University of Mobile’s Cross Country Coach, who was near the finish line of the Boston Marathon when a series of explosions went off, said he thought it was odd there were bomb sniffing dogs at the start and finish lines.
"They kept making announcements to the participants do not worry, it's just a training exercise," Coach Ali Stevenson told Local 15.
Stevenson said he saw law enforcement spotters on the roofs at the start of the race. He's been in plenty of marathons in Chicago, D.C., Chicago, London and other major metropolitan areas but has never seen that level of security before.
"Evidently, I don't believe they were just having a training exercise," Stevenson said. "I think they must have had some sort of threat or suspicion called in."
CNN reports a state government official said there were no credible threats before the race.
Perhaps we should cast a suspicious eye on that wording: "No credible threats." Although it would take me a while to find the link, I saw a story which quoted an administration official as saying there was no "specific" information indicating a possible terrorist attack. The careful phrasing makes me go hmmm. Perhaps some folks in officialdom did get wind of a plot in the works, even if they did not have much definite information.
Davis says this year's race had a stronger security presence than usual:
We review each one of these events. At the end of our review last year, we determined that the crowds were larger than usual. And so we put additional officers at the end of the race," the police commissioner says.
There was no specific threat about this event ... this was a standard threat picture.
Davis says undercover officers were "fully deployed" among the crowd as were bomb-sniffing dogs.
Surprisingly few blogs have deigned to note Coach Stevenson's report of an early appearance by the dogs. Here's one site which mentions the story. And here's another.
Stevenson's report may turn out to be highly significant, or it may be a distraction. He was on the scene, and he seems like a man of reasonable judgment. If he got the impression that a known threat or an advance warning must have prompted such a heavy presence by police dogs, I would not be too quick to dismiss his assessment.
About that Saudi: The right-wing blogs have revealed his name to be Abdulrahman Ali Alharbi. He was indeed the inhabitant of that apartment in Revere searched by the feds (an incident we mentioned in our previous post). The good news: He has been ruled out as a suspect in the bombings.
His roommate told reporters that Alharbi is "quiet and clean." Needless to say, some Pam Gellerites do not want to accept this exoneration. One reader of that site offered this classic response:
"qutie and clean?" then how come he comitted this jihad attack in Boston.
You gotta love that kind of logic. Can I play the same game? Okay, here's my offering:
Pam Geller says she has no connection to mass killer Anders Brevik. Oh yeah? Then how come she helped him kill all those kids on that island?
Same fallacy. Better punctuation. (For those of you who like to keep track of these things, the logical flaw being demonstrated here is called petitio principii.)
(Note: I've slightly rewritten this post to include information taken from a just-released Guardian story.)
Interesting article on this subject... from 2008. One could argue that the increased presence is due to Obama's national preparedness policty being implemented. Of course the conspiracy minded will note how that is a conspiracy itself.
Although the principal goal during such events remains the safety of everyone involved, organizers have realized that these annual gatherings of hundreds of thousands of people present the perfect opportunity to evaluate new technologies, exercise disaster plans, and build vital relationships between public safety agencies and the private sector.
Massachusetts is better prepared for a real disaster because every Patriot's Day and Fourth of July is treated as a "disaster." Instead of constant warnings about the inevitability of another terrorist attack or natural catastrophe, the public would be better served if this type of local homeland security innovation were promoted and adopted elsewhere.
You can read about the difference in approach from the Bush to Obama administration DHS @ http://www.hlswatch.com/2011/04/09/ppd-8-as-a-natural-evolution-of-hspd-8/
We have a Memorial Day festival here and the police dogs are routinely out and about. I would be surprised if they weren't around the Marathon.
posted by Pennelope Pennebaker : 9:40 AM
I was at work today, standing by a till in the sedate English midlands, not far from the original Boston, when a man and his, probably, mother came in. She believed what happened in Boston (Massachussetts) to be disgusting. He then said he thought the CIA were behind it, because no-one had claimed responsibility. She disagreed, she thought the CIA had "bigger fish to fry" and then the CIA would have orchestrated a larger explosion.
They're both wrong. The CIA would probably have set up a patsy, that being the time-honoured and well-proven way to evade blame, and the size of the explosion isn't really the point.
I live in the Boston area and have been to the Marathon and 4th of July almost every year. Luckily I was unable to go this year as I would have been standing right where the bomb went off. There is tight security every year since 9/11 including bomb sniffing dogs and command centers and snipers on roof tops. There is a building overlooking the river that police and FBI use for the 4th that has visible snipers on it. There is nothing unusual about anything that went on before hand.
I hope past experience has taught the most cynically vigilant among us to withold our inevitable conspiracy-theorising comments until... we learn precisely WHOM the government want us to hate for their latest (staged or facilitated) atrocity and exactly WHAT new erosions of our liberty and privacy the government proposes to implement as a result.
What's the point of turning the country into a police state (snipers on rooftops, bomb-sniffing dogs, command centers, wall-to-wall cops) if the outcome is the kind of carnage that happened at Boston? Apparently our "security" systems are completely ineffective and useless. And others seem to think so also; Mayor Bloomberg is sending NYPD specialists to assist the Boston PD in their investigation, and according to RT News, the Times of Israel has stated that Israeli police experts are being sent to Boston to help the police there figure everything out.
Now that people are dead and have suffered amputations, the Boston PD has cops dressed up like soldiers standing around on street corners with machine guns to show how well they are protecting the public. WTF are they dressed up for? Halloween?
Off topic: gun control legislation failed in the senate today.