Intelligence panels to be briefed

Members of the House and Senate Intelligence panels will be briefed by the FBI on Tuesday about the Boston Marathon bombing that left at least two dead and dozens injured.

Rep. C.A. “Dutch” Ruppersberger (Md.), the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, told reporters that members of the panel had received an initial briefing from James Clapper, the Director of National Intelligence, about an hour-and-a-half after the afternoon attack.

The chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Tex.), had also been briefed on the attack and said that “by all accounts, this was an act of terrorism.”

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“We just don’t know the motivation or the perpetrators at this point,” McCaul told reporters at the Capitol.

“These are two bombs that went off simultaneously, all the hallmarks of an act of terrorism,” he said. “Mass casualties, spectacular event, that’s what they like to do.”

Maine Sens. Susan Collins (R) and Angus King (I) released a statement that also said the bombings had the “hallmarks of a terrorist attack.”

“As members of the Senate Intelligence Committee, we will be continually updated of the situation,” they said.

Lawmakers said they did not have much more information than had what been reported in the media about the attack, in which two nearly simultaneous explosions caused carnage at the finish line of the Boston Marathon.

The House held a moment of silence for the victims on Monday evening led by Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Rep. Michael Capuano (D-Mass.), who represents the district where the bombs went off.

“It’s a terrible tragedy, but it’s something that Massachusetts has always found a way to come together, and we will again,” said Rep. Joseph Kennedy III (D), whose district includes suburbs of Boston.

The attack marred Patriots’ Day, an annual state holiday in Massachusetts that marks the running of one of the world’s most famous marathons.

“It’s obviously way too early to speculate what happens next year, but I do think Massachusetts and New England are extraordinarily proud of our history and extraordinarily proud of our character, and that’s not going to change,” Kennedy said. “No amount of targeting, no bloody act is going to wound the soul of the people of Massachusetts or New England.”