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Exclusive: Pressure Cooker Lid Found On Rooftop; Investigators Reconstructing Bombs; New Photos Of Bomb Materials; New Arrest In Texas D.A. Killings; Letter To Senator Apparently Poisoned
Aired April 17, 2013 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: A partial circuit board was also found. This suggests that the bombs were possibly detonated by timers.
Also, other information to tell you about, according to a CNN affiliate WHDH here in Boston, one of the bombs may be hidden inside this light colored bag on the sidewalk. As you can see in these photos, in these later photos here, the explosion was roughly where the bag sat.
But here's a troubling takeaway from all of this, one former FBI official says the bombings bear the hallmarks of both domestic and international terror. So in other words here, investigators appear to be no closer to naming a suspect in this bombing.
They are pouring over before and after photos like the ones that you are seeing on your screen and as for the victims, most of the 183 people have been released from the hospital, most of the 183 people about a hundred of them.
And we now know more about the third person who was killed. She was a Chinese graduate student at Boston University. Investigators have not released her name yet. We're getting new information then all the time.
I just want to show you the top to this, a pressure cooker, listen, especially if you live county south, most of your moms cooked with these, most of our parents cooked with these. We went to college with these, in our dorm rooms. I had one in my dorm room.
My dorm mate, my neighbor also had one. From time to time if you left them on, if the pressure got too high, they would explode. Food all over the wall, but if you put ball bearings, nails, BBs and other kind of things that you could fashion into bomb, they can explode and obviously they could hurt a number of people, many, many people as it did at the close of the Boston marathon, at the finish line.
Take a look behind me here in Boston. This is what most of the streets especially downtown and near Copley Square look like, the presence of police officers, the presence of the National Guard, army, military officers everywhere. There are check points on streets.
You see here the Boston Police Department has a police command van here. There is a medical unit here in case something happens. The Boston Fire Department also here. There are a number of these all over the city.
Even getting to our hotels here, there are check points with National Guards standing there with full gears and rifles checking people and making sure you don't go up or down or enter certain streets in this city.
As news of the bombing spread across the country, millions of Americans, you know, they turn to social media. They turn to Twitter for updates and images and for a shared sense of grief.
I spoke with one man who tweeted this crisis as it unfolded. His name is Bruce Mendelsohn. The initial shock was giving way to sad acceptance. Take a listen to what he told me.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRUCE MENDELSOHN, PHOTOGRAPHED BOMBING: It happened here. We've seen it. It happens in Baghdad, it happens in Barcelona, it happens in London. It happens everywhere and we all have to be prepared for that, but not at the expense of things that make us proud and happy as a people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: That's what he told us about that. Here is the cover of the paper here. The paper here now says a grim hunt for answers. You see the people, the guys on the roof here in their hazmat suits. These little white suits, sadly this has become the norm.
We see people in these suits walking around downtown all the time. This is the roof of the building across from the finish line, possibly, possibly where they found the top to that pressure cooker.
We're going to move on now and update you on more information. Let's get some information on the scraps that are related to the explosive devices found at the site of both those bombings. They were being sent to the FBI's laboratory.
Technicians will try to reconstruct the bombs. This morning, we're learning more about what exactly this bomb was made of. CNN's national correspondent Susan Candiotti is here. She had some information on that. Susan, what do you know?
SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Don. Well, the photographs that we are now seeing are giving us a close up look at what investigators are looking at. Some of the things that they are retrieving from this very large blast field where all the remnants of the two bombs were discovered.
And it is raising all kinds of questions, for example, the person or persons who built this bomb, were they using an instruction manual or was someone teaching them what to do?
CANDIOTTI (voice-over): Crime scene photos show part of what could be a pressure cooker used in the bombings. Others show charred wire, attached to a battery, what appears to be a small circuit board, a half-inch nail, and a blood-stained zipper pull tab.
Another shows what looks like a massive ball bearing BBs intended as deadly shrapnel. Investigators are also combing through hundreds of photos from the scene, including this one, where a light-colored bag sits next to a mailbox.
The before and after images capture its proximity to one of the two blast locations. Authorities are scrutinizing every lead. The FBI needs help. After all, someone knows who did it.
RICK DESLAURIERS, FBI AGENT IN CHARGE: The person who did this is someone's friend, neighbor, co-worker, or relative.
CANDIOTTI: Crime scene technicians also found gun powder residue. Gun powder ignited inside the metal container, building pressure, which caused the container to explode, and an explosive expert explains to Pentagon correspondent Chris Lawrence.
MIKE BOUCHARD, FORMER ATF OFFICIAL: Of course, in a crowd like this since it was so tightly packed with people, those people took the brunt of the explosion and all the projectiles.
