FBI: The Tsarnaev Brothers Were Not Informants

The agency is refuting recent reports and probes into whether or not officials were working with them.

boston marathon bombing suspects

Law enforcement officials want to make it “absolutely clear” that they were not conducting any sort of surveillance on the alleged Boston Marathon bombers after the April 15 attack.

“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,” officials said in a joint press release on Friday. “These claims have been repeatedly refuted by the FBI, Boston Police, and Massachusetts State Police.”

The statement was made jointly by FBI Special Agent in Charge of the Boston Division, Vincent Lisi, Colonel Timothy Alben, of the Massachusetts State Police, and Boston Commissioner Edward Davis.

The press release was issued in response to both media inquiries, and requests made by an out-of-state Senator, wondering whether officials had the Tsarnaev brothers on their radar prior to the shootout with the suspects in Watertown in the days following the bombings.

Officials said they have refuted these claims in the past and continue to deny that they had any clue who the Tsarnaevs were, until after the older brother, Tamerlan, was killed during the shootout in Watertown. “Members of the Joint Terrorism Task Force did not know their identities until shortly after Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s death when they fingerprinted his corpse,” according to the statement.

U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley recently sent a letter to the head of the FBI, asking questions about the exact time they had identified the alleged suspects. In a letter obatined by Fox 25, Grassley wrote:

In the hours leading up to the shooting of [Officer Sean Collier] and the death of the older suspect involved in the bombing, sources revealed that uniformed Cambridge Police Department officers encountered multiple teams of FBI employees conducting surveillance in the area of Central Square in Cambridge. It is unclear who the FBI was watching, but these sources allege the Cambridge Police Department, including its representation at the (Joint Terrorism Task Force), was not previously made aware of the FBI’s activity in Cambridge.

Questions about whether or not the Tsarnaev brothers were FBI informants were also raised this week—something the Joint Terrorism Task force and other top cops adamantly deny. “The Tsarnaev brothers were never sources for the FBI nor did the FBI attempt to recruit them as sources,” they said. “To be absolutely clear:  No one was surveilling [sic] the Tsarnaevs and they were not identified until after the shootout.  Any claims to the contrary are false.”