Dzhokhar Investigation Turns Up ... Not Much

All red flags are tied to Tamerlan Tsarnaev, not his brother

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted May 16, 2013 2:18 AM CDT | Updated May 16, 2013 5:00 AM CDT

(Newser) – Had counterterrorism officials been monitoring Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in the days leading up to the Boston marathon bombing, they wouldn't have found much to raise suspicions—other than Dzhokhar's relationship to Tamerlan Tsarnaev. Authorities have found no evidence that Dzhokhar frequented jihadist websites, bought suspicious items, posted radical rhetoric, or did anything else concerning, sources tell the Wall Street Journal. As the Journal puts it, "Any radicalization of Dzhokhar ... would have happened at the last minute, if at all."

That seems to support the narrative that emerged early on: That Dzhokhar was just following Tamerlan's lead. For instance, a former FBI profiler tells the paper that officials' assertion that Tamerlan, not Dzhokhar, was the only one armed and firing at police during their shootout further indicates that Tamerlan was the "ringleader." Officials tell the paper Dzhokhar may more closely match the psychological profile of a run-of-the-mill criminal than a terrorist. That could have an impact on his eventual sentencing, and also underlines a challenge for US counterterrorism officials: "We will have to pick up on indicators more quickly," says one.

This Monday, April 15, 2013 photo provided by Bob Leonard shows bombing suspects Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, center right in black hat, and his brother, Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev, 19, center left in white hat.
This Monday, April 15, 2013 photo provided by Bob Leonard shows bombing suspects Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, center right in black hat, and his brother, Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev, 19, center left in white hat.   (AP Photo/Bob Leonard)
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