and Morocco, and subsidiaries in nearly a dozen more.

The company sells about 50,000 of the six-liter pots in the United States every year, said Sara de la Hera, the vice president for sales and marketing at Fagor’s United States subsidiary.

Ms. De la Hera said she was unaware of whether the company had been contacted by investigators. It could not be immediately determined whether any other brand of pressure cooker also has “6L” etched on the bottom.

“It will have to go through a many tests to see what they can glean further and identify where it was produced and sold, and then look at it forensically,” a law enforcement official said. Officials said on Tuesday that evidence from the scene was being shipped to labs in Quantico, Va. Fox News showed pictures that it said were from the crime scene that showed a chunk of a somewhat pulverized stainless steel pressure cooker, with its UL number visible.

Steven Bartholomew, a spokesman for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, said that the blast was powerful enough to toss debris on top of buildings. “Some of that debris got projected on top of buildings, and embedded in buildings in that finish line area, so that tells us we have a lot of work to do,” Mr. Bartholomew said.

In Boston, as Tuesday wore on, many runners, clad in blue and gold jackets, made pilgrimages to the police blockade on Boylston Street, pausing to take pictures with their cellphones. Others came wearing jackets from previous marathons — a symbol of accomplishment that in Boston turned into a sign of solidarity.

Bonnie Yesian was among many visitors marooned in the city, because her hotel — and her luggage and identification — are inside the crime scene.

“I can’t fly, so I’m stuck,” said Ms. Yesian, who added that strangers and marathon volunteers had offered her guest rooms and supplies.

Hundreds of people, including many runners, held a candlelight vigil Tuesday night in Boston Common. “Such a perfect day, such a wonderful celebration, and then to have this happen,” said Susan Springer, a psychologist. She said she was there because “I wanted to find a way to come together as a community.”


Katharine Q. Seelye reported from Boston,

and Scott Shane and Eric Schmitt from Washington.

Reporting was contributed by John Eligon,

Richard A. Oppel Jr. and Jess Bidgood from Boston,

Michael Cooper and William K. Rashbaum from New York,

and Mark Landler and Michael S. Schmidt from Washington.



This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: April 16, 2013

An earlier version of this article referred incorrectly

to marathon jackets worn by some participants.

They were available for purchase; they were not given to runners.

    Boston Bombs Were Loaded to Maim, NYT, 16.4.2013,






U.S. Practiced Torture After 9/11,

Nonpartisan Review Concludes


April 16, 2013
The New York Times


WASHINGTON — A nonpartisan, independent review of interrogation and detention programs in the years after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks concludes that “it is indisputable that the United States engaged in the practice of torture” and that the nation’s highest officials bore ultimate responsibility for it.

The sweeping, 577-page report says that while brutality has occurred in every American war, there never before had been “the kind of considered and detailed discussions that occurred after 9/11 directly involving a president and his top advisers on the wisdom, propriety and legality of inflicting pain and torment on some detainees in our custody.” The study, by an 11-member panel convened by the Constitution Project, a legal research and advocacy group, is to be released on Tuesday morning.

Debate over the coercive interrogation methods used by the administration of President George W. Bush has often broken down on largely partisan lines. The Constitution Project’s task force on detainee treatment, led by two former members of Congress with experience in the executive branch — a Republican, Asa Hutchinson, and a Democrat, James R. Jones — seeks to produce a stronger national consensus on the torture question.

While the task force did not have access to classified records, it is the most ambitious independent attempt to date to assess the detention and interrogation programs. A separate 6,000-page report on the Central Intelligence Agency’s record by the Senate Intelligence Committee, based exclusively on agency records, rather than interviews, remains classified.

“As long as the debate continues, so too does the possibility that the United States could again engage in torture,” the report says.

The use of torture, the report concludes, has “no justification” and “damaged the standing of our nation, reduced our capacity to convey moral censure when necessary and potentially increased the danger to U.S. military personnel taken captive.” The task force found “no firm or persuasive evidence” that these interrogation methods produced valuable information that could not have been obtained by other means. While “a person subjected to torture might well divulge useful information,” much of the information obtained by force was not reliable, the report says.

Interrogation and abuse at the C.I.A.’s so-called black sites, the Guantánamo Bay prison in Cuba and war-zone detention centers, have been described in considerable detail by the news media and in declassified documents, though the Constitution Project report adds many new details.

It confirms a report by Human Rights Watch that one or more Libyan militants were waterboarded by the C.I.A., challenging the agency’s longtime assertion that only three Al Qaeda prisoners were subjected to the near-drowning technique. It includes a detailed account by Albert J. Shimkus Jr., then a Navy captain who ran a hospital for detainees at the Guantánamo Bay prison, of his own disillusionment when he discovered what he considered to be the unethical mistreatment of prisoners.

But the report’s main significance may be its attempt to assess what the United States government did in the years after 2001 and how it should be judged. The C.I.A. not only waterboarded prisoners, but slammed them into walls, chained them in uncomfortable positions for hours, stripped them of clothing and kept them awake for days on end.

The question of whether those methods amounted to torture is a historically and legally momentous issue that has been debated for more than a decade inside and outside the government. The Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel wrote a series of legal opinions from 2002 to 2005 concluding that the methods were not torture if used under strict rules; all the memos were later withdrawn. News organizations have wrestled with whether to label the brutal methods unequivocally as torture in the face of some government officials’ claims that they were not.

