CNN CNN


 

Return to Transcripts main page

STARTING POINT WITH SOLEDAD O'BRIEN

Deadly Attack at Boston Marathon; Dozens Still Recovering in Hospitals; U.S. Cities on Heightened Alert, Interview with Rep. Peter King; Interview with a Marathon Runner; Stocks Up This Morning

Aired April 16, 2013 - 08:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to CNN's special coverage of the Boston bombings. I'm John Berman, live in Boston this morning, where you can just tell there is so much going on, so many new developments, including a new number on the injury count and the severity of some of those injured.

I'm joined now by Poppy Harlow; she is live at Brigham & Women's Hospital. And, Poppy, we now know 152 people were injured.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That is what we know. So eight have been added to that count that we had previously for a number of hours, 144 injured; that has risen to 152.

In terms of critical, that remains at 17, John. I'm just pulling up the latest numbers here for our viewers. The number of serious injuries in this attack has increased pretty substantially, from 25 to 41. That we know, 10 we know of, maintained in terms of having amputations.

In terms of the hospitals, one I'm standing in front of right now, which is treating the most injured, 31 injured, has remained the same. This is Brigham & Women's Hospital. Five more injured patients have been taken to Tufts Medical Center. We've also had an addition of three injured at Boston Medical Center.

But, John, I want to give you the biggest update that we have right now that I think is very important for our viewers, especially so concerned about the children that have been injured. I can't call this a silver lining, but it is a slight improvement; of the eight children that were injured in this, we know that eight were treated at the Boston Children's Hospital.

I just got off the phone with Meagan Weber, the spokeswoman for the hospital. She said they have treated eight children. I said, "Are all they all still there?"

She said they are not all still in the hospital, so that means that some of those children have been released. She said their conditions ran from good to serious, meaning there were none that were severe or critical condition.

We're awaiting word from the hospital on what exactly good to serious means. But the fact is that those eight children that were injured, some are well enough to have been released from Boston Children's Hospital.

Of course, as soon as I'm off with you, I'll get back on the phone with her. But I wanted to bring that to our viewers as soon as possible, especially following the news of the death of that 8-year- old boy, John.

BERMAN: You know what, Poppy, thank you so much for that. We will take any good news we can get right now, the news that some of those eight children are doing well, released from the hospital, from Boston's Children's Hospital, one of the greatest children's medical care centers on Planet Earth. Poppy Harlow, thank you so much, appreciate it.

Meantime, other cities across the nation, they are all on alert this morning: Washington, Miami, Los Angeles, all increasing security. In New York, police stepping up patrols across the city and in the subway system as well. They're checking the subways here in Boston this morning, as you can imagine, too.

Shannon Travis is in Washington with that part of the story. Good morning, Shannon.

SHANNON TRAVIS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, John. Yes, as you mentioned, a number of cities, U.S. cities, on heightened alert. We want to be clear, though, that we're not hearing of any credible threats in these cities. It seems they are taking the steps out of an abundance of caution.

You mentioned New York City, there, the mayor, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, is saying that there will be an increased police presence on the subways, in Times Square and hotels and whatnot. And here in Washington, D.C., the White House, the sidewalk outside of the White House has been cordoned off with that yellow tape since yesterday.

And there's a parade, called the Emancipation Day parade that will be taking place later this morning, but obviously officials are warning or asking people to be more vigilant.

In L.A., again, a heightened security presence. One other thing, John, obviously baseball season is under way. A number of baseball games scheduled for today in Chicago, Milwaukee, Atlanta and in Cleveland. The Major League Baseball is paying attention. Let me read a statement from them.

Quote, "Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone affected by this horrible occurrence and we are monitoring the situation. The safety of everyone that comes to our ballparks is always our top priority and we will continue to do everything to ensure a safe environment for our fans."

It's this notion of sporting events, potentially being soft targets, like the Boston Marathon, which has had us looking at other events coming up. Obviously, you have the London Marathon on Sunday, officials there say that they are paying close attention to their security preparations. We have also got some other races I checked, John: San Francisco Marathon in June; Philly Broad Street Run in May; Indiana 500 festival in May; Lansing, Michigan, in April and there is a country music marathon in April.

Obviously, again, we're talking about no credible threats that we're hearing of, but officials in Boston are saying that there were no credible threats before that marathon either, John.

