Boston suspects planned bombs in New York, Mayor Bloomberg says
by By Mark Hosenball and Edith Honan
The two men accused of carrying out last week's bombing of the Boston Marathon planned a second bomb attack on New York's Times Square, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said on Thursday.
The brothers Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's original intent when they hijacked a car and its driver in Boston last Thursday night was to drive to New York with bombs and detonate them in Times Square, but their plan fell apart when they became embroiled in a shootout with police.
"Last night we were informed by the FBI that the surviving attacker revealed that New York City was next on their list of targets," Bloomberg said at New York City Hall. "He and his older brother intended to drive to New York and detonate those explosives in Times Square."
One law enforcement source said earlier this was based on what surviving suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, told investigators in a Boston hospital. He is recovering from gunshot wounds in Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, where he was formally charged on Monday with crimes that could carry the death penalty.
Tsarnaev's attorney, Miriam Conrad, declined to comment on Thursday on whether her wounded client was still talking with investigators.
Meanwhile, the father of the brothers said he planned to travel to the United States from Russia to bury his older son, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who was killed in a police shootout.
"I am going to the United States. I want to say that I am going there to see my son, to bury the older one. I don't have any bad intentions. I don't plan to blow up anything," Anzor Tsarnaev told reporters in Makhachkala, the capital of Russia's Dagestan region.
The bombing killed three people and injured 264 others.
Near Washington, the focus remained on intelligence leading up to the Boston Marathon bombing. Tamerlan Tsarnaev had been on a federal database of potential terrorism suspects and that the United States had twice been warned about him by Russian authorities. Congressional testimony earlier in the week had focused on whether the Federal Bureau of Investigation made mistakes in tracking the ethnic Chechen.
"We're in the post-event witch hunt phase, which is predictable," said James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence, at a conference in Crystal City, Virginia. "I think it would be a real good idea to not hyperventilate for a while now until we actually get all the facts."
ARREST WARRANT FOR WIFE
Anzor's former wife, Zubeidat Tsarnaeva, angrily denied that her son had any role in the attack and criticized police for shooting her 26-year-old son while apprehending him.
Tsarnaeva does not plan to accompany her former husband on his trip. One factor that may have influenced Zubeidat Tsarnaeva's decision not to travel with her former husband is an outstanding arrest warrant in Massachusetts.
A warrant for Zubeidat Tsarnaeva's arrest was issued on October 25 after she failed to make a court appearance on shoplifting-related charges, according to Natick District Court Clerk Brian Kearney.
Tsarnaeva was arrested in June at a Lord & Taylor department store on suspicion of shoplifting $1,624 worth of women's dresses, according to the Natick Police Department.
Tamerlan Tsarnaev's widow, 24-year-old Katherine Russell, also has a criminal record. In 2007, shortly after graduating from high school, she was arrested for stealing five items valued at $67.00 from an Old Navy in Warwick, Rhode Island.
Russell's lawyer, Amato DeLuca, said earlier this week that his client knew nothing about the Tsarnaev brothers' activities.
YOUNGER BROTHER IN HOSPITAL
The U.S. Marshals Service, which is responsible for holding and transporting suspects outside of prison, declined to comment on whether or when Dzhokhar Tsarnaev might be moved from the hospital.
"It is our policy not to comment on prisoner movements until they have been completed," said spokeswoman Lynzey Donahue. "We do ensure that prisoners in our custody receive medical services in a secure environment."
Officials: Boston Marathon bombing suspect silent after read rights
by PETE YOST, LARA JAKES and RODRIQUE NGOWI.
BOSTON -- Sixteen hours after investigators began interrogating him, the surviving suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings went silent: He'd just been read his constitutional rights.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev immediately stopped talking after a magistrate judge and a representative from the U.S. Attorney's office entered his hospital room and gave him his Miranda warning, according to a U.S. law enforcement source and four officials of both political parties briefed on the interrogation. They insisted on anonymity because the briefing was private.
