President Obama plans to visit Boston Thursday and make remarks at an interfaith service dedicated to those who were killed and wounded in Monday's bombings at the Boston Marathon.
The president's trip comes amid rising concern that Americans have become complacent in their attitudes toward terrorism and that the government's anti-terrorism policies may be lacking.
Obama said the FBI is investigating the lethal explosions at the Boston Marathon "as an act of terrorism." Three people died and more than 170 were injured.
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell told his legislative colleagues, "With the passage of time...and the vigilant efforts of our military, intelligence and law enforcement professionals, I think it's safe to say that for many, the complacency that prevailed prior to September 11 has actually returned." That was the date in 2001 when the terrorist group known as al Qaeda used hijacked airliners to attack New York and the Pentagon.
Michael Leiter, former director of the National Counterterrorism Center, told Politico: "Many Americans have come to expect near perfection--and we have almost had it. Boston will undoubtedly remind Americans that we remain vulnerable, even if remarkably less vulnerable than we were in 2001." Leiter added: "If it does prove to be al Qaeda, I think there will be greater questions about how and why we appear to have had limited or no warning."
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Ken Walsh covers the White House and politics for U.S. News. He writes the daily blog, "Ken Walsh's Washington," for usnews.com, and is the author of "The Presidency" column for the U.S. News Weekly. He is the author of the new book, Prisoners of the White House: The Isolation of America's Presidents and the Crisis of Leadership. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, and followed on Facebook and Twitter.