WASHINGTON (CBSDC/AP) — President Barack Obama is defending the FBI’s handling of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev.
During a press conference Tuesday morning, Obama said there was “no signs he was engaging in extremist activities” when the FBI initially interviewed Tsarnaev in 2011 after Russian authorities believed the 26-year-old was a “follower of radical Islam.”
“Based on what I’ve seen so far, the FBI performed its duties, the Department of Homeland Security did what it was supposed to be doing,” Obama told a White House news conference.
Obama says a national security review following the bombings that killed three and injured 260 others will look at whether there is more the government can do to stop people within the United States who might become radicalized and plan terror attacks.
Obama called it “standard procedure,” but said the review, which will last only 90 days, would help determine if all the information was shared properly.
But he said it would help determine whether “there were additional things that could have been done.”
Shawn Turner, a spokesman for the Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, says the review is limited to how information about the suspects was handled before the attack because the investigation of the bombing is still ongoing. He added that Clapper believes his agencies shared information appropriately.
The review will be conducted by I. Charles McCullough III, the independent intelligence community inspector general, which is a position that is Senate-confirmed and is authorized to reach into any U.S. intelligence agency to conduct reviews.
One of the dangers the U.S. faces now, Obama said, is people who might decide to attack because of “whatever warped, twisted ideas they may have.”
But he said the review was needed to find out whether more can be done to prevent this type of attack by people within the United States who may become radicalized.
“This is hard stuff,” Obama said.
Obama said that the Russians have been “very cooperative” since the bombings but suspicions still remain between Russian and U.S. intelligence agencies.
“Old habits die hard,” Obama said.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, is in custody and has been charged for the bombings.
(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)