(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 am an immigrant but this country has to have a better track of the people it brings in,specially when so many bias toward this society (western)
I find the networks' coverage of the events Friday to be extremely offensive. Rumor and speculation do not qualify as "news."
I couldn't agree more with Rep. King. I'm so tired of seeing immigrants, legal and otherwise, bashing the great country that they have fled to. Their boys have been given a great opportunity. And then after they terrorize our country and destroy so many lives, the parents have the nerve to say that they were being framed. They need to just shut up until they talk to their son. It looks like the evidence is pretty solid that they were guilty. But, time will tell.
Peter King is bang on....kudos to him
No parent wants to believe their child is capable of evil. I don't this the parents' statement is a verbal attack on the US- just utter horror, disbelief and shock. From the other interviews you can see how much the family valued the US for the education etc opportunities that it provided.
King is, himself, offensive. What about 'my sons are innocent and were framed' is offensive? Unless you believe in convicting before the trial, I mean...
The only sane person in the family seems to be the uncle who called the kid a "loser" and to turn himself in.
The parents are naive; can they not remember their own upbringings and the things they kept secret from their own parents?
That, or they are fully aware of their offspring's capabilities, but are suffering soul-crushing shame.
While the Bostonians cowered in their closet praying the te rror ist didn't pay a visit, I hope they remembered the 2nd Amendment right that they elected not to exercise and which their state and federal government are trying to take away.
All prayers and good thoughts go out to the people of Boston.
What would you say if your kids pulled off a terrorist attack Rep. King? I'm sure you would say they were framed too. The only thing I find offensive is your callus disregard for their parent's suffering.
Hmmm, well Mr. King, what of the right wing conservative Westboro Church Radicals? They are most certainly extremest...but is that alright because they are self proclaimed American Christians? These two idiots that killed and maimed are on their own solitary road to mayhem...to blame a whole ethnic community as being conspirator in this process is xenophobic. The actions of these two rests with them, and them alone.
I find it interesting that the former chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee isn't recognizing our rule of law being someone is innocent until proven guilty. Their actions would appear to implicate them, but even the Boston police tweet said "CAPTURED!!! The hunt is over. The search is done. The terror is over. And justice has won. Suspect in custody." How do they know the terror is over until they question the "suspect" and learn the full extent of what happened?
Chechens are well known for being peaceful and reasonable people. NOT!!
Give the parents a break...what parent wouldn't be in denial when confronted with the fact that their child may have done something very evil.
Can you really judge anything parents say right after they lose a child no matter what the reason?
Well it's nice some people know these brother's motivation without any evidence presented – an attack of the Ouija Board I guess – but until the surviving brother reveals a motive we KNOW exactly nothing. I hope they did it for money, because otherwise I cannot see any reason for a bombing. The younger became a citizen and the elder was given a green card (so they were both legal residents) and seemed to be doing OK and Chechen complaints would be directed towards the Russians...who are not our best friends by a long shot. I just don't get it! Something is missing?
no one is ever framed in this country! i am offended! that only happens in other countries i cant pronounce or find on a map.
Ingrates, that is the only word I can say. The U.S. should review and shut its borders to foreigners whose only aim is the destruction of the U.S. who give these ingrates sanctuary and all the oppurtunities that their own countries cannot give them.
I totally agreed with Mr. King. I'm an immigrant from Viet Nam I came here to the US 30 years ago and I'm thankful for the US soil every single day. My uncle and aunties families are citizens in Boston and every day we do good for our communities in the US.
What's wrong with these parents... They make us good immigrants look bad and suspicious now.
I hope the parents and aunt will be barred from entering the country in the future.
Anytime you seek to marginalize an entire group of people, you're setting them up to radicalize themselves. Apparently Mr. McCarthy, er, King doesn't read history, recent or otherwise.
Actually, Rep King, what I find offensive is your assumption that the surviving brother is guilty. You're so gung-ho about the 2nd Amendment - how about reading the 5th and 6th, Sunshine?
Offensive? Yes, if you believe these people are guilty (I personally do). However, the parents are allowed their opinion, though there is so much evidence they must have their eyes sewn shut.
"It's bad enough what their sons did." What? Is there an assumption of innocence here, because if not, we have yet another assault on our nation. We degrade the value and integrity of prosecution when our so-called leaders presume to know outside of the due process our constitution guarantees. [Reminds me of the Duke lacrosse case. Dozens of faculty signed a statement to condemn the team. Then it turned out to be a hoax. Of course, the smarty-pants faculty never apologized.] The best way to assure prosecution of the guilty is to carry the prosecution out with integrity and the presumption of innocence that requires.
Yeah, because no AMERICAN parent would EVER doubt their childrens' guilt. I'm sure if his kids did something this horrific (god forbid), the very first thing he would do, being a good patriot, would be to say, "Yep, we've got to get them and put a needle in their arm." Jeez people, the man is in SHOCK, as ANY parent would be.