(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.
Why is it offensive? Those are their kids, they are far away, they don't know what to think. How would you react when told your kid did something horrible? Wouldn't you deny it, say it was a mistake, at least until the evidence convinced you?
The whole friggin' family should be deported, after an investigation.
The sons LIED to their father and told him they were no where near the marathon when photos PROVE they were.
These parents are blind.
The mother and father should be barred from re-entering this country for life. Rep. King hit the nail on the head; we, the United States, extended our hand to their children financially, with education, and even citizenship, only to be repaid in terror and betrayal. For their parents to accuse the citizens of this nation of a crime is insulting. I hold the parents equally responsible as the kids! And by the way, I am from Massachusetts
innocent until proven guilty. does anyone remember that in this country?
Because, of course, nobody has ever been framed in America. Surely the Congressman can't be serious!
This definitely seems like a set up against these 2 guys. They are probably going to kill the 19 yr old so he won't be able to tell us his side of things. No disrespect intended by this post for the victims of this tragedy.
LOL...What a joke King is....Not a peep from him about the Elvis Impersonator mailing poison packages to our President and a US Senator...Or about foreign agents trying to wipe out our 2nd Amendment rights....Why were you so afraid to speak up for and defend the US Constitution, Petey Boy? Afraid to upset your true Masters?
Listening to the attitude of the parents, it's easy to see how the sons grew up with violent tendencies.
I'm going to cut them some slack. I'm not defending what they said, but they are parents; most parents react defensively when it comes to their children, initially at least. They are probably in shock, mourning the death of one son and terrified for the other.
Very sad for All concerned..the people who paid a dear price and these two young guys that wasted their lives.
"We have to say: Has radicalization extended into the Chechen community?"
Translation: Should be stereotype and demonize yet another group of people because of the actions of a few?
It is hard to believe that an elected representative would say such thing. While it is probable that the two suspects committed crime, but they still have the right to normal judicial process. This is stated in both the Fifth and Fourteen Amendment. An elected government official should be aware of this law.
Hope you guys are kidding. From limited information we have, you and the genius Representative King have come to the conclusion that all Chechnyan foreign nationals are radical and dangerous...and it's not just that these two kids are messed up like so many other Columbine types we've seen. Nor are they disgruntled Americans like McVeigh. Nor are they religious radicals like Eric Rudolph. Did he represent all Christians? Even if these two sick f*cks did bomb Boston to support Terrorist Muslim Jihad...it doesn't mean ALL Chechnyans or Muslims are to be feared and hunted. Why do small minded people always lump entire communities, religions, genres, races, ethnicities together when something escapes their understanding. Jumping to the conclusion that the family was alienated because of radicalism is just cowardly projection. Wait for the facts. Keep your narrow minded hate to yourself, Chicken Little.
While it seems likely to be wrong, to call it offensive is, well, kinda offensive. Years ago the US did do setups like this, primarily in south america at the behest of US companies that wanted to insure that particular candidates or activist groups did not interfere with getting cheap produce to our markets.
By King's own logic it should be a perfectly acceptable statement since here we have a verified historical pattern to examine. I guess it is another example of 'politically correct is something other people do' since he is doing exactly that, he is being PC and not wanting people to say things that might be hurtful to his people.
Rep. King, these parents would hardly be the first to claim 'my sons, they couldn't have done this, there must be a mistake, they must have been framed'.
Perhaps we could forgive the mother for her ill-considered comments, and allow them to process the fact that one of her sons is dead, the other a fugitive, and both of them cold-blooded murderers.
Come one folks ... What could a mother say? How could a father accept this about his sons? I don't blame the parents ... I think the older brother got involved and took the younger one with him ... He paid the price for it and so will the young one ...
Fine. Make sure the parent never get their papers to come here, no matter what sad story they may tell.
the only problem is, the government saying that it did not frame someone is pointless....
These folks are parents who find it hard to believe the kids they love did this awful thing. I think any parent would have a hard time. They'll have to deal with the truth soon enough, so I wouldn't be too hard on them. This cannot be easy for the family.
Some people are just really loyal to their family. Especially their kids.
These are two parents who are most likely drowning in grief over this tragic situation. The whole thing is just so sad. Maybe Mr. King could just take a deep breath and think about what he might say if his own child were to be a part of such an awful and overwhelming event.
The author is right on the money here; it is extremely offensive for the parents, who aren't even here, to spout this rubbish. Their sons are not darling little innocents, they are alleged criminals and when the remaining brother is caught, he will have his day in court. Let the evidence be brought forth and may the jury find this creep guilty and the judge give him the maximum sentence allowed by law.
they are parents in denial, it is understandable, and their words have no impact on what is going on
What King fails to recognize is that these two, while much evidence points against them, have not been proven guilty or even seen a trial. He's berating a family...PARENTS for finding it hard to believe their own sons who they feel they know better than anyone is capable of these heinous acts. There has yet to be proof of "radicalization" and really nobody has been convicted in a court of law. Even me as a more conservative person in general find it sad that these "leaders" have weighed in with the court of public opinion and have condemned not just the people involved, but any family who stick up for their own. Sad day in our history when you are chastised for questioning the larger authority about something you truly cant comprehend happening.