Dzhokhar Tsarnaev immediately stopped talking after a magistrate judge and a representative from the U.S. Attorney's office entered his hospital room and gave him his Miranda warning, according to four officials of both political parties briefed on the interrogation. They insisted on anonymity because the briefing was private.
Before being advised of his rights, the 19-year-old suspect told authorities that his older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, only recently had recruited him to be part of the attack that detonated pressure-cooker bombs at the marathon finish line, two U.S. officials said.
The CIA, however, had named Tamerlan to a terrorist database 18 months ago, said officials close to the investigation who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the case with reporters.
The new disclosure that Tamerlan Tsarnaev was included within a huge, classified database of known and suspected terrorists before the attacks was expected to drive congressional inquiries in coming weeks about whether the Obama administration adequately investigated tips from Russia that Tsarnaev had posed a security threat.
Shortly after the bombings, U.S. officials said the intelligence community had no information about threats to the marathon before the April 15 explosions that killed three people and injured more than 260.
Tsarnaev died Friday in a police shootout hours before Dzhokhar was discovered hiding in a boat in a suburban back yard. He was wounded.
Washington is piecing together what happened and whether there were any unconnected dots buried in U.S. government files that, if connected, could have prevented the bombings.
Lawmakers who were briefed by the FBI said they have more questions than answers about the investigation of Tamerlan Tsarnaev. House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., said lawmakers intend to pursue whether there was a breakdown in information-sharing, though Rep. Adam Schiff, a California Democrat who sits on the House Intelligence Committee, said he "hasn't seen any red flags thus far."
U.S. officials were expected to brief the Senate on the investigation Thursday. That same day, the suspects' parents, Anzor Tsarnaev and Zubeidat Tsarnaeva, plan to fly to the U.S. from Russia, the father was quoted as telling the Russian state news agency RIA Novosti. The family has said it wants to take Tamerlan's body back to Russia.
It is unclear whether the issue of their younger son's constitutional rights will matter since the FBI say he confessed to a witness. U.S. officials also said Wednesday that physical evidence, including a 9 mm handgun and pieces of a remote-control device commonly used in toys, was recovered from the bombing scene.
But the debate over whether suspected terrorists should be read their Miranda rights has become a major sticking point in the debate over how best to fight terrorism. Many Republicans, in particular, believe Miranda warnings are designed to build court cases, and only hinder intelligence gathering.
Christina DiIorio Sterling, a spokeswoman for U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz, said in an email late Wednesday, "This remains an ongoing investigation and we don't have any further comment."
Investigators have said the brothers appeared to have been radicalized through jihadist materials on the Internet and have found no evidence tying them to a terrorist group.
U.S. investigators traveled to the predominantly Muslim province of Dagestan in Russia and were in contact with the brothers' parents, hoping to gain more information.
They are looking into whether Tamerlan, who spent six months in Russia's turbulent Caucasus region in 2012, was influenced by the religious extremists who have waged an insurgency against Russian forces in the area for years. The brothers have roots in Dagestan and neighboring Chechnya but had lived in the U.S. for about a decade.
Dzhokhar told the FBI that they were angry about the U.S. wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and the killing of Muslims there, officials said.
Dzhokhar's public defender had no comment on the matter Wednesday. His father has called him a "true angel," and an aunt has insisted he's not guilty.
Investigators have found pieces of remote-control equipment among the debris and were analyzing them, officials said. One official described the detonator as "close-controlled," meaning it had to be triggered within several blocks of the bombs.
That evidence could be key to the court case. And an FBI affidavit said one of the brothers told a carjacking victim during their getaway attempt, "Did you hear about the Boston explosion? I did that."
Officials also recovered a 9 mm handgun believed to have been used by Tamerlan from the site of an April 18 gunbattle that injured a Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority officer, two U.S. officials said.
The officials told the AP that no gun was found in the boat where Dzhokhar was hiding. Boston police Commissioner Ed Davis said earlier that shots were fired from inside the boat.
Asked whether the suspect had a gun in the boat, Davis said, "I'm not going to talk about that."
But Kurt Schwartz, director of the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency, said a police officer was shot within half a mile of where Tsarnaev was captured, "and I know who shot him."
Authorities had previously said Dzhokhar exchanged gunfire with them for more than an hour Friday night before they captured him inside a tarp-covered boat in a suburban Boston neighborhood backyard. But two U.S. officials said Wednesday that he was unarmed when captured, raising questions about the gunfire and how he was injured.
In other developments:
— Vice President Joe Biden condemned the bombing suspects as "two twisted, perverted, cowardly, knockoff jihadis" while speaking at a memorial service Wednesday for Sean Collier, a campus police officer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who was ambushed in his cruiser three days after the bombing. More than 4,000 mourners paid tribute to the officer.
— The Office of Health and Human Services in Massachusetts confirmed a Boston Herald report Wednesday that Tamerlan, his wife and toddler daughter had received welfare benefits up until last year, when he became ineligible based on family income. The state also says Tamerlan and his brother received welfare benefits as children through their parents while the family lived in Massachusetts.
— The area around the marathon finish line was reopened to the public.
