Watch List Bombshell: FBI “Deep Dives” in Chechnya, Dagestan
The federal storyline surrounding the Boston Marathon bombing continues to evolve with the revelation that American state security agencies conducted “deep dives” into the cyber data of persons in Chechnya and Dagestan in the wake of the April 2013 attack.
These electronic “scrubs” resulted in the addition of thousands of names on the secret federal terror watch list. Evidence of this aggressive response contradicts previous accounts which, citing federal sources and documentation, asserted that although leads involving those regions were followed in the aftermath of the bombing, little of interest was found by federal investigators.
Specifically, government documents obtained by The Intercept reveal that the federal Terrorist Screening Database ingested a “Chechnya Dagestan Scrub” as a part of US counterterrorism efforts in 2013. The cryptic Directorate of Terrorist Identities is the name of the federal database charged with processing tens of thousands of personal IDs for terrorists connections. The leaked documents state with regard to the Boston bombing:
Immediately following the incident, DTI contributed to FBI deep dives, identified potential suspects, and delivered information to national leadership as well as coordinated with the FBI on biometric holdings in TIDE.
TIDE is short for Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment. Federal authorities have insisted that Tamerlan Tsarnaev was not IDed until his body was fingerprinted days after the bombing, despite claims from local law enforcement sources that the Tsarnaevs were identified prior to their firefight with police, which resulted in Tamerlan’s death.
In addition, the leaked details of a deep biometric “scrub” of Dagestan stand in contrast to reports of a post-bombing FBI investigative visit to the Central Asian country in June 2013. That visit did not focus on possible terrorist associates of the Tsarnaev brothers, according to previous reports. The definitive December 2013 backgrounder of the Tsarnaevs, compiled by the The Boston Globe with the cooperation of federal sources, especially the FBI, portrays US investigators as disinterested in associates of Tamerlan Tsaraev during his visit to Dagestan in the summer of 2012:
If US investigators suspected that Tamerlan had actually met with insurgents, Magomedov [Kartashov] and other members of the Union of the Just said, they never brought it up when they interviewed Tamerlan’s friends in Dagestan in June. The friends said they were never asked about Nidal or Plotnikov. This claim is supported by a three-hour recording of an interview by two FBI agents with one of Tamerlan’s friends in June, which the Globe was able to listen to. The names never come up.
Both William Plotnikov and Makhmud Mansur Nidal were regarded by Russian authorities as terrorists and were killed by Russian security assets — Nidal in May 2012 and Plotnikov in July 2012, days before Tamerlan returned to the US from Dagestan. Tamerlan was allowed in back into the US, despite the active terror watch list and Tamerlan’s previous interview with the FBI in 2011, which was prompted by a Russian tip.
The new documents also reveal that the CIA, via its project Hydra, dumped additional “clandestinely acquired foreign government information” into TIDE. This means that the CIA was — and presumably still is — performing a counterterror role that involves IDing likely threats to the US based on personally identifiable biometric data — acquired from foreign sources.
Taken as a whole, the new watch list leaks suggest that US security forces were in a position to process much greater detail on the pre-bombing activities of the Tsarnaev brothers than previously known. What is unknown is the extent to which federal authorities simply missed that data — or willfully ignored it in service of some other goal.
Ten people suffered minor injuries during a car and bike show inside the Georgia World Congress Center Saturday.
GWCC officials said that the incident happened when a fight triggered crowds to rush out of the venue at approximately 8 p.m.
“Just a massive wave of people running, trampling over people. Baby carriages, shoes, people running out of their shoes, it was a fiasco. It was crazy,” said one witness.
Many of these scams will be in operation for Memorial Day.
More Proof: Snowden Doc Programs Create Informants
Let’s be very clear — the reason the NSA is snooping phone calls in the Bahamas and probably Jamaica as well is in order to provide the DEA with informants.
It is pretty clearly spelled out in secret agreements signed with the government of Jamaica back in 2004:
"This information is provided only for intelligence purposes in an effort to develop potential investigative leads. It cannot be used in affidavits, court proceedings, subpoenas, or for legal or judicial purposes."
In other words, the NSA spying provides the DEA with targets, which the DEA then goes after independently to develop information which can be used in court proceedings and prosecutions. In fact, once the dragnet is deployed tabula rasa to ID targets and the DEA develops its own “leads” from that, the spy state can then double back and re-apply its programs to these targets to generate new actionable info — and round and round we go. The vital importance of informants to this process should be obvious.
