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Director Comey’s Response to Inspectors General Report on Boston Marathon Bombings

Headquarters April 10, 2014
  • FBI National Press Office (202) 324-3691

The following letter, dated April 7, 2014, was sent to inspectors general representing the U.S. Department of Justice, the Central Intelligence Agency, the Intelligence Community, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Dear Inspectors General,

The FBI appreciates your thorough review of the handling and sharing of information prior to the April 15, 2013 Boston Marathon bombings. Of course, we continue to remember all who were harmed in those terrible events. But whenever a tragedy occurs, we owe it to the victims and the American people to look back and see what lessons we can learn. It’s not just a useful exercise; it’s an essential one.

Here, your review confirmed that when Russian authorities provided limited information to the FBI about Tamerlan Tsarnaev and his mother in 2011, the FBI acted appropriately. The FBI’s Boston field office took responsible investigative steps and, as you recognized, generally shared information and followed procedures appropriately. We also concur with your recommendations. In fact, we have already taken steps to ensure that all threat information is proactively and uniformly shared with the state and local partners whose support is so critical to the success of our Joint Terrorism Task Forces.

FBI agents and analysts throughout the world, together with our law enforcement and intelligence partners, work day in and day out to protect the homeland, using all available tools consistent with our Constitution, laws and policies. They have to make critical judgments in real time, almost always with imperfect information, and often in dangerous circumstances. I am proud of the work that the Boston field office did in this case, before the bombings as well as after them, and I am proud of all the people of the FBI who have made the safety of the American people their life’s mission.


James B. Comey