Islamic fanatics or homegrown right-wing extremists - who is behind the attacks on the Boston Marathon? DW spoke with Joseph Wippl, a former CIA officer and professor at Boston University.
DW: Mr. Wippl, in your opinion, have the authorities so far reacted well to the bomb attacks in Boston?
Joseph Wippl: Definitely, yes. I think at the moment there are very intense investigations underway to find out who is responsible for the bombings. The security services are working well together. And they are not yet presenting any conclusions to the public - it's far too early for that.
Early on, the police reported that they had had no advance evidence of an attack. Does that point to a security failure?
One can never be completely sure. That's impossible. And there are always people who are planning terrorist attacks. Many of them are stopped or detected early on, but you cannot be 100 percent sure.
You said you were pleased with the performance of the security agencies. What makes you so confident?
The type of attack was rather primitive. This was not a sophisticated attack similar to 9/11, the 2004 attacks in Madrid, or on the London Underground in 2005. The explosions were quite primitive for such a high-profile event like the Boston Marathon. This is one of the reasons why I believe that it was the act of local perpetrators. But again, with so many potential targets in the United States one can never be 100 percent sure.
So, you assume that this was not the work of an international terrorist group like al Qaeda?
I wouldn't say that, no. I would say that it could be. But it was a very primitive attack at the level of a small terror cell, and not an attack in which thousands of people could have been killed.
After 9/11, America's national security apparatus was rebuilt, as has been proven today. What has changed?
I would say that two things have changed. Today, many more people are employed in the security sector. The financial resources of the security forces in the United States and the rest of the world have been greatly increased in order to stop these types of terrorist attacks. I would also say that there is a much better exchange of information between the local and federal authorities, also between the US and its international partners.
Since 2004, the office of the Director of National Intelligence has also been part of that apparatus. Was that also a major change?
Yes, definitely. There is a much better exchange of information between the various security agencies such as local authorities, the FBI, the CIA and the National Security Agency.
President Barack Obama spoke today to the American people and said that his government would do everything possible to support local security forces. Do you think that statement is valid?
Yes, he can say that. The skills and capacities of the FBI and other federal agencies are excellent, first class.