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Police with Guns Drawn in Watertown
Aired April 19, 2013 - 10:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: And our coverage continues of the manhunt for Suspect Number 2, a 19-year-old young man. The manhunt is ongoing here in Boston. As we said, a lockdown of a city unlike anything ever seen before in this country.
We want to get the very latest on the intelligence of where he is and exactly what police and authorities are looking for. Barbara Starr has that; she's been doing reporting on that, calling her sources. She's at the Pentagon this morning -- Barbara.
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Erin and Chris. We can now tell you that the entire U.S. law enforcement and intelligence community here in Washington, now going back this morning, through every piece of intelligence they have looking for any information about these two suspects.
Until yesterday, until the identification came out, officials had told us they just didn't see any foreign connection. They weren't sure, but they didn't see anything.
Now that they have the identities on these two suspects and they have some sense of their background, they are going back through everything. That means intelligence reports, phone intercepts, chatter, jihadists' Web sites, travel records everything and anything. They are looking at their social media postings for any connections they may have to overseas groups.
Now, they don't have any firm conclusions at this point. But what is so significant here is now, as of this morning, they are indeed looking to see if these two men had any connections to overseas groups, frankly, to overseas terrorism.
No conclusion about that yet. We want to emphasize that very strongly. Because basically, officials tell us there are three possibilities here. A domestic terrorism incident, something backed by a foreign group or these two men in the United States potentially inspired, if you will, by some political cause or some overseas group.
So they're looking at all of it. But, now, that they have their identities, full-blown review by the U.S. intelligence and federal law enforcement community going back through everything they have -- Erin, Chris.
BURNETT: Thanks Barbara. CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: All right, Barbara, thank you very much. All right, so the big question is here is what changed in these two men to turn them into killers and bombers. And that's what we're trying to figure out this morning as our authorities. Ivan Watson is with us on the phone right now. Ivan knows both brothers. Ivan, can you hear us?
IVAN WATSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I can hear you Chris. That's right what we're hearing is a little bit more about the background -- absolutely -- what we're hearing is more about the background of these two brothers, Chris. I've spoken with an official from the central Asian former roots Soviet Republic of Kyrgyzstan a government official telling CNN that these brothers both had passports from Kyrgyzstan when they got their green cards that allowed them to emigrate to the U.S.
Now, this becomes a tangled story. They described themselves to their friends, to their neighbors as natives of Chechnya, another Russian republic torn apart by war during the 1990s. Evidently, they left that area probably because of the gruesome conflict there and ended up in Kyrgyzstan before they moved on to the U.S.
As far as how long ago they left that central Asian republic, well I talked to one of the leaders of the ethnic Chechen community in Kyrgyzstan. He said that we have not seen anybody from the Tsarnaev family in more than ten years. So whatever may have happened seems to have taken place while they were in the U.S.
One other little tidbit, just to give an indicator of how deep their roots were going in the U.S., we know that the eldest brother, Dzhokhar -- I'm sorry, Tamerlan -- he competed in the Golden Gloves boxing championship in Salt Lake City in 2009 -- Chris.
CUOMO: All right. Thank you very much. That's helpful information in terms of -- that they've been here a long time. There seems to be no real connection back to where they came from. So whatever happened with these two happened here.
BURNETT: Right, it seems to be. You know whether it was inspired by or motivated by something elsewhere, of course, we don't know yet at this point.
I want to bring in Jim Walsh now. He's a professor at MIT I know, your office, Jim, is right next to where this went down last night as we were watching Building 32 at that time, we had absolutely no idea -- no one had any idea that this would be linked to the two brothers into the Boston Marathon bombing.
What is -- what is it like on campus now? It must have been a real shock.
JIM WALSH, MIT'S SECURITY STUDIES PROGRAM: Well, it certainly, to put this into some context, I went to bed last night having learned from MIT that a person who works where I work, was slain. And then I woke up this morning, one street over from Watertown, Massachusetts the middle class suburb next to Cambridge, across the river from Boston, to the sound of helicopters and sirens and instructions to keep our doors locked.
