The Associated Press has put together a story claiming that Tamerlan Tsarnaev fell under the spell of a mysterious radical only identified as “Misha.” According to the story this radical was the one responsible for Tamerlan’s metamorphosis from a typical American into a violent religious extremist.

In the years before the Boston Marathon bombings, Tamerlan Tsarnaev fell under the influence of a new friend, a Muslim convert who steered the religiously apathetic young man toward a strict strain of Islam, family members said.

Under the tutelage of a friend known to the Tsarnaev family only as Misha, Tamerlan gave up boxing and stopped studying music, his family said. He began opposing the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. He turned to websites and literature claiming that the CIA was behind the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and Jews controlled the world.

“Somehow, he just took his brain,” said Tamerlan’s uncle, Ruslan Tsarni,

AP has had no luck in contacting this “mysterious radical” and reports that Tamerlan’s conversion was enough to induce the second suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnev.

[I]n 2008 or 2009, Tamerlan met Misha, a slightly older, heavyset bald man with a long reddish beard. Khozhugov didn’t know where they’d met but believed they attended a Boston-area mosque together. Misha was an Armenian native and a convert to Islam and quickly began influencing his new friend, family members said…

“When Misha would start talking, Tamerlan would stop talking and listen. It upset his father because Tamerlan wouldn’t listen to him as much,” Khozhugov said. “He would listen to this guy from the mosque who was preaching to him.”

So who was/is “Misha”? FBI? FSB? Al-Qaeda operative? Some random religious extremist? The report doesn’t say or offer many clues. Could the Boston Marathon Bombing be a result of a botched  government investigation? An agent provocateur is sent in by the FBI to radicalize someone they had flagged in hopes of gaining access to global terror groups but just ends up radicalizing someone who does their own operation. Woops.

We’ll have to see how this all plays out. But there is a lot more to this case than meets the eye.