A Not-A-Drone-Strike Near Disney World

The FBI has been tracking a Chechen martial arts practitioner in FL, Ibragim Todashev, since the Boston Marathon attack. The guy knew Tamerlan Tsarnaev from Boston and reportedly had a phone conversation with him “more than a month ago” (which still would put it shortly before the attack). Todashev — who got in a serious fight in a parking lot earlier this month — had recently booked a flight to NY, with plans to travel on to Chechnya.

So, after having interviewed him yesterday, the FBI decided to interview him again around midnight last night.

It didn’t end well.

The FBI said Ibragim Todashev was shot and killed just after midnight at 6022 Peregrine Avenue in the Windhover Apartments near Universal Orlando.

“The agent encountered the suspect while conducting official duties. The suspect is deceased,” FBI Special Agent Dave Couvertier told Local 6.

John Miller, the former FBI assistant director who now works for CBS News, said the FBI was trying to re-question Todashev at his apartment when “something went wrong.”  Miller said the FBI agent fired shots, but details of the incident have not yet been released and it’s not known if Todashev had a gun.

This will bear watching.

Here’s the FBI’s complete statement on the killing.

The FBI is currently reviewing a shooting incident involving an FBI special agent. Based on preliminary information, the incident occurred in Orlando, Florida during the early morning hours of May 22, 2013. The agent, two Massachusetts State Police troopers, and other law enforcement personnel were interviewing an individual in connection with the Boston Marathon bombing investigation when a violent confrontation was initiated by the individual. During the confrontation, the individual was killed and the agent sustained non-life threatening injuries. As this incident is under review, we have no further details at this time. [my emphasis]

You’d think a crack investigative agency like the FBI would know how many and what kind of other law enforcement personnel were present.

Oh, what’s that? You mean they’re not telling us on purpose?

Update: Apparently Todashev confessed to playing a role in the triple murder in Waltham in 2011 authorities suspect Tamerlan was involved in.

Todashev, they say, had spent some time in the Boston area, where he was a mixed martial arts fighter, and knew Tsarnaev there.  Investigators say he confessed to the agent in Florida that he played a role in a triple murder in 2011 in which three men were discovered slain in an apartment in Waltham, Mass.

Their throats had been cut, and their bodies were covered with marijuana. No suspects had been arrested in that case.

Officials say FBI agents were questioning Todashev on Tuesday. He was cooperative at first, they say, but later that night, he attacked the agent with a knife, who shot and killed him. Officials say Todashev became violent as he was about to sign a written statement based on his confession.

Chances are great that the FBI didn’t tape this claimed confession.

Update: As I suspected, at the time of the assault earlier this month, Todashev was being actively followed, presumably by the FBI.

According to discovery in that case, deputies knew immediately that Todashev was either a cage or jui juitsu fighter and knew “how dangerous these men can be,” a report said.

“I told this subject if he tried to fight us I would shoot him,” one deputy wrote in a report.

The report said that Todashev told deputies he believed he was being followed by federal agents.

He told deputies that three vehicles with tinted windows that were behind him when he was stopped were FBI vehicles. All three cars left the scene before deputies could confirm that they the drivers were federal agents, according to the report.

“I noticed one vehicle was driven by a male, had a computer stand and appeared to be talking on a radio,” the deputy said in the report.

30 replies
  1. guest says:

    Midnight confessions? Thanks. Now I’ll have that song in my head all day. This sounds more like a CraigsList hook-up gone wrong than a law enforcement investigation.
    Who goes banging on doors, armed, at midnight? The guy had to think it was an assassination or his limo to torture town come to pick him up. How could that go wrong, unless it was the plan all along?

  2. jo6pac says:


    EW didn’t you do a story about this a while back? I’m sure it was an accident;)

  3. scribe says:

    @john francis lee: Per TalkLeft, the Bureau of Prisons is keeping him in solitary and DoJ recently succeeded in defeating a defense motion to take periodic photographs of him to show his deteriorating condition over time, while in custody.

    But, to get back onto the main point of this post, how much you wanna bet this guy had/was Brady/Giglio material? FBI 302s are notorious for being dishonest and one-sided and now there will be only one side to whatever the dead guy said – the FBI side.