In addition, the United States is a signatory to the international Convention Against Torture, which requires the prompt investigation of allegations of torture and the compensation of its victims.

Like the still-secret Senate interrogation report, the Constitution Project study was initiated after President Obama decided in 2009 not to support a national commission to investigate the post-9/11 counterterrorism programs, as proposed by Senator Patrick J. Leahy, Democrat of Vermont, and others. Mr. Obama said then that he wanted to “look forward, not backward.” Aides have said he feared that his own policy agenda might get sidetracked in a battle over his predecessor’s programs.

The panel studied the treatment of prisoners at Guantánamo Bay, in Afghanistan and Iraq, and at the C.I.A’s secret prisons. Staff members, including the executive director, Neil A. Lewis, a former reporter for The New York Times, traveled to multiple detention sites and interviewed dozens of former American and foreign officials, as well as former detainees.

Mr. Hutchinson, who served in the Bush administration as chief of the Drug Enforcement Administration and under secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, said he “took convincing” on the torture issue. But after the panel’s nearly two years of research, he said he had no doubts about what the United States did.

“This has not been an easy inquiry for me, because I know many of the players,” Mr. Hutchinson said in an interview. He said he thought everyone involved in decisions, from Mr. Bush down, had acted in good faith, in a desperate effort to try to prevent more attacks.

“But I just think we learn from history,” Mr. Hutchinson said. “It’s incredibly important to have an accurate account not just of what happened but of how decisions were made.”

He added, “The United States has a historic and unique character, and part of that character is that we do not torture.”

The panel found that the United States violated its international legal obligations by engineering “enforced disappearances” and secret detentions. It questions recidivism figures published by the Defense Intelligence Agency for Guantánamo detainees who have been released, saying they conflict with independent reviews.

It describes in detail the ethical compromise of government lawyers who offered “acrobatic” advice to justify brutal interrogations and medical professionals who helped direct and monitor them. And it reveals an internal debate at the International Committee of the Red Cross over whether the organization should speak publicly about American abuses; advocates of going public lost the fight, delaying public exposure for months, the report finds.

Mr. Jones, a former ambassador to Mexico, noted that his panel called for the release of a declassified version of the Senate report and said he believed that the two reports, one based on documents and the other largely on interviews, would complement each other in documenting what he called a grave series of policy errors.

“I had not recognized the depths of torture in some cases,” Mr. Jones said. “We lost our compass.”

While the Constitution Project report covers mainly the Bush years, it is critical of some Obama administration policies, especially what it calls excessive secrecy. It says that keeping the details of rendition and torture from the public “cannot continue to be justified on the basis of national security” and urges the administration to stop citing state secrets to block lawsuits by former detainees.

The report calls for the revision of the Army Field Manual on interrogation to eliminate Appendix M, which it says would permit an interrogation for 40 consecutive hours, and to restore an explicit ban on stress positions and sleep manipulation.

The core of the report, however, may be an appendix: a detailed 22-page legal and historical analysis that explains why the task force concluded that what the United States did was torture. It offers dozens of legal cases in which similar treatment was prosecuted in the United States or denounced as torture by American officials when used by other countries.

The report compares the torture of detainees to the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II. “What was once generally taken to be understandable and justifiable behavior,” the report says, “can later become a case of historical regret.”

    U.S. Practiced Torture After 9/11, Nonpartisan Review Concludes, NYT, 16.4.2013,






Living Through Terror, in Rawalpindi and Boston


April 16, 2013
The New York Times



I WAS in the middle of having Chinese food with my wife and friends yesterday afternoon when we heard the dull and deathly reverb. The water in our plastic cups rippled. We looked at one another, and someone made a joke about that famous scene in “Jurassic Park.” We tried to drown the moment in humor. But then a rush of humanity descended upon us in the Prudential Center on Boylston Street, right across from where the second bomb blast had just occurred, near the marathon’s finish line.

People gushed across the hallway like fish in white water rapids. It was a blur of bright clothes and shiny sneakers, everyone dressed up for Patriot’s Day weekend on what was moments ago a beautiful spring day. Instantly, images of the shootings in Aurora, Colo., Newtown, Conn., and Tucson came to mind. I felt my thoughts reduced to singular flashes. My life, all of it, was the first. My wife, sitting across me, was the second. I yelled out to her to run, and we did, not knowing what had happened, only that it had to be something terrible.

We ran out of the food court and onto the terrace overlooking Boylston Street. We could see people fleeing from the finish line even as, in the distance, other weary marathoners kept running unknowingly toward the devastation. What was left of the food court was a land frozen in an innocent time, forks still stuck in half-eaten pieces of steak, belongings littered unattended. I felt fear beyond words.

This was not my first experience with terror, having grown up in Pakistan. But for some reason, I didn’t think back to those experiences. Looking onto to the smoked, chaotic Boylston Street, I forgot about cowering in my childhood bedroom as bombs and gunfire rained over the army headquarters in Rawalpindi, close to our house. My mind did not go back to when I stood on the roof of my dormitory in Karachi as the streets were overrun with burning buses and angry protesters after the assassination of Benazir Bhutto. None of the unfortunate experiences of growing up in the midst of thousands of victims of terror, personally knowing some of them, helped me in that moment. Nothing made it any easier.

Perhaps, if I had been thinking more clearly and hadn’t had my wife with me, I might have gone down to try to help the wounded. But at that moment all I could think about was getting us out of there. We lost our friends, then found them again. Our cellphones weren’t working. And then, as we worked our way through the dazed throngs in Back Bay, I realized that not only was I a victim of terror, but I was also a potential suspect.

