"Misha" Surfaces, Denies He "Radicalized" Tamerlan Tsarnaev

Misha has come forward. He is Mikhail Allakhverdov, 39 years old and lives in Rhode Island. Christian Caryl interviewed him and his family today.

He confirmed he was a convert to Islam and that he had known Tamerlan Tsarnaev, but he flatly denied any part in the bombings. “I wasn’t his teacher. If I had been his teacher, I would have made sure he never did anything like this,” Allakhverdov said.

Misha says he's cooperated with the FBI and they are going to close the case on him. He also said he's never met the Tsarnaev relatives accusing him of radicalized Tamerlan. [More....]

Allakhverdov said he had known Tamerlan in Boston, where he lived until about three years ago, and has not had any contact with him since. He declined to describe the nature of his acquaintance with Tamerlan or the Tsarnaev family, but said he had never met the family members who are now accusing him of radicalizing Tamerlan. He also confirmed he had been interviewed by the FBI and that he has cooperated with the investigation.

He is of Armenian-Ukranian heritage. His father is Christian and his mother is an Ethnic Ukranian. He grew up up in Baku, Azerbaijan.

I don't think anyone ever thought Misha was involved in the bombing. The question is, was he an FBI informant who was providing the FBI with information on Tamerlan. I don't think that has been answered.

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    Please further expound. (none / 0) (#1)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Sun Apr 28, 2013 at 11:10:45 PM EST
    Jeralyn: "The question is, was [Mikhail Allakhverdov] an FBI informant who was providing the FBI with information on Tamerlan. I don't think that has been answered."

    Without meaning to be contrary, I'm going to turn your question around on you, and ask what leads you to suspect that Mikhail Allakhverdov might have been an FBI informant.

    Everything I've read thus far indicates that it was the Russian government's security services which first turned the FBI onto Tamerlan Tsarnaev, not this guy. If he was an informant, then the FBI and Homeland Security really screwed up big time.

    Having read the Caryl piece to which you hyperlinked, my understanding is that the FBI had to hunt Allakhverdov down through leads, and that his cooperation with the feds has been ex post facto, in an effort to clear his own name.

    Personally, I believe that Our eventual understanding of what happened in Boston rests upon our willingness to not settle for simple answers. As I noted in an earlier thread, the roots of the Boston Marathon bombing appear to have first been sprouted many years ago during the First and Second Chechen Wars, when Russian forces invaded the renegade province to impose Moscow's rule.

    Therefore, I don't think we can look at the crime in a vacuum, without also taking into account what the Tsarnaev brothers first experienced as refugees from that conflict. As reported in the Los Angeles Times today, the Tsarnaev family was compelled to flee the violence in 1999, yet the conflict followed them; a then-14-year-old Tamerlan and his father were both beaten severely by Russian police in Dagestan, probably for nothing more than being Chechen.

    This case and story are certainly getting more and more interesting. Thank you for keeping us abreast of its latest developments. Aloha.

    that will be the topic of another post (none / 0) (#2)
    by Jeralyn on Sun Apr 28, 2013 at 11:59:09 PM EST
    that is very long and has to be modified now that he's no longer an unknown. Here's another lawyer's opinion (written before his identity was disclosed).

    It's how they operate. See Trevor Aaaronson's book The Terror Factory: Inside the FBI's Manufactured War on Terror. Aaronson, in an article earlier this week at the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting,   wrote:

    "Since the 9/11 attacks, the FBI has arrested more than 175 alleged terrorists using .... expensive and elaborate stings...[T]he targets often are men on the fringes of Muslim communities; many are economically desperate and some are mentally ill, and they are easily manipulated by paid informants and undercover agents.

    I don't think the FBI had any inkling of what Tamerlan may have been contemplating. But I do think Misha may have been their way of drawing him out to see whether he was or could become dangerous, once they got an inquiry about him from Russia.

    I'm also not convinced the wiretaps weren't FISA rather than Russian. From 3/11 to 1/12 they used FISA in another case (still pending) involving IJU and Uzbekistan (More here.) The court pleadings show the FISA Notice and use of an informant..

    I am not saying he is an informant. I'm saying it hasn't been confirmed that he isn't. The FBI seemed very sure he wasn't involved very early on. And there are some other factual things that don't quite line up so neatly.


    It also hasn't been confirmed (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by CoralGables on Mon Apr 29, 2013 at 08:25:49 AM EST
    that I'm not an informant, but as you well know grassy knolls are available everywhere if someone is always looking for them.

    It looks to me that this case may be little more than an upset athlete that had his dream yanked out from under him when the Golden Gloves changed their rules. They implemented a jingoistic type policy preventing legal residents that aren't yet US citizens from competing in Nationals shortly after Tamerlan qualified for them a second time by winning his second New England heavyweight Title. It would be easy to think he took it as a personal rejection by the country he had hoped to represent in the Olympics one day.

