Timeline for Suspected Boston Bombers – Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev as of May 2, 2013

Please note that no person is guilty until convicted in a court of law. The following information is based on press reports, so don't treat these as established facts, but rather as food for thought. My comments are in Italics.  This is not finite. Will try to adjust if I have time as new details get reported.

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1980s

  • 1980s – The Tsarnaevs family lived in Kyrgyzstan, where father Anzor worked in a prosecutor’s office, but then lost his job.
  • 1986: Tamerlan was born in Kalmykia on 10.21.86 and then the family from Kalmykia to Kyrgyzstan, where the Tsarnaevs’ other three children were born, including Dzhokhar.

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1993

  • The Tsarnaevs left Kyrgyzstan for Chechnya and spent a few brief months there. (Could have been in 1992).
    • (New York Times’ account has them stay in Chechnya and flee it before the full-scale Russian military invasion in 1999 to relocate to Dagestan, but I am not sure it was the case. More likely it was right before or in very beginning of 1st Chechen war that they fled to Kyrgyzstan and then relocated to Dagestan.)
  • 07.22.93. Dzhokhar was born in Kyrgyzstan. Named after Dudaev?
  • Tsarnaevs returned to Kyrgyzstan from Chechnya soon after beginning of 1st Chechen war, which started in late 1993. Conflicts with Dzhokhar’s birth in Kyrgyzstan.
    • Tamerlan’s schoolteacher in Kyrgyzstan, Natalya Kurochkina, said “I think he was somehow affected by what he had seen during the [first Chechen] war."

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2001

  • September 2001: The Tsarnaevs left Kyrgyzstan for Dagestan.

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2002

  • Anzor Tsarnaev arrived in the U.S. in 2002 with Dzhokhar.
    • By then, Anzor (father) already had his sister in Canada (Maret) and a brother (Ruslan) in the U.S. The presence of close relatives explains why they went to seek asylum in US rather than to Europe where most of Chechen refugees went.
    • Once an official in the prosecutor’s office in Kyrgyzstan, Anzor had been reduced to working as an unlicensed mechanic in the back lot of a rug store in Cambridge. Such a change in Anzor’s social status might have impacted both father and sons.

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2003

  • July 2003 Tamerlan, his mother Zubeidat and the rest of the family arrived in US to join Anzor and Dzhokhar.

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2006

  • Fall 2006. Tamerlan applied for admission to the University of Massachusetts Boston for Fall 2006, but got rejected. Contributed to disaffection. Ended up enrolling as a part-time accounting student at Bunker Hill Community College the same fall, took classes for only three semesters — fall 2006, spring 2007 and fall 2008. "He wasn't even close" to getting a degree, said a spokeswoman for the college. (Reuters, 04.23.13). Failure to either go to a good college or to complete education may have contributed to Tamerlan’s disaffection.

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2007

  • March 2007. The family granted legal permanent residence in the U.S.

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2009

  • Mr. Tsarnaev won the New England Golden Gloves championship in the 201-pound division, which qualified him for the national tournament in Salt Lake City in May.
  • June 2009. Case of domestic violence opened after a woman identified as his girlfriend accused Tamerlan of domestic abuse. A district court judge dismissed the case Feb. 8, 2010, for lack of prosecution.
  • A photo essay featuring Tamerlan and titled "Will Box For Passport" was uploaded by  Boston-area photojournalist Johannes Hirn. Titled "Will Box For Passport" the essay quoted Tamerlan as saying:"I don't have a single American friend. I don't understand them." The essay also quoted him as saying it was his ambition to box for the U.S. national team in Olympics. He also told Hirn that he was very religious and doesn't drink or smoke anymore. Note "no friends" comment. According to his uncle, plenty of people greeted Tamerlan as they once walked along Cambridge. However,  in Tamerlan's understanding, I suspect most people he got to meet only qualified to be acquaintances. In Chechen (and Russian) culture, friendship implies very strong, relative-like bonds). The interview also makes it clear that he was no member of any sleeper cell sent to US to stage terrorist attacks – sleepers keep low profile.
  • Drops out of Bunker Hill College. In addition to having dropped out of the community college he lost interest in boxing and music.
  • In 2009 Tamerlan changed and was spewing "this radical crap,” critical of Muslim immigrants' efforts to assimilate in the U.S, according to his uncle Ruslan Tsarni.

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2010

  • The Comment, the graduate student magazine of Boston, published a photo essay about Tamerlan, raining at a boxing gym. In that essay he said he had abstained from drinking and smoking: "God said no alcohol", and repeats his claim that he has no American friends. Clearly a pious Moslem as of 2010.
  • After capturing his second consecutive title as the Golden Gloves heavyweight champion of New England in 2010, Tamerlan was barred from the national Tournament of Champions because he was not a United States citizen. Clearly contributed to his alienation, given the hopes he had to compete for U.S. national team. He shared  these hopes when interviewed for the 2009 photo spread. Most likely the reason he gave up boxing.
  • Tamerlan married Katherine Russell, a former Suffolk University student from North Kingstown, R.I., and she  converted to Islam  and became the mother of his child.

