Boston Bombing Investigation: Thursday’s Developments

The latest developments in the investigation into the April 15 bombings at the Boston Marathon and related news include:

— Looking For “Misha”: Relatives of Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the 26-year-old suspect who died Friday after a gun battle with police, have told news outlets that they think he may have been “brainwashed” into embracing radical Islam by an Armenian man named Misha, as CNN reports.

On Morning Edition, NPR’s Dina Temple-Raston said that Tsarnaev’s mother, who is in Dagestan, has led U.S. investigators to believe that while she encouraged her son to practice Islam, “she wanted it to be a positive thing.” Officials familiar with what she has told investigators report the mother says “she had no idea there was another layer to his beliefs,” Dina added.

So, the FBI is looking for the friend, Dina reported.

American and Russian officials have been interviewing Tsarnaev’s parents in Dagestan. There are reports that the father, at least, may come to the U.S. as soon as Friday. Both parents have told news outlets that they do not believe their sons (the surviving suspect is Tamerlan’s younger brother Dzhokhar) were responsible for the bombings that killed three people and wounded more than 200, or for the murder of an MIT police officer last Thursday.

— Russia Also Asked The CIA About Tamerlan Tsarnaev: As we reported Wednesday, word has emerged that the CIA asked in 2011 that Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s name be added to a database known as the Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment, or TIDE.

The New York Times adds that “despite being told in 2011 that an FBI review had found that a man who went on to become one of the suspects in the Boston Marathon bombings had no ties to extremists, the Russian government asked the Central Intelligence Agency six months later for whatever information it had on him, American officials said Wednesday. After its review, the CIA also told the Russian intelligence service that it had no suspicious information on the man, Tamerlan Tsarnaev. … It is not clear what prompted the Russians to make the request.”

On Morning Edition, Dina reported that sources say investigators conducted three interviews (with Tamerlan Tsarnaev and his parents) and a “massive data base search.” They found no evidence he had done anything illegal, officials have told her.

The Tsarnaev family’s roots are in Chechnya. The parents moved to the U.S. with their children a decade or so ago. Tamerlan Tsarnaev was a legal resident with a green card. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev became a U.S. citizen in 2012.

— Dzhokhar Tsarnaev Reportedly Stopped Giving Information After Miranda Warning Is Read: According to The Associated Press, “16 hours after investigators began interrogating him, the surviving suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings went silent: he’d just been read his constitutional rights.” Sources have told Dina the same thing.

Nineteen-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who reportedly had mostly been communicating through written notes because his injuries make talking difficult or nearly impossible, “immediately stopped [cooperating] after a magistrate judge and a representative from the U.S. Attorney’s office entered his hospital room and gave him his Miranda warning, according to four officials of both political parties briefed on the interrogation. They insisted on anonymity because the briefing was private.”

The wire service also says that “before being advised of his rights, the 19-year-old suspect told authorities that his older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, only recently had recruited him to be part of the attack that detonated pressure-cooker bombs at the marathon finish line, two U.S. officials said.”

Dzhokhar remains in a Boston hospital. As of Wednesday, he was said to be in fair condition.

Related posts and a note:

— WBUR’s coverage of the marathon bombings and their aftermath is collected here.

— Our previous posts are here.

Note: As happens when stories such as this are developing, there will likely be reports that turn out to be mistaken. We will focus on news being reported by NPR, other news outlets with expertise, and statements from authorities who are in a position to know what’s going on. And if some of that information turns out to be wrong, we’ll update.

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