1 letter addressed to post office, other to federal judge
UPDATED 6:12 PM CDT May 16, 2013
The FBI and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service are trying to find the source of the two letters, intercepted Tuesday during a screening procedure at a postal facility in Spokane, FBI spokeswoman Ayn Sandalo Dietrich said.
“While we cannot offer further comment on this incident, we stress that law enforcement agencies will continue to assess and address the full spectrum of potential threats,” she said.
The American Postal Workers Union was notified of the two suspicious letters by the Postal Service, the union said.
One letter was addressed to the Spokane Post Office and the other to a federal judge in Spokane, the union said. Both were postmarked May 14, the union said.
Reports charge the IRS targeted conservative political groups in 2012 by applying extra scrutiny to organizations that focused on government spending or the U.S. Constitution or had the words “tea party” or “patriot” in their names. Judy Woodruff reports on responses from the president and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.
President Obama was giving the commencement address at Arizona State University in 2009 where he joked about auditing the president of ASU and their board of regents . Today, the IRS apologized for unfairly targeting Tea Party groups with extra scrutiny about their tax status.
Spying without a warrant in America is a crime, a violation of privacy rights protected by the U.S. Constitution. Yet, the government is asking technology companies to commit this crime or be fined for insubordination.
The New York Times is reporting that the Obama administration is “on the verge of backing a Federal Bureau of Investigation plan for a sweeping overhaul of surveillance laws that would make it easier to wiretap people.”
According to the New York Times:
The Obama administration, resolving years of internal debate, is on the verge of backing a Federal Bureau of Investigation plan for a sweeping overhaul of surveillance laws that would make it easier to wiretap people who communicate using the Internet rather than by traditional phone services, according to officials familiar with the deliberations.
The F.B.I. director, Robert S. Mueller III, has argued that the bureau’s ability to carry out court-approved eavesdropping on suspects is “going dark” as communications technology evolves, and since 2010 has pushed for a legal mandate requiring companies like Facebook and Google to build into their instant-messaging and other such systems a capacity to comply with wiretap orders. That proposal, however, bogged down amid concerns by other agencies, like the Commerce Department, about quashing Silicon Valley innovation.
While the F.B.I.’s original proposal would have required Internet communications services to each build in a wiretapping capacity, the revised one, which must now be reviewed by the White House, focuses on fining companies that do not comply with wiretap orders. The difference, officials say, means that start-ups with a small number of users would have fewer worries about wiretapping issues unless the companies became popular enough to come to the Justice Department’s attention.
They normally need help from penetration assets in the target country – manifestly the case with the Boston bombers. There is usually a support network in the target country and there always has to be someone to provide the cash.
Asking what the terrorists’ motives were is pretty pointless if the target is assigned by the sponsoring intelligence agency. It was always likely to be the DVD at Boston. There is therefore no need to ask why Chechens would attack an American target instead of a Russian one.
Since the FBI are penetrated by the DVD there is no great mystery as to why they were allowed to fly freely in and out of the USA and why the FSB’s warnings were ignored. Further intel has come to light suggesting that the FSB had done really good work in monitoring this family and their associates. Comparing them with Thames Valley Police is like comparing the US Marines with the Cub Scouts.
Since the FSB, unlike Thames Valley Police, know about the DVD, they will not have been too surprised that the attack was allowed to proceed. Not the least shameful thing is that the families will be lied to repeatedly in the years ahead, like the 7/7 families were lied to in Britain. That attack was of course sponsored by GO2, the German operation in London. We are still lying to the families of the victims of IRA terrorism thirty years after we discovered that the Germans were sponsoring the IRA and that there was a covert German agency called the DVD. I had a conversation with a minister in the Thatcher government, some years ago, who told me testily that we had known all about the DVD and the IRA in the 1980s. I could have hit him – why didn’t we do anything about it?
Two comments about prevention of further attacks. Firstly the usefulness of CCTV has once again been demonstrated. But for store CCTV these terrorists would never have been identified. The great thing about commercial CCTV is that retailers can just drop the tapes round to a local TV station. Had they been official tapes they might have been suppressed on orders from a DVD asset high up in the Department of Justice. I well recall how CCTV footage of Madeleine McCann in a transport café (truck stop) near Montpelier was suppressed by Paris, once facial recognition technology had confirmed that it was her. Where the DVD are involved you get official corruption you wouldn’t believe.
