Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has told interrogators that the American wars in both Afghanistan and Iraq largely influenced him and his older brother to carry out last week’s bombings, U.S. officials familiar with the interviews said.
Neither Dzhokhar nor his brother Tamerlan appear to have been influenced by a foreign terrorist organization, according to the officials who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Rather, it appears Dzhokhar, who is now listed in stable condition at Beth Israel Medical Center, “self-radicalized” through a mixture of internet websites and his dislike of America’s actions against the Muslim world. Officials said Dzhokhar specifically cited both the Iraq and Afghanistan wars as reasons for the bombings, which killed three and injured more than 250 last Monday.
U.S. officials have said they are still working to assemble a detailed timeline of a trip Tamerlan took to Russia, but see no evidence that he received instructions there that led to the attack. Tamerlan was killed during a shootout with police last Thursday.
“These are persons operating inside the United States without a nexus” to an overseas group, a U.S. intelligence official said.
U.S. officials have said that the FBI questioned Tamerlan Tsarnaev at the request of Russian authorities who had become concerned that he was becoming radicalized. The request was conveyed to officials at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow. U.S. officials said they sought follow-up information from Russia, but that Moscow failed to respond.
Officials also expressed skepticism that Russian authorities were concerned about the elder Tsarnaev’s contacts during his trip to Russia. “The evidence points to the fact that they let him into the country and let him out of the country,” the U.S. official said. “They didn’t take any legal action, which they could have while he was there.”