Eye on the FBI

Congress ordered review of FBI’s response to domestic terror prior to Boston bombing

armed FBI agents are on the scene in Cambridge, Mass., April 19, 2013 / AP


The FBI was ordered by Congress to carry out an external review of its efforts to combat domestic radicalization less than a month before two ethnic-Chechen terrorists bombed the Boston marathon.

Congress mandated last month that the FBI submit to an outside review of its "response to trends of domestic terror attacks since September 11, 2001, including the influence of domestic radicalization," according to language contained in the 2013 Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act passed to avoid a government-wide shutdown.

The funding bill was signed into law on March 26 and allocated $500,000 to the "comprehensive external review," according to the bill.

"The timing of the review is important, given the reports about radicalization of the two suspects involved in the Boston Marathon terrorist attacks last week," according of the office of Rep. Frank Wolf (R., Va.), who authored the amendment initiating the review.

The FBI was reportedly warned by Russian intelligence services that Boston bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who was killed in a shootout with the police, was suspected of having terrorist ties.

The FBI is said to have interviewed Tsarnaev in 2011 following the tip but determined he did not pose a threat. Critics have called this a stunning intelligence failure in the wake of the Boston attack.

The external authority charged with reviewing the FBI will seek to determine if the law enforcement organization has improved its ability to detect and respond to domestic acts of terror.

"The motivation behind the language is to have fresh eyes on this constantly evolving threat and to improve practices within the Bureau, particularly in light of the terrorist attacks involving radicalized Americans, like the brothers suspected in the Boston attacks and Maj. [Nidal] Hasan at Ft. Hood," Rep. Wolf said in a statement Monday.

Those reviewing the FBI will also provide "any additional recommendations with regard to FBI intelligence sharing and counterterrorism policy," according to the legislation.

The Congressional Research Service has reported since the 9/11 terror attacks that "hundreds of individuals have been implicated in more than 50 homegrown violent jihadist plots or attacks," according to Wolf’s office.

The FBI came under criticism from lawmakers over the weekend for what they say is its failure to have identified Tsarnaev as threat prior to last week’s terrorist bombing.

Rep. Peter King (R., N.Y.) warned, "this is the latest in a series of cases like this" during an interview Sunday on Fox News.

King said this is just the latest example of the FBI having been "given information about someone as being potential terrorist, they look at them, and then they don’t take action, and then they [the terrorists] go out and carry out murders after this," King said. "I’m wondering if there’s something deficient here."

Tsarnaev is suspected of having ties to Chechen Islamists and possibly al Qaeda.

It came to light over the weekend that Tsarnaev had traveled to Dagestan, a Russian territory that is the home to Islamic terrorists.

There have been at least five terrorists, including the Fort Hood shooter, who have gone on to carry out terrorist attacks following contact with the FBI.

Adam Kredo   Email Adam | Full Bio | RSS
Adam Kredo is senior writer reporting on national security and foreign policy matters for the Washington Free Beacon. An award-winning political reporter who has broken news from across the globe, Kredo’s work has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, the Weekly Standard, Commentary Magazine, the Drudge Report, and the Jerusalem Post, among many others. His Twitter handle is @Kredo0. His email address is kredo@freebeacon.com.

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