WASHINGTON — A stony-faced President Barack Obama declared that those responsible for the explosions at the Boston Marathon “will feel the full weight of justice,” but he urged a nervous nation not to jump to conclusions. Top lawmakers declared the deadly incident an act of terrorism, and a White House official said it was being treated that way.
Obama, speaking from the White House late yesterday, pointedly avoided using the words “terror” or “terrorism,” saying officials “still do not know who did this or why.” However, a White House official later said the incident at the famous race was being treated as terrorism.
“We will find out who did this. We’ll find out why they did this,” Obama said in his brief statement. “Any responsible individuals, any responsible groups, will feel the full weight of justice.”
Authorities say at least three people were killed and more than 140 injured during two explosions near the finish of the marathon. A senior U.S. intelligence official said two other explosive devices were found near the end of the 26.2-mile course.
The president said the government would increase security around the United States “as necessary,” but he did not say whether his administration thought the incident was part of a larger plot.
Following a briefing with intelligence officials, Maryland Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger, top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said most urban areas in the country would be under high alert.
“We want to make sure this is not a pattern,” Ruppersberger said, adding that people could expect to see greater security at public areas such as train stations, ports and baseball games.
On Capitol Hill, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., told reporters that she had been in contact with U.S. intelligence agencies and it was her understanding “that it’s a terrorist incident.” Feinstein, who chairs the Senate Intelligence Committee, said the officials reported no advance warning that “there was an attack on the way.”