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Bombing suspects' mom also in terror database, officials say

By Eileen Sullivan and Michael Kunzelman

Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 07:56 a.m. HST, Apr 26, 2013

BOSTON » The mother of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects was added to a federal terrorism database about 18 months before the attack, government officials said Thursday.

Two government officials said the CIA had Zubeidat Tsarnaeva's name listed along with that of her son Tamerlan Tsarnaev after Russia contacted the agency in 2011 with concerns that the two were religious militants about to travel to Russia. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about the case.

Being in the classified TIDE database does not automatically mean a person is suspected by the U.S. of terrorist activity and does not automatically subject someone to surveillance, security screening or travel restrictions.

The disclosure came as the surviving bombing suspect, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, was moved overnight from a hospital to a federal prison medical center, and as FBI agents searched for evidence in a landfill near the college he was attending.

Tsarnaev, 19, was taken from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, where he was recovering from a gunshot wound to the throat and other injuries suffered during a getaway attempt, and transferred to the Federal Medical Center Devens, about 40 miles from Boston, the U.S. Marshals Service said. The facility at the former Fort Devens Army base treats federal prisoners.

FBI agents picked through a landfill today near the campus of the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, where Tsarnaev was a student. FBI spokesman Jim Martin would not say what investigators were looking for.

Tsarnaev is charged with joining with his older brother, now dead, in setting off the shrapnel-packed pressure-cooker bombs that killed three people and wounded more than 260 at the marathon finish line April 15.

The brothers are ethnic Chechens from Russia who came to the U.S. about a decade ago with their parents. Investigators have said it appears so far that the brothers were angry about the U.S. wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and had been radicalized via Islamic material on the Internet instead of any direct contact with terrorist organizations, but they warned it is still not certain.

A team of investigators from the U.S. Embassy in Moscow has questioned both parents in Makhachkala, Russia, this week, spending many hours with the mother in particular over two days. The suspect' father, Anzor Tsarnaev, said the questions were mostly about their sons' activities and interests.

The father said on Thursday that he is soon leaving Russia for the United States, to visit one son and lay the other to rest. The suspects' mother, who was charged with shoplifting in the U.S. last summer, said she has been assured by lawyers that she would not be arrested, but said she was still deciding whether to go.

At a news conference in Russia, Tsarnaeva bitterly said she now regrets moving her family to the U.S. and believes they would have been better off in a village in her native Dagestan.

"You know, my kids would be with us, and we would be, like, fine," she said. "So, yes, I would prefer not to live in America now! Why did I even go there? Why? I thought America is going to, like, protect us, our kids, it's going to be safe."

Also on Thursday, officials said that three days after the Boston attack, the Tsarnaev brothers planned to drive to New York and bomb Times Square in a spur-of-the-moment scheme that fell apart almost immediately when they realized the SUV they had hijacked was low on gas. They had five pipe bombs and a pressure-cooker explosive in the vehicle, police said.

"We don't know if we would have been able to stop the terrorists had they arrived here from Boston," Mayor Michael Bloomberg said. "We're just thankful that we didn't have to find out that answer."

New York Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said Dzhokhar Tsarnaev told interrogators from his hospital bed that he and his brother decided the night of April 18 to launch an attempt in New York. But when the Tsarnaev brothers stopped at a gas station on the outskirts of Boston, the carjacking victim they were holding hostage escaped and called police, Kelly said.

Later that night, police intercepted the brothers in a gunbattle that left 26-year-old Tamerlan Tsarnaev dead.

The word of a short-lived plan to bomb Times Square made some New Yorkers shudder at the thought of another terrorist attack on the city.

Outside Penn Station, Wayne Harris, a schoolteacher from Queens, said: "We don't know when a terrorist attack will happen next in New York, but it will happen. It didn't happen this time, by the grace of God. God protected us this time."

Associated Press writer Colleen Long in New York and Julie Pace in Washington contributed to this story.

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iwanaknow wrote:
So this mother lied when she said her son's never would do anything bad?
on April 26,2013 | 07:29AM
thevisitor967 wrote:
I'm not surprised. Based on what she said in this article, she appears to be a terrible mother who did a lousy job raising her sons. Where does she get off blaming the U.S. for what happened to her sons without acknowledging the fact that they killed 3 people and wounded over 180 other people? Yeah--I'm not surprised that she lied. It sounds like she's been lying to herself about a lot of things over the years.
on April 26,2013 | 09:09AM
KekoaBradshaw wrote:
The mother and father brought their kids to America and dumped them here, leaving the Massachusetts welfare system to support thenm, while they returned to Lower Slobovia or wherever it is they came from. If she comes to the USA to see her darling little boy, she should be arrested the minute she steps off the plane. Also, the dead brother's wife---the one arrested for shoplifitng---should be deported to Terrorist-Land or wherever--with her small daughter. These people, the Tsarnaev family--point out what's wrong with the US immigration system. They came here legally "seeking asylum" but then Mom and Pop Tsarnaev go back to wherever leaving the kids on welfare. What a fraud. If she had a conscience, she should be ashamed--but it's safe to assume she doesn't have a conscience.
on April 26,2013 | 12:30PM
ARCH_808 wrote:
The article mentioned the Mother being arrested for shoplifting. Where are you getting your information from about the wife of the brother?
on April 26,2013 | 02:54PM
Sunny wrote:
From what has been reported to date the mother was the religious driving force in the family.
on April 26,2013 | 07:39AM
livinginhawaii wrote:
Listening to her recorded rants with CNN journalists I would not be at all surprised if she had prior knowledge of the bombing plan or was involved in the planning. If indeed she is implicated at least all of this media exposure will prevent her from being able to hide in public...
on April 26,2013 | 07:46AM
cojef wrote:
She was charged, but not arrested for shoplifting, so it indicates that the household was not a typical one. Further, they were on the public dole as did suspect #1 who fathered a daughter with a converted American Muslim mother. That family was also on welfare, but late last year was cut off because she was earning enough to drop them from receiving further assistence. The poor wife was working 60/70 hours a week as a assist-aid in a nursing home. No information whether suspect #1 ever had a job. A dysfunctional family no less .
on April 26,2013 | 09:50AM
KekoaBradshaw wrote:
"The poor wife was working 60/70 hours a week"---she could have left the creep and filed for divorce.
on April 26,2013 | 12:32PM
NotNasti wrote:
On CNN, they reported the wife was working 80 hrs/wk, and husband not working.
on April 26,2013 | 02:59PM
64hoo wrote:
being classified as a TIDE database does not mean that you are a terrorist against the US. well lets see on the news the other mourning the brothers were given asylum to the US because they feared for there lives in RUSSIA and yet the older brother bomber#1 still traveled back to Russia even after getting asylum from the US. the CIA should have known that the sons were terrorist so the CIA sure made a mistake in letting the kids stay here. that's why they were getting welfare benefits and it is not public information now to learn more about there welfare here. the mass. governor shut the record of there welfare from being made public, because of privacy laws. but what makes me mad is that the CIA should have known these brothers were terrorist.
on April 26,2013 | 12:20PM
romei wrote:
incredible, how our government assisted this family, only for it to be betrayed by these people. the adasity of this woman to blame the U.S. is outrageous. immigration laws certainly need to be reviewed and highly scrutinized. i can't believe this guy still has miranda rights, thought he should be treated as a "terrorist" as well as their entire family.
on April 26,2013 | 04:28PM
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