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THE SITUATION ROOM

Two Suspects Sought in Boston Bombings; Interview With Mitt Romney

Aired April 18, 2013 - 18:00   ET

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


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Wolf Blitzer.

We're watching this dramatic situation here in THE SITUATION ROOM, breaking news this hour.

Here are the headlines. The FBI has just released photos and video of two suspects in the Boston Marathon terror attack, the attack that killed three people, injured more than 170 people. Authorities are asking the public to help them find these two men. They were seen at the marathon on Monday.

We have team coverage. Our correspondents are standing by in Boston to help us pore over these images, Jake Tapper, Deb Feyerick, Drew Griffin. They are there, along with our security analysts here in THE SITUATION ROOM. They're giving us unique insight into this breakthrough in the case. It is a major breakthrough and what happens next.

Right now, let's listen in to the FBI's announcement less than an hour or so ago. This is the FBI agent in charge, Richard DesLauriers.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RICHARD DESLAURIERS, FBI SPECIAL AGENT IN CHARGE: Good afternoon. My name is Richard DesLauriers. I'm the special agent in charge of the FBI's Boston division.

Since Monday's bombings, the FBI and our law enforcement partners have been working around the clock and are fully committed to investigating the matter, this matter to bring those responsible to justice. Our collective law enforcement team has pursued thousands of leads and tips.

As I said two days ago, we are working methodically and with a sense of urgency to identify those responsible for the bombings. Within the last day or so through our care -- through that careful process, we initially developed a single person of interest. Not knowing if the individual was acting alone or in concert with others, we obviously worked with extreme purpose to make that determination.

The entire force of the federal government, the FBI in Boston, around the world, as well as our partners in the Boston Police, ATF, Massachusetts State Police, and more than 30 agencies of the Boston joint terrorism task force have set about to ensure that all responsible for the bombings will be brought to justice. More importantly, it was done to ensure the future safety of the city of Boston, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and the country. Indeed, through that process, the FBI developed a second suspect. Today, we are enlisting the public's help to identify the two suspects.

After a very detailed analysis of photo, video and other evidence, we are releasing photos of these two suspects. They are identified as suspect one and suspect two. They appear to be associated. Suspect one is wearing a dark hat. Suspect two is wearing a white hat.

Suspect two set down a backpack at the site of the second explosion just in front of the Forum restaurant.

We strongly encourage those who were at the Forum restaurant who have not contacted us yet to do so. As you can see from one of the -- from one of the images, suspects one and two appear to be walking together through the marathon crowd on Boylston Street in the direction of the finish line.

That image was captured as they walked on Boylston in the vicinity of the intersection with Gloucester Street. As you can see, the quality of the photos is quite good, but we will continue to work on developing additional images to improve their identification value.

Further, on FBI.gov, we have photos of the suspects. The photos and videos are posted for the public and media to use, review and publicize.

For clarity, these images should be the only ones -- and I emphasize the only ones -- that the public should view to assist us. Other photos should not be deemed credible and unnecessarily -- and they unnecessarily divert the public's attention in the wrong direction and create undue work for vital law enforcement resources.

For more than 100 years, the FBI has relied upon the public to be its eyes and ears. With the media's help, in an instant, these images will be delivered directly into the hands of millions around the world.

We know the public will play a critical role in identifying and locating these individuals. Somebody out there knows these individuals as friends, neighbors, co-workers, or family members of the suspects.

Though it may be difficult, the nation is counting on those with information to come forward and provide it to us. No bit of information, no matter how small or seemingly inconsequential, is too small for us to see. Each piece moves us forward towards justice.

It is extremely important to contact us with any information regarding the identities of suspect one, suspect two, and their location. We consider them to be armed and extremely dangerous. No one should approach them. No one should attempt to apprehend them, except law enforcement. Let me iterate that -- reiterate that caution. Do not take any action on your own. If you see these men, contact law enforcement. If you know anything about the bombings or the men pictured here, please call the telephone listed on the photo arrays. That's 1-800- CALL-FBI. Again, that's 1-800-225-5324. All calls will be kept confidential.

We have also established a Web site for tips that directly relates to the bombing. Please contact -- please contact us at Bostonmarathontips.FBI.gov. Again, that Web site is Bostonmarathontips.FBI.gov.

The photos can be viewed on our Web site, FBI.gov.

It is important to emphasize the images from Monday are indelible and the horror of that day will remain with us forever. This further underscores our obligation to investigate this crime judiciously in order to bring these -- those responsible to justice.

The victims and the survivors deserve nothing more -- nothing less, excuse me.

As to Monday's victims, the FBI's committed to ensuring that victims receive the rights they are entitled to and the assistance they need to cope with the crime. Treating victims with respect and providing them with assistance benefits -- benefits and help and assistance will better our cases.

