Story Summary

Boston Marathon Terror Attack

marathon-bombTwo explosions occurred near the finish line at the Boston Marathon on Monday about four hours after the start of the race. Three people were killed and more than 250 were injured.

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New York (CNN) — During the 90-minute ride of terror, Tamerlan Tsarnaev kept talking.

He barked out orders, detailed his hatred of Americans and asked his carjacking victim to remain calm.

boston-suspects-4Tsarnaev kept asking about the 26-year-old driver’s heritage and family.

“If you cooperate, I won’t kill you,” said Tsarnaev, who, along with his younger brother, was a suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings and the killing of a police officer.

The Massachusetts driver, whom CNN is identifying only as Danny because of privacy and safety concerns, gave his account of the April 18 incident and described the very different behavior of Tsarnaev and his younger brother, Dzhokhar.

While the talkative Tamerlan was the ringleader during the carjacking, the quiet Dzhokhar responded to multiple orders, such as getting money from an ATM.

The only question Dzhokhar asked was how much Danny paid for his Mercedes SUV.

After the Chinese entrepreneur eventually escaped, police caught up with the brothers and engaged in a gun battle that left Tamerlan Tsarnaev dead.

Dzhokhar, wounded, was found later and is in police custody.

Hours after authorities released images of the two bombing suspects, the brothers spontaneously decided to go to New York’s Times Square to blow up their six remaining explosives, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev told investigators.

His account was outlined by New York’s police commissioner.

Before forcing their way into Danny’s vehicle three days after the bombings, the brothers fatally shot a campus police officer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, police said.

Tamerlan Tsarnaev said right after he got in the vehicle that he was responsible for the bombings and the officer’s death, according to Danny.

“This is like something you see in a movie, isn’t it?” Tamerlan Tsarnaev said at one point during the carjacking.

Danny, who first spoke with The Boston Globe, gave CNN this account of the carjacking in a more than hourlong conversation off-camera.

– Danny had stopped his vehicle to send a text when Tamerlan walked up and tapped on the window. The suspect, allegedly carrying a handgun, opened the door and got into the passenger seat.

– Dzhokhar followed in another vehicle.

– Under questioning by Tamerlan, Danny played up being Chinese and tried to humanize himself by talking about cell phones and family. Danny told CNN he felt being Chinese helped save his life.

– Eventually, Dzhokhar abandoned his vehicle and the three rode in Danny’s SUV. Tamerlan started driving, using back streets in the Boston area, trying to avoid police and searching for an open gas station.

– Danny heard the word “Manhattan” at one point and thought the brothers were going to drive to New York, kill him on the way and dump his body under the bridge.

– When they stopped to refuel at a Shell gas station, Danny managed to slip away. He could feel Tamerlan grab him and heard him yell an expletive. Danny ran to a Mobil gas station, where he told an employee there what happened.

Danny told CNN the fact that his car was low on gas helped save his life.

During the carjacking, Danny thought about a girl in New York whom he really liked.

He thought he’d never see her again.

tamerlanBOSTON (CNN) — Federal agents are looking into possible links between dead Boston Marathon bomb suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev and a Canadian boxer-turned-jihadist killed by Russian troops in 2012, a source being briefed on the investigation said Monday.

William Plotnikov and six others died in a firefight with Russian forces in the southwestern republic of Dagestan in July 2012, while Tsarnaev was visiting the region, the source said.

The 23-year-old Plotnikov had been born in Russia, but his family moved to Canada when he was a teenager.

The source said Plotnikov’s body was prepared for burial by a local imam on July 14. Tamerlan Tsarnaev flew out of Dagestan two days later, arriving in New York on July 17.

Investigators are looking into the possibility he left because of Plotnikov’s death, the source said.

Additionally, the source says investigators are looking into whether Tsarnaev had any contact with another militant named Mahmoud Mansur Nidal, 18, who was killed by Russian forces in May 2012 during a gun battle in Makhachkala, Dagestan’s capital.

Tsarnaev’s parents live in Makhachkala. Possible links between Tsarnaev and Plotnikov and Nidal were first reported by a Russian magazine, Novaya Gazeta.

And the source said that about a month before he returned to the United States, Tamerlan Tsarnaev applied for a Russian passport at a government office in Dagestan, telling authorities he had lost his existing passport. According to the source, Tsarnaev left Dagestan before his new passport arrived. It’s not clear whether he traveled on an existing Russian or Kyrgyz passport.

That report emerged the same day a U.S. government official told CNN that FBI agents have interviewed the man identified as “Misha,” an elusive figure whose name has surfaced in the Boston bombing investigation.

Investigators spoke with the man in Rhode Island after reports surfaced suggesting that members of the suspected bombers’ family blame a “Misha” for radicalizing Tsarnaev, whose wounded brother has identified him as the mastermind of the April 15 bombing.

The man, whose real name is Mikhail Allakhverdov, denies ever encouraging a violent take on Islam and says he was not Tamerlan’s teacher, according to a New York Review of Books writer who says he interviewed Misha.

“He began telling me he cooperated with the FBI” and had handed over his computer and cell phone, reporter Christian Caryl told CNN on Monday.

Allakhverdov insisted he had “nothing to do with radicalization,” Caryl said.

CNN has made repeated efforts to speak with Allakhverdov, but has so far been unsuccessful.

A lawyer who stepped out of the West Warwick, Rhode Island, apartment listed for Mikhail Allakhverdov told CNN he represents the parents of someone who lives there, adding, “We call him Michael.”

The parents have answered all questions the authorities have asked of them, attorney Richard Nicholson said.

The parents are nervous because of the media focus on them, he said, adding that the mother has a heart condition.

Misha’s family ‘friendly and welcoming’

Caryl said that when he showed up at Misha’s home, he took the family by surprise but managed to spend some time with him.

“I wasn’t his teacher. If I had been his teacher, I would have made sure he never did anything like this,” Allakhverdov said, according to Caryl’s report.