I know there are privacy issues but it’s the old public safety/privacy balance. CCTV makes streets safer. Privacy comes at a cost.
FBI whistleblower and BoilingFrogsPost.com editor Sibel Edmonds joins us to discuss the recent Boston bombing hysteria and the potential geopolitical implications of the American public’s “discovery” of Chechen terror. We discuss Sibel’s work exposing the US/NATO roots of so-called Chechen terrorism, and what the FSB’s involvement in this twisted tale might mean in terms of future Russian-US relations.
Ever since Boston police identified the Boston Marathon bombing suspects as Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, authorities have been digging into the brothers’ pasts to learn why they wanted to hurt people at the finish line of the marathon. In addition to finding out that over $100,000 in government assistance has gone to the Tsarnaev family, authorities found female DNA on bomb parts recovered at the scene of the bombings.
Now, The New York Times is reporting that Dzhokhar has revealed some of the bombing plot to the F.B.I. From his hospital bed, the alleged bomber told police that he and Tamerlan had originally planned to plant their bombs on the Fourth of July. Their bomb-making proceeded more quickly than planned, and the Boston Marathon was chosen as the target. Dzhokhar also reportedly stated that the bombings were partly motivated by the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and that he and his brother had viewed online sermons from Anwar al-Awlaki, an American cleric.
WASHINGTON — The surviving suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings told F.B.I. interrogators that he and his brother considered suicide attacks and striking on the Fourth of July as they plotted their deadly assault, according to two law enforcement officials.
Stew Milne/Associated Press
Katherine Russell, Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s wife.
But the suspect, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, told investigators that he and his brother,Tamerlan, 26, who was killed in a shootout with the police, ultimately decided to use pressure-cooker bombs and other homemade explosive devices, the officials said.
The brothers finished building the bombs in Tamerlan’s apartment in Cambridge, Mass., faster than they had anticipated, and so decided to accelerate their attack to the Boston Marathon on April 15, Patriots’ Day in Massachusetts, according to the account that Dzhokhar provided to authorities. They picked the finish line of the marathon after driving around the Boston area looking for alternative sites, according to this account.
On Friday morning, federal agents, state troopers and local law enforcement officers fanned out to search areas in the vicinity of Dartmouth, Mass., as part of their continuing investigation into the bombings, an F.B.I. spokesman, Jason J. Pack, said.
It was not immediately clear what they were searching for, but the officials said that there was no immediate threat to public safety. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, attended the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth. Two of his classmates from the college were charged this week with throwing out evidence that officials said could have linked Mr. Tsarnaev to the attacks.
In addition, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has told authorities that he and his brother viewed the Internet sermons of Anwar al-Awlaki, a radical American cleric who moved to Yemen and was killed in September 2011 by an American drone strike. There is no indication that the brothers communicated with Mr. Awlaki.
Mr. Tsarnaev made his admission on April 21 — two days after he was captured while hiding in a boat in a nearby backyard — to specially trained F.B.I. agents who had been waiting outside his hospital room for him to regain consciousness.
After he woke up, they questioned him, invoking what is known as the public safety exception to the Miranda Rule, a procedure authorized by a 1984 Supreme Court decision which in certain circumstances allows interrogation after an arrest without notifying a prisoner of the right to remain silent.
The new details of what Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has told authorities emerged as the F.B.I. moved forward on Thursday with trying to determine how the brothers were radicalized and the role that Tamerlan’s wife, Katherine Russell, may have played in the plot or in helping the brothers evade the authorities after the attacks.
As part of those efforts, the authorities have sought to determine whether fingerprints and DNA found on bomb fragments were from Ms. Russell. According to two other law enforcement officials, Ms. Russell’s fingerprints and DNA do not match those found on the fragments. All of the law enforcement officials were granted anonymity because they did not want to be identified discussing a continuing investigation.
Federal authorities are skeptical of Ms. Russell’s insistence that she played no role in the attack or in helping the brothers elude the authorities after the F.B.I. released photographs of them. That skepticism has been stoked by Ms. Russell’s decision in recent days to stop cooperating with the authorities.
Official: Boston bomb plot had been set for July 4th
Kevin Johnson, USA TODAY12:07 a.m. EDT May 3, 2013
The suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing had originally planned to strike on July 4, but chose the race because it coincided with the time they had finished assembling the explosives, a law enforcement official said Thursday.
