Investigators appear to be inching closer to identifying their suspects in the Boston bombings. That's suspects, plural. Authorities will release video stills of two men today taken from surveillance video in the hopes that the public can help identify them, the Globe reports. The men were "seen separately on videotape — one at each of the two bombing sites."
If you picked up a New York Post today, you may think you've already seen the photo. The Post's cover shows two men under the headline "Bag Men: Feds seek these two pictured at Boston Marathon." But the Post isn't claiming that these men are necessarily the same two men seen in the surveillance video. And, in fact, CBS News's John Miller said this morning that the photos floating around in the media "are not the photos that are going to be released today by the authorities."
So who are the men on the Post's cover? The paper reports that the photos of them are "being distributed by law-enforcement officials among themselves."
“The attached photos are being circulated in an attempt to identify the individuals highlighted therein,” said an e-mail obtained by The Post. “Feel free to pass this around to any of your fellow agents elsewhere.”
Reddit — which has been combing through images from the marathon in its own parallel investigation — knows the Post's guys well. After singling out them out as suspects yesterday, a new thread today declared the men innocent:
Blue track suit guy's facebook info got out. I won't post it but this guy is not the bomber. His latest facebook post shows him freaking out that he is on tv as the bomber. He said he was going to court to say he didnt do it. Also, he works at a running store which gives further credit to the theory about him having nice running shoes and just being there to spectate....
It's a high school athlete and his track coach. He went to talk to the police an hour ago....
I go to high school with the kid in the blue tracksuit. I can assure you he is innocent. He's a track star for our school and is the nicest kid i know. There's no way he could pull something like this off. He's practically a pacifist. He was in my soccer team last year so i know him pretty well.
We're not going to pretend to know exactly what is going on — who is innocent, who is guilty, who's a real suspect and who is merely an object of curiosity. It's an incredibly complex and hazy situation. All the more reason to be extra careful about whom you implicate on your front page.
Update: In a statement, Post editor Col Allan said, "We stand by our story. The image was emailed to law enforcement agencies yesterday afternoon seeking information about these men, as our story reported. We did not identify them as suspects."
Meanwhile, the Post reports in a few brief paragraphs, the men from its cover have been cleared: "Authorities determined neither had any information or role in Monday's attacks at the Boston Marathon."