“A thirty-nine-year-old man of Armenian-Ukrainian descent, Allakhverdov is of medium height and has a thin, reddish-blond beard,” Caryl wrote. “When I arrived he was wearing a green and white short-sleeve football jersey and pajama pants. Along with his parents, his American girlfriend was there, and we sat together in a tiny living room that abuts the family kitchen.”

He added, “In many ways, Allakhverdov’s parents seem typical former-Soviet émigrés who had embraced middle class life in the United States. His father is an Armenian Christian and his mother is an ethnic Ukrainian.”

In the article, Allakhverdov’s father is quoted as saying, “We love this country. We never expected anything like this to happen to us.”

Ruslan Tsarni, Tamerlan’s uncle, told CNN last week that a friend of his nephew “just took his brain. He just brainwashed him completely.”

After The Associated Press said members of Tsarnaev’s family identified the friend as Misha, Tsarnaev’s former brother-in-law told CNN that Tsarnaev had a friend by that name. Elmirza Khozhgov said the friend apparently “had influence on Tamerlan.” But Khozhgov said he did not see Misha try to radicalize Tsarnaev.

Death-penalty expert to defend bomb suspect

Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, died after a shootout with police. His younger brother, Dzhokhar, 19, sustained gunshot wounds and is being held at a prison medical facility west of Boston. He has been charged with using and conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction resulting in death, as well as one count of malicious destruction of property by means of an explosive device resulting in death.

On Monday, a federal judge appointed prominent defense lawyer Judy Clarke to represent the wounded suspect, who could be sentenced to death if convicted.

Legal colleagues consider Clarke to be the nation’s foremost expert on defending federal capital cases. She has represented numerous high-profile clients facing Death Row, including Ted Kaczynski, the Unabomber; Eric Rudolph, who admitted to the 1996 Atlanta Olympic bombing and other attacks; and Jared Lee Loughner, who pleaded guilty to killing six people and wounding 13, including then-U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, in a Tucson, Arizona, shooting spree. All of them are serving life in prison.

FBI enters suspect’s widow’s family home

Investigators moved forward on another front in Rhode Island, searching the family home of Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s widow, Katherine Russell, for about 90 minutes on Monday.

Russell and her toddler daughter — Tamerlan’s child — have been staying at the North Kingstown home with her parents. Her attorneys were present during the search.

Agents left the home with items that included a black case and a clear plastic bag identified as DNA samples.

Female DNA was discovered on a fragment of the pressure cooker bombs used in the attack and investigators are trying to determine whose genetic material it was, law enforcement sources told CNN.

But one of the sources stressed the DNA could be from anyone who came in contact with the products used to make the bomb and it does not necessarily implicate anyone.

The second official warned that even if Russell’s DNA matches the female DNA on the pressure cooker, that does not necessarily prove she had anything to do with the preparation of the bomb. She — or any other female — might have come into contact with the cooker in the past.

Russell has said she was completely in the dark about her husband’s alleged plan. Her attorney said the news “came as an absolute shock.”

The two were married on June 21, 2010.

The double bombing near the finish line of the Boston Marathon killed three people and wounded more than 260. Twenty-three remained hospitalized on Monday. At least 14 people have needed amputations, according to medical officials.

Investigators searched a landfill in New Bedford, Massachusetts, in hopes of finding a laptop that could be relevant to the case. But the two-day effort ended without success, a U.S. law enforcement official told CNN Monday.

The FBI was following leads from Dzhokhar and others that his laptop was thrown in a dumpster and then picked up for disposal at a landfill.

The laptop might not be crucial to the investigation, the official added.

The suspects allegedly used low-grade explosives inside pressure cookers.

Investigators so far have found no evidence that the Tsarnaev brothers tested such bombs in the United States, the U.S. law enforcement official told CNN Monday.

If Tamerlan received training in making bombs, it may have come during his trip to Russia, the official said.

Investigators are looking into whether Tsarnaev was influenced toward radicalization during a six-month visit in 2012 to Dagestan, a region known to include radical jihadists who have battled the Russian government.

Why did Tamerlan go to Russia?

Russian special forces killed two members of a jihadist group in an early morning raid this weekend in the semiautonomous republic, two Russian police sources told CNN on Monday.

Authorities have not said whether the raid was linked to the Boston bombing.

But one of those killed was an associate of Abu Dujan, the slain leader of a militant Islamist organization that produced at least one video that Tamerlan apparently posted and later removed from a social media account, according to an analysis by CNN and the SITE Intelligence Group.

‘Jihad’ discussed in wiretapped phone call

Russian authorities intercepted a phone call in early 2011 from one of the Tsarnaev brothers in the United States to their mother in Dagestan, an official with knowledge of the investigation told CNN over the weekend.

The wiretapped communication discussed jihad, but the conversation was vague, two U.S. officials said. It’s unclear why the Russians were eavesdropping on the mother or for how long.

CNN has previously reported that the FBI conducted an investigation — including an interview with Tamerlan Tsarnaev — after Russia expressed concerns in 2011.

The Russians also raised questions about Tsarnaev’s mother, Zubeidat Tsarnaev, according to several sources. Her name was subsequently added to a terrorism database along with her son’s, an intelligence official said last week.

The FBI said at the time that it found nothing to justify further investigation and that Russia did not respond to U.S. requests for more information. The case was closed after several months.

One of the officials declined to say whether the information from the wiretapped phone call would have made a difference in uncovering plans for a future attack on the U.S.

However, CNN contributor Tom Fuentes said the FBI would have found that information helpful after Russian officials asked the agency to look at Tamerlan Tsarnaev for signs of a possible shift toward increasing Islamic extremism.

Mother vows to travel to U.S. if she can see her son

On Monday, Zubeidat Tsarnaev told CNN’s Nick Paton Walsh that she plans to come to the United States if she can see her son, despite pending shoplifting charges against her in Massachusetts.

