‘Uncle Ruslan’ aided terrorists from CIA official’s home

The uncle of the accused Boston Marathon bombers incorporated, in 1995, a company called the "Congress of Chechen International Organizations."

Even as the company was sending aid to Islamic terrorists in Chechnya, its listed address was in the home of former top CIA official Graham Fuller.

Ruslan Tsarni was listed as the company's resident agent. The company's address was 11114 Whisperwood Ln in Rockville MD., the home of Graham Fuller, the one-time Vice-Chairman of the National Intelligence Council at the CIA under President Reagan.

Over this past weekend, Fuller reluctantly confirmed the report published here last Thursday, "Boston bombers’ uncle married daughter of top CIA official."

He admitted that Ruslan Tsarni had once been married to his daughter.

But then, with the same breath, he derided what he called "rumors” of links between Tsarni and the Agency as “absurd.”

But documents surfaced over the weekend that cast a long shadow of doubt on Graham Fuller's assertion, which amounts to a beat cop waving his baton, and saying, "There's nothing to see here folks. Move along."

"Financiers of terrorism"

The documents include a letter written by the President of the Congress of Chechen Organizations International that, at least on the surface, could not have seemed more ordinary.

It was all about shoes.

In the letter, Congress of Chechen Organizations International President Mohammed Shoshani is interceding with the Board of Directors of Benevolence International, a “charity” that would later he designated “financiers of terrorism” by the Treasury Department, and shut down by US Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald after the 9/11 attack.

Shoshani was interceding with Benevolence on behalf of a new military commander in Chechnya named Sheikh Fathi, who had just arrived from spending 10 years fighting in Afghanistan.

Sheikh Fathi was a “military commander in the violent jihadist movement in Chechnya," noted U.S.. Atty Patrick Fitzgerald in a later indictment,(pdf.) ”as well as an influential “preacher of violent jihad.”

In the Benevolent International indictment, Fitzgerald said "Sheikh Fathi was a major conduit for providing material support  to the Chechen rebels."

The uncle of the alleged Boston bombers was part of that conduit.

Just how connected are these people?

Fathi would gain a measure of infamy several years later when he introduced the top Al-Qaeda operative in Afghanistan, Al Khattab, into the Chechen conflict. The move had disastrous results, turning what had been a civil war into a jihad.

Shoes for industry, shoes for the dead

Later Al-Khattab became the so-called 20th hijacker Zaccarias Moussaoui’s commander in Chechnya, according to French intelligence, and had close links with  Osama bin Laden, according to former New York Times journalist Phil Shenon’s book  “The Commission.”

But back to the letter. And the shoes.

On behalf of Sheikh Fathi, Mohammed Shoshani is thanking Benevolence International for the receipt of 2000 pairs of what Fitzgerald—in an indictment charging the leaders of Benevolence International, called  “Anti-Mine Boots for the Chechen Mujahideen.”

The  Saudi-based charity operated for years in Russia and Chechnya, pumping $50 million into mujahideen coffers,  estimated Russian intelligence.

Sheikh Fathi’s eagerness to procure 5000 more pairs of American protective shoes, US Attorney Fitzgerald explained, had been to minimize the damage caused by small Russian-made camouflage mines, called Frog mines, which were wreaking havoc in the ranks of his Chechen fighters.

Were the Boston bombings  "blow-back" from US Caucasus ops?

What does this have to do with the Boston Marathon bombing?

One clue: The President of “Uncle Ruslan’s" Congress of Chechen Organizations International, an expatriate Penn State engineering professor Mohammed Sishani, conducted almost all of his business through another organization he led, called the Chechen-Ingush Society of America.

All of his aboveboard business, that is. Ruslan’s outfit surfaced for the dirty bits, the covert side of the Chechen’s cause.

Was Ruslan Tsarni's organization acting as a free agent? Or was it a "cut-out" for the CIA, a convenient way to establish plausible deniability while executing decisions made by U.S. intelligence agencies, who were apparently interceding on the side of people we were calling "rebels" instead of "terrorists" for no reason other than it suited American objectives for Russian forces to get bogged down in a series of bitter civil wars?

Were such actions US policy at the time?  Some say the answer is "yes." Wikileaks cables seem to agree.

America's fostering of a jihadist mercenary force in Afghanistan led directly to the blowback that became the 9/11 attack.

The creation of a "second Afghanistan" in the Caucasus may also have led to blowback: the unintended consequences of a covert operation. The result was in bombs going off in Boston.

Were two young jihadis from the North Caucasus region of Russia recruited to become Islamist terrorists and attack the United States at the Boston Marathon?

Questions remain. No, questions don’t “remain.” They “abound.”

The elder Fuller had retired from the agency almost a decade before the brief marriage," wrote the reporter he selected to give him a sympathetic hearing.

If he'd retired, and taken up horticulture, or origami, or golfing in Florida wearing lime-green sweater-slack combinations, rumors that his ex-son-in-law had connections with the CIA might indeed be absurd.

Was that how Mr. Fuller was spending his well-deserved retirement? Nope… He was working for RAND Corporation.

It was a busman's holiday. But there was also something else... Uncle Ruslan Tsarni's company, back in 1996, was actively aiding Islamic terrorists in Chechnya.

And there's no telling what he's up to now, because a story last week revealed that he was working for the US Government, again. And again, it was USAID. This time, since 2008. 

Using the home address of a top CIA official under President Ronald Reagan, who had also, and perhaps not coincidentally, been the author of a famous memo that eventually led Oliver North to step off a plane in Iran with TOW missiles in one hand and a cake for the Ayatollah in the other, Ruslan Tsarni's Congress of Chechens put into practice the CIA's unacknowledged policy in the former Soviet Republics.

He's been stirring up shit on Russia’s southern border.

Daniel Hopsicker

Daniel Hopsicker is an investigative journalist and the author of two books on transnational crime, Welcome to Terrorland and Barry & the Boys.

46 Responses

  1. I had already established that he worked for USAID in the early 90’s. So I didn’t need Bloomberg to write “again.”

  2. No. You believe that they believed…

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