As a 20-something Pakistani male with dark stubble (an ode more to my hectic schedule as a resident in the intensive-care unit than to any aesthetic or ideology), would I not fit the bill? I know I look like Hollywood’s favorite post-cold-war movie villain. I’ve had plenty of experience getting intimately frisked at airports. Was it advisable to go back to pick up my friend’s camera that he had forgotten in his child’s stroller in the mall? I remember feeling grateful that I wasn’t wearing a backpack, which I imagined might look suspicious. My mind wandered to when I would be working in the intensive care unit the next day, possibly taking care of victims of the blast. What would I tell them when they asked where I was from (a question I am often posed)? Wouldn’t it be easier to just tell people I was from India or Bangladesh?

As I walked down Commonwealth Avenue, I started receiving calls from family back home. They informed me about what was unfolding on television screens across the world. I was acutely conscious of what I spoke over the phone, feeling that someone was breathing over my shoulder, listening to every word I said. Careful to avoid Urdu, speaking exclusively in English, I relayed that I was safe, and all that I had seen. I continued to naïvely cling to the hope that it was a gas explosion, a subway accident, anything other than what it increasingly seemed to be: an act of brutality targeted at the highest density of both people and cameras.

The next step was to hope that the perpetrator was not a lunatic who would become the new face of a billion people. Not a murderer who would further fan the flames of Islamophobia. Not an animal who would obstruct the ability of thousands of students to complete their educations in the United States. Not an extremist who would maim and hurt the very people who were still recovering from the pain of Sept. 11. President Obama and Gov. Deval L. Patrick have shown great restraint in their words and have been careful not to accuse an entire people for what one madman may have done. But others might not be so kind.


Haider Javed Warraich is a resident in internal medicine

at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

    Living Through Terror, in Rawalpindi and Boston, NYT, 16.4.2013,






Boston Combs Mile-Square Crime Scene

After Blasts


April 16, 2013
The New York Times


BOSTON — The day after two powerful bombs exploded near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, a mile-square area around Copley Square here remained cordoned off as a crime scene, and officials still had no one in custody. Investigators searched a house in a nearby suburb late Monday night, but later said the search had proved fruitless.

Hundreds of runners who had expected to leave Boston on Tuesday morning with a sense of triumph after a night of celebration left instead with heavy hearts after at least three people were killed. The bombings also sent 176 people to area hospitals, including 17 who were critically injured, Police Commissioner Edward Davis of Boston said Tuesday.

Among the dead was an 8-year-old boy, Martin Richard, of Dorchester, according to Conor Yunits, a family spokesman. He had been watching the marathon with his family; his mother and a sister were badly injured. The names of the other victims have not been made public.

Late Monday night, law enforcement officials descended on an apartment building in the suburb of Revere, about five miles north of Copley Square, linked to a man the police took into custody near the scene of the bombings. But on Tuesday morning, one law enforcement official said investigators had determined that the man, who was injured in the blast and was questioned at the hospital, was not involved in the attack.

A few details about the explosives emerged on Tuesday. Representative Michael McCaul, a Texas Republican who heads the House Homeland Security Committee, said the authorities believe the explosives were likely a “pressure-cooker device,” similar to improvised explosive weapons used against American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. Mr. McCaul, a former federal prosecutor who received briefings Tuesday morning from the F.B.I. and Homeland Security officials, said the authorities still did not know whether the attack was a foreign or domestic plot.

Surgeons at Boston hospitals said during a televised news conferences on Tuesday that the devices were packed with small pellets and sharp “nail-like” objects that were designed to maim victims.

Congressman Stephen Lynch, a Democrat of Massachusetts, said doctors had identified material lodged in a survivor’s leg as a ball bearing.

The presence of a ball bearing, Mr. Lynch said, along with the timing of the explosions, indicated that the device was probably built by someone with expertise, “not some kid in his garage putting something together, I don’t think.”

Mr. Lynch characterized the choice of the material as deliberate. “This is not a device like Oklahoma City,” he said. “That was to bring the building down. The ball bearings are meant as antipersonnel munitions. They’re trying to cause carnage here.”

The authorities have not announced any arrests, and so far, no one has claimed responsibility as the police conduct what they said was “a criminal investigation that is a potential terrorist investigation.”

Law enforcement officials pleaded at a briefing Tuesday morning for anyone who took pictures or video of the finish line at the time of the blast to submit them boston@ic.fbi.gov or to call 1-800-CALL-FBI (1-800-225-5324).

The plea underscored just how pervasive cameras have become at events like the marathon and how crucial they can be in helping the police piece together crucial pieces of evidence. But it may also suggest how few clues the authorities have otherwise.

The police also said they were examining footage from nearby security cameras frame by frame as they continue their search for the identity of the person or persons who placed explosive devices at the end of the 26.2-mile course.

Commissioner Davis said that officials were gradually reducing the size of the crime scene, which on Tuesday stretched for 12 blocks in Copley Square, down from 15 blocks on Monday. He said it was the most complex crime scene in the history of the department.

City streets that normally would be clogged at rush hour were largely deserted on Tuesday except for a cold wind and a few runners out for a morning jog. “It’s very surreal,” said Mary Ollinger, 32, who works at Wentworth Institute of Technology. “The streets are empty and the Common is filled with media trucks.”