CANDIOTTI: A pressure cooker with part of a homemade bomb inside an SUV that fizzles in Times Square in 2010, planted by admitted lone wolf terrorist Faisal Shazad now in prison. In Boston, authorities are convinced they'll solve the case, but as of now, have no clue who is behind it.
DESLAURIERS: At this time, there are no claims of responsibility. The range of suspects and motives remains wide open.
CANDIOTTI: So they're working with scraps of metal, nails, all kinds of bomb components, ball bearings and they're trying to piece these things together to try to recreate this bomb.
That work being done at the FBI's lab in Quantico, Virginia. They'll also try to trace where these components came from in order to try to learn who did this. Don, back to you.
LEMON: Exactly, everything has a signature, the ball bearings, every single thing has a signature, a stock number, a serial number, Susan, and I want to talk to you about this and I also want to ask an FBI agent as well, another official about this.
Here is the thing. They said the fragment that included a circuit board. That indicated that the bombs were detonated on a timer, perhaps, rather than a remote control. That also gives them more information about how long this person may have been there when they got there and when they left, right, Susan?
CANDIOTTI: That's right, exactly, and where did they place this thing as well. Was it closer to the street? Was it maybe under one of the viewing stands and how much time did that person give himself or herself or was there more than one person to leave these devices in place and get away.
That is another reason why it is so critical for them to find any photographs in particular that were taken before the bomb blast went off. So they can look for faces in the crowd. You never know what clues you might find -- Don.
LEMON: All right, Susan Candiotti. Susan, thank you very much. Of course, so far, we believe according to officials who are close to this investigation telling CNN now that a lid to a pressure cooker, found very close to the scene of the blast, across the street from the finish line.
A lid much like this one, from a pressure cooker much like this one, again, found across the street or very near the finish line to provide the biggest clue yet as to exactly who did this and how they did it.
You know, we're trying to break down how the FBI will use all of the little pieces and the big pieces of evidence to track down the suspect and why this is so, so difficult.
So joining us now from Washington is bomb expert and former military analyst A.J. Clark. Mr. Clark, thank you for joining us. He is also the president of Thermopoly Sciences and Technology.
You know, we learned some information this morning that authorities found the lid to the pressure cooker on a rooftop. How big of a find is that?
A.J. CLARK, BOMB EXPERT: A clue in bomb signature development activity, as the analysts are trying to develop what kind of bomb maker method of operations was used, this lid is going to help give them some clues to that. But really, you have the entire set of clues that comes together and this is just one just small piece that is going to make up the bigger picture.
LEMON: So I want to talk to you about the pressure cooker, about the other scraps they found, bomb making materials possibly, about the possible detonator and the timer and all of that. Can they track the serial numbers to find out who bought the pressure cooker and these other devices and materials?
CLARK: You have a mix of different clues and pieces of information that are going to be able to be tracked. But the biggest clue is going to be the compilation of all of the data and intelligence.
And you are going to look for things to identify the actual signature of the bomb maker to see if there are other trends or patterns in either military data bases or law enforcement agency databases from blast that have occurred around the world over the last five to 10 years.
So just the serial number of some of these components might lead you back to manufacturers or where these components were sold at, but the real intelligence and the real analysis is occurring around the entire picture, which brings in a broader set of information across the U.S. federal agencies, the military and international agencies that could be supporting.
LEMON: You know, it tells us where it was bought, but it doesn't necessarily tell us who exactly bought it. Is there some fear that they may not be able to track down the person who bought it just because they have serial numbers, just because they know where this material was purchased?
CLARK: Absolutely, depending upon the information that is crowd sourced that the public can share, maybe there will be security cameras at a store that could have been responsible for selling the component. That's just one piece of this picture.
As you have law enforcement professionals that are analyzing this, the picture is much broader. And if for some reason they do run into a dead end in trying to investigate the specific components, where they were bought, if anybody saw them being bought.
They are going to broaden their reach to look to other intelligence agencies and look at historic patterns and use technology to look across every explosive device that the U.S. and our partner nations have encountered and look for patterns associated with that that has occurred.
And start looking for individuals that are responsible for training on those kinds of devices or responsible for conducting those kinds of similar attacks.
LEMON: All right, bomb expert and former military analyst, A.J. Clark, thanks to you. Carol, back to you in Atlanta. Listen, they certainly have their work cut out for them, but this is exactly what these guys do. That's what they do. They use the material they have and that's how they find out exactly who did it. Carol, back to you in Atlanta.
CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: The "Dallas Morning News" is reporting there has been an arrest in connection with the killings of the Kaufman County district attorney. That's in Texas and also his wife. Another man was killed too, a prosecutor by the name of Mark Hasse.
So there this new arrest and it's a surprising arrest. Let's head to Martin Savidge. He is live on the phone. Martin, tell us more.
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): Yes, you're right. There have been many avenues that authorities have been investigating including a number of specific individuals.
This woman was never mentioned to us by any of the authorities, but (inaudible) with the Kaufman County Jail identified her as Kim Williams, 46 years of age. She was booked in at 3:00 a.m. this morning. So clearly she was brought in at a time when there would not be a lot of attention.
Now the connection here is that according to the "Dallas Morning News," she is the wife of a former Justice of Peace and she has been charged with capital murder. It is the first charge and the first person to be charged for the killings of the Kaufman County district attorney, his wife and a top prosecutor, all of which, of course, shocked this large but pretty rural county here in Texas.
So now the question is how does this case move forward? Because if the wife is in custody and she is charged with capital murder, what about the husband? The husband is in custody, but he is charged on an offense unrelated to the murders of the district attorney, and that's Eric Williams.
So right now, this investigation is moving forward, but the reason you know it's a critical juncture here, Carol, is because everyone you reach out to in law enforcement is suddenly saying nothing, which is pretty much an indicator that something big is coming -- Carol.
COSTELLO: I can hear you're ready to do some more digging. Martin Savidge is reporting live for us this morning.
More tests underway this morning to determine if an envelope sent to a member of the U.S. Senate indeed contains the powerful poison ricin. The letter addressed to Republican Senator Roger Wicker of Mississippi was flagged at an offsite mail facility.
Senate post offices do remain closed today and Senator Wicker has been assigned extra security. Our chief congressional correspondent Dana Bash is in Washington following this story. Tell us more.
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's right. As we speak there are additional tests being done on this envelope and you know, yesterday, late yesterday, the Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Terry Gainer who is the chief law enforcement official of the U.S. Senate told senators and made a clear in a very broad statement that he does believe that what was found in this envelope to Senator Wicker was in fact ricin.
And in fact, he later said that there were some inclusive test on in the field, but that it was taken to a lab and he felt very confident that it was ricin, but late last night in a really unusual, Carol, the FBI issued a statement kind of pushing back on that saying that they don't feel as confident.
That there still need to be additional tests done because of the inconclusive initial test and that's what's going on as we speak in a lab in Fort Detrick, Maryland, which is not too far from Washington, D.C.
Nevertheless, as you said, the senators were briefed and told to take extra precaution and there is no mail going even to the offsite facility for a few days while they investigate this to make that they weren't other letters that were potentially laced with ricin or anything worse.
COSTELLO: What is Senator Wicker saying about this? Does he feel that he was targeted at all or was this just a random act to any U.S. senator? BASH: He is not saying anything really at all. He is being very careful, very mum. Our producer is at his office right now and they're repeating what they said last night and said this is a matter for law enforcement to deal with.
He and his wife say thank you for all of their help, but he has been very careful to not to say much. I think understandably so because this is an ongoing investigation and on that note, I should say that a law enforcement official told me that they're certainly talking to a lot of people.
It is an ongoing investigation. Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri told reporters that there might be a suspect. She said that yesterday, but law enforcement officials say that they're not quite there yet in terms of putting anybody in custody or really nailing down exactly who it was.
This letter didn't have a return address, but it was post stamped from Memphis, Tennessee, which as you know, Carol, is not too far from the border of the state of Mississippi, which Senator Wicker represents.
COSTELLO: OK, we'll see what Rachel can find out and you too because I know you're headed there now. Dana Bash, thanks so much.
Coming up in the NEWSROOM, people in need in Boston, other people filling those needs by opening their homes, their wallets, cooking meals, and doing a million random acts.
LEMON: Good morning, everyone. I'm Don Lemon live in Boston, and I'm holding here the lid to a pressure cooker. This is a CNN exclusive. CNN has learned that investigators have found a lid to a pressure cooker, much like this one, believe to have been used in the bombings.
I want you to look at these pictures. These are pictures that show that a pressure cooker, which was found on the rooftop, may help complete these images, these images that surfaced overnight.
They show the remains of a pressure cooker, a shredded black backpack and what appeared to be metal pellets, metal pellets. A Boston law enforcement source says that the device could pack about a gallon and a half of killing power. That's a lot.
A partial circuit board was also found suggesting that the bombs were possibly detonated by timers. Now according to CNN affiliate WHDH here in Boston, one of the bombs may be hidden inside this light colored bag on the sidewalk that you are seeing these highlighted.
