(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.
It is NOT my job to support my son if he murdered people and maimed hundreds. Where is it written that you HAVE to support everything your children does, even if they are mass murderers.
Do you realize how idiotic that statement is? If your children murdered 10 people would you be proud of that and tell everyone that you are the proud parent of a mass killer and terrorist?
I think not.
The parent's comments are indeed offensive but are understandable too. No parent wants to believe that a son or a daughter could have committed a heinous crime. Their reaction, when faced with the terrible reality, will demonstrate their true feelings of contempt for this country or remorse over what their sons did in Boston.
They are invited to live in the U.S. and this is how they spend their lives? How do you spell.............Parasites????
RD Scott,I understand what you're saying but being parents hopefully keeps your kids just from this..And yes you do question it if you did raise them proper because how outside interference can change kids attitudes ,reactions about something you or anyone near them doesn't know anything about..You also question yourself thinking did I do enough,was I hard enough in teaching them the right things and how to avoid the wrong,it all will bother them forever if these parents are innocent because all parents are all wise,knowing and don't we all think that way in bringing up our kids,I did!!
These are people who grew up in a part of the world where corruption both in the police and other government agencies is a daily occurrence. While it's obviously unrealistic to think these kids are really being framed in the United States, for these two, coming from these ex-Soviet satellites, its understandable that they would make these statements.
Second: King's comments about "radicalization" are straight out of the McCarthy era. Suspicious people should be judged on an individual basis, based on their specific threat of violence they might pose, not on they're cultural orientation and some anecdotal proof that it has become "radicalized." There's a veiled call for racial profiling in Mr King's statement and that sort of thing should be unacceptable in the United States.
The parents are in denial. The did not say they are proud of what their children did (if the report is accurate). They said that their children were framed and could not have done such a thing. They claim their boys were framed. It might be a good time for everyone to take a deep breath and be thankful that this sad episode is over. Pray for the victims and their families. Pray for the parents of these misguided young men and especially pray that we will somehow find a way to make this world a better place. Promote harmony and pray for peace.
"They hate the freedom and lifestyle that American citizens enjoy"
Ah, that old chestnut – you're wrong , you know – they hate that Americans insist on interfering in the affairs of other , lesser, countries.
Right on Mr. King ! Seems like you might be one of the few that will stand up and say what needs to be said ! Thank you.
I can tell you that you are looking at the wrong thing:
The urgency for the older brother to act was from the "conspicuous interest" by the FBI between 2009 – 2011. The bombers did not leave a manifesto, nor did they voice any specific political or ideological complaint. Curiously now, after the bombing, the younger brother is being considered to be an enemy combatant - while before the bombing, the role of the FBI and law enforcement was that of an observer, and not able to intervene due to the way that our laws are so narrowly defined.
As this matter evolves, I am beginning to see that the Second Amendment to the Constitution is a Responsibility - not a Right.
Marxism has not a nationality. Simply they are Marxists... Marxist beliefs are above any loyalty or love to their born homeland. They hate the freedom and lifestyle that American citizens enjoy....... I strongly believe Marxist agenda is far away more dangerous for our Country, that the communism.
Pity the fool! These guys are the enemy! Knew it was coming. The great debate. Whether or not to give up our civil rights (privacy) in the name of self defense?