April 19th, 2013
05:36 PM ET
8 years ago

King: Suspected bombers' parents 'wrong,' 'offensive'

(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.

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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.

Filed under: Massachusetts • Peter King • The Lead
soundoff (236 Responses)
  1. PortOurTroops

    Rep King– Whatever happened to the Constitution? We ARE innocent until proven guitly, aren't we? Or does does the Constitution only apply when the NRA says it should?.

    April 19, 2013 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  2. Jay David

    "Anzor Tsarnayev, father of Boston bombings suspects Dzhokar Tsarnaev and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, says his sons were framed."

    It's understandable that the parents are in denial. But framed persons usually don't throw bombs at the police as they flee. Even OJ didn't throw bombs at the police as they chased him.

    April 19, 2013 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  3. America

    Innocent until proven guilty

    April 19, 2013 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  4. Nunyo Biznuss

    If they were so innocent, why did they set their backpacks down and back up? Who were they waiting for to cross the finish line? Why haven't their marathon running friends come forward? Why did they rob a 7-11 (on film for certain)? Why were they throwing grenades out of the car? The epitome of innocence daddy dear.

    April 19, 2013 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  5. Mayan

    soundoff – Now that's an offensive statement.

    April 19, 2013 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  6. crop1981

    I just what the Hell has being liberal got to do with all this? Being liberal is not a crime just as being conservative has nothing to do with intelligence.

    April 19, 2013 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  7. Jim in California

    What would you expect your fathr to say? It's why immediate family make such poor alibis in a crime...

    April 19, 2013 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  8. Pismire

    In the dad's video, he says "praise allah"... Interesting.

    April 19, 2013 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  9. katieoh22

    I cant believe that the US isnt keeping track of people (checking social media, doing check-in visits, keeping track of visits back to former country) to ANYONE who is given asylum in the US. It's just a matter of time before children born in the US of Muslim faith and through the path of asylum or some other amnesty into the US will be approached to do something for Jihad. Not trying to profile but a possible scary reality.

    April 19, 2013 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  10. imaginetilecompany

    So, the parents have a hard time accepting their sons are killers and terrorists? Hmmm sounds like the reaction any rational, non-radical parent would have. I don't understand why Peter King is being such a jerk...

    April 19, 2013 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  11. hohotai

    I'm with Rep. King on this.

    April 19, 2013 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  12. Jen

    It's hardly surprising that the parents think thier sons are innocent. It's their children, for Pete's sake. What parent doesn't want to think the best of thier kids?

    April 19, 2013 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  13. kxr

    Never ever trust Putin!!!

    April 19, 2013 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  14. Socagal08

    I think the parents have found the same fog as Jody Arias! I know it's hard to think you kids have done something so horrific, but reality is just that reality. Accept it!

    April 19, 2013 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  15. John David Crawford

    The parents are in denial regarding the culpability of their sons in the Boston bombings. They cannot imagine their sons having done such a thing. Naturally, they believe their sons have been framed by the U.S. government. Hopefully, the parents will come to understand the facts. Innocent men would have never committed the acts that are known to have been done by the sons after the bombings.

    April 19, 2013 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  16. Duh

    I find it over the top for Peter King to even comment on the parents remarks. The parents, being human (flawed), are obviously hurt and confused from this shock. How would I react as a father, you darn right he had nothing to do w/ it. Until I talked to him at least...

    But what really don't make sense though is why young men chose to move away from violence and politics, would choose to so brutally attack the Boston Marathon. And everyone seems to not bash an eye at the unclear description of the dead suspect. What happened to capturing anymore. Is there a video proving he wasn't given police 'justice'?

    April 19, 2013 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  17. Jim

    to 'it must be considered:' pretty offensive statement re: Massachusetts, especially after the incredible response on multiple levels of the Boston citizenry. Also, that 'leftist state' elected Mitt Romney as governor just a few years ago, and I seem to remember he was pretty popular at the time. Your statement has no basis in reality.

    April 19, 2013 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  18. Mark

    No mother anywhere in the world would say his son is bad, she always suspects other that made his son bad or framed him, this is nature, in the worst she would blame circumstances, but the fact remains his son did this. I think more than the foot soldiers its important to go behind those who would have planned or helped in this. I really doubt these two guys just did it at their own thinking without any malicious gang behind them.

    April 19, 2013 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  19. Carol

    The injured gentleman who saw one of the sons put down his backpack, and in two and half min. lost his legs to the explosion from the backpack needs to talk to the disbelieving father. This father needs to see all the evidence on the cameras, and see all the people that were killed and maimed by these explosions from the backpacks.

    April 19, 2013 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  20. Mateo

    Sadly if one reads about the likes of Timothy McVeigh and Eric Rudolph and you'll find that they have more things in common with the far right than any "lefist" state as some put it.

    April 19, 2013 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  21. Ulysses-AZ

    The parents reaction, while both offensive and sad, is based on their own experiences within totalitarian regimes and constantly living under some state of war. Under free societies, though still susceptible to prejudices, it is more difficult to perpetrate the sort of complicit corruption the parents are suspicious of.

    April 19, 2013 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  22. abdulla oblongotta

    And so begins the drums of war. Can't wait to go to war with Russia. That should be fun. It's exactly like the video games.

    April 19, 2013 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  23. Chill Out

    There's no reason to believe the Chechen community in the U.S. has become "radicalized". As far as we can tell, these were two disturbed young men not unlike any of the other "homegrown" terrorists we've had. Their parents and relatives are clearly distraught and struggling to understand this. The stages of grief are anger, denial, bargaining, depression and acceptance. It's clear in the interviews that they're struggling with a few of these all at once. This must be a terrible shock to them. The Chechen-American community does not deserve our suspicion. We're all in this together.

    April 19, 2013 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  24. ViK100

    This guy lives in a nation where everyone is oppressed and war and fights and hatred is everyday's life.. What do you expect him to say, really Mr King?? "oh yeah.. go ahead and kill my sons because they betrayed your country"... Just who does that?

    April 19, 2013 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  25. Cherianne

    The father said the youngest of the two was going to college and didn't have any money issues because he was on financial aid. It is about time this country quits letting these people come here and go to school, period. And to give them "financial aid" is just ridiculous. I know he was a "naturalized" citizen...well, it's time ALL immigration to this country STOPS. There are enough people here NOW. I work as a customer service agent and takes calls from all over the country daily. I never knew, until taking this job a year ago, that nearly half (not exaggerating) of the people in the country now speak with an accent, most of whom I can barely understand. Enough is enough, are we just stupid here or what now??????????????????????

    April 19, 2013 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
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