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FBI: 'No one was surveilling the Tsarnaevs'

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BOSTON, MA (WSHM) -

FBI officials say they want to be perfectly clear on questions surrounding the surveillance of the Tsarnaev brothers, no one knew who they were until after the Watertown shoot-out.

There have been recent questions as to whether or not officials knew the identities of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects prior to the early morning shootout in Watertown that followed days after the attacks.

Now the FBI is answering those questions.

It's been six months since twin explosions rocked Boylston Street during the Boston Marathon, turning an eventful day into chaos.

A few days later, an intense shootout erupted in the streets of Watertown between the two alleged suspects, Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, brothers from Cambridge.

Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the oldest, was killed and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who was seriously injured, now sits in a jail cell awaiting his trial.

But how much did authorities know about the two brothers prior to the attacks?

Tamerlan Tsarnaev was previously under surveillance from officials until an assessment showed he was not a threat.

That case was closed back in 2011.

In a statement issued Friday, the FBI said they didn't have the Tsarnaevs under any type of surveillance after that case was closed.

They also said members of the Joint Terrorism Task Force did not know the Tsarnaev's identities until shortly after Tamerlan Tsarnaev's death when they fingerprinted his corpse.

Read the full statement below issued by Special Agent in Charge of the Boston Division, Vincent Lisi, Colonel Timothy Alben of the Massachusetts State Police and Commissioner Edward Davis of the Boston Police Department:

Previously, members of the Joint Terrorism Task Force have responded to similar questions relating to whether or not the FBI, Boston Police, Massachusetts State Police or other members of the Joint Terrorism Task Force knew the identities of the bombers before the shootout. 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 Joint Terrorism Task Force was at M.I.T., located in Cambridge, MA, on April 18, 2013, on a matter 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.

There has been recent reporting relating to whether or not the FBI, Boston Police, Massachusetts State Police or other members of the Joint Terrorism Task Force knew the identities of the bombers before the shootout with the alleged marathon bombing suspects, and were conducting physical surveillance of them on April 18, 2013. These claims have been repeatedly refuted by the FBI, Boston Police, and Massachusetts State Police.

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.

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