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The Unknown in the Boston Bombings

4:34 PM, Mar 27, 2014 • By THOMAS JOSCELYN
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A key section of the committee’s report dealing with the Plotnikov connection has been redacted, presumably because it deals with sensitive intelligence.

The relevant sentences read: “FBI officials in Moscow indicated that electronic communication between the two may have been collected [REDACTED]. These officials also reported that investigators have determined it is unlikely the two met face-to-face while Tamerlan Tsarnaev was in Dagestan.”

It is curious that after all this time the communications between Plotnikov and Tamerlan Tsarnaev have not been verified. It is possible the Russians are withholding them, or the evidence is locked behind a classified wall.

Much of the media’s reporting on the House Homeland Security Committee’s report has focused on the dots that were potentially missed before the bombings. The FBI investigated Tamerlan Tsarnaev in 2011, after Russian officials warned that he had become radicalized and may join jihadist groups. Even though the Russians did not provide specific intelligence “on exactly why he posed a threat,” their overall assessment was correct.

Long before the Boston Marathon bombings, the Russians “were concerned about [Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s] possible ties to militants in the Caucasus.” Almost one year after the attack, American officials have still not come to a firm conclusion about the extent of these ties.

Thomas Joscelyn is a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

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