Los Angeles Times / New York Times
The Russian government refused to help with FBI requests for more information about Boston bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev and only agreed to help after he launched his deadly attack, according to reports.
The New York Times cites an inspector general's report claiming that Russian officials had warned the FBI in 2011 that Tsarnaev 'was a follower of radical Islam and a strong believer' who had become more extreme in his behavior since 2010.
The Russians then blocked a number of requests from the FBI for additional information and only agreed to assist again after Tsarnaev's deadly attack at the finish line of the Boston marathon.
'They found that the Russians did not provide all the information that they had on him back then, and based on everything that was available the F.B.I. did all that it could,' a senior US official briefed on the new report told the Times.
Russia's unwillingness to hand over everything it knew about Tsarnaev's dangerous brand of Islam comes as it emerged he also tried to legally change his name to that of a well-known militant rebel.
Tsarnaev wanted to changed his name to 'Muaz,' a reference to Emir Muaz, who fought in Russian's Dagestan republic as well as a nickname rebels gave to Tsarnaev during a six-month visit to the region in 2012.
The Los Angeles Times reports his Jan. 23, 2013 application seeking a name change included an explanation that his decision was political.
'He said, 'The Russian people have been terrorizing my home country for all these years,'' an anonymous official told the Times. 'This is why he needed to come back to America and help.'
One year ago, Tsarnaev would set explosions in two backpacks that killed three people and injured more than 260 at the Boston Marathon.
The newly obtained name-changing request is one link in a growing chain of evidence portraying a more radical and organized Tsarnaev than once believed.
Attorneys for younger brother, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, said that his older brother might have believed there was FBI pressure and attempts to recruit him as an informant, forcing his hand.
The FBI did meet once with him to discuss his trip to the Caucasus area, and agents interviewed him multiple times.
Tsarnaev was killed days after the bombing as U.S. agents attempted to bring him in.
Attorneys for his younger brother are expected to argue that Tamerlan was the mastermind behind the plot.
U.S. authorities believe he was likely radicalized during his visit to Dagestan in 2012.
They also claim he unsuccessfully attempted to join the rebels but was either directed to return home to carry out a terrorist attack or decided to do it himself.
'You've got to be pretty full into this to want to change your name and not be just a nobody named Tamerlan,' the Time's source said. 'Maybe he thought because he could not get accepted over there, maybe he could do something here.'
On his name-change application, Tamerlan printed his name onto a section advising him he would be required to take an oath of allegiance to the U.S., crossed his name out, then wrote down 'Muaz.'
A House Committee on Homeland Security report detailed how Tsarnaev returned to the U.S. in 2012 with a powerful desire to hurt the country and a habit of ranting in local mosques.
A YouTube account he maintained included Russian-language videos about Islam and a series of militant videos.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev pled not guilty to using a weapon of mass destruction as well as a slew of federal charges. He faces a death sentence if convicted.
Attempting to prove to a jury that one only committed a crime because they were coerced can be a hard sell.
'In my view of the evidence in the Boston case, I find no indication that the younger man had a psychiatric disorder," said J. Reid Meloy, clinical professor of psychiatry at the UC San Diego School of Medicine.
However he noted: 'It now seems very clear that this may be the most viable and convenient defense for the younger Tsarnaev.'