Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Could a More Vigilant Public Have Prevented the Boston Marathon Bombing?

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Could a More Vigilant Public Have Prevented the Boston Marathon Bombing?

Article excerpt

Former US Sen. Joe Lieberman argued Tuesday that the Boston Marathon terrorist attack could have been prevented by greater public vigilance on the part of citizens acquainted with the alleged bombers.

He said better coordination between federal and local law enforcement also might have enabled authorities to head off the deadly attack.

"In this case there were people who clearly could have prevented the massacre at the marathon by just saying something," Mr. Lieberman, the former chairman of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs, told the House Homeland Security Committee.

He pointed to the friends, family, and acquaintances of Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the brothers who allegedly planted the bombs and were later responsible for the shooting death of a police officer.

"Leaders and members of the Boston mosque that threw Tamerlan out because of his extreme views could have said something to the police and even done something to counter his radicalization," the former independent Senator from Connecticut told the hearing.

Lieberman acknowledged that preventing the attack wouldn't have been easy, but he asserted that it might have been possible.

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His statements amounted to a passionate call for Americans to engage more fully with the "if you see something, say something" slogan that citizens see in places like subway stations.

And, amid efforts to identify any security failures and learn lessons from the bombing, his remarks put the focus on local action, not just questions of intelligence sifting at the federal level.

Boston Police chief Ed Davis, who also testified at the Thursday hearing, echoed some of Lieberman's concerns but was cautious in comments about whether the terrorist actions could have been prevented.

"We certainly need to enlist the community better," Commissioner Davis said. …

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