Remember when Tamerlan’s mother, Zubeidat Tsarnaev, was interviewed on the major Russian TV channel NTV? There was absolutely no substance to the interview. She claimed rather rediculously that the entire thing was a setup and her boys were framed. She appeared comical at times.
What do we learn here? It shows the Russians are very good at counter intelligence. As a former CI officer I should know.
When analyzing broadcasts from nations like Russia it’s important to consider what the state typically allows from it’s media outlets. There are strict laws that forbid promoting terrorism. Allowing this woman to give this interview is in a sense State Sponsored. So the real question that no one is asking here is “Why did the Russian government allow this interview to occur?” Why did they allow this woman to publicize a terrorist act? This is not typical Russian behavior. Typically the families of suspected terrorists are bagged, tagged, and brought in for interrogation. If this was a typical situation we never would have heard from Mrs Tsarnaev. Her affiliation with a known terrorist makes her guilty until proven innocent.
This set off a series of leaked information from Russian security services. The Novaya Gazeta reported a “source” within Russian security services that claimed Russia had placed Tamerlan on a watch list for his repeated meetings with a known radical, Mahmud Mansur Nidal. If this is true, why wasn’t Tamerlan questioned?
Again, the Novaya Gazeta reported that Tsarnaev was under surveillance by Russian Security Services when a captured radical named William Plotnikov gave up Tamerlan’s name as an accomplice while under interrogation. I ask again, why wasn’t Tamerlan Tsarnaev questioned, detained, interrogated by the Russians? He went into Dagestan, Russia, then back to the U.S. and ,while apparently under surveillance, was allowed to depart the country unimpeded.
The probable answer is that the Russian government looked into Tsarnaev but never found anything suspicious. He was reportedly angered over the U.S. involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan. This shows his relative lack of interest in Chechen or Dagestani affairs. Why didn’t he ever voice displeasure with Russia’s treatment of the Chechens? It’s most probably due to the fact that he was radicalized in the U.S. and didn’t really care about what was going on back in a country he had little connection to anymore.
Russia saw an opportunity to throw it back in the face of the United States. We don’t support Russia in the Caucasus. When Putin asks for help combating terrorists in Chechnia and Dagestan the U.S. turns a cold shoulder. The U.S. wants more states to secede from Russia. This Russian media campaign is nothing more than a big slap in the face. It doesn’t explain where the Tsarnaev brothers were radicalized. It’s disinformation designed to weaken United States foreign policy.