Boston bombing update: The guys in the feds' surveillance video probably aren't who you think

The FBI is (finally!) going to release the footage that everyone’s been clamoring for later today. If you’ve read the New York Post this morning, you probably think you know who the guys in the video will be. You’re probably wrong. I watched an interview on Erin Burnett’s show last night with Fran Townsend (I think it was her), who’d seen photos of the suspects circulated by cops; CNN refused to air the pics but it was abundantly clear from her description that it’s the same two guys in the Post’s story today. If you followed Reddit’s marathon photo sleuthing yesterday, you knew instantly watching that interview who she meant. There were at least five or six different shots of them near the finish line being scrutinized on Reddit — one of them wore a white cap and bulging black backpack, the other a blue track suit with a sagging duffel bag. I went to bed last night thinking that’s who’d be in the video released today.


But apparently I’m wrong. The administrator of the Reddit sleuthing thread posted an alert this morning urging people to back off. Quote:

This is what you call a witch hunt media, for god sake.

The two males we’re talking about are the one in a black jumper/hoody with a white hat, and his friend in a blue track jacket. There are multiple news sites releasing their information and/or Facebook pages, this is disgusting and will not be tolerated here, no links to these stories are allowed.

Please report any posts regarding personal information on these two, they will be removed and the user will be permanently banned. All previous links to these two are being removed.

We are not waiting for them to be officially cleared, one of the men has contacted the police to try and clear his name. Please understand that the FBI now knows who they are, so our posts now have no purpose. If the situation changes then people can make new posts. It’s not our job to keep their information out there, people are innocent until proven guilty – not the other way around.

I can’t find any news stories confirming that yet but, given the site’s prominence, the Reddit editor may have been contacted by someone who knows something begging them to halt the speculation. I noticed that Newsweek editor Michael Moynihan was also tweeting skeptically about the two guys in the photo this morning and e-mailed him to ask why he thinks they’re innocent. Answer: He found their Facebook pages last night and says it seemed pretty clear from the volume of material about track and field, along with lots of other innocuous crap, that they’re unlikely to be the culprits. They were probably just there watching the race because they’re into long-distance running. Obviously he can’t be sure, but reasonable doubt suggests maybe not putting them on the front page of a major tabloid until the feds speak up. In fact, a reporter from CBS has already claimed this morning that the two guys on the Post’s cover aren’t the guys the feds are looking for.


And yet, these obviously were the guys in the photos being shown to the media last night, per the CNN interview. So why were cops spreading them around if there aren’t even the main suspects? Maybe there was a miscommunication with the feds, or maybe it’s part of an effort to run down anyone who looked even a little “suspicious.” From yesterday’s NYT:

The videos also showed at least a handful of others whom the authorities want to question, either because of what they appear to be doing in the video or their proximity to the blasts, a senior law enforcement official said…

The official said the authorities were trying to boil down the number of people of interest in the videos and would then decide whether to ask the public’s help in locating them…

The official added: “There are several videos with people in them, and we’re looking to talk to more than one guy. It’s still very squishy but there are a lot of interesting people” the authorities want to talk to.

According to the LA Times, there are two men on the surveillance video who’ve piqued investigators’ curiosity (“The men were singled out because of their demeanor and the way in which they reacted to the bomb blasts”), but as I say, they’re probably not White Cap and Track Suit. Those latter two were likely noticed because of their bags, their proximity to the blast site, and, let’s face it, the fact that they appear Middle Eastern. If the Boston Globe is correct, though, then the bags don’t match either. They claim that the surveillance video shows each man carrying a black bag; the bag carried by Track Suit in the Post’s photo is blue.


Anyway, we’ll know soon. Expect a new thread ASAP after the footage is released; I’m eager to see if the real suspects ended up in any of the photos online. Exit question about something that’s been bothering me for two days: If the bomb really was in that bag in the fourth photo here, how did it not dislodge the mailbox next to it? It’s a foot away and had enough power to take people’s limbs off. I know mailboxes are sturdy, but that sturdy? The bomb must have been somewhere else nearby, no?

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John Stossel 1:00 PM | June 15, 2024