The Boston bombing suspects were trained, according to the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee. Representative Michael McCaul (R-TX) cited the type of device used in the attacks — a pressure cooker bomb — as a sign of formal training.
Homemade bombs built from pressure cookers are a frequent weapon for militants in Afghanistan, India, and Pakistan. Yemen’s Al Qaeda branch even published an online manual on how to make one.
McCaul added that the FBI is also investigating to see if the Boston bombing suspects received any prior training. The remaining suspect, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, has been charged with setting the shrapnel-laden pressure cooker bombs near the finish line of the Boston Marathon.
US officials have said that the bombs were set off by a remote detonator like the ones used in remote control toys. Speaking on Fox News Sunday, McCaul stated:
“I think given the level of sophistication of this device, the fact that the pressure cooker is a signature device that goes back to Pakistan, Afghanistan, leads me to believe — and the way they handled these devices and the tradecraft — … that there was a trainer and the question is where is that trainer or trainers.”
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s older brother Tamerlan, 26, is the other Boston suspect. Tamerlan was killed during a shootout with police and SWAT teams. He was reportedly an ardent reader of jihadist websites and extremist propaganda. Officials said that he frequently looked up extremist sites including an English online publication produced by Al Qaeda’s affiliate in Yemen. McCaul added:
“In my conversations with the FBI, that’s the big question. They’ve casted [sic] a wide net both overseas and in the United States to find out where this person is. But I think the experts all agree that there is someone who did train these two individuals.”
The remaining Boston bombing suspect reportedly denied training from someone else, though that information has not been confirmed. Since being read his Miranda rights, Dzhokhar reportedly has not said anything. He was transferred to a federal prison hospital 40 miles outside of Boston at the end of last week.