Unbelievable, at first glance:
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia sent a written warning about accused Boston Marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in 2012, long before pressure-cooker blasts killed three and injured hundreds, according to a senior Saudi government official with direct knowledge of the document.
The Saudi warning, the official told MailOnline, was separate from the multiple red flags raised by Russian intelligence in 2011, and was based on human intelligence developed independently in Yemen.
But U.S. officials deny any Saudi warning letter exists or was received:
A DHS official denied, however, that the agency received any such warning from Saudi intelligence about Tamerlan Tsarnaev.
‘DHS has no knowledge of any communication from the Saudi government regarding information on the suspects in the Boston Marathon Bombing prior to the attack,’ MailOnline learned from one Homeland Security official who declined to be named in this report.
The White House took a similar view. ‘We and other relevant U.S. government agencies have no record of such a letter being received,‘ said Caitlin Hayden, a spokesperson for the president’s National Security Council.
But then an anonymous U.S. governmentt official agrees that the Saudi warning letter exists and was received:
A Homeland Security official confirmed Tuesday evening on the condition of anonymity that the 2012 letter exists, saying he had heard of the Saudi communication before MailOnline inquired about it.
An aide to a Republican member of the House Homeland Security Committee speculated Tuesday about why the Obama administration contradicted the knowledgeable Saudi official.
‘It is possible the Department of Homeland Security received the information from the Saudi government but never passed it on to the White House,’ the GOP staffer said. ‘Communication between DHS and the White House’s national security apparatus isn’t always what it should be.’
‘I can easily see it happening where one hand didn’t know what the other was doing because of a turf war.’
‘Just like the different agencies in the Boston JTTF [Joint Terrorism Task Force] want credit for breaking the Tsarnaev case,’ the aide added, ‘they sometimes jealously guard the very intel they should be sharing the most freely. Sometimes it makes no sense at all.’
That bolded is absolutely right. Very little in this whole affair makes any sense at all. There is so much detail in the MailOnline piece that it should be read in full: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2317493/Saudi-official-Kingdom-warned-United-States-IN-WRITING-Boston-Bomber-Tamerlan-Tsarnaev-2012-rejected-application-entry-visa-visit-Mecca-2011.html
If this report is accurate, then this U.S. intelligence failure is monumental. There is no way possible that FBI, CIA and the president’s National Security Council could miss this many warnings, now from other governments than Russia. Saudi Arabia is a close ally, and FBI/CIA cannot excuse this intelligence failure by claiming that there is not a close working relationship with the foreign govt source, as they tried to do with Russia.
Separately, President Obama announced Tuesday that the U.S. government will launch a wide-ranging inquiry into the sharing of information among the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Department of Homeland Security and other intelligence and law-enforcement agencies of the federal government.
‘We want to leave no stone unturned,’ the president said in a rare White House press conference.
The internal review will be led by Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and several inspectors general.
Note that there is no mention of Central Intelligence. And note that this will be an “internal review” not open to the public as it should be with open and public hearings. This is an absolute outrage if this Saudi report is accurate. I had a hunch that Obama’s hastily called news conference had more to do with mounting evidence of serious intelligence and investigative malfeasance by the FBI than Syria. The kicker is that the CIA is still getting a pass.
The Saudi government, he added, alerted the U.S. in part because it believed American authorities should be inspecting packages that came to Tsarnaev in the mail in order to search for bomb-making components.
The written warning also allegedly named three Pakistanis who may be of interest to British authorities. The official declined to provide more details about the warning to the UK, but said the two governments received the same information.
The Saudis denied Tsarnaev entry to the kingdom when he sought to travel to Mecca in December 2011 for a pilgrimage known as an Umrah – one that is undertaken during months that don’t fall within the regular Hajj period of the year.
That rejected application came one month before he traveled to Russia, where U.S. intelligence sources believe he acquired training enabling him to construct and detonate the bombs that he and his younger brother placed hear the Boston Marathon’s finish line.
I would think that Tamerlan’s rejected application to visit Saudi Arabia would or should result in a pinging of US intelligence databases or personnel.
I must say that I am usually very skeptical of MailOnline reporting. Their reporting often seems sensationalized and poorly sourced, but this article is loaded with detail and apparently confirmed by multiple sources, including US and Saudi officials, though they remain anonymous and, as such, unverifiable without official U.S. acknowledgment.