FBI Backs Up Agent Who Failed to Identify Tamerlan Tsarnaev

“It’s absolutely unrealistic looking at a photo where there is a hat and sunglasses involved to expect that officer to recognize [him],” an FBI official said.

In response to a brewing storm of criticism, the FBI’s brass say they don’t blame the Boston Joint Terrorism Task Force agent who interviewed Tamerlan Tsarnaev in 2011 for failing to recognize the bombing suspect from the surveillance photos of him on Boylston Street.

Speaking publicly about it for the first time, Boston FBI Assistant Special Agent In Charge Kieran Ramsey told Boston that surveillance photos of the suspected bombers were plastered throughout the FBI command center and that “everyone who works here was engaged” in the manhunt. But somehow, the JTTF officer who interviewed Tamerlan face-to-face simply did not recognize him. Taking into account that the interview occurred two years before the marathon bombings and that agents conduct more than 1,000 assessment interviews a year, Ramsey defended the agent. “It’s absolutely unrealistic looking at a photo where there is a hat and sunglasses involved to expect that officer to recognize [him],” Ramsey said.

Questions and skepticism about the JTTF agent have been mounting ever since a Justice Department report released earlier this month pointed out failures to identify Tamerlan as a potential terrorist. In March 2011, Russian intelligence alerted the FBI that Tamerlan was growing increasingly radical and had plans to join “unspecified bandit” groups occupying known terrorist training grounds in Dagestan and Chechnya. In response, a Boston JTTF agent visited Tamerlan’s home to interview the then-24-year-old and his parents but came up empty, finding no “link or ‘nexus’ to terrorism” and closed the case several months later. However, according to the report, the agent never asked Tamerlan about his travel plans or his intention to join any “bandit groups.” Yes, the agent set up a Homeland Security alert to monitor Tamerlan’s foreign travel and yes, the alert went off when Tamerlan bought a plane ticket to Dagestan, but the agent failed to respond to the alert and never requested that Tamerlan be questioned or inspected. Had the JTTF agent acted on the alert that Tamerlan was headed to an area known for terrorist training, according to the report, the Special Agent In Charge of the Boston JTTF said it would have “changed everything.”

The same could be said about the JTTF officer being able to identify Tamerlan from the surveillance photos: if he had recognized the suspected bomber, who knows if authorities could have made an arrest before the slaying of MIT office Sean Collier or the standoff in Watertown, where officers were injured. But the FBI is clear that no one is upset with the JTTF agent. “I’m not saying agents don’t make mistakes,” said FBI national spokesman Paul Bresson, “but by and large our agents are highly trained.”

  • public_servant_watch

    FBI ARE LIARS – The Forum photo is a complete fabrication with a merging from an earlier crowd and then shopping to make the images that would fit the BS story. Hard to shop an unknown suspect into a picture but the Boston FBI did it. Likely their incredible psychic powers where they envisioned what the suspect may look like and then shopped the illusive image into what was also fabrication to engage the public in helping find a person that matched their psychic vision will get them all promotions, raises and more TV time so they can boast about their incredible skills to a larger audience.

    How is it this beautiful child purportedly at blast 2 at the time of blast was seen in the earlier 7 News Forum crowd yet had darker color clothing and different shoes in the FBI’s Forum crowd picture? A: FABRICATED PICTURE! Note she was not with any of the people that were represented in the fabricated FBI Forum picture while seen standing in the 7 News legitimate photo. I’m not a fan of exploiting children to pull off a fraud and the criminals in this government need a defendant seat!! Notice the child with exact facial features is wearing the same hair accessory and has the same BODY type on June 9, 2013 when she attended a memorial service which clearly validates that this is the same child.

    US CONGRESS MEMBERS ARE LIARS – How about that information sharing bill drafted in house homeland security on 4//12/2013. Strange the Congress would have the failure to avert excuse all solved in a new bill the Friday before the bombing.


    Massachusetts Legal Community and public servants working in the federal court have a slew of LIARS- The court proceedings going on supported by the tax payer are phony and the court record itself validates that allegation.


    The alleged criminals in our government- ALL THREE BRANCHES- need to be brought to JUSTICE as well as all the Massachusetts government people and slew of private sector people colluding to DEFRAUD THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. .