Our resources include an Office of Victim Assistance at FBI headquarters and victim specialists nationwide. These highly trained professionals can assist victims and coordinate with other agencies to provide victims with the support, information and resources necessary to effectively meet their needs.

Our victim specialist team continues to work around the clock to bring assistance to bring assistance to the victims of this heinous act.

Identifying and locating those responsible is now our highest priority. No other details of the investigation will be released at this time because this is our focus now. It continues to be an ongoing, active investigation.

Review these photographs and contact us at 1-800-CALL-FBI or www.Bostonmarathontips.FBI.gov immediately.

Thank you very much.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: Richard DesLauriers, the FBI agent in charge, only within the past hour appealing to the American public, appealing to people indeed all over the world to help identify these two suspects described as suspect number one wearing the black cap, suspect number two wearing the white cap. And he offered this specific information. If you have any information, how to make it available to the FBI, go to their Web site at the Bostonmarathontips.FBI.gov or you can call 1-800-call-FBI.

Jake Tapper is on the scene for us in Boston.

It's pretty chilling when you think about it, Jake, that perhaps two killers are very much on the loose, on the run right now.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: That's exactly right.

The FBI also requested the help of not only anybody who recognized these individuals, but anybody who was eating at a restaurant nearby, nearby Boylston Street, the Forum restaurant, saying if you were eating there, because that's close to the site of the second bombing, also close to where the surveillance video shown in this presentation is from.

We actually spoke with somebody who had been eating there at the Forum restaurant. And he told us he did not recognize either of those individuals, though he wished he did, because he wants justice for the victims of this horrible attack.

One other note, Wolf. When it comes to the FBI, enlisting the help of the public, of course, this is not new. They have their famous most wanted list that has been around since 1950. In that time, according to the FBI's own statistics, they have caught almost 500 of the fugitives on that list. And about 130 of those individuals were found thanks to the assistance of the public, presumably some of them through finding out about these wanted individuals through the most wanted list.

So it's not as if it doesn't happen and cannot work. It does, and it can -- Wolf.

BLITZER: All right, Jake.

Deborah Feyerick has been talking to law enforcement authorities in Boston. She is on the ground as well.

I assume everyone in the Boston area, indeed in Massachusetts, probably around the country, they're going to be studying these two faces very, very closely, very carefully, Deb, right now.

DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Not only the faces. For example, it's also the hats. There are details on the hats that may identify where they were purchased, or even if they were part of some event. People think of the hat if they're at some sort of a tournament.

Investigators are going to be looking at that, trying to refine the image and try to get some sort of a high-quality image so they can perhaps locate the individual. It's not just the faces. One of the reasons obviously they're letting that out is they're trying to pinpoint what area of the country they may have come from, why they ended up in Boston. Were they from Massachusetts, for example?

Do those hats yield any clues? We have been told that in fact investigators are going to hobby shops, because one of the batteries that was used in the device, for example, that's the kind of battery that's used in sort of remote-controlled cars. It's a unique sort of battery.

We're told that investigators are looking -- are tracking that down. So now they have got the pieces, what they're able to do is they're really able to span out and get information piece by piece on all of the different elements, the zipper that was on the backpack, for example, the backpack itself.

So again, it's not just the faces, Wolf. It's also the hats. Somebody may recognize that black hat, the signature on it and say, oh, my goodness, I have the same one. I was at a certain event. All of that, it's all details, Wolf.

BLITZER: They're looking at every little detail of these videos and these still photos.

Drew Griffin, you were inside that news conference, the FBI agent in charge. My suspicion is, Drew, and I wonder if you agree, that they -- the authorities, the FBI, they clearly know more than they're sharing with the public right now. But they don't want to do anything that's going to undermine the investigation.

DREW GRIFFIN, CNN INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely.

It's quite apparent how instructive Rick DesLauriers was the second time around. I heard it once live and once on your show here. He was telling us, look, ignore everything else you have heard, every other picture you have seen. Focus on these two pictures, this video. This is what we want you to identify.

He is not describing them by race, ethnicity, height, weight. He just wants the American public to view these pictures, and find these suspects. I thought that was very telling, trying to purify the tips maybe, but also to focus people on the tips. And one thing I want to add to what Tom Fuentes said, that not only will you recognize these people, because now they have twice as many circles of family members or friends, but it also exponentially increases the chance that you would recognize them because there are two, not that, oh, I know that guy, or I know that guy, but I have seen these two guys together.

That could be a potential tip that would lead maybe to their identity. But very instructive from Rick DesLauriers, focus on these pictures, and help us find them.

BLITZER: I wouldn't be surprised if the FBI is getting dozens and dozens if not hundreds or thousands of tips right now from citizens in the United States, and perhaps around the world.

Everyone, stand by.