Suspects’ mother describes her last conversation with her sons

Dzhokhar is at Federal Medical Center Devens. Authorities moved him there last week from Boston’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

He had what appeared to be gunshot wounds to his head, neck, legs and hand when he was captured on April 19 after a nearly 24-hour manhunt, according to the criminal complaint accusing him in the marathon blasts.

He is able to speak and has been interacting with staff, a prison spokesman said.

He has, however, apparently been less talkative since authorities read him his Miranda rights three days after his capture.

But the information gained from two sessions of questioning has produced good leads, a U.S. law enforcement official said.

(CNN) — Less than two weeks after he partied with classmates in a college dorm, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev now lives in drastically different surroundings.

suspect-bostonThe 19-year-old Boston Marathon bombing suspect is locked inside a 10-by-10-foot cell with a steel door, a slot for food and an observation window, a prison spokesman said Sunday.

Tsarnaev is able to speak and has been interacting with staff at the Federal Medical Center Devens, spokesman John Colautti said.

Medical professionals at the prison medical facility, which currently houses 1,044 inmates, are making regular rounds to check on Tsarnaev, Colautti said, and Tsarnaev has spoken with staff there about managing his health.

The spokesman said he could not comment on whether Tsarnaev was speaking with investigators.

He referred questions on Tsarnaev’s medical condition to the FBI, saying the facility does not assign medical condition rankings like civilian hospitals.

Tsarnaev is in an area of the facility where there’s extra security, he said.

On Friday, authorities said Tsarnaev had been transferred from Boston’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center to the prison facility, which is about 40 miles west of the city.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has been charged with using a weapon of mass destruction for his alleged role in the April 15 bombings that killed three people and injured more than 260 near the marathon’s finish line.

Tsarnaev was captured April 19 after a nearly 24-hour manhunt. His brother, Tamerlan, died after a gun battle with police.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev had what appeared to be gunshot wounds to his head, neck, legs and hand when he was captured, according to the criminal complaint accusing him in the marathon blasts.

Tsarnaev has been less talkative since authorities read him his Miranda rights three days after his capture.

But the information the teenager gave investigators in two sessions of questioning has produced good leads, a U.S. law enforcement official said.

FBI: Search of dump tied to suspect ends

Since the pair of blasts turned celebratory cheers into screams of horror at the Boston Marathon’s finish line, investigators have kept working — interviewing people and searching for evidence, even when it meant sifting through trash — to find out why.

One of the most recent focuses of the probe was a landfill in New Bedford, Massachusetts, adjacent to the town where Tsarnaev attended school at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth.

Authorities finished combing the dump for clues that may shed light on the bloody attack on Friday, said FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller, who wouldn’t say whether they found anything.

A law enforcement official with knowledge of the investigation had said investigators were looking for Tsarnaev’s laptop computer.

Tsarnaev led authorities to look there, the source said, and others who may have knowledge of the computer’s whereabouts or may have played a role in disposing of it also provided leads that prompted the search.

Eimiller, the FBI spokeswoman, said the investigation remains open, with interviews and the search for evidence continuing.

Officials: 2011 wiretap reveals talk of jihad

In the past few days, Russian authorities turned over an intercepted conversation from 2011 between one of the Tsarnaev brothers in the United States and their mother in Dagestan, Russia, according to an official with knowledge of the investigation.

The wiretapped communication discussed jihad, but the conversation was vague, according to two U.S. officials. It’s unclear why the Russians were eavesdropping on the mother or for how long.

One of the officials declined to say whether that wiretap information could have made a difference in ultimately uncovering a future attack on the United States.

Tom Fuentes, a CNN contributor and former FBI assistant director, said the FBI would have found that information helpful when the Russians asked U.S. investigators to look into Tamerlan Tsarnaev for a possible shift toward increasing Islamic extremism in 2011.

Family in Russia

The brothers’ mother, Zubeidat Tsarnaev, said Friday that she and her husband had left their home in Dagestan for another part of Russia.

Their father, Anzor Tsarnaev, had said he’d planned to travel to the United States, but that trip has been delayed indefinitely for health reasons.

The mother has said she will not return to the United States, where she is wanted on felony charges of shoplifting and destruction of property.

The family lived in Massachusetts before Zubeidat Tsarnaev jumped bail after her arrest on the charges in 2012. The parents moved to Dagestan, a semiautonomous republic in southern Russia that year.

Zubeidat Tsarnaev has denied the reality of the bombing. She believes it was fake. She said she has seen a video pushing the wild idea, and that there was no blood, that paint was used instead.

Botched hijacking thwarts plans to head to New York

Three days after the marathon attack, and hours after authorities released images of the two suspects, they spontaneously decided to go to New York’s Times Square to blow up their six remaining explosives, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev told investigators.

But a botched carjacking spoiled the impromptu road trip, said Tsarnaev, whose account was outlined by New York’s police commissioner.

Before forcing their way into a vehicle the night of April 18, the brothers fatally shot a campus police officer at MIT, police said.

The vehicle they subsequently hijacked, a Mercedes sport utility vehicle, ran low on fuel, and they stopped at a service station, where the vehicle’s owner escaped.

Shortly thereafter, police picked up the trail of the SUV and pursued it. Authorities say the men threw bombs out the vehicle’s window at them. The gun battle and Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s death followed.

(CNN) — Russia intercepted a communication between the mother of the accused Boston Marathon bombers and someone who may have been one of her sons “discussing jihad” in 2011, according to a U.S. official with knowledge of the investigation.

This source described the conversation as vague.

The Russians turned over the intercept to the FBI in the last few days, the official said.

This source was not aware of a reason for the delay and did not offer an opinion about whether it would have given the FBI enough reason to justify a closer look at Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the oldest of the two brothers.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder was asked abut the report while attending the White House Correspondents Dinner Saturday.

“That’s an ongoing matter,” Holder said. “I can’t really comment on that.”