    • JimmieBrown

      I am seeing the blanket.

  • SysCrusher

    When the FBI have an informant they tend to protect that informant from being interfered with. Only a small group inside the system have to know that the person is actually an informant. They usually keep the local police in the dark; even the JTTF members. The JTTF system is used to dominate the local and state police forces. In terrorism cases they immediately take control and shut down everyone else from talking to the media. They can then control the narrative through anonymous leaks to the passive media, who get to feel important and privileged to get scoops from their “sources.” They can put out a thousand different versions of a story and never have to explain why they get changed. MSM just chalks it up to mistakes made during the chaos of the event.

  • barbara

    Boston Police Sean Gannon was assigned to Boston Regional Intelligence Center (BRIC), a Fusion Center that supports the JTTF, a secretive affiliation of federal, state and local law enforcement. There was finger pointing after the Marathon bombing when BRIC claimed they were never told of the FBI’s interview with Tamerlan Tsarnaev in 2011, and were thus unaware of his presence as a possible terror suspect in their area. The FBI in turn said that they had all the info available to BRIC through their Guardian data program, and BRIC just didn’t avail themselves of that information. Thing is, there was a real good reason why Sean Gannon should have recognized Tamerlan very early on. They were both Golden Gloves Boston champions, training at the same Allston Wai Kru gym for several years. Hard to believe they didn’t know each other very well by sight, at least. It’s also easier to believe that the FBI latched onto Tamerlan as a potential informant, or somebody they could use in some way, than all this “falling through the cracks” nonsense. They do this kind of thing all the time.

  • BMC

    A competent agent would have made the connection. The agent who interviewed Tamerlan had to have known he had a younger brother named Dzokhar. The agent had to have known what Dzohkar looked like. If he didn’t know this, then he wasn’t doing his job when he conducted the interview in 2011. I understand that the identity of Tamerlan was tougher to make because he wore glasses and a hat, but his brother was trailing behind him and his face was in full view. Tamerlan was interviewed for being radicalized and lived 2 miles from the scene. The connection should have been made before the murder of Sean Collier.

    • CarinDr

      Yeah, I find it interesting that in the FBI descriptions of the investigation they did of the family, there’s never been a single mention of the younger brother. They didn’t have a warning about him, but he would have been at a prime age of susceptibility to that type of ideology. Not that he was up to no good at that time, but one wonders whether they shouldn’t at least have talked to him or taken note of him. Unless they did and are just not saying. I’m not making cover-up claims and the agent may still not have been able to remember, but it is interesting that it’s just Tamerlan that gets mentioned, when one assumes they *could* have had previous knowledge of the brother and, as you say, he wasn’t wearing sunglasses.

  • Ezra

    You have to look past the back slapping to see the real objective of the BMB and the Watertown shootout/manhunt – all the heroes agreed – they need to expand the JTTF, especially micro command.

    At the April 9, 2014 homeland security hearings:

    Beginning at @1:16:00 Herman (Dutch) Leonard, Harvard University Business Administration and Public Sector Management Professor, Kennedy School of Government, co-author of “Why Was Boston Strong?” chips in to say;

    “My message is don’t take incident management for granted. It’s’ not an accident it takes a lot of work to build and it’s incredibly important. What’s important about it is that it facilitates the command and coordination across multiple agencies. Inevitably the capabilities that we need for these big, horrible, messy events are going to be in multiple different agencies and they should be. The challenge is how to bring those collectively and creatively together effectively in the moment and that’s harder than it looks and it’s not self-executing and it’s not a natural act for those agencies to do it. So it has to be practiced in advance it has to be worked on and developed. And you’ve pointed out all three levels. So there’s the political interface with the strategic operational. So the governor and the mayor interacting with Commissioner Davis, with Chief Deveau, and other operational officials to figure out, are we going to shut down the city, are we going to – the release of the photos is actually a more tactical kind of issue but that political issue is enormously important and the National Incident Management System is silent on this question on how this is supposed to work. That’s the macro level of coordination.