  4. P J Evans says:

    The part about showing up at midnight to ‘question’ him was what got to me. And one LEO said he made some kind of ‘suspicious move’ – that could mean almost anything.

  5. Bad Mojo says:

    Looks like the media are tying the dead man to the same marijuana dealer murder that they were looking at Tamerlan for.


    Investigators say [Todashev] confessed to the agent in Florida that he played a role in a triple murder in 2011 in which three men were murdered in an apartment in Waltham, Mass.

    Their throats had been cut, and their bodies were covered with marijuana. No suspects had been arrested in that case.

  6. harpie says:


    […] The agent, two Massachusetts State Police troopers, and other law enforcement personnel were interviewing an individual in connection with the Boston Marathon bombing investigation when a violent confrontation was initiated by the individual. […]

    reminds me of the shooting of Aafia Siddiqui

  7. What Constitution says:

    I vote for requiring all the CIA, FBI, DHS, White House and DOJ folks to watch the scene in the new Star Trek movie where Mr. Spock admonishes Captain Kirk about his intention just go kill the Bahd Guy for attacking some Federation people. Make ’em watch it again and again, until they all say “Oh, wow.” It may be worth a try — after all, even the NYT editorial board finally recalled, this morning, that there’s a First Amendment that ought to apply; maybe our governmental guys could dig deep and remember there are a bunch of other principles in our Constitution and Bill of Rights that were supposed to take the place of “the King can do no wrong” several hundred years ago.

  8. matt carmody says:

    If the John Miller from the FBI is the same John Miller who was NYPD Deputy Commissioner for Public Info when Wild Billy Bratton and Louis Loose Cannon Anemone were running the NYPD under Rudy 9/11 don’t hold your breath waiting for the truth or anything vaguely resembling it.

  9. Nell says:

    The chance that the FBI taped the interrogation of Todashev (and a friend who was in the apartment when the agent(s) & cops arrived but was allowed to leave after an hour or more) is ZERO. The FBI refuses to tape, which is a major reason that this should be an absolute rule for everyone, at all times and in all places: Do not speak to the FBI without a lawyer present. Do not let them into your house, period. Not EVER.

    The FBI process is to have two agents; one questions, the other “takes notes”. The note-taker writes up the summary of the interview. Without an independent record of the questions and answers, this creates a double bind for the person being questioned when they are asked to confirm the FBI summary. Watch this short video, which will help you remember the rule.

    Years ago, investigating a crime against a work acquaintance of mine, a pair of FBI agents came to the apartment house where I lived at almost 9:00 in the evening. When I arrived, they were interviewing my landlord (who was totally unconnected to the case, and who had no idea of my schedule or really anything about me). I asked them to leave and to call me at work and schedule an interview, which would take place at the office of our lawyer. They knew full well where I worked, which among other things was the site where the crime had been committed. They pulled sad faces and acted hurt and offended. I said, “Don’t take it personally; my organization has a suit against your organization*, but we very much want to be of help in your investigation. Call me at work, or call the lawyer, and set up an interview.” I gave them the name and number of the lawyer (which they’d been given before) and went into my apartment. And shook with anger and fear for a while. I was grateful that co-workers had prepared me, but it was still deeply creepy to have them show up at night.

    *For infiltration, spying, and theft of documents; we won, eventually.

    They did eventually interview me at our lawyer’s office, and he had a stenographer take notes of what was said. If he had tried to tape, the FBI would not have conducted the interview. Watch that video!

  10. Alexander says:

    @Nell: Indeed. I just ran across a recent article about that, prompted by how the FBI is dealing with someone it interviewed in Boston in connection with Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

    <a href="http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20130516/18383623114/your-word-against-ours-how-fbis-no-electronic-recording-policy-rigs-game-destroys-its-credibility.shtml&quot;Your Word Against Ours: How The FBI’s ‘No Electronic Recording’ Policy Rigs The Game… And Destroys Its Credibility

  11. TomVet says:

    Curiouser and curiouser. There seems to be a serious misdirection going on here to make this guy out as a “very bad man!”. All of the coverage of his previous parking lot confrontation try to portray him as the aggressor. Such as:

