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Saudi Arabia warned U.S., U.K. in writing about Boston Marathon bomber in 2012

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
May 1st, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Boston Marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev killed in a police standoff last month had numerous red flags raised against him before the tragedy that claimed three lives and left more than a hundred people injured. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia sent a written warning about Tsarnaev to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in 2012.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic online) - According to a senior Saudi government official with direct knowledge of the document, the Saudi warning was separate from the multiple red flags raised by Russian intelligence in 2011.

The Saudi government also denied an entry visa to the elder Tsarnaev brother in December 2011, when he hoped to make a pilgrimage to Mecca. The information was also shared with the British government. "It was very specific" the Saudi official warned, that "something was going to happen in a major U.S. city."

The official said that the warning "did name Tamerlan specifically," he added. Sent to the Department of Homeland Security at the highest level, the warning did not name Boston or suggest a date for his planned attack.

If this is true, the Homeland Security department and the White House need to explain their collective inaction after similar warnings were offered about Tsarnaev by the Russian government.

A department of Homeland Security official denies ever receiving and such warning from Saudi intelligence about Tamerlan Tsarnaev.

"DHS has no knowledge of any communication from the Saudi government regarding information on the suspects in the Boston Marathon Bombing prior to the attack," a Homeland Security official said. They declined to be named in this report.

The White House took a similar view. "We and other relevant U.S. government agencies have no record of such a letter being received," said Caitlin Hayden, a spokesperson for the president's National Security Council.

It's theorized that the letter most likely came to DHS via the Saudi Ministry of Interior, the agency tasked with protecting the Saudi kingdom's homeland.

A Homeland Security official did confirm on the condition of anonymity that the 2012 letter exists.

An aide to a Republican member of the House Homeland Security Committee speculated Tuesday about why the Obama administration contradicted the knowledgeable Saudi official.

"It is possible the Department of Homeland Security received the information from the Saudi government but never passed it on to the White House," the GOP staffer said. "Communication between DHS and the White House's national security apparatus isn't always what it should be."

"I can easily see it happening where one hand didn't know what the other was doing because of a turf war."

"Just like the different agencies in the Boston JTTF [Joint Terrorism Task Force] want credit for breaking the Tsarnaev case," the aide added, "they sometimes jealously guard the very intel they should be sharing the most freely. Sometimes it makes no sense at all."

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