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2011

  • January 2011. FBI received FSB’s request to look into Tamerlan. FSB told U.S. agency that he ''was a follower of radical Islam and “expressed fear that he could be a risk ''based on information that he was a follower of radical Islam and a strong believer, and that he had changed drastically since 2010 as he prepared to leave the United States for travel to the country's region to join unspecified underground groups.”
    • FBI  agents found no derogatory information on Tamerlan, concluding in June 2011 that they could not find any connections to extremists, and therefore closing the probe.
      • FBI had information that both Tamerlan and his mother were becoming radicalized. “The FBI thought it had more to do with internal Russian politics, and not a threat to the United States of America, Representative Jan Schakowsky, a Democrat from Illinois and member of the House Intelligence Committee, said.
      • The guide allowed FBI agents to have 90 days to keep a file open or close it. If there is no “derogatory information,” the file must be closed, and its very existence is not enough to subsequently prejudice the government against the individual.
      • Circa August 2011 the results of the FBI assessment were provided to the Russians. Shortly thereafter, the F.B.I. repeated its request to the Russians for more information. Apparently, the Russian side didn’t provide any new information on Tamerlan even thought it now  transpires that it possessed a wiretap of a 2011 phone conversation that he had with my mother – who was in Russia at that time. The two discussed jihad in general and possibility of Tamerlan going to Palestine. In a second call, Zubeidat Tsarnaeva spoke with a man in the Caucasus region of Russia who was under FBI investigation.
    • Sometime in September 2011 the Russian side sent the C.I.A. the same request for information on Tamerlan that Moscow had sent to FBI.
    • In October 2011 CIA cleared Tamerlan of any ties to violent extremism and told the Russian intelligence service that it had no suspicious information on the man, but asked the National Counterterrorism Center to put Tamerlan into the Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment, or TIDE. Zubeidat Tsarnaeva was also placed on this low-level list at the same time.
      • TIDE is a list that comprises over half a million names. Because of its huge size U.S. investigators do not routinely monitor everyone registered there.  TIDE is a data storehouse that feeds a series of government watch lists, including the FBI's main Terrorist Screening Database and the Transportation Security Administration's "no-fly" list.
      • As of December 2011, the TIDE database contained more than 740,000 people, most with multiple spellings and variations of their names, according to the counterterrorism center. But someone such as Tsarnaev (a citizen of Kyrgyzstan who legally resided in the United States) should be easier to pick out of that vast universe of names, because US citizens and legal permanent residents made up less than 2 percent of the listings.
      • The CIA's request came months after the FBI had closed a preliminary inquiry into Tamerlan.  The information conveyed to the watch list included a transliteration from Cyrillic of Mr. Tsarnaev’s name — “Tamerlan Tsarnayev” — two dates of birth (both incorrect, officials said), and one possible variant spelling of his name.
      • The U.S.counterterrorism bureaucracy had at least four contacts with Russian spy services about Tamerlan in the year before he took the trip to Russia in 2012.
  • Spring 2011. Dzhokhar graduated from Cambridge Rindge & Latin School. He was an all-star member of the the school’s wrestling team and won a $2,500 scholarship from the City of Cambridge to go to University of Massachusetts-Boston. So clearly he had no reasons to be disappointed with the way his career was developing.
  • June 2011. In June, the mother of the two brothers Zubeidat Tsarnaeva was accused of trying to steal seven designer dresses, valued at $1,600, from a Lord & Taylor department store in suburban Natick, MA. She skipped bail and, in October 2011, a court issued a warrant for her arrest.
  • September 2011. Three men killed in Waltham on 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. Tamerlan knew one of the victims well and once introduced as his "best friend,” but didn’t attend the funeral. Police never identified any suspects in the case, but the person or persons who committed the slayings had to be strong and highly skilled. Rather speculative linkage with no evidence reported so far to support.
  • Fall 2011. Dzhokhar transferred to the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth from the University of Massachusetts-Boston. While at Umass, according to classmates and friend of his sisters, Dzhokhar
    • Smoked pot  and earned spending money by selling marijuana, say three people who bought drugs from the 19-year-old.
    • Ate pork – so not a pious Moslem.
    • Failed many of his courses.
    • Drove a Honda Civic – could be the Honda  recovered by police in Watertown after the bombing.
    • Gushed about a trip to New York City, where he went to a hookah bar and "loved it.”
    • Postings in Dzhokhar’s alleged Vkontakte and Twitter accounts at the time indicate  he was utterly immersed in American pop culture, and concerned with the sorts of things that preoccupy many young men — money, career, girls (“miss u.s.a. is so sexy”) and good times (“I am the best beer pong player in Cambridge. I am the #truth”).
    • The messages attributed to his tweeter account, showed that he followed a few accounts that focused on his Islamic faith, with daily religious quotes or affirmations, but none that appear to promote the same radical Islamist views that investigators say motivated the bombings.
  • Tamerlan grew a beard and began wearing long white linen garments.
  • By end of 2011. The parents of the brothers divorced, ending their 25-year marriage and the father (Anzor) moved to Dagestan after falling ill. The mother had moved to Dagestan too, before an arrest warrant – that was issued for her by a US court  in October 2011 – could be exercised. In spite of divorce Zubeidat and Anzor spent at least some time together upon moving to Dagestan. Divorce of parents and their departure for Russia may have impacted Tamerlan’s and Dzhokhar’s moods. A 2007 NYPD report on threat of home-grown terrorism pointed out how divorce of parents enhanced a terrorist suspect's disaffection.
    • Not clear when, but upon his return to Dagestan Anzor Tsarnaev may have met a “well-known representative of rebels in Dagestan” at least six times. No evidence given to support this claim.
  • September 2011-November 2012. Tamerlan worked odd jobs and short-term positions, such as delivering pizzas. Tamerlan and his family had so little income that they even qualified for state assistance until 2012. The family’s income was supplemented by public assistance and food stamps from September 2011 to November 2012, state officials said Another reason to be disaffected.

