Nightly News   |  April 24, 2013

What does Russia know about Tamerlan Tsarnaev?

There are growing questions as to whether or not U.S. intelligence officials have done more when investigating Tamerlan Tsarnaev prior to the Boston bombing.  Russia had asked the FBI to find information about him, then later asked the CIA. Both times, the U.S. said nothing had been found, but his name ended up in the master terrorism database. NBC’s Pete Williams reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> good evening. as you're about to see, boylston street in boston is back and open for business. but it doesn't mean boston is somehow back to normal. that city is still all about the living and the dead in the aftermath of the terrorist bombings. and now that it's been over a week, the questions start coming about what the u.s. knew and when they knew it about these two brothers. one survives and is cooperating with investigators in the hospital. pete williams starts us off from our washington newsroom.

>> reporter: boylston street , the route of the boston marathon is fully open now for traffic and business. the site of the first bomb explosion is marked off with fresh pavement.

>> totally shocked. i can't believe they got everything, you know, pulled together in a week.

>> reporter: at copley square , victims of the bombings were honored with flowers and symbols of the city and the marathon. in washington , fbi and intelligence officials briefed members of congress for a second day. some wonder whether the intelligence system did enough to look into the background of tamerlan tsarnaev, the older bombing suspect two years ago.

>> it's working better than an 9/11 but not as well as it should.

>> reporter: here's how officials explain what they did. in january 2011 , russia asks the fbi for information about him saying he was planning a visit to russia and he and his mother may have become radicalized. fbi agents check u.s. terror databases and find nothing, no contact with suspected terrorists. they interview him and his family in cambridge. conclusion, nothing negative found. they tell the russians, ask for more information but get no response. in september russia makes exactly the same request sending the same information, this time to the cia. same u.s. response. nothing found. russia is again asked for more. again, no response. but his name is put into the master terrorism database so the u.s. knows he flies to moscow in 2012 . there is no follow up when he returns because his case is considered closed. but now some are asking if there should have been another look at him when he began posting radical material.

>> he put stuff on the internet and youtube videos. is there some way we should be monitoring those kinds of things?

>> reporter: officials say dzhokhar has told the fbi he and his brother didn't test bomb designs before they staged the attack. something investigators are skeptical of but checking out. as for report that is the bombers intended to go to new york from boston , officials discount the notion that they planned to stage any attacks there. brian?

>> pete williams in washington again for us tonight. pete, thanks.