In photos of her as a younger woman, Zubeidat Tsarnaeva wears a low-cut blouse and has her hair teased like a 1980s rock star. After she arrived in the U.S. from Russia in 2002, she went to beauty school and did facials at a suburban day spa.
But in recent years, people noticed a change. She began wearing a hijab and cited conspiracy theories about 9/11 being a plot against Muslims.
Now known as the angry and raving mother of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects, Tsarnaeva is drawing increased attention after federal officials say Russian authorities intercepted her phone calls, including one in which she vaguely discussed jihad with her elder son. In another, she was recorded talking to someone in southern Russia who is under FBI investigation in an unrelated case, U.S. officials said.
Tsarnaeva insists there is no mystery. She’s not a terrorist, just someone who found a deeper spirituality. She insists her sons – Tamerlan, who was killed in a gunfight with police, and Dzhokhar, who was wounded and captured – are innocent.
“It’s all lies and hypocrisy,” she told The Associated Press in Dagestan. “I’m sick and tired of all this nonsense that they make up about me and my children. People know me as a regular person, and I’ve never been mixed up in any criminal intentions, especially any linked to terrorism.”
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Thanks to the “Public Safety Exception” to Miranda (which was created in 1980), the government is not forced to choose between treating a suspect as an enemy combatant or immediately allowing said suspect to hide behind an attorney and the right to remain silent. In extraordinary circumstances, when a suspect is believed to be part of a broader conspiracy that might result in the loss of innocent life, authorities have 48 hours to question the suspect before mirandizing him.
Dzokhar Tsarnaev, the man suspected of being a co-conspirator in the Boston Marathon bombings, was mirandized after only 16 hours of questioning. According to a Fox News, FBI officials were “stunned” when federal District Court Judge Marianne Bowler arrived at the hospital and read Tsnarnaev his rights. Sources told Fox News that this premature action might have hurt the investigation.
Apparently, prior to Judge Bowler reading him his rights, Tsarnaev was cooperating with investigators. The arrival of public defenders and the Justice Department, though, compromised the interrogation and now the belief is that “valuable intelligence may have been sacrificed as a result.”
This is not the first time the Obama Administration has been criticized for its rush to award a terrorism suspect the right to remain silent and to hide behind an attorney. On Christmas day in 2009, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab (aka The Underwear Bomber), attempted to blow up a plane with plastic explosive hidden in his pants. Using the Public Safety Exception, Abdulmutallab was interrogated — but only for 50 minutes.
After being read his rights and receiving medical care, Abdulmutallab chose to remain silent.
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• One Boston Marathon bombing suspect is dead, the other is the target of a massive manhunt. They were brothers, originally from the Russian region near Chechnya, before ending up in the Boston area.
• The surviving suspect has been identified by news organizations as Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev, 19, who had been living in Cambridge just outside Boston.
• The brothers have been living legally in the U.S. for at least one year.
Latest updates below:
UPDATE 12:47 p.m. ET — NBC News reports additional details about the carjacking and shootout ended with the death of one of the suspected bombers. They reportedly told the driver of the Mercedes SUV they were behind the marathon bombings, then tried to use his cash card to withdraw money from three ATMs. The suspects ultimately released the driver unharmed at a Cambridge gas station:
As they sped toward Watertown, a police chase ensued and the suspects tossed explosive devices out the window, officials said.
There was a long exchange of gunfire, according to Andrew Kitzenberg of Watertown, who took photos of the clash from his window and spread them on social media.
“They were also utilizing bombs, which sounded and looked like grenades, while engaging in the gunfight,” he told NBC News in an interview. “They also had what looked like a pressure-cooker bomb.
“I saw them light this bomb. They threw it towards the officers,” he said. “There was smoke that covered our entire street.” […]
Kitzenberg said he saw the firefight end when Tamerlan Tsarnaev ran toward the officers and ultimately fell to the ground…[he] had an improvised explosive device strapped to his chest, law enforcement officials said.
Dzhokhar…drove the SUV through a line of police officers at the end of the street, Kitzenberg said.
UPDATE 11:41 a.m. ET — From ABC News: Anzor Tsarnaev, the father of the suspected bombers, called on his remaining son to give up peacefully, but said if he is killed, “all hell will break loose.”
The father said he spoke to his sons by phone earlier this week. “We talked about the bombing. I was worried about then,” Anzor Tsarnaev said.
He said his sons reassured him, saying, “Everything is good, Daddy. Everything is very good.”
The elder Tsarnaev insisted that his sons were innocent, but said he would appeal to his son to “surrender peacefully.”
“Give up. Give up. You have a bright future ahead of you. Come home to Russia,” the dad said.
