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Bomb Packed Inside Pressure Cooker; Obama will Travel to Boston Tomorrow; Farewell To Margaret Thatcher

Aired April 17, 2013 - 06:30   ET



JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: New photos from the scene of the Boston marathon bombing. We're just getting a look at them this morning. They show the remains of an explosive device in what appears to be a circuit board. Could this provide a valuable clue for investigators?

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Thousands of people turn out for a candlelight vigil in the town of Dorchester. Remembering a bright, energetic, beautiful 8-year-old boy who died on marathon Monday.

BERMAN: And start spreading the news. New York and Boston, standing side by side. Red Sox, Yankees, a touching moment of silence and song at Yankee Stadium as Yankee fans put the rivalry aside for a moment to honor the victims of the Boston marathon bombing.

A lovely, lovely tribute. And I can tell you, it matters.

Welcome back to this special edition of EARLY START, everyone. I'm John Berman.

CUOMO: And I'm Chris Cuomo.

The picture behind us right now kind of tells the story. Armored humvees. We know who they are, right?

We know that we have the National Guard here. They're providing support to some 30 agencies conducting what's called a frantic investigation.

We're going to start this half hour with the new developments in the Boston marathon attack. Newly released photos showing the remains of one of the detonated devices: wires, batteries, what appears to be a circuit board that would have been used in a timing device to detonate it. Reports from a government official, who did not want to be identified, that's where the photos came, released them to make it clear that there is progress going along.

The big image of the morning: a mangled pressure cooker. Why did they use it? We'll take you through what it means.

You'll also get a little look at what was inside of that that caused so much damage: BBs, pellets, likely melted together by the heat of the explosion.

The FBI now saying, John, the second bomb was also housed in some type of metal container. Still too early to tell what that is.

BERMAN: That's right. They can't piece that together just yet. Also new this morning, Boston area hospitals, they have released at least 100 of the 183 people injured in Monday's attack. That is wonderful news. We hope that number only grows today.

We're also learning more about the third person killed here. It was a Chinese graduate student who was studying at Boston University. Now, we're going to respect her family's wishes. They want to remain anonymous right now. We are not releasing her name at this time. But, again, from China, here studying.

We have a young victim, an 8-year-old victim. We have a wonderful young woman, 29 years old, and we have a Chinese exchange student, truly an international story here in Boston.

National correspondent Susan Candiotti has been tracking all the developments overnight. There are some new information in the investigation, and she joins us now here live in Boston.

Good morning, Susan.

SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, John and Chris. Yes, we are seeing photographs that show leftovers. Leftovers from probably two homemade bombs that authorities say were used by one person or more than one person to kill three people and to injure and maim more than 180 others.

Now, we know that these are bomb parts. We can see now what investigators have been picking up from a very wide blast field, picking these things up from the street, picking up and scraping up bomb residue, and then trying to bring these back to a lab in Quantico, Virginia, the FBI lab, and piece this homemade bomb back together again.

And also look for key indicators, markings on these items, to find out, for example, where was this metal pressure cooker purchased. What about the black nylon back pack or bag into which they put this metal container? A metal container that contains bits of -- that would be shrapnel, nails, ball bearings, this kind of thing.

Now, authorities are saying even though they've had more than 2,000 tips, they are imploring the public to give them more help.


RICK DESLAURIERS, FBI AGENT IN CHARGE: Cooperation from the community will play a crucial role in this investigation. We ask that businesses review and preserve the video surveillance video and other business records in their original form. We are asking the public to remain alert.


CANDIOTTI: Even, for example, if you remember hearing someone around you talking about a beef, for example, with people participating in the marathon, or having feelings against the government, or even experimenting with homemade bombs, they said that could be something we'd like to hear about. And, they add this: no one has yet claimed responsibility for this.

Now that's not necessarily unusual at this stage. Sometimes it takes weeks or months for someone to do so. But that, too, is something that they're trying to develop leads on.

Chris and John, back to you.

BERMAN: Susan, they've been asking again and again for help. These pleas coming from all the law enforcement agencies here. They keep on asking people, if you've seen anything unusual near you, around you, the last few days, please contact them immediately.

Susan Candiotti, our thanks to you.

CUOMO: You know, it's getting tricky here. Because on one level you have Virginia Tech, Columbine, Oklahoma City, all in April. Copycats, motivated? They don't know. They're trying to piece it through. Certainly not foreign terrorism.

And then, they start figuring out the bomb. Everything shifts. Why? 2010, Faisal Shahzad. You remember the Times Square bomber.

He used it here. Why? Familiar, recognizable, allows them to trace ingredients and methods.

Now they're back. Now they're accelerating.

So, let's bring in Tom Fuentes. He's a CNN analyst. He helps us all the time with this type of stuff. He's also a former assistant director with the FBI.

It's great to have you Mr. Fuentes.

Let's bullet point this. People at home, they hear about this, oh, it seems exotic. Oh, this is going to be hard. Maybe it's a one-off.

Actually the opposite is true, right?

TOM FUENTES, FORMER FBI ASSISTANT DIRECTOR: Good morning, Chris. That's hard to tell in this case. You know you have a fairly simple explosive device, and you don't have anybody taking credit.

So, really, one or two people could have pulled off this entire attack, not told anybody else about it. And actually if one person did it without telling anybody else about it, using commonly available ingredients, that don't attract attention to obtain, it makes it all the more difficult, because you won't have an electronic trail of e- mails among a number of people, or phone calls or other communications.

You won't have other friends or neighbors who might be knowledgeable of it. If a person plans this by themselves or very tight-knit group pulls this off. So, it maybes the investigation extremely difficult.

BERMAN: Right. Absolutely. But even in that difficulty there's at least some direction. It feeds this lone wolf theory. It makes them understand this is less sophisticated. A different group of people could have done it.

Now, explain to us, how does it work? What does it mean to have it in a pressure cooker? What does that do as an explosive device?

FUENTES: Well, what the pressure cooker does is that the explosive material itself, let's say it's black powder, for example, it actually doesn't explode, it burns. And it burns at such a rapid rate the burning process gives off a great deal of gas, and the air around it expands. So if you contain it, either with a pipe with caps on the end of it, or a pressure cooker, literally to maintain the pressure inside, as that expands, and this is within a nanosecond that this flame occurs, as that gas expands, it gets to a point where the pressure lid can't hold it, then you have the explosion.

Much the same as a bullet fired out of a gun, except in the case of a bullet you have an opening at the end of the barrel, so that when that fire starts inside the bullet cartridge, it has an escape path and launches the bullet out of the barrel.

So it's very similar principle in terms of the explosive black powder that was used.

BERMAN: Tom, these photos that we got in overnight, these brand-new photos are really an impressive detail right now. We see so much in them, including occasionally what looks like serial numbers or labels, you even see a 6L indicating the pressure cooker was six liters. There you can see it right there -- the words on the bottom of the pressure cooker.

How will investigators use these details to try to track down who did this?

FUENTES: Well, for one thing it's going to require that the manufacturers actually track those numbers. It's one thing for them to stamp individual serial numbers in company logos on the outside of each item. It's another thing of whether they tracked it beyond manufacturing. They might use those serial numbers only for when a person purchases the item, and then registers it for warranty purposes.

So it may or may not lead the investigators to be able to know exactly which retail store sold the item, and on what day, and possibly to what person. So, it's lead material. It may prove very valuable. We don't know at this point until we get the information from the manufacturers.

CUOMO: Quick final point, Tom, with what they do with the circuit board there, thinking that this was detonated remotely. The obvious assumption there is that whoever did this may very well still be alive, right? Not a suicide bomber, didn't go off with it? FUENTES: That's exactly. And they knew that fairly early that it was not a suicide bomber when they identified the victims.

What had happened earlier is they withheld the name of the young woman from China, and still are withholding it at the family's request, but that withholding process, I had a number of inquiries, does that mean that the third person not identified is the suicide bomber and they don't want to give it up?

