A “foreign government” asked the FBI to look into one of the Boston Marathon bombing suspect’s “possibly extremist ties” to a terrorist organization in 2011, an FBI official confirmed Friday. The bureau complied and interviewed Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, to investigate any possible ties to extremism.
The FBI determined Tsarnaev represented no threat and found “no derogatory information,” the Washington Post reports.
“The interview was conducted by the FBI in Boston, said the official,” the report adds. “[T]he case was closed, according to the official, who refused to identify the country or the terrorist organization.”
Tamerlan, believed to be 26 when he was killed overnight in a shootout, dropped out after studying accounting at Bunker Hill Community College for just three semesters. He was an amateur boxer who had hoped to fight on the U.S. Olympic team, a man who said he had no American friends.
“I don’t have a single American friend. I don’t understand them.” he was quoted as saying in a photo package that appeared in a Boston University student magazine in 2010.
He identified himself then as a Muslim and said he did not drink or smoke: “God said no alcohol.” He said he hoped to fight for the U.S. Olympic team and become a naturalized American. He said he was studying to become an engineer before he dropped out.
More recently, Tamerlan – married, with a young daughter – became a more devout Muslim, according to his aunt, Maret Tsarnaeva. She told reporters outside her Toronto home Friday that the older brother had taken to praying five times a day.
Tamerlan traveled to Russia last year and returned to the U.S. six months later, government officials told The Associated Press. More wasn’t known about his travels.
According to law enforcement records he was arrested, in 2009, for assault and battery on a girlfriend; the charges were dismissed.
The Associated Press contributed to this report. Featured image via AP.
This story has been updated.