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. Lenore

    These are their children for God's sake Mr. King. Perhaps you turning this into a political statement is offensive to many. Have compassion.

    April 19, 2013 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  2. Romulan

    Hey Peter King, give the parents some slack. They are in the state of denial. They couldn't believe what their sons did and both of them are about to be killed. What would you want them to say?

    April 19, 2013 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  3. James Ruston

    Has anything King has said in the last year been helpful for anything but getting him in the news?

    April 19, 2013 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  4. Solitaire

    The time to save your son, sir, was before he planted those bombs and hurt sooooo many people. Too late, now.

    April 19, 2013 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  5. Brad

    When is the United States of America gonna realize that it's at war. I'm amazed at how shocked people are at because of this. Wake up cause in some ways, this could only be the beginning. You declare war on Terrorism or anything associated with it guess what, their gonna hit you back.

    April 19, 2013 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  6. H. Lee

    Poor souls– these are their sons. Of course they're defending their kids! Does political correctness really apply to utterances of shocked, grieving parents?

    April 19, 2013 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  7. Cheese_Devourer

    That's one heck of a frame job, complete with somehow controlling the guy's mind so that he rushed the police while wearing an improvised bomb belt and was gunned down. The irrational hatred, paranoia, and complete lack of logic shown by that statement illustrates quite clearly how the Brothers Tsarnaev must have thought. They probably viewed it as a sinister plot every time someone gave them a pay raise or said hello when they checked out at the grocery store.

    I believe that the uncle's label of "losers" applies not only to the brothers, but to their parents as well.

    April 19, 2013 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  8. TLORop

    Someone needs to tell King that where you come from, what color your skin is, and what god you believe in have nothing to do with radical ideas. Timothy McVeigh was a white christian, the columbine massacre was done by a couple of middle class white kids. Has King ever held a hearing over radicalization in the White or Christian communities? NO. Because he is a white christian.

    April 19, 2013 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  9. pmmarion

    The uncle has it right. The father and aunt are wrong.. End of mission...

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

    I think the Uncle has it right. They were unable to make a life in the United States and instead of returning to Chechnya or taking responsibility. They punish innocent people. This fantasy that they are the only ones that know God is evidence of their arrogance. The Muslim community should not be victimized by these murderers.. We have plenty of homegrown fanatics creating cults and etc.

    April 19, 2013 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  11. Fuckcnn

    The parents may not be right but they aren't wrong for being defensive and behaving as they are. They're in shock and helpless to do anything for their children, on of which is dead and the other is likely to be dead soon. None of you would be any different in their place. This thing is a tragedy all around.

    April 19, 2013 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  12. Terrible_Ted

    The family just conveniently leaves out mention of their sons tossing explosives, or the dead one wearing a suicide vest. But of course it's just one big conspiracy. Sorry to say, but perhaps citizens of certain countries shouldn't be allowed to enter this country.

    April 19, 2013 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  13. Namejohn

    Maybe the parents should be deported after this episode.

    April 19, 2013 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  14. Chase

    These days everywhere you look people throw around accusations of others' words being "insulting", "wrong-headed", "hateful", "offensive", and "intolerant" when if we are honest with ourselves, the only intolerance and hate is that which we have toward those with whom we disagree.

    If Rep. King woke up one day to accusations that his children were murderers with one dead and one about to die, I am sure his reaction would be similar to those he calls "offensive". Who can blame the parents for their statements made in such a time of pain, shame, and shock. Everybody in this case deserve justice but in this case the parents are just as much victims as anybody else.

    April 19, 2013 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  15. sanjosemike

    People from the (former) Soviet Union tend to blame the "secret police" on everything. They had a point. In Belarus and other areas of the Soviet Union, there was NO press to look into, investigate and question police policy and function.

    But it's different here. Our courts award financial judgments in cases of police brutality. We have "innocence projects" that examine convictions and they are sometimes overturned, also with financial judgments against authorities.

    Our press and media prevents many abuses from occurring. Someone should point that out to her, along with the very powerful evidence (photographic) against a police "set up."


    April 19, 2013 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  16. chrisgod1

    The Dad is not even in the US. He has no clue. Get Vlad to get him picked up for some deep interviews. Mom, she needs to be picked up. Who is the third suspect reported on NPR?

    April 19, 2013 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  17. Joshua

    Rep. Peter King should keep his mouth shut. Two parents are trying to figure out what is going on with their children who they haven't spoken with and now one of them is dead. This is probably a very surreal situation with many questions that there may never be answered. Parents tend to think the best of their children regardless of their actions, but to attack the parents who are trying to come to grip with the reality they are in. I bet it does feel like a set up or they are being framed. I also hope they are able to bring him in alive and get some answers instead of dead with nothing but suspicions and assumptions.

    April 19, 2013 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  18. sanjosemike

    We have a powerful press and media in this country. We also have courts that monitor police and Government activities. I'm not saying that abuses don't occur. Sure they do. But large financial awards have been given to people who were wronged by the police.

    In Belarus and the former Soviet Union, there was no supervision of the secret police and the courts. They could do whatever they wanted. They MAY try to do that here, but it is much more difficult.

    There is powerful photographic evidence against both brothers. Sure, some of it could be faked, but it looks pretty convincing to me. Faking all of it would the very difficult. Also, they murdered an unsuspecting policeman in his own patrol car.

    Framed? Nah. Nothing points to it.


    April 19, 2013 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  19. Rob

    Import of terrorism is a huge threat and very difficult to filter. People come to this country for a better life but they bring their old traditions with them. The same traditions that caused the grief in the countries they leave. See the irony here folks. This of course applies only to the diehard extremists but a few of these clowns can create a lot of difficulties to say the least.

    April 19, 2013 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  20. Mahhn

    Unfortunately due to the ridicules amount of corruption of some individuals in our government I place no more value on Kings comments than the children's parents.
    I hope the kid is taken alive and evidence is brought forth that proves guilt or innocence beyond a shadow of a doubt. And if these two did this are there others involved that coached them into it that need to be removed from society also?

    I still wonder about the other two men with brown boots and pants pictured that had the same black back pack that were at the same location (maybe they have been cleared?).

    April 19, 2013 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  21. read right

    I want to see info going public on the mother of the dead suspect mentioning that the FBI was tracking and pestering him for the last 3-5 years. Sounds very offensive and fishy to me

    April 19, 2013 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  22. Danny

    "of course they were radicalized! heck they lived in massachusetts, one of the most leftist states in the country."

    You're exactly what's wrong here. Get out of my country please.

    April 19, 2013 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  23. urtypicalguy

    Parents are ignorant... their son went up to an officer and shot him dead!! I suppose he was framed there as well huh? Listening to the parents explains why the kids are the way they are.

    April 19, 2013 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  24. ncboy

    the parents attitude show no concern for the victims. They almost sound like typical parents who say their kids can do no wrong and these parents have 'their heads in the sand.' Kids today are influenced by so many negative factors and they are not robots. If my kids were accused of a crime I would support the authorities and let Justice work its course and have them serve the penalty for their actions if found guilty.

    April 19, 2013 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  25. Be Strong Boston 2013

    Same mother who was arrested @ Lord Taylor for a massive shoplifting scam. Both parents no longer live in US so what would you expect.

    April 19, 2013 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
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