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2012

  • April 2012: A message on Dzhokhar’s Twitter feed on Marathon referred to a Koran verse often used by radical Muslim clerics and propagandists. If true, indicates that Dzhokhar was becoming radicalized too.
  • 09.11.12: Dzhokhar became a naturalized American citizen.
  • 01.12.12. Tamerlan left U.S. for Russia.
    • FBI was initially unaware Tamerlan left Russia because his name was misspelled “when he got on the Aeroflot plane, so it never went into the system that he actually went to Russia,” according to Senator Lindsey Graham. DHS Janet Napolitano confirmed the misspelling during a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee Tuesday, but she said Homeland Security nonetheless was aware of his trip. As a result of ''redundancies'' in the system, the error was detected, the secretary said, and ''there was a ping on the outbound to customs.''
  • 01.12.12-07.17.12 Tamerlan made trip from U.S. to Russia. Tamerlan mostly stayed in the Dagestani capital of Makhachkala, but also travelled to Chechnya. It was in the aftermath of the visit that the most obvious alienation emerged. While in Dagestan, Tamerlan:
    • Worked to help his father build a store in Makhachkala. (Some U.S. official said Tamerlan had arrived in Russia months before his father returned to Dagestan and so did not have the continuous tight supervision described by his father, but I doubt that, given that most reports say the father moved to Dagestan in 2011).
    • Visited relatives in Chechnya.
    • Regularly attended a mosque and spent time learning to read the Quran, but he struggled to fit in during a trip to his ancestral homeland in southern Russia last year, his aunt said.
    • Enjoyed time, but never traveled to his mother’s native village in a mountainous region of Dagestan, which is a hotbed of an ultraconservative strain of Islam known as Wahabbism, his mother said. At the same time, Tamerlan’s aunt in Dagestan said:"He used to say, 'I want to go somewhere in the mountains, to be all by myself, to escape from everyday life, to be alone.”
    • Multiple armed skirmishes between Islamists and police happened in Dagestan during his stay. So he must have at least heard about the ongoing insurgency.
    • July 2012. Tamerlan applied to the Dagestani branch of Russia's Federal Migration Service for a Russian internal passport, saying that he had lost his Russian passport in Boston. He paid a fine of 300 rubles and submitted all the necessary documents, but didn’t wait to pick up the passport, leaving for U.S. before it was granted. It takes 2 weeks at least to get a passport, so he might have planned to stay throughout July.
    • His mother described at least one instance in which her son was stopped by the police along the beach in Makhachkala, where Mr. Tsarnaev’s parents live, and brought in for questioning.
    • Tamerlan’s father Anzor acknowledged that Tamerlan had occasionally prayed at a mosque on Kotrova Street in Makhachkala that is known as a gathering spot for some Salafists with extremist views.
    • Could have met met with suspected militants, according to a Russian intelligence report and Russian officials:
      • According to Novaya Gazeta, Tamerlan Tsarnaev had caught the eye of the FSB when this security service’s agents noticed amerlan Tsarnaev in April 2012 in the company of Mahmoud Mansour Nidal, 18, in Dagestan. According to Russia’s National Anti-Terrorism Committee, Nidal participated in a group of Islamist insurgents based in the forests around the village of Gubden. Two Russian government officials said Tamerlan met several times in early 2012 with Nidal, who was a suspected jihadist recruiter. The Russian security services first noticed Tamerlan in the company of Nidal in April 2012.  Nidal was killed by Russian forces in May 2012 in Dagestan. However, according to Time correspondent who interviewed people on the ground there is no clear proof that the two met.