At rush hour, the city’s subway system was uncharacteristically quiet, watched over by a heightened police presence and SWAT team members. Parts of the city seemed to have ground to a halt: Stores on Newbury Street, Boston’s busy retail thoroughfare, were closed, and tables on the patio at Stephanie’s, a restaurant there, were still covered in dishes left there on Monday.

Metal barriers and more police guarded the crime scene, forming something of a black hole in a busy retail and business district in this city. Inside, the streets were still littered in the detritus of the marathon — runners’ blankets, water bottles, even a pile of bananas.

Hundreds if not thousands of office workers avoided the city on Tuesday because of the closures. Maria Luna, 38, who lives in Watertown and usually commutes by bus to her job as an investment analyst at John Hancock, said she was staying home. “My manager told me it would be very limited access,” she said by phone. The emergency protocol in her office was activated, she said, meaning that essential workers, like those who must move cash on a time-sensitive basis, could report to an off-site disaster recovery station in Portsmouth, N.H., where the company has computers.

She said she felt a combination of sadness and terror. “Right now I have a big ball in the pit of my stomach,” she said.

But many runners, clad in the blue and gold jackets given to this year’s marathoners, made pilgrimages to the blockade on Boylston Street, pausing to take pictures with their cellphones. Others came wearing jacket from previous marathons — the symbol of accomplishment had, apparently, turned into a sign of solidarity.

Alison Gardner, a runner from Austin, Tex., who completed the race on Monday about 10 minutes before the blasts, left a potted hydrangea and tucked a bunch of tulips into the metal barrier.

“It’s supposed to be a day of celebration today, and it’s a day of sadness,” said Ms. Gardner.

Her companion, Bonnie Yesian, is among many visitors still marooned in the city, because her hotel — and her luggage and identification — is inside the crime scene.

“I can’t fly, so I’m stuck,” said Ms. Yesian, who said strangers and marathon volunteers had offered her guest rooms and supplies in the meantime.

Marathon officials had set up an ad hoc site adjacent to the crime scene, where runners who had been stopped before the finish line could pick up their medals and bright yellow bags of belongings that they had left at the start. What would ordinarily be a moment to bask in accomplishment was a grim occasion, as runners — many with tears in their eyes — wondered what to make of a medal for a marathon they had been unable to complete.

“It’s heartbreaking to not cross the finish line, you train so hard for this,” said Lauren Field, an auctioneer who now lives in Hampstead, N.H., who was stopped blocks from the finish line. “It’s sad, but I’m safe.”

Caroline Burkhart protested gently as a volunteer handed her a medal. “I didn’t finish,” she said, explaining that she had stopped at mile 25.2. She took off the medal and examined it. “Memories,” she said, with a shudder. “Next year, I’ll wear it.”

In Dorchester, the street outside the home of Martin Richard, the 8-year-old victim, a large two-story gray Victorian with a basketball hoop and a hockey goal in the driveway, was filled with reporters and television cameras on Tuesday. Mourners stopped to leave flowers in the front yard. A neighbor, Jane Sherman, 64, described the Richard children as “very active, very normal American kids.” Ms. Sherman, a real estate agent, said she would often see the children outside the house playing. “They’re very happy-go-lucky kids,” she said. “All of Dorchester is devastated.”

White House officials said that President Obama received updates overnight about the investigation from Lisa Monaco, his chief counterterrorism and homeland security adviser. “The president made clear that he expects to be kept up to date on any developments and directed his team to make sure that all federal resources that can support these efforts, including the investigation being led by the F.B.I., be made available,” a White House official said. Mr. Obama is to be briefed again later this morning by Ms. Monaco and the director of the F.B.I., Robert Mueller.

Almost three-quarters of the 23,000 runners who participated in the race had already crossed the finish line when a bomb that had apparently been placed in a garbage can exploded around 2:50 p.m. in a haze of smoke amid a crowd of spectators on Boylston Street, just off Copley Square in the heart of the city. Twelve seconds later, another bomb exploded several hundred feet away.

On Tuesday morning officials said that the only explosive devices found were the ones that exploded at the marathon — clarifying conflicting statements that were given Monday in the chaotic aftermath of the blast, when some law-enforcement officials had said that other devices were found. “There were no unexploded devices found,” Gov. Deval Patrick said Tuesday morning.


Reporting was contributed by John Eligon and Jess Bidgood from Boston,

Michael Cooper, Steve Eder, Ashley Parker,

William K. Rashbaum and Mary Pilon from New York, and Mark Landler,

and Michael S. Schmidt, Eric Schmitt and Abby Goodnough

from Washington.

    Boston Combs Mile-Square Crime Scene After Blasts, NYT, 16.4.2013,






Bombs at the Marathon


April 15, 2013
The New York Times


A marathon is the most unifying of sporting events. The city that shows up to cheer on thousands of runners doesn’t really know or care much about who wins; there are no sides to root for or against. Those who stand on the sidelines — as they have done in Boston since 1897 — come to celebrate runners from around the world. The country or neighborhood of origin of the competitors matters far less than their stamina.

On Monday, the weather for the 117th running of the Boston Marathon was cloudy and a little chilly — just the way runners like it. Three hours after the winners had broken the tape, there were still many runners on the course, and hundreds of spectators on the sidewalk, when an explosion rocked the finish-line area on Boylston Street, across from the main viewing stand. For a brief second, the flags of scores of nations were bent downward by the blast.

