Boston — The second full day after the Boston Marathon bombings managed to be both busy and uneventful. CNN went from reporting that an arrest was imminent, to reporting that an arrest had happened, to reporting that the arrestee was on his way to federal court. Then, just about the time a mass of media and onlookers had developed around the John Joseph Moakley Federal Court House on Seaport Boulevard in South Boston, a “red flag” threat came in and the building was evacuated for about an hour. In the interval, the Boston field office of the FBI that no arrest had been made.
Back in Copley Square, where law enforcement had set up a press center at the Westin Hotel, a briefing scheduled for 1:00 p.m. was delayed until 5:00 p.m. Then it was delayed indefinitely. Then it was announced that the FBI would make a brief statement at 8:00 p.m. Then it was announced that they would make no such statement, that there would likely be no further briefings, and that they were pulling up stakes at the Westin.
There has been some substantive news on the investigation, with multiple reports that authorities have identified the placement, and therefore the placer, of the second bomb. But just because they’ve identified the culprit doesn’t mean they know his identity — or where to find him. There are also reports that they have a good picture of this individual’s face, though.
But for the most part we go to bed in Boston knowing little more than we did when we woke. Which is bizarre. CNN may have egg on its face for going to air with information they couldn’t confirm, but that’s a whole lot of smoke for no fire. And the perpetually delayed press briefing is also weird. The feds clearly have something to say, else they would have just come out and given a non-statement-statement — “we’re pursuing every lead, yadda yadda” — instead of stalling for time. All this has prompted some to speculate that CNN was wrong only on semantics — that for instance a “person of interest” may have been “detained for questioning” even though no “suspect” was “arrested.” Or it might be that the authorities were poised to make a move on somebody or somebodies, but were spooked off at the last minute, and that whoever had scheduled the presser, and leaked to CNN, had gotten ahead of themselves.
Or it might be none of these things. We’ll see.
On a warmer note, you should watch this video of the crowd at the Bruins’ game tonight singing “The Star Spangled Banner.” A friend and fellow reporter in Boston invited me to the game tonight, but I didn’t think Lowry would buy it as a work expense.