Decoding Boston Intelligence

Melissa Block gets the latest on the hunt for the Boston Marathon bomber from counterterrorism reporter Dina Temple-Raston.

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ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

I'm Melissa Block. And, of course, throughout today's program we're following the dramatic events unfolding in Boston, as law enforcement officials have launched a citywide manhunt for a suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings. Boston looks pretty much like a ghost town right now. It is in lockdown. Authorities know who they're looking for but they don't know where he is or why he may have launched an attack against the city.

NPR's counterterrorism correspondent Dina Temple-Raston is here in the studio. And, Dina, why don't you bring us up to date on what we know about the two suspects, the brothers.

DINA TEMPLE-RASTON, BYLINE: Well, the brothers - one, his name is Tamerlan Tsarnaev. He was 26 years old. He was killed in a firefight shootout with police earlier this morning. And the person who's at large, the 19-year-old brother, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, is the one they're looking for. And for people who have seen the photographs that were released by the FBI, the brother they're looking for is the younger one with the white baseball cap facing backwards.

BLOCK: Yes. Formerly known as suspect number two. When you talk to investigators, Dina, what are you hearing about any terrorism connections, known terrorism connections to these two men?

TEMPLE-RASTON: Such as al-Qaida - well, they're trying to determine that. And al-Qaida's become much more arms-length recently, and in terms of the way radicalization's happening, they just have sort of an Internet presence. What they're trying to figure out is whether or not one or both of the brothers sort of 0went on those kinds of websites. They've grabbed - they've seized a computer from their sister in New Jersey. They could find some clues on that computer.

BLOCK: Now the younger brother, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, is 19. We've been talking to his former high school classmates. They all describe him as bright and likeable and they cannot believe that he would be responsible for anything like this. So what are you hearing about any speculation - and it is just speculation at this point - about motive?

TEMPLE-RASTON: Well, we're not sure what the motive would be. And the FBI officials are looking for one. But what they seem to think this is somewhat like is the D.C. sniper case, John Muhammad and John Lee Malvo. You may remember there was an older gentleman who highly influenced a young teenager to be a part of this sniper plot in D.C.

And the older brother has gone back to Russia. They're looking at the possibility of his Internet radicalization and maybe he brought his younger brother along. That's what they're looking for in this particular instance.

BLOCK: Okay. Again, that older brother, 26-year-old Tamerlan Tsarnaev has been shot and killed. It's the younger brother, Dzhokhar, who is at large, 19 years old. Dina, thanks so much.

TEMPLE-RASTON: You're welcome.

BLOCK: That's NPR's Dina Temple-Raston.

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