TODAY   |  April 21, 2013

Expert: FBI did everything they could do

“There’s a limited number of techniques they can do for a limited amount of time,” said former senior FBI official Don Borelli of the Boston bombing investigation as new questions emerge about how the FBI handled an interview with Boston bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnev two years ago. TODAY’s Lester Holt interviews Borelli.

Share This:

This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> don barrelli is a former senior fbi official, now the chief operating officer of a security consulting firm . don, good morning. great to see you. should have, could have. those questions always asked following an attack like this.

>> yep.

>> this older brother was on the fbi 's radar. should he have stayed there?

>> let me explain the process. he was opened up -- there's three levels of investigation that the fbi has. an assessment, a preliminary and a full investigation. and the more information that the fbi has at hand, the deep ter can dig, the more invasive techniques they can use. this investigation was opened up at the lowest level, an assessment. the reason, from what i read, there was not a lot of information that was given from the fsb to the fbi . they said he was being a radical follower of islam. that's first amendment protected activity. you cannot open an investigation just because somebody is become --

>> so they did what they could under the circumstances?

>> exactly. there's a limited number of techniques they can do for a limited number of time. they can check public records . they can check with informants, get cell phone subscriber records, not details, subscriber records only. the fbi , as i understand it, did everything legally that they were allowed to do, including interview them and then after that, all those techniques were done, they had no basis of, you know, to continue the investigation. it was closed.

>> let me now ask you about the surviving brother. they are using the public safety exception. he's not getting the, "you have the right to remain silent," et cetera.

>> initially, no.

>> what is the danger? is there a clear and present danger that there are other explosive devices out there?

>> that's what they are going to look at first. the public safety exception is, by its nature, used to try to figure out, is there anybody else out there that may have been part of this plot? is there any other explosives? are there any other locations where, you know, there might be a bomb factory? they need to know