We have a special guest, someone who feels closely to what's going on in Boston, the former Massachusetts governor, the former presidential candidate, Mitt Romney. He is joining us from Boston right now.

Governor, this must be such an emotional moment for you. When you see these pictures, these videos of these two suspects identified as suspect number one, suspect number two -- you spent four years as governor of the commonwealth of Massachusetts. You lived in Boston, obviously. What goes through your mind?

MITT ROMNEY (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, of course, what's been going through my mind over the last few days is the great tragedy that occurred here and also the inspiration from the people that rushed to the aid of those that had been injured.

I'm also proud of our law enforcement community, the fact that they have been able to single out so quickly people of this nature that appear to be, well, serious suspects. It's encouraging to see the kind of movement you have seen, and to see the resilience and the resolve of the people of Boston and Massachusetts and, frankly, the whole country. I mean, Boston is very much America.

And I have been encouraged and delighted by the kind of response I have seen from this community and from people across the country.

BLITZER: When I was in Boston over the past few days, I was so impressed by how people got together. They just want to find these suspects. They didn't know if there was one or two or more.

But everyone in Boston, in the area, everyone I spoke to was just so outraged by what happened. And I assume you and your family, as Bostonians, residents of Massachusetts, you just want to find these killers, and bring them to justice.

ROMNEY: No question about that.

We begin the first days with trying to understand how this could possibly happen. And we mourn. And we grieve for those that are so badly injured and those who have lost their lives. But we also say, who has done this? And now it appears that we're zeroing in on, well, serious suspects.

And then, of course, we will ask why? Why would people be so demented, so stunted in their intellectual capacity that they would do something so horrible? When I say intellectual capacity, I should say moral capacity. It's hard to fathom.

And yet the cry for justice and for setting things right and doing our very best to learn from this experience, so that we hopefully don't have more experiences like this anywhere in this state, in this country or around the world.

BLITZER: You were at the interfaith service today at the cathedral in Boston. The president spoke. And we had religious leaders speaking. How important was it for you personally as the former governor of Massachusetts to be there? ROMNEY: Well, I was honored with the other former governors to be able to be at that service, along with thousands of other people that gathered to show their respect for the religious community, for the civic community, and of course, for the many people who had been so badly injured, psychologically and physically, from this tragedy.

It was a coming together. I must admit I was also very impressed with the words of the mayor, Mayor Menino, with our governor, Governor Deval Patrick, and with the president. I thought the president gave a superb address to the people of this city and this state and the nation.

It was an inspiring day. The members of the religious leadership in our community also stood and spoke one by one. And it was a coming together. Look, this is a city and a nation which has proved time and again that, when we face real challenges, instead of pointing fingers and getting angry, and running, we come together.

United, we stand. We have proven it time and again, and we saw it in that cathedral today.

BLITZER: I know you're a religious person, Governor.

And you -- often over the years, in all the biographies I have read of you, the articles, you have comforted members of your own church who have gone through horrible situations. I'm reminded of that book "When Bad Things Happen to Good People" by Harold Kushner, a bestseller.

It's hard to understand how an 8-year-old little boy could be killed so brutally at the end of the Boston Marathon, or an exchange student from China, 23 years old, who was at Boston University, a graduate student, or a 28-year-old woman who just happened to be standing there.

How do you explain that? When you go out and comfort people, and they ask you that question, when bad things happen to good people, what do you say?

ROMNEY: Well, you listen mostly, because people who are hurting so badly want to express to you what they feel, what they're going through. And you show your sympathy and love for them.

As they look for answers, the only answer I know for questions of that nature is to get on one's own knees and to pray for understanding and for comfort. I believe very deeply that we have a creator, and that he loves us and cares for us. But when he actually intervenes in the affairs of the people on this Earth is something which happens only rarely. And when that happens, and why that happens, and who it happens to is something we don't understand.

There's so much tragedy that goes on throughout the world, starvation and disease and death and mayhem. We don't understand it. But one thing I know is that we have a God who loves us, who cares for us, who will comfort us in times of need. And he provides that comfort oftentimes by the people around us. And I'm proud of the community here in Boston, the many people who have shown their love and respect for those that have been injured. I was in the hospital today, and saw a young man there who was badly injured, and saw the spirit of his family and others who have come to his aid. Look, this is a time when your faith in God is enhanced by seeing the goodness of the men and women he's created.

BLITZER: Yes. My own dad used to always say to me, God works in mysterious ways. We're only human beings. We can't really comprehend what God really wants. And we just have to accept that kind of a situation, even a horrible situation like this one.

Did you have a chance at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross today, at the interfaith service, Governor, to speak with some of the families who have suffered so terribly?

ROMNEY: You know, I had the chance to speak with a number of people today at the hospital and on the streets.