      • Another possible contact was William Plotnikov, a Russian émigré to Canada who became disenchanted with life there, converted to Islam and then moved to Dagestan to join the Muslim insurgency. He had been trained in boxing by a well-known Russian coach in Canada and was known among the Muslim rebels in Dagestan as “The Canadian.” Two Russian government officials said Tamerlan changed notes over the Internet with Plotnikov who became a member of the “ Mujahideen of the Caucasus Emirate” and had briefly been detained by Russian authorities. In mid-July Plotnikov was killed by Russian forces during a raid in the hinterland of Utamysh, a village southwest of Makhachkala. Tamerlan left Russia to return to the United States 3 days after the killing of Plotnikov, leaving behind a new Russian passport.  "He intended to join the fighters, but he lost his contacts," one of the Russian officials said. "In the end he picked an easier enemy in Boston." The Russian officials said it was unclear whether Mr. Tsarnaev and Mr. Plotnikov ever met in person. The parents of the two boxers say they don't recall any interaction between the two. There are no indications that the two men ever boxed together, and Russian officials haven't yet produced any of the online communication that they say exists.
  • Tamerlan’s arrival to U.S. from Russia on 07.17.12. Conflicting reports what USG agencies/officials were alerted when Tamerlan left and when he came back. See below:
  • When Tamerlan returned the U.S.  watch list system did generate an automatic notification to an officer in the Joint Terrorism Task Force in Boston — which is supervised by the FBI — saying that Tsarnaev had returned, according to the official. That contradicts a statement by Senator Lindsey Graham, a senator from South Carolina, who has said he was told by the FBI that it did not know Tsarnaev traveled to Russia because his name was misspelled on an airliner passenger list.
    • A U.S. counterterrorism task force received a warning that a suspected militant had returned from a lengthy trip to Russia, U.S. officials said. The warning was delivered to a single U.S. Customs and Border Protection official assigned to Boston's Joint Terrorism Task Force. Officials said there is no indication that the unidentified customs officer provided the information to any other members of the task force, including FBI agents who had previously interviewed the militant.
    • Senator Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican, said he couldn't fathom why the Department of Homeland Security apparently knew Tsarnaev was going to Russia, but the FBI did not.
    • By the time he had returned  more than a year had gone by since the FBI  closed a background review of his possible links to extremist groups t – the security alert “at that point was more than a year old and had expired,” according to DHS Janet Napolitano. In other words, Tsarnaev's trip overlapped with the expiration date of the FBI's ability to look into him as a threat.
    • US authorities believe Tamerlan began his preparations for the bombing after his return to the Boston area from the trip to North Caucasus.
  • August 2012: Soon after Tamerlan’s return from Russia someone named Tamerlan Tsarnaev opened a youtube account and adopted the user name Muazseyfullah, or "Muaz sword of God." It featured multiple jihadi videos that he had endorsed in the past six months:
    • Two videos on a playlist called “terrorists'' that was created five months ago that since have been deleted – both appear under the name  “Amir Abu Dujana rabbanikaly” which is also the name used by Gadzhimurad Dolgatov, the commander of a small insurgent group in Kizilyurt in Dagestan until he was killed by Russian security forces not long into his career in December.   Wonder if he it is Dolgatov that Tamerlan might have met, according to the aforementioned Russian report.
    • One video featuring the preaching of Abdul al-Hamid al-Juhani, who was an assistant to an al Qaeda scholar in Chechnya.
    • One video featuring on Feiz Mohammad, an extremist Salafi Lebanese preacher based in Australia.
    • One "like" of a well-produced video featuring the black flags of Khorasan, a significant jihadist theme.
  • Two months after he returned from Russia, Tamerlan applied for naturalization (1 year after he became eligible to apply), but DHS stalled the application after a routine background check revealed that he had been interviewed in 2011 by the F.B.I.The stalling could have contributed to Tamerlan’s alienation, but clearly not the straw that broke the camel’s back. NYT put it well: "Underscoring how detached he had become, he no longer had any valid passport, or international travel document, and Cambridge, to which he had a hard time readapting, was now his de facto home more than ever."
  • November 2012:  Tamerlan interrupted a sermon at the mosque of the Islamic Society of Boston to object to a preacher's call for Muslims to celebrate holidays like July 4th and Thanksgiving just like the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. (Reuters, 04.23.13) If true, another sign of radicalization.
  • His 79-year-old landlady Joanna Herlihy said: “He certainly wasn’t radicalized in Dagestan.”

