As the surviving Boston Marathon bombing suspect, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, continues to recover from his injuries under close guard at the Federal Medical Center at Fort Devens in Ft. Devens, Mass., Investigators have ramped up the search for clarity on what drove the 19-year-old and his older brother, Tamarlan, to orchestrate the attacks that killed three and wounded 260.
Dzhokhar, who was wounded in the neck during his standoff with Boston SWAT officers, has only spoken one word since his capture and is primarily communicating through writing.
Authorities have reported that his initial cooperation during questioning ceased once he was read his Miranda Rights. During that period, he admitted his involvement in the bombings and indicated that he and his brother acted independently from any foreign organizations. He also told investigators that the brothers had made plans to conduct a second bombing, targeting Times Square in New York City.
While Tamarlan had shown a history of increasingly radicalized behavior over recent years, Dzhokhar’s involvement in the bombings has been seen as a complete surprise. Tamarlan had displayed a growing interest in Jihadist ideology online, and had lashed out at neighbors, girlfriends and even his mosque’s community with hard line religious statements. In stark contrast, Dzhokhar had by all accounts been well adjusted to American society.
He was considered popular in high school and seldom discussed religious or political views with his peers. Shortly after the explosions, he posted a tweet expressing sympathy with the citizens of Boston and made similar remarks upon his return to the University of Massachusetts, where he was studying.
Many of his classmates expressed skepticism upon the initial reports that implicated him as a suspect. While a full picture of Dzhokhar’s ideology is unlikely to emerge before his trial, he has indicated that U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East and Central Asia was a motivating factor in his actions.
While the FBI has stated that it believes that the brothers did act alone and were “self-radicalized,” federal investigators have looked into any possible contact they had with other extremists while obtaining bomb materials or training. It is suspected that the bombers learned explosive-making methods from Inspire magazine, an online publication run by al-Qaida’s Yemeni branch, as several articles on making IEDs described a similar method of using a pressure cooker as used in Boston.
The FBI has also revealed that it interviewed Tamarlan in 2011 after having received a tip from the FSB, their Russian equivalent.
However, several leading politicians have publicly stated their doubt that the Tsarnaevs acted without the support of international terrorist groups. Rep. Michael McCaul of Texas, who is chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security, stated on an interview with Fox News that it was too early to rule out foreign involvement and noted that the bombing materials and techniques were similar to those pioneered by insurgents fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Information from The New York Times, The Huffington Post, MSNBC News and The Boston Herald were used in this article.