Ruslan Tsarni, one of the Boston bombers’ uncles living in the U.S., was previously married to a CIA officer’s daughter for three years.
Ruslan Tsarni, formerly known as Tsarnaev, who publicly denounced his two terrorist nephews’ actions and called them “Losers”, even lived with his father-in-law agent Graham Fuller in his Maryland home for a year.
Graham Fuller was forced to explain the relationship on Saturday as news of the family link emerged online.
The former CIA agent told Al-Monitor that his daughter, Samantha, was married to Ruslan Tsarni, whose surname was then Tsarnaev, for three to four years in the 1990s.
Ruslan and Samantha divorced in 1999 more than ten years after Graham Fuller left the CIA in 1987.
“Samantha was married to Ruslan Tsarnaev [Tsarni] for 3-4 years, and they lived in Bishkek for one year where Samantha was working for Price Waterhouse on privatization projects,” Graham Fuller said.
“They also lived in our house in [Maryland] for a year or so and they were divorced in 1999, I believe.
“I, of course, retired from CIA in 1987 and had moved on to working as a senior political scientist for RAND.”
Graham Fuller said his son-in-law showed no interest in the agency or politics but spoke generally about his family in Chechnya.
The former CIA agent said any attempts to portray the relationship as a link between the security agency and the two terrorists was “absurd”.
“Like all Chechens, Ruslan was very concerned about his native land, but I saw no particular involvement in politics,” Graham Fuller told Al-Monitor.
“I doubt he even had much to say of intelligence value other than talking about his own family’s sad tale of deportation from Chechnya by Stalin to Central Asia. Every Chechen family has such stories.”
Graham Fuller visited Samantha and Ruslan Tsarni in Bishek, as a former Russian history graduate himself interested in “Soviet minorities”.
He said he may have met the terror suspects’ father, Anzor Tsarnaev, there once and his daughter knew the Tsarnaev family when Tamerlan was a toddler and before his younger brother Dzhokhar was born.
“I for one was astonished at the events, and to find myself at two degrees of separation from them,” Graham Fuller added.
Ruslan Tsarni, who lives in Montgomery Village, Maryland, was thrust into the spotlight as the names of his two nephews, Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, emerged in connection to the Boston terror attack.
He stood on his driveway and attacked the two men calling them “Losers”.
Ruslan Tsarni has since reported a rift between his family and that of his brother Anzor’s and said his older nephew Tamerlan had become increasingly extreme in his religious views.
He said he last spoke to Tamerlan Tsarnaev in 2009 when he declared he was dropping out of school to do “God’s business” and Ruslan Tsarni was concerned at his religious fervor.
“[The bombing] has nothing to do with Chechen … He put a shame on our family, he put a shame on the entire Chechen ethnicity,” Ruslan Tsarni told broadcasters in the aftermath of the bombings.
Ruslan Tsarni also told reporters that Tamerlan Tsarnaev had a friend called Misha who “brainwashed” him.
“This person just took his brain. He just brainwashed him completely,” he said.
FBI agents said they had tracked down Misha and believed he had no link to the terror attacks.