Top intelligence official orders broad review of information

WASHINGTON — The nation’s top spy on Monday requested a broad review into “the US government’s handling of intelligence information leading up to the Boston Marathon bombings,” according to an internal memo, the latest sign that top officials are concerned that critical warning signs may have been missed that could have prevented the worst terrorist attack on American soil since 9/11.

The review, sought by James. R. Clapper, the director of national intelligence, will be overseen by the Intelligence Community Inspector General, which is responsible for investigating waste, fraud, abuse, and misconduct within the nation’s 17 intelligence agencies.

The probe comes amid mounting evidence that US intelligence and law enforcement agencies possessed information indicating that at least one of the two suspected bombers, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, had militant tendencies and traveled to the Russian province of Dagestan, home to several Islamic terrorist groups.


Both Tsarnaev and his mother, Zubeidat, were also added to at least two terrorist databases in 2011 at the request of the CIA but neither received any follow up after an initial FBI investigation earlier that year conducted at the request of Russia’s Federal Security Service.

The new review of agencies’ handling of information prior to the attack will be conducted in conjunction with the inspectors general from the CIA, Department of Justice (which oversees the FBI), and the Department of Homeland Security, which “have agreed to conduct coordinated reviews of the intelligence agencies and law enforcement agencies involved,” according to the memo, a copy of which was obtaiend by The Boston Globe.

The twin bombs that went off near the finish line in Copley Square on April 15 killed three and wounded more than 200 others, while an MIT police officer was shot to death during the hunt for the suspects in which Tamerlan Tsarnaev was killed and his brother, Dzokhar, was captured.


Bryan Bender can be reached at bender@globe.com.