The former chairman of the powerful House Intelligence Committee tells Newsmax that Monday’s bombing of the Boston Marathon “has the feel” of a terrorist attack, but authorities probably won’t know for certain until the next 24 to 48 hours.
“The gut feeling is your heart just goes out to all the folks in Boston — and here we go again as a country with a very, very tragic event,” said Pete Hoekstra, former GOP representative from Michigan’s 2nd district, in an exclusive interview just hours after the attack that left at least three people dead and more than 100 injured — in some cases with missing limbs.
“It’s way too early to identify the circumstances behind this and who the people responsible might be,” said Hoekstra, who is on the advisory board of LIGNET, a global intelligence and forecasting service based in Washington, D.C.
Editor's Note: LIGNET: Was al-Qaeda Behind the Attacks?
He said authorities will be poring over the explosive materials recovered from the scene and waiting for a group or individual to claim responsibility for the attacks.
“We’ll have experts going over the bomb-making material very quickly and again, you’ll be able to determine the sophistication of that explosive device and begin estimating the kind of background and knowledge that was going to be necessary to pull off the kind of explosives and the coordination that you saw today,” according to Hoekstra.
He said authorities will also have to determine if the claims are founded.
“Once groups or individuals take credit you can fairly quickly determine whether that claim of responsibility has any merit to it or not,” he said.
Assuming the Boston bombings turn out to be a terrorist attack, Hoekstra said he would not be surprised to learn that al-Qaida played a role.
“I think the short list would be probably al-Qaida out of the Maghreb region [of Northwest Africa] or it would be al-Qaida on the Arabian Peninsula out of Yemen, where al Awlaki came from and gave us the Detroit [underwear] bomber,” predicted Hoekstra.
He said officials have feared for some time there might be additional terrorist attacks on U.S. soil.
“We’ve always said — and we’ve known, we’ve stopped countless of these attacks and planned attacks in the United States — and we’ve always said ‘some day someone might be able to get through and be successful,’” Hoekstra explained.
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