They feel blessed that they have been able to escape with life, and in some cases with injury that is not going to impair their life going forward. And people are obviously hurting and are concerned about their future. But at the same time, they feel confidence in the kind of support they have received from their friends and from others in the community.

And they recognize that this is a nation that will come together at this critical time, and that we will do what we have to do to prevent events like this from occurring to the extent humanly possible. We will learn from this.

I had the privilege, as you know, some years ago of helping organize the Olympic Winter Games of 2002. That was a national special security event. We wondered if we could protect all of the people in all of the places. We learned lessons from that experience. One of those lessons was that intelligence, finding the bad guys before they do bad things is so critical to our safety.

We will learn from this experience. And I'm sure that the many families and victims want to make sure that justice is served, but also that the future will be brighter and more prosperous for those who otherwise might be hurt as we learn from these experiences, and do our best to prevent them from occurring.

BLITZER: I sense, Governor, there should be some sort of commission, some sort of panel, either in Massachusetts, or national, to learn the lessons of what happened, so that we won't have to endure this kind of pain down the road.

And I wonder, as someone who's been a leader in Massachusetts, who helped organize the Winter Olympic Games, would you be interested in participating in such a commission, a national commission to help us better look back, study what happened in Boston, at the Boston Marathon, learn the lessons and try to make sure that families don't have to suffer as they are right now? ROMNEY: Well, I'm sure that I, like other people in our country, would always respond to the call of the nation, in helping prevent violence and distress of the kind we have seen here.

I happen to have served for several years on the national security -- Homeland Security, rather, Advisory Council. It's in some respects almost a commission of that nature which is comprised of governors, mayors, tribal leaders, and others who have experience in the area of homeland security. And we came together to talk about how events of this nature could be learning experiences for us, how we could prevent the kind of destruction which has occurred here and loss of life that's occurred here.

And my guess is, you're going to find the Homeland Security Advisory Council and others coming together to learn as much as they can from this. But whether it's a new commission as well, I don't know. But I do know that this is a learning opportunity, that we should learn the lessons that come from this and apply them to the extent we possibly can.

But, in my heart of hearts, what I understand is that it is intelligence work -- and by intelligence, it's not just meaning that the CIA and the FBI and wiretaps. It is also people who are watching what's going on, reporting what's going on, combining that information such that we can prevent the worst things from occurring.

BLITZER: And if people have information about these two suspects, they have to notify law enforcement immediately. Don't get directly involved. These are armed and dangerous individuals, according to the FBI.

Governor, did you have a chance to speak with the president today at that interfaith service?

ROMNEY: No, I did not. He was off to visit victims of the tragedy at Massachusetts General Hospital.

But I was honored to be there in the presence of many people of our state, and to hear their remarks of the president and, of course, the mayor and the governor, and also to hear from religious leaders. It was a great occasion. At the end, we sang "America the Beautiful." It was a hearty rendition, almost as hearty as listening to the fans at the Bruins game last night who erupted in singing the national anthem.

We have come together in this community. We have come together in ways that other places in America and other places of the world have come together at times of tragedy. This is a great city. It's a great state, great nation. And the people have come together in a way that's been inspiring to me.

BLITZER: Certainly true, words well-spoken.

Governor Romney, thanks very much for joining us on this occasion. Hopefully, all of us, all of us will learn from what happened so that we don't have to endure this again. Governor Mitt Romney, appreciate it very much.

ROMNEY: Thank you, Wolf.

BLITZER: We're going to go back to the analysis of the photos, the video that the FBI has now released, dramatic video, two suspects identified as suspect number one, wearing a black cap, suspect number two, wearing a white cap.

We will take a quick break. We will resume the analysis, full coverage of the breaking news, right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: We're following the breaking news. The FBI has now released pictures, still photos, as well as video of two suspects identified by the FBI as individuals who took the backpacks that they have, and they believe they had bombs in those backpacks, dropped them off on the sidewalk near the end of the Boston Marathon.

Those bombs exploded, killing three people, injuring nearly 200 others, Richard DesLauriers making that announcement just a little while ago. We want to go through all of these pictures.

Once again, we want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer in Washington.

Our national security analysts are here, the former Bush homeland security adviser Fran Townsend, the former FBI assistant director Tom Fuentes, also HLN law enforcement analyst Mike Brooks.

Fran, let's go through the pictures. We were talking about suspect number two wearing the white cap. There are eight still photos I want to put up on the screen, so viewers in the United States and around the world can get a better look at this individual. You see, Fran, the baseball cap backwards on his head. You see his outfit there. He could pass for anyone almost. Boston, a lot of college students. He's walking around at the end of the Boston Marathon pretty casually.

FRANCES TOWNSEND, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CONTRIBUTOR: He is, Wolf.

