10 April 2014

Statement of the Inspectors General of the
Intelligence Community, the Central Intelligence Agency,
the Department of Justice, and the Department of Homeland Security
on the Completion of the IC IG Forum Review of the Boston Marathon Bombings


The Inspectors General (IG) of the Intelligence Community (IC), the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the Department of Justice (DOJ), and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) today issued their report examining the U.S. government’s handling and sharing of information prior to the Boston Marathon bombings. The full report is classified. An unclassified summary of the report also has been released. Based on all the information gathered during our coordinated review, we believe the FBI, CIA, DHS, and NCTC generally shared information, and followed procedures appropriately. We identified a few areas where broader information sharing between agencies may have been required, or where broader information sharing in the future should be considered.


On April 15, 2013, two pressure cooker bombs placed near the finish line of the Boston Marathon detonated within seconds of each other, killing three and injuring more than two hundred people. Law enforcement officials identified brothers Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev as primary suspects in the bombings. Law enforcement officials ultimately encountered Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in Watertown, Massachusetts. Tamerlan Tsarnaev was shot during the encounter and was pronounced dead shortly thereafter. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who fled the scene, was apprehended the following day and remains in federal custody.


Tamerlan Tsarnaev and his mother previously had come to the attention of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) based on information received from the Russian government in March 2011. The FBI-led Joint Terrorism Task Force in Boston (Boston JTTF) conducted an assessment of Tamerlan Tsarnaev to determine whether he posed a threat to national security and closed the assessment three months later having found no link or “nexus” to terrorism.


In September 2011, the Russian government provided the CIA information on Tamerlan Tsarnaev that was substantively identical to the information the Russian Government had provided to the FBI in March 2011. In October 2011, the CIA provided information obtained from the Russian government regarding Tamerlan Tsarnaev to the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) for watchlisting purposes, and to the FBI, DHS, and the Department of State for their information. Upon NCTC’s receipt of the information, Tamerlan Tsarnaev was added to the terrorist watchlist.


Three months later, in January 2012, Tamerlan Tsarnaev traveled to Russia. He spent approximately six months in Russia, returning to the United States in July 2012. Tsarnaev’s travel to Russia did not result in additional vetting at the airport or prompt additional investigative steps to determine whether he posed a threat to national security.

Following the bombings, the Intelligence Community Inspectors General Forum, with the support of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI), determined that the Inspectors General of the IC, CIA, DHS, and DOJ would conduct a coordinated review of the handling and sharing of information available to the U.S. government prior to the Boston Marathon bombings.


The objectives of this review were to determine:


To meet these objectives, the Offices of Inspector General (OIGs) sought to determine what information was known to the U.S. government prior to April 15, 2013, and to identify what additional information existed and may have been available to the U.S. government before the bombings. In considering whether information that existed prior to the bombings was “available” to the U.S. government, the OIGs took into account the limited facts known to U.S. government agencies prior to the bombings and the extent of the government’s authority under prevailing legal standards to access that information.


The review was conducted by teams from the OIGs of the DOJ, CIA, DHS, and the IC. The OIGs reviewed thousands of documents and interviewed more than 160 individuals, including senior CIA, FBI, DHS, and NCTC officials. Each OIG was responsible for obtaining and reviewing relevant information from the agencies within its respective oversight jurisdiction. While the review teams shared relevant documents, attended briefings, and participated jointly in interviews of certain witnesses, each OIG was responsible for evaluating the actions of, and information available to, its respective agencies. Additionally, each OIG conducted or directed its component agencies to conduct database searches to identify relevant pre-bombing information.


Each participating OIG reached conclusions about the actions taken or not taken by its component agencies. Our most significant specific conclusions are described in the public summary released today. These include the following:



IC IG I. Charles McCullough, III, stated: “The report released by the four IGs today provides a comprehensive and independent review of the handling and sharing of information leading up to the Boston Marathon bombings, and provides recommendations to improve those critical processes. While the full report has been classified, it has been provided to Congress through appropriate means, and it is the hope of all of us who participated in this review that it, coupled with the public summary that we are pleased to be able to release today, will add considerably to the understanding of the issues discussed in the report and, ultimately, help contribute to the safety and security of our country as a result.”