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THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER

Boston Manhunt Continues; Talking with Friends and Acquaintances of the Suspects; Interview with Rep. Peter King

Aired April 19, 2013 - 16:00   ET

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


JAKE TAPPER, ANCHOR, "THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER": Welcome back. I'm Jake Tapper. This is "The Lead."

We're standing here live on the streets of Boston just two blocks away from the terrorist attack of Monday, which seems like almost a month or perhaps even years ago.

Now with all of the events of the last 24 hours unfolding, let's take a moment to recap on what has happened since yesterday afternoon when the FBI released new images of the two suspects in the Boston marathon terrorist attack.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TAPPER (voice-over): ... of terror released by the FBI just 74 hours after those deadly explosions rocked Copley Square.

RICHARD DESLAURIERS, FBI SPECIAL AGENT IN CHARGE: Today, we are enlisting the public's help to identify the two suspects.

TAPPER: In the hours that followed, tips came pouring in.

Around 10:00 in another part of Boston blocks from the famed Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a convenience store was robbed. It's less than two miles from the marathon finish line. Also around that time, a startling discovery, the body of an MIT police officer shot multiple times. It was found in his vehicle on campus. He was 26-year-old Sean Collier, a rookie cop whose chief said he was born to be a police officer.

As police zero in, reports come of an area carjacking. A Mercedes SUV is snatched with a passenger still inside. The passenger was miraculously released by the carjackers half-an-hour later at a Cambridge gas station. Police now know who they are looking for, brothers Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and Tamerlan Tsarnaev.

The siblings, age 19 and 26, now lead police on a bomb-littered chase to nearby Watertown, Massachusetts.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: During the course of that pursuit, several explosive devices were discharged from the car at the police officers.

TAPPER: Around 1:00 a.m. Friday, a mass of law enforcement descend upon the suburb.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is my home and it's scary to think of your home as, like, a war zone.

TAPPER: Soon, the streets echo with chaos as officers and their targets engage in a dramatic firefight. One resident tweeted this photo of a bullet hole blown through the wall calendar in his home.

(on camera): Do not answer your door unless it is an identified police officer.

TAPPER (voice-over): Other Watertown residents are awakened by blasts.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A ton of gunshots and then like boom, boom, like three big bangs. But it looks like they're working their way this way and this way over here.

TAPPER: Before dawn, suspect number one is killed. Police say the young man with Olympic boxing aspirations was wearing explosives and triggers. At 4:19 a.m., police announce that his younger sibling, Dzhokhar, is desperately on the run.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What we're looking for right now is a suspect consistent with the description of suspect number two, the white- capped individual.

TAPPER (on camera): Clearly, there is concern that he is wired with explosives.

(voice-over): As day breaks, all of Boston is shut down, mass transit at a standstill, the city's universities and public schools closed. Officials tell all residents to stay in their homes.

GOV. DEVAL PATRICK (D), MASSACHUSETTS: That applies here in Watertown, where we are right now, also Cambridge, Waltham, Newton, Belmont, and at this point all of Boston, all of Boston.

TAPPER: As more than 9,000 law enforcement officers zero in on an alleged killer at large.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

TAPPER: And, today, family and friends of the Tsarnaev brothers have been reacting with shock and shame.

Within the past hour, we heard from the father of the suspects who told Russian media his sons were framed.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANZOR TSARNAEV, FATHER OF SUSPECTS (through translator): Someone framed them. I don't know who exactly did it, but someone did. And being cowards, they shot the boy dead. There are cops like this.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

TAPPER: We're also hearing from the suspects' U.S. relatives. An uncle who lives in Maryland says the oldest of the two brothers actually called him last night and asked for forgiveness. The call came just a few hours before Tamerlan Tsarnaev was killed. And a different uncle who also lives in Maryland gave a passionate news conference earlier today. He lashed out at his nephews and called them -- quote -- "losers."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RUSLAN TSARNI, UNCLE OF SUSPECTS: I say, Dzhokhar, if you are alive, turn yourself in and ask for forgiveness from the victims, from the injured, and from those who left. Ask forgiveness from these people.

We're not requiring forgiveness in this family. He put a shame -- he put a shame on the Tsarnaev -- our family, Tsarnaev family. He put a shame on the entire Chechen ethnicity, because everyone now names -- they play with word Chechen. So they put that shame on the on the entire Chechen ethnicity. Everyone now names, they play with word Chechen. So they put that shame on the entire ethnicity.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TAPPER: This afternoon, somewhat bizarrely, an aunt of the suspects who lives in Canada seemed more skeptical of their involvement in the bombing and she said she needs to see proof.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARET TSARNAEVA, AUNT OF SUSPECTS: If you see (INAUDIBLE) of this guy, would you put him also and accuse him of blowing up people? How difficult is that? Give us evidence.

