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Picture1In 2011, at the request of Russia, the FBI questioned Tamerlan Tsatnaev to see whether he was affiliated with Chechen Islamic terrorist networks. The FBI’s investigation did not find anything, and his case was dropped. In the months following the questioning, Tsarnaev adopted more radical views, and gave expression to his militant views on his Facebook page. Even though his name was already in the FBI’s files, the agency’s ability to continue tracking him was limited by law.

Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) wants Congress to see whether the FBI’s authority to track extremist activity in the United States should be expanded.

Tsarnaev brothers in the moments before their bombs exploded // Source:

According to HLS News wire Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) spent Monday trying to persuade fellow lawmakers to revisit the laws governing the FBI’s ability to track Muslim extremist activity in the United States.

The Hill reports that Graham spoke with the FBI during the weekend about the 2011 interrogation of Tamerlan Tsarnaev. Graham believes agents picked up on  signals that he was a potential terror suspect, but that  the FBI may need more powers in order to run surveillance on suspected individuals. He wants Congress to determine whether the laws need to be looked at and possibly updated.

Speaker John Boehner admitted  the FBI is faced with a difficult mission in trying to investigate terrorist-related activity while protecting the civil liberties of Americans..

“There’s a fine line,” he said. “If you’re in America, and you have the legal status, you’re protected by American rights.”

In 2011 Tsarnaev was questioned by the FBI at the request of the Russian government, which wanted information on how deep his connections were with Chechen terrorists. According to Graham, Tsarnaev did not begin to radicalize until after the interview with the FBI.

“In 2012 and 2013, when he became more radical, when he went on the Internet, when he interacted with this imam in Boston, the FBI tells me there is limitations on what they can do in situations like that,” Graham said during an interview on Fox.

“What the FBI told me sounded very reasonable. But the FBI’s hands are tied here when it comes to following radical Islamist websites, and we’re at war, folks. And if we don’t realize it, there’s going to be more of this,” Graham added.

“The sooner we realize that we’re at war with radical Islam and come up with systems to defend ourselves, the better off we’ll be,” Graham told the reporters. “I don’t want a police state, but I want a nation where the police can protect us.”

“They’re trying to recruit American citizens. This idea that if you can find an American to help kill us, they’re somehow having legal safe haven [will protect them], is ridiculous.”