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Entries in Boston Marathon (6)

Sunday
Apr282013

Lindsey Graham: Boston Bombings were an Intelligence Failure

Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Cal(WASHINGTON) -- Speaking on CBS’s Face the Nation, Senator Lindsey Graham expressed his belief that the Boston Marathon bombings were the result of intelligence failures.

Graham said that Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the dead bombing suspect, left a trail that should have raised a red flag.

“The FBI investigated the older brother but never shared the information with the fusion cell in Boston so people in the Boston area could be on the lookout,” Graham said. “When he goes back to Russia in January of 2012 the system pings at DHS but DHS doesn't share the information with the FBI or CIA.”

Graham believes that the failure of American intelligence agencies to connect the dots illustrates that “We're going back to the pre-9-11 stove piping.”

The bombings, he said, must serve as a wake-up call.

“We're gonna have to up our game and when one of these guys goes into the system and they leave the country we've got to make sure we know where they're going and interview them and when somebody in the data base like this begins to openly interact with radical Islamic website and FBI agent should knock on his door,” said Graham.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Apr242013

Yemeni Activist Likens Impact of Drone Strikes to Boston Marathon Bombings 

JOEL SAGET/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- A Yemeni man whose village was struck by American drones likened that practice with the Boston bombing in testimony before U.S. lawmakers on Tuesday.

Farea-al-Muslimi, who was educated in the U.S. courtesy of a State Department scholarship and now works as an activist and fixer for journalists in Yemen, said the face of America in his home country is the face of drones and that they are helping al Qaeda turn his countrymen against the United States.

“I am from Wessab, a remote mountain village in Yemen, about nine hours’ drive from my country’s capital, Sana’a,” said al-Muslimi before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

“Most of the world has never heard of Wessab. But just six days ago, my village was struck by a drone, in an attack that terrified thousands of simple, poor farmers. The drone strike and its impact tore my heart, much as the tragic bombings in Boston last week tore your hearts and also mine,” he said.

Al-Muslimi put a human face on the targeted killing program, which has been in use in the war on terror for more than a decade. But this was the first public hearing on the matter in Congress, according to Sen. Dick Durbin. The Illinois Democrat has been a political mentor to President Obama, but has pushed the president on the issue of targeted killing program.

“Even as President Obama commands a military with the most sophisticated weapons known to man, including the weaponized drones used in targeted killing operations, his authority is still grounded in words written more than 200 years ago,” said Durbin.

While the president promised during his State of the Union address this year to “engage with Congress to ensure not only that our targeting, detention, and prosecution of terrorists remains consistent with our laws and system of checks and balances, but that our efforts are even more transparent to the American people and to the world.”

The hearing Tuesday was meant to explore the legal justification for the drone program. But the Obama administration declined to send a representative. Only in 2012 did the administration officially disclose details of how the CIA program operates. Members of Congress have not all been shown the legal justification for the program, which remains rooted in the 2001 authorization for military force after the 9/11 terror attacks. CIA director John Brennan faced tough questions in Senate confirmation hearings earlier this year. His nomination was also briefly filibustered by Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul.
Durbin said he was disappointed by the administration.

Drones make for strange political bedfellows. Durbin was joined by fellow liberal Sen. Al Franken and also Sen. Ted Cruz, the Texas conservative Republican in voicing frustration with the White House.

“I’d like to echo the concern that the chairman raised and the disappointment that the Obama administration declined to send a witness particularly after this hearing was delayed for one week in order to accommodate the administration’s schedule,” said Cruz, “and I am hopeful that they will provide witnesses at subsequent hearings.”

A spokesman said the administration is in contact with the committee, albeit outside of public view.

“We have been in regular contact with the Committee about how we can best provide them the information they require,” said National Security Council spokesman Caitlin Hayden. “As the president has indicated, we will continue to engage Congress and to ensure that our counterterrorism efforts are not only consistent with our laws and system of checks and balances, but even more transparent to the American people and to the world.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Apr212013

Boston Author Dennis Lehane Praises Response to Marathon Bombings

ABC(NEW YORK) -- Speaking Sunday morning on This Week, author and Boston native Dennis Lehane praised the response to the Boston Marathon bombings, calling it as one of the greatest “acts of heroism” he has ever seen.

“I’ve been proud to be from Boston my whole life – I don’t think I’ve ever been as proud as I have been this week. The thing that will stick with me the rest of my life is, the plot of these brothers failed within two seconds of the first explosion. Because the objective of terror is to rattle a populous. It’s to make them paralyzed with fear,” he said. “And to see all of these civilians run toward the blast to help their fellow civilians, to help their fellow Bostonians, their fellow members of the human race was one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen. It was one of the great acts of heroism I’ve ever witnessed.”

The iconic author of such books as Mystic River, and Gone, Baby, Gone, praised the people of Boston as “tough and hearty” with a “pugnacious pride.”

“We’re a city that values civil discourse, civil liberties. And then at the same time, we have this kind of pugnacious pride – this romantic, underdog – ‘if you’re gonna hit me, you better hit me very, very hard, or I won’t go down’ kind of vibe. I mean, we were Red Sox fans for a century, so that in and of itself is – is a tough and hearty people,” he said. “I got a couple of different texts from friends that were the same text, essentially, that was ‘they messed with the wrong city.’”

Lehane described the capture Friday night of the second suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings, 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev as euphoric.

“When it came back ‘we got him,’ I think you could see the euphoria, you could see the relief. You could see a sense of vindication, of justice prevailing, of our values trumping very corrupt values. I think you could — you could feel that. It felt – it felt wonderful.”

Lehane said the attacks at this year’s marathon would not derail future races, predicting twice the turnout next April.