According to hospital interviews with surviving suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev shortly after he was captured, the suspects apparently finished constructing the explosives well before they had originally planned and chose to act sooner rather than wait, said the official who is not authorized to comment publicly.
It was not immediately clear, however, whether the suspects had identified a specific July 4 target that corresponded with a later completion time, the official said. But the suspects allegedly settled on the marathon after noticing preparations for the race shortly before the event.
Boston hosts one of the premiere July 4 celebrations in the U.S., featuring the Boston Pops and a spectacular fireworks display on the banks of the Charles River.
Tsarnaev has been charged with detonating one of the pressure-cooker devices, while brother Tamerlan Tsarnaev was killed in a confrontation with police in the days after the attacks.
Meanwhile, investigators in the Boston bombing case want to find out what Tamerlan Tsarnaev and his wife discussed when he phoned her a few hours after the FBI released photos of him and his brother as suspects in the deadly attack, a separate law enforcement official said Thursday.
Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, died not long after the conversation during a shootout with police that left his 19-year-old brother, Dzhokhar, seriously injured.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was captured a few hours later while hiding in a boat in a backyard in Watertown, Mass. He is currently being held at a prison medical center.
That same evening, police say, three classmates of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth allegedly concluded that he was one of the suspects, went to his dorm room and removed his backpack and laptop. A federal complaint charges that they took the items to try to keep Dzhokhar Tsarnaev from getting into trouble over the bombings.
The content of the phone conversation between Tamerlan Tsarnaev and his wife, Katherine Russell, has not been disclosed, but authorities want to discuss it with her, the law enforcement official said.
Read Full Article Here
On Thursday, Kansas Governor Sam Brownback received a letter from Federal Attorney General Eric Holder threatening action against the state should it enforce SB102 which Brownback signed into law last month.
The new law states, in part:
Any act, law, treaty, order, rule or regulation of the government of the United States which violates the second amendment to the constitution of the United States is null, void and unenforceable in the state of Kansas
The bill also provides for criminal penalties against federal agents who attempt to enforce specific federal laws on guns manufactured in the state of Kansas and sold within the state – as the state takes the position under the new law that the federal government does not “interstate commerce” authority over such items.
In his letter, Holder didn’t take too kindly to such a proposition. He wrote:
“In purporting to override federal law and to criminalize the official acts of federal officers, SB102 directly conflicts with federal law and is therefore unconstitutional.”
He continued, “Under the Supremacy Clause…Kansas may not prevent federal employees and officials from carrying out their official responsibilities. And a state certainly may not criminalize the exercise of federal responsibilities. Because SB102 conflicts with federal firearms laws and regulations, federal law supercedes this new statute; all provisions of federal laws and their implementing regulations therefore continue to apply.”
Let’s take Eric apart here.
1. Kansas is NOT purporting to criminalize the exercise of constitutional federal responsibilities. On the contrary, the bill criminalizes what the state has determined is unconstitutional. It is the position that such federal acts are indeed a violation of the Constitution. No matter how much Eric might believe it to be otherwise, his view is obviously not universal – especially in Kansas.
2. The Supremacy Clause. Holder takes the position that all tyrants do – that everything they do is authorized, anything to the contrary – worthless. But Holder is wrong. The Supremacy Clause doesn’t say that “any law in conflict with federal law” is void. It says that only those laws “in pursuance” of the constitution are supreme. The new Kansas legislation, again, takes the position that such federal acts are not constitutional, and therefore not supreme.
3. Historical Precedent. The 1850 Fugitive Slave Act was a federal law that basically required all states in the north to act as slave catchers for black people claimed as property in the South. It’s one of the most disgusting acts in American history. A number of northern states passed laws similar to the new Kansas law, criminalizing federal agents for attempting to kidnap people in their states. Although the feds still claimed the same kind of authority that Eric Holder has claimed today, they didn’t have the manpower to enforce. Read more about that here. As an aside, if Holder would like to take the position that such resistance to federal slave laws was wrong, he’s welcome to publicly state that.
Eric capped off his letter by assuring the People of Kansas that the federal government will continue to enforce all federal gun laws. He wrote:
“I am writing to inform you that federal law enforcement agencies, including the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the United States Attorney’s Office…will continue to execute their duties to enforce all federal firearms laws and regulations.”