BERMAN: That's right. Precautions are necessary, important and understandable. The Celtics game here tonight in Boston, we should say, canceled; doesn't really matter. The playoffs just around the corner. That game will not be made up.

Shannon Travis, our thanks to you.

I should say there was one other story about a sporting event which really caught my attention overnight.

There were fans of the Oakland A's in Oakland last night, who were trying to rally fans to start, instead of "Let's go A's" chant, a "Let's go Boston" chant. That just shows you how fans and people all around the country are really rallying in support of the city right now.

I want to bring in Republican Congressman Peter King from New York. He has so much expertise in homeland security and in the issue of intelligence.

I am so grateful you are with us this morning, Congressman.

REP. PETER KING (R), NEW YORK: Thank you.

BERMAN: I'm wondering what have you heard overnight on the investigation?

KING: Well, basically, the investigation is going full speed ahead. There's -- there is evidence; they're looking at, obviously, they're looking at the components of the bombs, of the explosive devices. As you know, you know, there is somebody apparently being -- excuse me -- you know, being questioned, also going into any prior intelligence they may have had.

Now there was no intelligence warnings that we know of. However, you still go back and look to see if there's something you may have missed. Also they are going through all of the cameras, all the video cameras, everything to see if there's something that is there, which is an indicator.

I think this is the type of investigation that can move very quickly. You have the FBI involved, you have the Boston police, you have the entire federal counterterrorism apparatus involved. All of that is really, again, focused on this. And my belief right now is that the combination of the components of the bombs, those cameras that are out there. Also any question that may be going on, that we should be getting an answer sooner rather than later.

BERMAN: You know, I can hear it in your voice this morning, a certain amount of confidence, and you can hear it in the security officials, in the law enforcement officials we've been talking to all morning. They believe that this investigation will prove successful. And hopefully, they say, even soon; the one reason? All those cameras.

I mean, this happened at the finish line of one of the biggest sporting events in this city seat. There are cameras there on the finish line to cover it. There are unexploded bombs that they can investigate, looking for possible fingerprints there. They have a lot of information.

You know, which do you think might be -- which piece of information might prove the most fruitful to you?

KING: Actually, almost any of those that you mentioned can be. I mean, in these investigations, it doesn't take a lot. And these are experts, these are people who spend their entire life doing these types of investigation.

So it's the bomb itself. Even the bombs that have exploded, they can find signatures from that, leading them to the type of explosive it was, whether or not that signifies the type used by a particular organization. Then they can find the elements that were used, the materials that were used, and start going to different stores and shops and businesses to find out who would have purchased them.

And so you get information from the community. Bits and pieces come in, which may by themselves mean nothing, but add up to a lot. That's why we always say if you see something, say something. Because something that may seem unimportant to you or me, it fits into a -- you know, to the larger picture.

So I feel very good about this. And if I can just divert for one second. If one thing positive can come out from this horrible event, it should be to alert people, especially people in the Congress, that the war against terrorism is far from over, whether it's Islamic jihadists, or whether it's right-wing extremists, no matter who it is.

People say use terror. That's their weapon of choice. That's their tactic and strategy of choice. And we can't be cutting, I don't believe, on homeland security funding. We can't be cutting back on funding that is going to local police departments, because you're can have all the federal intelligence in the world.

But it's on-the-ground intelligence that often means the most. And for the police to get that, they need the funding, they need the support, they need the training.

BERMAN: That is a debate and a discussion we are already hearing this morning. One of the key questions, which you alluded to right there, is this a domestic source of terror or a foreign source of terror in this case?

I imagine that there's a great deal of pressure on investigators to make some kind of determination.

Do they feel that pressure? Do they feel the need to say, hey, it's domestic; hey, it's foreign?

Or are they -- do they just let the information come to them, in this case?

KING: I think maybe you find some people at the top who feel the pressure (inaudible). The professionals on the ground, the men and women who do this day in and day out, they block all that out. And they want to solve this case.

Now when we say domestic terrorism, it could be, for instance, if we take an Islamic jihadist, a number of the most recent terrorists -- the Times Square bomber in New York, the attempted subway bomber in New York -- these were all domestic people, but yet they obviously had a foreign affiliation.

Al Qaeda realizes it's very difficult for them to get people into the country. So they have been using people that are already here. Also you have people who are self-motivated, over the Internet. They become self-radicalized.

Or, again, it could be someone from a white supremacist group. They, again, are entirely domestic. Or, again, it could be a combination of the two, as I said, with Islamic jihadists as both domestic but having a foreign connection.

