The chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee said today it's still unclear whether the Boston bombings were foreign-directed, but adds they were clearly "foreign-inspired."

The first congressional inquiry of the April 15 attacks started Thursday on Capitol Hill in Washington. Lawmakers are examining the government's initial response, what authorities knew about the brothers beforehand and whether the deadly attacks could have been avoided.

The chairman is Texas Republican Mike McCaul, who says the April 15 bombings brought back memories of the Sept. 11 attacks.

McCaul says he fears the Boston bombers may have succeeded because "our system failed," and that the U.S. can and must do better.

The first inquiry began shortly before it was learned that police in Worcester, Mass., said the body of bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev has been buried outside of the city.

Tsarnaev was killed during a manhunt that also involved his brother, Dzhokhar, 19. The ethnic Chechen brothers from southern Russia were living in Massachusetts, and are accused of planting two shrapnel-packed pressure-cooker bombs near the marathon finish line, killing three people and injuring about 260.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who was captured hiding in a tarp-covered boat outside a house in a Boston suburb, was charged with using a weapon of mass destruction to kill. Their mother has said the charges against them are lies.

Former senator wants more threat info shared

In other news at the congressional hearing, Boston police Commissioner Edward Davis said three city police officers were working with the U.S. terrorism task force, but didn't know about vague warnings by Russia's government about Tamerlan Tsarnaev that were delivered nearly two years before the attacks.

Davis said he would have liked to known that Russian authorities had warned the FBI that Tsarnaev was a radical extremist before the April 15 attacks.


Texas Representative Michael McCaul told a congressional hearing Thursday that the Boston Marathon bombings brought back memories of the Sept. 11 attacks. (Cliff Owen, File/Associated Press)

Davis testified Thursday he can't say exactly what police would have done with that information. But he said police likely would have at least looked closely at Tsarnaev.

Former senator Joseph Lieberman told lawmakers more threat information should be shared with state and local police, who he called "your first line of defence."