As next week marks the tragedy of the Boston Marathon bombing, information about the events leading up to the attack keep getting complicated. The United States and the FBI claim that Russia withheld information from officials that could have prevented the attack at the marathon finish line. Russia, on the other hand, reports to have sent information to the FBI on the two Chechen Tsarnaev brothers that rained violence down on the streets of Boston.
Since the attack, information about the two brothers’ lives have come to light. They moved to America when they were children, then moved back to Chechnya in Russia, widely recognized as a terrorist hot spot. While Tamerlan Tsarnaev was in Chechnya, Russian intelligence officials gathered information about the man. That information, comprehensively collected, was sent to the FBI and the CIA. The information included in Russian reports was communication between Tamerlan and his mother, where they discussed extremist Jihad and his desire to join an Islamic insurgency in Chechnya.
U.S. Representative William R. Keating talked to The Boston Globe on Thursday in Moscow, telling journalists that had American authorities acted accordingly on the information that Russia claims to have explicitly sent to American intelligence organizations, the Marathon bombings could have been prevented altogether. Yet mainstream news outlets, including The New York Times, keep complicating the information about the Boston Marathon bombing. Many are purporting that Russia intentionally withheld information about the brothers, and now America and its mainstream media outlets are trying to make Russia become the patsy for the FBI and CIA’s mistakes.
To underline the situation, The Boston Globe, the major paper based in the city of the attacks, is telling the world that Russia indeed sent American intelligence authorities the information necessary for the prevention of the attack. Yet, every other media outlet is saying that Russia withheld key information. This complicated paradox comes at a time where U.S.-Russia relations are at their most bitter, since the era of the Cold War in the 20th century. With aggression against Ukraine, and Edward Snowden effectively an American expatriate living in Moscow, who is reviled for his NSA surveillance leaks, it makes sense that America would want to blame Russia for the Marathon attacks as well. However, the responsibility lies on America, and their inability to act on information sent to them. That information included Facebook accounts and messages, names of the people Tamerlan was involved with, addresses, e-mails, cellphone numbers, and phone calls. It was this information that landed Tamerlan on the CIA’s list of suspected terrorists.
With the anniversary of the attack approaching early next week, reflection and mourning are a generally expected response. Remembering the lives lost on that horrifying day is considered a normal part of the healing process. Of course, the increased security that will be in place this year is also generally accepted as extremely important, as the runners must be protected as they start from Hopkinton and complete their run at the finish line in Boston. What is not as generally accepted as necessary, however, is mixing up the information that Russians gave to America, and allegedly using it as a pawn in a game to discredit Russia. It is understandable for many that information about the Boston Marathon bombing has begun to get complicated, as miscommunication is commonplace; especially with two countries that share much animosity. There is a growing sentiment, however, that the victims, and the city of Boston deserve much more than that.
Opinion by Tyler Collins