CNN has previously reported that the FBI has said that it conducted an investigation — including an interview with Tamerlan Tsarnaev after Russia expressed concerns in 2011.

The FBI said at the time if found nothing to justify pursuing the matter further and that Russia did not respond to US requests for additional information.

The Russians also raised questions about Tsarnaev’s mother, Zubeidat Tsarnaev, when they approached the U.S. about concerns regarding Tamerlan Tsarnaev, according to several sources.  The mother’s name was subsequently added to the TIDE (Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment) database at at the same time as her son’s, an intelligence official said Thursday.  TIDE is a collection of more than half million names of suspected terrorists that is maintained by the National Counterterrorism Center.

The FBI did interview the mother in 2011 as part of the investigation into her son. The case was closed after several months.

Attorney General Holder also responded to criticism that the surviving suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was read his Miranda rights not to be questions without a lawyer.

“The decision to Mirandize him was one that the magistrate made and that was totally consistent with the laws that we have,” Holder said. “We have a two-day period to question him under the public safety exception. So I think everything was done appropriately and we got good leads.”

Twelve days after a pair of blasts turned celebratory cheers into screams of horror at the Boston Marathon’s finish line, investigators continued working — interviewing people and searching for evidence, even when it meant sifting through trash — to find out why.

One of the latest focuses of the probe has been a landfill in New Bedford, Massachusetts, a city adjacent to the town where the surviving bombing suspect, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, attended school at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth.

Authorities have finished combing the dump for clues that may shed light on the bloody attack, said FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller, who wouldn’t say whether they turned up anything.

That includes any luck in locating Tsarnaev’s laptop computer, which a law enforcement official with knowledge of the investigation had said investigators were looking for.

Tsarnaev led authorities to look there, the source said, and others who may have knowledge of the computer’s whereabouts or may have played a role in disposing it also provided leads that prompted the search.

The boat — located in the backyard of a Watertown, Massachusetts, home — where Tsarnaev was captured has been taken to an undisclosed location, to be thoroughly examined, according to the FBI.

Eimiller, the FBI spokeswoman, said the investigation overall remains open, with interviews continuing as well as the search for evidence.

The 19-year-old suspect himself spent Saturday at the Federal Medical Center in Fort Devens, the federal inmate medical center to which he was transferred from Boston’s Beth Israel Deaconness Medical Center early Friday morning.

He had what appeared to be gunshot wounds to his head, neck, legs and hand when he was captured April 19 after a nearly 24-hour manhunt, according to the criminal complaint accusing him in the marathon blasts. His 26-year-old brother Tamerlan died after a gunfight hours earlier.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has been less talkative since authorities read him his Miranda rights before charging him with using a weapon of mass destruction, which happened three days after his capture.

But the information the teenager gave investigators in two sessions of questioning spanning those three days has produced good leads, a U.S. law enforcement official said.

The brothers’ mother said Friday that she and her husband had left their home in Dagestan for another part of Russia.

Their father, Anzor Tsarnaev, had said he’d planned to travel to the United States. But that trip has been delayed indefinitely for health reasons.

The mother will not be flying to the United States, where she is wanted on felony charges of shoplifting and destruction of property.

The family lived in Massachusetts before Zubeidat Tsarnaev jumped bail after her arrest on the charges in 2012. The parents moved to Dagestan, a semiautonomous republic in southern Russia that year.

Russian authorities twice raised concerns in 2011 to U.S. authorities about the mother and her older son, sources said.

U.S. authorities added both their names to the Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment, or TIDE, database, which includes half a million names.

Zubeidat Tsarnaev has denied the reality of the bombing. She believes it was fake. She said she has seen a video pushing the wild idea, and that there was no blood, that paint was used instead.

While insisting Russian and U.S. authorities often work together, Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that he wished U.S. authorities could have done more to prevent the Boston attack.

But he also lashed out against those in the West who have slammed Russia for human rights abuses in its actions toward Chechnya, the Tsarnaevs’ original war-torn homeland.

Botched hijacking thwarts plans to head to NYC

Three days after the Marathon attack, and hours after authorities released images of the two suspects, they spontaneously decided to go to New York’s Times Square to blow up their six remaining explosives, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev told investigators.

But a botched carjacking spoiled the impromptu road trip, said Tsarnaev, whose account was outlined by New York’s police commissioner.

Before forcing their way into a vehicle the night of April 18, the brothers shot dead a campus police officer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, police said.

The vehicle they subsequently hijacked, a Mercedes SUV, ran low on fuel, and they stopped at a service station, where the vehicle’s owner escaped. Shortly thereafter, police picked up the trail of the SUV and pursued it. Authorities say the men threw bombs out the vehicle’s window at them. The gun battle and Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s death followed.

(CNN) — The parents of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects have left their home in Dagestan for another part of Russia, the suspects’ mother Zubeidat Tsarnaev told CNN Friday.

She said the suspects’ father, Anzor Tsarnaev, is delaying his trip to the United States indefinitely.

suspect-bostonMeanwhile in Boston, their son Dzhokhar, the surviving bombing suspect, was transported to a federal detention center hospital, a federal law enforcement official said Friday.

His brother and alleged co-conspirator Tamerlan was killed in a gun battle with police last week.

“Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has been transported from the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and is now confined at the Bureau of Prisons facility FMC Devens at Ft. Devens, Massachusetts,” said Drew Wade, spokesman for the U.S. Marshals.

Their father, Anzor, was to fly to the United States as soon as Friday to cooperate in the investigation into the attacks. But his wife called an ambulance for him Thursday.

She told CNN’s Nick Paton Walsh that her husband was delaying the trip for health reasons. She wouldn’t elaborate.

Anzor Tsarnaev agreed to fly to the United States after FBI agents and Russian officials spoke with them for hours this week at the family’s home.

Russian authorities have previously expressed suspicions that his wife, Zubeirdat Tsarnaev, and their elder son, Tamerlan, the deceased suspect in the attacks, were following radical ideologies.

