You can now read 5 articles in a month for free on BostonGlobe.com. Read as much as you want anywhere and anytime for just 99¢.

Russians secretly recorded Tsarnaev calls, talk of jihad

WASHINGTON — Russian authorities secretly recorded a telephone conversation in 2011 in which one of the Boston bombing suspects vaguely discussed jihad with his mother, officials said Saturday, days after the US government finally received details about the call.

In another conversation, the mother of the now-dead bombing suspect, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, was recorded talking to someone in southern Russia who is under FBI investigation in an unrelated case, officials said.

Continue reading below

The conversations are significant because, had they been revealed earlier, they might have provided enough evidence for the FBI to initiate a more thorough investigation of the Tsarnaev family.

As it was, Russian authorities told the FBI only that they had concerns that Tamerlan and his mother were religious extremists. With no additional information, the FBI conducted a limited inquiry and closed the case in June 2011.

Two years later, authorities say Tamerlan and his brother, Dzhokhar, detonated two homemade bombs near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, killing three and injuring more than 260. Tamerlan was killed in a police shootout and Dzhohkar is under arrest.

In the past week, Russian authorities turned over to the United States information it had on Tamerlan and his mother, Zubeidat Tsarnaeva. The Tsarnaevs are ethnic Chechens who immigrated from southern Russia to the Boston area about a decade ago.

Even had the FBI received the information from the Russian wiretaps earlier, it’s not clear that the government could have prevented the attack.

In early 2011, the Russian FSB internal security service intercepted a conversation between Tamerlan and his mother vaguely discussing jihad, according to US officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the investigation with reporters.

The two discussed the possibility of Tamerlan going to Palestine, but he told his mother he did not speak the language there, said the officials, who reviewed the information Russia shared with the United States.

In a second call, Zubeidat Tsarnaeva spoke with a man in the Caucasus region of Russia who was under FBI investigation. There was no information in the conversation that suggested a plot inside the United States, officials said.

Loading comments...
Subscriber Log In

We hope you've enjoyed your 5 free articles'

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Already a subscriber?
Your city. Your stories. Your Globe.
Yours FREE for two weeks.
Enjoy free unlimited access to Globe.com for the next two weeks.
Limited time only - No credit card required!
BostonGlobe.com complimentary digital access has been provided to you, without a subscription, for free starting today and ending in 14 days. After the free trial period, your free BostonGlobe.com digital access will stop immediately unless you sign up for BostonGlobe.com digital subscription. Current print and digital subscribers are not eligible for the free trial.
Thanks & Welcome to Globe.com
You now have unlimited access for the next two weeks.
BostonGlobe.com complimentary digital access has been provided to you, without a subscription, for free starting today and ending in 14 days. After the free trial period, your free BostonGlobe.com digital access will stop immediately unless you sign up for BostonGlobe.com digital subscription. Current print and digital subscribers are not eligible for the free trial.