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Obama: ‘FBI Performed Its Duties’ In Early Probe Of Boston Bombing Suspect

Critics Have Said FBI Mishandled 2011 Investigation Of Tamerlan Tsarnaev

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Marathon Bombings

WASHINGTON (CBSNewYork) — President Barack Obama on Tuesday defended the FBI’s handling of a Russian intelligence tip about Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the deceased suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings.

As CBS 2’s Dick Brennan reported, an investigation has been launched to determine whether more could have been done to prevent the attack.

“What I can say based on what I’ve seen so far, the FBI performed its duties, the Department of Homeland Security did what it’s supposed to do, but this is hard stuff,” Obama said.

And so Obama said federal officials will review whether any sensitive intelligence was missed leading up to the April 15 bombings.

“We want to go back and we want to review every step that was taken,” Obama said. “We want to leave no stone unturned.”

But some lawmakers have criticized the FBI, which investigated Tamerlan Tsarnaev in 2011 and found no evidence of extremist activity.

“I don’t think the FBI did all that it could have done,” said U.S. Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) I think there were other incidents in the terrorists’ background; in the older brother’s background, that should have warranted further investigation.”

Investigators on Tuesday were trying to figure out where the Boston bombs were built and tested.

“You don’t put those two devices down on the Marathon without having taken them somewhere first,” CBS News Senior Correspondent John Miller said Tuesday on “CBS This Morning.”

Sources said the FBI took a DNA sample from Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s widow, Katherine Russell, in order to compare it to female DNA found on a bomb.

“It’s hard to believe – even though it could be true – but it’s hard to believe she had no knowledge of anything that was going on,” Rep. King said.

The FBI also has headed to Russia and Dagestan, focusing on Russian-born Canadian militant William Plotinkov. Like Tamerlan Tsarnaev, Plotnikov was a boxer.

Plotnikov was killed in a gun battle between Muslim radicals and Russian police last year. His father said something had drastically changed in his personality.

“He had a lot of friends, girlfriends – suddenly, finished. No friends, no father, no mother – only his room, and pray. That’s it,” said Vitaly Plotnikov.

The surviving bombing suspect, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, is being held in a 10-foot-by-10-foot cell with a steel odor and a food slot. A prison spokesman said he is under extra surveillance and has been interacting with staff.

A federal judge appointed has defense attorney Judy Clarke to defend Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. Among others, she has represented Unabomber Ted Kaczynski and Olympic Park Bomber Eric Rudolph.

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