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April 24th, 2013
05:20 PM ET

Rep. McCaul: Dismissing foreign connection to Boston suspect is 'premature'

Members of the intelligence community briefed congressmen and senators on the Boston Marathon bombing investigation Wednesday. Republican Rep. Michael McCaul of Texas said he believes the FBI did not go far enough when it investigated Tamerlan Tsarnaev back in 2011, and failed to follow up when he returned from a trip to Russia in 2012.

"It's the travel issue that has become kind of the big question here in terms of who knew what and when," said McPaul.

"You basically have the Department of Homeland Security with the information he's traveling to the Chechen region, and the FBI not knowing about that," said McPaul. "Was that shared with the FBI within the Joint Terrorism Task Force? That's a very, very important question because ... connecting the dots after 9/11, that is what it is really supposed to be about, and we thought we had fixed this."

One question in the ongoing investigation is whether or not there should have been a FISA warrant, a request to be able to spy on Tsarnaev because there was reason to believe he was acting as an agent of a foreign country, or foreign terrorist group.

"I was a federal prosecutor who actually applied for FISA warrants. There was not the predication in my judgment to establish he was an agent of a foreign power at that time," said McCaul.

But the Texas Republican is quick to add that it is too soon to dismiss or downplay foreign involvement at this point, which the administration has done so far.

"They're sending a team over today, a U.S. team over to interview witnesses in the Chechen region. So for anybody to come out and say there is no foreign connection at all I think is highly premature and I think very irresponsible," said McCaul.

The congressman said details are still emerging of what exactly Tsarnaev was doing in Dagestan, Chechnya, and Russia.

"I think there's some concern that he could have been trained over there. And the reason I say that is because the explosive devices that he used were highly sophisticated devices," said McCaul.

"We are very concerned that there is a person or persons out there who trained him to do this. Whether that's overseas or in the United States remains unknown," said McCaul. "But we sure hope to get to the bottom of it."

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