As you can see in these later photos here, the explosion was roughly where the bag sat, but here is a troubling take away. One former FBI official says that the bombings bare the hallmarks of both domestic and international terror. It doesn't help them narrow it down whether it was domestic terror or international terror.
In other word investigators appear to be no closer to naming a suspect. They're pouring over before and after photos like these and asked for the victims. Most of the 183 people have been released from the hospital. That is the new information here on CNN.
Again, here you go, right here, a pressure cooker lid, similar to this one, found on the roof across the street from the finish line. They believe that a pressure cooker was fashioned into a bomb. This was the lid that held it all, a lid similar to this one.
You know, Boston -- I want to bring in someone who knows a lot about Boston because Boston is a big city, but it really has a small town feel to it. I want you to look at last night's vigil. This is in Dorchester neighborhood.
It was planned just a few hours in advance. More than a thousand people showed up, most of them learning about this event through the word of mouth, hearing about it here. I'm going to bring in Adam Gaffin, who knows about the ways that the Boston community comes together.
You are the editor of the "Universal Hub," right? It's a site where people in Boston help each other stay informed. I want to you about -- it's hash tag Boston help. What is hash tag Boston help?
ADAM GAFFIN, EDITOR, UNIVERSAL HUB: Right, Boston is a very active community on Twitter, and somebody set up Boston Help within a couple hours of the explosion to try to coordinate help for the runners that could not get back to hotels, no place to change, no place to use a phone.
Within in a few hours, 5,000 people had signed their names and what resources they had to on a spreadsheet on Google. That's an example of how the wired community can really help.
LEMON: As I stand here, it's eerie for me to hold this top to the pressure cooker. You were looking on intently. It's kind of jarring and scary to realize that someone would have the capacity to just go into a store to purchase something like this and cause this much destruction and heartache in your city.
GAFFIN: Right, you know, unfortunately, I mean, you have been able to do this for a long time. Timothy McVeigh used common fertilizer. This is Boston -- this is not the end. We're not going to cower. Coming up here, I came up on the subway and it seemed like a perfectly normal day on the subway. There's a change in our routine, but we will get over it.
LEMON: You were pointing to the officers, military, and police presence, and just about every street here. You see that, but even through hash tab Boston Help, you're helping police officers, investigators, and volunteers as well?
GAFFIN: Well, what I think it's done is police have set up their own online systems where they have been asking for photos, video, and what not. I think what is different is the speed in which people are connected to help people. The vigil, you're absolutely. You know, 1,000 people showed up, most of that was word of mouth. A lot of that was online. There was a -- a mother and a daughter from Lowell, which is a city north of here who were very seriously injured. Within four hours online, people had raised $15,000 to help them.
LEMON: It was in Dorchester because of 8-year-old Martin Richard. He is from the Dorchester community.
GAFFIN: That's right. You know, Boston is a small town. I don't know the poor folks, but I know people who do. I think the circles that are spread so wide, everyone wants to do something. The fact the Red Cross had to tell people to stop coming to donate blood. That was like -- it's amazing that so many showed up right away to do whatever what they could.
LEMON: Well, I think it's amazing. It's wonderful that you're doing what you're doing. Hash tag Boston Help on Twitter. Thank you. We really appreciate it. Best of luck to you.
If you want to help out, you can go to our "Impact Your World" page to find out how you can help victims of the Boston bombings and we're going to continue updating the page as additional needs are identified and more information becomes available. The address is cnn.com/impact.
As President Obama prepares for his trip to Boston tomorrow, we're getting new information in. The FBI is keeping him updated on the latest in the bombing investigation. Why he is saying we may not get answers to quickly. That's next.
LEMON: Listen, the president will visit Boston tomorrow, but I want to show you exactly what he will face and many people as they come here. Starting here at the hotel, we're in Copley Square and this is where the media sort of camp out here.
But look over here, there are members of the National Guard, army people. This is across from the Fairmount Hotel and as we pan back here to the left. You see the police barricades here. You see the police barricades. You see the Humvees.
You see a special operations van here, a number of ambulances, Boston Fire Department and then you see the medical unit here as well in that white tent. And then over my other shoulder here, u-haul for information and material, another Humvee here.
This is just one square here in the Copley Square are in downtown. There are so many more of these repeated throughout the city. Every single hotel, the shopping malls, what have you.
All of them, loaded with security, even checking identifications and asking people if they live there or if they are residents of the hotel at that particular time. Also late last night, we also learned that the president is getting briefed on new details of the investigation into the Boston marathon terror attack. The president has more meetings scheduled today with other senior officials as well. For more information on that, we want to go to CNN's Brianna Keilar. She is live at the White House.