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. Ruby Jarrett

    ok Mr. King agree 100% so what are we going to do about it? While these kids came to this country and getting a top rate education on whos $? This is Disturbing at best!

    April 19, 2013 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  2. MommaMia

    This takes "biting the hand that feeds you" to a despicable level. A one way ticket back to Chechnya sounds good to me....

    April 19, 2013 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  3. rv

    i think Rep. King's statements are much more offensive than the parent's of the bombers

    April 19, 2013 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  4. Arthur

    I just want to hear what that boy has to say. It so shocking to hear that his family and friends claim that we'd never ever would do such atrocity. Specially the parents, to the point that makes you question whether this was a set up I hope they get him alive so that no conspiracy theorist can argue anything and he can totally turn himself up and speak everything.

    April 19, 2013 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  5. et

    I would say it's "offensive" for someone to turn shocked and grieving parents' words into a political statement. They did not accuse "the US" of framing anyone. They are just trying to come up with an explanation for a situation they can't imagine having ever happened. Wouldn't you do the same if your own children did this? (Or your parents, if you did?)

    April 19, 2013 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  6. Dave

    This event does not justify racism.

    April 19, 2013 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  7. Eenie

    They're parents; they're in shock and in denial like most parents would be at this point. Thank God you're not in their position. If they're still saying the same things a month from now, I'll feel differently. Right now, I'm much more offended by the U.S. Senate; they have no excuse.

    April 19, 2013 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  8. after all

    My prayers go to all the victims involved including the parents of the suspects. I don't know your pain and am sorry to say I don't want to. Everyone is included in my thoughts and prayers.

    April 19, 2013 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  9. Bob

    1. They're family members who have had their world turned upside down. His friends also couldn't believe he did this. Be understanding that people cling to what they want to believe even in overwhelming evidence. For example, the day of the bombing, we had several NRA types saying that it was government conspiracy (just like they did after Newtown) to try to get more laws passed. Those same gun nuts are now "America, F Yeah!" and trying to use the fact these guys legally immigrated from a Muslim country (even though they were kids when they came here and are white) as some kind of bizarro argument against immigration reform. BTW, NRA guys, if you think his family sound paranoid and crazy because they think there is some FBI conspiracy to frame these kids- that's who you sound all the time. After all, you NRA bozos floated the "false flag" idea immediately after the bombing.

    April 19, 2013 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  10. Kate

    Big problems with King's words:
    – US immigrants are Americans, not the recipients of some passport charity. These men's parents have every right to express themselves, their grief and even the most crazy theories they can come up. As Americans. Shame on King for even suggesting anything else
    – It's a bit premature to blame anything on any radicalization – and way wrong to attribute individual acts to an entire community.

    April 19, 2013 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  11. Sharon

    I know this isn't popular but they haven't been convicted yet so how can he talk about what "their sons did"? What normal parent wouldn't protest their child's innocence before there is even a trial? Their response seems pretty normal to me.

    April 19, 2013 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  12. fiddler13

    So much for free speech!

    April 19, 2013 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  13. sickofit122

    Total nonsense from these idiots!

    April 19, 2013 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  14. Reality

    Who is radicalizing these young people? The Muslim community needs to answer this question.

    April 19, 2013 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  15. andy55

    Hey Mr. King,
    Would you jump out and say your son is a thug if he committed a crime?
    I guess not.
    But I guess it scores easy political points to beat up on some dumb parents whose life just got turned upside down.
    Even the friends in school here thought it was impossible that the kid did the stuff.
    Politicians, they are something.

    April 19, 2013 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  16. MessiahNoMO

    I am with Rep King,, we must not sugar coat the facts. The family (except for the uncle) of these two scum need to be looked into. The apples do not fall far from the tree. I find it very repulsive that the family feels that their precious sons or nephews think that this is an elaborate conspiracy. Especially in light of all the evidence. It goes to show you how ignorant they were of their own son and the aunt that calls herself a lawyer is rude and belligerant at her press interview. Someone should look into their background and flush them back to where they came from.

    April 19, 2013 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  17. Scott

    Framed? Then why have shoot out with the police? Why toss explosives from teh car while being chased? Why not turn yourself in and let the courts determine your guilt? OK consipiracy theorists – chme in on how hte courst will railroad them or they will end up in Gitmo never to be seen again.

    Who cares where they came from or if they have been somehow radicalized? Don't damn en entire community (Chechen immagrants) for the actions these two. Let's not forget Oklahoma City – an act perpertuated by home grown, white men.

    April 19, 2013 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  18. Jack Kieser

    Yes, Rep. King, because the exact and appropriate response to this tragedy is more racial / ethinic profiling. Why can't these just be two deranged guys who had their brain wiring fried? Why does this have to be a racial thing? Why must this shed a bad light on all people from their country or their ethnic background?

    Why must Americans be SO racist?

    April 19, 2013 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  19. Nicole

    Dude, they're parents. One of their children died and the other is part of a large scale manhunt and may also be killed. Until we can show that they actually supported the actions of their children, everyone needs to sit down and shut up about judging them.

    April 19, 2013 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  20. Jen L

    Of course the parents are in disbelief. Faulting the parents for being in disbelief and expressing that? The parents don't even know what evidence there is against their son– and neither does Rep. King– but the parents are offensive for expressing their disbelief?

    I'm assuming that they have evidence against him but to consider it "offensive" for the family to question if there is evidence? That's just blowhard ridiculousness, just like "it must be considered's" post.

    April 19, 2013 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  21. ragged andy

    well, they are from a land that hates us and they are busy defending their terrible offspring

    April 19, 2013 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  22. Thomas Frankin

    Innocent until proven guilty. Or have we forgotten about that little part of the Judicial system?

    April 19, 2013 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  23. Anonymous

    Rep. King – – I doubt you know much about Chechen-Russian relations or history.

    April 19, 2013 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  24. Gotcha

    I understand Rep. King's objection, but in the part of the world the parents and aunt come from, "setting up" suspects happens all the time. We generally trust our police and justice system. They don't, and for good reason.

    April 19, 2013 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  25. A Conservative

    So – your innocent son had a bomb strapped to him because.......Oh yea......that was a setup too.......right.....

    April 19, 2013 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
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