Who Put Tamerlan on Watch List?

Yesterday I read that the FBI put Tamerlan Tsarnaev on the Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment (TIDE), a list of about 700,000 names compiled by the National Counterterrorism Center.*

Today, I’m reading that the FBI didn’t put him on the list after getting the warning from Russia, but the CIA did six months later, after getting the same warning.**

All I’m really sure of at this point is that, once again, our bureaucracies are trying to make sure someone else takes the fall.

Janet Napolitano says that Tamerlan “pinged” the system when he left for Russia, but didn’t “ping” when he came back, after visiting Islamic terror havens Dagestan and Chechnya, because his time on the list had expired.  If spending seven months in those places isn’t enough to keep you active on the list until they can check what you did there, what is?

Also, the WaPo story says that given the timing of the CIA’s putting Tsarnaev on the TIDE, he might still have been on the list when he came back, so that Customs should have notified the FBI.

We’re getting lots more finger pointing than answers.

* See “Why the FBI Didn’t Catch Tamerlan Tsarnaev,” Philip Bump, The Atlantic Wire

** See “CIA  pushed to add Boston bomber to terror watch list,” Greg Miller, WaPo

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