Intelligence report identified vulnerability at the finish line days prior to the Boston Marathon bombings
Intelligence officials read excerpts to a Times reporter from a document circulated five days before the tragic terrorist attack in Boston. Warning that the finish line was a particular “area of increased vulnerability,”
But that’s not to say that the FBI was aware of a specific threat to the city:
The “joint special event assessment” is dated April 10. It notes that at the time there was “no credible, specific information indicating an imminent threat” to the race.
“The FBI has not identified any specific lone offender or extremist group who pose a threat to the Boston marathon,” the report reads.
The document comes as the FBI and other agencies are under inspection from the House Homeland Security Committee today.
For the full details on the document, head over to Politics Now.
Photo: Charles Krupa / Associated Press
An end to Guantanamo Bay prison?
President Obama opened the doors for a renewed push to close the much-criticized prison in Cuba, where the U.S. detains a number of suspected terrorists
Said Obama earlier today during a press conference marking the 100th day of his second term:
“I think it is critical for us to understand that Guantanamo is not necessary to keep America safe. It is expensive. It is inefficient. It hurts us in terms of our international standing. It lessens cooperation with our allies on counterterrorism efforts. It is a recruitment tool for extremists. It needs to be closed.”
But Obama has promised to close Guantanamo, where a large number of prisoners are currently on hunger strikes, before - making it a prominent pledge in his first presidential campaign.
Photos: J. Scott Applewhite, Brennan Llinsley, Shawn Thew, Justin Lane / 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
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
The Department of Homeland Security’s BioWatch air samplers, meant to detect a terrorist biological attack, have been plagued by false alarms and other failures.
President George W. Bush announced the system’s deployment in his 2003 State of the Union address, saying it would “protect our people and our homeland.” Since then, BioWatch air samplers have been installed inconspicuously at street level and atop buildings in cities across the country — ready, in theory, to detect pathogens that cause anthrax, tularemia, smallpox, plague and other deadly diseases.
But the system has not lived up to its billing. It has repeatedly cried wolf, producing dozens of false alarms in Los Angeles, Detroit, St. Louis, Phoenix, San Diego, the San Francisco Bay Area and elsewhere, a Los Angeles Times investigation found.
Worse, BioWatch cannot be counted on to detect a real attack, according to confidential government test results and computer modeling.
‘Sovereign citizen’ movement now on FBI’s radar: The Homeland Security Department has ranked the movement as a major threat. Its members reject the law, and some kill police.
According to court papers, Rice was involved in the “sovereign citizen” movement, a group that has attracted little national media attention but which the FBI classifies as an “extremist antigovernment group.” So-called sovereign citizens argue that they are not subject to local, state or federal laws, and some refuse to recognize the authority of courts or police.
Photo: Bob Paudert, then chief of the West Memphis police force, is comforted by an officer after his son was killed while making a routine traffic stop in 2010. The shootout that ensued involved a member of the sovereign citizens movement. Credit: Mike Brown / The Commercial Appeal
Counter-terrorism chemical labs test for synthetic pot: The drug has sent hundreds of users to hospitals. Testing for it is the latest way a multibillion-dollar national infrastructure built to respond to biological attacks has adapted to the lack of an actual attack.
Photo: Katie Seely, 31, a chemist at the Arkansas Department of Public Health counter-terrorism laboratory, operates a robot called the Zephyr that can simultaneously prepare over 90 samples of synthetic chemicals for analysis. Credit: Brian Bennett / Los Angeles Times
Osama bin Laden’s journal reveals that the Al Qaeda leader hoped to kill as many Americans as possible, with L.A. on his list:
Michael Downing, commanding officer of the Los Angeles Police Department’s counter-terrorism and special operations bureau, said the intelligence cache confirms what authorities have long known: “Los Angeles was on the target list for Al Qaeda.”
Andrew Blankstein and Robert J. Lopez have more:
Downing said the death of Bin Laden does not mean that the threat in Los Angeles has diminished.
“Once you’re on the list,” he said, “you don’t leave the list.”
Photo credit: Associated Press
Obama has embraced national security policies of the previous administration that he once criticized.