BOSTON (CBS) – The FBI is once again refuting suggestions that agents may have known the identities of Boston Marathon bombing suspects Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev before they allegedly shot and killed MIT police officer Sean Collier.

After a recent broadcast report revived questions raised by Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, about what officials knew and when they knew it, the FBI issued a joint statement with State and Boston police adamantly denying that the brothers were under any kind of surveillance at the time.

“Members of the Joint Terrorism Task Force did not know their identities until shortly after Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s death when they fingerprinted his corpse. Nor did the Joint Terrorism Task Force have the Tsarnaevs under surveillance at any time after the Assessment of Tamerlan Tsarnaev was closed in 2011,” the statement said. “To be absolutely clear: No one was surveilling the Tsarnaevs and they were not identified until after the shootout. Any claims to the contrary are false.”

The FBI acknowledged that the Joint Terrorism Task Force was at MIT on April 18, the day that Collier was killed, but claims the matter was “unrelated to the Tsarnaev brothers.”

“Additionally, the Tsarnaev brothers were never sources for the FBI nor did the FBI attempt to recruit them as sources,” the statement said.

The April 15th bombings killed three people and injured more than 200.

Three days later, Collier was shot and killed just hours after officials released surveillance photos of the bombing suspects.


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