Before being advised of his rights, the 19-year-old suspect told authorities that his older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, only recently had recruited him to be part of the attack that detonated pressure-cooker bombs at the marathon finish line, two U.S. officials said.
The CIA, however, had named Tamerlan to a terrorist database 18 months ago, said officials close to the investigation who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the case with reporters.
The new disclosure that Tamerlan Tsarnaev was included within a huge, classified database of known and suspected terrorists before the attacks was expected to drive congressional inquiries in coming weeks about whether the Obama administration adequately investigated tips from Russia that Tsarnaev had posed a security threat.
Shortly after the bombings, U.S. officials said the intelligence community had no information about threats to the marathon before the April 15 explosions that killed three people and injured more than 260.
Tsarnaev died Friday in a police shootout hours before Dzhokhar was discovered hiding in a boat in a suburban back yard.
Boston police Commissioner Ed Davis had said earlier that shots were fired from inside the boat, but two U.S. officials told the AP that no gun was found inside, raising questions about how he was injured. The homeowner who called police initially said he saw a good amount of blood in the boat.
Asked Wednesday whether Dzhokhar had a gun in the boat, Davis said, "I'm not going to talk about that."
Washington is piecing together what happened and whether there were any unconnected dots buried in U.S. government files that, if connected, could have prevented the bombings.
Lawmakers who were briefed by the FBI said they have more questions than answers about the investigation of Tamerlan Tsarnaev. House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., said lawmakers intend to pursue whether there was a breakdown in information-sharing, though Rep. Adam Schiff, a California Democrat who sits on the House Intelligence Committee, said he "hasn't seen any red flags thus far."
U.S. officials were expected to brief the Senate on the investigation Thursday. That same day, the suspects' parents, Anzor Tsarnaev and Zubeidat Tsarnaeva, plan to fly to the U.S. from Russia, the father was quoted as telling the Russian state news agency RIA Novosti. The family has said it wants to take Tamerlan's body back to Russia.
It is unclear whether the issue of their younger son's constitutional rights will matter since the FBI say he confessed to a witness. U.S. officials also said Wednesday that physical evidence, including a 9 mm handgun and pieces of a remote-control device commonly used in toys, was recovered from the bombing scene.
But the debate over whether suspected terrorists should be read their Miranda rights has become a major sticking point in the debate over how best to fight terrorism. Many Republicans, in particular, believe Miranda warnings are designed to build court cases, and only hinder intelligence gathering.
Christina DiIorio Sterling, a spokeswoman for U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz, said in an email late Wednesday, "This remains an ongoing investigation and we don't have any further comment."
Investigators have said the brothers appeared to have been radicalized through jihadist materials on the Internet and have found no evidence tying them to a terrorist group.
U.S. investigators traveled to the predominantly Muslim province of Dagestan in Russia and were in contact with the brothers' parents, hoping to gain more information.
They are looking into whether Tamerlan, who spent six months in Russia's turbulent Caucasus region in 2012, was influenced by the religious extremists who have waged an insurgency against Russian forces in the area for years. The brothers have roots in Dagestan and neighboring Chechnya but had lived in the U.S. for about a decade.
Dzhokhar told the FBI that they were angry about the U.S. wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and the killing of Muslims there, officials said.
Dzhokhar's public defender had no comment on the matter Wednesday. His father has called him a "true angel," and an aunt has insisted he's not guilty.
Investigators have found pieces of remote-control equipment among the debris and were analyzing them, officials said. One official described the detonator as "close-controlled," meaning it had to be triggered within several blocks of the bombs.
That evidence could be key to the court case. And an FBI affidavit said one of the brothers told a carjacking victim during their getaway attempt, "Did you hear about the Boston explosion? I did that."
Officials also recovered a 9 mm handgun believed to have been used by Tamerlan from the site of an April 18 gunbattle that injured a Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority officer, two U.S. officials said.
In other developments:
-- Vice President Joe Biden condemned the bombing suspects as "two twisted, perverted, cowardly, knockoff jihadis" while speaking at a memorial service Wednesday for Sean Collier, a campus police officer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who was ambushed in his cruiser three days after the bombing. More than 4,000 mourners paid tribute to the officer.
