Last Thursday, adding insult to injury in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombing, the administration of Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick stonewalled efforts by the Boston Herald to determine the extent of government benefits provided to the Tsarnaev brothers, particularly attack mastermind Tamerlan Tsarnaev. The Patrick administration’s absurd stance, with its preoccupation with the “privacy rights” of non-citizen Tamerlan — an alien terrorist — is a reflection of the kind of inept leadership and dogmatic thinking that led to the success of the attack in the first place. The egregious intelligence failures and uniform chorus of jihad denial following the attack have left little question that leftist political establishment, from state agencies to the Oval Office, does not recognize the true nature of the threats America faces. Nor does it take them seriously.
Gov. Patrick was careful to ensured a united front of silence on the government’s potential role in subsidizing Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s lifestyle during the period he was becoming radicalized. Several different state agencies and others thwarted the Herald’s information-gathering efforts. When the paper asked about the brothers’ Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card usage, state welfare spokesman Alec Loftus would only say that Tamerlan Tsarnaev, along with his wife and daughter, received benefits ending in 2012. Labor department spokesman Kevin Franck contended that whether Tamerlan received unemployment compensation was “confidential and not a matter of public record.” Regarding Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s college aid, University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth spokesman Robert Connolly contended that ”student records…cannot under federal law be released without a student’s consent.” The FCC cited privacy in declining to reveal if the brothers had been issued government-subsidized cell phones. Their landlord dodged questions about whether they used Section 8 housing vouchers to subsidize their living arrangements.
Two day later, after an enraged public made their feelings known, the Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA) released details of such information, but only to state lawmakers. “The Tsarnaev parents were eligible to receive benefits as legal, non-citizen residents who were granted asylum status and met the basic eligibility criteria for DTA, including household income levels, presence of dependent children and other factors,” said a letter from DTA interim commissioner Stacey Monahan to David Linsky, Chairman of the House Post Audit and Oversight Committee. Yet once again, Monahan reminded Linsky that state law forbids the release of “protected data” without an individual’s consent.
Monahan subsequently released new details, emphasizing that neither brother directly received state welfare benefits at any time. They did however, receive them through their parents, and Tamerlan obtained benefits through his wife, Katherine Russell, for a period of 14 months, from September 2011 to November 2012. Currently, taxpayers remain on the hook for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s medical bills at at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, as well as his court-appointed attorneys.
The refusal to release this information is typical of the left’s agenda to reduce Islamic terrorism to ordinary criminal misconduct — not outbreaks of the ongoing jihadist war against the U.S. According to this view, alien terrorists who live among us are not considered enemies of state, a part of a wider global war against the country, but common criminals. Most Americans intuitively understand how severely this mentality impedes our government’s ability to protect the homeland, putting innocent civilians at risk. Unfortunately, the litany of embarrassing intelligence and surveillance failures surrounding the Boston Marathon bombing also suggests that the reality of our national security challenges are not being taken seriously by the Obama-run counterterrorism community as well.
Despite two separate warnings to the FBI and the CIA from Russia in 2011, the FBI closed out their file on Tamerlan Tsarnaev after interviewing him and his family, and deciding he posed no risk. The FBI also added Tamerlan’s name to their TECS database. It alerted the Joint Terrorism Task Force when Tsarnaev left America for a six-month trip to Russia in January 2012. Yet in a prime example of bureaucratic ineptitude, officials differed on who received the alert, with one telling Reuters it went to the FBI’s lead investigator in the Boston bombing, while another said the Customs and Border Protection officer assigned to the Joint Terrorism Task Force would have received it. DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano added to the folly, telling Congress last Tuesday that the database notification expired while Tamerlan was still abroad.
Furthermore, it turns out the brothers’ mother, Zubeidat Tsarnaeva, was also on the Terror Identities Datamart Environment watch list. In a 2011 call taped by the Russians, Tamerlan Tsarnaev “vaguely discussed” jihad with his mother. Zubeidat Tsarnaeva also spoke with a man under FBI investigation located in the Caucasus region of Russia. Yet officials insist that no plot against the United States was discussed.
This is completely unsurprising. The purge of Islamic terrorist references from FBI training manuals, which deleted terms such as “al Qaeda,” “Muslim Brotherhood,” and “jihad,” even as it insists that “training must emphasize that no investigative or intelligence collection activity may be based solely on race, ethnicity, national origin, or religious affiliation” has undoubtedly hamstrung that agency’s ability to connect the dots. Moreover, media is more than willing to see this intentionally-promoted generic viewpoint. The Atlantic ran a piece entitled “The Boston Bombers Were Muslim: So?” as if such a revelation were incidental. MSNBC’s Chris Matthews wondered, ”What difference does it make why they did it?” even as he was more than willing to accuse talk show hosts Mark Levin and Michael Savage of being complicit in the Tuscon shooting. CNN contended that “it was unclear what might have motivated the brothers to commit the heinous crime they are suspected of carrying out. All day Friday, reporters sought out people who knew them, trying to understand one thing: Why?”
