President Obama pledged to bring "the full weight of justice" to bear on those who detonated the bombs that brought death and injury to the Boston Marathon Monday. But he stopped short of calling it a terrorist attack, urging patience as the investigation proceeds on both the federal and local levels.
"We still do not know who did this or why," the president said in a somber three-minute appearance in the White House briefing room shortly after 6 p.m. "And people shouldn't jump to conclusions before we have all of the facts. But make no mistake. We will get to the bottom of this and we will find out who did this. We'll find out why they did this."
His comments came after an afternoon in which he was briefed several times on developments. He talked with his top Homeland Security Adviser Lisa Monaco and other members of his senior staff, according to the White House. He then telephoned Boston Mayor Tom Menino and Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick "to make sure that they have every single federal resource necessary" and to reassure them "that all Americans stand with the people of Boston."
Later in the afternoon, Obama was briefed again by FBI Director Robert Mueller and Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano on what the White House for the first time was calling an "active investigation." The briefings covered the needed federal response and "ongoing coordination with state and local officials."