Reports proliferated earlier today that suggested that those responsible for the Boston Bombing have been arrested, or at the very least a suspect was in custody. These stories were conflated with reports that a 4chan Boston Bombing think tank had made strides toward identifying the individuals responsible for the attack.
The FBI has officially responded to those reports, officially declaring that no suspect was in custody, and the media reports were just plain wrong. 4chan may have given some help to law enforcement by dissecting several images of the bombing site before and after the bombing and identifying those acting suspiciously and carrying back packs on the scene.
The statement from the FBI was worded carefully, stating that no arrests had been made. The statement did not make any other reference to pursuit of the suspects, and merely asked the media to stop circulating reports that a suspect had been apprehended. The perpetrators of the Boston Bombing, the statement suggests, remain at large.
4chan did its best to identify possible suspects in the case, releasing to the public a series of images that had been commented on, pointing to specific individuals and identifying their behavior and their appearance as suspicious. The major component of “proof” in the images was the appearance of the same individual in two images, with the second, chronologically, showing them without a back pack.
There are several reasons why a person might not have an obvious back pack later in the day, and attempting an attack of terror is by no means the most likely. 4chan will no doubt continue to collate and analyze images of the Boston Bombing, though the results will not necessarily form a good guide to real suspects.
The perpetrators of the Boston Bombing are out there somewhere and community support is the best way to find criminals hiding from the law. Posts on 4chan relating to the Boston Bombing should not be taken as fact by anyone, as many posters on the site are creating fictions.
4chan Boston Bombing posts may help Federal Law enforcement, but they can also do a disservice to the public. Circulation of rumors that the suspects have been apprehended because of 4chan posts is untrue, and damaging enough that the FBI felt it had to respond. The full statement from the FBI is below.