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STARTING POINT WITH SOLEDAD O'BRIEN

New Photos Show Remains Of Boston Bomb; Searching For Evidence; Lid Of Pressure Cooker Found On Roof; Obama Will Travel To Boston Tomorrow; Tornado Threats Increasing; No Reservations; Responding To Medical Emergency

Aired April 17, 2013 - 07:30   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: I'm John Berman.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Chris Cuomo here part of our continuing coverage of the Boston bombings. We're going to start this half hour with new developments, newly released photos showing the remains of one of the detonated devices, wires, batteries, what appears to be a circuit board.

Unidentified, where they come from? An unidentified government official released the photos to Reuters to show what is going on. That official also provided these pictures of a mangled pressure cooker. We believe that's what was housing the explosive.

BERMAN: In one photo you can see what appears to be a cluster of BBs or pellets, likely melted together in the heat of the explosion. That's the shrapnel the doctors have been digging out of victims in these hospitals. The FBI also say the second device appeared to be some kind of metal container.

CUOMO: Also new this morning in Boston area hospitals some good news, 100 of the 183 people injured in Monday's attack have been released. We're also learning more about who lost their lives. The third person killed, a Chinese grad student studying at Boston University, her name being withheld out of respect for her family's wishes.

BERMAN: Now there is an ongoing investigation, a very active one. We are lucky that we have Fran Townsend with us, the national security analyst for CNN, former assistant to George W. Bush. She's been working the phones since this incident began. Fran, I understand you have some new, important information.

FRAN TOWNSEND, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Good morning, John and Chris. Yes. You know, among the pictures we have now found that the one that you'd like most to see this morning isn't in there. Yesterday, at the Boston press conference, the U.S. Secret Service official stood up at the conference and said that fragments had been found, both embedded in walls in the surrounding buildings and on rooftops.

CNN learned this morning from a federal law enforcement official that on one rooftop in the area, they found the lid to the pressure cooker. That's a tremendous break for investigators. There are all kinds of information.

The lid is likely to contain sort of trace elements that they'll be able to know better about the explosives. They may be able to find, as we discussed earlier this morning, latent fingerprints.

There's all -- that's a treasure trove of information for investigators as they try to discern who is responsible, what was the motive, and how many individuals were involved.

BERMAN: Interesting, the lid of the pressure cooker. We're holding a pressure cooker here right now, Chris Cuomo, in his very hands.

CUOMO: Well, it's just to show what a common household item this is. Juliette, you see something like this, like really, a bomb because we don't really know.

JULIETTE KAYYEM, COLUMNIST, "THE BOSTON GLOBE": So, the common attribute of devices like this is not that they're hard or that a particular ideology is, you know, uses them. It is really that they're cheap. You get these at Costco for pretty cheap and so, that's really the only common attribute.

CUOMO: Take me through this type of pressure cooker bomb 101. What would you do with it? Here it is.

KAYYEM: You put the detonation device inside. What we're starting to hear is that there might have been some trigger through in terms of detonating it. So the person might have dropped them one place, gone to another, and then exploded both devices. But we just don't know that for sure.

I want to make it clear to your viewers, sort of when a government official releases something like this, they're essentially trying to prove that there's, you know, sort of progress in the case.

But we don't know what else is out there. What else the government has and so there are always sort of nefarious motivations for when someone does this, unless they're authorized because the government actually --

CUOMO: But take one step back for a second. Why would this become dangerous? What does it do? Tell us about the pressurizing of the gases and then what happens.

KAYYEM: Then when the explosion occurs, right? Depending on what's inside of it, those pieces then hurt people. So the report said 100 people were already released. That's because their injuries were relatively easy, that's not a great thing to say, but relatively small in terms of removing shrapnel and pieces.

That's what actually happens in war all the time. You get people in and out of hospitals relatively quickly. So that's sort of where it is and cheap, cheap, cheap. That is the common theme here. That's why the construction of this would have happened very, very close because these are so cheap. They're quite volatile. You would not put it on -- you would obviously not put it on a plane. Even in a car you would be a little bit nervous about it. So someone walked it here. Actually that's kind of good. Because then your perimeter as I was saying earlier is quite limited in terms of where was it constructed and how did they get it here?

