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. Daniel

    Shouldn't a US Congressmen support the Constitution? Pretty sure we have a history of innocent until proven guilty. This is why even the knee jerk news still call them suspects. If you believe they did it or not, for a Government Representative to have already convicted them is irresponsible. And as far as increasing domestic intelligence, we will all have to give up our already diminishing right of privacy for that to happen, something I frankly am not comfortable with.

    April 19, 2013 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  2. Jhon

    Last time I checked it's the right that's radicalized just read "American Taliban". But that's a different topic. As for radicalized muslims, there is no such thing. There are only two types of muslims in this world. The ones who want us dead and the ones who will actually take the steps to accomplish it. Until a high ranking muslim leader denounces such attacks and demands a stop to the violence my beliefs will not change. I do not think this way out of fear or lack of understanding. I think this way thanks to the many muslims who I have met and worked with in my life. The ones who come to America and bad-mouth it every chance they get and talk about how great their country is but when you ask them, "If your country is so great then why do you live here?". They have nothing to respond with.

    April 19, 2013 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  3. Rightsman

    I find Rep Kings remarks unconstitutional. These kids may have done this or not, they are to be presumed innocent, for King to condemn them before any facts are presented should be considered offensive not the grief of any parent. Any parent would likely express disbelief, but its for due process to determine guilt not some loud mouthed congressman.

    April 19, 2013 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  4. Dyan S

    You know what I find offensive Mr.King? Your opinion which is clearly as blind as those of his parents. Perhaps your mouth should be kept closed until you yourself have all the information which you clearly do not.

    April 19, 2013 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  5. Ernnie Sevilla

    did anyone else catch the mothers comments that the fbi ( interviewed ) knew of their sons already and the websites they were visiting? The don't exactly come knocking on your door for visits to Facebook!!!

    April 19, 2013 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  6. heya

    The father and aunt are clearly in denial. Let their uninformed, reactionary opinions be and pay them no mind – it's a natural stage of learning that a loved one has done something like this. Hopefully the remaining suspect will be captured alive and we'll all know why this happened.

    April 19, 2013 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  7. Bill

    Lay off the parents. I don't think there's a single good parent in the world who would really think their child could be capable of such horrendous acts. I don't agree with them at all, but I understand why they think that way.

    April 19, 2013 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  8. Lenore

    You would not find it offensive if you had a child who made a wrong turn. Perhaps you would understand their inability to believe this. Have compassion.

    April 19, 2013 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  9. Dp

    Regardless of whether someone was whispering corruption into these boys' ears, trying to limit commentary by acting offended just because you disagree is creepy. Especially when people with power do it.

    April 19, 2013 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  10. Dr.G

    Totally agree with Mr. King. The parents of killers have gone too far! Look how your sons were given opportunities to receive education and to work here just as other Americans. Now I am not surprised at all what their sons turned out to be. Like father, like son!

    April 19, 2013 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  11. Chloe

    I think they are doing what most parents would do - defending their children.

    April 19, 2013 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  12. KL

    What's offensive is that we are charging them guilty without a jury. How is that 'American'?

    April 19, 2013 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  13. divertium

    This country gave them freedom and oppotunity. Use caution when you use "we" in statements unless you have evidence of that.

    April 19, 2013 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  14. Brian Broersma

    The parents and relatives of these terrorists are clearly not all there and not in touch with reality !!! The evidence is overwhelming and I hope that the justice system does not have to deal with them.

    April 19, 2013 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  15. Alex

    I wouldn't read too much into it. What they're going through must be horrible and denial is quite a common response to tragedy. If it happened to my family I wouldn't want cameras shoved in our faces before we had time to process the unbelievable turn of events it must be for them.

    April 19, 2013 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  16. 2013 Liberal

    This whole thing smacks full of government crap and a Boston police state... are you ready for a totally intrusive US that would turn around and declare martial law? Why did I see Navy Seals wandering around with identical backpacks in Boston?? I no longer trust this government and it's tactics and I am not alone. The whole neighborhood in Reno NV is talking and every time someone new joins the conversation it goes back to badly done overkill on the Feds part. Until now I have liked Obama and now I think he is just another puppet.

    April 19, 2013 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  17. metalhead65

    the uncle sounds like the only intelligent one in the family.

    April 19, 2013 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  18. Jeff

    If someone called me from Chechnya and told me my son was a wanted terrorist I probably would not believe it at first either.

    April 19, 2013 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  19. Anonymous

    Just by their response, it's evident how the family philosophy is that it is somebody else's fault always. These men grew up not knowing responsibility to oneself and to society. This points to the parents being even more responsible for raising these brothers to commit such a heinous act.

    April 19, 2013 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  20. Anonymous

    Already a politician has something to say! I'm not defending the parents' comments, but most likely their words are stemming from a place of complete and utter denial. No parent ever believes that their children are capable of such heinous crimes against humanity. OF COURSE they are going to say they were set up. I actually feel sorry for them, these poor parents are in such denial and disbelief.

    April 19, 2013 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  21. Kayla

    Already a politician has something to say! I'm not defending the parents' comments, but most likely their words are stemming from a place of complete and utter denial. No parent ever believes that their children are capable of such heinous crimes against humanity. OF COURSE they are going to say they were set up. I actually feel sorry for them, these poor parents are in such denial and disbelief.

    April 19, 2013 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  22. M

    So it's wrong and offensive for people to presume their mild mannered children aren't murderers (until proven guilty)? Most of the personal anecdotes thus far describe them as such; if they had murderous intentions, it's likely they had fooled their parents just like the rest.

    Granted, the evidence is pretty damning. But consider what *they* are going through: their child just died, and the other likely soon, and there's not one damn thing they can do about it (well they could publicly plead for him to turn himself in I guess, but that's out of the pan into the fire). They're probably bewildered and in shock, so I don't fault them for being in denial. The offensive thing here is "rep" King's inconsideration and ill advised publicity grab.

    April 19, 2013 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  23. R Ludwig

    Representative King should wait for everything to fall out and not speculate too early. I'm not surprised what the father said. You left your kids in another country, and you don't think they are capable of something like this, then your first instinct is to protect your kids. His response should just be ignored as a protective father. Most parents should do the same thing. Representative King should keep the discourse at a higher level.

    April 19, 2013 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  24. Cooper

    I don't worry about pops. I am sure he doesn't believe it any more than anyone else. He is just angry right now. Let him spew.

    April 19, 2013 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  25. Michael Vick

    Hey Peter King, give the parents some slack. They are in the state of denial. What would you want them to say?

    April 19, 2013 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
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