Former National Security Agency Stewart Baker http://www.volokh.com/2013/04/25/why-wasnt-tsarnaev-searched-at-the-border/ asks a good question: why wasn’t Tamerlan Tsarnaev searched at the border when he returned from his six-month sojourn in Russia? As Baker notes, the government has much more power when someone is seeking to enter the country than when he is inside it. His conclusion:
“It sure looks as though the system failed. Tsarnaev should have been given a very close look as he entered the United States. But it seems as though someone — probably at the FBI, perhaps at DHS or elsewhere — decided we should just say “Welcome home” and wave him through.
“We should know who made that call, and we should know why.”
Of course what he may have returned from Dagestan with could have been intangible: knowledge of how to detonate a bomb with a remote control trigger. The Los Angeles Times reports today http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-boston-fbi-bomber-20130425,0,6079953,full.story, that the triggering device (in contrast to the bomb) was pretty sophisticated. Many in the news media seem inclined to take Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s word that the brothers had no outside assistance. But Dzhokhar could be lying. Secretary of State John Kerry didn’t seem to be taking him at his word when he said Tamerlan ”learned something where he went, and he came back with a willingness to kill people.”