It was merely an identification process with her family, and her country. And not wanting to release it.

So they knew early and they're positive now, that they did not have a suicide bomber at the scene. That these items were left, they were intended to explode by themselves, without the person carrying them or wearing a device at the time of the explosion.

CUOMO: All right, Tom Fuentes, thank you very much. We bring it up because there is no mystery other victim in this right now. We know who lost their lives and who did not. Thank you very much for that. We'll be coming back to you. Appreciate it, Tom.

Now, obviously, the ultimately the symbol of importance of this event is the president will be coming here. We know that President Obama was briefed overnight. Getting the latest information on the investigation, the details of what the FBI could tell him about the Boston marathon bombings. He'll be meeting later today with other senior officials.

BERMAN: Our White House correspondent Brianna Keilar is covering that angle for us. She's part of our team coverage right now. She joins us now from the White House.

Good morning, Brianna.


Yes, President Obama was briefed overnight by his homeland security adviser, Lisa Monaco. She will brief him again this morning, along with Attorney General Holder, and FBI Director Robert Mueller.

We have learned that he's coming to Boston tomorrow. He will speak during that interfaith memorial service at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston. What is, of course, going to be an emotional event, as he strikes that consoler in chief tone that we've seen him, unfortunately, do on so many occasions where we've seen tragedy.

We saw a little bit of this yesterday. He was talking about people who ran the marathon, and even after finishing such a grueling race, they went on to donate blood in the wake of those bombings. We, of course, as well are looking to the president when it comes to where this investigation that is being led by the FBI is going. And he has warned that this is something that may not be resolved quickly.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And clearly we're at the beginning of our investigation. It will take time to follow every lead, and determine what happened. But we will find out. We will find whoever harmed our citizens, and we will bring them to justice.


KEILAR: But President Obama made it clear that it's, at this point, it's unknown who is responsible for this, whether it's an individual or a group ,whether it's foreign or domestic. What the motive is. So you look at some of the other attacks that we've seen in the past, for instance, 9/11 or Oklahoma City, where the investigation moves very quickly.

There are others, as well, the Atlanta bombings where it didn't. Where it actually took years before there was an arrest. So there continues to be pressure to determine exactly what happened, and obviously a lot of folks wanted to resolve this but the president warning it may take time, guys.

BERMAN: All right. Brianna, yes, it's clearly going to take some time. That's the message they seem to be sending to us clearly with the briefings over the last few nights.

Brianna Keilar at the White House, thanks so much.

You know, we just saw a tweet from the Boston Police Department. I just wanted to read it to you from a shift supervisor. Apparently when the officers were leaving last night, he told them, he said, "When you get home tonight, hug your kids once, and then hug them again. That's an order."

CUOMO: You can't just get caught up in the loss. We have to cherish what we have. And it's a beautiful order, and we know that it's so dedicated 12-hour shifts they're here doing the job every day. People are coming together. Nothing says that more than what we're going to tell you right now.

Take a look at this. I've been going to Yankee Stadium my entire life. I never thought I would see a night like the one last night at the stadium.

BERMAN: And I can tell you, likewise. You know, I've been a Red Sox fan my whole life. I've never felt a shred of fondness for the Yankees until yesterday, until last night at Yankee Stadium this moment of silent prayer for, you know, their rivals. The city of Boston, the Boston Red Sox, specifically for those killed and wounded. All the victims of this tragedy here.

There's Kevin Youkilis, by the way, who played for the Red Sox for so many years. Still has so many connections to this city. Then after that moment of silence, they played "Sweet Caroline." "Sweet Caroline" is a signature song for Fenway Park. They played it in the bottom of the eighth. I can see Chris getting, you know, a little squeamish right when he hears it. But I have to tell you, you know, sometimes, people say, ah, it's just sports. You know, who cares what they're doing. This means so much to Bostonians. It means so much to us to know that everyone around the country is standing, you know, with the people of Boston right now, to get through this together.

And then, you know, the man behind this song, Neil Diamond, of course, after he heard that this happened, he tweeted last night, he said to the Yankees, "You scored a homerun in my heart."

