Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Boston Investigation - Day 2

 The investigation in Boston continues.

1) My observations from yesterday concerning the potential of a fragmentation-IED employment appear to have been correct. As has been widely reported, it seems the explosive was packed inside a pressure cooker and surrounded by nails + other shrapnel. Clearly, this attack sought to combine a simplistic method of engagement (a relatively easy to construct bomb) with a comparatively significant impact (a large number of casualties). On the second point, as I noted yesterday, the low number of fatalities is a great credit to Boston's EMS and surgical teams.

2) In terms of the perpetrator/s/group responsible, we still know very little. It's true that the pressure cooker explosive tactic has been a traditional go-to approach for Al Qa'ida, however, the ease of that construction methodology means that we cannot be confident Al Qa'ida (/affiliate/inspired) were responsible. Regardless, I suspect that at this point (approaching 48 hours post-incident), the FBI and Police will soon have a camera shot of whoever placed the devices. Unfortunately, the individual/s in question may have concealed their identity. Regardless, by the lack of newly leaked information, it's evident that the authorities have significant gaps in their knowledge. Because of the number of investigators assigned to this case, once new information does arrive, it will likely enter the public domain very quickly (contrary to common belief, the US Govt. finds it very difficult to keep necessary secrets).

3) The ricin letter sent to US Sen. Wicker (R-MS) may or may not be related to the Boston bombings. It's impossible to know at this point. It may simply be a lone wolf who wants to create a sense of panic. This being said, a connection cannot be ruled out. It is worth noting (if only for background) that Al Qa'ida have previously shown a serious interest in ricin weaponization.
4) Whoever is responsible for the bombings and the letter (either together or individually), it seems highly likely that the number of individuals involved is very low. To successfully elude the US intelligence community requires a great deal of operational secrecy, ease of access to the US and independence (why in recent years the US/UK IC have been especially concerned by British-Pakistani extremists using their UK passports to gain access to the US). 

At this time, the primary concern on the part of the US Govt. is twofold - to investigate the attacks and to quickly find those responsible. A real threat will exist until the responsible party is detained (a concern evidenced by the significant increased security measures in major US metropolitan areas). But be under no illusions, they will be found. The FBI is the finest investigation force in the world.

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