(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.
I'm not even American and I'm offended. Obviously the guy is a loser like his sons or he would not have gone back after getting citizenship.
Clearly the uncle is the real man of the family, who recognizes that in the US you can work hard and be treated decently and leave your old grudges behind. Despite his estrangement form his brother's sons, he gave the best advice telling the boy to turn himself in and ask forgiveness for what he had done.
That is the kind of immigrant that made the US a good country, someone who wants to work hard and be fair and treat others as he would be treated and wants to be settled and make a life for himself and his family.
It's not offensive. It's just very sad and not too uncommon for the parents to be in denial – especially the father who isn't getting all the news we are getting.
That is offensive.Then again that's a typical response from parents. "Not my child. They would never do that."
Offensive ? Expect the parents to be in shock and disbelief. There's nothing offensive in what the parents have said under these circumstances. They're in denial that their kids did this. Check out the parents of the Columbine shootings in 90s, the parents of the shooters were not saying "yeah, they're terrible, we expected they would do such atrocities sooner or later". This is a terrible comment by Peter King and an even terrible article by CNN. It's as if CNN wanted to get these types interviews (with the family members of the perpetrators right after their death and the massacre) to get the responses that would provide the most shock and awe in terms of sound bits. Their sons caused harm to other people, one of them just died. Just imagine what state they are in.
But keep letting all these people into the country....It's awesome!
This Family sounds like a bunch of losers. How do they know what their sons were up to? If they feel the United States set their sons up why not leave the States and go somewhere they have more trust in. You know what, there isn`t anywhere, especially not in the old Soviet Republics.
Stop making excuses for them. Their actions on videotape make it clear they are guilty. Stop insulting us.
If these people were so great, why does their own uncle call them losers?
How on earth can anyone wonder how these fools could do this? The father, mother and aunt have all showed what they think of America and they raised the kids..........Duh. I am sure someone out there also agrees they were set up and that we never landed on the moon, no holocaust, Bush was great and Iraq has WMD's. Why do these people even come here?
Sure, they were just driving around in a carjacked vehicle with guns and explosive devices after robbing a convenience store and starting shooting at the police. They were probably on their way to pick up their Citizen of the Year awards...
If the kids were framed, why did they hurl bombs and fire bullets at law enforcement as they were trying to escape? Did the feds plant the weapons on them for that purpose, as well?
The eldest son was wearing an explosive vest , armed with a detonator when he died. Is this considered high fashion in other parts of the world or was he trying to keep warm?
Yes... Because "Framed / Innocent" people always have shoot-outs with the cops and are frequently found to have "home made explosives"
My personal feeling is that it's the lack of traction in life. Young guys who fail to find direction and purpose in life. Perhaps, the feeling is acute in immigrants, for they have something to compare it with. I mean, in the eyes of a refugee the old country was wonderful except for the deviation that forced him to flee, while the new country is free of that deviation but it's foreign and cold.
Peter King is offensive,always has been. Of course the parents are probably wrong, but do you really blame them for defending family? Would you not do the same? The sad thing is what this says about how well they knew their own children.
What Representative King needs to bear in mind is that this family is from the former Soviet Union. We've heard years and years of media reports about the police in the Soviet Union and then the individual countries being corrupt. Of course they as the parents of the two young men, one of whom is now dead, would rationalize it that way.
Representative King, you need to put on your big boy pants and stop taking such comments to heart. You would do the same thing in their place. Many of our congressmen and women already have – defending their children despite overwhelming evidence of their guilt in breaking laws. Understand their comments FIRST as a parent and SECOND as a human being...forget the "this country, that country" argument.
Give me a break. Would you want to believe your children were terrorists and murders before you saw irrefutable evidence? Not saying they are innocent, but parents are going to stand by their kids until all the dots are connected. This guy King is kinda a jerk for berating them in what must be a hugely stressful and disappointing time. The parents didn't set off any bombs. Cut them some slack.
Who is it that is "framing" them then?? huh???
One could understand, as a parent, you would not be able to comprehend your children being responsible for such despicable acts of terrorism. Sorry, but looks like the evidence is there and they have not even shared the bulk of it!
This whole family needs to have their citizenship stripped and shipped back to Russia.
The named their oldest some after a vicious war lord. What do they expect?
As an Independent, I have to agree with King on this one. This brings to mind the saying "bite the hand that feeds you." The people that will probably suffer the most due to this our future Chechens seeking asylum.
For once I actually agree with what King said. BUT, considering the culture divide combined with any parents' desire not to believe their sons could be guilty, it is somewht expected that they would blame the government. This sort of government wrongdoing would be expected in the world they grew up in.
Unbelievable that Anyone think they were framed. If they were, then why are they throwing explosives at cops and running. If they were sitting on the couch having a drink when cops busted in then I might agree there is doubt. Also. Who would want to frame them.
This is sick.... yes their comments may sound offensive but the suspects were named just last night. The family is just dealing with this and probably trying to figure it out. And what, now these guys speak for all Chechnyan people?