Washington: The two alleged Boston bomber brothers, Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, used a remote-control device from a toy car to set off the pressure-cooker bombs filled with nails and ball bearings, according to a key lawmaker.
Dutch Ruppersberger, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, made the disclosure on Wednesday after a closed-door briefing with three senior national security officials on Capitol Hill, Politico, an influential news site focused on politics, reported.
Ruppersberger said based on information from the surviving suspect, Dzhokhar, 19, it appears the brothers learned how to build the bomb from Inspire magazine, a publication founded by Anwar al-Awlaki, the now-deceased al Qaeda leader.
"That has always been a concern of ours," Ruppersberger was quoted as saying. "That magazine was put out to recruit people for jihad."
Meanwhile, CNN citied one of the suspects` uncle as saying a friend of Tamerlan`s "brainwashed" him.
The suspects` former brother-in-law said Tamerlan seemed to be influenced in Islam by a friend named Misha, but that he did not see Misha try to radicalise him, the channel said.
Investigators had no immediate comment on reports of someone named "Misha”.
Investigators are looking into the possibility Tamerlan Tsarnaev may have helped finance the bomb plot through drug sales, according to a source familiar with the investigation, the channel said.
The New York Times citing American officials said despite being told in 2011 that an FBI review had found that Tamerlan Tsarnaev had no ties to extremists, the Russian government asked the Central Intelligence Agency six months later for whatever information it had on him.
After its review, the CIA also told the Russian intelligence service that it had no derogatory information on Tamerlan Tsarnaev, it said. But it was not clear what prompted the Russians to make the request of the CIA.
The picture emerging on Wednesday was of an American counterterrorism bureaucracy that had at least four different contacts with Russian spy services about Tsarnaev in the year before he took a six-month trip to Russia in 2012, the Times said.
But it never found reason to investigate him further after he returned from the trip.
After the CIA cleared Tsarnaev of any ties to violent extremism in October 2011, it asked the National Counterterrorism Centre, the nation`s main counterterrorism agency, to add his name to a watch list as a precautionary measure, the Times said citing an American intelligence official.
Other agencies, including the State Department, the Homeland Security Department and the FBI, were alerted, the newspaper said.
That database, the Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment, or TIDE, which contains about 700,000 names, is the main repository of information from which other government watch lists are drawn, including the FBI`s Terrorist Screening Database and the Transportation Security Administration`s "no fly" list.