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U.S. Lawmakers Seek Russia Cooperation

U.S. Representative Dana Rohrabacher (R-California)
U.S. Representative Dana Rohrabacher (R-California)
By RFE/RL
U.S. lawmakers say they found no evidence in Russia suggesting that U.S. agents could have done anything differently to prevent the Boston Marathon bombings.

But the Americans say the U.S. and Russia should start cooperating more closely on terrorist threats to thwart such attacks in the future.

"Radical Islam is at our throat in the United States and it's at the throat of the Russian people," Representative Dana Rohrabacher, a Republican from California, told reporters June 2 at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow.

He continued: "There's an emerging threat to our security and our prosperity from a China that seems to be allying itself with all of the horrible regimes around the world and positioning itself against Russia and against the United States of America. These are the major threats to our well-being and we need to be working together more closely."

U.S. investigators say two ethnic Chechen brothers who immigrated from Russia carried out the April 15 Boston bombings that killed three people and injured more than 260 others.

Russian security agencies in 2011 raised concerns with their U.S. counterparts about the possible Islamic radicalization of one of the brothers, Tamerlan Tsarnaev.

The FBI closed its initial investigation of Tsarnaev after interviewing him in Massachusetts and conducting a routine assessment following the Russian warning.

Tsarnaev visited Daghestan in Russia's North Caucasus region in 2012.

Four days after the Boston bombings, Tsarnaev, 26, was killed in a police shootout and his brother Dzokhar, 19, was arrested.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev could face the death penalty if convicted of carrying out the bombing. The mother of the brothers has said the charges against them are lies.

Since the bombings, some U.S. politicians have faulted U.S. agencies for failing to communicate effectively about the potential threat posed by the Tsarnaev brothers.

But Rohrabacher said he found no evidence during his meetings in Russia that U.S. agents could have done anything else that might have halted the attack. He said U.S. agents appeared to have acted appropriately, given the extent of their cooperation with Russia.

But he said the level of U.S.-Russian cooperation was “unacceptable.” Rohrabacher said that if U.S. and Russian agencies had been cooperating more closely to begin with, it was possible the attack could have been derailed.

Rohrabacher added that some of the six-member U.S. congressional delegation’s meetings in Russia, including with the FSB Federal Security Service, had been arranged by Hollywood action-movie star Steven Seagal.

Seagal, who attended the news conference at the U.S. Embassy, met with President Vladimir Putin in March and recently visited Chechnya for talks with Ramzan Kadyrov, the Kremlin-backed leader of the North Caucasus republic.

Based on reports from Reuters and AP

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