Planning for Boston Marathon security included bombing scenario

CAMBRIDGE, Massachusetts Wed Apr 24, 2013 7:08pm EDT

Killeen, Texas, fire-fighter Charles Layton salutes a procession of vehicles in honor of fallen fire-fighter Captain Kenneth ''Luckey'' Harris Jr. following funeral services at St. Mary's Catholic Church of the Assumption in West, Texas, April 24, 2013. REUTERS/Tim Sharp

Killeen, Texas, fire-fighter Charles Layton salutes a procession of vehicles in honor of fallen fire-fighter Captain Kenneth ''Luckey'' Harris Jr. following funeral services at St. Mary's Catholic Church of the Assumption in West, Texas, April 24, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Tim Sharp

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CAMBRIDGE, Massachusetts (Reuters) - The security planning for last week's Boston Marathon, where two bombs went off killing three people and wounding 264, included preparation for such an emergency, a top Massachusetts public safety official said on Wednesday.

"We spend months planning for the marathon. We did a tabletop exercise the week before that included a bombing scenario in it," Kurt Schwartz, the state's undersecretary for homeland security, told a panel at Harvard University.

Two bombs went off at the finish line of the race, one of the most-attended sporting events in Boston, where there was a crowd of tens of thousands of spectators.

Given the public nature of the marathon, which is run along a 26.2-mile (42.2-km) course stretching from suburban Hopkinton, Massachusetts, to downtown Boston, security officials said they take into account a variety of possibilities.

Planning rules adopted since the September 11, 2001, attacks on New York and Washington "have forced you to do that, to think about the unthinkable," Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis told the panel. "When you do that, when you envision what might happen ... you respond in a way that is probably more thoughtful."

Investigators have accused two brothers of Chechen ethnicity - Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who died in a gun battle with police, and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, now in custody - with planting the bombs.

(Reporting by Scott Malone; Editing by Eric Beech)

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Comments (7)
hbdan1.ds wrote:
Since 9/11 I have been to Major League Baseball games, NBA games, NHL games the Daytona 500 and two Super Bowls and never would anyone have gotten near the epicenter of the event without having everything they were carrying inspected. Yet these two bombers were allowed to walk up to the core of the Boston Marathon unchallenged wearing backpacks big enough to hold pressure cookers. In all the pictures we saw of the crowds did we see anyone else with backpacks that big? Then, they just laid them down in plain sight and walked away while apparently nobody did anything again. I realize a marathon is 26+ miles long and you can’t control that whole area but the greatest concentration of people which is a bomber’s sweet spot is always near the start and finish lines and you can secure that. At all the sporting events I mentioned the areas with the greatest concentration of people were always managed closely; apparently that didn’t happen in Boston.

Apr 24, 2013 8:53pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Gabrielsnike wrote:
Of course it did include this.
If you go to the website Veterans Today you will find a treasure trove of information written by military men who specialize in intelligence. You may also be interested ina website blog.alexanderhiggins
You will see photos showing that the backpack that held the bomb was actually a backpack belonging to one of the security detail.
You can also find clear photographic evidence that the now hospitalized “bomber” actually had his backpack on him as he left the area after the explosion.
You certainly need to get out there looking at the treasure trove of information about this event. Your perception of reality will never be the same again. Mine will not and I sincerely regret that I ever learned what I now know about these situations. Life, for me, has changed dramatically, given what I have learned of late. Now what?

Apr 24, 2013 11:05pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Dansf wrote:
@hbdan1.ds What pictures have you looked at? There were many more people walking around this event with back packs yet those pictures are now ignored including the picture of a man with the “white tagged backpack”. There also exists a picture of the younger brother walking away after the explosion still carrying his back pack.

Apr 25, 2013 8:14am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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