CUOMO: Sport is beautiful. Obviously, things transcend it like life and death. The flag was at half-mast there, and everybody were brothers and sisters last night. And it's an important message, maybe the only good thing that comes out of situations like this is a reminder of how much we mean to each other. If the Yankees and the Red Sox fans, I mean, Berman doesn't even usually talk to me during this time of the year.

BERMAN: Won't even look at him this time of year.

CUOMO: But, last night, a beautiful thing. And that is the latest image that we have from this. They'll be continuing to come out as this story unfolds. This, of course, CNN's special continuing coverage of the Boston marathon bombings. We are here live in Boston. When we come back, how the deadly explosive devices were built and will be rebuilt to try to track down a killer.

BERMAN: Also, there are some live events going on around the world right now. Big events. Funeral services for former British prime minister, Margaret Thatcher. They under way now live in London. You're looking at live pictures of this pageantry. We will take you there live when we come back.


CUOMO: Welcome back. Chris Cuomo, John Berman here live in Boston tracking the latest from the Boston marathon attacks. We will be here giving you the latest in the investigation and what's going on with those who were lost and injured. But there's a lot of other developing stories, as well. So, let's get to Christine Romans who is taking us through today's headlines in New York -- Christine.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, gentlemen. Happening now --


ROMANS (voice-over): Funeral services for former British prime minister, Margaret Thatcher, under way in London. A live look here right now inside St. Paul's Cathedral. More than 2,000 mourners, including Queen Elizabeth II, Prime Minister David Cameron, they're paying their respects. Baroness Thatcher getting a ceremonial style funeral with full military honors, similar to those of Diana, princess of Wales, and the queen mother.

Early tests show a letter sent to a Republican senator from Mississippi did contain a lethal biological agent. But more tests need to be done to confirm it was, indeed, ricin. The letter was addressed to Senator Roger Wicker but it was intercepted before it reached his office. Authorities say it had a Memphis post mark, but they don't know yet who sent it. Wicker is now getting extra security.


ROMANS (on-camera): Still ahead, we'll go back to Boston. Just released pictures of a bomb device could help investigators determine how the marathon explosives were made, and perhaps, who made them.


CUOMO: Welcome back to a special edition of EARLY START. New photos this morning, actually, overnight. A first look at some images of the carnage from the Boston marathon finish line.

BERMAN: These photos again just released. Still photos in high definition captured the confusion, the terror immediately after this deadly explosion. You can see it right there. People just simply running in every direction. The streets littered with debris, littered with the wounds, and so many police, so many medical personnel trying to help.

CUOMO: Remember, not just photos, evidence. That's why authorities ask if you have pictures like this, we know someone (ph) does, please bring it in. I'm Chris Cuomo. John Berman and I are going to be hosting "Starting Point" right after the break.

BERMAN: We have continuing coverage of the Boston bombings. We will talk to a Dr. Arun Ramappa (ph). He's an orthopedic surgeon. He treated some of the trauma victims. He's got amazing stories of what he saw.

CUOMO: A lot of news ahead.


CUOMO: Good morning, everyone. I'm Chris Cuomo.

BERMAN: I'm John Berman. We are live in Boston this morning. Our "Starting Point," chilling new pictures of the explosive devices used in the Boston marathon bombings. We have learned the attacker or the attackers made one of the bombs in a pressure cooker likely packed with nails, packed with BBs, ball bearings. We have new information on the second bomb, as well. We will have the latest in just moments.

CUOMO: This morning, we are also learning more about the three victims killed in the terror attack. One mother shares her grief.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She was a wonderful person. Everybody that knew her loved her.


CUOMO: The stories will break your heart but also teach you more about who was lost.

BERMAN: Then, as thousands and thousands come together in a candlelight vigil, New York Yankee fans put the rivalry aside, and they honor Boston in song.




BERMAN: Such a wonderful sight. It is Wednesday, April 17th, our special edition of "Starting Point," the Boston bombings, begins right now.