Breaking: Top IRS official to plead the Fifth
There’s another twist in the ongoing scandal revolving around Internal Revenue Service staff improperly screening for conservative organizations applying for tax-exempt status.
Lois Lerner, the head of the exempt organizations division of the IRS who was scheduled to appear before the House Oversight committee tomorrow, will invoke the Fifth Amendment and refuse to answer questions.
From a letter her lawyer sent to committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.):
“She has not committed any crime or made any misrepresentation but under the circumstances she has no choice but to take this course.”
Stay tuned to the ever-evolving IRS mess at Politics Now.
Photo: Andrew Harrer / Bloomberg
Ray Harryhausen, stop-motion master, passes away
Special effects maestro Ray Harryhausen died today at the age of 92. One of the earliest masters of his craft, Harryhausen was the longstanding king of stop-motion animation, with his work defining films like “Jason and the Argonauts” and “Clash of the Titans.”
From our obituary for Harryhausen:
In the pre-computer-generated-imagery era in which he worked, Harryhausen used the painstaking process of making slight adjustments to the position of his three-dimensional, ball-and-socket-jointed scale models and then shooting them frame-by-frame to create the illusion of movement. Footage of his exotic beasts and creatures was later often combined with live action.
Photos: L.A. County Museum of Art, Peter Macdiarmid, Hulton Archive / Getty Images
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev caught
Police captured the second of two suspects in the Boston Marathon bombings tonight, after a lengthy pursuit and standoff that left one of the two alleged bombers dead. The second, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, has been apprehended alive.
Law enforcement circled a Watertown, Mass. home Friday night, pinning down suspected Boston Marathon bomber in a boat housed in the back yard. After being placed in custody, Tsarnaev was rushed to a local hospital for wounds sustained at an unknown point in the search.
CAPTURED!!! The hunt is over. The search is done. The terror is over. And justice has won. Suspect in custody.— Boston Police Dept. (@Boston_Police)
Keep an eye on this post for further details.
UPDATE: Massachusetts State Police have told the Times that Tsarnaev is “in serious if not critical condition,” and has lost a lot of blood. He has been rushed to Beth Israel-Deaconess Medical Center following his capture.
UPDATE 2: President Obama addressed the nation just a few moments ago, heralding the triumphant efforts of law enforcement in pursuing and apprehending Tsarnaev.
“Tonight, our nation is in debt to the people of Boston and the people of Massachusetts.”
Obama conceded that there are still many “unanswered questions” in the case, but remained confident that whatever their motives, those behind the attack “failed, because as Americans, we refuse to be terrorized.”
Photos: CJ Gunther / EPA, Darren McCollester, Jared Wickerham / Getty Images, Google, FBI
Lockdown lifted in Boston
While Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, suspected of carrying out Monday’s terrorist bombing of the Boston Marathon with his brother, is still at large after a daylong search throughout the city.
Citizens across Boston were urged by authorities not to leave their homes as police patrolled in force looking for any hint of Tsarnaev. But, as authorities have just admitted, they have no new leads and will be lifting the lockdown.
Photos: Darren McCollester / Getty Images, Charles Krupa, Bill Sikes / Associated Press, CJ Gunther / EPA
Manhunt in Boston
Boston has been seized by a widespread manhunt for those suspected in the Boston Marathon attack Monday,
The bombers, whose faces were first revealed last night by the FBI, have been revealed to be brothers: Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26. Tamerlan was killed early this morning in a shootout with police, while Dzhokhar remains on the run.
The two were born in Kyrgyzstan, and are reportedly of Chechen descent.
Those who know the two have been stunned by their alleged involvement in the horrible attack Monday.
Anzor Tsarnaev, the men’s father told the Associated Press from Russia.
“My son is a true angel. Dzhokhar is a second-year medical student in the U.S. He is such an intelligent boy. We expected him to come on holidays here.”
All Boston residents have been ordered to stay inside, mass transportation has been shut down, and law enforcement is focusing massive amounts of manpower on the suburb of Watertown.
We’ll continue updating here as the story develops.
UPDATE: Ruslan Tsarni, the Tsarnaev brothers’ uncle, just spoke to the media:
“I say Dzhokhar, if you are alive turn yourself in and ask for forgiveness from the victims, from the injured.”
“He put a shame on our family, he put a shame on the entire Chechen ethnicity.”
UPDATE 2: Further details about the brothers’ pasts have been revealed - with a Twitter profile reportedly belonging to Dzhokhar emerging, and a chronicle of Tamerlan’s boxing aspirations.
