Investigators Dig for Roots of Bomb Suspects’ Radicalization

The two men suspected in the Boston Marathon bombings were armed with a small arsenal of guns, ammunition and explosives when they first confronted the police early Friday, and were most likely planning more attacks, the authorities said Sunday.

United States officials said they were increasingly certain that the two suspects had acted on their own, but were looking for any hints that someone had trained or inspired them. The F.B.I. is broadening its global investigation in search of a motive and pressing the Russian government for more details about a Russian request to the F.B.I. in 2011 about one of the suspects’ possible links to extremist groups, a senior United States official said Sunday.

Among the unanswered questions facing investigators are where the suspects acquired their weapons and explosives, how they got the money to pay for them, and whether others helped plan and carry out the attack last Monday.  Mayor Thomas M. Menino of Boston said he believed the brothers were not affiliated with a larger network.  “All of the information that I have, they acted alone, these two individuals, the brothers,” he said on ABC News’s “This Week.”

Mr. Menino said Tamerlan had “brainwashed” his younger brother to follow him and “read those magazines that were published on how to create bombs, how to disrupt the general public, and things like that.”

Tamerlan Tsarnaev was an amateur boxer who had hoped to fight on the U.S. Olympic team, a man who said he had no American friends. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev wrestled at a prestigious high school, won a scholarship from his city and went on to university.  He identified himself then as a Muslim and said he did not drink or smoke: “God said no alcohol.” He said he hoped to fight for the U.S. Olympic team and become a naturalized American. He said he was studying to become an engineer.

They had come to the United States about 10 years ago from a Russian region near Chechnya, according to an uncle, Ruslan Tsarni of Montgomery Village, Md. They had two sisters. As kids they rode bikes and skateboards on quiet Norfolk Street in Cambridge, Mass.

But their lives appeared to take different turns — at least until this week, when a video caught them together on Boylston Street, moments before two bombs unleashed terror at the finish line of America’s most famous race.

The suspects’ uncle Ruslan Tsarni, said in an interview on Sunday that he had first noticed a change in the older brother in 2009. Mr. Tsarni sought advice from a family friend, who told him that Tamerlan’s radicalization had begun after he met a recent convert to Islam in the Boston area. Mr. Tsarni said he had later learned from a relative that his nephew had met the convert in 2007.

As scrutiny increased on how the brothers had been radicalized, Representative Michael McCaul, a Texas Republican who heads the Homeland Security Committee, and Representative Peter T. King, a New York Republican on the panel, sent a letter to the directors of three of the nation’s leading intelligence-gathering agencies calling the F.B.I.’s handling of the case “an intelligence failure.”

Their efforts included analyzing records from the brothers’ phones and computers, to find associates and witnesses and extremist group affiliations. The agents also scoured credit card records and other material seized from their apartment and car for evidence of bomb components, the backpacks used or any other evidence that could tie them to the bombings.

Protesting Hearings on Muslim Extremism: “Today I am a Muslim too”

In advance of Thursday’s Congressional hearings on homegrown terrorism, hundreds protested in Times Square on Sunday, as a Long Island congressman dealt with a political firestorm over his specific focus on Muslims for the hearings.

Many protesters held signs reading “Today I am a Muslim too” at a rainy protest to voice concerns that Representative Peter T. King, a Republican, is unfairly singling out Muslims in his hearings, as well as in interviews in Washington over the weekend.

Rabbi Marc Schneier, president of the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding, and Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, a founder of a project to develop an Islamic community center near ground zero, spoke at the protests.

Muslims to Be Congressional Hearings’ Main Focus

The new chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee said Monday that he planned to call mostly Muslim and Arab witnesses to testify in hearings next month on the threat of homegrown Islamic terrorism.
Representative Peter T. King, Republican of New York, said he would rely on Muslims to make his case that American Muslim leaders have failed to cooperate with law enforcement officials in the effort to disrupt terrorist plots — a claim that was rebutted in recent reports by counterterrorism experts and in a forum on Capitol Hill on Monday.

As the hearings approach, the reaction from Muslim groups — initially outraged — has evolved into efforts to get Mr. King to enlarge the scope of the hearings beyond Muslims. They want to use the forum to reinforce the notion that the potential for terrorist violence among American Muslims is very marginal and very isolated.

Officials are being asked to repudiate NY Representative’s anti-Muslim remarks

The New York Chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) called on American Muslims and people of conscience to urge their elected officials to repudiate New York Representative Peter King, concerning a bigoted response to a Department of Homeland Security report released earlier this week.

In an interview on MSNBC, Representative King stated: “[Napolitano] has never put out a report talking about look out for mosques. Look out for Islamic terrorists in our country. Look out for the fact that very few Muslims come forward to cooperate with the police. If they sent out a report saying that, there would be hell to pay.”

CAIR-NY director Faiza Ali responded by saying that “sweeping generalizations about Muslims and mosques have no place in serious natural security discourse.” Ali added that this is not the first such inflammatory comments by King, and that he has a long history of rhetorical hostility toward the American Muslim community.