The FBI was too slow to inform the New York Police Department that the Boston Marathon bombing suspects had spoken of attacking Times Square, Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly, who initially had said the attacker had just wanted to come to New York to party before backtracking after a federal briefing, said Friday.
Federal investigators learned about the conversation during an interrogation of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in the hospital that began Sunday night and went into Monday morning, officials said. The information didn’t reach the NYPD until Wednesday night.
Kelly said he told the FBI that the delay was troubling.
“We did express our concerns over the lag,” Kelly said, following a promotions ceremony.
Tsarnaev and his brother had been identified as suspects and were the target of a massive manhunt when, by his account, they discussed what to do with the remainder of the explosives used in the marathon attack, Kelly said. They came up with the idea of striking in Times Square, but Tsarnaev’s older brother was killed and he was captured before they could leave the area and do any more harm.
Asked what difference it would have made to have learned about the conversation sooner, Kelly responded: “I don’t want to speculate. The fact of the matter was there was a 48-hour lag.”
Meanwhile, former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani said it was “ridiculous” that Dzhokhar was read his Miranda rights just as he was beginning to reveal details.
“That’s just mind-boggling,” Giuliani told Fox News. “This guy is kind of telling you about how he’s coming to New York [to] do a bombing, a judge walks in and we cut off the questioning? What are we, crazy?”
The younger Tsarnaev had been under interrogation for about 16 hours in his hospital room before a magistrate and representatives from the U.S. Attorney’s Office entered the room and read him his Miranda rights. He then stopped talking.
Giuliani, a former federal prosecutor, said rules need to be loosened for law-enforcement officials conducting terror probes.
“One of the FBI agents said he thought it would be illegal to keep the guy on the list. Of course, there’d be nothing illegal about it,” he said. “Some of the explanations that I’m getting make me very nervous that the FBI is erring on the side of caution when I want them to err on the side of safety.”