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Boston blasts suspect out of danger, grilled by FBI

April 30, 2013 11:19 IST

Boston bombings suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who is being treated in a hospital with multiple injuries including gunshots, is out of danger, a United States lawmaker familiar with his health situation has said.

"He is certainly out of danger. He certainly was able to communicate. He had an operation, some kind of surgical procedure in the middle of his interrogation, and he is doing fairly well," Congressman Peter King told the CNN.

The New York lawmaker, who sits on both the Homeland Security and Intelligence Committees of the House of Representatives which have been briefed multiple times by investigative authorities, said that the Federal Bureau of Investigation is also looking at other persons of interests in the case.

In addition to 19-year-old Dzhokhar, who has been charged with conspiracy to use of weapons of mass destruction, the FBI has named his elder brother Tamerlan, 29, as the main suspect. He died in a police shoot-out soon after the blasts.

Nearly 27,000 people were participating in the marathon, a popular event that is held annually on the third Monday of April, when two blasts hit the cheering crowd, killing three persons and wounding over 200.

"There is no doubt there are certain people that are being looked at very carefully, very closely," King said, adding that the police have questioned the wife of Tamerlan.

"There has been some level of cooperation, but again, I would just say, again, from my own instincts and talking to some people involved, it certainly raises questions that the
bomber has a wife, one child and a relatively small apartment and is able to put these explosives together, able to obtain all of these materials, able to move about without really having a job, to back to Russia and come back without the wife having some knowledge of what he was up to," King said.

"I don't have evidence for that. I can't tell you what she has been telling the FBI. If I were involved in the investigation and I'm not for her involvement, I would certainly question the wife as she is being questioned to find out, if nothing else, to find out who the husband was in contact with, about his comings and goings, who could have radicalised him," he said.

Responding to a question on Russia intercepting conversations between Tamerlan and his mother on their alleged jihadi links, King said there is no doubt that there was communication involving the mother where she made it clear that she thought her son was a confirmed jihadi or certainly a confirmed radical who would be willing to die or who was willing to carry out whatever he was asked to do.

"That at least is the tone and the thrust of the communication. Now, exactly what form of communication it is, I don't know if I am really at liberty to say that. The fact is no doubt that the mother made statements like this or had indicated this. The Russians are aware of it, and the Russians did not give it to the FBI back in 2011. If they had, I think it definitely would have changed the whole tone of the investigation and it well could have led to a very different result," King said.

"And all of us wish that the Russians had provided that information to the FBI when the FBI did ask for additional information and the Russians did not respond to them," he said, adding that the Russians are co-operating in the probe.

"The Russians also see this as an opportunity to have America realise the importance of the danger of the whole Chechen movement. And, so, I think it serves the Russians' purposes right now. However, there is always going to be a certain level of distrust between the US and Russia, between our intelligence agencies and theirs. So, they will give us, I think, whatever helps them," he said.

"They will not give us anything which is going to reveal any of their sources and methods. But they are certainly being much more forthcoming. I think both sides see this as an opportunity now, both the United States and Russia, see this as an opportunity to make progress, certainly as far as this case is concerned and also as far as international terrorism is concerned," King said.

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