The chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee said Sunday that federal authorities are investigating whether the suspects in the Boston marathon bombing received training that helped them carry out the deadly attack.
Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) said during an appearance on Fox News Sunday that it was too soon to dismiss a possible connection between the suspects and foreign terrorists.
"Right out-of-the-box, U.S. officials unanimously are saying there's not foreign connection to this case when in fact the FBI just began its investigation into the case," McCaul said on Fox News Sunday. "They just got the computer. They just sent a U.S. team over to (the) Chechen region, and to Dagestan, to interview witnesses."
He added: "I think given the level of sophistication of this device, the fact that the pressure cooker is a signature device, goes back to Pakistan or Afghanistan, leads to believe — and the way they handled these devices and the trade craft leads me to believe that there was a trainer. And the question is, where is that trainer or trainers? Are they overseas in the Chechen region or are they in the United States?"
Publicly, U.S. officials investigating the bombing said there is no evidence of a wider plot, including training, direction or funding for the attacks.
And on CBS' Sunday morning show, Face the Nation, Sen. Claire MCaskill (D-Missouri) said there was no evidence the suspects were "part of a larger organization."
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, is charged with joining his older brother, Tamerlan, who's now dead, in setting off the bombs near the marathon finish line. The attacks killed three and wounded 264. The brothers are ethnic Chechens who came to the United States about a decade ago with their parents. Both parents now live in Russia.
McCaul said Sunday that the suspects' mother had contributed to their "radicalization" and would be detained for questioning if she returned to the United States.
Meanwhile, Reuters reported Sunday that the parents of the bombing suspects had scrapped plans to the travel to the United States.
During an interview from an undisclosed location in Russian, the suspects' father, Anzor Tsarnaev, told the wire service that he believed he would not be allowed to see his surviving son Dzohkhar, who was captured and has been charged in connection with the April 15 bomb blasts that killed three people and wounded 264.
"I am not going back to the United States. For now I am here. I am ill," Tsarnaev said. "Unfortunately I can't help my child in any way. I am in touch with Dzhokhar's and my own lawyers. They told me they would let me know (what to do)," he said.
Tsarnaev had said Thursday that he planned to travel to the United States to see Dzkhokhar and bury his elder son, Tamerlan, who was shot dead by police in a firefight four days after the bombings.
Reuters said Tsarnaev agreed to the face-to-face interview on condition that the village's location not be disclosed.