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2013

  • 01.18.13. Tamerlan disrupted a talk at a Cambridge mosque, insulting the speaker and accusing him of deviating from Islam by comparing the Prophet Muhammad to the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. It was the second time he had disrupted an event at the mosque because he felt that its religious message was too liberal.
  • January 2013. Tweet by Dzhokhar: “I got these bros that I'd take a bullet for, in the leg or the shoulder or something nothing fatal tho” – ‘self-prophesy’?
  • 02.06.13. Tamerlan purchased two large pyrotechnic devices for $199.99 in cash from a store in Seabrook, N.H.  He spent $200 for two “Lock and Load” kits, each with 24 shells, from the Phantom Fireworks store.
  • Tamerlan grew a five-inch beard, which he shaved off before the bombings.

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After relocation to U.S in 2002, but undated, so tried to put in chronological order.

  • Upon arrival Anzor worked as a mechanic, at times fixing cars on the street for $10 an hour while Zubeidat worked at a Boston spa. Low-income could have contributed to the disaffection of the children.
  • A friend said he was served alcohol in the brothers' home and that their mother did not wear a hijab. So clearly not pious Moslems initially, if true.
  • Brothers used to host loud gatherings, grilling and drinking in a shared courtyard until midnight or later. So clearly not pious Moslems initially, if true.
  • In the first years in U.S. Tamerlan used to play piano and violin, classical music and rap, and his e-mail address was a clue to how he once saw himself:The_Professor@real-hiphop.com.
    • During registration for a boxing tournament in Lowell, he sat down at a piano and lost himself for 20 minutes in a piece of classical music.
  • Religion was a bond that Zubeidat thought could hold the family together, and keep her son from going astray. She said that around 2007 or 2008 Tamerlan was partying and drinking and smoking marijuana. She could tell, she said, because in the evening he used to come in at night and kiss her on the lips. But that changed, and she said he would instead go straight to the bathroom to brush his teeth.
  • Uncle Ruslan Tsarnia: A few years before the bombings, Tamerlan fell under the influence of a new friend Misha, who steered Tamerlan toward a strict strain of Islam. Tamerlan's mother said Misha was indeed a pious Moslem, but neither parent said Misha was radical and the father said they had not seen him for years after meeting in 2007.
    • FBI eventually identified Misha, but found no link to terror. Misha’s full name is Mikhail Allakhverdov. He is of Armenian-Ukrainian origin, confirmed that he lived in Baku, but fled with his parents. In an interview with The New York Review on 09.28.13 he confirmed he was a convert to Islam and that he had known Tamerlan, but he flatly denied any part in the bombings and said that he had not seen Tamerlan since moving away from Boston to West Warwick, RI, about three years ago
  • Tamerlan told a neighbor that "the Bible is a cheap copy of the Koran" and that the United States goes to war based on the Bible, said that "in Afghanistan, most casualties are innocent bystanders killed by American soldiers," Another sign of Tamerlan’s radicalization, if true.
  • Tamerlan persuaded his mother to cover herself up, which she says at one point distressed her husband, Anzor. Another sign of Tamerlan’s radicalization, if true.

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Terrorist attacks
04.15.13.

  • At 2:49 p.m. Two bombs exploded during the Boston Marathon thirteen seconds apart,on Boylston Street killing 3 people and injuring over 260.
    • The suspects used a remote control device similar to those used to guide toy cars to detonate to detonate their two homemade pressure cooker bombs
    • Dzhokhar told interrogators that he and his brother used bomb-making instructions found in Inspire, an online al Qaeda magazine, but the report prepared by Terrorist Explosive Device Analytical Center came to  early conclusion is that the bomb makers likely had additional training or expertise, in part because they deviated from two recipes in Inspire. The Inspire instructions suggest wires from a car alarm or similar device be used to make triggers. The Boston bombers used hobby fuses and a radio controller for a toy car to detonate the pressure-cooker bombs, the report said
    • Justice Department complaint outlining the charges against Dzhokhar makes very clear that he may have been "manipulating the phone," and that he kept his cellphone to his ear during the first explosion.
    • Video from a nearby restaurant, Forum, showed one of the bombers remaining in place, checking his cellphone and even appearing to take a picture with it, the affidavit said. If true, shows lack of regret.
    • Marathon runner Jeffrey Bauman told FBI that a man in sunglasses and black baseball cap had walked right up to him, placed a black backpack on the ground and stepped aside. This information allowed to allegedly identify Tamerlan on videos from  scene as Suspect No 1.

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04.16.13

  • 04. 16.13. Dzhokhar apparently went to the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth where he casually discussed the bombing with classmate.

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04.17.13

  • 04.17.13. Investigators identified Dzhokhar as Suspect Number 2, but facial-recognition software did not identify the men even though both Tsarnaevs’ images exist in official databases.