4. Manpower. That brings us to the most important fact, the federal government simply does not have the manpower to enforce all its laws already. The new Kansas law doesn’t just deal with firearms made within the state. It also bans all state and local agents from enforcing federal gun control measures. (learn about the bill in detail here). As Judge Andrew Napolitano has affirmed recently, such widespread noncompliance makes federal gun control laws “nearly impossible to enforce” (video here). So Eric can promise to enforce these federal acts all he wants. But if Kansas doesn’t help him, he might be able to get a 2% enforcement rate. Or, he’ll have to pull resources from other states.
Azamat Tazhayakov (left), Dias Kadyrbayev, and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev (right) in a photo taken in Times Square. The picture, which appeared on Tsarnaev’s page on VKontakt, the Russian equivalent of Facebook, is believed to be from November 2012.
By Pete Williams, Richard Esposito, Michael Isikoff and Tracy Connor, NBC News
Three college friends of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev were accused Wednesday of removing evidence from his dorm room as new details about the case emerged in court papers.
Criminal complaints against the trio revealed that Tsarnaev cut his long hair after the April 15 attack but before the FBI released his photo and that he allegedly told friends a month earlier that he knew “how to make a bomb.”
The court papers also suggest that the 19-year-old suspect was practically blasé when one of the friends texted to say he looked like the man in the FBI photos of the bomb suspect.
Among his replies: ‘lol,” according to the complaints.
Attorneys for the three suspects that were arrested for allegedly assisting in the Boston Marathon bombing maintain their clients’ innocence and say that they were shocked by the attack.
The complaints were filed against Azamat Tazhayakov and Dias Kadyrbayev, who were charged with conspiring to obstruct justice, and Robel Phillipos, who was charged with making false statements.
The three friends, who are all 19-years-old, allegedly went to Tsarnaev’s dorm room after the FBI photos came out April 18 and left with a backpack that contained fireworks tubes that had been emptied of their explosive powder, according to the documents.
The backpack was later tossed in the garbage, though the suspects’ gave conflicting statement about whether that happened before or after Tsarnaev had been publicly named as the bombing suspect following a night of bloody mayhem.
As the allegations against them were unveiled, Tsarnaev’s three friends appeared in Boston Federal Court Wednesday afternoon. None of the charges suggested they had prior knowledge of the dual bombings that killed three and wounded more than 200 near the finish line of the race.
This May 1, 2013 FBI handout image released in a criminal complaint, shows fireworks tubes found in a backpack that was disposed of by friends of Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.
Tazhayakov and Kadyrbayev — who are from Kazakhstan and were detained more than a week ago on immigration charges — did not seek bail and were ordered held until a May 14 hearing.
Phillipos is being held until a detention hearing Monday. As he was read his rights, Federal Judge Marianne Bowler admonished him, saying, “I suggest you pay attention to me rather than looking down.”
Outside the courthouse, Harlan Protass, a lawyer for Tazhayakov, said his client “has cooperated fully with the authorities and looks forward to the truth coming out in this case.”
Tsarnaev friends had money and ‘Terrorista #1′ license plate, classmate says
From left: Azamat Tazhayakov, Dias Kadyrbayev, and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. A photograph from Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s page on VKontakt, the Russian equivalent of Facebook, appears to show him in Times Square. It is believed to be from November 2012. New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said authorities knew of two trips by Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to New York in 2012 but said he did not know whether those visits were related to any plot against Times Square.
By Miranda Leitsinger, Tom Winter and Erin McClam, NBC News
Two of the three people newly arrested in the Boston Marathon investigation are Kazakh friends of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, and one drove a BMW with a novelty license plate that said “Terrorista #1,” according to people who knew them.
The two were pictured in a 2012 photo with Tsarnaev in Times Square that was posted to VKontakt, the Russian equivalent of Facebook. Authorities say Tsarnaev and his brother, suspected in the marathon attack, discussed driving to New York and setting off more of their explosives there.
The Kazakh men, Azamat Tazhayakov and Dias Kadyrbayev, were charged Wednesday with conspiring to destroy or hide a laptop belonging to Tsarnaev and a backpack of his containing fireworks.
Both Kazakh men are 19 and were in the United States on student visas, the Justice Department said.
Stephen Troio, who said he lived on the same dorm floor as the two men during his freshman year in 2011, said that they showed “lack of emotion” and “lack of personality” and that nothing stood out about them but the BMW.