A few marathoners were knocked over by the force of the explosion. Some runners, locked in their trance, kept going until they realized something horrific had just happened. When they turned back, they said they heard the screams and wails, saw the column of rising smoke, and then the blood and limbs of victims. There was broken glass and agony everywhere.

Fifteen seconds after the first one, there was another explosion a few blocks away. It was clear this was not a random event but another concerted effort to kill and maim innocent Americans, just because they had gathered in a vulnerable spot on a day when no one’s mind was on terror. The police confirmed that bombs were responsible for the mayhem; three more unexploded devices were found elsewhere around the city. At least three people died — one of whom was 8 years old — and dozens more were injured, some severely.

It could be a while before officials determine which malevolent ideology was behind this attack. President Obama vowed to track down the perpetrators and bring them to justice, praising Boston as a “tough and resilient town” that will take care of itself and will be taken care of by the country. “The American people will say a prayer for Boston tonight,” he said.

The simple joy of a 26.2-mile run was shattered on Monday. But the marathon will be back next year, no matter how much security is required, and the crowds should yell twice as loudly. No act of terrorism is strong enough to shatter a tradition that belongs to American history.

    Bombs at the Marathon, NYT, 15.4.2013,






War Zone at Mile 26:

‘So Many People Without Legs’


April 15, 2013
The New York Times


BOSTON — About 100 feet from the end of the 26.2-mile Boston Marathon, explosions shook the street and sent runners frantically racing for cover. The marathon finish line, normally a festive area of celebration and exhaustion, was suddenly like a war zone.

“These runners just finished and they don’t have legs now,” said Roupen Bastajian, 35, a Rhode Island state trooper and former Marine. “So many of them. There are so many people without legs. It’s all blood. There’s blood everywhere. You got bones, fragments. It’s disgusting.”

Had Mr. Bastajian run a few strides slower, as he did in 2011, he might have been among the dozens of victims wounded in Monday’s bomb blasts. Instead, he was among the runners treating other runners, a makeshift emergency medical service of exhausted athletes.

“We put tourniquets on,” Mr. Bastajian said. “I tied at least five, six legs with tourniquets.”

The Boston Marathon, held every year on Patriots’ Day, a state holiday, is usually an opportunity for the city to cheer with a collective roar. But the explosions turned an uplifting day into a nightmarish swirl of bloodied streets and torn-apart limbs as runners were toppled, children on the sidelines were maimed, and a panicked city watched its iconic athletic spectacle destroyed.

The timing of the explosions — around 2:50 p.m. — was especially devastating because they happened when a high concentration of runners in the main field were arriving at the finish line on Boylston Street. In last year’s Boston Marathon, for example, more than 9,100 crossed the finish line — 42 percent of all finishers — in the 30 minutes before and after the time of the explosions.

This year, more than 23,000 people started the race in near-perfect conditions. Only about 17,580 finished.

Three people were killed and more than 100 were injured, officials said.

Deirdre Hatfield, 27, was steps away from the finish line when she heard a blast. She saw bodies flying out into the street. She saw a couple of children who appeared lifeless. She saw people without legs.

“When the bodies landed around me I thought: Am I burning? Maybe I’m burning and I don’t feel it,” Ms. Hatfield said. “If I blow up, I just hope I won’t feel it.”

She looked inside a Starbucks to her left, where she thought a blast might have occurred. “What was so eerie, you looked in you knew there had to be 100 people in there, but there was no sign of movement,” she said.

Ms. Hatfield wondered where another explosion might occur. She turned down a side street and ran to the hotel where she had agreed to meet her boyfriend and family after the race.

Amid the chaos, the authorities directed runners and onlookers to the area designated for family members meeting runners at the end of the race. It was traditionally a place of panting pride, sweaty hugs and exhausted relief.

But on Monday, it became a place of dread, as news of the attack spread through the crowd and people awaited word. One woman screamed over the din toward the streets roped off for runners: “Lisa! Lisa!”

Some saw the explosions as clouds of white smoke. To others, they looked orange — a fireball that nearly reached the top of a nearby traffic light. Groups of runners, including a row of women in pink and neon tank tops and a man in a red windbreaker — kept going a few paces at least, as if unsure of what they were seeing.

Some runners stopped in the middle of the street, confused and frightened. Others turned around and started running back the way they came.

“It is kind of ironic that you just finished running a marathon and you want to keep running away,” said Sarah Joyce, 21, who had just finished her first marathon when she heard the blast.

Bruce Mendelsohn, 44, was at a party in a third-floor office above where the bombs went off. His brother, Aaron, had finished the race earlier.

“There was a very loud boom, and three to five seconds later there was another one,” said Mr. Mendelsohn, an Army veteran who works in public relations. He ran outside. “There was blood smeared in the streets and on the sidewalk,” he said.

Mr. Mendelsohn could not be sure how many people had been killed or wounded, but among the bodies he said he saw women, children and runners. The wounds, he said, appeared to be “lower torso.”

As Melissa Fryback, 42, was heading into the home stretch, she realized she was on pace for one of her best times ever. She steeled herself for the last three miles and finished in 3 hours 44 minutes. She met up with her boyfriend, and the two had made it about two blocks from the finish line when they heard the blasts.

“I can’t help but wonder that if I hadn’t pushed like that, it could have been me,” she said.

Boston hospitals struggled to keep up with the flow of patients. Massachusetts General Hospital admitted 29 patients, 8 of them in critical condition; several of them needed amputations, a spokesman said.

