Report: FBI Has Recovered Dzhokhar's Missing Laptop

The Slatest
Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
May 2 2013 1:21 PM

Dzhokhar's Missing Laptop May Have Never Been in the Landfill After All

167610392
Students at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth hang out outside of the Pine Dale Hall dormitory where Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev reportedly lived

Photo by Kayana Szymczak/Getty Images

CNN is reporting that the FBI has recovered Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's laptop. If true, the discovery could provide investigators with a trove of information about the Boston bombing suspects, perhaps including how the brothers learned to make the homemade explosives they are said to have used near the finish line of the Boston marathon.

Josh Voorhees Josh Voorhees

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City. 

According to the report, it's not clear how or when the FBI found the laptop, and one of the network's two unnamed federal law enforcement sources said that it wasn't recovered during last week's search of a landfill near Tsarnaev's University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth dorm room. That detail is important because it suggests that the three college students charged yesterday with intentionally hindering the investigation may have held on to the laptop after allegedly dumping a backpack they took from Tsarnaev's room into a dumpster in a bid to help him.

Advertisement

According to the criminal complaint against the trio filed yesterday, one of the suspects, Dias Kadyrbayev, told police he took the laptop from the dorm room almost as an afterthought after finding the backpack, which contained fireworks that had been emptied of gunpowder. The rationale he allegedly offered, however, is more than a little puzzling. In the affidavit's words, Kadyrbayev said he took the laptop "because he did not want Tsarnaev's roommate to think he was stealing or behaving suspiciously by just taking the backpack."

The court document makes no mention of what happened to the laptop after the men allegedly brought it back to an apartment shared by the two suspects from Kazakhstan.

Original reports about the missing laptop suggested it belonged to the older Tsarnaev brother, Tamerlan, but it now appears to have been Dzhokhar's, or at least been in his possession more recently. Dzhokhar reportedly told investigators shortly after being taken into custody that he and his brother got the instructions they used to build the bombs from Inspire, an online magazine published by al-Qaida. The recovered computer may shed light on whether that account is true, while also providing other information about the brothers' online activities.

***Follow @JoshVoorhees and the rest of the @slatest team on Twitter, and read more on Slate about the Boston Marathon bombing.***

TODAY IN SLATE

Justice Ginsburg’s Crucial Dissent in the Texas Voter ID Case

Even When They Go to College, the Poor Sometimes Stay Poor

Here’s Just How Far a Southern Woman May Have to Drive to Get an Abortion

The Most Ingenious Teaching Device Ever Invented

Marvel’s Civil War Is a Far-Right Paranoid Fantasy

It’s also a mess. Can the movies do better?

Behold

Sprawl, Decadence, and Environmental Ruin in Nevada

Space: The Next Generation

An All-Female Mission to Mars

As a NASA guinea pig, I verified that women would be cheaper to launch than men.

Watching Netflix in Bed. Hanging Bananas. Is There Anything These Hooks Can’t Solve?

The Procedural Rule That Could Prevent Gay Marriage From Reaching SCOTUS Again

  News & Politics
Politics
Oct. 20 2014 3:53 PM Smash and Grab Will competitive Senate contests in Kansas and South Dakota lead to more late-breaking races in future elections?
  Business
Continuously Operating
Oct. 20 2014 3:40 PM Keeping It in the Family Why are so many of the world’s oldest companies in Japan?
  Life
Outward
Oct. 20 2014 3:16 PM The Catholic Church Is Changing, and Celibate Gays Are Leading the Way
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 20 2014 1:10 PM Women Are Still Losing Jobs for Getting Pregnant
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Oct. 20 2014 7:15 AM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 9 A spoiler-filled discussion of "Flatline."
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 20 2014 5:03 PM Marcel the Shell Is Back and as Endearing as Ever
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 20 2014 4:59 PM Canadian Town Cancels Outdoor Halloween Because Polar Bears
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Oct. 20 2014 11:46 AM Is Anybody Watching My Do-Gooding? The difference between being a hero and being an altruist.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.