The father warned, however, “If they killed him, then all hell would break loose.”
UPDATE 11:29 a.m. ET — Ruslan Tsarni, uncle of the two bombing suspects, said from his home in Maryland: “If you’re alive, turn yourself in and ask for forgiveness…He put a shame on the Tsarni family and put a shame on the entire Chechen ethnicity.”
UPDATE 10:17 a.m. ET — NBC News reports 26-year-old Tamerlan Tsarnaev was found with an improvised explosive device on his body.
UPDATE 10:03 a.m. ET — From the Boston Globe:
The Tsarnaev family moved to Dagestan from Kyrgyzstan in 2001, a spokesman at a school the children attended told Russia Today […]
“He arrived at our school in first grade and left in second,” Irina Bandurina, the secretary at Makhachkala’s School No.1, told RT. “They arrived from Kyrgyzstan and departed to the US. I’m telling you they lived here for a year. Not the whole year. They arrived at the school in 2001 and departed in March 2002 … There were four of them – two sisters and two brothers… It’s written here that they are from Kyrgyzstan. They are Chechens.”
UPDATE 9:56 a.m. ET — NBC News reports police are now looking for two suspects.
UPDATE 9:41 a.m. — The Cambridge Chronicle reports that the MIT officer killed in last night’s shooting was Sean Collier, 26, of Somerville, Mass.
UPDATE 8:50 a.m. ET — The Associated Press reports:
[T]he uncle of the suspects in the Boston Marathon bombings [is] confirming that the name of the second suspect is Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the older brother of Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev, 19. […]
The uncle, Ruslan Tsarni of Montgomery Village, Md., told The Associated Press that the men lived together near Boston and have been in the United States for about a decade. They traveled here together from the Russian region near Chechnya.
UPDATE 7:54 a.m. ET — NBC News reports the dead suspect has been identified as Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, born in Russia.
UPDATE 7:36 a.m. ET – CNN reports the family fled Chechnya for Kazakhstan several years ago before ending up in Boston.
The older (deceased) brother was a college student at Bunker Community College, had aspired to become an engineer. He once posted on a social media account, “I don’t have any American friends, I don’t understand them.”
CNN states on air, “They are Islamic.”
UPDATE 7: 27 a.m. ET – Fox News reports Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev (surviving suspect) was one of 50 students who received money for higher education from a local community in Cambridge in 2011.
UPDATE 7:16 a.m. ET — President Obama has been briefed on developments.
UPDATE 7:05 a.m. ET — NBC News and the AP report the bombing suspects are brothers of Chechen origin; had been legal permanent residents in the U.S. for one year; ages 19 and 20. Surviving suspect identified as Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev, 19, of Cambridge, Mass.
UPDATE 6:36 am ET: Fox’s Jennifer Griffin also added that officials are telling them “privately” that they are looking into the possibility that the two suspects have military-type training and have come from overseas
UPDATE 6:04 a.m. ET — With Suspect Number 2 still on the loose, police have businesses and residents on alert in the suburbs surrounding Boston. Federal, state and local authorities have spread around the local suburb of Watertown, among other areas, where they are working diligently to try and track him down.
Police are reportedly going door-to-door and telling people to stay inside of their homes. Authorities have made this recommendation for residents in Watertown, Newton, Waltham, Belmont, Cambridge and the Allston-Brighton neighborhoods of Boston to stay indoors.
UPDATE 5:24 a.m. ET — NBC News, citing law enforcement sources, is reporting that the two suspects in the Boston Marathon bombings have international ties and have been in the U.S. legally for about a year. It is the first piece of key information about the alleged terrorists that will undoubtedly come pouring in over the next few days.
UPDATE 4:22 a.m. ET — Officials have confirmed that the suspect at large in Watertown is “suspect 2″ in the Boston Marathon bombings. “Suspect 1″ is believed to have been killed in shootout with police.
Read more here.
Feiz Mohammad, the radical preacher cited by dead Boston Marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev, is a former boxer who blames women for being raped and called for a prominent Dutch politician to be beheaded.
Widely known as ‘Sheikh Feiz’, the preacher was born in Australia circa 1970-1 but fled to Lebanon, the homeland of his parents, eight years ago after becoming one of the world’s most controversial Islamic lecturers.
He has been investigated by Australian police for inciting violence and terrorism, and was even captured on a British TV documentary encouraging children to become martyrs for Islam six years ago.
Feiz has been described by some as Australia’s most dangerous sheikh, because of the number of connections he holds to known terrorists.
Although it is not known whether the hardline sheikh has any direct links to Al-Qaeda, he has regularly broadcast sermons from the group’s spiritual leader, Anwar al-Awlaki, on his website.