The mother will not be flying to the United States, where she is wanted on felony charges of shoplifting and destruction of property.

Spontaneous plan to attack New York City

New York City was the next target for the Boston Marathon bombing suspects.

It was a spontaneous idea, wounded suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, told investigators from his hospital bed.

He and his older brother Tamerlan, who died at age 26 while allegedly fleeing police last week, still had half a dozen bombs left.

But a botched carjacking spoiled the impromptu road trip to Times Square, Tsarnaev said.

“We don’t know that we would have been able to stop the terrorists had they arrived here from Boston,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg said. “We’re just thankful that we didn’t have to find out that answer.”

Before forcing their way into the vehicle the night of April 18, the brothers shot dead a campus police officer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, police said.

The Mercedes SUV ran low on fuel, and when they pulled in to a service station, the vehicle’s owner escaped.

Shortly thereafter, police were on their trail, and authorities say the men were throwing the bombs out the vehicle’s window at them.

A previous trip

There is no evidence that New York City is a target of a terror attack stemming from the Boston bombings, New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said.

Still, he said authorities are investigating two visits that the surviving suspect made to New York City last year.

In one of those trips, in April 2012, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is photographed in Times Square. Another person pictured in that photo has been in federal custody for seven days, on alleged visa violations.

The man, whom a federal law enforcement source said Dzhokhar Tsarnaev shared a cell phone with, was originally detained April 19 with another person when federal agents swarmed a residence thinking the younger suspect might be inside, a federal law enforcement source said.

Neither of the two detained men — both foreign exchange students from Kazakhstan at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth, where Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was also enrolled — has been linked to the Boston Marathon attack.

Yet investigators hope they can better piece together the suspects’ movements before and after the marathon.

“These guys are not being cut loose immediately, and there’s a reason why,” the federal law enforcement source said.

Sources: Russia raised concerns about mother, son

The probe into the Boston attacks has also been focused some 5,500 miles away in the semiautonomous Russian republic of Dagestan, where the suspects’ parents live.

Their mother, Zubeidat Tsarnaev, told CNN’s Nick Paton Walsh on Thursday that she didn’t want to accept the reality of the bombing, saying it was fake.

She has seen a video pushing the wild idea, she said, adding that there was no blood and that paint was used instead.

She broke down when she spoke of the victims.

“I really feel sorry for all of them. Really feel sorry for all of them,” she said, her voice cracking even as she remained resolute that her sons were not involved.

The family lived in Massachusetts before Zubeidat Tsarnaev jumped bail after her arrest on shoplifting and property damage charges in 2012. The parents moved the same year to Dagestan.

The Tsarnaevs are originally from the embattled Russian republic of Chechnya but fled from the brutal wars there in the 1990s.

The two brothers were born in Kyrgyzstan and moved at different times to the United States.

Zubeidat Tsarnaev and her older son were both added by U.S. authorities to the Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment, or TIDE, database in 2011 — a collection of more than a half million names maintained by the National Counterterrorism Center, an intelligence official said.

Russian authorities had raised concerns to U.S. authorities about her and her son, sources told CNN. But a U.S. official said that the Russian’s case at the time was “thin.”

Zubeidat Tsarnaev said the FBI had visited her family “several times” in 2011 with questions about her older son’s “Islamic interests.”

Putin: ‘We were right’

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday urged closer cooperation between other countries’ security services in the wake of the Boston attack.

“If we combine our efforts, we will not suffer blows like that,” he said during a live televised call-in session in Moscow on Thursday.

In his first on-camera comments since the bombing, Putin also lashed out against those in the West who have slammed Russia for human rights abuses in its actions toward Chechnya.

“Russia is among the first victims, and I hate it when our Western partners call our terrorists — who committed some heinous crimes in Russia — when they call them freedom fighters and never call them terrorists.

They supported them,” said Putin, accusing unnamed people or groups of providing Russia’s foes with political, financial and “media” support.

U.S. authorities have come under fire at home, with lawmakers asking if the FBI and CIA failed to share information. Sources told CNN that Russia had separately asked the FBI and the CIA to look into Tamerlan Tsarnaev in 2011.

Sources: Suspect was unarmed in boat

More details, meanwhile, continue to emerge about the April 15 bombings as well as authorities’ engagement days later with the two suspects.

A law enforcement official told CNN Thursday that at least one of the two bombs, the second to explode, was detonated by remote control.

The twin blasts killed three people and injured more than 260 others, 14 of whom had limbs amputated.

As of Thursday evening, 34 of those wounded were still being treated at Boston hospitals, including one patient in critical condition.

The manhunt for those responsible ended last Friday, when Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was captured following a tense standoff after he’d hidden in a boat in the yard of a home in the Boston suburb of Watertown, Massachusetts.

The teenager was unarmed when he was wounded in a barrage of gunfire, and there was no firearm found in the boat, said several sources from difference agencies familiar with the investigation.

(CNN) — The surviving suspect in the Boston bombings has told investigators that he and his brother planned to bomb Times Square, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Thursday.

“Last night we were informed by the FBI that the surviving attacker revealed that New York City was next on their list of targets,” Bloomberg said.

The two came up with the plan spontaneously after the Boston bombing, as the talked in a car they hijacked, New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said.

boston-suspects-4Dzhokhar Tsarnaev initially told investigators that he and his brother had talked about going to New York to “party,” but after further questioning he revealed that they planned to use remaining explosives there, Kelly announced.

Sources: No gun found in boat

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev apparently was unarmed when he was wounded in a barrage of gunfire that ended with his capture after a tense standoff, sources told CNN Thursday.

No firearm was found in the boat where he was hiding, in the yard of a home in the Boston suburb of Watertown, Massachusetts, said several sources familiar with the investigation, from different agencies.

Earlier, Tsarnaev and his older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, had allegedly shot and killed a Massachusetts Institute of Technology campus police officer sitting in a patrol car.

