Official: Texts would have allowed FBI to track Tsarnaev - KMSP-TV

Official: Texts would have allowed FBI to track Tsarnaev

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BOSTON ( -- U.S. officials are calling text messages between the alleged Marathon bombers' mother and a relative the "most important in a series of missed signals" between the United States and Russia.

The Wall Street Journal reports the 2011 text messages between Zubeidat Tsarnaeva and a family member suggested alleged bombing mastermind Tamerlan Tsarnaev was interested in joining militant organizations that Russia claims are responsible for attacks in the Caucasus region. One official source tells the newspaper that at least one of the text messages discusses jihad, however no specific plans were mentioned.

U.S. officials say they learned of the text messages about one week after the bombings that killed three people and injured hundreds more. House Intelligence Committee chairman Mike Rogers claims the information would have allowed the FBI to open an investigation in which they could "track" Tsarnaev's communications.

Lawmakers discussed the potential breakdown in communication among U.S. law enforcement in hearings this week. Officials say, however, perhaps the greatest breakdown in communication was between the U.S. and Russia. They say the FBI requested more information from Russia three more times after their 2011 investigation into Tsarnaev, but did not receive anything back.

Officials in the Dagestan province claim they tracked Tsarnaev during his visit there in 2012, but Kremlin officials say they couldn't share more detailed information because Tsarnaev did not live in a Russian territory.

While some officials are questioning why the text messages weren't passed along to them earlier, some say it is unclear whether or not having such information would have changed what the FBI learned about Tsarnaev's radicalization in 2011.

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