“I don’t have a single American friend, I don’t understand them.” - Tamerlan said in a photographic profile that has since been taken offline.
Boston police are still asking citizens to remain indoors as the hunt for Dzhokhar continues. The FBI is now looking for a green 1999 Honda Civic with Massachusetts plates reading 116GC7.
Photos: Craig Ruttle, Matt Rourke, Charles Krupa, Jose Luis Magana, Chris Young / Associated Press, FBI
FBI releases photos, video of suspected Boston Marathon bombers
Authorities for the first time have unveiled the suspected perpetrators of Monday’s terrorist attack in Boston - two men, whose identities are unknown, seen in the video above.
The FBI considers the two armed and dangerous, and urged citizens not to pursue any action beyond alerting authorities.
The duo is seen walking together, and in additional images below:
Beyond those images, and additional photos released on the FBI’s site, authorities cautioned that “other photos should not be deemed credible.”
For those with any information relevant to the case, the FBI can be contacted at 1-800-225-5324.
Photo, video: Federal Bureau of Investigation
Letter sent to Obama tests positive for ricin
A law enforcement official has confirmed to the Times that a suspicious letter sent to President Obama tested positive for the deadly poison ricin. Ricin had been found just yesterday in another letter intended for Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.).
Whether there is any connection between the two, or if there’s any connection between the bombing attack at the Boston Marathon Monday and the series of poisoned letters in Washington, D.C., is yet unknown.
We’ll have more updates as the story develops here.
UPDATE: Capitol Police have reopened three Senate buildings closed after three suspicious packages were found on the premises. The packages have since been removed, and there’s no word yet on whether there’s any connection between these packages and those sent to Obama and Wicker.
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, speaking to the press earlier today, referred all questions on the ongoing investigation into the packages to the FBI.
UPDATE 2: The FBI has confirmed that there’s no indication of any connection between the Boston attack and the ricin letters.
Photo: Jewel Samad / AFP/Getty Images
Boston Marathon bombing: “An act of terrorism”
Following yesterday’s running update of the latest on the Boston Marathon attacks, here’s the latest on what’s known so far:
The number of wounded has reached 176 wounded, with 17 in critical condition and three confirmed fatalities, including an eight-year-old boy.
With hundreds of security and police officers still examining Boston, and heightened security measures across the nation, it has been confirmed that no unexploded devices were found following the initial two explosions, and Boston Police have made no arrests.
President Obama, speaking just moments ago, called the bombing “an act of terrorism,” pledging for the second time that those behind the attack would be brought to justice, Obama praised law enforcement, hospital workers and the countless individuals around the attack for their selfless work in helping those affected by the attack.
Speculation is still running wild as to who is responsible for the attack, with Obama confirming that authorities still are unsure as to whether a domestic or international individual or organization is behind the attack. The Pakistani Taliban has denied any responsibility.
Like yesterday, additional updates will be added below as new information arises.
Additionally, to contact law enforcement officials with relevant information on the attacks, call 1-800-494-TIPS, and for those looking for lost family members, call 617-635-4500.
Update: New evidence suggests that the explosive devices used in the Boston attack contained items intended to be used as shrapnel, including metal pellets and nails.
Federal investigators familiar with the matter have suggested that the crude nature of the explosives suggests that those responsible are domestic, instead of international, terrorists.
And further heartbreaking details about Martin Richard, the eight-year-old killed in the attack, have emerged. Martin was waiting for his father at the finish line with his mother and sister, both of whom were injured in the attack.
Attorney General Eric Holder, in a statement released a short time ago, said that the full force of the FBI is pursuing possible leads, from available footage to on-site interviews, and has established a tip line for those with information that may help their search: 1-800-CALL-FBI.
Photos: Ken McGagh / MetroWest Daily News/Associated Press, Susan Walsh / Associated Press, Matt Campbell / EPA
Accounts of the tragedy at the Boston Marathon
If you’re looking for details of the reaction and fallout of the bombing, our previous post is updated as new events occur. Below are some first-person accounts from the scene of the attack.
“It’s chaos here,” said spectator Samantha Bissonnette, a 22-year-old senior at Tufts University. In texts, she said she was about half a mile away when the explosions went off, and described hearing two claps “as loud as thunder.”
“I thought they were taking the stands down. … It was so loud, I knew it couldn’t be thunder. … Not a cloud in the sky. Then slowly they blocked off the runners … cops ran in packs down the street. The runners seemed confused and slowly panic started to set in … people used their cheering signs to find their families.”
From Maya Hauer, 23, who was on the third floor of a building about two doors down from the first explosion.
