Investigators are seeking to locate and talk to at least two men pictured in photographs taken before two bombs exploded near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, US law enforcement and national security officials said on Thursday.
Authorities are examining thousands of pictures taken by surveillance cameras, the media and ordinary citizens around the time the bomb blasts went off and are likely to seek to talk to additional men in the photographs, the officials said.
At this point, none of the men authorities are seeking to speak to are regarded as suspects in the investigation, said the officials, who asked for anonymity when discussing the investigation into the bombings that killed three people and wounded 176.
Although at least one leaked set of pictures has already been published in the New York Post
, officials said there was an intense debate inside the government as to whether such photographs should be officially released and the public should be asked for help identifying people in them.
For the moment, the government is holding back from formally releasing the photos, fearing a repeat of a fiasco that occurred when similar photos, released following a bombing at the Atlanta Olympics in 1996, led to the arrest of security guard Richard Jewell, who turned out to be innocent.