So all of this is being looked at, but certainly between now and 9/11, though, is now people know exactly what to do. They have the protocols in place, they know what measures to take and they move very quickly and very effectively and they work very well together. There's total synchronization among all of the departments and agencies involved.

BERMAN: As you said, we don't know who did this yet. But if you listen to the law enforcement officials talking, we listen to you this morning, we suspect that we will know at some point.

Peter King, Congressman Peter King, thank you so much for sharing your expertise with us.

KING: Thank you.

BERMAN: We really appreciate it.

KING: Thank you.

BERMAN: Ahead on STARTING POINT, as we continue to follow this unfolding investigation that's happening all around us, of this terror attack here in Boston, we are tracking other developing stories. We're going to talk about how the stock markets are reacting to this.

Will there be reverberations? We'll tell you about it, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: Welcome back to this special edition of STARTING POINT. I'm John Berman live in Boston as we continue to cover the bombings at the Boston Marathon.

I'm joined right now by Fran Townsend, CNN national security analyst and former assistant to the President George W. Bush for homeland security and counterterrorism. I'm also joined by CNN analyst Juliette Kayyem, a former assistant secretary of homeland security in Washington, also a homeland security advisor here on the ground in Boston.

One bit of news we just got in to CNN. We understand that President Obama will be holding meetings tonight with members of his cabinet, as well as counterterrorism officials and homeland security officials.

Fran, I want to ask you bring us inside that room, inside that meeting. What -- what is the nature of things that will be discussed there?

FRAN TOWNSEND, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Going into that, we know President Obama has been briefed on a regular basis by his homeland security advisor, Lisa Monaco, as well as FBI Director Bob Mueller.

What happens is as he gets these updates, he then pulls his cabinet together and they will, one, give them a common view of what the situation is, what the risks are, what they know and what they don't know. What are the key questions they are trying to get answered right now?

The President will also give very clear direction to his cabinet members about how they can support Bob Mueller and the department of homeland security in aiding state and local officials and helping reach out to international allies who may have information.

And so it really is a means for the President to show leadership in his cabinet, give direction and make sure that every one of the cabinet members understands what their roles and responsibilities are to assist the United States in solving this investigation.

BERMAN: And the Commander-in-Chief, the President we always wanted him to be the Commander-in-Chief but also a Consoler-in-Chief. You know Juliet I'm wondering what types of things are appropriate for the President to say on a day like this and what types of things because of the investigation he should stay away from.

JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN ANALYST: Well a couple of things as Fran was saying the cabinet meeting is also to make sure that there is one message because these cabinet officials have their own press offices, they are going to be out and about. To make sure that everyone is on the same page which is essentially a sort of confident response, a calm sense of getting back to normal. And then the investigation is going full throttle. So it's a number of different messages and so different cabinet members will take those pieces. But he wants to make sure that they're all on message. And I think that sort of tone of yesterday they're sort of we're not going to call it a certain thing, it doesn't really matter right now plus the support of local, state and federal agencies is exactly we're we should be right now.

We're in the middle of an investigation so there is not, you know this is not time to either you know say we're done or it's not time to get people panicked. It's just sort of -- we need to just you know let this investigation go forward.

BERMAN: You know Fran, we've talking to you, CNN has since yesterday. And we want to thank you for your guidance, your calm guidance through this -- this whole thing. Since I last spoke to you only probably 30 minutes ago, there have been more developments including we did learn that this search of an apartment in Revere, Massachusetts about five miles north of Boston that it was conducted with the consent of the person who lives in the apartment, meaning there was no search warrant necessary.

I'm wondering if you could indicate the significance of that.

TOWNSEND: You know, John, actually, it's interesting, because consistent with the Saudi source I spoke to earlier this morning, I was told the Saudi was completely cooperative. And that's an indication, the fact that an individual gives consent to search their apartment that they had nothing to hide. It doesn't appear from what we're hearing that there was anything of significance found in that apartment.

And again we're going to see there's going to be lots of these kinds of searches and lots of these sorts of interviews, people who are around or near the scene of interest to law enforcement that they'll shake out where they won't be of real significance.

BERMAN: It is so important to keep all of these developments in perspective which is why we are so grateful to have you, Fran Townsend. So grateful to have you Juliette Kayyem --

TOWNSEND: Thank you.

BERMAN: -- thank you for being with us this morning.

