WASHINGTON — President Obama on Tuesday defended the FBI’s handling of Russian intelligence tips on one of the alleged Boston Marathon bombers, even as he endorsed an investigation into the lessons to be learned from the case, including ways to better confront the threat of homegrown terrorists.
While much of the focus from law enforcement officials has been on examining whether suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev was radicalized during a six-month trip to Dagestan in 2012, Obama has asked counterterrorism advisers to look at ways to thwart people who may become radicalized in America.
“One of the dangers that we now face are self-radicalized individuals who are already here in the United States — in some cases, may not be part of any kind of network, but because of whatever warped, twisted ideas they may have, may decide to carry out an attack,” Obama said on Tuesday at a White House press conference, the first time he has taken questions since the Boston Marathon bombings. “And those are in some ways more difficult to prevent.”
Obama said that for “months’’ before the April 15 bombings, he had been asking his counterterrorism team what more could be done to identify and prevent such a domestic threat. He appeared to suggest a solution might be closer cooperation with organizations on American soil, while also acknowledging the potential for civil-liberties concerns.
“Are there more things that we can do, whether it’s engaging with communities where there’s a potential for self-radicalization of this sort?” Obama said. “Is there work that can be done in terms of detection? But all of this has to be done in the context of our laws, due process.”
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