Latest Boston bombings updates: NYC attack planned, mother insists on innocence, suspect on CIA watch list
Amid disclosures that the suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing were plotting an attack in New York City and that the CIA had one of the suspects in the Boston Marathon bombings placed on a terror watch list, the mother of the two suspects insisted her sons were innocent.
New York officials confirmed today that 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and 26-year-old Tamerlan were plotting to go set off bombs in Times Square the night Tamerlan died trying to escape authorities and Dzhokhar was apprehended in a bloodied boat.
"In the car, they made a decision to go to New York with the remaining explosives that they had," Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said. The two planned to detonate the bombs in Times Square, he said.
Reports earlier this week suggested that a New York attack was planned, but officials said they believed the suspects had only been traveling to the city to party.
Kelly said today that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was "more lucid" in subsequent questioning.
Kelly and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said they didn't know why the pair was targeting New York and didn't appear to have any more specific plan than to go to Times Square with the explosives.
There is no evidence to suggest that New York is still a target, Bloomberg said.
Father to come to U.S.; mom insists on innocence
The father of the two men says he plans to travel to the United States soon.
"I am going there to see my son and bury my older one," Anzor Tsarnaev said at a news conference in Russia today. "I have no bad thoughts, I'm not planning any bombings, I don't want to do anything. I'm not offended by anyone. I want to know the truth, what happened. I want to work it out."
The pair's mother, Zubeidat Tsarnaeva, insisted her sons had nothing to do with the April 15 attacks at the marathon finish line and "America took my kids away from me."
"My kids were not involved in anything," she said.
Tsarnaeva told CNN that she believes the bombing was fake, after seeing a video to the effect that the tragedy was "something like a really big play," with "paint instead of blood like it is made-up."
CIA sought to place suspect on watch list
A push from the intelligence agency placed Tamerlan Tsarnaev on a National Counterterrorism Center's database known as TIDE, short for the Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment. That list feeds information to other databases, such as the FBI's main database for screening terror suspects.
The Washington Post reports that Russian officials alerted the CIA to concerns about Tamerlan in fall 2011, saying he was an increasingly militant Islamist.
Russian authorities also contacted the FBI about him; the FBI has said it reviewed the information and determined he was not a threat.
An intelligence official told the Post that Russia had given "nearly identical" details to the CIA and FBI and the information was based on fears that Tamerlan might try to carry out at radical Islamist attack in Russia.
The disclosure that the older Tsarnaev was included in the database raises questions about whether intelligence and law enforcement agencies missed opportunities to detect the Boston attack or share information about the suspects.
Russian officials said the attacks should lead to better collaboration between the two nations.
"This tragedy should push us closer in fending off common threats, including terrorism, which is one of the biggest and most dangerous of them," Russian President Vladimir Putin said today.
Putin also said the attacks show the West was wrong to support militants in Chechnya. The brothers are Chechens who had lived in the United States for more than a decade before the bombings.
"I always felt indignation when our Western partners and Western media were referring to terrorists who conducted brutal and bloody crimes on the territory of Russia as rebels," he said.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev stops speaking to interrogators
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was informed of his Miranda rights has stopped talking with investigators.
He went silent when he was read his constitutional rights after speaking with interrogators for 16 hours, the Associated Press reports. He had previously told investigators that Tamerlan had only recently recruited himi to be part of the attack.
Toy-car remote used to detonate bombs
The bombs that exploded at the marathon, killing three people and wounding more than 200, were detonated with the type of device used to control toy cars, according to Reuters.
Investigators told lawmakers about the detonater at a U.S. House of Representatives committee briefing.
"Which says to me, and brother number two has said, they got the information on how to build the bomb from Inspire magazine," U.S. Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger said, referring to the publication created by American-Yemeni preacher Anwar al-Awlaki, who was killed by a U.S. drone.
The article, Ruppersberger said, was headlined: "How to build a bomb in your mom's kitchen."
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev unarmed when captured
The younger Tsarnaev was not carrying a weapon when he was apprehended after a barrage of law-enforcement bullets, the Post reports.
Officials had feared he was heavily armed, but did not specify what spurred the array of gunfire that struck the backyard boat where Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was hiding.
In other developments:
— Vice President Joe Biden condemned the bombing suspects as "two twisted, perverted, cowardly, knockoff jihadis" while speaking at a memorial service Wednesday for Sean Collier, a campus police officer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who was ambushed in his cruiser three days after the bombing. More than 4,000 mourners paid tribute to the officer.
— The Office of Health and Human Services in Massachusetts confirmed a Boston Herald report Wednesday that Tamerlan, his wife and toddler daughter had received welfare benefits up until last year, when he became ineligible based on family income. The state also says Tamerlan and his brother received welfare benefits as children through their parents while the family lived in Massachusetts.
— The area around the marathon finish line was reopened to the public.