FBI, Police ‘Calm But Guarded’ In Advance Of Boston Marathon

BOSTON (CBS) – With the Boston Marathon less than two weeks away, members of the FBI joined state and local police to discuss safety before the race that is expected to draw around one million people to the city.

Read: Spectator Policies For 2016 Boston Marathon

Spectators at the race are asked to leave their large bags and backpacks at home.

During a Wednesday press conference, police said it is a delicate balance to ensure safety at the marathon while also making sure the fun goes on.

FBI Boston Special Agent in Charge Hank Shaw said his department is not aware of any threats against the Boston Marathon this year.

Hank Shaw, FBI Boston's Special Agent In Charge. (WBZ-TV)

Hank Shaw, FBI Boston’s Special Agent In Charge. (WBZ-TV)

“Neither the FBI nor our intelligence community partners has any information which indicates an interest or active threat directed at this marathon,” Shaw said. “The thing that does concern me, and likely echoed by many of my law enforcement colleagues with me here today, is what we don’t know.”

In advance of the race, FBI monitors social media in an effort to find any potential threats.

Drones are banned throughout the 26.2-mile course. Personal items should be carried in clear plastic bags. Coolers and glass bottles are prohibited.

“We’ve made sure we continue to modify the plan,” said Kurt Schwartz, the director of MEMA.

It’s in ways the public might not see, but they will see some 5,000 police officers across the 26.2 mile route, checkpoints at key entry points in Boston and security cameras as another set of eyes.

At Marathon Sports on Boylston Street, which was ground zero during the Marathon bombings, manager Shane O’Hara says it’s not intrusive but comforting.

“It’s our reality now, that’s the way it will always be,” said O’Hara.

Shaw admitted the FBI has to consider every scenario now.

“We should remain calm, but guarded,” Shaw said, adding that the FBI and police have learned lessons from recent terrorist attacks. “We remain mindful of the threat posed by homegrown violent extremists or ideologically inspired actors who may be motivated to act at a moment’s notice.”

Chris Battoo is preparing for his 4th Boston.

“With the last two or three miles I always get nervous with the bombing,” said Battoo. He was at the finish line area when the bomb went off three years ago.

When asked if he’s concerned about going into this race he said, “A little because there’s so much going on, but I think Boston is a strong city.”

Laura Oliva ran in 2014 and remembers the snipers on the rooftops. This year she will watch along the course. “There’s always that little tiny bit (of concern) in the back of your head, but there was so much security right after the bombing, I’ve never given it a second thought. No one is going to let anything happen here ever again.”

More from Beth Germano
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