-- The Office of Health and Human Services in Massachusetts confirmed a Boston Herald report Wednesday that Tamerlan, his wife and toddler daughter had received welfare benefits up until last year, when he became ineligible based on family income. The state also says Tamerlan and his brother received welfare benefits as children through their parents while the family lived in Massachusetts.
-- The area around the marathon finish line was reopened to the public.
San Jose police announce new mission statement in troubled times
by Robert Salonga
SAN JOSE -- The San Jose Police Department lacks a permanent chief. It's fielding an overstretched force. Morale continues to roil amid a bitter fight over reduced pension benefits.
But the police brass sought to give the department stability and direction Thursday by announcing a renewed mission statement with a goal of innovating city policing in an environment of "challenges and uncertainty."
The new "Department Direction" was launched in part to allay community and rank-and-file concerns that police have been operating in a holding pattern until the city finds a new top cop, a process that stalled and has since been reset after a fruitless initial search.
"We've been kind of floating for a while. This gives us a specific direction that is reasonable and attainable. It's invigorated a lot of people," acting police Chief Larry Esquivel said. "It lets the public know, this is what we're doing. They know we're not just sitting idle."
Thus the acronym RCITI -- pronounced "Our City" -- was born, encompassing what the department considers its "core priorities":
Respect, empathy and professionalism.
Investing in our employees.
Transparency and accountability.
Innovation for the future.
"Through RCITI, the department seeks to simplify its mission in light of the many fiscal, staffing and crime challenges it faces," a police news release states.
Those fiscal and staffing challenges stem largely from austerity measures and proposed benefit cuts that resulted in an exodus of officers seeking better pay with other agencies. Crimes rates have spiked in the face of shrinking city patrols. Last fall, a frustrated Chief Chris Moore unexpectedly announced his January retirement, replaced by Esquivel until a permanent replacement can be hired.
LaDoris Cordell, a retired judge who now serves as the city's civilian police auditor, said Esquivel's gesture toward more transparency was important for recovering lost traction with the public.
"I applaud the fact (the chief) is making what SJPD is doing a very public matter," Cordell said. "Before, SJPD didn't promote itself with community, and people didn't know sometimes what was going on. It couldn't be more timely. The last thing this department needed to do is just remain silent."
The RCITI plan seeks to bolster areas including community policing and trust, training and promotion opportunities for officers, and better utilizing the Internet and social media to maintain a lifeline with residents. That entails a formalized partnership with NextDoor, a city-based agency whose mission is to support victims of domestic violence, and a new mobile app called CityConnect that give residents access to police resources with their mobile? devices.
Since the initiative was rolled out in February, police spokesman Sgt. Jason Dwyer said, it has given a needed jolt to the force, with its emphasis on customer service and gang suppression.
"This has always been a professional department. But there's cynicism, and (officers) can become susceptible to become hardened and cold to the job. Practicing ethics is a perishable skill," he said. "We need to get back to the basics."
That sentiment is especially resonant after the release this week of an annual police auditor's report. Within the lauded 7 percent drop in complaints filed against police from 2011 to 2012, there was also a finding that officers with seven or more years of experience accounted for 75 percent of the complaints.
A focus on gangs, the department said, has yielded promising results, namely decreases in the frequency of gang-related violence and the seizure of dozens of illegal guns. In the first quarter of the year, gang-related violence calls dropped from 90 in 2012 to 65 in 2013, a 28 percent decrease.
Police say curbing gang incidents will have a domino effect on other quality-of-life crimes in the city, which include robbery, burglary, vandalism and auto theft. Patrol officers are now receiving ongoing training in gang recognition to supplement officers tasked solely with gang suppression.
While the tenets of the new mission statement seem like standard, even expected, goals, the city's police auditor said that publicly reasserting them sets expectations so residents can gauge the department's performance.
"The message from the community," Cordell said, "is now: 'Let's see you do this.' "