Shortly afterward, the two engaged in a shootout with police. Tamerlan, 26, died after the shootout.

It’s unclear why Dzhokhar, 19, may have hidden without any weapons.

Authorities have previously said in a criminal complaint that there was a standoff involving gunfire before Dzhokhar’s capture.

Watertown Police Chief Edward Deveau told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on Saturday that it was his understanding that the suspect fired from the boat.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev remains in fair condition at a Boston hospital, where he has communicated with authorities.

Authorities in the Russian region of Dagestan interviewed the suspects’ parents in the search for clues and insight into what may have led the brothers to turn the Boston Marathon finish line into a gruesome scene of terror.

Suspects’ father heads to U.S.; mother insists bombing fake

Anzor Tsarnaev, the suspects’ father, is expected to come to the United States to assist investigators. He told reporters he may leave as early as Thursday.

The suspects’ mother, speaking to CNN’s Nick Paton Walsh, didn’t want to accept the reality of the bombing, saying it was fake.

“That’s what I want to know, because everybody’s talking about it — that this is a show, that’s what I want to know. That’s what I want to understand,” said Zubeidat Tsarnaev.

She has seen a video pushing the wild idea, she said, adding that there was no blood — and that paint was used instead.

But her disbelief broke down when she spoke of the victims.

“I really feel sorry for all of them. Really feel sorry for all of them,” she said, her voice cracking. But she remained resolute that her sons, Dzhokhar, 19, and Tamerlan, 26 were not involved.

Dzhokhar faces terrorism and murder charges.

His mother is not coming to the United States.

She’s wanted on 2012 felony charges of shoplifting and property damage in Massachusetts, according to court officials.

The family lived there before she jumped bail; the parents moved the same year to Dagestan, a semiautonomous region of Russia, officials said.

Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s body remains unclaimed. Relatives in the United States have publicly said they are ashamed of the two young men.

Several Boston-area imams have said they would feel uncomfortable presiding over Tamerlan’s funeral.

Detonated by remote

The brothers used a remote control device similar to those used to guide toy cars to detonate the two bombs in Boston, said Rep.

Dutch Ruppersberger, a Maryland Democrat and member of the House Select Committee on Intelligence.

A law enforcement official told CNN Thursday that at least one of the two bombs — the second to explode — was detonated by remote control.

While video taken near the scene of the explosions shows Dzhokhar Tsarnaev talking on a cell phone, it is not known whether he used it to trigger a device, a law enforcement official said.

Tsarnaev has indicated that his older brother planned the attack and described him and his brother as self-radicalized jihadists, according to a U.S. government source.

He has denied any direct influence from terror organizations such as al Qaeda.

The teenager cited the U.S. wars in Afghanistan and Iraq as motivating factors behind the attack, a U.S. government official said.

He has been charged with using and conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction resulting in death and one count of malicious destruction of property by means of an explosive device resulting in death.

Of the more than 260 people who were hurt in the marathon bombings, 33 were still hospitalized Wednesday night, according to a CNN tally. One person was in critical condition at Boston Medical Center.

According to a source familiar with the investigation, authorities are looking into the possibility that Tamerlan Tsarnaev helped finance the bomb plot through drug sales.

Putin: ‘We were right’

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday urged closer cooperation between other countries’ security services after the Boston Marathon bombings.

“If we combine our efforts, we will not suffer blows like that,” he said during a live televised call-in session in Moscow on Thursday.

The Tsarnaevs are originally from the embattled Russian republic of Chechnya but fled from the brutal wars there in the 1990s.

The two brothers were born in Kyrgyzstan and moved at different times to the United States.

In his first on-camera comments since the bombing, Putin also lashed out against those in the West who have slammed Russia for human rights abuses in its actions toward Chechnya.

“Russia is a victim of international terrorism itself. Russia is among the first victims, and I hate it when our Western partners call our terrorists — who committed some heinous crimes in Russia — when they call them freedom fighters and never call them terrorists. They supported them. They provided media support for them, financial support for them, political support — sometimes directly, sometimes indirectly. But they always supported their actions in Russia.

“And we always told our partners, instead of general declarations you should have closer cooperation between our security services. And now these two criminals confirmed that we were right. “

He added, “Of course, we can speculate forever on the tragedy of the Chechen people when they were deported by the Stalin regime. But the Chechens were not the only victims.”

Lawmaker: Obama administration gets ‘ultimate blame’

Dagestan has become a focus for investigators, especially given that Tamerlan Tsarnaev went there during a six-month trip to Russia last year.

Officials have been looking into what he may have done there. The young man is believed to have posted videos online tied to militant jihadists in the region.

On two occasions before that — in March and late September 2011 — Russian authorities asked U.S authorities to investigate Tamerlan Tsarnaev.

Zubeidat Tsarnaev said the FBI had visited her family “several times” in 2011 with questions about Tamerlan’s “Islamic interests.”

A senior U.S. official with direct knowledge of information from the Russians said that the case then “was extremely thin,” adding that Russia wanted Tamerlan Tsarnaev questioned to see if he and others had become “radicalized.”

Lawmakers are asking whether the FBI and CIA failed to share information.

Sources told CNN that Russia had separately asked the FBI and the CIA to look into Tsarnaev in 2011.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, a Republican who serves on several committees including Armed Services, said Thursday he believes “ultimate blame” for the attacks goes to the Obama administration.

“The FBI and the CIA are, they have great people but, you know, we’re going backwards in national security. Benghazi and Boston to me are examples of us going backward,” he said.

But a ranking Democrat on a House intelligence subcommittee said Thursday he does not see an intelligence-sharing failure.

“This information was put in a database, it was shared among different agencies, it was shared with a joint terrorism task force, and that’s exactly what should happen,” U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff, D-California, told CNN.

“Some are racing to say that the FBI dropped the ball or the agencies weren’t talking to each other, and that just doesn’t seem to be the case,” he added.