If nobody else is asking for it, give me evidence. I'm lawyer from back home. Give me evidence. I participated in court sessions where I had to prove innocence of other accused people. So, relatively, do that the same. Give me evidence. All he showed me, circled face of a man's face in a hat.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TAPPER: Offering a conspiracy theory that boggles the imagination, the aunt said the photographs that put her nephews at the scenes of the bombings were staged.

Our national correspondent, Deborah Feyerick, is in the Boston suburb of Watertown, where there is an enormous police presence. I'm also joined by CNN national security analyst Juliette Kayyem.

Let's begin with Deborah.

Give us the latest from Watertown. You have been there all day. What has been going on just in the last few minutes?

DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: There is still a lot of activity, Jake. What we can tell you is about 20 minutes ago, I got an alert on my iPhone as a matter of fact that read the shelter is still in effect and it does not prevent employees from returning home. That was an official alert that came up on my iPhone. My iPhone is not from the Watertown or even the Massachusetts area, but that alert popped up.

And then just moments after that, a car -- the car that was described in a be on the lookout, a BOLO, it was a green Civic, it was the license plate that matched, it was taken from the scene here. We just saw two flatbed trucks that were also brought into play.

It has been relatively quiet, but as you can hear just above me there is now another helicopter, another police helicopter that is circling above this area. We can tell you that we have received new video of the older brother taken off of a YouTube site.

He is in his car. He's sort of making fun and making faces and he's just sort of talking. And you can see that. This is the first time we're seeing this video. But he is there and he's just sort of goofing around. What we are learning from intelligence sources is that they believe he really was the ringleader in all of this. He is 26, his younger brother 19 years old.

We are told that the older brother trained in -- I'm sorry -- I should say was in Russia, was in Russia from January of 2012 to July of 2012. He returned back to the United States flying through JFK in New York. Also, what we're learning is we were able to access a -- the equivalent of a Facebook page for the younger brother, for Dzhokhar.

He is the one who is in hiding. You have got to realize what intelligence analysts are dealing with right now. You have got a young man who is potentially hurt, who is very frightened, who has witnessed the death of his brother, and right now he is all alone. If he is monitoring anything on the Internet, which we believe that he is, then he is seeing family members, some of whom are saying -- sorry -- we heard a little pop there -- some of whom are saying that this can't possibly be them, that they can't be the ones responsible, but then an uncle saying, just condemning them, condemning their behavior.

When you look at this page -- and this is what is so interesting, Jake -- when you look at the side that says send gift, there are multiple versions. So in one example, send gift, what you have got, you have got three groups of TNT followed by a brick, then another send gift. You have got a sun and three cop cars.

The last is the most interesting. And can't read into anything -- of course analysts are -- but the last one is a green rabbit followed by TNT, sticks of dynamite, a cop car, and then a skull. So what analysts are seeing as they look into that, all of these are being looked at closely, Jake.

TAPPER: All right, Deb Feyerick in Watertown, stay safe. We will come back to you later in the program.

I want to now bring in CNN homeland security analyst, "Boston Globe" columnist and former Department of Homeland Security official Juliette Kayyem.

One of the things that is so remarkable, downtown Boston, which on a normal Friday which would be full of commerce and full of traffic and full of people, the streets are eerily abandoned. There is a real military presence here. It's spooky in a way. And what -- you and I were talking about this before, one of the things that is so remarkable is this is all voluntary.

JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN ANALYST: All voluntary.

Just to make clear what I think the shelter in place order is really about...

TAPPER: That's the technical term for it, shelter in place. It means stay in your homes.

KAYYEM: Right. This is what Governor Patrick talked about.

Not only is it voluntary. So, people are just doing this because they know this is a serious deal, but what it has done is that it's reserved public -- limited public safety resources to just focus this hunt. So there aren't car accidents, there's not people having voluntary surgeries. Everyone is at home, keeping the resources free for this hunt.

So it isn't -- this is something we explained to our kids, right? It isn't that they're unsafe if they go outside because someone might get them. It is really to relieve the pressure on public safety because they have one focus only. That is why -- what is remarkable is that because it is voluntary I think people are listening.

TAPPER: All right. Juliette Kayyem, we will come back to you.