The “independent” DEA — or FBI, CIA, etc. — HUMINT calls down and completely frees up the massive SIGINT power of the NSA’s Snowden doc programs. It does not even have to be particularly good or accurate HUMINT, any pretext will do. Once up and running, such ops very quickly become self-sustaining and yet wholly secret — the Holy Grail for spooky bureaucrats. When political necessity demands that “results” be shown to AWOL oversight organs including the press, it is relatively ease to surface a ready-made case, either via the DEA cutting deals with one group of dealers or via FBI plants activating various “terror plots” that would not otherwise exist.
In all, it is a neat and air-tight racket — and totally beyond the reach of meaningful reform until we finally put the topic of informants front and center.
Feds’ Tsarnaev Story Changes. Again.
New twist via the LA Times:
Authorities believe Tsarnaev’s ties to the illicit drug trade in Maine helped finance his six-month trip to the southern Russian republics of Chechnya and Dagestan in early 2012, where he became radicalized. Drug money, they say, also may have helped him buy components of the bomb that killed three people and injured more than 260 on April 15, 2013.
Portland is home to a trio of violent gangs called the True Somali Bloods, the Little Rascals Gang and a newly formed faction of the Crips Nation, according to the FBI.
Except that this account is at odds with what the feds told The Boston Globe last year for the paper’s definitive account of the Tsarnaevs, completed with much official cooperation. That account held that Tamerlan Tsarnaev bumbled his way across Dagestan, attempting to hook up with radicals along the way, but was generally held in disdain by them. In other words, Tamerlan was “radicalized” before going overseas and was looking to hook-up with like a minded cohort.
But — according to the Globe account — that never really happened. In fact, the Dagestan trip was such a non-event in terms of explaining the bombing that federal investigators did not really probe it. Recall:
If US investigators suspected that Tamerlan had actually met with insurgents, Magomedov and other members of the Union of the Just said, they never brought it up when they interviewed Tamerlan’s friends in Dagestan in June. The friends said they were never asked about Nidal or Plotnikov. This claim is supported by a three-hour recording of an interview by two FBI agents with one of Tamerlan’s friends in June, which the Globe was able to listen to. The names never come up.
Some “radicalization” that must have been to not even merit any interest from on-the-ground FBI agents.
The LAT account also addresses another mystery — that of how Tamerlan funded the trip to Dagestan. The Globe account left that matter open — implying that perhaps the haul from Waltham murders funded the trip. But that was always a stretch given the fact that so much cash and near-cash in the form of drugs was left at the scene.
Now the feds are back with an entirely new narrative — that cocaine deals in Maine involving street gangs sent a Chechen to Dagestan. Wow. Marvel at how nimble and air-tight that is — completely unverifiable, but easily backed up by gang-bangers jammed up on federal charges looking to cut a deal.
Plus it has the added benefit of associating the Tsarnaevs brothers with common, ruthless street-gangs, Crips and Bloods no less. How did Tamerlan get to Dagestan? Crips and Bloods. How was Jahir able to deal drugs with impunity? Crips and Bloods. How did they blow up innocents? Crips and Bloods. No need to look any further.
In sum, the feds appear to have pulled back from one shaky narrative — that federal investigators really did not care what Tamerlan did in Dagestan or who he did it with — in favor of a much more straight-forward and jury salable account: that Tamerlan was radicalized in Dagestan to do harm upon his return. At the same time, the glaring hole of how the trip was funded is deftly plugged with a stretched tie to Maine drug gangs. Unless Jahir’s defense team presses hard on the Dagestan disconnect, probing why “names never came up” we are unlikely to get to the truth of this matter.
The Tsarnaevs and the CIA (Part III)
Back in December it was my intention to follow-up my analysis of the brothers Tsarnaev with a third part, much of which would have focused on yet another strange passage from The Boston Globe’s exhaustive five-months in the making portrait of the brothers. A portrait which was assembled with tremendous cooperation from state and federal authorities.
To a point. The passage:
Tamerlan began partying hard. Much of his time was spent smoking pot and listening to music with some of his Rindge friends. One of them, Sebastian Freddura, said that “Tim,” or the “oddball Russian,” as they called Tamerlan, and their pals would routinely go party on weekends at Salem State University, which Freddura attended from 2008 to 2010.
Another person who happened to be on that campus at the time was Sean Collier, the MIT police officer whom the Tsarnaev brothers are accused of murdering, and who graduated from Salem State in 2009. It is a remarkable coincidence, but the Globe uncovered no evidence that the two ever met. Investigators have indicated that the brothers apparently approached Collier at random on April 18 and shot him as they tried to take his gun. Asked if Tamerlan might have known Collier from the Salem campus or had approached him intentionally, state and federal investigators declined to comment.
