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Nets in Conflicting Reports on Bomb Suspect Arrest

FBI Criticizes Media for 'Inaccurate' Reports 4/17/2013 8:26 PM Eastern

Much confusion broke out at the news networks just before 2 p.m. (ET) on Wednesday regarding the identification of a possible suspect in Boston marathon bombings.

CNN's John King, citing a local source, said a suspect had been arrested, as did Fox News' Megyn Kelly, citing local Boston affiliate Fox25.

At 1:51 p.m., on an ABC News special report anchored by George Stephanopoulos, Brian Ross reported that a suspect had been identified and an arrest may be imminent. He said its local affiliate had learned of an arrest, but that ABC News had not been able to confirm.

NBC's Pete Williams said he had conflicting source reports, some saying that a suspect had been identified on video, others saying a suspect had been spotted but not identified. He reported no arrest had been made, which was repeated on MSNBC.

Around 2:06 p.m., CBS News also reported it had learned no arrest had been made.

At 2:44 p.m. ET, CNN's King said "clearly there has been significant confusion," adding that a federal source who has checked as high as the attorney general said anyone reporting an arrest has been made is "getting ahead of themselves."

"Part of this reflects on us," part of this reflects on reliable sources, King said. "There's clearly something afoot today."

Fox News also backed off its earlier report from Fox 25. At 2:55 p.m. ET, Kelly read an FBI statement that said no arrests had been made.

"Contrary to widespread reporting, no arrest has been made in connection with the Boston Marathon attack," said the FBI statement. "Over the past day and a half, there have been a number of press reports based on information from unofficial sources that has been inaccurate. Since these stories often have unintended consequences, we ask the media, particularly at this early stage of the investigation, to exercise caution and attempt to verify information through appropriate official channels before reporting."

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