The identity of a group of men present at the Boston Marathon bombings has been revealed as the Massachusetts National Guard Weapons of Mass Destruction Civil Support Team (CST), a federally funded taskforce used in every state that advises event planners, police and responders in case of a WMD attack.
The unit appears to have been deployed both before and after the bombings, with some in the direct vicinity of the first explosion.
They are recognized in photos by their tanned trousers, boots and caps, with some of them wearing black vests with the CST stamp, or plain black jackets. The unit uses various black military style vehicles and SUVs. Here is an image of their NY counterpart vehicles for comparison, courtesy of a DVIDSHub.net article.
Here is a member of the unit after the first explosion using a radiation detector.
Possible Prior intelligence
The picture starting to emerge is that there was a high amount of security and preparedness units throughout the duration of the Boston Marathon. University of Mobile Coach Alastair Stevensonhas confirmed in no less than three interviews that bomb sniffing dogs and spotters on roofs were active at the athletes village, near the start line, the morning of the event. He pondered whether the drill they announced on loud-speaker was a way to placate concerned citizens, and they were actually sweeping the area based on intelligence of a threat.
At least two likely members of the CST were photographed prior to the first explosion, in the immediate vicinity of the device, although one of them is wearing a hat similar to that of Navy Seals and the uniform of private security firm Craft, who may have also been assisting. So far he is the only person photoed wearing that particular style of hat, which is also the logo for Marvel’s the Punisher comic.
The duo miraculously manage to avoid the explosion, and make their way to the road where they’re photographed using ear-pieces or cell phones, possibly calling in more CST and other units that arrive shortly after.
Here is the CST and possible FBI units arriving at the scene after the phone calls.
Another likely CST member is seen crouching in a doorway close to where the explosion went off, near the finish line and viewing stands.
What we can deduce from this is that they came extremely close to the explosive device and/or whoever dropped the bag, and managed to leave the blast area and/or take cover so as not to be harmed by the explosion. The questions then become what lead them to that area, did or why didn’t they manage to spot anything, and what prompted them to get out of there before the explosion? A coincidence or intelligence?
Authorities have claimed there was no prior intelligence about the explosions, but that’s generally the standard line in all terrorist incidents. From 9/11 to the 7/7 bombings in London it invariably turns out they were well prepared based on years of intelligence and training exercises. In this case at the very least there was a generalized suspicion of a threat, else there wouldn’t have been a drill in the morning or a WMD task-force on the scene.
Authorities and the mainstream media are keeping quiet, but what needs to be ascertained is the specific directive that put these units where they were.
Was it simply a case of the overbearing security state taking heed of past incidents, such as the suspected bomb at the 2010 Pittsburgh Marathon, that turned out to be a microwave? Or the successful attack at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta?
FEMA Deputy Administrator Richard Serino, was previously the Chief of Boston Emergency Medical Services, and Director of the Boston Public Health Commission. In 2008 he planned a “Mass Casualty Exercise” to prepare Boston should an attack or natural disaster ever take place at the Marathon. A document of his presentation can be Downloaded Here.
Or was there intelligence of a specific threat, leading authorities to sweep the area in the morning and place units eerily close to the perpetrators?
As of writing official “Suspect 1″ Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, was shot in the early hours following a police chase in which the men hijacked a vehicle and attacked police with guns and explosives. He later died of his injuries. “Suspect 2″ Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, age 19, is still at large, having managed to escape the scene.
The two brothers are thought to be Muslim Chechen immigrants from Russia.
Authorities released images and CCTV of the suspects yesterday afternoon, and claimed to have evidence of “Suspect 2″ planting a device at the location of the second explosion, 100 yards down the street from the finishing line, outside the Forum Restaurant. This portion of footage has not been made available to the public and will likely be held off for a trial or inquiry setting.
“Suspect 2″ is however seen leaving the area without his rucksack.