The Salem campus is not the only place that Tamerlan and Collier might have crossed paths. Both men were active in Somerville boxing circles. Tamerlan trained at a gym called the Somerville Boxing Club that closed several years ago. Collier provided IT assistance to a newer club called the Somerville Youth Development & Boxing Club. Some trainers and staff involved at both clubs wonder if Tamerlan ever became aware of Collier at one of the two locations.
This struck me as strange on several levels. One, that the possibility existed that Tamerlan and Collier could have crossed paths before the night of Collier’s murder. Two, that authorities were not willing to talk about that possibility. And three, that the Globe included the open question at all, almost as if editors and reporters really did not know what to make of it either — and wanted other eyes on it.
But even after putting eyes and thought on it you really could not go much beyond, “Weird.” Until last week.
An MIT police sergeant told a local radio station that he believes FBI agents were surveilling the Tsarnaev brothers on the night Collier was murdered. This radical change in the timeline echoes back to the October disclosure that the FBI was running some op in Cambridge that night, one which the Bureau swore had nothing to do with the bombing, to wit:
The Joint Terrorism Task Force was at M.I.T., located in Cambridge, MA, on April 18, 2013, on a matter unrelated to the Tsarnaev brothers. Additionally, the Tsarnaev brothers were never sources for the FBI nor did the FBI attempt to recruit them as sources.
There has been recent reporting relating to whether or not the FBI, Boston Police, Massachusetts State Police or other members of the Joint Terrorism Task Force knew the identities of the bombers before the shootout with the alleged marathon bombing suspects, and were conducting physical surveillance of them on April 18, 2013. These claims have been repeatedly refuted by the FBI, Boston Police, and Massachusetts State Police.
To be absolutely clear: No one was surveilling the Tsarnaevs and they were not identified until after the shootout. Any claims to the contrary are false.
But then this happens:
“The word was out regarding the suspects now. We knew how they looked like, and we knew they lived in the city of Cambridge at one point,” said Clarence Henniger, a sergeant with MIT police, recalling patrolling campus that evening.
“So our alert basis was not as high because the feds were all over the city of Cambridge, to some degree, knowing that they lived there,” Henniger said. “It was still not really affecting us directly in a sense. We still had this false security of MIT campus. We felt the threat here in Cambridge was gone.”
This, of course, prompted more denials from the FBI yesterday.
In response, Assistant Special Agent In Charge of the Boston office, Kieran Ramsey, told Boston that Henniger is “absolutely uninformed” and that his claims are “patently false. We did not know the identities of the Tsarnaev brothers until after [Tamerlan] was fingerprinted.”
Henniger, a 39-year veteran of MIT’s police force, gave fuel to conspiracy theorists and bloggers when he told Northeastern University that “The word was out regarding the suspects. We knew that his house was under surveillance, and the feds were all over the city of Cambridge.” However, when contacted by Boston, Henniger admitted that his information is not based in fact. “We were just assuming,” Henniger said. “We had an idea that they had already put it together who they were.”
Henniger, however, was correct that FBI agents were swarming around Cambridge at the time Collier was killed. Ramsey, who was the on-scene commander in Cambridge that day, confirmed that agents “were following up on leads far and wide which included following up on leads on the MIT campus. Everywhere we could, where we had a lead, we would follow-up immediately.” Though he would not give specifics, Ramsey added that the leads his agents were tracking were connected to the bombings but not to the Tsarnaevs. …
Despite the FBI’s strong assertions, Henniger stands by his story and says he still has lingering doubts about what the feds knew and when. “We still have questions,” he says, “and to some degree I’m sure [the FBI] knew.”
To that, says Ramsey, “That MIT officer could not be more wrong.”
Well, well. Just what were those bombing “leads” unrelated to Tsarnaevs that brought the feds down on Cambridge? Did they have anything to do with Sean Collier? Is this what Sgt. Henninger is circumlocuting around? And is that what the feds are so intent on keeping secret?
Was Collier, in any capacity, formal or informal, at any time prior to the night he was killed, in contact with any element of the federal government and/or state joint terrorism task force elements?
We would not have to demand answers to such left-field questions if the government would just speak plainly about what it knows and what it did. Perhaps it is fear of messing up the Jahir trial, but something is fundamentally wrong with the official account of the days after the bombing. And the state seems intent on protecting its current narrative as it goes to trial. That does not bode well for the truth.