The mother of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects is a “person of interest” to federal authorities seeking to learn who radicalized one or both of her sons, according to lawmakers, and a separate report said she was on a federal terrorism database some 18 months before the attack.
Zubeidat Tsarnaeva, who had reportedly become more militant in her Muslim faith around the same time as her son, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, was added to the classified intelligence database known by the acronym TIDE at the CIA’s request. Two key lawmakers said authorities now want to know if she helped put her son, who died a week ago following a shootout with police in Massachusetts, on the road to radicalism.
“She is a person of interest that we’re looking at to see if she helped radicalize her son, or had contacts with other people or other terrorist groups,” Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger, D-Md., the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, told reporters.
Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, who chairs the House Homeland Security Committee, also pointed to Zubeidat as someone who may have led Tamerlan down the path toward Islamic extremism.
“The mother in my judgment has a role in his radicalization process in terms of her influence over him (and) fundamental views of Islam,” McCaul said.
Tsarnaeva was put on the database after Russia told the CIA the mother and son were religious militants preparing to travel to Russia, the AP reported. It has already been widely reported that Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the 26-year-old suspect who died after a shootout with police in Massachusetts a week ago, was on the list.