Boston Bombing: Outside the Capitol, Security Measures & Reminders. Inside, Few Answers.

The American flag flies at half staff over the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Tuesday in honor of the the three people killed in the bombings during the Boston Marathon. (SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

Public trash bins were overturned outside the United State Capitol on Tuesday morning, the cans and bags that typically allow passers by to discard coffee cups, soda cans and newspaper nowhere in sight. A security precaution. Flags flew at half staff. To honor the dead. Inside the Capitol, lawmakers and journalists alike traded speculation about the Boston bombing — but few definitive clues.

On the opposite end of Washington’s famed Pennsylvania Ave., President Barack Obama late Tuesday morning officially labeled Monday’s twin bombing an “act of terrorism.” But he indicated federal authorities have few leads and no suspects in the attack, which killed three people and injured over 150 more.

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, dubbed the attack “a terrorist attack of some sort,” indicating he remains undecided on whether a foreign group like al Qaeda is responsible or if a domestic group (or individual) carried it out.

That came moments after Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel told a House panel the Boston bombing was a “cruel act of terror.” Hagel said federal officials have yet to identify any suspects, and he predicted a lengthy and “thorough” investigation is likely. 

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin, D-Mich., and panel member Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., two lawmakers who are honed in on national security issues, told reporters Tuesday they have not received any information that would indicate al Qaeda planned and carried out the bombing.

A Taliban spokesman denied any involvement, telling the Associated Press that “wherever we find Americans we will kill them, but we don’t have any connection with the Boston Explosions.”

So far, it appears lawmakers, like reporters and the public, are not privy to details of the unfolding investigation.

“I know as much as you guys,” Graham told several reporters.
And Levin told your correspondent he needs “a heck of a lot more information” before declaring whether federal authorities should be searching for a foreign or domestic suspect.
John T. Bennett

John T. Bennett

Bennett is the Editor of Defense News' CongressWatch channel. He has a Masters degree in Global Security Studies from Johns Hopkins University.
John T. Bennett