US Deports Ibragim Todashev’s Girlfriend

The Guardian and Boston Magazine report that Tatiana Gruzdeva, the woman whom FBI had apparently detained to pressure Ibragim Todashev to cooperate, is now back in Moldova after being deported to Russia. Gruzdeva had claimed she was deported for granting an interview to Boston Magazine, and that outlet quotes a lawyer explaining how that might be the case.

[I]mmigration lawyers Susan Church and Jeremiah Freedman told me Gruzdeva was most likely given something called an order of supervision—and yes, they said, under an order of supervision, the feds can deport her for speaking to the media.

Church says this proviso matches Gruzdeva’s account that she was given a one-year extension to stay in America and that she was allowed to file for work papers. Orders of supervision are usually given under another legal provision called deferred action. Church says it’s common for people to file for work under these circumstances.

According to Freedman, orders of supervision can include certain requirements like not speaking to the press. “If you violate the conditions of your order of supervision,” he said, “they pick you up and put you in jail again.” And Church says these requirements don’t have to be explicit. “A person who has an overstay really doesn’t have any legal rights,” said Church. “They could be picked up at any time.”

“That is really a privilege that is not extended to many people,” said Church,

I’m as interested in this account for what it says about Gruzdeva’s likely status — deferred action — as the explanation for how speaking to Boston Magazine could get her deported. Because, from what I’ve seen, such an extension along with work privileges is virtually unheard of in the immigration context, even for people who are far more cooperative with law enforcement than we at least understand Gruzdeva to have been.

So Gruzdeva gets that privilege, and while released spends a lot of time with Todashev’s father, Abdulbaki, who is a government official in Grozny. When her roommate, Ashurmamad Miraliev. who had been close friends with Todashev and also spent time with Abdulbaki, was arrested, she went public, which led not only to accusations the FBI was recruiting members of this community as informants, but also ultimately to Gruzdeva’s loss of that privilege and her deportation. While in the US, Abdulbaki was interviewed by the FBI and other law enforcement. And according to the Guardian, Gruzdeva was debriefed in Moscow before she traveled onto Moldova.

So what is the FBI (and another unnamed federal agency, on whose request Miraliev is being detained) really after here?

6 replies
  1. Brindle says:

    It’s fairly rational to come to the conclusion that Todashev was executed, so as to –why?– I have no idea, other than to guess that he knew of FBI covert criminal operations.

    —“However, several different accounts of the shooting soon emerged and the FBI backtracked from the initial assertion that Todashev was armed. Lawyer Hassan Shibly, executive director of CAIR’s Florida chapter, said an investigation by the group, including a private postmortem, concluded that Todashev was shot seven times, including once in the back of the head.”—

  2. orionATL says:


    most likely the fbi executed todashev to cover up their failures associated with the boston bombing, possibly including fbi tolerance/support for criminal activities associated with spying or entrapping for the fbi or with fbi-sanctioned support for chechen terrorism.

    that the fbi interviewed and then “dropped” the tsanarev brothers has always seemed a peculiar behavior for the fbi. more likely that they started using them.

    when (and if) tex sennsenbrenner gets around to de-legalizing national security letters, maybe he can throw in a section in that law that mandates that the fbi may never conduct any interrogation/interview without a video-and-audio recording being made which is sent REAL TIME to a special section of the national archives.

  3. emptywheel says:

    @Brindle: It’s possible Todashev got himself killed to prevent disclosing details, including of the Waltham murder, he didn’t want to disclose.

  4. Brindle says:

    @emptywheel: I agree, and also w/ orionATL. If you look at the history of the FBI “creating” terrorists in the U.S. it is not a reach to think something in the same vein was happening in Boston.

  5. earlofhuntingdon says:

    As was said over another damaged government informant in Smiley’s People, “[B]lackmail is considered preferable to bribery…. At the present rate of inflation, blackmail’s about the only thing that keeps its value.”

  6. C says:

    So what is the FBI (and another unnamed federal agency, on whose request Miraliev is being detained) really after here?

    Perhaps they don’t know.

    As I see it there are a few plausible possibilities:

    (1) Over the past several years the FBI has made a practice of infiltrating every non-FBI community they can from muslims to environmentalists. Based upon public reports they have chosen to do so with paid informants who are, to put it mildly, motivated to find or make conspiracies and not above recruiting and winding up an idiot or two just to make work happen. The “Christmas Attack” in Portland is a texbook case of this. In all of these cases no attacks have happened

    If the FBI had been running an operation of this type and perhaps they are afraid that Todashev or Gruzdeva knew about it and could spill the beans which would make this look horrifically bad.

    (2) Perhaps during the interrogation some officer just snapped and “took vengance” for Boston on Todashev and now the whole agency is in an uproar trying to get everyone who could make a stink about it out of the way.

    (3) Perhaps despite its much ballywhooed transformation from a police force protecting America to an Intelligence Agency spying on it and despite all the hay made at the NSA the FBI failed to stop two psychopaths from blowing up a crowd of innocent people. With his death Todashev took anything he knew or may have known with him, and Gruzdeva for all her relationships didn’t have any smoking gun.

    Perhaps the FBI is simply at a loss and is busy making conflicting actions as they search for a way to explain this attack and to avoid admitting that they just plain failed to see it coming.

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