Such calculated nonsense leads to an inexorable conclusion: progressives are a national security risk.
Furthermore, their PC-inspired track record is littered with corpses. In 2009, Nidal Hasan killed 13 and wounded 31 of his fellow troops while shouting “Allahu Akbar!” and the administration labeled it “workplace violence,” denying the victims of that massacre Purple Hearts in the process. In Afghanistan, more than 100 American and NATO troops were killed in green-on-blue “friendly fire” incidents, until a standing order requiring Americans troops to remove the magazines from their weapons while quartered at bases with their “trusted”–and armed–Afghan trainees, was rescinded in August 2012.
Moreover, several other domestic terrorist attacks have been thwarted, yet none of them have been treated as anything other than criminal actions. Hosam Maher Husein Smadi was arrested for placing what he thought was a car bomb outside the 60-story Fountain Place in Dallas; Mohamed Osman Mohamud was thwarted by the FBI before he could bomb Portland’s Pioneer Courthouse Square during that city’s annual Christmas tree-lighting event; Farooque Ahmed was arrested for collecting information to facilitate a terrorist bombing attack on Washington, DC transit stations; Afghan Najibullah Zazi, Adis Medunjanin and Zarein Ahmedzay were prevented from conducting a suicide bombing campaign on NYC’s subway system; Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis was prevented from blowing up the Federal Reserve Bank in New York City with a car bomb; and Faisal Shahzad, pleaded guilty of attempting to detonate a car bomb in Times Square–a plot that was discovered by sheer luck.
To support its narrative, the leftist establishment is justifying its lax concern for national security and incompetent oversight by trying hard to portray the bombers as “lone wolves.” The most egregious example of this attempt was perpetrated by the Boston Globe. An article, ”Tsarnaev brothers appeared to have scant finances,” attempts to make the case that the brothers’ seemingly comfortable lifestyle was a facade, leading to an inescapable conclusion. “If the brothers had outside financial or technical support for their deadly attack on the Marathon, it certainly isn’t reflected in their lifestyle or their weapons,” the paper contends. “The picture that is emerging is more like terrorism on a budget, consistent with reports that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev told interrogators from his hospital bed that he and his brother acted alone.”
However, facts are emerging that put that assessment in question. On Friday, a national security source speaking on condition of anonymity told Fox News’ chief intelligence correspondent Catherine Herridge that a ”line of sight” speed controller from a remote control toy car was used to trigger the bombs. This may mean that a third operative was involved in the attacks. And while there is no evidence from the scene, investigators are probing the Tsarnaev brothers’ computers to glean additional information.
Unfortunately, probing at least one of those computers remains unlikely. CNN has reported that it may have been dumped in a landfill in New Bedford, Massachusetts. Authorities say that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev himself “spurred” them to look there. Yet a U.S. law enforcement official close to the Boston investigation said that there may also be others with knowledge of the computer’s whereabouts, or that others may have played a role in its disposal.
Two of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s friends, Azamat Tazhayakov and Dias Kadyrbayev, have been arrested. They come from Kazakhstan, and Dzhokhar may have spent the night at their apartment after the bombing. They were recently photographed with the Boston Marathon bomber in Times Square. On Friday, it was revealed that Times Square was ostensibly the Tsarnaev brothers’ next target. Authorities are assuring Americans that the second bombing was a “spontaneous decision,” and that neither Tazhayakov or Kadyrbayev have been linked to terrorist activity. They are ostensibly being held in the hope they can help authorities piece together the movement of the Tsarnaev brothers before and after the bombing. “These guys are not being cut loose immediately, and there’s a reason why,” a federal law enforcement source said.
Whether these men, or any other players are involved in this atrocity remains a distinct possibility. Yet following the bombing, Obama made his priorities clear. “One of the things that makes America the greatest nation on Earth…is that we welcome people from all around the world–people of every faith, every ethnicity, from every corner of the globe. So as we continue to learn more about why and how this tragedy happened, let’s make sure that we sustain that spirit.”
Multicultural spirit aside, the how and why of this tragedy demands a no-holds-barred investigation–that has already been compromised. If another attack is perpetrated in the near future, especially one that may have been prevented if Dzhokhar Tsarnaev had been properly questioned before he was Mirandized, an American public that has so far tolerated the atrocity in Boston will surely not be so forgiving. That this administration would be willing to take such an enormous chance, based on little more than the word of an alleged terrorist that he and his brother acted alone, is testimony to the depth of the White House’s warped convictions.
Freedom Center pamphlets now available on Kindle: Click here.