____ Yost and Jakes reported from Washington. Associated Press writers Kimberly Dozier, Matt Apuzzo, Eileen Sullivan, Adam Goldman and Eric Tucker in Washington, David Crary, Denise Lavoie, Bridget Murphy and Bob Salsberg in Boston and Lynn Berry in Moscow contributed to this report.
MOBILE, Ala. (AP) — Multiple explosions aboard two fuel barges near Mobile, Ala., led to a major fire Wednesday night that left three people critically injured with burns and created a situation so unstable that fire and rescue officials decided to let the fire burn into the night.
Firefighters from Mobile and U.S. Coast Guard officials responded after 8:30 p.m. CDT to a pair of explosions involving the gas barges in an area of the Mobile River east of downtown, authorities said.
As they were responding, a third explosion occurred at about 9:30 p.m., Mobile Fire and Rescue spokesman Steve Huffman wrote in an email to The Associated Press. Three more explosions followed over the next few hours.
The Coast Guard said early Thursday that a one-nautical-mile safety zone had been established around one barge, which it identified as an "empty compressed natural gas barge that was at the dock for cleaning."
Authorities said three people were transported to University of South Alabama Medical Center after suffering burn-related injuries. Huffman identified them as workers with Oil Recovery Co.
The three were in critical condition early Thursday, according to nursing administrator Danny Whatley.
Fire officials said they planned to let the barges burn overnight.
The Carnival Triumph, the cruise ship that became disabled in the Gulf of Mexico last February before it was towed to Mobile's port, was evacuated, said Alan Waugh, who lives at the Fort Conde Inn in downtown Mobile, across the river from the scene of the explosions. Waugh saw the blasts and said throngs of Carnival employees and others were clustered on streets leading toward the river as authorities evacuated the shipyard.
"It literally sounded like bombs going off around. The sky just lit up in orange and red," he said, "We could smell something in the air, we didn't know if it was gas or smoke." Waugh said he could feel the heat from the explosion and when he came back inside, his partner noticed he had what appeared to be black soot on his face.
U.S. Coast Guard Petty Ofc. Carlos Vega said the initial blast took place in a ship channel near the George C. Wallace Tunnel — which carries traffic from Interstate 10 under the Mobile River. The river runs south past Mobile and into Mobile Bay, which in turn flows into the Gulf of Mexico.
The cause of the explosion was not immediately clear, Huffman and Vega said. Huffman wrote early Thursday that the incident involved "two barges, six explosions so far."
"Once (the fire) is out and safe, a full investigation will take place," he wrote.
Mobile Fire Chief Steve Dean told AL.com he was confident the fire — which he said involves gas like what would be found at a service station pump — wouldn't spread to nearby industrial properties, including the shipyard where the Carnival cruise ship is docked.
Huffman said the ship is directly across the river from the incident — about two football fields in length.
The explosion comes two months after the 900-foot-long Triumph was towed to Mobile after becoming disabled on the Gulf during a cruise by an engine room fire, leaving thousands of passengers to endure cold food, unsanitary conditions and power outages for several days. The ship is still undergoing repairs there, with many workers living on board.
Carnival didn't immediately respond to an emailed request for comment late Wednesday.
Earlier this month, the cruise ship was dislodged from its mooring by a windstorm that also caused, in a separate incident, two shipyard workers to fall into Mobile Bay. While one worker was rescued, the other's body was pulled from the water more than a week later.
"A Nation at Risk," the report issued 30 years ago by President Ronald Reagan's Education Department, was meant as a wake-up call for the country. It spelled out where the United States was coming up short in education and what steps could be taken to avert a crisis.
But its warnings still reverberate today, with 1 in 4 Americans failing to earn a high school degree on time and the U.S. lagging other countries in the percentage of young people who complete college.
"A Nation at Risk" spooked the public, urged an overhaul of how and what children are taught and sparked the school reform movement in the country. Current reform advocates such Michelle Rhee, the former District of Columbia schools chancellor, and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush can trace their work back to the report.
"We opened the genie from the bottle and said, `You aren't doing so well,'" said Xavier University of Louisiana President Norman C. Francis, a member of the commission that produced the dire warning. "For us, we felt good about the fact that we wrote something that needed to be said. We had the research. And we hoped we would have a greater measure of return."
At times, President Barack Obama has seemed to take his cues from the report.
"What is at stake is nothing less than the American dream," he said in 2009, calling for education overhaul to keep pace with other counties.
"Despite resources that are unmatched anywhere in the world, we have let our grades slip, our schools crumble, our teacher quality fall short and other nations outpace us," he said.
Russ Whitehurst, director of the Brown Center on Education Policy at the nonpartisan Brookings Institution and a former senior Education Department official, calls the report prescient. "The themes that it stressed - the increasing role of technology, globalization - is now the everyday stuff of education. But it wasn't at the time."
"I can't think of anything that painted with quite as broad a stroke as `A Nation at Risk,'" he added.
Its impact, however, was not as broad.
The commissioners urged extending the school year from 180 days to up to 220 days. The report also suggested an 11-month contract for teachers so they could spend their summers preparing for the next year. Neither recommendation has been put into widespread use.