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04.18.13

  • President Obama was shown the photos of the suspects, but not asked to approve release of the images. Investigators were concerned that if they didn't assert control over the release of the Tsarnaevs' photos, their manhunt would become a chaotic free-for-all.
  • At 5:20 p.m FBI released the photos and video of the brothers. While there were reports that FBI had to release photos to put an end to online communities trying to ID suspects in what had led to false identifications, it is good that FBI did so as it was this release that led to the crucial tip from the brothers’ aunt. Had the photos not been released, the two brothers would have been under less stress and could have had prepared for next attack, which they apparently intended to carry out. I also bet the release of the photos was what prompted the suspects to hijack a car – they must have realized that their Honda could be traced once their identity was established.
    • The FBI tip line filled with calls, including one from the brothers’ aunt, who provided her nephews’ identity, according to federal law enforcement officials.
  • Late 04.18.13: The authorities first developed information about the suspects' whereabouts. When one of them was seen in video footage that was being reviewed from a convenience store in Cambridge that had just been robbed. Think about it – what are the chances of them being in a store robbed? Luck was on the investigators’ side, fortunately.
  • 10.20 pm Shortly after the suspects left the convenience store, MIT police officer Sean Collier was killed in his car at around 10:20 p.m, apparently because the suspects wanted his gun as they had only 1 real gun and 1 pellet gun. The suspects failed to extract his gun because of the locking system on the holster. “He had a triple-lock holster, and they could not figure it out,” a law enforcement official said. A video surveillance camera shows the shooting and the failed effort to pull the officer's gun. This shooting death was the catalyst that set the violent night in motion  – the report of the shot officer led to all police resources being poured in. If true, the attempt to acquire a second gun even at the risk of being detected and pursued (a risk which a murder in a settlement entails) and the availability of more bombs in Honda's trunk, indicates the suspects were serious about either conducting another act of terrorism. We are fortunate that the suspected terrorists were poorly prepared and underfunded. Had they acquired more guns and cash and vehicles before the bombing, they would not have had to shoot the MIT officer to try get his gun or carjack a car and took the owner’s money. Without these alleged crimes – that alerted police to Cambridge, they could have deployed with less risk of being noticed.
  • 11.00 pm The brothers apparently split up after the killing of the MIT officer and Tamerlan was alone when he allegedly carjacked a Mercedes SUV.
  • 26-year-old Chinese entrepreneur Danny had just pulled his new Mercedes to the curb on Brighton Avenue in Allston across the river from Cambridge,   to answer a text when an old sedan swerved behind him, slamming to a stop. A man in dark clothes got out and approached the passenger window.
  • The man reached an arm through, unlocked the door, and climbed in, brandishing a silver handgun. "Don't be stupid," he told Danny. He asked if he had followed the news about the previous Monday's Boston Marathon bombings. "I did that," said the man, who would later be identified as Tamerlan. "And I just killed a policeman in Cambridge."
  • The man ordered Danny to drive — right on Fordham Road, right again on Commonwealth Avenue. Directed to a quiet neighborhood in East Watertown, Danny pulled up as instructed on an unfamiliar side street. The sedan stopped behind him. A man approached — the skinnier, floppy-haired "Suspect No. 2" in the photos and videos released by investigators earlier that evening — and Tamerlan got out, ordering Danny into the passenger seat, making it clear that if he tried anything he would shoot him. For several minutes, the brothers transferred heavy objects from the smaller car into Danny's SUV. "Luggage," Danny thought.
  • Tamerlan allegedly told  the carjacking victim:" And now we're going to New York. Don't [expletive] with us.”
    • New York City Mayor Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly: Dzhokhar  initially told  interrogators  that they were planning to New York after the bombings to "party," but then admitted they considered bombing the Times Square. If Tamerlan indeed told the carjacking victim about their real intention, then reveals poor training.
    • A senior law-enforcement involved in the investigation cautioned that the alleged plan to attack Times Square wasn't close to fruition. A senior law-enforcement official said "They took no steps to get [to New York] and had done no research. They had four days to get to New York. If they really wanted to get there, they would have moved a lot quicker."
  • They continued west on Route 20, in the direction of Waltham and Interstate 95, passing a police station. Danny tried to send telepathic messages to the officers inside, imagined dropping and rolling from the moving car.
  • Doubling back, they returned to the Watertown neighborhood — "Fairfield Street," Danny saw on the sign — and grabbed a few more things from the parked car, but nothing from the trunk. They put on an instrumental CD that sounded to Danny like a call to prayer.
  • The SUV headed for the lights of Soldiers Field Road, banking across River Street to the two open gas stations after the suspects realized the car was low on gasoline. Dzhokhar went to fill up using Danny's credit card, but quickly knocked on the window. "
  • The suspects pulled into the Memorial Drive Shell gas station and Mary’s Deli food mart at Memorial Drive and River Street in Cambridge. Video surveillance shows the victim of the carjacking fleeing to a Mobil gas station across the street.

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04.19.13.

