Boston Marathon (Photo courtesy of USA Today)
(USA TODAY) -- President Obama has directed administration officials to provide whatever assistance is necessary as officials in Boston investigate the cause of explosions near the finish line of the Boston Marathon Monday.
Obama was notified about the incident at about 3 p.m. and administration officials have been coordinating with Massachusetts and Boston authorities, according to a White House official. The official, who was not authorized to speak publicly about the matter, said the president spoke with Boston Mayor Tom Menino and Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick soon after the incident to "express his concern for those who were injured and to make clear that his administration is ready to provide needed support as they respond to the incident."
Vice President Biden appeared to have learned of the explosions in Boston from television.
During a call with gun control activists Monday afternoon unrelated to the incident, Biden said, "As I am speaking here, they just turned on the television in my office and apparently there has been a bombing - I don't know any of the details of what caused it, who did it."
Biden added, "Our prayers are with the people in Boston who have suffered injury. And I don't know how many of them there are."
In Washington, not long after the explosions in Boston, authorities closed off an area near the White House to pedestrian traffic.
A law enforcement official said investigators are operating on the belief that the explosions were intentionally caused and not accidental. The official has been briefed on the matter but is not authorized to comment publicly.
Meanwhile, the New York Police Department stepped up security at major hotels and other landmarks in the city as a precaution in the aftermath of the Boston explosions.