I have since -- I'm not on campus now, I'm at a studio here in Watertown, which is ground zero for the police outside. There are a dozen of heavily armed police officers and more than a dozen satellite trucks.
And as I was pulling up, they stopped my car. You know I let them do their business. They were going house by house, checking the small side street that is near the studio that I'm currently sitting in.
So all this has descended really, really very, very close to home for me. You know a fellow employee at my university is dead. And now the neighborhood that I once owned a house in and where I speak to you from now, is -- and people are locked indoors and there are police everywhere.
BURNETT: Jim, it seems like a transformative moment and, of course, a tragic one. That if someone you worked with that makes it -- makes it personal on a level that that many of us can only try to fathom. What is the campus like today? I mean, everything around where we are, basically, is empty. The only cars that we see going by are basically law enforcement officials because the city is in such lockdown.
WALSH: Yes, I think that's true. It's true for all of Cambridge, it's true for Boston and these surrounding neighborhoods, Belmont and Watertown, where I am now.
You know oddly, a couple weeks ago, we had a hoax on the MIT campus where someone called in and reported seeing a gunman. And the police swarmed in. That was a hoax. But one of the consequences of that hoax was MIT did an assessment of its emergency communications and its preparedness. And one has to think that in some ways, sadly, that helped prepare the university for what took place last night.
I got instant e-mails from the university and from my colleagues in political science and elsewhere with instructions to stay home
You know, let me step back for a minute, Erin and Chris and also as someone who's been on TV these last several days talking about this from an international security perspective. I must say I was surprised by what happened today -- everyone is.
But what makes it more surprising is we just hosted the President of the United States yesterday and -- at that church service. And one of the -- when I was on talking last night, one of the conclusions that I drew from that, by inference, was that there's no way that they would allow the President of the United States to travel to Boston unless they had fairly high confidence that either the terror -- the people who had committed these crimes were gone or not, you know, not -- still posing a danger to the greater Boston area.
So I think we're going to have to add some questions going forward about what law enforcement knew and how it is that the President of the United States flew into a city when these two young men still had explosives and were still only hours away from committing other crimes. BURNETT: So -- so you're saying Jim you think they may have known more than they were telling us at the time? Or you're surprised at the decision they chose to make given that they didn't know where they were.
WALSH: Well you know I'm not positing or assuming anything. But I do think it's odd right. So I'm asking the question. I'm sure there's a good answer, but it would be interesting to know what the assessment, the danger or risk assessment was yesterday in the decision to bring the President to Boston if only because these two gentlemen were here and continued to -- you know, they've killed another person, they killed an MIT police officer and obviously, have used explosives, you know, within 12 hours of having the President visit.
So I'm just putting that out as something -- you know, we're going to go back and we're going to look at a lot of this stuff. And everyone is going to be able to do a better job, right? You know the media is going to do a better job, there have been small mistakes every day. Analysts can do a better job, I've made mistakes. And I'm not suggesting the law enforcement made a mistake here but I would like to better understand the logic of that decision.
BURNETT: All right I want to bring Juliette into the conversation. What do you think about what Jim is saying that to understand the decision about the President coming?
JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: It's a big city and the President has a very, very competent Secret Service. To not have him come to the memorial service would have been, I think, premature.
We had no idea where these people were. And you know, he can be secure and still have two people on the loose. Who knows what they knew at what stage. But if there was any risk, it wouldn't happened so I mean you'd just have to assume that no one is going to put the President at risk.
I think what's also really interesting about what's come out so far, is from what I can tell they've spent most of their time here. They spent most of their time here in Cambridge. And so this idea of radicalization occurring occurred, if it did, occurred here. Or it didn't occur. In other words, this was something else. It was mad men -- it was all sorts of things.
