WASHINGTON -- House Intelligence Committee Chair Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) said Boston bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev may have traveled to Russia under an alias in 2012.
Law enforcement officials confirmed Saturday that the FBI had interrogated Tsarnaev in 2011 after the Russian government raised concerns to U.S. authorities that he was a follower of radical Islam. Rogers told NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday that the FBI stopped tracking Tsarnaev after a foreign intelligence service failed to cooperate with its investigation.
"The FBI did their due diligence, did a very thorough job about trying to run that to ground and then asked for more help from that intelligence service to get further clarification," said Rogers. "Unfortunately, that intelligence service stopped cooperating, so what happens is that case gets closed down."
He then said that Tsarnaev "may have actually traveled on an alias to get back to his home country" last year and "that six and a half months or so becomes extremely important."
"You know he had some radicalization before he left. You know that he didn't probably travel on his own name or some variation of his own name," Rogers said, noting that Tsarnaev's shift to a more radical ideology and more devout Muslim practices allegedly emerged after his 2012 trip.
"It would lead one to believe that's probably where he got that final radicalization to push him to commit acts of violence and where he may have received training on what we ultimately saw last Monday," Rogers suggested.
Some lawmakers have criticized the FBI for not placing Tsarnaev on a watch list after questioning him over his increasingly radical beliefs. On Sunday, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) accused authorities of dropping the ball, while Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) said the FBI has repeatedly overlooked possible links to terrorist activity among a subset of Muslims in the United States.
Tamerlan Tsarnaev died early Friday in Watertown, Mass., after a violent confrontation with law enforcement officers. His younger brother, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, was captured late Friday following an extensive manhunt and remains in serious condition at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston.