Feds arrest ricin suspect – no word on relation to Boston Marathon bombing, if any

Boston Marathon Bombing

8:44pm ET They’ve arrested a suspect in the ricin mailings to Congress and to President Obama.  The moron seems to have used his real initials in the letter (for the most part).

Good point regarding what “no arrests have been made” means. You could have someone in custody who hasn’t been “arrested” yet. Also, they could be lying – maybe they think he has an accomplice and don’t want the accomplice to know. Or they simply have no one.

2:34PM DOJ tells CNN no arrests have been made, as far as they know.

2:28pm CNN says two new sources say no one arrested, no one in custody, no one identified.

2:21pm Still not clear if they do or don’t have anyone in custody:

2:14PM CNN says the video of the man running from the scene appears to be one of the videos that helped the police find the suspect. What’s odd about the video is that you see the guy running immediately after the blast, while most people around him are in shock, not moving at all, other than huddling, grabbing their ears.


2:09PM AP is supposedly saying a suspect has been brought to the court house.

2:07PM CNN is still saying they think the guy was arrested. NBC isn’t so sure.

1:56pm Conflicting claims:

1:49pm CNN: Federal law enforcement source says arrest has been made based on two videos showing suspect at bombing site.  One may actually show the placement of the bomb. They hope to have much more info later in the day.  They clearly identified an individual suspect from video recorded by the Lord & Taylor department store near the second explosion.  Also, video from a Boston TV station helped – they enhanced that and clearly saw the suspect dropping a black bag.

12:06pm – Obama received a suspicious letter with a suspicious suspense as well.

11:21AM – Yankees fans sing Sweet Caroline to honor Boston.

10:52 AM – The lid to one of the pressure cooker bombs was found on a nearby roof.  Smart as hell to check the roofs, I might not have thought of that.

10:52 AM – Federal prosecutors are preparing to execute more search warrants, not clear for what or where.

10:50AM – Author wrote fictional account of a Boston Marathon bombing in 2002.

10:37AM – Images of the pressure cookers used as bombs:


April 17, 2013 – 9:55amET – ABC: Feds Race to Trace Boston Marathon Pressure Cooker Bomb

Bombers who killed three people at the Boston Marathon Monday used a pressure cooker pot that’s widely available for as little as $140 from major retail stores to house at least one of the explosives, officials told ABC News.

Investigators said Tuesday they had recovered a mangled Fagor brand pressure cooker pot, shrapnel, a circuit board and wiring from what they said was a partially exploded device near the finish line. The evidence has been sent to FBI’s lab in Quantico, Virginia, where law enforcement sources said the parts could provide a break in the case.

Investigators will use every clue, from the pressure cooker’s manufacturer and retailers to the types of nails used in the shrapnel, to try and find out from where the bomb parts were purchased and by whom, the sources said.


10:16pm ET 7 News in Boston has received photos that may show one of the explosives before the blast – see the video below:

WHDH-TV 7News Boston

7:52 PM ET Senator Wicker, who received the reported Ricin, was one of 16 GOP Senators to vote to end the NRA-backed filibuster of the background check bill.

7:32pm ET Outside experts are starting to say that the Boston Marathon bombing doesn’t seem like the work of a homegrown American anti-government group.  National Journal:

In Monday’s case, though, the target was not a federal building or the IRS. This bombing at the Boston Marathon, experts say, doesn’t fit with the previous attacks from Patriot Movement types.

“When you think about it, the target is not clear,” said Mark Potok, a senior fellow at the Southern Poverty Law Center. “What the target was not was the government, or the IRS, or a minority group—black people, gay people, Muslims, immigrants, Latinos, and so on. It wasn’t targeted at any sort of specific subgroup.”

Mark Pitcavage, the director of investigative research for the Anti-Defamation League, agreed, saying this target didn’t feel like the work of extreme right-wing terrorists since it had no clear connection to the government.

