As the identity of the guilty party remained murky, politics steered the bombing into different areas.
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) said on CNN that administration officials don’t want to repeat the mistakes of communications after the Benghazi attack.
“Intelligence community wants to get facts right, not get out too early with assessment that may prove inaccurate,” Schiff said on Twitter when questioned about his statement.
Relying on early information that a Saudi national here on a student visa was being regarded as a suspect, Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) told National Review the immigration reform bill should be put on hold for further review.
“Some of the speculation that has come out is that yes, it was a foreign national and, speculating here, that it was potentially a person on a student visa. If that’s the case, then we need to take a look at the big picture,” King said. “If we can’t background-check people that are coming from Saudi Arabia, how do we think we are going to background check the 11 to 20 million people that are here from who knows where?”
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), in speaking with reporters, chided King to be “very cautious about using language that links these two things in any way.”
“We know very little about Boston other than that it was obviously an act of terror,” Rubio said. “We don’t know who carried it out or why they carried it out, and I would caution everyone to be very careful about linking the two.”
D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton (D) said at a hearing today that the bombing showed federal police can’t take a hit from sequestration.
“D.C.’s heart and prayers are first with Boston today, but then we must turn to the precautions necessary to protect hometown D.C. and the nation’s capital while keeping the city open and accessible to residents and tourists alike,” said Norton. “The Boston tragedy comes at a time of year when urban America, particularly D.C., is out and about. Our response to the tragedy in Boston must not be surrender to terrorism or retreat in fear or to allow scarcity of the resources necessary to keep our people safe.”
“We will not tolerate the barricade approach to terrorism that creates a police state atmosphere in the freest capital city in the world,” she added.
Obama is heading to Boston on Thursday to speak at an interfaith service for the bombing victims.
Napolitano appears before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on Wednesday morning and before the House Homeland Security panel on Thursday. The hearings were scheduled before the bombings to discuss Obama’s budget proposal for the Department of Homeland Security.