And so we had this debate about whether terrorism or not, and I think we're seeing the consequences of being able to wait and see what in fact, these -- what was animating these two that they're Chechnyan, yes, we know that.
That they spent most of their time here, a lot of their time here; that they're Muslim, we don't know how devout. So is that the motivating factor? Maybe not and so we sort of reserve judgement. Right now though the city --
BURNETT: So let me ask you on this when you say we're debating whether it's terrorism, if someone blows bombs up at a marathon, that's terrorism. It doesn't matter what it's motivated by. KAYYEM: It's a terrorist act but if you want to bring a case against them, we really don't care what their motivation is. I mean they killed people. And they wreaked havoc on a city; they killed more people last night or one more person last night. And so if you want to bring a case, let's assume we're going to have a live -- a live defendant and that's a big assumption right now, you want to bring a case that's strong. And the best case so far, you know, you want, you can call it terrorism, but, you know, it's a murder case. And --
CUOMO: Well that's going in a (inaudible); your questions are so on, Erin.
BURNETT: Right yes.
CUOMO: It gets a little complicated because it starts to leave the world of common sense and move in to the world of legalese in a prosecutorial --
BURNETT: Well there's a legal distinction but I mean I'm just think the point most people would say --
CUOMO: It's terrorism.
KAYYEM: Right but I think one of the consequences of that in a post- 9/11 world is that we, meaning me, too, tend to view terrorism as equated to 19 guys on a plane. Equated to bin Laden, equated to -- and I just -- those links are absolutely not provable at this stage.
And so the word "terrorism" is just -- we -- we use it as sort of a catch-all. And what we see now is a bunch of people who might be motivated by some theory of al Qaeda who might be motivated by some serious -- something else, who might be delusional, who spent a lot of time in the United States doing something really, really bad, their motivation matters less than catching one of them obviously in bringing the case.
CUOMO: One I think that was very confusing to so many people who are watching the coverage right now is you hear somebody was good, did good things and you can't reconcile that with them being the worst of people. And it's not as simple as just saying, well, that's human nature. People have different sides.
Explain it as part of your area of expertise. Why do those two things go often, go together often?
KAYYEM: Oh I think people are complicated and the public persona of people tends to be very different than sort of quiet side of people. So I -- there's a wonderful book about the Columbine killers. We have some image of them as being you know dark guys in trench coats who everyone hated. The truth is they were -- one of them was incredibly popular. The other one, all the parents loved him. We get these images of people and actually sociopaths, and psychotics and murderers, come in all shapes, sizes and colors, creeds, and they do bad things. And all you want to do is stop them from doing bad things and that's what -- that's what's happening today. I know it seems sort of overwhelming, but, we're going to, you know, people are inside so they don't have to be a part of this, so that law enforcement can do what they want to do. And then you know hopefully, it ends relatively soon. It's daytime.
BURNETT: Well it's interesting, when you talk about -- we're talking about this -- what appears to be a real contradiction, in terms of especially the younger suspect, as we're learning more about the boy on the run. But -- but what I'm trying to understand is when you look at the profile of these kinds of people, we're trying to find a way that this doesn't happen again.
BURNETT: These people have done something successfully in this country that has never been done successfully before.
BURNETT: And one of the most terrifying thoughts is that we may not really ever understand why. Because if you can't understand why, then how are you going to identify possible people who might do something like this again?
KAYYEM: I think in one case you bring up a great point, which is, you're just touching on how much more difficult it is to find this kind of threat. It is we say home grown, you know, it generally just means one or two or three people who aren't affiliated with the grand plan. It is just harder. We have to face it. They don't leave trails. They don't -- they're not talking on phones to each other. It is harder for intelligence to do. Unfortunately, we have to accept that fact.
But you know one other thing and you know, as I teach on this is you know 9/11 didn't create terrorism. And it didn't start then and it didn't end then. We have always had people doing very bad things in this nation and of course, throughout the world.