7:13PM Multiple news outlets are reporting that an envelope containing the poison Ricin was sent to GOP US Senator Roger Wicker of Mississippi, an odd choice of targets as he’s not exactly well known nationally. The poison was caught at a mail screening facility. Unknown if this is related to the Boston bombings.

Ricin is the poison the Soviets liked to put at the tip of pointy umbrellas and then prick people in order to kill them.

One interesting fact would be too look at when the envelope was sent – it’s unlikely it was sent after yesterday afternoon’s bombing if it was already at the mail screening facility – thus it’s likely not a copycat crime. And hard to believe it’s a coincidence, if the test for Ricin was accurate. The Washington Post has more – I’m still wondering if it isn’t a false positive.

6:38 PM ET Boston Globe, Source: Investigators recover circuit board believed used to detonate Boston Marathon blasts.
3:57PM ET Gay police officer appears in iconic photo from Boston Marathon bombing – it’s the photo of the multiple cops, wearing their bright yellow-green vests,, scrambling, with the 78 year old runner laying on the ground. One of the officers is gay.
3:41PM ET Why Boston Bombings Might Be Scarier Than 9/11, by Ron Fournier at National Journal:

From the nation’s founding, America has had two sharply delineated lives: one public and one private. The latter is meant to be safe and sacrosanct, part of what Thomas Jefferson called “the pursuit of Happiness.” The public life is rowdy and partisan, even violent as reflected in the Civil War. “What happened in Boston,” said Meg Mott, professor of politics at Marlboro College in Vermont, “is that the private life got blown up and hit deep in the heart of our bifurcated American lives. The lines were blurred, and that’s scary.”

They targeted life. They targeted liberty. Now somebody has attacked pursuit of happiness.

3:27PM ET More on pressure-cooker bombs from Gawker.
Video of a pressure-cooker IED.
3:25 PM ET: Tea Party Congressman Uses Boston Marathon Bombing To Justify Opposing Immigration Reform
3:15PM ET: The Boston Marathon’s Final Mile Was Dedicated to Newtown Victims
3:14PM ET: FAA shrinks Boston restricted flight area
3:11PM ET: Militia Groups Denounce Boston Marathon Attack, by Ruby Cramer at BuzzFeed:

Early speculation that militias were behind the bombings are “totally off-base,” says one leader. “This was a target of civilians, which is reprehensible by every measure of what we hold to our values.”

3:10pm ET: Let’s not be terrorized, by Alex Pareene, Salon:

Tragedies amplify the human tendencies toward both selflessness and assholishness. From a distance, watching horrible things happen (and happen, and happen) on TV, it can be much easier to see the assholishness. Yesterday an asshole planted bombs at the Boston Marathon — the Boston Marathon, for chrissakes — and today three people are confirmed dead with many, many more injured, in some cases horrifically.

That horrible situation, though, led to a great deal of examples of how Boston, and much of the U.S., is a pretty damn nice place full of impressive and great people. There was amazing journalism from Boston journalists, and a heroic response from Boston first responders, paramedics, doctors and surgeons. Boston blood banks filled up immediately and the Red Cross and Google both helped people find their loved ones. The Internet and the press even acquitted themselves reasonably well. It was amazing to see, within hours of the attack, eyewitness video from amateurs and professionals. The live stream of WBUR, Boston’s NPR news station, was compelling, restrained and informative. Fox News’ Shepard Smith was incredibly composed and also very careful not to speculate irresponsibly. The Boston Globe dropped its pay wall and put its heartbreaking and useful liveblog on the front page.

It wasn’t all good. There was no reason for Neil Cavuto to interview Joe Arpaio, at any point yesterday, and yet that happened. This was a particularly obnoxious reminder that Fox News can only turn off its shtick when a grown-up, like Shepard Smith, is running the show. (Smith returned to anchor coverage later, thankfully.

4/16/13 1:14pm ET – CBS: Bombs were in pressure cookers inside black duffel bags:

A person briefed on the Boston Marathon investigation says the explosives were in 6-liter pressure cookers and placed in black duffel bags.

