Dzhokhar Tsarnaev Left a Note, But No Other Signs of Radicalization

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Photo: Handout/2013 FBI

Surviving Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev reportedly told authorities all about his and his brother Tamerlan's motivations for killing three Americans and injuring hundreds more, but "stopped answering questions after getting a lawyer and being told of his right to remain silent." Luckily for investigators, much of the same information was scribbled on the inside of the boat where police found Dzhokhar hiding, according to CBS, and that confession is admissible in court: "The note, scrawled with a pen on the interior wall of the cabin, said the bombings were retribution U.S. military action in Afghanistan and Iraq, and called the Boston victims collateral damage in the way Muslims have been in the American-led wars," John Miller reports. The message said, "When you attack one Muslim, you attack all Muslims."

But whatever Dzhokhar's stated purpose just before his capture, a month of investigation into his ideology has found he "was never truly radicalized," The Wall Street Journal reports — "no frequent visits to jihadi websites, no violent rhetoric, no suspicious purchases." According to officials, while Tamerlan is a textbook "homegrown"/"lone wolf" terrorist, Dzhokhar continues to look like a regular tweeting, pot-smoking, rap-music-listening teenager, who may have been "psychologically dependent on his elder brother." The Journal adds that "while Dzhokhar discussed jihadi themes with his elder brother, his own life indicates little interest in them."

Why Dzhokhar was willing to kill, then, remains an open question, but his brother, officials said, was key: "Without Dzhokhar's alleged involvement, they believe there still would have been some kind of violence committed by Tamerlan." For Dzhokhar, in court, that could be the difference between life and death.