UPDATE: The Saudi government has denied the reports. According to The Blaze the Saudi goverment released the following statement:
“The Saudi government had no prior information about the Boston bombers. Therefore, it is not true that any information, written or otherwise, was passed to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) or any other US agency in this regard,” a statement issued by the embassy reads. “The Saudi government also does not have any record of any application by Tamerlan Tsarnaev for any visa to Saudi Arabia.”
(Billy Hallowell) As news about the Tsarnaev brothers continues to emerge, it seems Russia may not have been the only foreign nation to warn the United States that the older brother, Tamerlan, was a potential security risk. A senior Saudi government official told Daily Mail that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia sent a written warning to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in 2012. According to the source, the letter was pertaining to Tsarnaev and potential terror threats.
This information was allegedly separate from warnings that Russia sounded and was apparently predicated upon intelligence that was collected in Yemen, Daily Mail reports. In addition to sending the warning to America, the Saudi government also denied an entry visa to Tsarnaev in Dec. 2011 when he purportedly sought to take the Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca, the individual claimed. This is the first time that alleged plans to visit Islam’s most holy city have been divulged.
The source went on to say that, although the letter, which purportedly came from the Saudi Ministry of Interior, did not name Boston specifically, it did cite Tsarnaev and it was “very specific.” The Saudi official also told the outlet that the notice warned the U.S. government that “something was going to happen in a major U.S. city.”
According to the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, the information-gathering was not fully developed, but the Middle Eastern nation allegedly sent it to offer help to the U.S. government. In addition to sounding the alarm, the document was also apparently intended to urge U.S. officials to search packages that reached Tsarnaev in the mail (to see if they contained bomb-making materials).
These are bold claims that, if true, would put pressure on U.S. officials to explain why greater actions were not taken to stop the brothers before their brutal Boston Marathon attack. But rather than embrace the notion that the Saudi government delivered a warning at the highest levels of Homeland Security, the U.S. government is denying that such a communication was received. Daily Mail explains:
A DHS official denied, however, that the agency received any such warning from Saudi intelligence about Tamerlan Tsarnaev.
‘DHS has no knowledge of any communication from the Saudi government regarding information on the suspects in the Boston Marathon Bombing prior to the attack,’ MailOnline learned from one Homeland Security official who declined to be named in this report.
The White House took a similar view. ‘We and other relevant U.S. government agencies have no record of such a letter being received,’ said Caitlin Hayden, a spokesperson for the president’s National Security Council.