President Barack Obama said Tuesday his counterterrorism bureaucracy “did what it was supposed to be doing” before the Boston Marathon bombing as his top intelligence official began a review into whether sensitive information was adequately shared and whether the U.S. government could have disrupted the attack.
“We want to go back and we want to review every step that was taken,” Obama told a White House news conference. “We want to leave no stone unturned. We want to see, is there in fact additional protocols and procedures that could be put in place that would further improve and enhance our ability to detect a potential attack.”
The 90-day review is also a political pre-emptive strike as Republican lawmakers question whether the administration’s law- enforcement and intelligence agencies failed to share crucial counterterrorism information — the same error blamed for missing the clues before the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Some Republican lawmakers already have suggested forming a select committee to investigate the Boston bombings, just as they are calling for a similar committee to delve further into the militant attacks that killed four Americans last year in Benghazi, Libya.
Shawn Turner, a spokesman for Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, said the review covers only the period before the Boston attack because the investigation of the bombings is still underway. Initiated earlier this week, it’s being led by I. Charles McCullough III, the independent intelligence community inspector general. He is authorized to reach into any U.S. intelligence agency.