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While police in and around Boston hunt for 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, one of the suspected Boston Marathon bombers, information gathered from various social media outlets indicate that he and his brother, 26-year-old Tamerlan Tsarnaev, harbored radical Islamic beliefs.

Tamerlan Tsarnaev was killed overnight as police closed in on him and the hunt for Dzhokhar remains active. An MIT security officer was shot and killed in the firefight.

This is believed to be Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s Youtube page. Several of the posts feature radical Islamic rhetoric. In addition, a graphic video about Syria appears on Tsarnaev’s page on a Russian version of Facebook.

The brothers came to the United States from Chechnya, a predominantly Muslim state which declared independence from Russia in 1991, resulting in years of violence and terrorist strikes. Another video Tsarnaev posted was simply called “Terrorists.” But that video has been taken down. Yet another that was posted last summer, lauds “The promised emergence of the black flags from the promised land of Khorasan.” It celebrates jihadis posing “with a flag of the Taliban’s Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan,” the Long War Journal reported. The video has an apocalyptic message anticipating a time when the forces of Islam, led by the Mahdi, the Guided One, will conquer the world prior to the Day of Judgment. Part of this battle will be the conquest of the Holy Land.

Tamerlan Tsarnaev was a boxer who told an interviewer in 2009 that he had no American friends. “I don’t understand them,” he said. An Amazon.com wish list believed to be Tamerlan’s includes several books on forgery and the books The Lone Wolf And the Bear: Three Centuries of Chechen Defiance of Russian Rule and Allah’s Mountains: The Battle for Chechnya, New Edition.

Eric Mercado, a former high school classmate of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, told CNN that he and his friends remember a conversation in which Tsarnaev said, “When justified, terrorism isn’t necessarily a bad thing.” The comment was dismissed as outlandish. “No one wants to believe that their friend from high school is a quote-unquote ‘terrorist,'” Mercado said.

The bombs, reportedly packed inside pressure cookers, bear striking resemblances to instructions offered by al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula’s Inspire magazine. One article suggested that pressure cooker bombs should be “placed in crowded areas and left to blow up. More than one of these could be planted to explode at the same time. However, keep in mind that the range of the shrapnel in this operation is short range so the pressurized cooker or pipe should be placed close to the intended targets and should not be concealed from them by barriers such as walls.”

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Steven Emerson is considered one of the leading authorities on Islamic extremist networks, financing and operations. He serves as the Executive Director of The Investigative Project on Terrorism, one of the world's largest storehouses of archival data and intelligence on Islamic and Middle Eastern terrorist groups. Emerson and his staff frequently provide briefings to U.S. government and law enforcement agencies, members of Congress and congressional committees, and print and electronic media, both national and international. Since 9-11, Emerson has testified before and briefed Congress dozens of times on terrorist financing and operational networks of Al Qaeda, Hamas, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad, and the rest of the worldwide Islamic militant spectrum.

Emerson is the author or co-author of six books on terrorism and national security, including:

  • Jihad Incorporated: A Guide to Militant Islam in the U.S. (Prometheus, 2006)
  • American Jihad: The Terrorists Living Among Us (The Free Press, 2002)
  • Terrorist: The Inside Story of the Highest-Ranking Iraqi Terrorist Ever to Defect to the West (Villard Books /Random House, 1991)
  • The Fall of Pan Am 103: Inside the Lockerbie Investigation (Putnam's Sons, 1990)
  • Secret Warriors: Inside the Covert Military Operations of the Reagan Era (Putnam's Sons, 1988)
  • The American House of Saud: The Secret Petrodollar Connection (Franklin Watts, 1985)

He and his organization have been quoted or profiled in hundreds of newspaper and television stories since 9-11.

Emerson launched The Investigative Project on Terrorism in late 1995, following the broadcast of his documentary film, "Jihad in America," on public television. The film exposed clandestine operations of militant Islamic terrorist groups on American soil. For the film, Emerson received numerous awards including the George Polk Award for best television documentary, one of the most prestigious awards in journalism. He also received the top prize from the Investigative Reporters and Editors Organization (IRE) for best investigative report in both print and television for the documentary. The award from IRE was the fourth he had received from that group. The documentary, which was featured on 60 Minutes, has become standard viewing for federal law enforcement and intelligence organizations.

Emerson is recognized as one of the first terrorism experts to have testified and warned about the threat of Islamic militant networks operating in the United States and their connections worldwide. In a pioneering congressional testimony delivered in 1998, he specifically warned about the threat of Osama Bin Laden's network. Nearly every one of the terrorist suspects and groups first identified in his 1994 film have been indicted, convicted, or deported since 9-11.