And you used a word earlier to describe him as cocky. And let's focus on that for a second, because I think you're absolutely right. You don't get cocky and confident with a bomb in your backpack unless you have thought about this, unless you have planned it.

And the likelihood is, these guys did sort of what we call operational surveillance. They did dry runs before. And so when the FBI special agent in charge, Rick DesLauriers, says they're especially interested in those who were inside the restaurant, the Forum restaurant, outside of which they put the one bomb down, you bet those guys were in that neighborhood, in that area. They walked it before.

So when you look at the video, they don't seem to wonder where they're going. They planned that, Wolf. They were familiar with the area and they knew exactly, precisely where they planned to put those down.

BLITZER: Having said that, Tom Fuentes -- you're a former FBI assistant director -- you're walking around with a bomb in your backpack, in a pressure cooker. That's pretty dangerous when you think about it. It could go off.

A lot of experts have said to me, they probably had to put that bomb together in an area not far away, so they wouldn't have to travel very far with an explosive device like that.

TOM FUENTES, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I think they wouldn't want to travel far because they might be seen going through a train station, or -- obviously, they couldn't go through an airport.

So, that would be one reason to have a minimal distance from the site. But, actually, the type of bomb that's constructed here, once it's in that container, and hasn't gone off while you're -- while you're cramming it into the container -- but once it's sealed in the container, it's pretty secure. It's not going to go off by vibration, you could drop that container and it's not going to go off. It's going to take the sparking either created by some detonation mechanism. But it's -- they're confident it's not going to blow up it looks like.

BLITZER: Yes.

FUENTES: And they're also pretty confident they're not going to be caught.

BLITZER: They clearly look like they think they know what they're doing.

Mike Brooks, these are both suspects. And I want to be precise, the term used by the FBI agent in charge, suspects. What does that say to you?

BROOKS: Right.

BLITZER: Not a person of interest or persons of interest. Described as suspects. They obviously haven't been convicted of anything. But they're suspects.

BROOKS: No, Wolf, you know, I don't like the term person of interest. I call that suspect, like either you're a suspect or you're not. These two are suspects. And we heard the special agent in charge say that these are the only two people, the FBI are looking at, trying to identify right now.

You know, and I want our viewers, take a look at the caps on both of these. Take a look at the backpacks. Do you recognize this? I think they've done a good job of enhancing the video, Wolf. And you can see on -- on suspect number two, you know, he's the one apparently that they believe actually placed the backpack right there in front of the Forum Restaurant, which is on 755 Boylston Street. He placed that down. And then walked westbound on Boylston towards Gloucester Street.

This is the guy right here. And we see him, it looks like he was talking on the cell phone to someone. So these are things that they're all going to -- they're taking a look at right now. They're taking a look at cell phones. There's so many things that they are looking at right now at the command post for the bombings there in Boston, Wolf. But I tell you, this is a significant, significant lead by putting this out to the public.

BLITZER: And they must have gone through -- you heard the FBI agent in charge, Mike, say they went through, what, thousands and thousands of hours of video. They must have a ton of people going through video from closed-circuit cameras all over downtown Boston.

BROOKS: Oh, absolutely. And, you know, and Tom will tell you, and I was on the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force at the Washington field office for six years, and if something like this happens, you're sending agents out and they're doing a canvass of every single business, every single home along that way who may have some kind of surveillance video, who may have some kind of cameras pointing out to Boylston Street.

And, Wolf, this was probably the most photographed street on Monday, when this happened, because it was, you know, the finish line of the Boston marathon. And we go back -- Tom and I have talked about the Centennial Olympic Park bombing that happened just across from the CNN center here in 1996. But back then, we didn't have the technology that's out there in everyone's hand today.

And I think that's why the FBI was asking for the public's help, hey, if you have something, even if you think it's not important, let us know. And it sounds like the public has come through.

BLITZER: And Tom Fuentes, we were told by the FBI agent in charge, that suspect number two, the individual with the white cap, was seen planting the bag. So I assume that means they have video of him planting that bag.

FUENTES: Right. Right. They're not revealing every inch of the video.

BLITZER: Why wouldn't they reveal that, do you think?

FUENTES: Well, there might be something unique about the placement that only that person would know, and they don't want to reveal that. Just, you know, they may have other people that, you know, might claim credit for this, or something, and they keep -- they withhold some of the information just to not have too much out there that everybody knows every detail of the potential prosecution. They want to limit that and would hold that back.

(CROSSTALK)

BLITZER: On a need-to-know basis. They don't want to give too much. They want to give the American public these images so they can get some tips. FRANCES FRAGOS TOWNSEND, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CONTRIBUTOR: That's right. Wolf, they've only put out there what they needed for the purpose that they've asked. Right? They've asked for help in identification and they've put just those pictures and photographs that will aid the public so they can provide information to them. They've got a lot of other stuff, but they don't need to share that to help get the identities of these guys.

