WASHINGTON — New information emerged Wednesday from U.S. officials that the name of one of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects had been added to a U.S. government terrorist database long before the explosions. At the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, more than 4,000 mourners paid tribute to a campus police officer who authorities say was gunned down by the suspects.
Among the speakers at the memorial service in Cambridge, just outside Boston, was Vice President Joe Biden, who condemned the bombing suspects as "two twisted, perverted, cowardly, knockoff jihadis."
In a striking new development, U.S. officials said the name of the dead suspect, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, was added by the CIA to a terrorist database 18 months ago. The officials spoke to The Associated press on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about the ongoing case.
The disclosure was significant because officials have been saying the U.S. intelligence community had no relevant information leading up to the April 15 bombings, which killed three people and injured more than 260 others. Inclusion of one of the bomb suspects' name in a database for 18 months before the attack could prompt congressional inquiries about whether the U.S. government adequately investigated tips from Russia that Tsarnaev posed a security threat.
Tsarnaev's younger brother, surviving suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, was listed in fair condition as he recovered from wounds suffered during a getaway attempt. He could get the death penalty if convicted of plotting with his older brother to set off the pressure-cooker bombs near the marathon's finish line. Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, died in a shootout with police.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's father has called him a "true angel," and an aunt has insisted he's not guilty. His public defender didn't immediately return a call seeking comment Wednesday.