The Cable

Feinstein: No advance intel, no other bombs in Boston

There was no intelligence information warning about the Boston Marathon bombings before they occurred and there were no other bombs found in Boston aside from the two that actually exploded, Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) said Tuesday.

Feinstein and her Republican counterpart Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) emerged from a two-hour closed hearing with Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and several other intelligence committee officials to tell reporters that officials say there was no advance information collected by the intelligence community suggesting that the twin bombings were being planned.

"To the best of my knowledge there was none," she said. Asked if the lack of advance intelligence about the deadly attack was a concern for her, Feinstein said, "not necessarily."

"What's been done for 12 years is to protect this nation when there have been hundreds of efforts and every one has been thwarted by the FBI. I have full confidence in them. It is possible not to have any intelligence [in advance]," she said. "I have no reason to believe they won't have a successful investigation that will end in an arrest. But I think it will take time and we need to be patient."

Former Attorney General John Ashcroft told The Cable in a Tuesday interview that the lack of advance warning did not necessarily indicate an intelligence failure.

"It may be that it's a circumstance that it's simply unknowable. Individuals who act on their own and with a certain secrecy are going to be difficult to anticipate," he said. "I don't think we're able to generalize from that and say it's a particular failure or a success."

Feinstein said there were only two bombs in total -- the ones that exploded -- despite reports Monday that there were other devices found and perhaps detonated by law enforcement just after the attack. She said she has no information that there is an ongoing increased threat in Boston, Washington, D.C., or anywhere else.

Feinstein said the government hasn't told lawmakers anything about a pressure cooker and she attributed that information to media reports that were not based on hard evidence.

"We know nothing about a pressure cooker being used. That's speculation; we haven't heard definitively that," she said. "Anybody who looks at some of the publications around sees the pressure cooker as a possibility, but that's all I know."

Chambliss concurred with Feinstein that the investigation is not far along enough to make any judgments on the origin of the device or the perpetrator.

"What's unusual is that nobody has taken credit for this in the terrorist world, but don't assume anything from that," he said. "We really don't know who the terrorist was or where the terrorist was from."

The Cable

Saudi national no longer ‘person of interest’ in Boston bombings, no other suspects

The Saudi national injured during the bomb attacks at the Boston Marathon Monday has been cleared and is no longer even a person of interest, intelligence officials told lawmakers Tuesday.

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper briefed members of the Senate Intelligence Committee behind closed doors in a pre-scheduled hearing that was supposed to focus on the budget, but Clapper began with an update of the bombings. Ranking Republican Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) emerged from the briefing and said he was told the 22-year old Saudi student who was injured during the bombings and remains in the care of a local hospital was no longer a focus of investigators.

"He was never categorized as a suspect; he was a person of interest. My understanding is that he totally cooperated and that he is no longer a person of interest," Chambliss said.

Asked if there were any other persons of interest at this time, Chambliss said, "Not that I know of."

Details about the bombings are still scarce and the investigation hasn't yielded any firm conclusions about the perpetrator or the origin of the explosive devices yet, according to Chambliss.

"It's a very fluid investigation, the FBI is in the lead, and I personally know the special agent in charge. He is one of the best, and they are doing a very good job of moving the investigation forward," he said. "We don't know at this point whether it was a home grown terrorist, whether it was an isolated incident or part of an overall scheme, whether it was a domestic terrorist or a foreign terrorist."

Chambliss did say that security around the country would have to change for large public events, including greater involvement by the federal government.

"This was a soft target. It was not a target that was able to be totally protected," he said. "This particular incident is going to cause the administration and Congress to evaluate our overall security programs around the country, particularly for major events. We can't leave it just to the communities that host these events to provide the security."

UPDATE: Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) said Tuesday afternoon that there had been no advance intelligence information before the attacks. Read about that here.