“They did have a lot of money,” Troio told NBC News. “He wrecked like three Beamers and then bought another one.”
A photo attached to the criminal complaint shows fireworks recovered from a backpack.
Criminal complaints against three college friends of Boston bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev contain new details about the case:
A month before the April 15 attack on the Boston Marathon, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev told college friends Azamat Tazhayakov and Dias Kadyrbayev over a meal that he “knew how to make a bomb,” Tazhayakov said.
When Kadyrbaev texted Tsarnaev on April 18 to say that he looked like one of the suspects in video just released by the FBI, the 19-year-old responded with messages including: “lol,” “you better not text me” and “come to my room and take whatever you want.”
Among the items Tazhayakov, Kadyrbayev and Robel Phillipos say they found in Tsarnaev’s dorm room was Vaseline, which Kadyrbayev said he believed was used to “make bombs.”
At a New Bedford, Mass., landfill, the FBI recovered the backpack containing the fireworks, the Vaseline and an assignment sheet from a University of Massachusetts class Tsarnaev was taking.
Assistant Police Chief Mike Sanford stumbles on his way to confront black-clad May Day protesters in downtown Seattle last year.
One year after a May Day demonstration erupted in vandalism and caught Seattle police ill-prepared, the Police Department says it has learned from its mistakes and is ready to respond to problems when marchers return to the streets for Wednesday’s events.
Capt. Chris Fowler, who has been assigned to oversee this year’s planning, said Monday he was given a clear directive from the police brass about a month ago: Allow peaceful marchers to exercise their free-speech rights but be prepared to arrest people who commit crimes against people or property.
That message got muddled last year, when planning didn’t begin until a week before May Day and officers were sporadically deployed, with conflicting messages regarding when they could use force to stop violence.
As a result, police found themselves undermanned when dozens of violent protesters, including black-clad anarchists, broke away from a midday march, smashing windows at the William Kenzo Nakamura U.S. Courthouse, businesses and cars in the downtown core.
Assistant Chief Mike Sanford became a lightning rod for some critics when he bolted on his own in civilian clothing to make an arrest — forcing officers to come to his rescue and use force when he tripped and found himself surrounded by hostile protesters.
While no one was hurt, the business-oriented Downtown Seattle Association (DSA), upset at the police response, called for a thorough review.
The department responded with two reviews, one internal and another by a former Los Angeles Police Department deputy chief, but they were only released April 2 after delays.
This year, police are preparing for a 1:30 p.m. rally at Judkins Park in South Seattle, followed by a march to the downtown Henry M. Jackson Federal Building beginning at 3:30 p.m.
Local police are hoping for the best, and planning for the worst.
At a small coffee shop on 5th and Water in downtown Olympia, protesters, some who consider themselves anarchists, gathered for a strategy session… May Day planning, but they didn’t let the media in and declined to send somebody out to talk with us.
We did talk with Mark McElroy across the street.
He’s not a protester but he supports their right to do so.
“I think it’s important for people to have the right to protest. That’s one of the cornerstones of American democracy is protest so I think that’s a valuable component of being an American citizen,” Mark McElroy said.
Valuable component as long as it doesn’t go too far.
Police fear the violence that erupted in Seattle last year.
“Peaceful protests are fine. Our concern is a criminal element getting mixed up in legitimate protests and causing trouble and for those folks we want them to know that won’t be tolerated,” Olympia Police department spokesperson Laura Wohl said.
By DAVID CARUSO, MICHAEL KUNZELMAN and MAX SEDDON Associated Press
Published: Sunday, Apr. 28, 2013 – 3:19 pm
Last Modified: Monday, Apr. 29, 2013 – 4:54 am
Musa Sadulayev / AP Photo
Zubeidat Tsarnaeva, the mother of the two Boston bombing suspects, speaks at a news conference as the suspects’ father, Anzor Tsarnaev listens in Makhachkala, in the southern Russian province of Dagestan, Thursday, April 25, 2013. Anzor Tsarnaev said Thursday that he is leaving Russia for the United States in the next day or two, but their mother said she was still thinking it over.
But Zubeidat Tsarnaeva is drawing increased attention after federal officials say Russian authorities intercepted her phone calls, including one in which she vaguely discussed jihad with her elder son. In another, she was recorded talking to someone in southern Russia who is under FBI investigation in an unrelated case, U.S. officials said.
