Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel has called the Boston Marathon explosions a “cruel act of terror.” His bold rhetoric comes at a time when President Barack Obama has chosen to be more cautious with his word choice.
President Barack Obama was quick to speak out about the incident in Boston yesterday, appearing on television mere hours after the Boston Marathon explosions took place. Yet, at the same time, the President was very cautious about what he said. He avoided the use of the “terrorism” label even as he vowed to bring whomever was responsible to justice.
“We still do not know who did this or why,” Obama said. “And people shouldn’t jump to conclusions before we have all 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. Any responsible individuals, any responsible groups, will feel the full weight of justice.”
Details surrounding the event are still forthcoming, and the president is hesitant to make speculative statements at a time when the truth is not yet known.
But Politico reports that immediately following the statement, a top white house official, who asked not to be named, referred to the Boston Marathon explosions as an act of terrorism.
“Any event with multiple explosive devices — as this appears to be — is clearly an act of terror, and will be approached as an act of terror,” said the official. “However, we don’t yet know who carried out this attack, and a thorough investigation will have to determine whether it was planned and carried out by a terrorist group, foreign or domestic.”
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is one of the most high-profile faces of the Obama administration, and his prominence may only grow if the perpetrators of yesterday’s attack happen to be part of a terrorist group operating abroad.
Following former criticism surrounding the Obama administration’s response to acts of terrorism, the administration may not allow its message to vary too wildly.
Regardless of whether the incident gets labeled an act of terrorism, terror clearly took place on the streets of Boston yesterday as two explosions sent panicked spectators fleeing from the scene. Three people have been confirmed dead and close to 200 people were wounded. Few people close to the Boston Marathon explosions would find reason to criticize Chuck Hagel’s terming the days event the act of terror that they were.