Nightly News   |  April 15, 2013

Boston bombs a ‘sophisticated’ attack

The presence of two explosive devices containing shrapnel, with the first charge attracting first responders and then the second presumably attempting to harm those responders, indicates a sign of a terrorist organization, according to NBC National Security analyst and former Director of the National Counterterrorism Center Michael Leiter.

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>>> michael leiter is our national security analyst at nbc news, former director of the national counterterrorism center in washington . michael, two things. overseas veterans of the wars the past ten years and those of us who spent time there, number one, the primary explosion, then the secondary explosion as people are running to the first. and number two, the nature of these injuries. an explosive device apparently with added shrapnel. that haunts everybody involveded.

>> yes, brian. the idea of using two explosive devices , the first charge which attracts to some extent the first responders -- police, fire, medical -- and then have a second charge go off that's targeting those responders potentially is the sign of a more sophisticated attack. as you noted, the shrapnel, the idea there could have been ball baergs or something else in the explosives, specifically trying to kill or maim not just trying to have a small explosion, the sign of a terrorist organization trying to kill people.

>> here we are in the post 9/11 era. while it's familiar now to us in a kind of hideous way, it also isn't. we should emphasize that while people, especially in big cities and especially on the east coast , are going to see precautions at train stations and airports and perhaps big obvious movement of law enforcement , there is no reason to fear that this is any, at this hour, part of any wider plan. correct?

>> that's right. people should view the precautions in washington , new york, san francisco , los angeles merely as precautions. this is exactly what the federal government and states and cities prepare for in the event of an attack. heightening basic preparedness, putting more police on the scene. that is not because they know something specific. it is because everyone wants to make sure that there is a show of force and should something else arise that they are in a good position to respond. but it is not the sign of a specific threat necessarily.

>> michael leiter in our washington bureau. michael, thank you as