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The Boston bombings: Questions abound

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Saturday, April 20, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

More questions than answers come with the killing of Tamerlan Tsarnaev and the capture of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the legally U.S.-living Chechen brothers suspected of planting the bombs of death and carnage at last week's Boston Marathon.

Some are obvious. Why did they do it? What was the source material for their “pressure-cooker” bombs? Were they influenced in any way by their Chechen background? And if so, were they lone wolves or were there ties to a major terrorist group in Chechnya? Computer and phone records hopefully will provide clues.

Was the radicalization of Tamerlan, 26, the older brother, self-realized or was it more formal, facilitated by his trips abroad? And how did he come to radicalize Dzhokhar, 19, who, by most outward appearances and friends' accounts, had experienced a decade-long and picture-perfect assimilation into American society?

But some of the questions are not so obvious. It turns out that Tamerlan was no stranger to federal investigators. The FBI interviewed him two years ago. An unnamed foreign government — said to be Russia — wanted him vetted because it suspected ties to Chechen extremists. Supposedly, none were found. Is that the whole story?

Without elaboration, the Obama administration says the Russian government closely cooperated with the United States in the bombing investigation. Did Russia have information that we didn't? If it did, why didn't we have it two years ago?

And will the Boston bombings serve as an inspiration to others to begin a new era of civilian-centered attacks on U.S. soil? Or will law enforcement's excellent and expeditious work in nabbing the brothers Tsarnaev actually prove to be a deterrent?

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