Boston Suspects’ Mom Was Also Placed on Watch List

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
April 27 2013 11:44 AM

Boston Suspects’ Mother Was Placed on Same Terror Watch List as her Son in 2011

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Zubeidat Tsarnaeva talks to journalists at a news conference on April 25

Photo by SERGEI RASULOV/AFP/Getty Images

The mother of the two men suspected of carrying out the Boston Marathon bombing had been placed on the same classified terrorism watch list as her elder son, deepening the mystery surrounding a family that has not been shy about insisting on their sons’ innocence. Zubeidat Tsarnaeva was placed on the Terror Identities Datamart Environment database in late 2011, at the same time as her son Tamerlan, who is believed to have masterminded the bombings, reports the Wall Street Journal.

The CIA requested Zubeidat Tsarnaeva and her son be placed on the low-level watch list that includes the name of some 500,000 people after the Russian government had expressed concern that they had become religious militants, reports the Associated Press. When they were placed on the list, the FBI had already investigated the mother and son and found no ties to terrorism. Officials don’t need any actual evidence of ties to terrorism to place someone on the low-level watch list, and being on the list does not automatically translate into surveillance or travel restrictions.

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Tsarnaeva insisted to the AP she had never been linked to crimes or terrorism and called her placement on the list “lies and hypocrisy.” But while there may be no evidence of links to terrorism, she has been accused of another type of crime: Shoplifting. Tsarnaeva faces a warrant for her arrest in the United States after failing to show up for a court appearance last year, accused of shoplifting seven dresses in a department store, reports the Journal. She is charged with one count of larceny and two counts of vandalizing property.

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the "Today's Papers" column from 2006 to 2009. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoliti.

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