    The affidavit stated that Todashev brutally beat the man and knocked out several of his teeth during the fight.1

    The report said during the argument, Todashev pushed the man and the man’s son came swinging at Todashev and the two began fighting and the man ended up unconscious on the ground covered in blood.2

    Todashev put a man in hospital with facial injuries during the fracas, according to a report from the Orange County Sheriff’s Office.3

    But from the actual arrest report4(pdf) we find this:

    Todashev stated that he and Baez got into an argument over a parking space. He said during the argument
    Baez got into his face at which time Todashev pushed Baez. Baez’s son, victim Lester Garcia Perez, referred to as Perez, got involved and
    Todashev began fighting with him. Todashev said that Perez came at him swinging.(emphasis mine)

    So, Dad gets in his face; Sonny boy jumps in, not knowing about the MMA thing and gets his butt handed to him. Then, being a sore loser he presses charges and Todashev ends up in jail. Who are the real bad guys in this?

    As for the current story, where he ends up dead, rinse and repeat:

    A friend of the dead man, Khusen Taramov, told Florida News 13 that the FBI had begun questioning and following Todashev soon after the Boston bombings.

    Mr Taramov was quoted as saying: “One day they started questioning us, next day after the bombing, not the bombing, after they found out the bombers were Chechnyans, and they started following us, watching us.”

    He told the news station that the FBI had pressured Todashev into cancelling a plane ticket to Chechnya that he bought before the Boston bombings.3

    “He cancelled the tickets because, the FBI had been like, I don’t know, they’ve been pushing him, you know what I’m saying. They’ve been pushing him they say ‘don’t leave, don’t leave’ so he decided to stay. But we had a feeling, worst case scenario something like that was going to happen. You know what I mean,” said Taramov2

    No one here – FBI, local cops, MSM – seems to be too bothered about any facts or honesty or any of those old fashioned “values” we’ve heard so much about.

    Oh, by the way, the arrest report indicates that Todashev is a US citizen. Nobody has as yet mentioned that.

    1 Click Orlando
    2 Florida News13
    BBC News
    4 Orange County Arrest Report(pdf)

  12. Alexander says:

    Now the NY Times story says, “Investigators said they initially believed Mr. Todashev had used a knife in the attack, but in the afternoon, they said that it was unclear what he was holding when he violently attacked an agent.”

    A man is shot and killed in front of six law enforcement officers, and they can’t figure out what he was holding when he was shot?


  13. guest says:

    I think a lot of this conjecture makes it sound like a vast and omniscient conspiracy. I’m not ruling that out. But I’m starting to wonder if these modern LEOs are just really unprofessional fuckwits, and the rest is just cover-ups for their FUBARs. When you see LEOs at the gym, you can pretty much tell that a whole lot of them are taking illegal steroids. Coupled with a cowboy shoot’em up mentality that is adulated in modern culture, I wonder if they just handle tough situations really badly, acting out, or saying stupid things that they shouldn’t that might compromise their cases. So they know they better prevent audio/video recordings and be ready to destroy as much physical evidence to remove anything contrary to their lies.
    I can’t decide which scenario scares me more. But nobody will hold them accountable, and hardly anybody even questions their facts or the provenance of those facts, so I can’t see how it doesn’t just continue to degenerate to banana republic justice even further.
    At least in this case, I don’t see the motive for killing this guy. Seems like he would have been more valuable to them alive than dead. So for now, I think the suspicious aspects look like cover up of incompetence + cover up of their illegal tactics + std operating procedure lack of transparency, more than it looks like a planned killing.

  14. Nell says:

    New Boston Globe story says Todashev’s friend Taramov insists neither of them were never asked about the Waltham murders, only the Boston bombing and Tsarnaev. Also, it contains this passage:

    :: Fearful it would make them look suspicious, neither he nor Todashev had a lawyer present during the FBI questioning, Taramov said. ::

    A lot worse can happen to you than being considered “suspicious looking” if you talk to the FBI without a lawyer present.

  15. earlofhuntingdon says:

    As Captain Reynaud was wont to say, “We’re trying to decide if he committed suicide or died while trying to escape.”

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