Social media significant in search for Boston bombing suspects - CBS46 News

Social media significant in search for Boston bombing suspects

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ATLANTA (CBS ATLANTA) -

When the FBI released photos and videos of the two Boston Marathon bombing suspects they immediately went viral.

In a matter of seconds - through social media - people who were not glued to their television had instant access to America's most wanted.

Vanessa McLemore is a retired agent for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. She was the special agent in charge of ATF in the Houston, TX, division and ATF offices in Georgia.

"I wish we had the internet and social media 25 years ago," said McLemore.

In 2007, McLemore oversaw one of the agency's largest gun busts involving gangs in Augusta, GA.

McLemore said today's technology that instantly connects people all over the world is now almost as important as an investigator's gun.

It's evident in the speed at which news spread about the Boston bombing suspects.

"You don't have agents or police officers sitting in a room going through paperwork page by page. You have them going to social media, going to the internet, going to Facebook - which is probably the best friend of law enforcement today," said McLemore.

Social media is helping investigators and everyone else learn more about the Boston bombing suspects.

It can help and even hinder the investigation. Authorities in Boston asked people not to tweet or send messages about their search efforts for the second suspect.

"In his generation everyone has an iPhone, everyone has an iPad. At his age, I would assume he would have some type of technology in his possession," said McLemore.

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