“We heard a huge boom, and the building was shaking. Then people started screaming. There was blood all over Boylston. And shattered glass everywhere.”
Photos:Charles Krupa / Associated Press, Alex Trautwig, Darren McCollester / Getty Images
Two explosions at the finish line of the Boston Marathon
Several individuals have been wounded or killed by two explosions that rocked the final leg of the Boston Marathon. The cause of the two explosions, which went off one after the other, is as of yet unknown. Police and emergency workers have closed off the finish line and surrounding area, and four injured individuals have been rushed to Massachusetts General Hospital so far.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to those suffering in this tragedy, and to those whose family and friends are in the area. If you need to reach out to someone, cell service is reportedly overloaded, so text messaging will likely be a better way to get in touch with loved ones.
UPDATE:Boston Police are reporting that 23 have been confirmed injured, and four dead in the tragedy. Subsequent explosions near the finish line have been conducted by emergency crews.
A good follow for additional up-to-date info: Evan Fleischer, who is live at the scene.
UPDATE 2: From Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick:
“This is a horrific day in Boston. My thoughts and prayers are with those who have been injured. I have been in touch with the President, Mayor Menino and our public safety leaders. Our focus is on making sure that the area around Copley Square is safe and secured. I am asking everyone to stay away from Copley Square and let the first responders do their jobs.”
President Obama, via White House reporters, has been briefed on the situation by Homeland Security aides. Obama has reached out to local officials and pledged support and resources.
Also, follow verified Twitter users either on the scene or reporting on the tragedy here.
UPDATE 3: Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis, who just concluded a press conference, confirmed that there had been a third explosion at the JFK Library in addition to the two that occurred at the marathon’s finish line. Describing the situation as an “ongoing event,” Davis said that officials have yet to discover another device, and have no specifics on a specific suspect in the bombing. [CORRECTION: The Boston Police Department has since said that the JFK Library incident was fire-related, not due to a bomb.]
To contact law enforcement officials with relevant information on the situation, call 1-800-494-TIPS, and for those looking for lost family members, call 617-635-4500. Google has also set up a database for those either looking for loved ones, or wanting to help others in their search.
UPDATE 4: The White House has confirmed that President Obama will address the nation at 6:10 p.m. EDT, 3:10 p.m. PST on the situation.
UPDATE 5: President Obama, in an address to the nation, sternly promised to bring those responsible for the attack to justice.
“Make no mistake. We will get to the bottom of this. We will find out who did this. We will find out why they did this.”
Obama also warned against unsubstantiated speculation and accusations as officials try to sort out what exactly happened.
“We still do not know who did this or why – people shouldn’t jump to conclusions before we have all of the facts.”
UPDATE 6: Officials have confirmed to the Times that they are questioning at least one individual in connection to the attacks, and that federal officials have questioned a Saudi national who was being treated in a Boston hospital with injuries. The FBI has added that no arrests have yet been made, and no “person or group” has claimed responsibility.
UPDATE 7: Gov. Patrick and other officials confirmed in a press conference tonight that the FBI has taken over the investigation of the attack, calling it a “potential terrorist investigation.” The number of casualties, as confirmed by authorities, has risen to three dead, and more than 130 injured.
Photos: Charles Krupa, John Tlumacki / Boston Globe, Associated Press, Alex Trautwig / Getty Images
RIP Roger Ebert
Roger Ebert, the legendary film critic whose “thumbs-up, thumbs-down” evaluations have become synonymous with cinema reviews, passed away today at age 70 after a lengthy battle with cancer.
Just recently, he had announced that he would take a leave of absence from his work at the Chicago Sun-Times.
Photo: Robert K. O’Daniell / Associated Press
Meet your new pope: Jorge Mario Bergoglio, now known as Pope Francis I
Bergolio will become the 266th pope, and lead the 1.2 billion Roman Catholics across the world. Most notably, Bergolio, from Argentina, will become the first pope from South America, and the first modern pope from outside of Europe. Bergolio, age 76, became a cardinal in 2001, will leave his post as Archbishop of Buenos Aires.
Photos: Juan Mabromata, Giuseppe Cacace / AFP/Getty Images, Natacha Pisarenko, Andrew Medichini, Natacha Pisarenko / Associated Press, Ciro Fusco / EPA, Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images,
White smoke, new pope!
The Vatican has signaled that a decision has been made on a new pope, following deliberations by the Vatican conclave. The new pope will follow the now-Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, who announced his surprise resignation earlier this year.
Photos: Gregorio Borgia, Andrew Medichini / Associated Press, Filippo Monteforte / AFP/Getty Images