BERMAN: Fran Townsend we just heard from the piece of information that she just reported a break in a way saying that a lid of one of these pressure cookers has been recovered from the rooftop of one of these buildings. I guess that gives you the sense of the blast, how powerful it was.

Fran, I want to ask you again, you think this is a key, key piece of evidence, because it really reveals so much, correct?

TOWNSEND: That's right, John. And, look, we haven't seen the condition it's in. We don't know a whole lot about what they're going to get from or do with the lids, but we do know it is likely to be a treasure trove of information. And the fact, the condition has been -- they'll understand the effect of the blast, and I believe, they may be able to, in fact, use that to trace it to the bomb maker.

CUOMO: All right, let's bring in Senator Angus King. He's a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee. He was recently briefed about what is going on. Senator, thank you very much for joining us.

You hear what we're discussing that they found the lid to a pressure cooker they believe was used in the construction of the bomb. What were you told about what they're hoping about where this leads?

SENATOR ANGUS KING (I), MAINE: Well, this is one of the few times I can actually answer that question. Because I can tell you that in our briefing we didn't get any information that you don't have. But you know, they're just tracing leads all over the place.

I did want to mention one thing from hearing from the Mr. Mueller, the head of the FBI yesterday. There are thousands of pictures out there and they're probably on somebody's iPhone the picture of the guy, the person who left the bomb.

The number is 1-800-call-fbi, 1-800-call-fbi. If you've got a picture on your phone of you know somebody finishing the race or in the vicinity of the finish line, that's where a lot of this evidence is going to come from.

Security cameras, pieces of the bombs, they're sifting through a mountain of evidence. But, I suspect that somebody has that picture that may be the key lead. So, this is one where we all have a role to play, I believe.

BERMAN: And Senator, you made that plea that we keep on hearing from law enforcement officials for more information, for any pictures that people might have. It's something that we hear again and again and again right now. It leaves many people to be wondering if there's an impasse in this investigation right now. If they're running up against a wall with the information they have and that's why they need more. Were you getting that sense from your intelligence briefing?

KING: Well, I don't think so, no. I think it's just a matter of sorting through all the evidence and of course, we're in an age now, where everybody has pictures of everything. And it's a way of accessing all of this data.

One of the other treasure troves of data, I suspect, are security cameras along the route and particularly in the areas of the finish line, and buildings and restaurants and banks and offices.

But it's going to take an awful lot of time to go through a couple of terabytes of security camera data. But I don't think it indicates a dead end. I think it indicates that they're just looking for evidence, you know, in all possible sources. And as I say, in this day and age the evidence is probably sitting in someone's iPhone.

BERMAN: And CNN analyst Juliette Kayyem is sitting here and nodding her head in agreement.

KAYYEM: I think impasse implies there's nothing. It's like a cold case. This is actually quite the opposite, which there is so much information coming in, in a good way, and it's just going to take a long time to process it.

And we were talking about this last night that if there's any message the government is trying to get out, which I actually agree with, is this is not going to happen tomorrow.

This is so much information I'm sure the senator heard that, as well, that it might be a couple weeks, a couple months, because there's so much information. So impasse implies cold case. This is actually quite the opposite.

CUOMO: Obviously all of this being coordinated on the federal side through the White House. We want to thank the senator for joining us.

Let's get to Brianna Keilar because she's monitoring the situation. The president, of course, was getting briefings late into the night, detailing the FBI's investigation into Monday's Boston marathon attack.

The commander in chief has more meetings scheduled today with other senior officials. The point here is that he will be coming to Boston, wants to know what's going on. When he hits the ground, Brianna Keilar is there. Brianna, what's the latest you're hearing?

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Chris. President Obama was briefed overnight by his Homeland Security Adviser Lisa Monaco. She will be briefing him again this morning along with FBI Director Robert Mueller as well his Attorney General Eric Holder.

We've learned that President Obama is going to this memorial service in Boston, an interfaith memorial service to remember those victims of the -- of the bombing, those who were killed, those who were seriously injured.

This will be at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross tomorrow. It's going to be an emotional event. We've already sort of gotten a sense of maybe some of the, I guess, stories that he may touch on.

He was talking yesterday about how some folks who had run the marathon, even after going through that grueling race, went to hospitals to donate blood for people who were suffering, who were gravely injured, in the wake of the bombings. These are some of the certainly some of the tones and some of the themes that he will be striking tomorrow -- Chris.

