CNN Analyst Suggests 'Right-Wing Extremists' Could Be Behind Boston Bombing

[UPDATE BELOW] CNN's national security analyst Peter Bergen twice suggested that "right-wing extremists" could be behind Monday's Boston Marathon bombings. Yet over an hour later, CNN reported that Boston Police were not holding anyone in custody as a suspect for the attack. 

Appearing on CNN's live coverage of the Boston Marathon bombing with host Jake Tapper, Bergen was asked to explain if the bombing could have been an act of terror. Bergen answered in the affirmative, and proceeded to name possible suspects depending on the type of explosive used. [Transcript below. Audio here. Video below the break.]

Who were Bergen's suspects? Al Qaeda and "right-wing extremists."

[UPDATE: 4/15/13 5:04 p.m. EDT] Peter Bergen again tossed out the idea that a "right-wing extremist group" could have carried out the bombings.

"I think the actual – the constituency inside the bomb will make a big difference about how we identify the person who did this," he explained at the end of CNN's 4 p.m. ET hour of live coverage. The perpetrators "could be a right-wing extremist group," Bergen insisted, if the matter inside the bomb was not hydrogen peroxide, which he said is a "signature" of an al Qaeda attack.

CNN
THE LEAD
4/15/13
[4:19 p.m. EDT]

JAKE TAPPER: Peter, does this – obviously we don't want to speculate. We don't know what this was. But is there reason for people who deal in counter-terrorism to think that this is an act of terrorism? Or suspect it strongly, at least?

PETER BERGEN: Sure. Although I'm reminded of Oklahoma City which was a bombing, which was initially treated as a gas explosion. So first reports are often erroneous. But the fact that there were two explosions – two bombings – one of the things I'd be looking at is once the device, if it is a device, is found, what kind of explosives were used? For instance, if it was hydrogen peroxide, this is a signature of al-Qaeda. If it was more conventional explosives, which are much harder to get a hold of now, that might be some other kind of right-wing extremists. We've seen a number of failed bombing attempts by al-Qaeda using bombs, (Unintelligible) and for instance, the Manhattan subway in 2009, Faisal Shahzad in 2010, the attempt to bring down Northwest Flight 253 over Detroit in 2009. But we've also seen other extremist groups, right-wing groups, for instance, trying to attack the Martin Luther King parade in Oregon in 2010.

(...)

[4:59]

TAPPER: And Peter, what are you waiting to hear for – hear about in these coming hours?

BERGEN: I think the actual – the constituency inside the bomb will make a big difference about how we identify the person who did this. Or the persons who did this. Because if it's hydrogen peroxide, that puts (Unintelligible). If it's something else –

TAPPER: Could be a different –

BERGEN: – could be a right-wing extremist group. Or some other group.

Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro was a News Analyst for the Media Research Center's News Analysis Division from 2010 through early 2014