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Mueller: Communication flaw preceded Marathon bombing

FBI Director Robert Mueller has a heated exchange with House Judiciary Committee member Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, over Gohmert's questions about FBI intelligence gathering on the suspects in the Boston Marathon bombings, Thursday, June 13, 2013, during the committee's oversight hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington. Mueller is nearing the end of his 12 years as head of the law enforcement agency and lawmakers had questions about the Boston attack, secretly gathered phone records of The Associated Press, the attacks in Benghazi, Libya, and leaks of classified government information. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
FBI Director Robert Mueller had a heated exchange with House Judiciary Committee member Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas over questions about FBI intelligence gathering on the suspects in the Boston Marathon bombings.J. Scott Applewhite/AP

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FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III conceded on Thursday that a lack of formal communication within the agency prevented investigators from alerting Russian authorities that Tamerlan Tsarnaev had returned to Russia before the Marathon bombing, information that Russians have asserted could have averted the act of terrorism.

Mueller also told a congressional panel that the government’s recently revealed surveillance techniques helped spur an investigation of an associate of Tsarnaev, Ibragim Todashev, 27.

Todashev was shot to death by an FBI agent in Florida last month during an interview related to his and Tsarnaev’s role in a Waltham triple homicide, but Mueller declined to comment on the circumstances during Thursday’s hearing, citing an ongoing investigation.

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