BERMAN: Our thanks to Brianna Keilar at the White House this morning.

Again, we have some new information from CNN analyst Fran Townsend who tells us that investigators have found, holding up the lid of a pressure cooker right now. The reason is Fran says that investigators have found the lid from this pressure cooker on one of the roofs of the buildings. Actually right behind us right now and this lid could reveal a lot of information.

CUOMO: One, not only does that show you the force of the blast. Remember, just in basic, use a pressure cooker because as the gases build up inside it magnifies the effect of the explosion. This was blown onto the roof.

But also fingerprints, what type it was, where it may have been. All of these things, they keep telling us a bomb can tell a story. This is a big break for them in the investigation.

BERMAN: When we come back, we're going to talk more about this because again, this is new news just in to CNN. We're going to stay on this. Also we're going to speak with a surgeon who rushed to the hospital to help the victims of this bombing. He describes the chaos that he saw just ahead.

CUOMO: Remember, the effort to save lives was extraordinary here. You'll see why when we come back.

BERMAN: Also there's other news this morning including the threat of tornadoes across the central plains. We'll tell you about that, too, coming up next. You're watching a special edition of STARTING POINT live from Boston. Stay with us.

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CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Happening now, severe storms and a serious threat of tornadoes. Let's get straight to Jennifer Delgado. She is live in the CNN Weather Center with the details this morning. Good morning, Jennifer.

JENNIFER DELGADO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Good morning, Christine. You're right. We're already dealing with thunderstorms right now on the radar with a lot of lightning spreading into parts of the Midwest all the way over towards part of the Ohio Valley.

Now today the real action really kicks in especially as we get into the afternoon and the evening hours, because we have cold air to the west, warm, moist air to the south. Well, this is going to be the fuel for severe storms.

Anywhere you see in yellow from Chicago all the way down towards parts of Texas. This is our slight risk category. Anywhere in the red shading that includes a chance for severe storms. You're talking about a moderate risk.

We're talking many of these areas could see some damaging winds, as well as isolated tornadoes. What is causing this is basically we have these two cold air masses, and warm masses that are actually clashing.

That's going to fuel the storms later into the day. Christine, certainly everybody needs to have that radio ready.

ROMANS: OK, thanks so much, Jennifer Delgado.

Problems with its reservation system forced American Airlines to ground flights across the country for hours yesterday. More than 400 flights canceled before service was finally restored. It was a computer glitch that caused big delays and flight cancellations for American's regional affiliate, as well, American Eagle.

Ahead we're continuing to follow those new developments just reported here by our security analyst, Fran Townsend, that investigators have now found the lid of the pressure cooker that was used in Monday's bombing. They found this lid on the roof of a nearby building.

Plus, we're talking to a trauma surgeon who, after hearing about the bombing, rushed to the hospital to help. What he saw, what he had to do, that's next. Our special edition of STARTING POINT, the Boston bombings, continues, right after this.

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CUOMO: Welcome back to Boston. Chris Cuomo here with John Berman. We are getting the latest on this developing investigation here, new pictures about the bomb. We get a detail that on the rooftop of one of the surrounding buildings.

They found something just like this, the lid off a pressure cooker. Why? They believe, John, the bomb obviously was in a pressure cooker. They believe a lid like this could give them all kinds of clues.

BERMAN: And let that sink in for a moment. The lid of the pressure cooker was found on the roof of one of the buildings here. And our Fran Townsend, CNN analyst telling us this is a key piece of information. Right now, they are poring over every detail of the lid.

CUOMO: It shows the strength of the potential explosive used, but also finger prints, the name of the manufacturer, maybe a serial number, anything at this point that could lead them in the direction of who did this. Also inside that, whoever did this had to built it nearby because you could not transport something like this on a plane.

BERMAN: The investigation still going on at this moment. Also going on, treating and caring for the victims of this blast, 183 people were injured here, at least 23 of those critically, 100 of those injured have now been treated and released, treated by some of the best doctors, best nurses, best medical personnel in the entire country.

One of those, Dr. Arun Marappa, he is an orthopedic surgeon at Beth Israel Hospital, the medical center here in Boston. He was in his office during the marathon. When he heard about attack, what did he do when he heard about it? He basically ran to the emergency room.

He is here with us right now. Doctor, thank you so much for joining us right now. So you were in your office when your wife called?

