One of the big questions left hanging about the Bomb Brothers is how did their useless family get asylum in the U.S. despite going back and forth to the country they supposedly had to flee? Is it just that our overall immigration system is too lax on immigrants?
That's not a good question for the "immigration reform" marketing push, so you might think an alternative answer would be getting some media love: the Tsarnaevs had rare family connections inside the American deep state that got their asylum application some special string-pulling.
But that would be a Conspiracy Theory, so we can't have dream of that.
Thus, the only reporter who seems to be following up on the deep state link is Daniel Hopsicker of Mad Cow Morning News. In "‘Uncle Ruslan’ aided terrorists from CIA official’s home," he seems to demonstrate that the Congress of Chechen International Organizations was registered in 1995 by Ruslan Tsarni (the Bomb Brother's father's brother who goes on TV to call them losers) out of the house of his father-in-law Graham Fuller, the former vice chairman of the CIA's National Intelligence Council then working for the RAND Corp.
And Hopsicker has a copy of a letter suggesting that Uncle Ruslan's NGO played middleman to deliver 2,500 pairs of combat boots to Chechen rebels from the Al-Qaeda front Benevolence International. They went to Sheik Fathi, a Jordanian of Chechen descent, who had spent 10 years fighting in Afghanistan.
Since the postman would presumably deliver mail for Uncle Ruslan's operation to Mr. Fuller's mailbox, it's hard to imagine that Fuller, a Central Asian expert, was oblivious to the organization's general existence, although it's hard to say how much more deeply he was involved.
Nor can we say for sure what side Uncle Ruslan was actually on. What Kipling called the Great Game can be played in many ways.
Let me make a general point about Conspiracy Theories, which is that almost nobody takes a reductionist approach to then. The typical Conspiracy Theorist is driven by the urge to put forward as complex, crazy, and omnipotent a conspiracy theory as possible. In contrast, the conventional wisdom is that conspiracies don't exist.
My impression, in contrast to both perspectives, is that conspiracies happen all the time, but most of them are pretty ineffectual. When all is said and done, more is said than done.
For example, let's assume for the minute that Fuller was involved in supplying combat boots to Chechen rebels in 1996 as part of a CIA conspiracy that went All the Way to the Top, even though the Clinton Administration was strongly on the side of Yeltsin's Russian government. Why would the U.S. government do something to hurt its ally? Well, one reason is in case the Chechens win, then the CIA would have a connection to the winners.
Or, it gives the U.S. something to trade to the Russians in return for something more valuable. It's quite common for Powers to give a little aid to rebels in a rival country to strengthen their bargaining position. For example, in the 1970s Henry Kissinger agreed to the Shah of Iran's plan to aid Iraqi Kurds in their rebellion against Baghdad to punish Saddam Hussein for his Soviet ties. None of the outside conspirators really wanted the Kurds to win and get their own states (Kurds also live in Iran and NATO member Turkey), but it was fun to use them to pester Saddam.
But then in 1975 Iraq secretly made a concession to Iran regarding the crucial border in the Persian Gulf in return for the Shah stopping his aid to the Kurdish rebels in the north of Iraq. This came as a nasty shock to Kissinger (not to mention the poor Kurds, who got battered by an Iraqi offensive).
So, it can be useful for a rich country to funnel a little aid to some rebels even when it doesn't want them to win. Or, it doesn't even have to be governmental — gentlemen adventurers have been poking around in that part of the world since Lord Byron set off to free the Greeks in the 1820s.
This reductionist approach to conspiracy theories doesn't lead to all-encompassing answers to the Big Questions, but it does dredge up plausible sounding answers to interesting little questions like: How did the Tsarnaevs get asylum?
Or maybe the immigration system is just way too lax.