(CNN) – Republican Rep. Peter King, former chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, said Friday the Chechen community in the United States doesn't have a history of radicalization but argued it's time to question whether that's changed.
In an interview on CNN's "The Lead with Jake Tapper," the longtime congressman from New York also said it was "offensive" for the parents of the two suspected bombers to argue their sons were being framed in the U.S.
While the two suspects in Monday's Boston Marathon bombing came to the U.S. with Kyrgyzstan passports, their family was from the volatile Russian Caucasus, an area that includes Chechnya and Dagestan.
King, who now serves as the chairman on the House subcommittee for counterterrorism and intelligence, said he's "never heard" of the Chechen community in the U.S. "having been radicalized."
Whether that has changed was a question worth asking, he said.
"We can't be politically correct. We have to say: Has radicalization extended into the Chechen community?"
King made headlines in 2011 for holding controversial hearings on the radicalization of Muslim Americans. On Friday, he further argued "we have to be very concerned about radical movements in this country or people in this community." While the U.S. relies strongly on foreign intelligence for potential terrorist attacks, he argued, the country needs better domestic intelligence.
"It's important for the local police to build up their intelligence to find out what's happening in the communities, among disaffected people, or people like these two brothers, who seemed to have everything going for them," he said.
Two sources told CNN Dzhokar Tsarnaev came to the U.S. as a tourist with his family in the early 2000s and later asked for asylum. He became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 2012. Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the brother who died Thursday night, was not a naturalized citizen, a source said. He came "a few years later" and was lawfully in the country as a green-card holder.
Their parents have flatly denied that their sons could be involved in the recent violence. Anzor Tsarnayev, the father, told CNN in Dagestan that "someone framed them," while their mother, Zubeidat Tsarnaeva, said "this is a setup."
But King said their remarks were "absolutely wrong and really offensive," given the United States "gave (the sons) sanctuary, gave them asylum."
"It's bad enough what their sons did. But for their parents to attack the country, to me is wrong," he said. "To be lashing out at the United States after what the United States did for them and the opportunities the United States gave to their sons is really going much, much too far and I just find it really wrong."
– CNN’s Deborah Feyerick and Tom Watkins contributed to this report.
of course they were radicalized! heck they lived in massachusetts, one of the most leftist states in the country.
And know we know probably part of the reason why extended family was estranged from them.
Okay, here it goes: I agree with King.
I too heard the father of these boys say that we were "cowards" for killing his son and denying the undeniable. As a parent I can understand how hard it must be for them to realize that under the possible influence of something or someone their boys went "south".
This father would do well to mimick his brother's response to the carnage that his sons brought onto innocent Americans. His brother, unlike him, was ashamed, regretful, and properly contrite as to their actions. He apologized to those that were hurt and maimed and to the families of those that were killed.
Not so from the distraught dad.
What his sons did was despicable enough without it being made worse by this father's baseless and unreasonable accusations.
These parents are grieving and in tremendous shock. We can't hold them responsible for comments they make at this time.
Rep. King should just shut up. Let the parents grieve in their own way. It's obvious they are in denial. It's natural for a parent to protect their offspring no matter how outrageous it may be. King should just let the justice system play out as it should easily prove these kids were guilty.
Without showing the firm evidence and proper trial, how could King conclude that "absolutely wrong and really offensive"?
Well, on the flip side, what do we really expect the parents to say!? I think this is a normal parental response, since most parents love/protect their kids & simply can't bring themselves to believe the kids would commit a heinous act! They also can't believe their offspring would bring such shame to the family! It's a perfect example of denial! Pretty sure Rep. King would feel the same if his kid was in trouble! And hire the best lawyer! Let's not focus on phony indignation, it only draws attention away from the real culprits, the evil & devious Brothers Tsarnaev!!
They better be looking at the entire family.
How else would you expect parents, who are on the other side of the world, to react?
I think it's a little early for any politician (regardless of side) to be commenting against these parents. They just lost a son. They are worried for the other, and probably scared, angry, and confused. The parents are not the ones who did this. They need time to process what has happened and come to terms with it, like anyone else. No decent parent wants to believe their child could be capable of such a monstrous act.
oh yes... non-radicalized – framed – kids just automatically go shoot a campus cop, steal a car, get in a shoot out with police if they are innocent... No – they do what the other guy that was in the photos did when he saw his picture... they call up the police and say "hey – that picture is me and there is no way I did this... come look at my backpack and see".
Of course they are going to say they were framed, what parent could believe their kids are capable of this. From all reports they seemed very normal.
Yes, all the photos and videos of the two suspects carrying backpacks, and then their backpacks are gone as they're walking away after the explosion, must be faked, and all of the spectators with cell phones were in on the framing. Most elaborate con ever...
I realize they're your sons, but give me a break!
The parents's talk about framing IS offensive. Nobody framed your kids. After you obviously did a lousy work as a parent and your sons killed innocent people, they only proved to be cowards. If you can't say anything positive for the victims or to help defuse the situation, keep your thoughts to yourselves. I wish there was a way to revoke your citizenship, yours and your wife's.
It was jihad in America, MSM won't ever admit it.
Of course, they were the victims, it is always someone else's fault.
I saw the interviews and at no point did either parent say the United States set their son’s up! They simply said "this was a set-up!" How do we know the parents aren't blaming their own government or even the Russian government since they've had their share of problems with them?! People are so quick to get offended! First make sure your offense is legitimate! Jesus talks about offense in the last day and He clearly says “Woe to the world because of offenses!” STOP ALLOWING YOURSELF TO GET OFFENDED!
Yes, the government picked 2 persons out of the blue with no known terrorist affiliations to frame. Yes, as part of the conspiracy, the government killed an innocent campus police officer. Yes, the government is wasting millions of dollars to fool the world into believing that these two "angels" are murders.
Um, if you people traveled to where the parents live you will understand the ignorance so whatever they say should mean absolutley nothing, they are peasants, unfortunately they bred 2 kids that killed innocent people – i feel for all the victims
The parents are as clueless as their sons were dangerous.
I'm a conservative Republican - pro-life, pro-free market, pro-moral values, and all (considerably more conservative fiscally and socially than Rep King – and other phonies like Lindsay Graham) - but I find Rep. King's comment to be downright ludicrous. We don't know the full story of what led to the bombing/murders yet – and we don't need someone like Rep. King preemptively fanning the flames of bigotry. If the GOP thinks that they can use this issue to replicate their campaign of deceit in 2004 – they've got another thing coming. Our two great parties are rotten – one for big government, cronyism, and immorality – the other standing for cronyism and bigotry.
Leave it to a politician to exploit a tragedy.
Way to make yourself look as ignorant as the rest of the conspiracy theorists out there. There is nothing worse than stereotyping an entire race based on the actions of a few. The reason we haven't had a problem with the Chechen community here in America is because they haven't caused problems. And yes, the parents are not helping the situation with their hasty words, but what parent wouldn't do the same? How about we let the authorities do their jobs before we start jumping to conclusions.
Anything for political points.
I think King is being a little ridiculous. I think it's obvious they did it, but it's not at all surprising that a father and mother would be in denial and refuse to accept that their sons could do such a thing.
Was this prophet there when they were putting the bomb? he is so sure they did it... so far i have not heard anything solid. the only scary thing for americans is the overwhelming marshal law in Watertown. People are taken out of their homes, stripped naked. these loonatics in unioform are dressed to kill. they look like terminators! that's all for a 19y/o who they THINK is a suspect? Makes no sense America...