Late Monday night, Brigham and Women’s Hospital said it had seen 31 patients who were wounded in the explosions, ranging from a 3-year-old to patients in their 60s. As many as 10 were listed in serious condition, and 2 were in critical condition.

The Rev. Brian Jordan, a Franciscan priest based in Brooklyn, said he was in Boston to say a pre-race Mass near the starting line for a group of about 100 friends who were running. The group included Boston firefighters, Massachusetts State Police officers and several Army soldiers recently returned from Iraq.

Father Jordan, a veteran runner of 21 Boston Marathons himself, was about a block away from the blasts when they occurred, heading toward the course to watch his friends finish the race.

“I never heard that type of sound before,” he said by telephone. “It was like cannons.”

He said he made his way through the fleeing crowd toward the explosions. “I saw some blood,” he said.

He realized he could be more effective wearing his Franciscan habit, so he returned to the firehouse and donned the brown robe of his order, and then headed back out into the streets.

“All I could do was try to calm people down,” Father Jordan said. “Marathons are supposed to bring people together.”

Jeff Constantine, 46, ended his first marathon a mile from the finish. It took 10 minutes to find out why. He was planning to finish the race at almost exactly the time that the bomb went off.

“If I didn’t freeze up, if I hadn’t been slow, I would have been right there,” he said.

His family had traffic to thank. They were running late after watching Mr. Constantine run up Heartbreak Hill, the race’s most challenging stretch, and never made it to the finish line.


Reporting was contributed by John Eligon and Mary Pilon in Boston,

and Steve Eder, Kirk Semple and Andrew W. Lehren in New York.

    War Zone at Mile 26: ‘So Many People Without Legs’, NYT, 15.4.2013,






Boston Marathon Blasts Kill 3


April 15, 2013
The New York Times


BOSTON — Two powerful bombs exploded near the finish line of the Boston Marathon on Monday afternoon, killing three people, including an 8-year-old child, and injuring more than 100, as one of this city’s most cherished rites of spring was transformed from a scene of cheers and sweaty triumph to one of screams and carnage.

Almost three-quarters of the 23,000 runners who participated in the race had already crossed the finish line when a bomb that had apparently been placed in a garbage can exploded around 2:50 p.m. in a haze of smoke amid a crowd of spectators on Boylston Street, just off Copley Square in the heart of the city. Thirteen seconds later, another bomb exploded several hundred feet away.

Pandemonium erupted as panicked runners and spectators scattered, and rescue workers rushed in to care for the dozens of maimed and injured, some of whom lost legs in the blast, witnesses said. The F.B.I. took the lead role in the investigation on Monday night, and Richard DesLauriers, the special agent in charge of the bureau’s Boston office, described the inquiry at a news conference as “a criminal investigation that is a potential terrorist investigation.”

The reverberations were felt far outside the city, with officials in New York and Washington stepping up security at important locations. Near the White House, the Secret Service cordoned off Pennsylvania Avenue out of what one official described as “an abundance of caution.”

President Obama, speaking at the White House, vowed to bring those responsible for the blasts to justice. “We will get to the bottom of this,” the president said. “We will find who did this, and we will find out why they did this. Any responsible individuals, any responsible groups will feel the full weight of justice.”

Mr. Obama did not refer to the attacks as an act of terrorism, and he cautioned people from “jumping to conclusions” based on incomplete information. But a White House official, speaking on the condition of anonymity afterward, said, “Any event with multiple explosive devices — as this appears to be — is clearly an act of terror, and will be approached as an act of terror.”

“However,” the official added, “we don’t yet know who carried out this attack, and a thorough investigation will have to determine whether it was planned and carried out by a terrorist group, foreign or domestic.”

Some runners were approaching the end of the 26.2-mile race when the two blasts, in rapid succession, sent them running away from the finish line.

“The first one went off, I thought it was a big celebratory thing, and I just kept going,” recalled Jarrett Sylvester, 26, a runner from East Boston, who said it had sounded like a cannon blast. “And then the second one went off, and I saw debris fly in the air. And I realized it was a bomb at that point. And I just took off and ran in the complete opposite direction.”

There were conflicting reports about how many devices there were. One law enforcement official said there had been four: the two that exploded at the marathon and two others that were disabled by the police. The official said that the devices appeared to have been made with black powder and ball bearings, but that investigators were unsure how the two that exploded had been set off.

It was unclear Monday evening who might be responsible for the blast. Although investigators said that they were speaking to a Saudi citizen who was injured in the blast, several law enforcement officials took pains to note that no one was in custody.

Some law enforcement officials noted that the blasts came at the start of a week that has sometimes been seen as significant for radical American antigovernment groups: it was the April 15 deadline for filing taxes, and Patriots’ Day in Massachusetts, the start of a week that has seen violence in the past. April 19 is the anniversary of the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City.

The explosive devices used in the attacks on Monday were similar in size to the device used in the 1996 attack at the Centennial Olympic Park bombing in Atlanta but were not nearly as large as the one used in Oklahoma City. In the Atlanta attack, a pipe bomb was detonated near pedestrians, killing 2 and injuring more than 100 — similar numbers to Monday’s attack.

The attack in Oklahoma City was far larger because the perpetrator used a truck packed with thousands of pounds of explosives. The device killed more than 150 people.

The attack on Monday occurred in areas that had been largely cleared of vehicles for the marathon. Without vehicles to pack explosives into, the perpetrators would have been forced to rely on much smaller devices.

