Heavily redacted files leave questions about Tamerlan Tsarnaev, Ibragim Todashev

The government says it handled the immigration cases properly.

Ibragim Todashev (left) and Tamerlan Tsarnaev are the subjects of recently-released Homeland Security files. Associated Press

The Department of Homeland Security has finally released 651 pages of previously confidential files on Tamerlan Tsarnaev and his friend Ibragim Todashev to The Boston Globe, but the files are heavily redacted and only 206 pages were released in their entirety.

The federal immigration records, which were obtained by the Globe under the Freedom of Information Act after three years of requests, shed light on the elder Tsarnaev’s and Todashev’s entry into the United States. Tsarnaev died in the Watertown firefight with police shortly after the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings. A month later, Todashev was killed by an FBI agent during an interrogation in Florida.

In the months before the bombings, according to the files, Tsarnaev passed the U.S. citizenship test, swore his allegiance to the United States, and denied any links to terrorism. However, an officer marked his application, “A decision cannot yet be made about your application’’ rather than approving it, the Globe reported. Reasons for the delay were unclear in the file.

According to the Globe, Todashev’s green card was denied in 2011 because he did not provide court records from a criminal road-rage incident in Boston. He applied again and was issued a green card in February 2013. Shortly after the bombings, a top immigration official sent the Boston immigration office a memo titled “withholding of adjudication,’’ but the reason for the memo is unclear because the record is redacted.

“While USCIS found no errors in the processing of Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s or Ibragim Todashev’s applications, we are always seeking to strengthen our very intensive screening processes,’’ the Department of Homeland Security said in the statement to the Globe.


Read the full story in the Globe.

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