Washington -- July 10, 2013

1. Wide, House Homeland Security Committee

2. SOUNDBITE: Michael McCaul, R-Texas, chairman:

"Three months ago there was a terrorist attack in our country and it is this committee's responsibility to find out how we did not see it coming. What concerns me greatly is that the problem at the heart of preventing the Boston bombings is a failure to share information."

3. Side shot, panelists

4. SOUNDBITE: Michael McCaul, R-Texas, chairman:

"We are going to find out what happened, what went wrong, and how to fix it."

5. Wide, Senate Homeland Security Committee

6. SOUNDBITE: Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis:

"While all agencies, trainings and equipment worked as seamlessly as possible on the ground, it is clear that there is a need for improvement in our communication and information sharing with our federal partners."

7. Wide, panelists

8. SOUNDBITE: Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis:

"There's limited access to federal systems, and that's where the rub is. There is....names can fall through the cracks here the way it's set up."

9. Cutaway, Sen. Tom Carper

10. SOUNDBITE: Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis:

"A rule that says if there's threat information on terrorism in a particular jurisdiction, the jurisdiction has to be brought into the conversation about it. Even if the case is closed out, we should know what the allegation was, and at this point in time, that is not happening."

11. Medium, senators

12. SOUNDBITE: Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis:

"They were rendered completely useless as a means of communications at the scene. The capacity of the cell phone companies was overrun by public usage, forcing first responders to rely exclusively on radios. Based on this experience, satellite phone technology is not effective because of command posts being inside."

13. Wide, hearing room

14. SOUNDBITE: Arthur Kellermann, RAND Corporation:

"Boston's responders were both lucky and good. That's why so many victims survived."

15. Extreme wide, hearing room

16. SOUNDBITE: Arthur Kellermann, RAND Corporation:

"The fact that Boston was lucky and good does not mean that the next American city that's hit will be equally lucky or equally good. We can not assume based on Boston's performance that other U.S. cities are prepared to manage a terrorist attack of similar, much less greater magnitude. In fact, there's ample reason to worry."

17. Side shot, panelists


The Justice Department's terrorism task force needs to share threat information more quickly with local law enforcement, Boston's police commissioner told lawmakers reviewing the Boston Marathon bombing.

"There is a gap with information sharing at a higher level while there are still opportunities to intervene in the planning of these terrorist events," Edward F. Davis III testified before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. He urged lawmakers to write into the task force's mission a requirement that information be shared.

The comment highlighted what lawmakers heard from federal and local officials as the central problem in the otherwise well-coordinated response to the April 15 bombings at the race's finish line. The twin bombings killed three people and wounded more than 260.

Communications among agencies, as well as over cellphone lines, were problematic, officials told House and Senate committee reviewing the first successful terrorist bombing since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

The chairman of the Homeland Security Committee complained that the FBI, the lead investigative agency in the bombing, had refused to attend. Questions linger about what the FBI knew in advance that might have helped prevent the horror.

"It is this committee's responsibility find out how we did not see it coming," said Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas. "We are going to find out what happened, what went wrong, and how to fix it."

Experts testifying in the Senate said Boston's response actually was exemplary, in part because the city had years ago built relationships and disaster plans among law enforcement, medical personnel and other responders. They urged Congress to support similar efforts in other cities large and small.