April 24. 2013 10:12PM

Ayotte, McCain call for hearings on FBI response

U.S. Sens. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire and John McCain of Arizona have asked for Senate hearings to investigate whether federal officials had information that could have prevented the Boston Marathon bombings.

In a letter sent to U.S. Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., the chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, Ayotte and McCain said they are concerned about the response by intelligence agencies in the wake of revelations that the Russian government twice contacted U.S. authorities in 2011 expressing concerns about one of the two alleged bombers, Tamerlan Tsarnaev.

"In a string of apparent intelligence-sharing lapses, Tamerlan Tsarnaev was able to slip through the cracks and carry out this devastating attack. Recent reports have indicated that he first appeared on the Federal Bureau of Investigation's (FBI's) radar screen as a person of interest almost two years ago due to information provided by the Russian government regarding his violent Islamist ideology," the Republican senators wrote.

Tsarnaev was killed in a police shootout in Watertown, Mass., Friday. His younger brother, Dzhokhar, was captured alive and has been charged with using a weapon of mass destruction and other charges in the April 15 bombings that killed three people and injured about 200 others.