Lawyers for two Massachusetts residents and for the New York Post which called them “Bag Men” after the Boston Marathon bombing both say that newly released emails that circulated among law enforcement in the chaotic days after the attack support their position.
The Post’s front page on April 18, 2013 — three days after the bombing — had a photograph of the two young Moroccan immigrants, one a high school student, standing near the finish line with the headline “Bag Men” and sub-headline “Feds seek these two pictured at Boston Marathon.”
But Salaheddin Barhoum and Yassine Zaimi were never linked to the probe and say the Post damaged their reputations. They sued for reckless reporting.
Among the unsealed emails was one with the words “BOLO,” short for “be on the lookout,” and “Boston Marathon Bombing Terrorist Suspects.”
“Discovery, in other words, has shown that the Post’s report was accurate: Law-enforcement authorities were looking for Messrs. Barhoum and Zaimi, did want to identify them, and — unlike the Post — actually labeled them as … suspects,” the lawyers wrote in a court filing.
But attorneys for the two responded that some of the same email chains threw cold water on the notion that the two were being sought. One email said the men shown in the picture were “not of interest” and that an original request for identification was based on “bogus intel.”
The emails were part of a “frenzied digital rumor mill” that one recipient called a “circular reporting tornado that is sweeping the nation,” the lawyers wrote.