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April 16, 2013

Saudi National Suspected in Bombing Smelled of Gunpowder When Interviewed by Police?

So claims a New York Post source. This is the first tangible bit of evidence I've heard against him.

The police took various bits of possible evidence from the man's Revere apartment.

Marcus Worthington, 24, a law student who lives in a neighboring building, said he was told by an official wearing an ATF jacket that residents were “safe now.”

Worthington said officials told him they were responding to a tip about one of the apartments.

"He said that they were investigating a tip about a dangerous device in one of the apartments. I did ask him if it was a bomb or something, but he wouldn't answer."

I felt required to quote that as it seems highly suggestive, but I'm actually quoting it because it's not, but made to seem that way. Consider what a cop telling you "you're safe now" means-- it's just a general reassurance. It means "you're fine." It doesn't mean, as I think is being implied, "You're safe... now."

As for the latter bit, about asking if the cop had found a bomb and the cop not answering: This means even less. Why would the investigator answer? Investigator do answer sometimes, but they're not supposed to, not when it's about evidence concerning a very high-profile crime. In fact, the one situation I could see an investigator answering is if it were actually a bomb. In that case cops would say "Yes we think it's a bomb" and then begin evacuating people, in case there were more.

But this bit of nothing-trumped-up-into-something aside, there is some reason for suspecting this guy:

...

At the hospital, investigators seized the man’s clothes to examine whether they held any evidence that he was behind the attack. The law-enforcement sources also told The Post that the man was not free to leave the medical center.

...


FBI investigators leaving the apartment building following a raid of the potential suspect's home.

As of last night, investigators had not yet directly asked the man whether he had set off the bombs. But they had asked him general questions, such as what he was doing in the area.

The potential suspect told police he had dinner Sunday night near Boston’s Prudential Center, about half a mile from the blast site, the sources said.

He also said that he went to the Copley Square area yesterday to witness the finish of the race.

The sources said that, after the man was grabbed by police, he smelled of gunpowder and declared, “I thought there would be a second bomb.”

He also asked: “Did anyone die?”

As far as "smelled of gunpowder:" That's sort of suggestive but I do wonder-- wouldn't must people near the blast smell of gunpowder? (Assuming it was a gunpowder-based explosive.) People smell of gunpowder after firing guns; the cloud of gunpowder from a fired bullet gets into their skin and clothes. If a gunpowder-based bomb blew up, wouldn't a big cloud of gunpowder smoke get into the clothes and skin of anyone nearby or downwind?

"I thought there would be a second bomb" seems more suggestive. Although anyone can speculate something like that.

My skepticism is present here for two reasons: 1, I think skepticism is useful as a general matter, and 2, this just feels too easy to me. It feels like we should have had to work harder and longer to find this guy. (Though commenters remind me we rolled up Timothy McVeigh very quickly.)


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posted by Ace at 11:47 AM

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