US

Mass. Congressman: Russians Believe Boston Bombings Could Have Been Prevented

"There’s a very strong chance that things could have changed."

Medical workers aid an injured man following the bombings at the Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013. (AP)

Medical workers aid an injured man following the bombings at the Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013. (AP)

Russian intelligence believes the Boston Marathon bombings could have been prevented if the U.S. had acted on their warnings about Tamerlan Tsarnaev, a Massachusetts congressman said.

Rep. William Keating (D-Mass.), in Moscow last week to meet with Russian security officials, told The Boston Globe he had seen Russian intelligence on the deceased bombing suspect's "plans to join the insurgency" in southern Russia.

“You can see with the level of these details that in fact if we had had better information sharing, there’s a very strong chance that things could have changed, and [the bombings] could have been avoided,” ­Keating told the Globe.

A March 2011 letter from Russia laid out detailed information about Tsarnaev, including his birthday, telephone numbers and address in Cambridge. Keating said the Russians also believed Tsarnaev wanted to join in terrorist activities with the Palestinians but couldn't master the language, according to the Associated Press.

"That was the level of detail they were providing in this letter," Keating said.

The FBI did a brief investigation on Tsarnaev before ultimately closing the case. Three people were killed and more than 200 injured in the twin explosions near the marathon finish line in April.

Speaking to reporters back on U.S. soil, Keating said the Russians gave him the impression that U.S. laws may have been a roadblock to a more thorough investigation.

Keating said Russian officials who had discussions with U.S. law enforcement said "legislation or some of the laws made it difficult for them to go forward with some of their investigation."

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