Two weeks after twin blasts near the Boston Marathon’s finish line, the story continues to develop – including new insights and movement on the investigation, the victims and more.
– Lawyers for the widow of the dead Boston Marathon bombing suspect said Tuesday evening that “we have just been informed that the Massachusetts Medical Examiner’s Office is prepared to release the remains of Tamerlan Tsarnaev.” But as of that time, his remains had not been released.
– When the body is released, Katherine Russell wants it to go to her in-laws – not her – her attorneys said in a statement.
– Russell has spent “many hours over the past week” with law enforcement officials and will continue to cooperate with them as they investigate the Boston attacks, her lawyers said.
Previously reported developments:
– Investigators have discovered at least one fingerprint among the Boston bomb debris, a law enforcement official with knowledge of the investigation tells CNN. There have been no matches yet, the official said.
– The FBI – which investigated Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the older of the two suspects, in 2011 after Russia raised concerns about him – “not only investigated the older brother, they interviewed the older brother,” President Barack Obama said. The agency concluded that there were no signs Tamerlan Tsarnaev “was engaging in extremist activity.”
“Based on what I’ve seen so far, the FBI performed its duties, the Department of Homeland Security did what it was supposed to be doing,” Obama said.
– Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, continued his sharp criticism of the Obama administration after the president’s remarks, calling it and the intelligence community’s handling of “an example of a pre-9/11 stovepiping mentality.”
“In Boston, both the FBI and CIA were warned by the Russians about a radical Islamist in our midst,” Graham said. “Once enrolled in the system as a potential terror suspect, the older brother was able to travel back to Russia unimpeded by (Department of Homeland Security) or any of our intelligence agencies. Agencies under your control were unable to coordinate the information they received on the Boston terrorists.”
– Obama said Russian authorities “have been very cooperative with us since the Boston bombing,” adding that Russian President Vladimir Putin has “committed to working with me … (to ensure) that those who report to us are cooperating fully, not only in this investigation … but (on) counterterrorism issues directly.”
“Obviously, old habits die hard,” Obama said. “There’s still suspicions sometimes between our intelligence and law enforcement agencies that date back in some cases 10, 20, 30 years, to the Cold War.”
– The Intelligence Community inspector general, a watchdog that investigates risks, vulnerabilities and deficiencies within 16 intelligence-related agencies and departments across the government, will lead a review of how the government handled its investigation of Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who died after a gunfight with police days after the Boston attack. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper believes that all of the agencies involved in collecting and sharing information about Tsarnaev “took all the appropriate steps,” says Clapper spokesman Shawn Turner, but nonetheless believes an independent review is prudent.
– Some very preliminary talks have been under way “for the past few days” to potentially allow Boston bomb suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to resume providing investigators with information about the attacks in exchange for having the death penalty taken off the table, two government sources say.
Communications are in the very early stages, and not a sign lawyers for either side are ready to make a deal, said one source, who did not want to be identified because of the sensitive nature of the private discussions. A Justice Department official said it is not accurate to suggest there are negotiations.
– Of the more 260 people injured in the marathon bombing, 20 remained hospitalized Tuesday, according to a CNN tally. None of the patients is in critical condition.
– More than $30 million has been donated to offset expenses for the Boston victims, though it’s not clear if even that much money will defray a lifetime of new costs and expenses. The American Orthotics & Prosthetic Association, a national trade association, announced Tuesday that it would create a coalition to help victims who have insufficient insurance coverage cover their initial costs.
– A spokesman for the Massachusetts Office of the Chief Medical Examiner said Tuesday that Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s cause of death has been determined. “It doesn’t become public record until the decedent remains have been released and the death certificate has been filed,” said Terrel Harris.
– Federal agents are looking into possible links between his brother Tamerlan Tsarnaev and William Plotnikov, a Canadian boxer-turned-jihadist killed last year by Russian troops, a source briefed on the investigation said Monday.
– Plotnikov, 23, died in a firefight with Russian forces in the southwestern republic of Dagestan in July 2012, while Tsarnaev was visiting the region, the source said. Plotnikov, who was born in Russia, had moved as a teenager with his family to Canada. Investigators are looking into whether Tsarnaev was radicalized during the six-month visit.
– Investigators are also looking into whether Tsarnaev had had contact with an 18-year-old militant, Mahmoud Mansur Nidal, who was killed last May by Russian forces during a gun battle in Makhachkala, which is Dagestan’s capital and where Tsarnaev’s parents live.
– Investigators on Monday searched the family home of Tsarnaev’s widow, Katherine Russell, in Rhode Island. She and her toddler daughter – Tamerlan’s child – have been staying with her parents at their home in North Kingstown. Agents took items that included DNA samples. Russell has said she had known nothing about her husband’s alleged plan.
– Female DNA was discovered on a fragment of a pressure-cooker bomb used in the attack, and investigators are trying to determine whose genetic material it is, law enforcement sources told CNN. One of the sources said it could be from anyone who had contact with any of the bomb’s components and it does not necessarily implicate anyone.
– FBI agents have interviewed “Misha,” whose name has surfaced in the Boston bombing investigation, in Rhode Island, a U.S. government official told CNN on Monday. Investigators spoke with the man after members of the suspected bombers’ family blamed a “Misha” for radicalizing Tsarnaev. The man, whose real name is Mikhail Allakhverdov, denies having encouraged a violent take on Islam and denies having taught Tamerlan, according to a New York Review of Books writer who says he interviewed Misha.
– On Monday, a federal judge appointed lawyer Judy Clarke to represent Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, Tamerlan’s brother and himself a suspect.
– After two days of searching a landfill in New Bedford, Massachusetts, investigators have given up trying to find a laptop that could be relevant to the case, a U.S. law enforcement official told CNN on Monday.
– Russian authorities intercepted a phone call in early 2011 from one of the Tsarnaev brothers in the United States to their mother, Zubeidat Tsarnaev, in Dagestan, an official with knowledge of the investigation told CNN over the weekend. The wiretapped communication discussed jihad, but the conversation was vague, two U.S. officials said. It was unclear why the Russians were eavesdropping on the mother.
– On Monday, Zubeidat Tsarnaev told CNN’s Nick Paton Walsh that she plans to travel to the United States to see her son, despite pending shoplifting charges against her in Massachusetts.