Before he became the center of a frantic manhunt, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was by all accounts a normal 19-year-old who was once the captain of his high school wrestling team in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

His former wrestling coach, Peter Payack joins me now on the phone.

Peter, thanks for joining us.

Peter, I can only imagine your shock at hearing this news. Tell me about the Dzhokhar you knew.

PETER PAYACK, FORMER WRESTLING COACH OF SUSPECT: OK.

The Dzhokhar that I knew, he seemed to be like a normal American kid. On our wrestling team, we have 28 kids, but 14 were born in foreign countries. He was just like one of the number of regular kids at the high school.

He was dedicated, he was intelligence, he was smart. He was funny and well-liked. We made him captain of the team.

TAPPER: It's difficult to reconcile the individual you describe and other friends of his from high school with the man accused of sociopathic, terrorist activities.

Did you see in any way any signs of the kind of hatred necessary to commit these senseless acts of terror, anything at all?

PAYACK: I would say that I haven't seen any.

And I want to say this as a coach who's been coaching for over 20 years. And usually when there is a kid with anger management problems or something that slams somebody to the mat, they would say they want to hurt the kid, somebody gets hurt, and he says, I'm happy I did that. Dzhokhar was just a nice kid.

So something must have happened since he left high school maybe in the last year that changed his whole personality, because there was no signs of that. And we have 2,200 kids in our high school. We have all different types. And he really didn't seem to fit any of those negative categories.

TAPPER: Coach, your son ran the marathon, I believe, so it must be especially haunting, the idea that this former student of yours whom you coached could have potentially -- and thank goodness he didn't -- but could have potentially hurt your son. Do you have any anger for Dzhokhar? Do you not believe the charges the way that some members of his family seem to be in denial?

PAYACK: No, no. I believe it.

And I have seen the pictures. And I feel like this morning when I saw his picture, it's like a knife went through my heart, because I have run 12 Boston Marathons. My other son has run five and this son was running his first. And he was right -- he was like 0.5 miles away when the bomb blew off. And I was two blocks away from the finish line. So it just really got me that one of our wrestlers, who we coached, who we mentored, who we loved as part of our family could have killed us.

But then he did kill other people. So it's hard for me to be -- think about the pain in my heart when people don't have legs and limbs and a child lost.

TAPPER: Coach, before I let you go, it's possible that Dzhokhar is watching this right now. What do you want to say to him if he is watching?

PAYACK: I would say, Dzhokhar, this is coach Payack. There has been enough death, destruction. Please turn yourself in, please.

TAPPER: All right, coach Payack, thank you so much. We will come back to you later. We really appreciate your time.

PAYACK: OK. You're welcome.

TAPPER: A city at a standstill, a city at a standstill, streets empty, people locked inside their homes, locking themselves inside their homes. How exactly did law enforcement shut down Boston and the surrounding areas so quickly? We will show you the unprecedented tactics being used to try to catch the remaining suspect on the loose.

And we know 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev attended a local university. When was he last seen on campus? Our Chris Lawrence is there and will give us the latest on the manhunt when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

TAPPER: Welcome back to CNN's continuing coverage of the crisis and hunt for a terror suspect in Boston.

Torrie is a graduate of Cambridge Rindge and Latin. He was a classmate of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. Torrie was also on the wrestling team with Dzhokhar and joins me now.

Torrie, when was the last time you saw him?

TORRIE MARTINEZ, FORMER TEAMMATE OF DZOKHAR TSARNAEV: It's been a few years since I've seen him. If I've seen him around since graduating I haven't really a acknowledged the fact it was him. Yes, ever since graduating Rindge I lost touch with him and a lot of other friends I had at the school. We all kind of went our separate ways.

TAPPER: So, Torrie Martinez, former classmate, let me ask you a question. When they search his apartment, which is very close to where you live, were you scared when they evacuated parts of your neighborhood? What was your feeling when that happened?

MARTINEZ: It wasn't really afraid, just in shock. I mean, kind of something straight out of Hollywood. Wasn't really expecting it to happen to you. Everyone says it. When it finally happens, it's kind of unreal.

Fortunately for me, I wasn't evacuated from my home. I can't imagine what it was like for everyone on Norfolk Street to, you know, be forced out of their homes while, you know, the police, FBI was doing their investigation.

TAPPER: Torrie Martinez, for those of you joining us, Torrie Martinez is a classmate and wrestled on the same wrestling team that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev wrestled on. Let me ask you a question. There's been a lot of speculation that, perhaps, it was his older brother who radicalized him or played a role in it. Did Dzhokhar ever talk about his older brother?