Officials stressed that they had no suspects in the attack. The Saudi man, who was interviewed at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, had been seen running from the scene of the first explosion, a person briefed on preliminary developments in the investigation said on Monday afternoon. A law enforcement official said later Monday that the man, was in the United States on a student visa and came under scrutiny because of his injuries, his proximity to the blasts and his nationality — but added that he was not known to federal authorities and that his role in the attack, if any, was unclear.

The explosions brought life in Boston to a halt. Police officials effectively closed a large part of the Back Bay neighborhood, which surrounds the blast site; some transit stops were closed; planes were briefly grounded at Boston Logan International Airport and the Boston Symphony Orchestra canceled its Monday night concert. A Boston Celtics game scheduled for Tuesday was also canceled.

Boston was bracing for a heightened law enforcement presence on Tuesday, with its transit riders subject to random checks of their backpacks and bags, and many streets in the center of the city likely to be closed to traffic as the investigation continues. Gov. Deval Patrick said Monday night that “the city of Boston is open and will be open tomorrow, but it will not be business as usual.”

Boston’s police commissioner, Ed Davis, urged people to stay off the streets. “We’re recommending to people that they stay home, that if they’re in hotels in the area that they return to their rooms, and that they don’t go any place and congregate in large crowds,” he said at an afternoon news conference.

It had begun as a perfect day for the Boston Marathon, one of running’s most storied events, with blue skies and temperatures just shy of 50 degrees. The race typically draws half a million spectators. And long after the world-class runners had finished — the men’s race was won by Lelisa Desisa Benti of Ethiopia, who finished it in 2 hours, 10 minutes and 22 seconds — the sidewalks of Back Bay were still thick with spectators cheering on friends and relatives as they loped, exhausted, toward the finish line.

Dr. Natalie Stavas, a pediatric resident at Boston Children’s Hospital, was running in the marathon with her father and was nearing the finish line when the explosions shook the street.

“The police were trying to keep us back, but I told them that I was a physician and they let me through,” she recalled in an interview.

First she performed CPR on one woman. “She was on the ground, she wasn’t breathing, her legs were pretty much gone,” she said, adding that she feared that the woman had not survived.

Then she tried to help a woman with an injury in her groin area, and a man who had lost his foot. Dr. Stavas said t she had applied a tourniquet to the man’s leg with someone’s belt. “He was likely in shock,” she said. “He was saying, ‘I’m O.K., doctor, I’m O.K.’ “

“Then ambulances started coming in by the dozen,” she said.

The blast was so powerful that it blew out shop windows and damaged a window on the third floor of the Central Library in Copley Square, which was closed to the public for Patriots’ Day.

A number of people were taken to Massachusetts General Hospital, said Dr. Alasdair Conn, the hospital’s chief of emergency services — and several had lost their legs.

“This is like a bomb explosion we hear about in Baghdad or Israel or other tragic points in the world,” Dr. Conn said.

Several children were among the 10 patients who were brought to Boston Children’s Hospital, including a 2-year-old boy with a head injury who was admitted to the medical/surgical intensive care unit.

The police faced another problem as they tried to secure the blast scene: many spectators dropped their backpacks and bags as they scattered to safety, and investigators had to treat each abandoned bag as a potential bomb. There were bomb scares at area hotels. At one point in the afternoon, Boston police officials said that they feared that a fire at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum could have been related to the marathon bombs, but they later said it seemed to be unrelated.

The Boston police said that they were getting numerous reports of suspicious packages. Asked if they had found all the explosive devices, Mr. Davis, the police commissioner, urged citizens to remain alert and said he was “not prepared to say we’re at ease at this time.”


John Eligon reported from Boston, and Michael Cooper from New York. Reporting was contributed by Steve Eder, Ashley Parker, William K. Rashbaum, Katharine Q. Seelye and Mary Pilon from New York, Mark Landler, Michael S. Schmidt, Eric Schmitt and Abby Goodnough from Washington, and Joel Elliott, Dina Kraft, Tim Rohan and Brent McDonald from Boston.

    Boston Marathon Blasts Kill 3, NYT, 15.4.2013,






Gitmo Is Killing Me


April 14, 2013
The New York Times



ONE man here weighs just 77 pounds. Another, 98. Last thing I knew, I weighed 132, but that was a month ago.

I’ve been on a hunger strike since Feb. 10 and have lost well over 30 pounds. I will not eat until they restore my dignity.

I’ve been detained at Guantánamo for 11 years and three months. I have never been charged with any crime. I have never received a trial.

I could have been home years ago — no one seriously thinks I am a threat — but still I am here. Years ago the military said I was a “guard” for Osama bin Laden, but this was nonsense, like something out of the American movies I used to watch. They don’t even seem to believe it anymore. But they don’t seem to care how long I sit here, either.

When I was at home in Yemen, in 2000, a childhood friend told me that in Afghanistan I could do better than the $50 a month I earned in a factory, and support my family. I’d never really traveled, and knew nothing about Afghanistan, but I gave it a try.

I was wrong to trust him. There was no work. I wanted to leave, but had no money to fly home. After the American invasion in 2001, I fled to Pakistan like everyone else. The Pakistanis arrested me when I asked to see someone from the Yemeni Embassy. I was then sent to Kandahar, and put on the first plane to Gitmo.

