Just hours before the Boston Marathon bombing suspect was set to be arraigned in federal court, Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis told members of the Justice Department’s terrorism task force on Wednesday that local law enforcement needs to receive information on terrorist threats more quickly.
Davis testified on Capitol Hill as part of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee’s review of the Boston Marathon bombing.
“There is a gap with information sharing at a higher level while there are still opportunities to intervene in the planning of these terrorist events,” Davis said, urging lawmakers to write into the task force’s mission a requirement that information be shared, according to the Associated Press.
The Associated Press reported that the chairman of the Homeland Security Committee complained that the FBI, the lead investigative agency in the bombing, had refused to attend the meeting. Questions linger about what the FBI knew in advance that might have helped prevent the April 15 bombings that killed three people and wounded more than 260.
“It is this committee’s responsibility find out how we did not see it coming,” said Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas. “We are going to find out what happened, what went wrong, and how to fix it.”
According to the Associated Press, experts testifying in the Senate said Boston’s response actually was exemplary, in part because the city had years ago built relationships and disaster plans among law enforcement, medical personnel and other responders.
Davis said that in the aftermath of the bombing, the FBI improved information sharing but that more needs to be done, AP reported. He also said cellphone service was overloaded immediately after the attack.
Phones “were rendered completely useless as a means of communication at the scene,” he said, adding that “satellite phone technology is not effective for indoor command posts and communication across multiple bodies.”
According to the Associated Press, Davis said law enforcement needs “a secure bandwidth in a public safety spectrum dedicated exclusively to public safety use now, as it is the only way to communicate during an event of this magnitude.”