MARTINEZ: Not to me. And, as far as I can see, there weren't really many people who were close to his older brother or really even knew his older brother. I talked to Dzhokhar on occasion. We were, you know, pretty good acquaintances. We wrestled together. We took the bus from the same bus stop.

I never really got too close to him to get to know him, you know, all that much on a personal level like other students. But I don't think he ever really mentioned his brother to me or many of the other students, though I could be wrong.

TAPPER: Torrie, last question for you. Is there anything that you remember about Dzhokhar, anything at all, that would make you think he was capable of what he is being accused of, the horrific terrorist activities, the murder of at least four individuals, anything at all that you remember from your time with him?

MARTINEZ: I hate to sound so cliche, but no, not at all. He came off like, you know, any other high school kid. I mean, you're going to hear it from me, you're going to everybody else today, over the next few months, the next few years.

And that's the scary part. You can't really predict this kind of thing anymore. For all you know, for all anybody else knows, you know, any one of their friends could be capable, you know, caught in the next terrorist attack in Boston, New York, any other major city in the country.

TAPPER: Well, that's a horrifying thought.

Torrie Martinez, thank you so much.

As we reported the city of Boston is on a self-imposed lockdown as police search for the fugitive suspected in the Boston marathon terrorist attacks. We now know 15 police officers received minor injuries in the shootout last night that the suspects were allegedly involved in that. And those officers have since been discharged.

I want to get to Stephen McAlpin who joins us now on the phone.

Stephen, you witnessed the shootout overnight in Watertown. What did you see?

STEPHEN MCALPIN, SHOOTOUT WITNESS (via telephone): Yes. We were in our bed. We just finished watching TV. It was 12:40 at night. As we were just laying there, we could hear these loud popping noises.

We thought at first it was like fireworks and I looked at my wife and I was like, why are there fireworks? You know, it just kept going and it got louder and louder. Pop, pop, pop. And Emily looked out the window and she saw, you know, like an orange flash. We just started hearing more noises and she's like, Stephen, you need to call 911. So we got on the ground and called 911 and they told us that, you know, a car chase connected with the gun fight, you know?

And in that moment we just got down and started crawling from the bedroom into the kitchen and as we were doing that, you know, we could see down the hallway there was like a loud explosion, noise, just glass shattering. And, you know, my wife and I and our dog just crawled from our bedroom across the kitchen and got underneath the kitchen table and kept hearing gunshots. Just on all sides, really.

Our car was hit, the front of our home was hit with bullets. We had bullets coming through -- a bullet come through the side of our home and hit our TV and that stopped the bullet from coming into the living room where we then, you know, just started hearing yelling as well, which we think was the police officers. But, you know, that's under the table there's like another explosion. And we were just, I mean, we were terrified. You know, in that moment for us I think it was -- it became very real to us and we were in a very serious situation where we could die. You know, you never want to experience that in your home.

You know, I'm a 26-year-old guy but I was terrified. I was shaking. And, you know, I'm there with my wife and I just had my arms around her and I just looked at her and I knew that, you know, I couldn't protect her. There was nothing I could do. But, you I just told her, Emily, I love you. I'm so glad we're here. I'm going to pray for us.

And we just started praying and I thanked god just for the life that he'd given us together. You know, all the while this stuff is going on and we just said, Jesus, please help us. Please save us from this. And deliver us. We need your grace, God. Please save us.

And I think for us in that moment there's a kind of terrifying situation going on and we're powerless to do anything. We're just laying, you know, laying there on the ground and more screaming, more shooting, and you know, at that point I think we just, we moved into the bathrooms because we didn't know what was going to happen. We didn't know if there were going to be more explosions, you know, guns fired from other sides and so, you know, we got in the bath tub just the three of us with our dog and camped out in there.

And eventually the police came by and knocked on the door and showed us what had happened, the bullet that had come through our wall and into our home, just the other damage that had been done, the shells that were lying around. They showed us the -- any told us about a bullet that had gone through to our upstairs neighbor's wall as well and right through their two little children's bedroom. You know, it's terrifying to hear about something like that.

But for us, like I think the hope that we found through prayer and trusting Jesus in this dark time has been something that's sustained us. It's just been kind of a nonstop, stressful and overwhelming situation to be a part of.

TAPPER: Well, Stephen, we're glad that you and your wife are all right and stay safe, please. Stephen McAlpin, thank you so much for your time.

