The father of one of the young men the New York Post said were sought by the FBI in connection with the Boston Marathon bombings might sue the tabloid for tabbing his son as a suspect.
El Houssein Barhoum, whose teenage son, Salah Barhoum, is pictured on the April 18 cover of the New York Post under the headline “Bag Men," told the Washington Post he's consulting a lawyer about a possible lawsuit.
Salah Barhoum had attended the marathon with a friend. After their photo landed on the cover of the paper, Barhoum, who lives with his family in Revere, Mass., met with authorities to clear his name.
"It's the worst feeling that I can possibly feel," Barhoum told ABC News the day the Post cover story was published. "I'm only 17."
Barhoum, a track athlete, said he wanted to run the marathon but couldn't, so he decided to watch the April 15 race instead.
The day before the Post cover came out, the photos of Barhoum and his friend were circulated by online message boards in the frenzy to help the FBI identify the bombing suspects. According to ABC News, federal authorities "passed around images of Barhoum, attempting to learn more information about him." But it's unclear whether that was before or after the Post ran with them.
The paper took plenty of heat for putting out an erroneous APB, but stubbornly stood its ground despite the confusion it caused.
"We stand by our story," Post editor Col Allan said in a statement. "The image was emailed to law enforcement agencies yesterday afternoon seeking information about these men, as our story reported. We did not identify them as suspects."
The Post subsequently published a separate online story reporting that Barhoum and his friend had been cleared: "The two men whose photos were being circulated internally among police have been cleared as authorities determined that neither man had any role in the Boston Marathon bombings."
Bur according to Barhoum's father, the damage had already been done. “We were just scared to go outside,” he said.