“I think the citizens of this city were saying ‘we’re not going to change. This is going to change nothing. Whatever you thought, whatever your objective was, whatever you thought you were going to do to our spirit — it’s not going to change.’ You go to the marathon next year, I bet there’ll be twice as many people there.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Apr212013

Obama, National Security Team Meet After Arrest of Bombing Suspect

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama and his national security team met on Saturday in the wake of Friday night's dramatic arrest of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the surviving suspect of the terror attack at the Boston Marathon.

The weekend meeting lasted 90 minutes and was attended by FBI Director Robert Mueller, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, CIA director John Brennan, Attorney General Eric Holder and other members of the National Security Council, according to a White House statement.

Vice President Joe Biden joined the Situation Room session via teleconference; Biden traveled to Detroit Saturday for an evening fundraiser for the Michigan Democratic Party.

“The President commended the work that was done to pursue justice in the Boston Marathon bombing, and underscored the need to continue gathering intelligence to answer the remaining questions about this terrorist attack going forward,” the White House statement said.

Federal authorities tell ABC News they are planning to invoke a “public safety exception” with Tsarnaev, which allows for them to engage the naturalized U.S. citizen in limited interrogations when there is a threat of danger to the public, without his being read his Miranda rights.

But as the president met with his council, some Republican lawmakers urged the Obama administration to label Tsarnaev an “enemy combatant” — a legal status – after a habeas hearing – that they say could allow his continued confinement for intelligence gathering.

A statement penned by Rep. Peter King and senators John McCain, Kelly Ayotte, and Lindsey Graham said that while they agreed with the decision not to read the suspect his Miranda rights during his arrest, failure to elevate him to an enemy combatant “could severely limit our ability to gather critical information about future attacks.”

“We should be focused on gathering intelligence from this suspect right now that can help our nation understand how this attack occurred and what may follow in the future,” it reads. “That should be our focus, not a future domestic criminal trial that may take years to complete.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Apr162013

Mayors Menino, Giuliani Praise First Responders in Boston Bombing

Photo by Darren McCollester/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Boston Mayor Thomas Menino Tuesday evening received condolences for the Boston Marathon bombing from former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who compared it to the Sept. 11 World Trade Center attack.

“One of the images that I take away from yesterday, having watched it all day, were your firefighters, your police officers and some of your citizens running right into the fire, and that reminded me of my firefighters and my police officers who ran into the building,” Giuliani told Menino, speaking mayor-to-mayor in a joint interview with World News’ Diane Sawyer.

Mayor Menino agreed, adding firefighters and EMS to the list of American heroes in Boston Monday.

“They reacted instantly and helped save lives,” Menino said. “When it blew up, they moved quickly, and I’m very proud of what the first responders did yesterday afternoon.”

“People of Boston should be, too,” Giuliani said. “They should be very proud of their citizens, all of whom reacted in a very, very brave way, and I was very heartened by that.”

The brief meeting between the two mayors of major American cities was a surprise for Menino, who did not know Giuliani was listening in on his interview with Sawyer.

Before being joined by Menino, Giuliani recalled being in London for the 2005 bombing that killed 52 civilians in the train system.

“They caught those people in less than a day,” Giuliani said. “They caught them on tape."

“Now hopefully, they have tapes like that [in Boston],” Giuliani said. “They’ve got a lot of surveillance cameras in Boston – more than New York, less than London.”

He suggested it was possible, too, that a spectator might have incidentally caught the moment on camera.

His advice to the people of Boston was to “go about their lives.”

“They should not let whatever form of terrorist this is, they shouldn’t let them win, because this is what they’re trying to do. They can’t capture us. They can’t overwhelm us. They can’t destroy us. All they can do is frighten us and try to stop us from doing the things that make us a great country. We shouldn’t let them do that,” the former New York City mayor said. “My heart goes out to them.”

Menino told Sawyer that authorities continue to investigate the attack that left three dead and more than 170 wounded, going over the area with a “fine-toothed comb,” and that a pressure cooker might have been involved.

“We don’t have any other information that we can give to the public at this time, but I know the FBI, the Boston police [and] the state police are all working very closely on this investigation,” Menino said.

He echoed Giuliani by saying he was optimistic that footage from surveillance and private citizens’ cameras would allow officials to find the attacker.

“We have a lot of video on this, and we’re looking at all that video and asking the public who might have cameras to give them to the Boston police so they can look at the information,” the five-time Boston mayor said. “That’s the most camera-ed area in the city of Boston.”

Putting aside the deep-rooted baseball rivalry between the two cities, New York’s Yankee Stadium played the song “Sweet Caroline” during the Yankee game Tuesday night as a tribute to Boston, where the song is a Fenway Park tradition for the Red Sox.

“That’s a historic moment when that song goes off at the ballgame,” Menino said.

“We are all together tonight,” Giuliani assured him.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Apr162013

Obama to Visit Boston Thursday, Speak at Service for Bombing Victims

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(BOSTON) -- President Obama is scheduled to travel to Boston on Thursday, three days after the deadly bombings at the Boston Marathon.

As the city grapples with this tragedy, the president plans to speak at an interfaith service “dedicated to those who were gravely wounded or killed in Monday’s bombing,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said in a written statement.

Obama’s visit comes as authorities are working around the clock to determine who is behind the twin blasts at the finish line of the marathon. Earlier Tuesday, the president vowed to bring to justice those responsible for this “act of terrorism,” which he called a “heinous and cowardly act.”

“It will take time to follow every lead and determine what happened. But we will find out,” he said. “We will find whoever harmed our citizens, and we will bring them to justice.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio







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