Riyadh denies it warned US on Boston explosions

May 9, 2013

Saudi Arabia has denied claims that it had warned the US about Tamerlan Tsarnaev, one of the two men suspected of the Boston terror explosions. The denial issued by the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Washington was in response to a report published on Wednesday by Daily Mail’s MailOnline that “the Saudis sent a written warning about Tsarnaev to the US Department of Homeland Security in 2012.”

The Homeland Security and the White House also denied the accounts. The MailOnline reported that an official, referred to as “a highly placed source”, talked about “a written warning from the Saudi government to the Department of Homeland Security,” and said “he had direct knowledge of that document.”

The official reportedly said that “the Saudis’ warning was separate from the multiple red flags raised by Russian intelligence in 2011, and was based on human intelligence developed independently in Yemen.”

“Citing security concerns, the Saudi government also allegedly denied an entry visa to the elder Tsarnaev brother in December 2011, when he hoped to make a pilgrimage to Makkah,” the report said. However, the Saudi embassy rejected the claims about the document to the Americans and the visa application.’’ “The Saudi government had no prior information about the Boston bombers,” the embassy said.

“Therefore, it is not true that any information, written or otherwise, was passed to the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) or any other US agency in this regard. The Saudi government also does not have any record of any application by Tamerlan Tsarnaev for any visa to Saudi Arabia.”

MailOnline later reported that a DHS official also denied that the agency “received any such warning from Saudi intelligence about Tamerlan Tsarnaev.”

“DHS has no knowledge of any communication from the Saudi government regarding information on the suspects in the Boston Marathon Bombing prior to the attack,” a Homeland Security official who declined to be named told MailOnline. The White House also denied the report. “We and other relevant US government agencies have no record of such a letter being received,’ Caitlin Hayden, a spokesperson for the president’s National Security Council, said, quoted by MailOnline.

A Saudi student in Boston hurt in the explosions had come under intense media scrutiny and pressure amid possible links with the terrorists. A search of his apartment dramatised the situation before he was formally cleared by the US authorities.




About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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