Boston Bomber Passed Citizenship Test Three Months Before Attack

Toni Ann Booras Contributor
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Boston Marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev passed a test to become a U.S. citizen three months before carrying out the 2013 attack with his younger brother, The Boston Globe reports.

Federal records obtained by the Globe show Tsarnaev, an ethnic Chechen who emigrated to the U.S. from Russia in 2003, denied any links to terrorism and swore his allegiance to the U.S. just months before the bombings.

In an interview with an immigration officer, Tsarnaev answered six civics questions correctly — missing only one question on the Supreme Court — on subjects such as the Louisiana Purchase, the identity of the vice president and the reasons for the Revolutionary War, according to the Globe.

Russian authorities had warned the FBI and CIA about Tsarvaev’s association with militant Islamists in 2011, but an FBI investigation found he was not a threat, according to NBC News. The partially redacted 651-page report, which the Globe obtained from the Department of Homeland Security under the Freedom of Information Act, raises more questions about whether U.S. officials missed red flags about Tsarnaev.

His citizenship application shows that Tsarnaev moved to formally change his first name to “Muaz,” the name of an early Islamic scholar, which some have claimed would be grounds for further investigation.

The records also show his friend Ibragim Todashev, who was killed by an FBI agent during an interrogation in Florida related to three 2011 murders and his connection to Tsarvaev, had applied for a green card twice after receiving asylum in 2008.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services said the cases were processed correctly, according to The Boston Globe.

“While USCIS found no errors in the processing of Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s or Ibragim Todashev’s applications, we are always seeking to strengthen our very intensive screening processes,” the agency said in a statement.

Tamerlan Tsarnaev was killed in a shootout in Watertown, Mass. after a massive manhunt four days after the April 15, 2013 bombing. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, Tamerlan’s 22-year-old brother, is a naturalized U.S. citizen. He was sentenced to death last year for his role in the bombings that killed three and injured at least 264.