Skip to main content

Suspect: Boston bombing was payback for hits on Muslims

From Susan Candiotti, CNN
May 17, 2013 -- Updated 1748 GMT (0148 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: FBI director reiterates investigation found no terror ties to Tamerlan Tsarnaev
  • Source: Dzhokhar Tsarnaev left a message in boat where he was found hiding
  • He wrote that the Boston Marathon bombing victims were collateral damage
  • Dzhokhar also said he expected to join his brother in death

(CNN) -- Boston Marathon bombing victims were collateral damage in a strike meant as payback for U.S. wars in Muslim lands, the surviving suspect wrote in a message scribbled on the boat where he was found hiding, a law enforcement source told CNN Thursday.

In the message, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev also proclaimed that an attack on one Muslim is an attack on all, and said he would not miss older brother Tamerlan Tsarnaev -- who died after a firefight with police three days after the bombing -- because he would soon be joining him, according to the source.

The writing on the inside of the boat dovetails with what Dzhokhar, 19, told investigators questioning him in a Boston hospital room shortly after his capture, the source said.

Friendly fire led to officer's shooting during Boston manhunt

Source: Tsarnaev wrote note while hiding
Report: Boston suspect met with Chechen
Amputee: I'm closer to dancing again
Healing one month after Boston bombings

CNN has previously cited U.S. officials in reporting that Dzhokhar said U.S. involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq were motivating factors behind the April 15 attack, which killed three people and wounded 275.

According to authorities, the Tsarnaev brothers fashioned explosive devices from pressure cookers and other materials and detonated them near the finish line of the race.

Three days later, authorities released their images to the public as suspects in the case. Investigators believe they then killed MIT police Officer Sean Collier and hijacked a car before battling authorities in a wild firefight on a Watertown, Massachusetts, street.

Nearly 24 hours later, police found Dzhokhar hiding in the boat after the owner called police to report someone was inside of it.

The final hours that paralyzed Boston

Dzhokhar -- who suffered gunshot wounds to the head, neck, legs and hands -- is being held a federal Bureau of Prisons medical facility in Devens, Massachusetts. He has been charged with using a weapon of mass destruction and could face the death penalty if convicted.

Tamerlan was secretly buried in a rural Virginia cemetery this month following protests from Massachusetts residents and officials against burying him in that state.

Authorities have said they believe the brothers acted alone, but are investigating whether they could have learned from or been aided by terror groups, including groups overseas.

Of particular interest has been Tamerlan's 2012 trip to the semi-autonomous Russian republic of Dagestan, home to numerous Islamic militant groups that have warred against Moscow's rule.

Source: Russia withheld details about Tsarnaev

Russian authorities asked U.S. officials to investigate Tamerlan before the trip, saying they believed he was becoming increasingly involved with radical Islam. The FBI investigated, but found no evidence of extremist activity, FBI Director Robert Mueller reiterated Thursday during a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing.

Mueller said Russian authorities told the FBI that Tamerlan and his mother appeared to be "very religious" and that Tamerlan seemed "intent on returning and perhaps participating in jihad, in Russia."

The FBI conducted a thorough investigation and found "no ties to terrorism," Mueller said.

U.S. officials learned after the bombings that Russian officials had intercepted a 2011 phone call between the suspect's mother, living in Dagestan, and one of her sons, in which they reportedly had a vague conversation about jihad, a law enforcement official told CNN earlier.

Some lawmakers, particularly Republicans, have been critical of how law enforcement, intelligence agencies and the administration of President Barack Obama handled the Russian tip.

While Tamerlan and his mother were added to a terror database following the FBI investigation, Tamerlan was allowed to make his Russian trip in 2012, returning six months later.

Timeline: Boston attack, aftermath

CNN's Michael Pearson contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
Boston Marathon Bombings
Survivors of three earlier bombings describe their journeys forward — and offer poignant words for those just one year away from the day that changed their lives.
April 16, 2014 -- Updated 0615 GMT (1415 HKT)
"United, we will always persevere." That was the message Massachusetts shared on the anniversary of twin bombings that turned last year's Boston Marathon from a celebration into a day of horror.
April 15, 2014 -- Updated 1847 GMT (0247 HKT)
I'm running it to make a simple statement: Acts of cowardice will not stop me from exercising my rights as an athlete and a human.
April 14, 2014 -- Updated 1940 GMT (0340 HKT)
Many of those whose lives were shattered are still struggling to put the pieces back together. Here are some of the victims, as well as larger funds, who continue to need your support.
April 14, 2014 -- Updated 1522 GMT (2322 HKT)
As April 15 approaches, the fact that we tell time in circles brings us to remember the attack on the Boston Marathon one year ago.
April 15, 2014 -- Updated 0247 GMT (1047 HKT)
CNN's Bill Weir talks to Carlos Arredondo about helping those injured immediately after the Boston Marathon bombing.
April 11, 2014 -- Updated 1432 GMT (2232 HKT)
By running in response to the tragedy, we weren't attempting to negate the irreparable harm done to the people of Boston last year. We wanted to do something, anything, to try to process it.
April 15, 2014 -- Updated 1124 GMT (1924 HKT)
All of our assumptions have turned out to be wrong. Here are four things we've learned since then:
April 15, 2014 -- Updated 2017 GMT (0417 HKT)
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has been frozen in the public mind by four images.
April 8, 2014 -- Updated 2322 GMT (0722 HKT)
Adrianne Haslet-Davis' life as a dancer was shattered last year at the Boston Marathon bombings.
March 24, 2014 -- Updated 1140 GMT (1940 HKT)
A man who lost both legs in the Boston Marathon attack is engaged to the woman he was waiting for at the finish line.
April 17, 2013 -- Updated 1421 GMT (2221 HKT)
Mistaken identity in the hospital added to her family's grief.
April 24, 2013 -- Updated 1538 GMT (2338 HKT)
The slain MIT cop "was born to be a police officer."
April 19, 2013 -- Updated 0237 GMT (1037 HKT)
The graduate student from China followed her passion to Boston.
April 17, 2013 -- Updated 0510 GMT (1310 HKT)
Almost a year ago, 8-year-old Martin Richard wrote four simple words on a sign at school: No more hurting people.
July 17, 2013 -- Updated 1637 GMT (0037 HKT)
Mery Daniel couldn't wait for Marathon. It was one of the things the aspiring doctor and Haitian immigrant loved most about living in Boston.
May 2, 2013 -- Updated 1309 GMT (2109 HKT)
After twin blasts shook Boston -- killing three and wounding more than 260 others -- investigators sprung into action looking for those responsible.
April 28, 2013 -- Updated 1505 GMT (2305 HKT)
The black Mercedes SUV sped down Spruce Street going about 70 mph, the driver struggling to maintain control. The vehicle had a busted headlight and flat tire.
Click through our galleries of the Boston Marathon bombing, from perspectives on the attack to the suspects, as well as the manhunt and celebrations in Boston after both suspects were found.
ADVERTISEMENT