they act alone? How did they become radicalized? Those are the lingering
questions surrounding Boston bombing suspects Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev,
and investigators are zeroing in on their friends and associates for answers.
role of these contacts is being constantly revised in the media, but here's
what we know about them so far:
Kadyrbayev, Azamat Tazhayakov, and Robel Phillipos
three students were taken into custody today on separate charges involving
their relationship with Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.
and Tazhayakov, both Kazakh nationals, are being charged with obstruction of justice for allegedly helping
destroy evidence linking Dzhokhar to the Boston bombing. Officials tell CNN's
Jake Tapper they do not know if the three were involved in the attack, but
say the two Kazakhs disposed of Dzhokhar's fireworks, laptop computer, and
backpack. Phillipos, a 19-year-old U.S. citizen, is being charged with making false statements to law enforcement
officials during a terrorism investigation.
to the affidavit supporting the criminal
complaint, the three men all began attending the University of Massachusetts at
Dartmouth at the same time in 2011 (Kadyrbayev and Tazhayakov entered the United States overstayed their student visas but still managed to fly under the
radar of Customs and Homeland Security officials). The complaint alleges that
Kadyrbayev and Tazhayakov saw TV reports identifying the Tsarnaev brothers as
suspects in the bombing before they discarded the backpack and laptop. None of the men entered a plea at their initial court appearances, but a lawyer for Kadyrbayev denied the chages. "Dias Kadyrbayev absolutely denies the charges," attorney Robert Stahl said. "He did not know that this individuala was involved in the bombing. His first inkling came much later."
source of Tamerlan Tsarnaev's radicalization has shifted
significantly in recent days, with the latest suspect being a Canadian jihadist
killed by Russian police last year after joining the Islamic insurgency in
Dagestan. The scoop came from the respected Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta and
was fleshed out by the Associated Press yesterday.
officials suspected ties between Tsarnaev and the Canadian - an ethnic Russian
named William Plotnikov....
newspaper said the men had social networking ties that brought Tsarnaev to the
attention of Russian security services for the first time in late 2010.
certainly wouldn't be surprising if the men had met. Both were amateur boxers
of roughly the same age whose families had moved from Russia to North America
when they were teenagers. In recent years, both had turned to Islam and
expressed radical beliefs. And both had traveled to Dagestan, a republic of
some 3 million people.
In August, Plotnikov's father told the Canadian
newspaper National Post that while his son converted to Islam in 2009, he only learned of his son's radicalization after receiving videos and photographs
following his death. The footage shows William vowing to kill in the name of Allah
and posing with an automatic rifle over his shoulder.
had been detained in Dagestan in December 2010 on suspicion of having ties to
the militants and during his interrogation was forced to hand over a list of
social networking friends from the United States and Canada who like him had
once lived in Russia," notes the AP. "Tsarnaev's name was on
that list, bringing him for the first time to the attention of Russia's secret
Plotnikov's death, Russian officials searched for Tsarnaev but lost track of
him before he jumped on a plane to the United States.
today's Washington Post, U.S. officials tell the
newspaper the FBI is investigating Mahmoud Mansour Nidal, a Palestinian and Kumyk man suspected of recruiting Islamic insurgents in Dagestan. Like
Plotnikov, Nidal was also killed by Russian authorities last year. The Russian
newspaper Novaya Gazeta reported that Tsarnaev
was spotted with Nidal, "who was believed to have ties to Islamic
militants in the southern Russian region." In May 2012, authorities killed
Nidal after he refused to surrender to officials who had surrounded his house
poured cold water on speculation that a mysterious Muslim convert named "Misha" had radicalized Tamerlan after interviewing Allakhverdov at his
home in Rhode Island. Allakhverdov said he knew Tamerlan in Boston but had lost contact with him after moving away from the city three years ago. While he declined to
describe the nature of his relationship with Tamerlan, he said he never met the extended Tsarnaev
family, including Uncle Ruslan, who accused Allakhverdov of brainwashing Tamerlan. "I wasn't
his teacher. If I had been his teacher, I would have made sure he never did
anything like this," Allakhverdov said. Caryl's report seemed to confirm
reports that the FBI has found no connection between Allakhverdov and the bomb plot.