In photos of her as a younger woman, Tsarnaeva wears a low-cut blouse and has her hair teased like a 1980s rock star. After she arrived in the U.S. from Russia in 2002, she went to beauty school and did facials at a suburban day spa.
Patimat Suleimanova/AP Photo
In this image taken from a video, an undated family photo provided by Patimat Suleimanova, the aunt of USA Boston bomb suspects, shows Anzor Tsarnaev left, Zubeidat Tsarnaev holding Tamerlan Tsarnaev and Anzor’s brother Mukhammad Tsarnaev. Now known as the angry and grieving mother of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects, Zubeidat Tsarnaev is drawing increased attention after federal officials say Russian authorities intercepted her phone calls, including one in which she vaguely discussed jihad with her elder son. In another, she was recorded talking to someone in southern Russia who is under FBI investigation in an unrelated case, U.S. officials said.
But in recent years, people noticed a change. She began wearing a hijab and cited conspiracy theories about 9/11 being a plot against Muslims.
Tsarnaeva insists there is no mystery and that she’s just someone who found a deeper spirituality. She fiercely defends her sons – Tamerlan, who was killed in a gunfight with police, and Dzhokhar, who was wounded and captured.
“It’s all lies and hypocrisy,” she told The Associated Press in Dagestan. “I’m sick and tired of all this nonsense that they make up about me and my children. People know me as a regular person, and I’ve never been mixed up in any criminal intentions, especially any linked to terrorism.”
At a news conference in Dagestan with her ex-husband Anzor Tsarnaev last week, Tsarnaeva appeared overwhelmed with grief one moment, defiant the next. “They already are talking about that we are terrorists, I am terrorist,” she said. “They already want me, him and all of us to look (like) terrorists.”
Amid the scrutiny, Tsarnaeva and Anzor say they have put off the idea of any trip to the U.S. to reclaim their elder son’s body or try to visit Dzhokhar in jail. Tsarnaev told the AP on Sunday he was too ill to travel to the U.S. Tsarnaeva faces a 2012 shoplifting charge in a Boston suburb, though it was unclear whether that was a deterrent.
Tsarnaeva arrived in the U.S. in 2002, settling in a working-class section of Cambridge, Mass. With four children, Anzor and Zubeidat qualified for food stamps and were on and off public assistance benefits for years. The large family squeezed itself into a third-floor apartment.
Zubeidat took classes at the Catherine Hinds Institute of Esthetics, before becoming a state-licensed aesthetician. Anzor, who had studied law, fixed cars.
By some accounts, the family was tolerant.
Bethany Smith, a New Yorker who befriended Zubeidat’s two daughters, said in an interview with Newsday that when she stayed with the family for a month in 2008 while she looked at colleges, she was welcomed even though she was Christian and had tattoos.
“I had nothing but love over there. They accepted me for who I was,” Smith told the newspaper. “Their mother, Zubeidat, she considered me to be a part of the family. She called me her third daughter.”
Zubeidat said she and Tamerlan began to turn more deeply into their Muslim faith about five years ago after being influenced by a family friend, named “Misha.” The man, whose full name she didn’t reveal, impressed her with a religious devotion that was far greater than her own, even though he was an ethnic Armenian who converted to Islam.
“I wasn’t praying until he prayed in our house, so I just got really ashamed that I am not praying, being a Muslim, being born Muslim. I am not praying. Misha, who converted, was praying,” she said.
By then, she had left her job at the day spa and was giving facials in her apartment. One client, Alyssa Kilzer, noticed the change when Tsarnaeva put on a head scarf before leaving the apartment.
Ilkham Katsuyev/AP Photo
Zubeidat Tsarnaeva, mother of Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the two men accused of setting off bombs near the Boston Marathon finish line on April 15, 2013 in Boston, walks near her home in Makhachkala, Dagestan, southern Russia, Tuesday, April 23, 2013. The Tsarnaev brothers are accused of setting off the two bombs at the Boston Marathon on April 15 that killed three people and wounded more than 260. Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, was killed in a gun battle with police. His 19-year-old brother, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, was later captured alive, but badly wounded.
“She had never worn a hijab while working at the spa previously, or inside the house, and I was really surprised,” Kilzer wrote in a post on her blog. “She started to refuse to see boys that had gone through puberty, as she had consulted a religious figure and he had told her it was sacrilegious. She was often fasting.”