Last month, on March 15, I was sick in the prison hospital and refused to be fed. A team from the E.R.F. (Extreme Reaction Force), a squad of eight military police officers in riot gear, burst in. They tied my hands and feet to the bed. They forcibly inserted an IV into my hand. I spent 26 hours in this state, tied to the bed. During this time I was not permitted to go to the toilet. They inserted a catheter, which was painful, degrading and unnecessary. I was not even permitted to pray.

I will never forget the first time they passed the feeding tube up my nose. I can’t describe how painful it is to be force-fed this way. As it was thrust in, it made me feel like throwing up. I wanted to vomit, but I couldn’t. There was agony in my chest, throat and stomach. I had never experienced such pain before. I would not wish this cruel punishment upon anyone.

I am still being force-fed. Two times a day they tie me to a chair in my cell. My arms, legs and head are strapped down. I never know when they will come. Sometimes they come during the night, as late as 11 p.m., when I’m sleeping.

There are so many of us on hunger strike now that there aren’t enough qualified medical staff members to carry out the force-feedings; nothing is happening at regular intervals. They are feeding people around the clock just to keep up.

During one force-feeding the nurse pushed the tube about 18 inches into my stomach, hurting me more than usual, because she was doing things so hastily. I called the interpreter to ask the doctor if the procedure was being done correctly or not.

It was so painful that I begged them to stop feeding me. The nurse refused to stop feeding me. As they were finishing, some of the “food” spilled on my clothes. I asked them to change my clothes, but the guard refused to allow me to hold on to this last shred of my dignity.

When they come to force me into the chair, if I refuse to be tied up, they call the E.R.F. team. So I have a choice. Either I can exercise my right to protest my detention, and be beaten up, or I can submit to painful force-feeding.

The only reason I am still here is that President Obama refuses to send any detainees back to Yemen. This makes no sense. I am a human being, not a passport, and I deserve to be treated like one.

I do not want to die here, but until President Obama and Yemen’s president do something, that is what I risk every day.

Where is my government? I will submit to any “security measures” they want in order to go home, even though they are totally unnecessary.

I will agree to whatever it takes in order to be free. I am now 35. All I want is to see my family again and to start a family of my own.

The situation is desperate now. All of the detainees here are suffering deeply. At least 40 people here are on a hunger strike. People are fainting with exhaustion every day. I have vomited blood.

And there is no end in sight to our imprisonment. Denying ourselves food and risking death every day is the choice we have made.

I just hope that because of the pain we are suffering, the eyes of the world will once again look to Guantánamo before it is too late.


Samir Naji al Hasan Moqbel, a prisoner at Guantánamo Bay since 2002,

told this story, through an Arabic interpreter, to his lawyers

at the legal charity Reprieve in an unclassified telephone call.

    Gitmo Is Killing Me, NYT, 14.4.2013,






Hunger Strike at Guantánamo


April 5, 2013
The New York Times


The hunger strike that has spread since early February among the 166 detainees still at Guantánamo Bay is again exposing the lawlessness of the system that marooned them there. The government claims that around 40 detainees are taking part. Lawyers for detainees report that their clients say around 130 detainees in one part of the prison have taken part.

The number matters less than the nature of the protest, however: this is a collective act of despair. Prisoners on the hunger strike say that they would rather die than remain in the purgatory of indefinite detention. Only three prisoners now at Guantánamo have been found guilty of any crime, yet the others also are locked away, with dwindling hope of ever being released.

Detainees there have gone on hunger strikes many times since the facility opened in 2002. A major strike in 2005 involved more than 200 detainees. But those earlier actions were largely about the brutality of treatment the detainees received. The protest this time seems more fundamental. Gen. John Kelly of the Marines, whose Southern Command oversees Guantánamo Bay, explained the motivation of the detainees at a Congressional hearing last month by saying, “They had great optimism that Guantánamo would be closed” based on President Obama’s pledge in his first campaign, but they are now “devastated” that nothing has changed.

For 86 detainees, this is a particular outrage. They were approved for release three years ago by a government task force, which included civilian and military agencies responsible for national security.

But Congress outrageously has limited the president’s options in releasing them, through a statute that makes it very difficult to use federal money to transfer Guantánamo prisoners anywhere. Fifty-six of those approved for release are Yemenis. The government, however, has said it will not release them to Yemen for the “foreseeable future,” apparently because they might fall under the influence of people antagonistic to the United States. That false logic would mean that no Yemenis could ever travel to this country, but that is not the case.

The other 30 detainees approved for release are from different countries, though the government will not say where they are from. Over the past decade, the government has sent detainees to at least 52 countries, The Times and NPR have determined, so it surely can find countries to take detainees who cannot be returned home.

As for the remaining 80 prisoners, the three who have been convicted and the 30 or so who are subjects of active cases or investigations can be transferred to a military or civilian prison. The rest are in indefinite detention — a legal limbo in which they are considered by the government to be too dangerous to release and too difficult to prosecute. Such detention is the essence of what has been wrong with Guantánamo from the start. The cases of these detainees must be reviewed and resolved according to the rule of law.

The government is force-feeding at least 10 of the hunger strikers. International agreements among doctors say doctors must respect a striker’s decision if he makes “an informed and voluntary refusal” to eat. But under American policy, Guantánamo doctors cannot adhere to those principles. The Obama administration justifies the force-feeding of detainees as protecting their safety and welfare. But the truly humane response to this crisis is to free prisoners who have been approved for release, end indefinite detention and close the prison at Guantánamo.

    Hunger Strike at Guantánamo, NYT, 5.4.2013,





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