The Murders Before the Marathon
February 26, 2014 10:32 AM   Subscribe

Ibragim was a womanizer. He was kind to children. He had a sweet tooth, and a temper. Who killed three men in Waltham, Massachusetts, on September 11 2011? And could solving that case have prevented the Boston Bombings? The answers may never be clear, because the chief surviving suspect, Ibragim Todashev, was shot by the FBI while allegedly on the brink of confessing. Journalist Susan Zalkind's investigation turned up many more questions about the Bureau's handling of the case than it answered. It's also been featured on This American Life. Warning: the first link contains photos of Todashev's dead body.
posted by daisyk (19 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
 
isn't rule 1 of investigative journalism, you don't write a story with non-trivial personal and familial connections ?
posted by k5.user at 10:48 AM on February 26, 2014 [1 favorite]


Certainly not Rule 1, and the writer's connection seems to be an ex-boyfriend she hadn't been in contact with for a while.
posted by Hoopo at 11:23 AM on February 26, 2014


I know the people mentioned in the article. Was so upset when I found out about it. I suspect there was a lot more going on than drug deal related violence. That it happened on 9/11 makes me wonder if the level of planning and premeditation was beyond the competence the Boston Marathon bombers showed. I fear the full story will not come to light.
posted by Schmucko at 11:37 AM on February 26, 2014 [1 favorite]


(Sincere question) What do you think the full story could be, Schmucko?
posted by Melismata at 12:16 PM on February 26, 2014 [1 favorite]


This is one of those times that I can't tell the difference between true incompetence and malice disguising itself as such.
posted by psycho-alchemy at 12:17 PM on February 26, 2014 [1 favorite]


That's what I was just thinking, psycho-alchemy. I live in Waltham, and while there's plenty of crap going on in the local government (the police chief was suspended for domestic violence, for example), this whole thing just doesn't make any sense.
posted by Melismata at 12:22 PM on February 26, 2014


This is one of those times that I can't tell the difference between true incompetence and malice disguising itself as such.

Why not a little from Column A, a little from Column B? If the account of the FBI's trumped-up witness tampering charge is true, that certainly smacks of malice, or at least, a willingness to use the law to achieve an end despite the means. And there's certainly seemingly enough incompetence to go around the various agencies a few times over.
posted by axiom at 12:23 PM on February 26, 2014


an ex-boyfriend she hadn't been in contact with for a while.

ex boyfriend who called her from jail, who got her dad (defense attorney) to represent him, all shortly before the guy died. Seems that's pretty personal and close. I realize asking for complete independence is a fools-errand, but author seems a bit too close to this case.
posted by k5.user at 12:25 PM on February 26, 2014


Malice for whom, though? Who were they protecting? I can't see any good guys in this equation. Still don't get it.
posted by Melismata at 12:28 PM on February 26, 2014 [1 favorite]


I'm not interested in deciding who's a good guy or not from one magazine article, but even if he's a bad guy, I don't see how you explain shooting Todashev like 7 times, hours into an investigation during which he's been surrounded by police and FBI the entire time. Deporting everyone tangentially related to the case (the girlfriend from Florida who'd never even been to Boston, for example) is the kind of thing that makes it hard to uncover the truth if in fact there was some agency wrongdoing, and totally legal to boot. The FBI certainly isn't about to get transparent about the details, it seems.
posted by axiom at 12:37 PM on February 26, 2014 [2 favorites]


k5.user, it was 8 or 9 months between him being in jail and the murder, he called her out of the blue for a favor, and they never spoke again. I'm not really sure how this would prejudice her ability to write a story about this.
posted by Hoopo at 12:38 PM on February 26, 2014


It's also been featured on This American Life.

It actually looks like it's going to be featured next week on TAL.
posted by aught at 1:16 PM on February 26, 2014


Who killed three men in Waltham, Massachusetts, on September 11 2011? And could solving that case have prevented the Boston Bombings?

This is one of those times that I can't tell the difference between true incompetence and malice disguising itself as such.

Well,
on January 6, 2011, [Aaron] Swartz was arrested near the Harvard campus by MIT police and a U.S. Secret Service agent. He was arraigned in Cambridge District Court on two state charges of breaking and entering with intent to commit a felony.[10][11][75][78][79]
On July 11, 2011, Swartz was indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of wire fraud, computer fraud, unlawfully obtaining information from a protected computer and recklessly damaging a protected computer.[12][80]
On November 17, 2011, Swartz was indicted by a Middlesex County Superior Court grand jury on state charges of breaking and entering with intent, grand larceny and unauthorized access to a computer network.[81][82] On December 16, 2011, state prosecutors filed a notice that they were dropping the two original charges;[11] the charges listed in the November 17, 2011 indictment were dropped on March 8, 2012.[83] According to a spokesperson for the Middlesex County prosecutor, the state charges were dropped in order to permit the federal prosecution to proceed unimpeded.[83]
On September 12, 2012, federal prosecutors filed a superseding indictment adding nine more felony counts, which increased Swartz's maximum criminal exposure to 50 years of imprisonment and $1 million in fines.
So US Attorney Carmen Ortiz may have thought she had bigger fish to fry than a bunch of drug dealers murdering each other; and if so, lucky for her she did, really, because after the disgraceful way her office handled the Swartz prosecution was exposed, her career went into a nosedive and she needed a big case in the worst way-- and the Boston Marathon Bombing just so happened to drop one right into her lap.
posted by jamjam at 2:39 PM on February 26, 2014 [1 favorite]




So the story finally aired last weekend on TAL, and I have to say I was disappointed in it.
posted by aught at 9:27 AM on March 13, 2014


F.B.I. Agent Is Cleared in Fatal Shooting of Man Tied to Boston Suspects. (Not official yet, a leak to the NYT.)
posted by Nelson at 5:38 PM on March 21, 2014


Well, that was depressingly predictable/predictably depressing.
posted by daisyk at 8:48 AM on March 22, 2014 [1 favorite]






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