KAYYEM: Thank you.

BERMAN: We will talk to you again as this morning continues.

When something like this happens, there are reverberations not just in the city where it happens but all around the country and all around the world.

Also there are market implications. I want to turn now to CNN business correspondent Alison Kosik in New York w Where we are hearing Alison there will be a moment of silence this morning at the New York Stock Exchange. ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, not only at the New York Stock Exchange John, but the NASDAQ as well; they're both going to be observing a moment of silence at 9:20 a.m. That's before the bells will ring on Wall Street. Trading will resume at 9:30 as normal.

In the meantime, Dow futures are up 100 points. Yesterday the bombings in Boston happened during the trading day and you can see the reaction there -- stocks plunged. But today, stocks up, gold prices are even bouncing back and we have fresh data in this morning. Showing new home construction jumped more than expected last month.

Overseas Asian markets ended mixed. European markets are down slightly right now. So you're seeing some concern but that's not translating into huge losses today.

The way Wall Street really sees this is that the bombings, as terrible as they are didn't grow into a much worse situation. They didn't hit specific industries or a financial infrastructure. And history shows that after a terror attack, once the long-term impact is assessed, the market often gets back to what it was doing before and gets back to this pre-crisis level.

And before yesterday stocks were doing well hitting record highs. The S&P 500 was up about nine percent this year.

BERMAN: Alison, thank you so much. That is so interesting, Dow futures up 100 points. In a way the market giving its seal of approval to the response here and really the national resilience that is being seen at this point. I really appreciate it, Alison.

Ahead on STARTING POINT, they were horrifying moments for runners preparing to cross the finish line. It happened seconds before they crossed the finish line in some cases. We're going to talk to the woman who filmed this shocking video of the moment the first bomb went off. We're going to hear her amazing story.

You're watching STARTING POINT.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: Welcome back to our special coverage of the bombings in Boston right at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. I'm John Berman. We are live on the streets here in Boston where the investigation is very much unfolding right here as we speak this morning.

One of the most remarkable things to come out of this event are some of the pictures at the finish line from the event as it was happening. So many people have their camera phones right now. You see pictures of so many things these days and these pictures, man, were they dramatic.

One person who took some of the most dramatic pictures we saw was Jennifer Tracy. And I have this story right she was actually filming or taping or whatever you call it on your cell phone right now as she was running, as she was approaching the finish line and she saw the first explosion go off. And you're looking at the amazing video right there.

I am joined now on the phone by Jennifer Treacy. You know -- gosh; what was going through your head? And first of all you're running the marathon, right? So I don't know if you're thinking that clearly. But what's going through your head as you're seeing this?

JENNIFER TREACY, MARATHONER (via telephone): Well at first I thought it was fireworks, because it was such a loud, celebratory crowd. You know it was just a very loud scene, so I thought that perhaps it was fireworks when I heard the explosion. But then when I saw the smoke and reaction, I knew it was something horrible.

BERMAN: And as soon as you know it's something horrible, what next? What do you do then?

TREACY: My immediate reaction was to seek cover. So I ran into the -- the lobby of the building that I was running near with a lot of the other runners and you know, people along the sidewalk.

BERMAN: And it must just be a scene of chaos and confusion, seeking cover in the lobby of a building right there. How long before you had a sense of what you should be doing?

TREACY: Well, I mean my immediate response was to find my family. So you know, I -- you know, I had a problem trying to find my husband and kids. They had seen me at mile 22, so I knew they were trying to find me at the finish line. So that's what in my mind was what I should be doing.

BERMAN: I cannot imagine that. As you say that it brings up so many memories for me. You know I met my wife once as she was running the Boston Marathon right at the finish line right there. I can't imagine being in your shoes finishing a race, after 26 miles, being cloudy to begin with and then all of a sudden worrying about the well-being of your family as well. Is everyone OK in your family?

TREACY: Yes. Yes. Thankfully we were able to find each other after about I would say 30 to 45 minutes. And, you know, my son, who is 13, is still shaken up. But, you know, we are thankfully safe and sound.

BERMAN: Thankfully as you say, so grateful. We are so pleased for you that you are OK and your family is OK. Jennifer Treacy, thank you so being with us. The pictures that you took frankly amazing and frankly flat-out chilling.

Our continuing team coverage of these explosions, this terror attack in Boston continues. We'll bring you the latest developments in the investigation as it unfolds all around us.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)