DHS Keeps Boston Bombers’ Immigration Records Secret
Surprise, surprise the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has rejected the media’s requests for the immigration records of the Boston Marathon bombers, likely because they contain information that could further embarrass the government.
After all, the feds ignored critical warnings from Russia about the older Chechen terrorist (Tamerlan Tsarnaev) and the FBI even kept the information from Boston Police, which could have kept a closer eye on him. Additionally, Judicial Watch reported days after the bombings that Tamerlan, 26, and not a U.S. citizen could have been deported years ago after a criminal arrest.
Adding insult to injury, the other bomber, little brother Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, was rewarded with American Citizenship on September 11, 2012 in Boston, according to a JW source. The 19-year-old was granted asylum in Arlington Virginia on September 27, 2002, JW’s source reveals. This week a mainstream media outlet reports that Dzhokhar left a note claiming responsibility for the bombings as retaliation for America’s actions against Muslims.
Americans have the right to know how their government handled the immigration applications of these two Muslim terrorists. At least that’s the argument used by the Boston newspaper that requested the information from DHS. The paper asked for the records under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), a tool often used by Judicial Watch to force transparency in government. In fact, JW is also investigating the Boston bombings and has filed several FOIAs in the case.
As is the common in many of these situations, obtaining records will be an uphill battle because the government can utilize a number of excuses to withhold information from the public. In this particular case, DHS is claiming an exemption in federal law that shields records or information “compiled for law enforcement purposes, the release of which could reasonably be expected to interfere with enforcement proceedings.”
In a rejection letter to the paper, the senior director of FOIA operations at DHS writes that he has determined that the records are part of an open and ongoing law enforcement investigation. “Accordingly, those documents are being withheld,” he says. The DHS FOIA director did not elaborate on how the release of the terrorists’ civil immigration records could possibly interfere with the criminal probe, especially in the case of the dead brother.
Thankfully, the media and independent watchdog groups like JW work to keep the government in check by using important tools like FOIA as well as the legal system. The job is getting tougher and tougher because the Obama administration is using unprecedented intimidation tactics behind the scenes. This includes using the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) as a political tool against conservative groups like JW and unscrupulous spying on a major news conglomerate (Associated Press).