BLITZER: Drew Griffin is in Boston for us. He was inside the news conference where we heard Richard DesLauriers, the FBI agent in charge, release all of this dramatic information.

In the nearly hour and a half since then, Drew, have you seen any change in what's going on in Boston? Are people coming over to you? Are they getting involved? Do they want to help?

DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SPECIAL INVESTIGATIONS UNIT CORRESPONDENT: I mean, everybody is looking at these pictures, whether it'd be on their iPads or their iPhones or wherever. They're even some of them gathering around news trucks taking a look at them. Everybody wants to see the pictures. But, you know, in this hour and a half, I can just keep thinking, Wolf, of more and more questions of what we can glean by what we saw.

In your discussion about them walking calmly, placing the bags, you know, these were not suicide bombers. Whatever stupid cause they have, they were not willing to die for it. I think it's also telling that this was well planned, which means they must have known they were going to be captured on surveillance video. Especially as they were walking to the most photographed section of the marathon.

And it also strikes me that there must be an after-plan. Obviously all these questions won't get answered until after they are caught. But right now that's what's going through my head, the unanswered questions that the FBI didn't hang around and tell us about, because obviously they just want us to find these guys.

BLITZER: Yes, Tom Fuentes, it seems to me that, what, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, now Thursday, three days later, these two guys, these suspects, they've had plenty of time to get out. And I wonder if the FBI and other law enforcement would be looking at video at airports to see if they can make a match, someone getting on a plane, flying some place, to see -- to see if maybe they already escaped.

FUENTES: No, that's true. They would be looking at that. But don't forget in the prior terrorist incidents that we've had here, Ramzi Yousef, World Trade Center I, the guy at the CIA headquarters killing employees as they came to work that morning, these are guys that fled the country. And the FBI and the intelligence agencies worked together, tracked them down overseas, brought them back and put them in courtrooms here and convicted them. And they're in prison in the U.S. now. So the fact that these guys may have gotten on a plane, gone somewhere else --

BLITZER: Even overseas. FUENTES: Even overseas, and the FBI with its 76 offices and the other agencies, the CIA, our law enforcement partners throughout the world, it's a small world also. The technology, as I just mentioned, my son was just watching this in Geneva, Switzerland, as we speak. This is all over the world right now. If they got on a plane, people may know them overseas. They may be, you know, from a small town. Who knows what. But the world isn't big enough for these two guys to go off and hide.

BLITZER: It's been three days, Fran, as you well know, usually, I don't know if there's a usual in a situation like this, is there a usual period of time after dramatic pictures like this that are released that you wind up apprehending the suspects?

TOWNSEND: There -- none of these are usual, Wolf.

BLITZER: It could take weeks, could take months or years?

TOWNSEND: Or it could take days. You know, if -- DesLauriers walked off that podium and they got --

BLITZER: The FBI agent in charge.

TOWNSEND: And they got the right tip, it could be quickly. But I think more likely it's going to take time. And that's why they've asked for the assistance. I would say, you know, when you talk about looking at videotape at airports, and I think that's absolutely right, they -- Drew Griffin pointed -- rightly points out that the suspect number two, according to the FBI, walked west on Boylston.

You can be absolutely certain, the first thing they did, was -- as he walks west on Boylston, where are the -- where are the metro tube stations, and they'll pull the video from the surrounding ones at those stations first. Because after all, the guy has got to get to an airport. Be sure that they take these to cab drivers, and taxi drivers, bus drivers, and show it to them to try and figure out when did they go, how did they go, and how did they get away.

BLITZER: And Mike Brooks, I think it's important to underscore what the FBI agent in charge said. If you think you see one or two of these suspects, call local police, law enforcement, don't try to apprehend them yourself because they are armed and dangerous. And I want to underscore that. And I want you to elaborate.

BROOKS: No, you're absolutely right. Call 911, call 1-800, call FBI. You do not want to approach these people. And also I want to point out that if you call these numbers, you can remain anonymous. The FBI will follow up on your call. I guarantee it. But you do not want to approach them at all. And, you know, and I'm also thinking that they're probably won't go into the different businesses, Wolf.

And they're going back a number of days, even before the race happened, to see if they recognize anyone that looks like these two, that may have been down there, planning the route, planning on what they were going to do. And you know, it's not a matter of if, but a matter of when they catch these two. BLITZER: I just got a statement in from Governor Deval Patrick of Massachusetts on the release of these FBI photos, the videos. Let me read the statement from Governor Deval Patrick. "I have been briefed on the status of the investigation and appreciate the progress of the -- the FBI and their partner law enforcement agencies are making. I join their call to the general public to look at the official photos and videotape on FBI.gov and pass along to law enforcement any information about the suspects that you may have."