Schiff is a ranking member of the Subcommittee on Technical and Tactical Intelligence.

The Tsarnaevs and Misha

A friend named Misha, whom Tamerlan met in the United States, steered the older brother toward a more devout view of Islam, Tamerlan’s relatives have said.

His mother was impressed with the Armenian convert to Islam. He suggested that she cover her hair with a scarf, which she did.

“When Misha visited us … he just opened our eyes, you know … really wide about Islam. He was really, he’s devoted and he’s very good, very nice man,” Zubeidat Tsarnaev said.

Tamerlan’s uncle, Ruslan Tsarni, had a less favorable opinion.

“This person just took his brain,” he said. “He just brainwashed him completely.” Tamerlan, a former Golden Gloves boxer, left the ring and stopped listening to music under Misha’s influence.

tamerlanWASHINGTON, DC — Months after the FBI cleared Tamerlan Tsarnaev in its investigation of possible connections to jihadist causes, the Russians approached the CIA as well to look into him, CNN has learned.

But what was provided by the Russians in late September 2011 was “basically the same” information that had been given the previous March to the FBI, according to a government official.

The source said the communication was a “warning letter” sent to the CIA.

Tsarnaev, 26, suspected along with his younger brother of bombing the Boston Marathon early last week, died on Friday following a violent confrontation with police.

A law enforcement official said the CIA knew the FBI had done an assessment of the elder Tsarnaev, and the intelligence community seemed satisfied.

The CIA did recommend him for inclusion on a terrorism-related database and shared the information with “appropriate federal departments and agencies,” a U.S. intelligence official said.

The Russians provided information that included “two possible dates of birth, his name and a possible name variant as well,” that official said.

The FBI concluded its investigation in June 2011.

The amount of information the Russians provided is at the center of a critical look at whether the government missed signals of a man described as emerging jihadist who may have been further radicalized overseas.

“We just had a young person who went to Russia, Chechnya, who blew people up in Boston. So he didn’t stay where he went, but he learned something where he went and he came back with a willingness to kill people,” Secretary of State John Kerry observed on Tuesday.

The FBI investigated Tsarnaev based on the initial information from the Russians before concluding he was not a threat.

A senior U.S. official with direct knowledge of the information says “the issue with Russia is that the initial information was extremely thin.”

The Russians believed he was “becoming radicalized.”

“There were no details, no examples, no threads to pull,” the source said. “Because of the rather light nature of the information we did go back to them and asked can you tell us more. We never heard back.”

“They did not give a case report back when the United States inquired,” said another source with knowledge of the investigation.

Officials have said that the FBI investigation went as far as it could based on the vague information.

“I think we did everything within our legal authority to vet this individual. When all was said and done there was nothing to link him to terrorism,” a law enforcement official said.

What pinged the Russian interest?

The United States still doesn’t know everything. But the senior U.S. official says the American intelligence community, including the FBI, is well aware the Russian security service monitors websites and online postings of particular militant websites.

“We know the Russians had to see something to make these claims,” said the senior U.S. official.

The Russians have not told the United States whether they did any surveillance on Tamerlan while he was in Russia for six months in 2012, but the law enforcement official would not doubt the Russians kept tabs on Tsarneav.

If they did, according to the law enforcement official, the Russians never came back to the FBI and said so and didn’t provide any additional incriminating information about him.

If the Russians held back information, it wouldn’t be surprising, said a source familiar with the intelligence process and the flow of information.

The Russians are generally “more formal, more irregular” in providing this kind of information to us.

“‘There’s still a lot of suspicion” between U.S. and Russian intelligence operatives, the source said. “I am not sure they would share their source information with us.”

The FBI is under very strict legal guidelines and standards when investigating Americans or persons on American soil. The standards are carefully scrutinized.

mit-officerCAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Bagpipes wailed, law enforcement badges were striped in black, and a squadron of state police helicopters flew by as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and hundreds of officers from around the country paid their respects Wednesday to Sean Collier, one of their own.

At an outdoor memorial service for the 27-year-old campus police officer, Vice President Joe Biden called the brothers accused of killing Collier and detonating the Boston Marathon blasts “two twisted, perverted, cowardly, knock-off jihadis.”

By turns somber and defiant, Biden declared that terrorists committed to a “doctrine of hate and oppression” had seen again that the American people “refuse to yield to fear,” and he hailed the “incredible heroism” and “resilience” of Boston after the bombings.

Wednesday was a day of remembrance and recovery in the greater Boston area. Boylston Street, where a pair of explosions ripped through the finish-line crowd on April 15, was reopened to vehicles and pedestrians.

Mayor Thomas M. Menino declared that parking along the struggling boulevard and its Back Bay neighborhood would be free through Sunday to entice shoppers and diners to come back and spend.

Fresh concrete poured into the spot where one of the blasts shattered the streetscape dried in the weak sunshine.

A Starbucks store allowed customers to retrieve purses, school bags and cellphones left when patrons fled in panic.

The vice president’s wife, Jill Biden, stopped by after Collier’s ceremony to leave flowers and add a pair of running shoes to the growing number hanging on police barricades.

And the hospitals that treated those injured by the blasts — which went off about 10 seconds apart — announced some good news: 35 men, women and children remained in their care by afternoon, down from 138 at the peak of the carnage and dropping daily.

Only one was believed to be in critical condition Wednesday, a patient at Boston Medical Center.

Collier was killed a week ago by the suspected perpetrators of the bombing attacks, 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and 26-year-old Tamerlan Tsarnaev.

Tamerlan was killed during the subsequent manhunt. His brother remained in fair condition Wednesday at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, according to the FBI.

The blasts killed three people and wounded more than 260 others.

“We have suffered,” Biden said at Wednesday’s memorial, his voice booming across Briggs Field in the heart of the urban campus. “We are grieving. But we are not bending. We will not hunker down. We will not be intimidated.

“On every frontier terrorism as a weapon is losing,” he added.

