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

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.