So this is all pretty encouraging information right now. Dramatic breakthrough, I think it's fair to say, Tom Fuentes, but they still have a long way to go.

FUENTES: No. It was mentioned earlier, as the investigation in the infancy or not. I can tell you if the two subjects were arrested right this minute, the case would still be in its infancy. You look at McVeigh after the Oklahoma City bombing, he was in custody within hours of that event, and yet that investigation went on. And the FBI covered more than one million leads worldwide in that case. I guarantee you that it was very much in the infancy in the first 48 hours.

BLITZER: All right. Stand by for a moment. We're going to continue the breaking news coverage. We're watching what's going on. The authorities in Boston releasing the images of two suspects, key word, suspects, in the Boston terror attack.

Much more on this coming up. We're also getting the first daylight video coming in from Texas where they had that huge explosion at a fertilizer plant not far from Waco, Texas, in the small town of West, Texas. Our own Brian Todd is on the scene. We'll have the latest from there as well. We're following breaking news right here on THE SITUATION ROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: The FBI released these images of the two suspects in the Boston marathon bombing. Our breaking news coverage continues in a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

BLITZER: If you're just joining us here in the United States or around the world, we're following the breaking news this hour in THE SITUATION ROOM."

The FBI has released photos and video of two suspects in the Boston marathon terror attack. Authorities are asking the public to help them find the two men seen at the site of the bombings.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RICK DESLAURIERS, FBI SPECIAL AGENT IN CHARGE: Today we're enlisting the public's help to identify the two suspects. After a very detailed analysis, a photo, video and other evidence, we are releasing photos of these two suspects. They are identified as suspect one and suspect two. They appear to be associated. Suspect one is wearing a dark hat. Suspect two is wearing a white hat. Suspect two set down a backpack at the site of the second explosion, just in front of the Forum Restaurant.

We strongly encourage those who were at the Forum Restaurant who have not contacted us yet to do so. As you can see from one of the -- from one of the images, suspects one and two appear to be walking together through the marathon crowd on Boylston Street in the direction of the finish line. That image was captured as they walked on Boylston in the vicinity of the intersection with Gloucester Street.

As you can see, the quality of the photos is quite good. But we will continue to work on developing additional images to improve their identification value.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: Let's go to Tom Foreman right now. He's taking a closer look at these images, the video and the still photos that the FBI has released -- Tom.

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Wolf, I've been listening to your conversation over here. And I want to point out a few things that may be useful. This is the actual sequence of this video, with these fellows turning the corner here and then it picks up in the middle sequence of these shots. You see them start walking further along the way here. As you see that, you'll realize they're in the middle of that walk. You see the woman with the orange -- that bright green bag down there, that's the middle of it.

And then as they come up this way, it joins into the last part of the sequence where you see them walking away from us. I've counted up here based on the sidewalk blocks, we're seeing about 50 feet or so of ground being covered. Because there's some overlap in these various shots of where they're going. A couple of things that we noticed that are really probably worth noting in all of this. For example, if you look right down here at the time stamp, all of this is taking place approximately 12 1/2 minutes before the first bomb blast went off.

We don't know entirely what all of this means or why it would mean the things we may fear in all this. But look at this fellow who's up front here, he is -- this one is the one that seems to be associated with the second bomb blast. As they turn up Boylston Street, this would be the correct sequence in the sense that he is closer to the first blast. This person would be closer to the second one, if they kept that angle going as they walked up there.

Another thing, I want to stop it right here because this is worth noting. You remember that we've had this evidence that they've collected from the scene that we have seen so far of actual things. This backpack would appear to be black or generally black in color. If you move on, though, the second backpack is not that way. You can see that the second one -- even the picture jitters a bit when you stop here. That's more of a white or gray color. So that's something that's worth noting.

Now we all know from having backpacks around the house, it's fully possible that the inside of that might be lined with something black. We don't know that. In any event, this is the sequence that's happening.

I also want to note something. Fran, you mentioned a moment ago the idea that they might be able to go to a T station, that's what the Metro is called, as the subway is called in Boston. You only have to go about a fairly short walk in all sorts of directions to get on various lines of the T here, probably 10 of them easily are within easy walking distance.

And they can carry out toward Boston College or Boston University, either one, or if you really want to hike a little bit across the river you can get on the lines that run toward Harvard and past MIT, and that's -- so there really is a tremendous mass transit system in this town. So you're right, Fran, there'd be a lot of cameras that could be checked. But there will be a lot of cameras, because there are a lot of places in which they could go if in fact this was a public transit thing.

One more thing I wanted to point out in all of this and does have to do with direction here. We talked about what happened afterward. If this person, the second suspect, in fact was involved, and they said he headed the other way on Boylston, look up here. These are the runners going this way. That would suggest that he went this way, away from the second explosion.

