Nightly News   |  May 09, 2013

Why didn’t FBI involve Boston police two years ago?

In the first congressional hearing on the Boston bombings many questions remain unanswered, such as why the FBI didn’t involve Boston’s law enforcement when assessing whether or not Tamlerlan Tsarnaev was a terrorist threat. The FBI investigated Tsarnaev two years ago after receiving a tip from Russian authorities. NBC’s Pete Williams reports

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

>>> the investigation into the boston marathon bombings. today it moved to washington where we got to see a man we got to know back when the story was breaking. boston's police chief took questions from a congressional homeland security panel about the sharing information or lack of it of these three alleged bombers. our justice correspondent pete williams following from our d.c. newsroom tonight. pete, good evening.

>> reporter: brian, good evening. this is the first congressional hearing on the boston bombings. many questions remain unanswered. there was agreement that the federal government should get local police more involved in assessing potential terrorism risks.

>> four days ago my city was ruthlessly attacked.

>> reporter: boston police commissioner ed davis said he was never told before the bombings that the fbi spent weeks assessing whether tamerlan tsarnaev was a terrorist threat after getting word from russian authorities who said he was becoming a strong believer in radical islam .

>> it is fair to say that your police officers assigned to the joint terrorism task force did not know this information.

>> that's correct.

>> would you have liked to have known this information?

>> in hindsight, certainly.

>> if you had this information before the bombing would you have done -- your police force and you -- would you have done anything differently?

>> i can't say that i would have come to a different conclusion, based upon the information that was known at that particular time.

>> reporter: former senator joe lieberman , past chairman of the homeland security committee said leaving the police out of it was a mistake.

>> why didn't they inform local law enforcers who could have stayed on the case and picked up signals from some of the students who interacted with him?

>> reporter: also today a reminder of the agony cause bid the bombings from one family especially hard hit. 8-year-old martin richard was killed at the finish line cheering on runners. his mother lost sight in one eye. his father suffered burns and shrapnel wounds and 7-year-old jane has undergone surgery number 11 to prepare her for a prosthesis after she left her left leg below the knee. they were unable to communicate with jane for two weeks. they say she woke up with difficult questions that needed to be answered. given jane 's progress in surgery the family says she could be ready for rehabilitation in a few weeks.

>> one long running problem has been solved. the body of tamerlan has been removed from the funeral home . they are not saying where the burial was but it is outside massachusetts, brian.

>> awful aftermath continues. pete williams , thanks.