The Truth Is Out There

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s trial is scheduled to begin in January in federal court—and could end with him being sentenced to death. Though Russ Baker believes the Tsarnaevs were involved in the marathon bombings, he has dire questions about the official narrative. Here are three of his toughest questions.

Photo via AP

Photo via AP

Did the FBI recruit or attempt to recruit Tamerlan as an informant or agent?

Baker’s evidence is far from conclusive, but he points out several suspicious and unexplained oddities. Officially, the FBI claims that it first investigated Tamerlan Tsarnaev after getting a tip from Russian intelligence that he was becoming radicalized. Yet, Baker notes, the New York Times has reported that Russian intelligence agents first contacted the U.S. government about Tamerlan in March 2011—and also that the FBI met with Tamerlan two months earlier, in January 2011. The reporter, veteran Times correspondent Eric Schmitt, told me he stands by the story and the timeline. Baker’s website asks: How did the FBI originally learn about the Tsarnaevs, if not from the Russians?

Baker also points out that, even though the FBI put Tamerlan on a watch list in 2011, he was allowed to travel to Dagestan and freely return to the United States in 2012. A flag placed on Tamerlan’s name by a U.S. customs official had expired by the time Tamerlan reentered the country.

Of course, Baker isn’t the only one asking the question. In October 2013, Senator Charles Grassley, an Iowa Republican, wrote a letter to FBI Director James Comey—widely reported in the mainstream media—asking, “Other than Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s interview by [FBI] agents following the warning from Russia, has the FBI had any other contact with either of the brothers?” Comey’s response did not provide an answer. Grassley also asked Comey, “Did the FBI attempt to use the tactic of ‘recruitment’ or a sting operation with Tamerlan Tsarnaev? If not, why not?” Comey denied that the FBI had attempted to recruit Tamerlan, but did not elaborate.

Who killed MIT police officer Sean Collier?

A month after the bombings, under the headline “Boston MIT Cop Cover-up,” Baker compared Collier to J. D. Tippit, the Dallas police officer whose murder, just after the assassination of JFK, led to the arrest of Lee Harvey Oswald. “In both cases,” Baker wrote, “it was the killing of a police officer that turbocharged the police pursuit—and that, once the suspect was apprehended, convinced the public quickly that the police had their man.” Beyond that, similarities evaporate—yet the memory of Tippit haunts Baker’s theories on the Collier murder. Baker says the official motive given for the Tsarnaevs’ alleged killing of Collier—that they wanted his gun—doesn’t make sense, because no one took Collier’s gun. (The government claims the brothers tried to get the gun out of its holster but failed.) And Baker ascribes an ominous weight to evidence that the FBI was active around MIT’s campus before the chase for the Tsarnaev brothers began—including an October 2013 admission by the Massachusetts State Police and the Boston Police Department that “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.” Baker also cites three unnamed law enforcement officials who told the New York Times in April 2013 that surveillance-camera footage showed two people approaching Collier’s car from behind but did not show their faces. For Baker, these unexplained facts are enough to cast doubt on the official story that the Tsarnaevs killed Collier.

Why is the alleged carjacking victim, “Danny,” still anonymous?

“Danny” is the alias given to the anonymous Chinese immigrant who said the Tsarnaevs carjacked him. He also claimed that Tamerlan confessed to detonating the bombs and killing Collier.

Baker is critical of  Danny’s anonymity and his relationship to Northeastern University criminologist James Alan Fox, who has acted as an intermediary between Danny and the press. Baker calls Fox, who has publicly condemned the Tsarnaevs, “the least curious criminologist I remember encountering in a long time.” Fox, who regularly gives media interviews, tells me that he was asked to assume this role by Danny’s former academic adviser, a fellow Northeastern professor, who knew Fox by reputation. “It wasn’t because I was a criminologist,” he says. “It was because I have a good deal of experience dealing with the media.” Fox concedes that he is unaware of any other sensational case in which a key witness has remained anonymous, but says that question falls outside the scope of his expertise. He likens his role as Danny’s media gatekeeper to one that family members play in high-profile cases, adding that in this case, Danny’s family is in China. Through Fox, Danny declined to comment as he prepares to testify at Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s upcoming trial. “I know who Danny is,” Baker says. “He’s just a total liar.”


