Contributed by Chriss Street. Specialist in corporate reorganizations and turnarounds, former Chairman of two NYSE listed companies. His latest book, The Third Way, describes how to achieve management excellence and financial reward by moving organizations from Conflict and Confrontation to Leadership and Cooperation. He lives in Newport Beach, CA.
The FBI and Justice Department put-on a clever media dog and pony show last night to trumpet how the combined forces of law enforcement successfully captured the Boston Marathon Bombers, but nothing could be farther from the truth. Within 24 hours of the bombing, Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev had escaped in plain sight by returning to their normal activities, even though the older brother Tamerlan had been a focus of FBI surveillance in 2011. The real crime-scene-investigative heroes were millions of members of the internet social media website Reddit, who virally leveraged their diverse skills as citizen-social-investigators.
These self-deputized “CSI” agents sifted through police scanner chatter, cell phone pictures, and community rumors to scrutinize the terrorists’ movements in front of the Lord & Taylor store to “out” the names of the Boston Bombers. America needs to have an open debate to determine if the politically correct June 11, 2012 Dreamer Executive Order, terminating the deportation of young undocumented immigrants, contributed to a policy relaxation by the Homeland Security Department that had the effect of offering more respect for terrorist Constitutional rights than for the safety of American citizens.
Tamerlan Tsarnaev was obviously named in honor of “Tamerlane”, the brilliant military strategist who ruthlessly conquered every nation between India and modern day Turkey to establish his 15th Century Islamic Caliphate. The Tsarnaev family immigrated to the U.S. in 2002 and older brother Tamerlan following two years later. They were granted permanent political asylum in 2007, while collecting welfare and living in public housing in Cambridge, Massachusetts. In 2009 and 2010, Tsarnaev was the New England Golden Gloves heavyweight Champion and would have made the U.S. Olympic Training Team in 2009, if he had not lost a controversial quarter-finals decision after knocking down his opponent for a full “eight count”.
After a 2011 tip from Russian State Security, Tamerlan Tsarnaev was subject to a “prevention” interview by the FBI. He was told: “We know what sites you are on, we know where you are calling, we know everything about you, everything!” Tamerlan’s father, mother and aunt were also “interviewed”. Tamerlan’s public-facing YouTube playlist currently features Chechen revolutionary videos by singer Timur Mutsuraev, “The Emergence of Prophecy: The Black Flags from Khorasan” and other radical jihadi favorites. He was also arrested in 2009 for domestic assault of his girlfriend.
On January 12, 2012, Tamerlan flew to Moscow and apparently traveled to the Caucus region of Dagestan or Chechnya. He returned in July 2012. During this period it is assumed that he developed the sophistication to manufacture the bombs and grenades he used in Boston by attending a jihadi training camp. On June 12, 2012, shortly before Tamerlan returned, his mother was arrested and charged with two counts of malicious/wanton damage and property defacement, after stealing $1,624 worth of clothes from a Lord & Taylor. She conveniently left for Dagestan to avoid prosecution and shortly thereafter Tamerlan’s father also left the U.S. for his homeland.
On September 1, 2012, with the Middle East rioting against the U.S. and our citizens being murdered in Benghazi, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was sworn-in as an American Naturalized Citizen. He had just graduated from Cambridge Rindge and Latin High School, the alma mater of liberal icons Ben Affleck and Matt Damon. Dzhokhar entered the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth on a scholarship he won from the City of Cambridge, which describes itself as a community “whose strength and beauty” is in its diversity. Undoubtedly, Dzhokhar’s sob story about being a Chechen victimized by Russian tyranny scored extra scholarship points for helping the politically oppressed.
It should have been easy for FBI investigators to connect Tamerlan Tsarnaev as a person of interest. He was Chechen, on Russian terrorist watch-list, recently traveled to Chechnya, had an arrest for assault, and his mother had been prosecuted by Lord & Taylor. But the law enforcement trail went cold after the first 24 hours for the bombers who placed black backpacks in front of the Boston Lord & Taylor store on Patriot’s Day.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was so confident of his escape that he slept in his single-unit dorm room at UMass-Dartmouth the day after killing three and wounded 180 Boston Marathon spectators. He acted completely relaxed the next day as he worked out at the gym, played video games, participated in intermural soccer, and went to a hip-hop party on campus that evening. Meanwhile, law enforcement officials frantically called out to the public for any clues on how the terrorists had vanished.
Perhaps one of the challenges law enforcement faced was the Presidential Executive Order on June 11, 2012 that stopped arrests and deportations of young “undocumented” immigrants under 30. President Barack Obama said at his press conference announcing the policy change: “They pledge allegiance to our flag. They are Americans in their hearts, in their minds, in every single way but one: on paper.”
Unions representing America’s Immigration & Customs Enforcement agents slammed the Administration over the new policy. Border Guard leader Chris Crane cited a case where an immigrant facing criminal charges was let go under the Dreamer policy because officers are “under threat of losing their jobs” if they defy the policy. Crane again complained this February when the Department of Homeland Security released thousands of illegal immigrants from jails across the country due to the Budget Sequester.
Unknown to the Tsarnaevs, who were probably basking in the glory of their perfect crime and dreaming up the next slaughter for their Chechen offensive, the Reddit citizen-social-investigators had identified Dzhokhar and Tamerlan by analyzing the bombers’ hats to pin-point the Tsarnaev brothers as the “unsubs.” Reddit had also identified their new Camaro get-away-car and was closing in on their current location.
The Tsarnaevs, who were also monitoring Reddit, suddenly realized they had been identified as perpetrators and were forced to break their disciplined covers by robbing a 7-11 store for quick cash, assassinating a campus policeman, and then botching their escape when they car-jacked a Mercedes with a Lo-Jack security system. It still took law enforcement another 48 hours of dodging homemade grenades and engaging in multiple gun fights with automatic weapons to stop the Chechen terrorists.
As America’s first successful major domestic terror attack in the eleven years since the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on New York and Washington DC, the Boston Bombing is evidence that some dramatic change in policy must have allowed a person identified as a potential terrorist to successfully complete his mission and almost escape in plain sight. The ramifications of the politically driven changes to Homeland Security’s domestic surveillance and enforcement appear to have substantially contributed to the failure to protect American citizens from the people who live amongst us and still hate us. Congress should conduct open hearings to thoroughly investigate this intelligence failure and to author bipartisan legislation that better protects our nation from terrorists. Contributed by Chriss Street.
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