Home inContext Continued Boston Bombings Investigation Shows Radical Influences

Continued Boston Bombings Investigation Shows Radical Influences

Michael Johnson

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev remains locked in a 10′ by 10′ prison cell at the U.S. Marshal’s Federal Medical Center in Devens, MA after being transferred from Beth Israel Hospital in Boston, as authorities continue to examine his past. The FBI and media outlets continue to release new information about Dzhokhar and his late brother Tamerlan, after they planted two bombs at the Boston Marathon earlier this month.

Ruslan Tsarni, uncle to the two bombers, originally identified a man named Misha, who could have influenced Tamberlan. The FBI interviewed the man living in Cambridge, later identified as Mikhail Allakhverdov. Allakhverdov admitted knowing Tamerlan, but denied trying to brainwash him. He said he had provided his computer and phone records to the FBI.

Zubeidat Tsarnaeva, the mother of the two Boston bombing suspects, gives a press conference. (Photo: AFP)

Investigators are also examining Tamerlan’s six month visit to Dagestan in early 2012. The FBI will be looking into who else arrived in the area that week and the bomber’s relationship with a Salafist mosque in the city of Makhachkala. Officials are also trying to uncover links between Tamerlan, William Plotnikov, and Mahmoud Mansur Nidal. The FSB, Russia’s intelligence agency, noticed Tamerlan in the company of Nidal, a recruiter for local extremists. Russian forces killed both men during raids in the Caucuses in recent years, claiming they were terrorists.

Zubeidat Tsarnaeva, the mother of the two brothers could have also influenced Tamerlan. She originally came to the United States in the early 2000s and she knew from a 2011 phone call and text message conversation that her son had become radicalized. FBI officials briefed Congress on how Tamerlan suggested that he would be willing to die for Islam. The CIA requested both Tamerlan and Zubeidat be placed in a terrorist database in 2011 after the Russian government became concerned they were becoming militarized. In a recently recorded interview after the bombings Zubeidat said, “I don’t care if my youngest one is going to be killed today. I want the world to hear this. And I don’t care if I am going to get killed too. And I will say Allahu Akbar!” While Zubeidat married into a Chechen family, she was originally from the small Avar ethnic group. Her native village in Dagestan has become a hotbed of ultraconservative Salafi and Wahhabi islam.

In June 2012, Police arrested Zubeidat Tsarnaeva after they caught her stealing $1,600 worth of dresses at a Lord & Taylor store in Natick, MA outside of Boston. She currently lives in Russia, but could still face charges if she returns. Nevertheless, she hopes to come to the U.S. and claim her son’s body.