GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

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May 1, 2013

Bomb probes eye FBI role, Mass. benefits

BOSTON — Inundated with papers after a request for information on public assistance received by the immediate family of suspected terrorists, the chairman of the state’s House Committee on Post Audit and Oversight says that information is under review.

“Clearly, if our public tax dollars were in any way used to help support the horrific, horrific events that occurred here, it is something that would appall all of us,” Chairman David Linsky, D-Natick told reporters after a brief meeting at which he made a statement before the committee recessed.

That probe comes as President Obama vowed Tuesday to leave no stone unturned in reviewing whether any sensitive intelligence was missed that could have stopped the deadly Marathon terrorism attacks.

Obama called it “standard procedure,” but said the review, which will last only 90 days, would help determine if all the information was shared properly.

“Based on what I’ve seen so far, the FBI performed its duties, the Department of Homeland Security did what it was supposed to be doing,” Obama told a White House news conference, describing how the FBI interviewed Tamerlan Tsarnaev, a suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings who died in an escape attempt.

But he said it would help determine whether “there were additional things that could have been done.”

Federal lawmakers have suggested that an intelligence breakdown may have contributed to the attacks.

“Just because the FBI didn’t find derogatory information about the suspects doesn’t mean it wasn’t there to be found,” said Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., a member of the House intelligence committee. “But nor should we leap to a conclusion of malfeasance. Instead this review may produce one important component of the ‘lessons learned’ from the attacks,” he added Tuesday.

Officials in Russia Tuesday confirmed that Russian agents placed the elder Boston bombing suspect under surveillance during a six-month visit to southern Russia last year, then scrambled to find him when he suddenly disappeared after police killed a Canadian jihadist, a security official told The Associated Press.

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