  • 12.30 am. The carjacking victim managed to flee from the car at the Memorial Drive Shell gas station after Dzhokhar went to pay for gasoline in cash and Tamerlan got distracted to explore the navigation device. The victim  fled to the haven of a Mobil station across the street.  Danny alerted police and told the officer that te car could be tracked by his iPhone and by a Mercedes satellite system, mbrace. Police “pinged” the phone to determine where it was in what alerted police that the suspects were in Watertown. Again, suspects’ lack of skills  became clear – most people know these days that phones can be tracked.
  • As the two suspects saw police catch up with them in Watertown, they tossed at least two small homemade bombs from the car window.
  • 1 a.m. Gunshots and explosions at Laurel Street Watertown as law-enforcers catch up with the brothers and engage into a gun fight..
    • MBTA transit officer Richard H. Donohue Jr was wounded in the gunfight, but survived.
    • Tamerlan was shot and then Watertown police Sergeant Jeff Pugliese  and a Boston – police officer converged on the wounded man and subdued him. Tamerlan was alive and allegedly struggling with Watertown police when Dzhokhar allegedly shifted to the driver's seat of the car from the passenger's seat, slammed it into reverse. The cops dove to safety. Tamerlan  wasn't as lucky. His body was dragged by the car for a short distance before his little brother drove off. Early reports said Tamerlan apparently had explosives strapped to him. Indicated preparedness to die.
    • Dzhokhar allegedly abandoned the car shortly after escaping and fled on foot.
    • Tamerlan was rushed to the Beth Israel hospital, but pronounced dead there and exact cause of death still not known.
      • A total of at least 200 shots were fired during the shootout at Laurel Street in Watertown.
      • One law enforcement official said of the shoot-out:“most of the expended rounds were from law enforcement, no doubt about it.”Only one gun has been recovered from the brothers, officials said. The law enforcement official, noting that the brothers had thrown explosive devices during the battle, including a pressure-cooker bomb similar to the ones used at the marathon, said it was “like a combat situation.”
      • Police also uncovered seven improvised explosive devices in Watertown. The FBI analysis found that the pipe bombs thrown at police appeared to follow a recipe published by the al Qaeda magazine.
  • 4:30 a.m-5.50 am. Massachusetts State Police and the Boston Police Department tell people living in Watertown, Newton, Waltham, Belmont, Cambridge, Arlington and the Allston-Brighton neighborhoods of Boston to stay indoors. All mass transit is shut down.
  • 8 a.m. Boston's police commissioner says all of Boston must stay in their homes as the search for the surviving suspect continues in area of multiple blocks cordoned off in Watertwon for detailed search by SWAT teams and other police officers. Law-enforcers also search the Tsarnaevs home in Cambridge, Mass.
  • 10:20 a.m. Police reveal a gray Honda Civic believed to be linked to Dzhokhar has been recovered in Boston. Plausible since he owned one.
  • 6:30 p.m. Massachusetts Gov. Deval announces that mass transit is resuming and the "stay indoors" order is being lifted, even though Dzhokhar remains on the lam.
  • Close to 7 p.m. Police got a call from a Watertown man Dave Henneberry, who had stepped out of his house at Franklin Street after the authorities gave residents the all-clear, then noticed something askew with his boat ‘s tar and went to fix it and detected blood in the boat.
  • Boston Police Commissioner Davis said this week that the boat had been inside the perimeter and should have been checked.  (New York Times, 04.25.13).
    • I wonder why police failed to spot what a common man spotted. Have they used dogs at all? I also wonder how is that with wounds inflicted in original gunfight at Laurel Street, law-enforcers failed to track him down with dogs from the spot where he abandoned the car.
  • After 7.00 pm: Shots and explosions are heard in the area where the boat, then Billy Evans, a Boston superintendent, ordered police to stop firing. A robot was brought to remove the tarp while police monitored Dzhokhar through thermal imagery.
  • 8:45 p.m. Dzhokhar is taken into custody by police after 1st, but then at  is located and rushed to the Beth Israel Hospital to be treated for gunshot wounds to the “head, neck, legs and hand.”
  • It is still not clear what prompted officers who arrived to check on the call from Henneberry to fire into the boat. Boston Police Commissioner Davis said that “we will have to see what prompted the volley of shots before the cease-fire was ordered by a superintendent of the Boston police.”
  • It's unclear who opened fire and why, but the cops let a fusillade go at the boat. Billy Evans, a Boston superintendent and the most senior officer on the scene, started screaming, "Hold your fire! Hold your fire!"
  • Members of the MBTA SWAT team that arrested Dzhokhar confirmed that the suspect had no weapon on him. SWAT team member Jeff Campbell said the 2-inch-long bleeding wound on the front of Dzhokhar’s neck looked more like a cut made by shrapnel from an explosion. A second law enforcement official echoed the view that the wound did not appear to be self inflicted.
  • Contrary to initial reports that the police had “exchanged” gunfire with the suspect, the official said it appeared that police officers surrounding the boat had apparently fired into it after they saw something push through the boat’s tarp, and feared it might be an explosive device or a gun.“One officer then fired,” the law enforcement official said. “The other officers there, hearing a shot going off, thought it was coming from the suspect and started shooting until the cease-fire was ordered.”
    • It transpires that Dzhokhar had no gun with him in the boat, so not clear why police fired at the boat. If the suspect had been killed in the boat, it would have hindered investigation greatly, making it very difficult to discern their motives, etc. 
  • Two Kazakh students with possible links to the suspected Boston Marathon bombers have been detained in that city for allegedly violating U.S. immigration regulations. One of them apparently shared the cell phone with Dzhokhar. No involvement in the attacks suspected.

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After terrorist attacks

  • F.B.I. agents invoked as the public safety exception to the Miranda Rule to question Dzhokhar who admitted participating in bombing, but identified Tamerlan as the leader in the plot. During interrogation Dzhokhar:
    • that U.S.-led wars in Iraq and Afghanistan motivated him and Tamerlan to carry out the attacks and that they wanted to “defend Islam from attack” So clearly motivated not by ethnic grievances of Chechens. Islamists views, not ethnicity was the main driver.
    • identified Tamerlan as the "driving force" of the plot. Affirms my assessment that he obeyed his brother as it is common in closely-knit, highly hierarchial Chechen families, but, if the Twitter message during 2012 marathon is true, radical believer too.
    • said the brothers acted alone in the attack.
    • stopped testifying as soon as given his Miranda rights.
    • The Daghestani wing of Doku Umarov's so-called Caucasus Emirate formally denied any role, saying it was at war with Russia and not carrying attacks against U.S.
  • Dzhokhar charged with using a weapon of mass destruction that resulted in three deaths and more than 260 injuries. Looks like he won’t be charged with shooting at police officers, since he didn’t have a gun. But the WMD charge alone can lead to execution.
    • Accusing Dzhokhar of carrying out a WMD strike at the Boston Marathon could offer prosecutors a clear route to a conviction, even though the two pressure-cooker devices used in last week's attack do not fit the accepted definition of a "weapon of mass destruction," academics and former federal prosecutors said.
  • Boston Police Commissioner  Davis said the brothers' arsenal of weapons and unexploded bombs suggested that they were preparing for other operations. The criminal complaint filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Massachusetts mentions a single firearm, recovered from the scene of that shootout in Watertown, but lists at least a half-dozen explosives and homemade bombs. Neither brother had gun permits allowing them to legally carry firearms.
  • Law enforcement bodies of North Caucasian republics announced that Tamerlan and Dzhokhar  were absent from their databases of wanted persons. Sources in the Chechen law enforcement agencies said they had heard nothing about the Tsarnaev brothers.

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04.24.13

  • Representatives of the U.S. Embassy in Moscow were in Dagestan to interview the parents of the Tsarnaev brothers. The mother was interviewed Tuesday by Russian security officials. The parents told U.S. officials they would go to the United States soon, but then decided only the father would go.