    And then he looks up and sees athletes from a multitude of nations that aren't even residents competing in the Boston Marathon.


    running in the Boston marathon (none / 0) (#4)
    by TeresaInPa on Mon Apr 29, 2013 at 10:20:21 AM EST
    is completely different than representing the USA in the Olympics.  So I don't get your point there.  but I do agree that this Boston bombing is looking more complicated than it was originally.  Though I am not convinced that this is not just another case of free lance jihadists encouraged by radicals online.

    Not comparing it to the Olympics (none / 0) (#6)
    by CoralGables on Mon Apr 29, 2013 at 10:44:10 AM EST
    He was prevented from competing in the Golden Gloves (his sport of choice).

    Prior to that time, and to the best of my knowledge since 1928, any resident of the US that was a regional champion could compete in the National Tournament three of every four years. That rule was changed as he was preparing for his second trip to Nationals making only US citizens eligible. The rule change made him ineligible to compete for the Title "after" he had qualified to advance.


    yes, I get it (none / 0) (#12)
    by TeresaInPa on Mon Apr 29, 2013 at 03:48:00 PM EST
    but he would be really reaching to compare that to the Boston marathon....but we knew that already.  I don't think a rule change is necessarily jingoistic.  Eventually, somewhere along the line the person has to be a US citizen to compete in the Olympics, correct? Or am I wrong?  Maybe the rules committee thought it would be better to to winnow out those likely not to compete earlier in the process.

    Decouple your thinking (none / 0) (#13)
    by sj on Mon Apr 29, 2013 at 05:59:39 PM EST
    about the Golden Gloves and Boston Marathon. I don't CG is insinuating that the events are related at all. Just the emotions.

    Here's some support for your (none / 0) (#5)
    by oculus on Mon Apr 29, 2013 at 10:34:43 AM EST

    "Investigators believe it is likely the Tsarnaev brothers were self-radicalized and got their bomb-making instructions strictly from the Internet."  (NYT.)


    HE could have been a legal resident (none / 0) (#8)
    by smott on Mon Apr 29, 2013 at 02:41:22 PM EST

    Had he been accepted for US citizenship like his brother.

    But I believe his arrest for beating his wife/GF? prevented that.


    He was a legal resident, and according to (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by Anne on Mon Apr 29, 2013 at 02:58:24 PM EST
    the LA Times, had an application for citizenship pending:

    Despite reports that Tamerlan Tsarnaev harbored resentment over the U.S. denying his  citizenship application, the application was still pending at the time of the Boston Marathon bombings, a law enforcement source said Sunday.

    Tamerlan, 26, filed an application for  citizenship six months ago and immigration officials had not yet made a decision on his case at the time of the Boston Marathon bombings, the source said.

    Immigration officials were aware of a domestic violence charge on his record and also knew that the FBI had questioned him, the source said, but it's unclear what Tamerlan was told about his prospects for citizenship.

    But...the NYT reports that the domestic violence situation was not the reason it was being held up - it was the FBI interview:

    Department of Homeland Security officials decided in recent months not to grant an application for American citizenship by Tamerlan Tsarnaev, one of two brothers suspected in the Boston Marathon bombings, after a routine background check revealed that he had been interviewed in 2011 by the F.B.I., federal officials said on Saturday.


    It had been previously reported that Mr. Tsarnaev's application might have been held up because of a domestic abuse episode. But the officials said that it was the record of the F.B.I. interview that threw up red flags and halted, at least temporarily, Mr. Tsarnaev's citizenship application. Federal  law enforcement officials reported on Friday that the F.B.I. interviewed Mr. Tsarnaev in January 2011 at the request of the Russian government, which suspected that he had ties to Chechen terrorists.

    But I don't think there was any question that he was here legally.


    I thought the deceased suspect had a green card. (none / 0) (#9)
    by oculus on Mon Apr 29, 2013 at 02:42:34 PM EST
    It didn't prevent it (none / 0) (#11)
    by CoralGables on Mon Apr 29, 2013 at 03:00:08 PM EST
    just stalled it. The charge was dropped.

    Were these guys set up? (none / 0) (#7)
    by unitron on Mon Apr 29, 2013 at 01:14:25 PM EST
    I don't mean set up as in framed as in innocent of any involvement.

    I mean if they had any outside help/radicalization/whatever, it would seem only to have covered the period up to the planting and detonating of the bombs, after which they were, it seems, strictly on their own without funds or much else in the way of resources, or any kind of plan for what to do next.

    Or could they really have thought that there was no chance of any evidence of their involvement being discovered?

    WSWS on bombing suspects' ties to US intelligence (none / 0) (#14)
    by Andreas on Tue Apr 30, 2013 at 05:48:29 AM EST