Only two unexploded explosive devices were found yesterday, per press conference taking place right now.

(Forbes) Boston Bombing: How Google, Social Media And Cloud Bring Hope Amid Tragedy.

The significance of Patriot’s Day, by Abby Ohlheiser, Slatest:

A quick primer on Patriot’s Day: It commemorates the opening battles of the American Revolutionary War, the battles of Lexington and Concord, both held on April 19, 1775. The holiday has become best known for the marathon and is in fact also referred to as “Marathon Monday.” (Patriot’s Day, we should note, should not be confused with Patriot Day, established on Sept. 11 to mark the World Trade Center attacks.)

So why were people so quick to speculate about the holiday’s possible significance? Undoubtedly because they were inspired by the fact that this week does contain a number of unhappy anniversaries: the Oklahoma City Bombing (April 19, 1995), the Waco assault (April 19, 1993), the Columbine School Shooting (April 20, 1999), and the Virginia Tech massacre (April 16, 2007), for starters. Two of those tragedies—the Virginia Tech massacre and the Waco assault—were on Monday, the Patriot’s Day of those years.

In the immediate aftermath of September 11, I get why people freaked out. It wasn’t right, but I get it – I freaked out too. But I’d hoped we’d grown since then:



IRS giving Bostonians tax filing extension.

A marathoner shoots video from the race just as the first bomb went off:


The official said that the devices appeared to have been made with black powder and ball bearings, but that investigators were unsure how the two that exploded had been set off.


Roupen Bastajian, a state trooper from Smithfield, R.I., had just finished the race when he heard the explosions.

“I started running toward the blast. And there were people all over the floor,” he said. “We started grabbing tourniquets and started tying legs. A lot of people amputated. … At least 25 to 30 people have at least one leg missing, or an ankle missing, or two legs missing.”


Brothers watching Boston Marathon each lose a leg, Boston Globe:

Liz Norden, a mother of five, had just finished hauling groceries into her Wakefield home Monday afternoon when her cellphone rang….

Within the next two hours, amid frantic phone calls and a panicked drive into Boston, Norden pieced together the horrific truth that will forever change her two sons’ lives — and her own. Each of the brothers lost a leg, from the knee down. One was taken to Beth Israel Deaconess, while the other was at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

Horribly sad story of the guy in the cowboy hat.

Boston Marathon bombing: Newtown bears witness to another tragedy as runners, attendees honoring Sandy Hook victims narrowly escape attacks at finish line, NY Daily News.

Person of interest’s apartment searched, Politico:

Authorities searched a suburban-Boston apartment Monday night into early Tuesday morning in connection with the Boston Marathon bombings which left at least three dead and more than 140 injured, according to reports….

The New York Post reported that the apartment was in the hometown of the 20-year-old Saudi national man hospitalized at Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital.


A look at the 78 year old in the bright shorts who fell in front of the cops in the now-iconic photo.

Record number of anti-government militias in USA, USA Today:

Radical anti-government “patriot” groups and militias, galvanized against gun control, will continue to grow even as the number of groups operating in the USAreached an all-time high in 2012, a report Tuesday by the Southern Poverty Law Center finds.

The center tracked 1,360 radical militias and anti-government groups in 2012, an eightfold increase over 2008, when it recorded 149 such groups. The explosive growth began four years ago, sparked by the election of President Obama and anger about the poor economy, the center says. That growth is likely to continue as the groups recruit more members with a pro-gun message, the center’s senior fellow Mark Potok said.

Cities to be placed on high alert Tuesday, The Hill:

“Local, state and federal law enforcement are putting most urban cities on high alert because we want to make sure this is not a pattern like 9/11, so you’re going to see law enforcement and dogs who can sniff out explosives in a lot of areas throughout the country — especially here in Washington D.C — whether it be in train stations, ports, federal buildings, especially the Capitol and this area,” said Ruppersberger to reporters Monday evening.

Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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