The commissioners also said teacher salaries should be increased to be "professionally competitive." Again, there hasn't been near the movement commissioners sought. In today's dollars, the average teacher earned $46,700 in 1983 and $54,900 in 2010, according to the Education Department.
But some of the commission's other recommendations were put into practice, including a more rigorous curriculum. For instance, students graduating in 1982 had an average of 2.2 science credits on their transcripts. In 2009, that average number rose to 3.5 credits.
And the class of 1982 left high school with 2.6 math credits, compared with the 2009 graduates' 3.9 credits, according to Education Department data.
"The results are mixed," said William Bennett, who served as Reagan's second-term education secretary. "We have progress being paid to the right things: content, accountability. ... It was right about how we needed to beef up courses and how we needed to be stronger."
But when Bennett compares U.S. results with those of other nations, there's no reason to celebrate.
"If you look at those numbers, you get the story for 30 years," he said. "If there's a bottom line, it's that we're spending twice as much money on education as we did in '83 and the results haven't changed all that much."
American fourth-graders are 11th in the world in math in the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study, the measure of nations against each other. U.S. eighth-graders ranked ninth in math, according to those 2011 results.
The Program for International Student Assessment measurement found the United States ranked 31st in math literacy among 15-year-old students and below the international average. The same 2009 tests found the United States ranked 23rd in science among the same students, but posting an average score.
It's impossible to compare the rankings before 1995, when these international math and science tests were first given. The first international math literacy and science tests were given in 2001.
Yet domestic tests show there have not been major changes in students' scores.
Between 1980 and 2008, 13-year-old students posted only a 2-point gain in reading scores and 17-year-old students saw just a 1-point gain during that time. The tests were scored on a scale of 0 to 500, meaning the change was statistically insignificant.
Similarly, 13-year-olds saw a 12-point gain in math scores between 1982 and 2008. Seventeen-year-old students saw an 8-point gain during the same time on math scores. Again, the tests followed a scale of 0 to 500.
"We haven't yet gotten near the payoff that we want and need in terms of achievement in 30 years," said Chester Finn, a former senior Education Department official who now heads the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, a conservative think tank.
"The fact that 30 years later, despite all of the reforming, the gains are so modest, they ought to serve to energize and even panic today's policymakers," he said.
Of course, stagnant scores don't automatically mean stagnant learning; higher standards could yield lower scores.
Domestic measurements comparing U.S. students to one another are relatively new and tests aren't given every year. Also, tracing changes isn't as simple as looking at the United States' standing compared with other countries today.
What is clear is that "A Nation at Risk" cast the United States as on the precipice of collapse, not unlike the warnings that followed the Soviet Union's 1957 launch of the Sputnik satellite, which caught Americans by surprise.
While other education studies urged action, none was as intentionally alarming as this one.
"If an unfriendly foreign power had attempted to impose on America the mediocre educational performance that exists today, we might well have viewed it as an act of war," the commissioners wrote. "As it stands, we have allowed this to happen to ourselves. ... We have, in effect, been committing an act of unthinking, unilateral educational disarmament."
In a brisk 36 pages, the authors warned that schools were not preparing students for their future and cautioned that the country would suffer. In some ways, the same warnings have appeared in most reports on education in the last decades.
The report continued, "The educational foundations of our society are presently being eroded by a rising tide of mediocrity that threatens our very future as a nation and a people."
Last year, another commission borrowed that indictment of mediocrity in similar language.
"The sad fact is that the rising tide of mediocrity is not something that belongs in history books," concluded a Council on Foreign Relations panel led by former New York City schools chief Joel Klein and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
When the Reagan-era commission began its work, no one expected the report to be so critical. In fact, Reagan campaigned for president on a pledge to dismantle the same Education Department that convened these leaders.
Instead, the commissioners brought together experts and original research to make the case for an expanded role for education. They wrote a document that Reagan eventually would wrap himself in, travel the country to promote and use as a rhetorical prop during the final decade of the Cold War.
"This was much more a political document. ... A lot of this was just bombastic, plug-and-play rhetoric," said Frederick Hess, director of education policy at the conservative American Enterprise Institute.
Where it excelled at language, it came up short on specifics, he said.
The data the commissioners used to reach their conclusions and recommendations 30 years ago pale in comparison to what researchers today have. The report sparked volumes of tests and rankings now common to measure students.
"Gosh, I think they got the message right, but the facts weren't strong enough to back them up," said Whitehurst, the Brookings scholar who was the first chief of the Education Department's current research arm. "A report trying to draw the same conclusions today would have more research."
Even so, the report has its place in history.
"It's been the most influential report on education in my lifetime. It was so blunt," said Michael Rebell, a professor of law and education at Columbia University's Teachers College. "It gave us the whole standards movement."
Francis, a member of the original commission, said the report should have scared Americans into much more sweeping action.
"We were saying in 1983, `This is a global society emerging and you need to worry about this now,'" he said.
Yet, despite the urgency, the report yielded no significant legislation and many of the problems it identified have not been solved.
"I still think we made a contribution," Francis said. "But maybe it could have been much more. But you never look back."