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04.25.13

  • In a press conference held in the capital of Dagestan on Thursday the parents of the two brothers insisted that their sons were innocent and had no connections to radical Islamists.
  • U.S. press reported that the White House has launched an internal investigation of the handling of the Tsarnaev case that will focus on weaknesses in the nation's system of tracking suspected terrorists. Obama administration officials have asked the National Counter- Terrorism Center, which coordinates a vast network of databases and terror watchlists, to recreate the steps taken by the FBI, the CIA, the Department of Homeland Security, and others after the Russians began notifying US officials about Tamerlan.
  • The search for evidence in the bombing inquiry sent white-suited investigators combing through garbage at a landfill in New Bedford, Mass., as they hunted for a laptop computer belonging to one of the brothers, a law enforcement official said.
  • Dzhokhar was interrogated in his hospital room over a period of 16 hours without being read his constitutional rights. He immediately stopped talking after a magistrate judge and a representative from the U.S. Attorney's office entered the room and gave him his Miranda warning,, even though investigators apparently still wanted to question him further under a public-safety exception.

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04.26.13

  • U.S. press reports that Dzhokhar has been moved from the hospital where he was recovering from injuries to a prison medical facility in Fort Devens, Massachusetts.
  • U.S. press reports that the mother of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects is a "person of interest" to federal authorities seeking to learn who radicalized one or both of her sons, according to U.S. lawmakers, and a separate report said she was on a federal terrorism database some 18 months before the attack.

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04.28.13.

  • Key lawmakers said that the suspected Boston Marathon bombers may not have acted entirely alone and that law-enforcement officials continue to investigate the possibility they received outside encouragement or training. “There are still persons of interest in the United States that the FBI would like to have conversations with,’’ said Representative Mike Rogers, a Republican from Michigan and chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.

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04.29.13

  • President Obama and President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia spoke by telephone about the bombings. A top Russian official said after the conversation tat cooperation between the leaders' intelligence services had ''noticeably intensified in the past few days,'' though he said Russia had not been able to provide valuable intelligence
  • FBI agents visited the widow of suspected Boston Marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev on Monday at her family's home in North Kingstown, R.I., and departed with several bags.

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04.30.13

  • President Obama   defended the FBI's handling of Russian intelligence tips on one of the alleged Boston Marathon bombers, even as he endorsed an investigation into the lessons to be learned from the case, including ways to better confront the threat of homegrown terrorists. "Is there something that happened that triggered radicalization and an actual decision by the brother to engage in the tragic attack we actually saw in Boston, and are there additional things that could have been done in the interim that might have prevented it?" Obama said.
  • President Obama  said that Russia has been cooperative in providing information about Tamerlan Tsarnaev's travels to Russia in 2012 and its warnings in 2011 to the FBI and the CIA. He noted that he and President Vladimir Putin had spoken about the need for shared information. But he also alluded to decades of distrust between the countries."Obviously old habits die hard," he said. "There are still suspicions sometimes between our intelligence and law enforcement agencies that date back 10, 20, 30 years, back to the Cold War."
  • Russia has provided the FBI with all necessary information on Tamerlan Tsarnayev, suspected of carrying out the terrorist attack at the Boston marathon, White House press secretary Jay Carney said, thus denying reports that Moscow allegedly did not give Washington full information on Tsarnayev."We have a cooperative relationship with our Russian counterparts when it comes to counterterrorism," Carney said.
  • US press reported that investigators have found female DNA on at least one of the bombs used in the Boston Marathon attacks, though they haven't determined whose DNA it is or whether its presence means a woman helped the two brothers suspected in the bombings, according to U.S. officials briefed on the probe.
  • 04.30.13 The Office of the Director of National Intelligence said that its inspector general has launched an inquiry into U.S. counterterrorism agencies' handling of the shards of information they had collected on the brothers in the 18 months leading up to the attacks. The probe will focus on whether information was shared among agencies, including the FBI, the CIA and the National Counterterrorism Center.

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  • U.S. prosecutors filed criminal charges against three friends of the surviving Boston Marathon bombing suspect and said two of them threw away a backpack that contained evidence. Two of the newly charged men — Dias Kadyrbayev, 19 years old, and Azamat Tazhayakov, 19 — are nationals of Kazakhstan . The two were charged with attempting to impede the bombing investigation by throwing away a backpack containing fireworks that appeared to have had their explosive powder removed. The third person charged Wednesday, 19-year-old Robel Phillipos, is a U.S. citizen. He was charged with lying to investigators. The trio allegedly exchanges SMSes with Dzhokhar after the bombings before deciding to remove and discard items from his Umass Dartmouth dorm room.

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05.02.13

  • Washington Post reports that 70 percent of Americans support the death penalty for the suspect in the Boston Marathon bombing should he be convicted in federal court, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

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(Sources: Tweeter account allegedly associated with Dzhokhar Tsarnaev,  Youtube account allegedly associated with Tamerlan Tsarnaev, Interfax, Associated Press, Reuters, AP, Wall Street Journal, CNN,  Wall Street Journal, Foreign Policy, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe, CBS, Washington Post, Argumenty i Fakty, Interfax, Guardian, Time,RFE/RL, NBC, Fox News, GSN, The New York Review 04.19.13-05.02.13).

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