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. lottie

    well it didn't take the repos long to zero in people of a different race, Using it to argue immigration. I guess they want us to lump everyone together. Maybe they should readdress guns too.

    April 19, 2013 10:51 pm at 10:51 pm |
  2. heather powell

    I am also very offended by the parents how dare them our country took them in and saved them.

    April 19, 2013 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
  3. sally-ann

    Universal background checks would have stopped this kid from buying guns, Mr Republican Grand Stander.

    April 19, 2013 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
  4. missingmick

    It is beyond offensive. This family is playing us for fools. Take the facts: The family claims they need to move to US for asylum and bring their children. The father, whose actions were supposedly the reason the family needed asylum, continuoulsy leaves America, leavin ghis family, to go back to Russia. Meanwhile, the mother is preaching anti-American conspiracy theories to her "spa" clients who would come to her home for facials. She, too, ends up leaving US to go back to Russia, leaving her children behind. The eldest son then goes to Russia for 6 months less than a year ago. Then, the two sons bomb the marathon. It sounds like the parents groomed their children to become terrorists; that they really did not need asylum from Russia but an excuse to get their sons planted here to carry out their radical religious and political views, while they ran back to their "homeland".

    April 19, 2013 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
  5. Silverado

    The parents of these Islamic terrorists are Muslims too - I am not sure why Rep. King is so surprised by how ungrateful the parents of these Islamic terrorists are.

    April 20, 2013 01:17 am at 1:17 am |
  6. Ethos

    One incident and the whole Chechen community here is now open to questions of radicalization and all the added attention and scrutiny that comes with it? This is a blatant call for the profiling of a population. These people who committed this act were horribly wrong. However, the other likely overwhelming majority of this community stand only to be alienated and less trusting by this "official's" rhetoric. The exact opposite of what we would need from them at a time like this...

    April 20, 2013 02:06 am at 2:06 am |
  7. anders

    And he knows that?

    April 20, 2013 05:38 am at 5:38 am |
  8. Pizzle

    I watched that segment when it was live. I can see why King was offended based on what he thought he heard, but the parents' statements never directly blamed the US for framing or setting up their kids. It's a ridiculous argument on their part, but King's response really shows a level of ignorance or at least an inability to listen well. The parents' remarks would have been fairly easy to dispute in a more tactful and sensitive manner.

    April 20, 2013 07:06 am at 7:06 am |
  9. 2013american

    US should take away their asilum and citizenship and deport the whole family.

    April 20, 2013 07:14 am at 7:14 am |
  10. Me

    No parent wants to believe their child would do anything like this. They want to blame someone else. Their children were adults and made their own decision to do this horrible act.

    April 20, 2013 07:16 am at 7:16 am |
  11. Tony in Maine

    The ignorance displayed by "it must be considered" is offensive.

    April 20, 2013 08:48 am at 8:48 am |
  12. thinkingnow

    spend some time with any pakistani in usa and u will know how much they hate americans.. if u dont know that then u have wasted ur billions on name of safety.

    April 20, 2013 08:49 am at 8:49 am |
  13. Mary Ann

    Parents in this country say the same thing all the time.You read it and hear it all the time,my little darling couldn't committed the crime,no way,some

    April 20, 2013 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  14. Donna

    As I watched the cheering and the chanting of 'USA"', I was absolutely sickened. This revenge attitude and not justice is an example of the American culture of hate and violence. I feel sad for those who lost their lives. They are victims of American culture of violence, hate, discrimination. America has committed so much violence against others across the world in their quest for world domination and control. And America is so surprised when violence takes place in their own country. (Newtown, Aurora...etc) The invasion of Iraq and the hundreds of thousands of slaughtered civilians is an example of America's violent culture of entitlement. Violence and hate is ingrained in America Culture. The victims at the Marathon are the price America pays for its violent intolerant culture. Newtown, Virginia Tech and other mass killings are a byproduct of such a culture that cultivates violence and hate and uses it to justify wars like Iraq. I feel such sadness for the children of America who pay the price for America's embracing of guns, hate, paranoia, racism, and violence. Other democracies all over the world must ask themselves, is America's culture of hate, violence, intolerance something we want infecting our society. If so, all of humanity is lost.