DR. ARUN RAMAPPA, ORTHOPEDIC SURGEON, BETH ISRAEL DEACONESS MEDICAL CENTER: That's right. I was in my office, and I heard about the blasts, and then I -- I spoke to one of my colleagues and went to the emergency department.

BERMAN: What did you see when you got there?

RAMAPPA: A number of highly injured people who were coming into the emergency room, coming in a short span of time.

BERMAN: A lot of people all at once. Do you ever see anything like that?

RAMAPPA: I've never been part of something like that.

BERMAN: Any injuries that you saw? Right now, we're hearing from so many doctors about the metal, shrapnel, the nails that they were seeing in the limbs of these people.

RAMAPPA: We saw a large number of blast injuries to the lower extremities. So this involved the bone, soft tissue of the legs and many of these injuries, there were shrapnel, including metal pieces, nails, BBs, and ball bearing type objects.

CUOMO: How were you able, doctor, as a team to keep so many people alive? It's so unusual, we hear about so many injured and so few who lost their lives?

RAMAPPA: The credit must go out to a lot of people, to the first responders, and the citizens who helped stabilize those patients at the scene. They were -- they deserve a tremendous amount of credit and our EMS personnel and they came to the hospital and everyone pulled together.

Everyone stepped up. I mean, it was a holiday at our hospital and a tremendous number of nursing staff, surgeons, doctors, showed up to the hospital, voluntarily, without being called, and so everyone came together as a team, and worked together to help care for all of the people. CUOMO: Is it true -- we've been told you have to collect what you were taking out of wounds to be used as part of the investigation?

RAMAPPA: That's correct. These pieces, these metal pieces we collected them and they were kept as evidence.

BERMAN: They were being shipped down to the labs in Quantico, Virginia, right now along with the pieces of the bomb that they are recovering from the bomb scene behind us. The story we heard from doctors at a lot of the hospitals around here, many said last night, what a long day. Some of the longest days I've ever had, but I've never seen this many people helping all at once.

RAMAPPA: Absolutely. I'm proud to be a member of my hospital staff. I'm proud to be a member of the larger Boston community medical community. We have so many outstanding medical centers close by able to dare of the patients and I think everyone just stepped up, proud to be -- proud to be a citizen of Boston.

BERMAN: You have every reason to be proud. Dr. Arun Ramappa, thank you so much for joining us. I really appreciate it.

RAMAPPA: Thank you.

CUOMO: Tremendous teamwork inside. Obviously, so many us want to figure out how to help, so much of the work done by and you your team, giving them a chance to continue their lives. What the rest can do?

Well if you want to help those who have been affected by the devastating terror attack at the Boston marathon, go to cnn.com/impactyourworld. While we're on it, what is the number? We got from the senator, call if you have pictures or anything like that?

It's 1-800-call-fbi. 1-800-call-fbi, if you have pictures, videos, they want everything you have. Go to the website, figure out to help with your wallet, use your head, 1-800-call-fbi.

BERMAN: Ahead on this special of STARTING POINT from Boston, we'll have more about the exclusive details. We are just learning right now here at CNN. Investigators have found the lid of the pressure cooker used in Monday's bombing here. Our security analyst Fran Townsend breaks down the very important news. She'll join us at the top of the hour.

CUOMO: Plus, we'll take you deeper into the lives lost? Who were these people? They are not just statistics. You will hear a great interview with a woman known as Grandma Wilma, talking about Krystle Campbell, 29 years old, who lost her life at the Boston marathon.

BERMAN: Some of the most moving words I've heard over the last few days in this interview, so touching and so much love. You're watching a special edition of STARTING POINT live from Boston. Stay with us.

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BERMAN: Good morning, everyone. I'm John Berman. CUOMO: And I'm Chris Cuomo. We are live in Boston. Part of CNN's continuing coverage of the Boston marathon attack. We have breaking news. CNN is learning there may have been a big break in this case. The lid to the pressure cooker used in Monday's bombing has been found on a nearby rooftop.

BERMAN: That's happening as we get new pictures of fragments from the devices that exploded at the Boston marathon. They really could provide critical evidence for investigators.

CUOMO: We're also learning more about the lives of the lost. An 8- year-old boy who wanted peace for the world, a 29-year-old young woman with a zest for life and a third victim, a Chinese grad student --