- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 18, 2013

John Ashcroft, who served as President George W. Bush’s attorney general during pivotal years in the war on terror, said sloppy leaks about the Boston Marathon bombings make it harder for investigators to do their job and retain the public’s trust.

Cable news networks reported an arrest in the Boston case on Wednesday afternoon, only to walk back their scoops when officials denied the reports.

“What is stunning about what has happened so far, is some of the leaks appear to have been erroneous,” Mr. Ashcroft told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “This really complicates things.”

He said that despite the vast appetite for news, law enforcement tends to be tight-lipped about what they know because they don’t want to “tip off individuals who are related to or involved with those who perpetrated the offenses.”

The investigation into the Monday bombings is accelerating while authorities look into a recent explosion at a fertilization plant in West, Texas, and ricin-laced letters that were sent this week to President Obama and Sen. Roger Wicker, Mississippi Republican.

“This is a time when I think we shouldn’t rush to any conclusion about whether events are related or whether they’re not related,” Mr. Ashcroft told the show.

• Tom Howell Jr. can be reached at thowell@washingtontimes.com.

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