    The micro level is what Sgt. Pugilese brought to the scene because he’s naturally part of a system in which there is command and which the officers know each other. That’s in contrast to the dozens of other officers who showed up from many different departments at the same moment or a little bit thereafter, mostly after the gunfight was over at Dexter and Laurel they didn’t have a natural tactical command structure. And we need to work on that. That’s what I mean by micro command. So we need to work on the continuing coordination and command at all different levels. Remembering this is the most important asset and it is not a thing to have happen by itself. And it requires enormous amounts of work and development and practice ahead of time and we can do this. But I think the most important lesson of this whole experience is that any community can do this but not every community has done this. And we need to keep at that. Because Boston Strong and the incident management on display in Boston shows what can be done but we shouldn’t assume that it’s now universal. So we need to keep working on that.”

    C-span: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wvouVtc6yWU

    • public_servant_watch

      Load of crap by the people who orchestrated the attack in collusion with the other two branches, Massachusetts State government, and a slew of private sector criminals.

      The Chairman appears to travel via green screen and photoshop to promote the terror threat which is a cash cow for these corrupt psychopaths. Again, information share bill was drafted on 4/12/2013 and provided a pre-planed premise on the excuse they would use regarding the failure to avert.



      These people are LIARS. You will note the entire time McCaul was in Moscow he never once mentioned he was there with Keating nor were they ever seen together. Sanchez has so much “knowledge” about this event with ALL THE ASSESSMENT THEY HAVE DONE for “lessons learned” she does not even know the name of the Defendant and names his dead brother with a complete inability to even pronounce his name correctly. Tesimony by the witnesses is always pre-drafted and they are TOLD what to say. These are “show” hearings and I have watched every single one with the praise of incompetence and corruption ongoing.

      The report was bogus citing the very corrupt news media sources for reference when the news media was fed by these people on what to report in the first place. Disgusted and SICK OF THE LIES!

  • public_servant_watch

    A more accurate video than the one below this comment. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vU4yDXnNGKQ

  • munkle

    If a potential terrorist is serious enough too warrant an alert from Russian intelligence, they would have a file with clear surveillance photos or are those only for Occupy Wall Street kids? Not only that, the pressue cooker bomb is the preferred weapon of Chechen terrorists, which would have put Tamerlan at the top of a very short list. So we are supposed to believe that the Boston Counter Terror Unit couldn’t link the big guy with the hook nose and distinctive profile to Tamerlan’s file photos? If the FBI comes out and says “we don’t keep photos of people we put on the terrorist watch list,” we’ve got an even bigger problem than we thought. To make it all easier he is right next to his shaggy haired kid brother, and they still can’t make him? The FBI’s story is a non-starter, they knew who they were.

  • furtive

    You don’t believe their pernicious lies….do you?

    The entire scenario is a Hollywood script with unexpected scenes…deleted by gunfire and deportations…

    No more room for cameo characters in this disaster blockbuster.

    Irwin Allen would have refused this offer to produce it on a cinerama screen.

    Not one gumshoe reporter in all of boston dares to hone his/her skills learned in journalism school.

    I’ll assist: start interviewing eyrie witnesses of the car running over Tamerlin in Watertown.

    Doubtful they can be deported.

    Then interview the headmaster at Cambridge Latin. Or wherever he graduated, & DZHOKHAR’s wrestling coach there. You’ll glean quite a bir.

  • furtive


    Sent to ACLU BOSTON:


    • wiseowl

      DO you follow this site at all?


      • furtive

        I just left a post there. Thanx. Who runs it?

        • wiseowl

          Dont know who runs it but the people that post are constructive not reactive

  • furtive

    Another FBI entrapment MURDER:

  • furtive

    Youtube planted Tamerlan account explained:


  • furtive

    FBI agent who murdered TODASHEV:

    Special Agent Aaron McFarlane, 41, of Windham, New Hampshire. Little is known of McFarlane’s history as an FBI agent, although he was assigned to Boston’s Bank Robbery Task Force Squad for a number of years, before being reassigned to an unknown squad in 2012.

    Prior to becoming a Federal agent, Aaron McFarlane was employed as a beat officer with the City of Oakland Police Department, California.

    He retired from Oakland PD in 2004, on a pension of $50,450,76. He had served at the Department for just four years.

  • collindoering

    i think no