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The criminal complaints against the latest suspects - Dias Kadyrbayev, Azamat Tazhayakov and Robel Phillipos - in the Boston Marathon terror attack raise a number of questions that seem to undermine the suspects’ veracity. Or at least suggest law enforcement is not stating their entire case yet.
Shortly before 9pm, according to the court document, Tsarnaev jokes that Kadyrbayev should come to his room and take whatever he wants. Minutes later the three suspects go to Tsarnaev's apartment and collect incriminating evidence.
There remains no admission from the criminal complaint that Tsarnaev instructed them to take evidence.
"I think it's very difficult to believe that a jury would ever think that it was anything other than helping in a cover up," said CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin. If the case even goes to trial.
Officials will spend the next few weeks, even months, combing through every detail of the Boston case looking for all possible missed signals that could have prevented this terrorist attack.
Former Connecticut senator Joe Lieberman knows the process well. While chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee in 2011, he and ranking member Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) put together a report on the Fort Hood shooting, when army psychiatrist Maj. Nidal Hasan went on a deadly shooting spree on a Texas military base, killing 13 people in 2009.
Lieberman has been asked to testify at next week's House Homeland Security hearing on the Boston attack.
Lieberman's report on Fort Hood and the lessons learned was released in February 2011, and states: "The FBI's transformation to become an efficient and effective intelligence-driven organization focusing on preventing domestic terrorist attacks is unfinished."
That was two years ago. After the events in Boston, it would seem the FBI's work is still unfinished.
"Since 9/11, there's been tremendous progress made within the FBI to become a first-rate domestic counterintelligence, counterterrorism agency," said Lieberman. "But mistakes were made in the Fort Hood Nidal Hasan case, and obviously were made here, too."
Federal investigators are widening their net as they dig deeper into the lives of suspected Boston Marathon bombers Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.
Azamat Tazhayakov, Dias Kadyrbayev and Robel Phillipos have been jailed on charges that they tried to throw investigators off Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's trail, investigators announced Wednesday.
Former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff says investigators will be trying to figure out if there are any other plots, as well as if the three friends were involved in any of the preparation for the bombing.
“Were there connections that the Tsernaev’s had to people in the U.S. who might have been facilitators?” asked Chertoff.
Three more suspects in connection with the Boston Marathon bombing appeared in court earlier Wednesday afternoon.
The Justice Department says two of them - Azamat Tazhayakov and Dias Kadyrbayez– are nationals of Kazakhstan. They are charged with conspiracy to obstruct justice. The third – a U.S. citizen identified as Robel Phillipos - is charged with making false statements.
All three are friends of Dhokhar Tsarnaev, and fellow students at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.
Officials caution they have not yet discovered evidence proving the three knew about the attacks beforehand, though the affidavit reads that Tsarnaev had told the two Kazakh students that "he knew how to make a bomb." The students are instead being detained for their actions after the bombings.
Representative Peter King (R-NY) a member of the Homeland Security Agency, is not convinced Tsarnaev hadn’t discussed his plans with the three young men prior to the attack.
“They were in contact with the younger brother, they texted him. He wrote back to them with "LOL", and then advised or urged them, it appears, to go to his room to take the evidence out,” King said. “Would he have done that if he didn't trust them, if somehow they didn't know something was going on? And then they go to the room, they take it out, and then they decide to help a friend.”
By Jake Tapper
The facts, as asserted by the criminal complaint, in the case of the United States of America v. Dias Kadyrbayev, Azamat Tazhayakov and Robel Phillipos, provoke a number of questions that further seem to undermine the suspects’ veracity – or at least suggest law enforcement isn’t stating their entire case yet.
Through the haze of conflicting accounts and changing stories, we arrive at the what the FBI says is the timeline:
Thursday, April 18:
After the suspects’ photos were released, Kadyrbayev was driving home when Phillipos called him. Phillipos told him to turn on the TV when he got home because one of the suspects in the Boston Marathon terrorist attacks “looked familiar.” He did so and “thought that one of the bombers looked like (Dzhokhar) Tsarnaev.”
Kadyrbayev texted Tazhayakov: “Have you seen the news?”
Kadyrbayev informed Tazhayakov that TV news was showing photographs of Tsarnaev and identifying him as one of the terrorists.
At their apartment, Kadyrbayev showed Tazhayakov “photographs of Tsarnaev broadcast by CNN.”
Between 8:43 p.m. and 8:48 p.m. Thursday, Kadyrbayev texted Tsarnaev and “told him he looked like the suspect on television. Tsarnaev’s return texts contained ‘lol’ and other things” Kadyrbayev “interpreted as jokes such as ‘you better not text me’ and ‘come to my room and take whatever you want.’”
Kadyrbayev then texted Phillipos and told him to go to Tsarnaev’s dorm room, where the other two met him. Kadyrbayev showed Tazhayakov the text from Tsarnaev that said, “I’m about to leave if you need something in my room take it,” which caused Tazhayakov to think “he would never see Tsarnaev alive again.”
Question: So, shortly before 9 p.m. Tsarnaev “jokes” that Kadyrbayev should “come to my room and take whatever you want,” and minutes later the three students go to his apartment and collect incriminating evidence – and those are unrelated? There remains no admission that the text from Tsarnaev was an instruction to take the incriminating evidence.
At Tsarnaev’s apartment, the three noticed a backpack containing "fireworks,” fireworks that had been “opened and emptied of powder.” Kadyrbayev “knew when he saw the empty fireworks that Tsarnaev was involved in the Marathon bombing.”
The Lead with Jake Tapper draws not only on Tapper’s deep knowledge of politics and national issues, but also seeks to examine and advance stories across a wide range of topics that demonstrate his own curiosities and interests. Compelling headlines come from around the country and the globe, from politics to money, sports to popular culture, based on news drivers of the day.
The Lead with Jake Tapper airs weekdays at 4 p.m. ET.
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