    April 20, 2013 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  15. 1twinsfan

    These parents are delusional. The father thought his son was a well-known boxing champ famous the country over.

    April 20, 2013 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  16. ru serious

    ...ingrates. The mother sounds like a real bigot, hated America and passsed this on to her sons. They come over here, take full advantage of our freedoms, their kids go to our schools on our dime and the monsters turn around and blow up innocents in the name of Islam, the religion of peace and love.

    April 20, 2013 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  17. truth hurts but reality bites

    Of course the parents are going to support their kids. That is their job as parents. The sad fact is that the little kids they knew are long gone. The parents probably are out of touch with the real activities of their former children, now adults. It sounds like they were pretty good at hiding their true nature from their friends. But the FBI had a tip off on one of them years ago. Sounds like another dropped ball by the FBI, just like the 9/11 muslims taking flight lessons in the states.

    April 20, 2013 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  18. CJ Topspin

    The fact that we even care FOR ONE SECOND what this family of animals thinks just shows how far this country has fallen down the rabbit hole.

    April 20, 2013 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  19. NebraskaFilly

    To Pizzle: "in a more tactful and sensitive manner" – that kind of thinking is what has gotten our country where it is right now. Who gives a crap if Rep. King is tactful and sensitive – he is correct, like it or not. Open borders, the FBI that can't seem to find it's a** with both hands, not using profiling because it MIGHT offend some minority or other. All of this political correctness has to end before it's too late, if it's not already.

    April 20, 2013 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  20. Pete

    just thank god the FBI was there or they'd be questioning a corpse because after Bostons finest shooting well over 200 rounds against them and still the younger brother gets away you just have to wonder how much these Boston guys really train if at all...Now we can see if he survives if he's part of a gang,group or terrorist organization bent on terrorizing at a moments notice..Questions of how,when,why they got weapons,who trained them in a strongly antigun state and who out there taught them how to build explosives like in pressure cookers,pipebombs..And in another question was his parents who travel frequently to Russia and back have anything to do with this incident.Under questioning hopefully most of these questions will be answered and more arrests will be made...You republicans out there the naysayers,bigots the president ,Kerry did their jobs unlike Bush looking like a deer in the headlights after being told on 9/11 about the attack in NY,remember that and he never thought in his wildest dreams we'd ever be attacked how wrong as usual your president in Bush was AGAIN!!

    April 20, 2013 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  21. NebraskaFilly

    To "Mike: – I guess you can't read – both of them confessed to the man they kidnapped that they were the bombers. And I would really like to know what people were taken out of their homes and stripped naked? I DO agree that they ALL went overboard just a bit and I, for one, am NOT applauding their performance. I have had my own experiences witnessing the incompetence and complete lack of common sense on the part of the police, both in Virginia and in Nebraska. IMO, they were negligent to not have found this one 19 year old boy who was hiding only a block away – how on earth could that happen with hundreds and hundreds of cops everywhere? Once they had him cornered, hundreds and hundreds of police, FBI, etc., etc., just standing around – for what? Who was patrolling the REST of Boston during this period? As I said, took this way too far.

    April 20, 2013 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  22. TheSadTruth

    I'm sure their mother was upset because the reporters showed up to interview her before she could steal something nice to wear.

    April 20, 2013 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  23. Groucho Marx

    Muslim have not a nationality. Simply they are Muslims. That's not matter if they born in Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Argentina, Australia, UK or the United States....Muslim beliefs are above any loyalty or love to their born homeland. They hate the freedom and lifestyle that American citizens enjoy....... I strongly believe Muslim agenda is far away more dangerous for our Country, that the communism.

    April 20, 2013 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  24. g

    has the mcveigh family been rounded up yet.how about the gun nuts family in colorado

    April 20, 2013 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  25. Try thinking first

    Come on people think about it before you type. These parents are grieving, ashamed and quite possibly feeling guilty. It's actually quite a normal response to try to deflect blame to others. If this is what they need to do to get through this time, let them do it. The rest of us know the truth, nothing the parents say is going to change that. But if they need to tell themselves their kids were setup so they can sleep at night. Let them.

    April 20, 2013 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
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