Boston Marathon Bombing and the Video Forensic Process

After the bombs exploded at the Boston Marathon, the FBI immediately went to work investigating all available video evidence to begin the video forensic process. Several sources of video evidence were available for FBI forensic examiners, including:

The first camera that FBI investigators began working with to clarify images was from the Lord and Taylor retail store directly across the street from one of the explosion sites. FBI video forensic experts were able to locate digital video recordings of a suspect placing a backpack at that location.

A review of the additional municipal CCTV surveillance video revealed two suspects walking calmly down the street both carrying backpacks.

One of the questions I have been asked over the last several days during the media interviews is how will authorities set up a video forensic triage. The term triage is used in this instance as a way to describe the almost incomprehensible task of reviewing surveillance video.

First, the authorities had to establish a chain of command. This began by assigning a person in charge of leading the video forensic investigation. It continued by identifying the FBI agents with the most experience and talent with video enhancement.

Video and pictures were released to the media in about 6 hours. Boston police and FBI agents had several reports of the suspect’s sightings. As America woke this morning, one of the suspects was shot and killed while the other remains at large.

Any situation that receives video forensic investigation requires a strategy for implementing video forensic best practices. It is very obvious that the American people can rest assured that our law enforcement community is well trained and experienced in crisis situations. Thanks to our FBI, it appears the Boston bombing investigation is nearly complete.

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