And that this hasn't happened since 9/11 is sort of also pretty remarkable, right, something like this? And so putting it in context is hard right now because we're all really anxious. I can't get home. And so we're all really anxious. And so once we put it in context and we say ok, this is probably the way things might look for a while.
BURNETT: All right, Juliette, thank you very much.
CUOMO: Right now, take a look at your screen -- on your screen right now, you're seeing a live picture from where we have Deborah Feyerick. Guns are being drawn. There's heightened activity from police there. Do we have Deb? Is she able to talk to us right now? All right. So we'll get her when we can. I hope she's staying safe with her crew. But there's been an increase in activity here. We've only been showing the feeds that authorities are comfortable with. So we're going to keep watching this right now, monitor this situation. Do you want to bring -- Deb is on the phone. Great. Deb what's the explanation of what we're seeing right now?
DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Chris and Erin. Well, just really, within the last 30 seconds, a number of cars pulled back into the area where we are. A lot of people are now -- the police are telling the press to pull back. But we do know that guns are drawn. They're going into a location. There's a lot of chaos. There's a lot of screaming and yelling.
We have been told by terrorism experts that we have to be very careful. This kid, if he's out there, may want to go out in a blaze of glory. We've got police officers with shotguns. They are pushing members of the media back. We've got to be careful. Everybody get back, get down.
We've got, obviously, according to some intel people that we're speaking to, they're telling us that this kid may want to go out in a blaze of glory. What they're doing is they're trying to flush this person out. They're trying to flush him out. They don't know where he is. Again, let me just put the phone out the window so you can listen.
So you can hear a little bit. But we're pulling out. We're pulling out. We're going back. Let's go. Hold on. We're kind of right in the middle of everything, guys. We're going to move this truck. But we're going to come back to you. We're going to come back to you.
CUOMO: All right, that's the right idea. Deb, do what the police are telling you to do. Get to safety then call us back.
CUOMO: All right. Good. She's got to get with her crew back to where the perimeter where the authorities are safe. Obviously that's what matters most. We are feeding this video with a 5-second delay. It's also just another consideration because we don't know what's going to unfold on camera and we all want to be a little bit careful about it.
BURNETT: That's right. We want to make sure you all understand that that's what we're doing and why we're doing it. We're going to keep this picture up right now. There's been a couple of times this morning where we have seen intense activity here. There are -- obviously, the entire city is under lockdown. And there have been a few neighborhoods where there have been, you know, high police presence. But this has been the one, Watertown, where there has been the most so far.
CUOMO: Right. And I got a note from investigators that one of the challenges in this particular area is a lot of dense housing. So one of the particular challenges in this area is that they may think they have the right place. But there could be eight or ten different buildings that they have to go through to find what they're looking for right now.
So, again, this is live picture, five-second delay. And we're waiting for Deb Feyerick to get to a safe position where the authorities are comfortable with her.
BURNETT: All right. There is also police activity where Don Lemon is. So, Don, what exactly are you seeing happening?
DON LEMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We saw all of the presence that had been -- once been to Deb pullout. And then we saw it all go back in just moments. And there you see some of the guys coming in and out. Wherever this is happening here, we can hear it and we can see it.
And it's in that perimeter that we told you about just a little bit earlier where we said hey, listen, over here, this is where they're zeroing in on something going on. This is where that helicopter has been circling, has been orbiting and then the orbit gets tighter and tighter and tighter which leads us to believe, just as laymen, just as civilians that something is going on in that area.
We can hear the activity. We can't see, obviously we're on the ground. But some of the officers went in. The first couple went in with sirens. I would imagine that they said hey, no sirens. Just go in with flashing lights. And then the next round of officers that went in, just went in with flashing lights, no noise. Probably not to give any indication that they're on the way to stir up any fear or what have you.
The same thing that Deb said, that they're being told by officers, they're being told by people, hey, be careful. Early this morning, when I first got to the scene, three Boston police officers said "Hey, Don, be careful. Be careful because this guy feels like a trapped animal. We have so many resources on this. If you had this many people looking for you, you would be paranoid."
