In a piece summarizing investigators’ understanding of Tamerlan Tsarnaev based largely on their investigations in Russia, ABC unironically quotes Dana Rohrabacher — who used to play dress-up mujahadeen when they were fighting Russia in Afghanistan — on intelligence-sharing tensions with Russia.
That communication gap has become a target for a group of American lawmakers who plan to visit Russia next week to investigate the bombing.
“If there was a distrust, or lack of cooperation because of that distrust, between the Russian intelligence and the FBI, then that needs to be fixed and we will be talking about that,” Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.), the chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs’ Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia and Emerging Threats who is leading the Congressional delegation, told ABC News by telephone.
ABC makes no mention of the recent escalation of intelligence tensions, from the failed recruitment in March followed by the refused entry on May 5 of US lawyer Thomas Firestone, the May 14 exposure of Ryan Fogle, who allegedly was attempting to recruit FSB’s expert on Chechen extremists, and the May 17 exposure of someone FSB claimed was CIA’s Station Chief in Moscow.
That is, ABC doesn’t point to the pretty extraordinary ways Russia is trying to drive up tensions even as we’re supposed to be working together to understand the Boston Marathon attack.
Nor does it mention that the FBI “and other law enforcement personnel” killed Russian Ibragim Todashev, just as they were purportedly getting him to sign a confession to involvement, with Tamerlan, in a grisly 2011 triple murder. The now-dead Todashev will not be able to shed any more light on what kind of relationship he had with Tamerlan, nor what relations with Russian nuts of all types they might have had.
There’s a lot it doesn’t mention.
It does, however, in the 25th and 26th paragraph (the last two), admit this:
While the officials described their cooperation with the Russians as “unprecedented,” they grumbled privately that they have been unable to do a methodical step-by-step investigation like they are used to doing in the U.S., or even in other countries where they have long-standing cooperation. American investigators from the FBI have been unable to travel to Dagestan without permission from the Russian authorities.
Still, they insist they have been able to confirm much of what they have been told by Russian government officials from what one official vaguely described as “other channels.”
I do hope these “other channels” are truly independent. Because it seems Russia is not only limiting the degree to which the FBI can investigate Tsarnaev, but inventing new reasons to add to tensions with the US.