“What galls them the most is that America does remain that shining city on the hill. We’re a symbol of the hopes and the dreams, of the very aspirations of people all around the world. … Our very existence makes a lie of the perverted ideology.”

The service drew thousands to the MIT athletic field, including hundreds of law enforcement personnel from across the country.

There were speeches from university and elected officials and moments of somber silence. Bagpipes swooped from mournful to patriotic, “Amazing Grace” to “You’re a Grand Old Flag.”

Backed by the MIT Symphony Orchestra, James Taylor sang the wistful “The Water is Wide.”

And then, with a university a cappella group, he crooned, “Shower the people you love with love,” a line from another of his hits — always topical, but especially on this day.

A giant U.S. flag, waving in the spring breeze, hung from the extended ladders of two Cambridge firetrucks.

The assembled flags of about 100 color guards represented jurisdictions in attendance, one from as far away as Ireland.

Biden told the mourners that no children should die before their parents — a tragedy he noted that he knew all too well, having lost his young daughter more than 40 years ago.

And he described the Boston community, united in pain and resolve, as being just like the one in which he grew up in Scranton, Pa.

“I’ve known the Colliers my whole life,” he said of the dead man’s family, “and today’s the first day I met them.”

Rob Rogers, Collier’s brother, said that his sibling would have loved all the trappings of the service, so passionate was he about law enforcement.

“He was born to be a police officer,” Rogers said, “and he lived out his dreams.”

MIT’s president, L. Rafael Reif, read notes that students had offered with memories of Collier, including one who said that out of uniform, the campus officer “could have passed for an MIT student,” so well did he blend in with the school’s “geeky style.”

The university board had voted unanimously Tuesday to make Collier an honorary member of the alumni association.

Because, Reif said, “he truly was one of us.”

-Los Angeles Times

(CNN) — Nine days after Boylston Street turned into a bloody scene of carnage, the area reopened to public foot traffic Wednesday.

It’s another sign Boston is recovering from the twin bombings that killed three and wounded hundreds more.

boston-memorialAlso Wednesday, mourners will gather to honor Massachusetts Institute of Technology Officer Sean Collier, who authorities say was fatally shot by the suspected bombers last week.

The memorial service will take place on the MIT campus.

And as more details slowly emerge from the bedridden suspect, U.S. officials were traveling to Dagestan to interview the parents of the suspected bombers.

Hunting for clues abroad

A delegation from the U.S. Embassy in Moscow left for Dagestan on Tuesday as part of the investigation into the Boston Marathon bombings, an embassy official told CNN’s Phil Black on Wednesday.

Officials will try to interview the parents of suspects Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the official said.

The Russian government is cooperating with the FBI in its investigation, the official added.

The Tsarnaev family is from the Russian republic of Chechnya and fled the brutal wars there in the 1990s.

The two brothers were born in Kyrgyzstan; Dzhokhar became a U.S. citizen in 2012, and brother was a legal U.S. resident. Their parents live in Dagestan.

Meanwhile, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev — the surviving suspect — has cited the U.S. wars in Afghanistan and Iraq as motivating factors behind last week’s attack, a U.S. government official said Tuesday.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has been able to communicate with investigators in a limited fashion from his hospital bed and told them that neither he nor his brother Tamerlan, had any contact with terrorist groups overseas.

But the official cautioned that the interviews were preliminary, and that Tsarnaev’s account needs to be checked out.

The 19-year-old has told investigators the brothers were self-radicalized via the Internet.

Investigators also are looking into whether the online English-language magazine Inspire, put out by Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, was used for instruction on how to make the bombs, but another source cautioned that other outlets could have provided that information.

New details on officer’s slaying

Collier was killed Thursday night, near the beginning of a wild 24 hours that culminated in Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s death and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s capture in the backyard of a home in the suburb of Watertown, a Boston suburb.

Collier didn’t even have time to activate his emergency alert before being shot four or five times in the chest and head as he sat in his patrol car on the MIT campus, according to a source with direct knowledge of the investigation.

It’s not clear why the brothers allegedly ambushed the officer, the source said.

Suspect shopped at fireworks store

More than two months before the marathon bombings, Tamerlan Tsarnaev bought two reloadable mortar style fireworks from a New Hampshire store.

On February 6, Tsarnaev had one question for a store assistant at Phantom Fireworks in Seabrook, New Hampshire: “What’s the biggest and loudest thing you have?”

After that, store Vice President William Weimer said, Tsarnaev shelled out $200 cash for two “lock and load kits.”

Weimer said such behavior is very common in the store. He said the store notified the FBI after discovering that the marathon bombing suspect had bought explosives there.

Law enforcement officials told CNN earlier Tuesday that the number of fireworks bought at the store was not enough to set off explosions the size of those at the Boston Marathon.

“My assumption is they bought this, experimented with it and decided against it and moved on and found another source,” Weimer said.

Suspects’ family “devastated” by bombings

In a statement issued through their lawyers Tuesday, the suspects’ sisters — Ailina and Bella Tsarnaev — said they were saddened “to see so many innocent people hurt after such a callous act.”

“As a family, we are absolutely devastated by the sense of loss and sorrow this has caused,” they said. “We don’t have any answers but we look forward to a thorough investigation and hope to learn more.”

And Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s wife, Katherine Russell, issued a statement through her attorney’s office saying she is “doing everything she can to assist with the investigation” and said she and her family are shocked and distraught.

“The reports of involvement by her husband and brother-in-law came as an absolute shock to them all,” the statement said.

The suspects’ mother, Zubeidat Tsarnaev, said Tuesday that she believed her sons had been framed.

Speaking from her home in Dagestan — a Russian republic on the Caspian Sea — Tsarnaev said she thinks her older son died because he was a Muslim and charged that authorities silenced her younger son to prevent him from defending himself.

She said family members have arranged for Tamerlan Tsarnaev to be buried at a mosque in Cambridge, Massachusetts, this week.

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