WASHINGTON — The chairman and ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee said Sunday the FBI is investigating “persons of interest” in the United States connected to the Boston Marathon bombing.
“There are persons of interest in the United States,” Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger of Maryland, the top Democrat on the committee, told ABC News. “We’re looking at phone calls before and after the bombing, this type of investigation.”
Mike Rogers (R., Mich.), the committee’s chairman, said the big unknown is the six months Tamerlan Tsarnaev spent in Russia.
“I think [Russian authorities] have information that would be incredibly helpful that they haven’t provided yet,” Mr. Rogers said.
On Fox News Sunday, House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (R., Texas) said he had discussed the involvement of “trainers” with the FBI.
“I think, given the level of sophistication of this device, the fact that the pressure cooker is a signature device that goes back to Pakistan, Afghanistan, leads me to believe ... that there was a trainer,” Mr. McCaul said. “And the question is, where is that trainer or trainers?”
“Are they overseas in the Chechen region or are they in the United States?” he asked.
“In my conversations with the FBI, that’s the big question. They’ve cast a wide net both overseas and in the United States to find out where this person is. But I think the experts all agree that there is someone who did train these two individuals.”
Rep. Adam Schiff (D., Calif.), a member of the House Intelligence Committee, told CNN’s State of the Union that he also believes the Russians “know more than they’re telling us.” He said he wanted to know why Russian authorities recorded a conversation between Tamerlan Tsarnaev and his mother.
“We don’t know that,” Mr. Schiff said. “We haven’t received that information from the Russians.”
It is not clear how exactly the brothers became radicalized, he said, though he said there probably is no link to a major terrorist group.
On the Sunday news programs, several lawmakers critiqued the way authorities handled the Boston bombing, from the failure to identify the Tsarnaev brothers as threats to the decision to read the surviving suspect a Miranda warning after 16 hours of questioning.
“I was very surprised that they moved as quickly as they did” on reading Dzhokhar Tsarnaev his Miranda warning, Sen. Daniel Coats (R., Ind.), said on CNN. “We have legal reasons and follow-up investigative reasons to drag this out a little bit longer. We could have done that.”
On Fox News Sunday, Sen. Joe Manchin (D., W.Va.) also argued that authorities “pulled the trigger too soon” in delivering the Miranda warning to the surviving alleged bomber.
Meanwhile, in southern Russia, the parents of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects have retreated to a village to shelter from the spotlight.
The father of the suspects told Reuters on Sunday that he and his ex-wife Zubeidat Tsarnaeva have abandoned plans to travel to the United States.
Anzor Tsarnaev said he believed he would not be allowed to see his son Dzhokhar, who was captured and has been charged in connection with the April 15 bomb blasts that killed three people and wounded more than 260 people.
“Unfortunately I can’t help my child in any way. I am in touch with Dzhokhar’s and my own lawyers. They told me they would let me know [what to do],” he said.
“I am not going back to the United States. For now, I am here. I am ill,” he said.
Mr. Tsarnaev said he suffered from high blood pressure and a heart condition.