I want to bring in Bill Gavin. He served as an assistant director of the FBI in New York when the 1993 World Trade Center bombing happened.

Bill, what's the FBI's part in this manhunt? It seems to be a team effort going on here.

BILL GAVIN, WITH FBI DURING 1993 WORLD TRADE CENTER BOMBING: It is a team effort, Jake. The entire law enforcement contingent for the JTTF, Joint Terrorism Task Force, they work together, they practice together.

The part of the law enforcement effort going on now, though, is really the kind of effort the police, local police are better at. You know, they do it all the time.

TAPPER: You see buses of local police officers going to Watertown and other parts of the city.

GAVIN: They do these things all the time and are very good at it. While the bureau will augment it with the SWAT teams and things of that nature they do a great job working together and it's going to be a very difficult task.

My concern is whether or not this young man, the 19-year-old, took maybe a couple rounds, a lot of bullets into that car and into his brother. I don't see how he escaped with having none. And I just wonder if he is going to nest someplace and exsanguinated. That would be a concern of mine.

TAPPER: I have to say I've been covering the story, this most immediate story since 1:00 in the morning. Are you surprised at all that they have not found Dzhokhar yet? I have to confess I am a little bit.

After all, his older brother, who seemingly was the mastermind and the leader of this plot, at least according to those who knew them, and described their relationship, he's dead. He was killed early, early this morning. Somehow the younger brother at least as far as we know right now has eluded capture. Does that surprise you at all?

GAVIN: It does. You know, with the amount of law enforcement people that are out on the street, the grid that they have is huge. It's going to take a long time to do it but it is surprising nobody has seen him run into a backyard or into any place where they could get their hands on or there's been some lecture about it. So, it is surprising.

TAPPER: As I followed the story and as those of us who have been up all night followed the story, we've seen the request for people to stay in their homes spread. It started out just in Watertown which is roughly eight miles that way from about northwest of Boston and it just stayed there. Originally it was just in that area. People stay in their homes, don't answer your doors unless it is an identified police officer.

Then it spread to other neighborhoods, Waltham, Cambridge, other areas around. Now we're told the entire metropolitan area of Boston should stay in their homes, shelter in place it's called. It's not always for the same reason, right? People in Boston are being told to stay in their homes not because they're necessarily in any threat but just to kind of keep them out of the way of any resources. People in Watertown, they actually might be in danger.

GAVIN: You're right. There are two different reasons for having people stay at home and you're absolutely right. The people of Waltham -- Watertown might be in danger where somebody in downtown Boston isn't. But, you know, if you get everybody out looking at these situations, being in the neighborhood, it just impedes the police progress. They can do it a lot faster if they don't have to ask people to move out of the way and gently prod them out of the way. You know?

TAPPER: Stay here for one second. I want to go to Jim Acosta who has breaking news having to do with the social media presence of at least one of the suspects.

Jim Acosta, are you there? What have you learned?

JIM ACOSTA, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jake, as you know our staff has been going through the tweets that have been sent out from what appears to be the Twitter account for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. Let's just put up this tweet onscreen if we have it.

This is what was posted on this account back on august 10th of 2012, quote, "Boston marathon isn't a good place to smoke tho." That's the end of the quote. There you can see the Twitter account on screen.

Jake, we don't know much more about that. The broader context of this conversation is not known. But as we've been reporting all day, there have been a number of tweets from this account that have raised some interest. One that was posted just in the hours after the bombing in Boston on Monday that said something along the lines of, "Ain't no love in the heart of the city. Stay safe, people."

And then two days later, "I'm a stress free kind of guy."

So obviously the social media behavior and activity of this suspect is becoming a big part of the conversational though this tweet about the Boston marathon back on August 10th of 2012, we don't know the larger context of that at this point. But it is a reference to the marathon so it is something that I'm sure investigators will be looking at, Jake.

TAPPER: Thank you so much. Bill Gavin, it might mean nothing. It might be significant. I would imagine that law enforcement as they try to find Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, they're looking at everything.

Could one of those things -- this is -- we have no idea but could that be a signal, a message to somebody?

GAVIN: It could be a message. It could be just him and his rantings and ravings. It could be just his ego. Boston ain't no place to smoke, you know. You just can't tell.

People do strange things and this is absolutely one of the strangest I've seen. Random bombing at the World Trade Center in '93, and this is strange. I've never seen a manhunt like this so intense and so prolonged in my career in the bureau.

TAPPER: No, it's remarkable. Thanks so much for joining us, Bill Gavin.