Boston Bombing Trial: Expert Compares Tsarnaev to Jihadists

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Prosecutors in the Boston Marathon bombing trial spent Monday trying to paint alleged attacker Dzhokhar Tsarnaev as a believer in global jihad, calling a terrorism expert to analyze documents found on his computer and a note he is accused of scrawling inside a boat as he hid from authorities.

The expert, Matthew Levitt, director of the Stein Program on Counterterrorism and Intelligence at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, said he reviewed the government's electronic evidence, including copies of Inspire, the glossy al Qaeda-linked magazine, and a Twitter post in which Tsarnaev seems to paraphrase a speech by Anwar al-Awlaki, a U.S.-born Muslim cleric and a spiritual leader to al Qaeda who was killed in a U.S. drone strike in 2011.

Levitt also analyzed the screed, written in pencil and carved into a wooden slat, that Tsarnaev allegedly left in a boat parked behind a Watertown, Massachusetts, home during the final hours of the post-bombing manhunt. Tsarnaev's older brother and suspected accomplice, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, was killed during the four-day dragnet after the brothers allegedly shot and killed an MIT police officer.

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Three people died in the April 15, 2013, twin blasts at the marathon's finish line. Dozens more were seriously hurt.

Levitt said he found similarities between the note and excerpts from Inspire. He focused on one passage, in which the note read: "You are fighting men who look into the barrel of your gun and see heaven, now how can you compete with that. We are promised victory and we will surely get it."

Levitt is expected to return to the witness stand Tuesday.



— Tom Winter, Andy Thibault and Jon Schuppe