The NY Times reports that the person of interest is no longer so interesting:
Investigators searched a house in a nearby suburb late Monday night, but later said the search had proved fruitless.
Late Monday night, law enforcement officials descended on an apartment building in the suburb of Revere, about five miles north of Copley Square, linked to a man the police took into custody near the scene of the bombings. But on Tuesday morning, one law enforcement official said investigators had determined that the man, who was injured in the blast and was questioned at the hospital, was not involved in the attack.
I assume that this is the Saudi national mentioned by other news outlets, but it would kill the Times to identify someone so plainly, unless they were a white middle-aged Tea Partier.
And white smoke is not just for popes:
Retired FBI bomb technician Kevin G. Miles said the attack could “easily” have been the work of one person.
“A one-man operation could easily do something like this,” Miles said. “It would take some coordination, some know-how and some intelligence, but a lot of bombers throughout history have been one person.”
Miles said the white smoke was indicative of a “commercially available explosive,” such as smokeless gunpowder.
“It can be very powerful. Smokeless powder confined in a pipe bomb can function with the same velocity as TNT,” Miles said.
This story says that white smoke indicated a commercially available explosive whereas black smoke would indicate more powerful, military grade stuff:
The white smoke that emanated from the blasts indicate this was likely a smokeless or black powder, he says, not a military-type explosive such as C-4 or plastic explosives, which give off black smoke.
FWIW, the Times Square bomber's car bomb was built from commercially available explosives. I infer that the absence of high-tech explosives does not prove much about the possible background of the bomber.
WHAT IS A 'TERROR ATTACK'? I have no doubt that this attack could be accurately described as having employed terrorist tactics. But IMHO, calling something a terror attack imputes a motive, and we don't currently know what the motive in Boston may have been.
Just to add my bit to the random speculation, suppose this was (a) the act of a disgruntled ex-employee of one of the businesses on that street, or (b) a jilted ex-lover, or (c) a Hollywood caper film diversion from the real crime, such as a jewlery store vault robbery taking place over the three-day weekend? Would we still call it a terror attack?
Not that I am a reliable Obama apologist, but criticizing him for being a mush-mouth who can't say "terror" seems premature.
Which also means I disagree with this:
The investigation in Boston is just getting started. But we know enough say it was, indeed, an act of terrorism. Terrorism is an act of violence, aimed at non-combatants, designed to intimidate or coerce a population into political change. We don’t know who set these bombs off, but they targeted a high-profile public event guaranteed to capture publicity and compel the United States government to respond. Such acts are inherently political. The bombs in Boston were terrorism.
And if the perpetrator is a jilted nut job of a lover who was incensed that his significant other was running the marathon instead of spending time with him? Still a political act?
Or why speculate about Boston when other examples abound. Was Adam Lanza, the Sandy Hook shooter, engaged in a poltical act of terrorism? How about the Va Tech psycho?
If I had to bet, I would put my money on terror as the motive. But the President of the United States, in his first statement, should not be betting.
BUT THEN AGAIN: This just in from the White House:
“This was a heinous and cowardly act and given what we now know about what took place, the FBI is investigating it as an act of terrorism,” Obama said in televised comments from the White House. “Any time bombs are used to target innocent civilians, it is an act of terror.”
“What we don’t yet know, however, is who carried out this attack or why,” the president said, pledging to use all resources to find those responsible. ”We will find whoever harmed our citizens and we will bring them to justice,” he insisted.
“We also know this,” Obama said. “The American people refuse to be terrorized.”
Based on his "any time bombs are used" standard he should have called this an act of terror yesterday.
And before anyone starts - yes, President Drone Warrior kills innocent civilians with bombs. But it is not terror because they are collateral damage; we are targeting people designated as legitimate military targets.
THANK HEAVEN FOR SPORTS TALK RADIO: The NY Knicks will host the hated Boston Celtics in the first round of NBA playoff action starting this Saturday. Fraught! As one bright light on WFAN explained, seeing a Boston team will be emotional in the current context, but if the Garden faithful don't boo Pierce and Garnett then the terrorists win.