President Barack Obama said Tuesday morning that the Boston explosions were an "act of terrorism" but that investigators do not know who was behind the attacks at the marathon.
"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," he said. "Anytime bombs are used to target innocent civilians, it is an act of terror."
Obama's complete statement, read to reporters:
I've just been briefed by my national security team, including FBIDirector Mueller, Attorney General Holder, Secretary Napolitano, andmy counterterrorism and homeland security adviser Lisa Monaco, on theattacks in Boston. We continue to mobilize and deploy all appropriatelaw enforcement resources to protect our citizens and investigate andto respond to this attack.
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Obviously, our first thoughts this morning are with the victims, theirfamilies, and the city of Boston. We know that two explosions gravelywounded dozens of Americans and took the lives of others, including an8-year-old boy.
This was a heinous and cowardly act. And given what we now know aboutwhat took place, the FBI is investigating it as an act of terrorism.Any time bombs are used to target innocent civilians, it is an act ofterror.
What we don't yet know, however, is who carried out this attack orwhy, whether it was planned and executed by a terrorist organization,foreign or domestic, or was the act of a malevolent individual. That'swhat we don't yet know.
And clearly, we're at the beginning of our investigation. It will taketime to follow every lead and determine what happened, but we willfind out. We will find whoever harmed our citizens, and we will bringthem to justice.
We also know this: The American people refuse to be terrorized,because what the world saw yesterday in the aftermath of theexplosions were stories of heroism and kindness and generosity andlove, exhausted runners who kept running to the nearest hospital togive blood and those who stayed to tend to the wounded, some tearingoff their own clothes to make tourniquets, the first responders whoran into the chaos to save lives, the men and women who are stilltreating the wounded at some of the best hospitals in the world, andthe medical students who hurried to help, saying, "When we heard, weall came in," the priests who opened their churches and ministered tothe hurt and the fearful, and the good people of Boston who openedtheir homes to the victims of this attack and those shaken by it.
So if you want to know who we are, what America is, how we respond toevil, that's it: selflessly, compassionately, unafraid.
In the coming days, we will pursue every effort to get to the bottomof what happened, and we will continue to remain vigilant. I'vedirected my administration to take appropriate security measures toprotect the American people, and this is a good time for all of us toremember that we all have a part to play in alerting authorities. Ifyou see something suspicious, speak up.
I have extraordinary confidence in the men and women of the FBI, theBoston Police Department, and the other agencies that responded soheroically and effectively in the aftermath of yesterday's events. I'mvery grateful for the leadership of Governor Patrick and Mayor Menino,and I know that even as we protect our people and aggressively pursuethis investigation, the people of Boston will continue to respond inthe same proud and heroic way that they have thus far. And theirfellow Americans will be right there with them.
Thank you very much. And you can expect further briefings from our lawenforcement officials as the day goes on. When we have more details,they will be disclosed. What I've indicated to you is what we nowknow. We know it was bombs that were set off. We know that, obviously,they did some severe damage. We do not know who did them. We do notknow whether this was an act of an organization or an individual orindividuals. We don't have a sense of motive yet.
So everything else at this point is speculation. But as we receivemore information, as the FBI has more information, as ourcounterterrorism teams have more information, we will make sure tokeep you and the American people posted. All right? Thank you verymuch, everybody.