For more, read our profile on Russ Baker: Boston Isn’t Strong. Boston Is Scared Sh*tless

  • Jeff A. Taylor

    For me the “Dagestan Scrub” is the biggest element in the bizarre federal 180 on the significance of Tamerlan’s trip. In the 2013 the federal narrative was that the trip was insignificant in his radicalization, in 2014 that flipped to it was key — neither stance explains what the feds were doing before, during, or after the trip. The catch is that if the defense intends to argue that Tamerlan was a controlling radical with his little brother helplessly under his sway, it has little incentive to explore these contradictions. Nor for that matter “Danny’s” conflicting accounts of what happened, or the toxic question of whether Tamlerlan knew Collier from the Boston gym circuit. (Would also like to know if any officers hit by friendly fire during the fire-fight, why the SAIC resigned weeks after events in Orlando without any connection made to that cluster, who built the bomb and where, etc.)

    • EyesWideOpen

      There was no trip..he went home for a visit to renew his passport & never even picked it up. He forgot.

      All a lie:
      Government tells Americans whatever story the government puts together and sits and laughs at the gullibility of the public.

      “National security” has nothing to do with national security. It
      has only to do with protecting the criminals in the US government from accountability for their crimes. Every time you hear Washington invoke “national security,” you know for a 100% fact that the government has committed yet another crime. National security is the cloak for Washington’s criminal operations. “National security” prevents the government’s crimes from coming to light and, thereby, protects government from accountability.

      The print and TV media have dished up the government’s explanation without investigation. However, the alternative media have taken great exception to every aspect of the case. As the US government has taught us since the Clinton regime, the safest assumption is that everything the government says is a lie…”

  • Karin Friedemann

    The link with Northeastern University between the press and the official view was reported by witnesses very early on, all the news was being filtered through this team sponsored by Northeastern. The interns etc clearly seemed to be playing an official role in the hoopla.

    • wiseowl

      including Professor Alan Fox who held hands with both “Danny” and the Mobil Clerk during their interviews. How can Danny not discern between Arabic and Russian? He described the car jackers as two 5’7″ Middle Eastern men who spoke only in their native language. (of course, that was how one interview went….)

      • always ask questions

        You’re on twitter confronting victims. You’re a disgusting human being.

        • wiseowl

          Untrue, the trolls took my tweet and added a victims relatives @. confront these trolls not me they have no ethics and are despicable as you say.

        • EyesWideOpen


  • EyesWideOpen

    Maret to EyesWideOpen • 2 hours ago
    Tamerlan and Dzhokhar were not at that marathon at that day, period. They didnot go to the marathon. They bombed nobody. Why is it so difficult for you to admitt. The member of the defence admitted to the family member that they (defence) know that Dzhokhar is innocent, that they know the boys did nothing. That the defence is pressured from the highest level of your treasonous government to convict Dzhokhar and find him guilty as a terrorist. They (the defence) admitted that these two boys, the Tsarnaevs family became a victim of a durty politics that your government is conducting. They admitted that there are many young innocent boys in the US prisons have been faulsly accused of crimes they have not committed.”

    • EyesWideOpen

      More just now:
      “maret to EyesWideOpen • an hour ago
      It was said in our home (in Grozny, Chechnya), while looking straight into the eyes of my sister (the aunt of Dzhokhar and Tamerlan). And there were three other people present during that conversation (one of them is a Russian translator), one is a social worker for Dzhokhar (that is how she presented herself), and the third was the person, who spoke openly. At least, they were honest to us at that certain moment. It is one thing, when the family knows, that our boys are innocent, and that they were framed, another thing is, when, those, who are in the defense team know and say openly, that Dzhokhar is innocent, and that there is nothing the defense can do as to work towards his conviction, because they are under annormous pressure from the government, as she named those alphabet agencies up to the president himself. I don’t feel sorry for revealing this person’s statement and acceptance, only for one single reason, that those, who destroyed the lives of our innocent boys, don’t feel sorry for what they had done to our family, only because they have have some kind of agenda to fulfill within their “durty politics” (is it was put blankly). Please, people out there, help us make it public! The pictures, the FBI posted for the public view are faulsified. Those faces on the pictures are not the faces of Dzhokhar and Tamerlan in those days of April 15, 2013.”

      • always ask questions

        You are full of it.

        • EyesWideOpen

          You can fool SOME OF THE PEOPLE ALL OF THE TIME.

          You are a member.

  • wiseowl

    Please read this article-how did the brothers go from spectators, suspect 1 and 2, terrorists and “the Only Terrorists”??? Through lies and manipulation of the public, who were forced to stay shuttered in their homes, while war games were played out on the street.