Congressman Bill Keating joined Jim Braude and Margery Eagan on Boston Public Radioon Tuesday. Keating talked about extremist groups recruiting via social media, US intelligence breakdowns, and the trial of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

Bill Keating is a Democrat from Massachusetts' Ninth District. Keating sits on the House Homeland Security Committee. Prior to his work in Congress Keating served as Norfolk County District Attorney. To hear the entire interview with the Congressman, click the audio above.


Extremist groups like ISIS have used social media campaigns to recruit members, spread ideology, and rebuff those who oppose them. Congressman Keating said the process of taking sites and social media accounts offline was like "Whack A Mole."

"They can come in and pull someone from a certain site," Keating said, but extremists simply open new accounts. "We work with Twitter, work with Facebook, Google."

Keating said the US has a potential opportunity to build on already strong ties with its Muslim community.

It's important to "correct some of what these terrorist groups are saying," Keating said. "In the US we have an advantage. ... We have to make sure that we're building those bridges with the Muslim community."

In the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings, one of the criticisms of US intelligence agencies was that various agencies weren't exchanging critical intelligence. Keating said that has changed, but not as much as it should.

"We have made progress," Keating said. "You're seeing it now already take place with the sharing of information, but we have to make sure that's not something that's going to wane over time."

Boston Public Radio cohosts Jim Braude and Margery Eagan asked Congressman Keating about the death of Ibragim Todashev at the hands of FBI agents in Florida. Keating said the FBI should have had more intelligence about Todashev from the start.

"The first time I heard Ibragim Todashev's name I was in Russia, and they referenced a communication that was five to seven days after the Boston Marathon bombing," Keating said. "There is Russia — just a few days after the bombing — giving the name 'Ibragim Todashev' in connection with Tamerlan Tsarnaev." Keating saw it as an inexcusable breakdown between two nations' intelligence communities.

As far as the way the FBI handled its inquiry of Todashev, "the way that was conducted was unusual, interviewing someone in their own apartment, not taking them somewhere else," Keating said. "Clearly, it could have been handled better. That's clear."

Keating also weighed in on whether Dzhokhar Tsarnaev — who is standing trial in the wake of the Marathon bombings — can receive a fair trial in Boston.

"They'll know about the bombing," but can make an informed, unemotional decision Keating said. You don't want "people on this jury that live in a cave and don't even know that the bombing occurred."