And I do want to point out one last item that's important here. Right up here, even after the explosion, you may notice that this serves as something of a barrier. Sort of hard to get the other side of the street even in the chaos afterward, because there was the running through here. And that's where all the security people fled in. That's why it seems like a lot of the people who were looking at it are focusing on this side of Boylston Street -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Good analysis. Lots to digest there, Tom Foreman. Thanks very much.

We're going to get back to the Boston investigation in a moment. But I want to go right now to the other major story unfolding right now.

Almost 24 hours after that massive explosion, crews still are searching the ruins of a Texas fertilizer plant desperately hoping to find survivors. Officials say the scene is very volatile. They confirm some people are dead. They say they don't know how many. The search and rescue operation continues.

Brian Todd is over there in the small town of West, Texas.

Brian, what is the very latest?

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, officials are still combing through what they call mountains of rubble in the town of West. We have new aerials to show you of just the extent of the damage. It leveled much of the town. Officials say they're combing through an apartment complex, a nursing home, the plant itself, looking for survivors.

I just spoke a short time ago to Jeff Saunders of Texas Task Force 1, that's a top search and rescue team in this area. He said his teams have combed through 70 plus structures. They have found no victims yet. He said the evacuation went very well.

You mentioned some numbers. Earlier today, officials were giving some casualty numbers. They're starting to stray away from those right now. They said that earlier today five to 15 people have died, 160 injured. Late today they were not giving hard numbers, Wolf. They don't want to really give a lot of numbers yet. They're not sure. They still have a lot to go through.

Also, the presence of ammonium nitrate in the air still complicating matters for some of the first responders. So some of the hazards from the plant still in the air as the responders come through this rubble.

BLITZER: Brian, we'll stay in close touch with you. Thanks very much. An awful, awful scene there in West, Texas.

We'll take a quick break. When we come back, a very emotional day in Boston today. The president of the United States participating in that interfaith service. We'll have the latest on that.

But a heartbreaking situation unfolding. Also the latest on the investigation.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: A day of healing in Boston. The music, the emotion, and the words of comfort from the president. That's all ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: The Boston bombings put President Obama back in one of the most difficult position any president has to face, consoler-in- chief.

Our chief political correspondent and the host of "STATE OF THE UNION" Candy Crowley takes a closer look.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CANDY CROWLEY, HOST, STATE OF THE UNION (voice-over): Circumstances and geography change but we have been here before. New York to Tucson, from NASA to Aurora, Virginia Tech to Sandy Hook, Oklahoma City and now to Boston.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm here today on behalf of the American people with a simple message. Every one of us has been touched by this attack on your beloved city. Every one of us stands with you. CROWLEY: There is a randomness to the violence that punctures the soul of this country and a rhythm to its aftermath. The frenzy of rescue, the hailing of heroes, the candles and the flowers, the burst of patriotism and the attention of a president. Called to duty to speak for and to the American people. This is how the nation grieves.

OBAMA: You showed us, Boston, that in the face of evil, Americans will lift up what's good. In the face of cruelty, we will choose compassion. In the face of those who would visit death upon innocence, we will choose to save and the comfort and the healing.

CROWLEY: At every level of president's task in these national felt tragedies is always both necessary and impossible. Consoling the inconsolable families of those who died, offering hope to the grievously wounded.

OBAMA: We will all be with you as you learn to stand and walk and, yes, run again. Of that I have no doubt. You will run again.

(APPLAUSE)

You will run again.

CROWLEY: Preacher, cheerleader, consoler. The president filled the church with cheerful, joyful even some ruckus moment as he captured the many stages of grief -- the disbelief.

OBAMA: It was a beautiful day to be in Boston. A day that explains why a poet once wrote that this town is not just a capital, not just a place. Boston, he said, is the perfect state of grace.

CROWLEY: The defiance.

OBAMA: That's when you reminded us to push on. To persevere. To not grow weary. Do not get faint. Even when it hurts, even when our heart aches, we summon the strength that maybe we didn't even know we had and we carry on. We finish the race.

(APPLAUSE)

We finish the race.

CROWLEY: And the hope.

OBAMA: Tomorrow the sun will rise over Boston. Tomorrow, the sun will rise over this country that we love. This special place, this state of grace.

CROWLEY: Candy Crowley, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BLITZER: What a heartbreaking situation. Let's remember the three people who were killed, killed so brutally at the end of that Boston marathon. Krystle Campbell, Martin Richard and Lingzi Lu. Three people who are now dead as a result of killers who had no respect for human life whatsoever.

They are on the lose right now. The FBI is hunting. If you know where they are, if you have any information on these two suspects who were identified by the FBI, please call local law enforcement ASAP.

Thanks very much for watching. Our continuing coverage of what's going on in Boston and Texas resumes right now. Erin Burnett "OUTFRONT."