As we learn more about the Tsarnaev brothers and their terrorist plot, it seems like Tamerlan was the one taking the lead. IMAGE: Reuters
Dzhokhar "Jahar" Tsarnaev reportedly told authorities that he and his brother Tamerlan had no connection to a terrorist organization: they acted alone, using instructions found on the internet, and, most astonishingly: Dzhokhar may not have known about the plot until a week before it happened.
If it is true that Tamerlan only enlisted his brother Jahar a week before the two of them set off bombs at the Boston Marathon, it adds a fascinating wrinkle to this unfolding story, and lends itself to the narrative that many have suspected: that this was Tamerlan's initiative, and Jahar was riding sidecar.
That's not to absolve Dzhokhar: he is just as responsible as his brother for the heinous crimes they carried out. Though the Tsarnaev brothers supposedly had no connection to terrorist groups or governments, authorities now believe they were inspired by al Qaeda leader Anwar al-Awlaki, the radical jihadist, who died over a year ago. The brothers used instructions from an al Qaeda Internet magazine to make their pressure cooker bombs.
While the internet has been a force for peace more than violence, in this case, the internet facilitated the inspiration and instruction for two young men to carry out a terrible act.