If you were in this particular situation, they're worried that this guy will go out in a blaze of glory and feel trapped like an animal and come out shooting. They said listen, we know he has explosives. Threw them out of the car during a police chase. We know he has long rifles. Don, those long rifles can go very far. So again, I would tell you and your buddies in the media to be safe, even though you're behind a perimeter. There is no -- we're not in bullet-proof vest or what have you.
So that's exactly -- I'm just being honest -- what they're telling us here. We can hear the activity. We can see the resources. The officers, the tactical units, the SWAT teams going into the other locations. And we're also monitoring it on our monitors here. We can see what's happening.
They're telling the media in that particular area to get back. Get back. Get back. And when they say that to us, we do exactly what those officers tell us. But we know it's happening here in Watertown. This is the center of it. This is the last place that suspect was seen not more than ten minutes ago, at the convenience store down just next to where I am.
An officer came in and said we believe he's in this area, Don. Because this is the last place he was seen. They give us the street, they gave us an intersection. We won't specifically go into that. They're also, concerned, too, because they're getting reports, they said, on their scanners. And, again, this is from an officer, on their scanner that this guy is after them. He's ticked off that they killed his brother; that his brother, somehow died in the confrontation this morning. And that he is going after police officers.
They believe, again, this is according to police, this is not CNN reporting, I want to preface that. They believe that he has a laptop with him and that he's sending messages out on social media. Again, that's according to officers. Not confirmed reports -- anything that I have gotten myself specifically.
But they are concerned that he is going to go after police officers and put police officers in the cross hair because he is so upset about what happened to his brother this morning. Strangely, you know, he killed three people and injured 183 others and he's upset about his brother.
Again, we can hear where they are. We can't see them. So we can see them going to that particular location. Ok? Back to you guys.
CUOMO: Don? All right, thanks, Don.
Deb, can you hear us? Deborah Feyerick, can you hear us?
BURNETT: Deb, can you hear us?
CUOMO: This is the shot where Deborah Feyerick is right now. This is her camera. There's been a lot of police activity. She was told to move back by authorities. She did so.
BURNETT: You can hear us now Deb.
FEYERICK: Yes, I can hear you guys. There's a lot of concern. This is right now. There's something very worrisome to police that's going on right now.
We've heard over the radio that they're calling for a Russian interpreter. There are some reports I'm being told by an intel source that, in fact, that they may have found the car -- the car that was carjacked. All I can say is they are treating this as a very high- level incident, what's going on here.
But again a lot of people are sort of saying low to the ground. One intel person I spoke to said one of the dangers is if you have a visual on the car, you can see the car, you can see the bomb, the bomb can see you. You've got to be very aware of that that you're going to be in range -- Erin. (CROSSTALK)
CUOMO: Deb, obviously, the premium is on your safety. Listen to the officers. Get where you need to be. The shots will come when they come but stay safe. We'll be back to you again.
BURNETT: Interesting what she's reporting. Again, we are including all of you watching in what we are hearing and what our reporters are hearing from the police that they're next from the scanners. She's saying that they requested a Russian translator.
And also when she referred to the car, I can confirm to you that the Boston police have said that there's a car being processed for evidence. That apparently it's a gray 1999 Honda CRV saying that (inaudible) possible suspect's car. So these are the pieces of information that we have right now.
But again, an elevated -- and you saw a police officer run across Deb's shot just a moment ago -- elevated police presence now once again in Watertown which was where there was a big scramble earlier this morning that seemed like it could be the end but it was not.
CUOMO: They also could be interviewing people other than the suspect. There could be someone who called for an interpreter because they're dealing with someone other than him, obviously his experience with the English language is very high. He's fluent in it. So the call for an interpreter may not necessarily be for the suspect. We're going to have to learn as we're going along.
We're showing you the picture of the suspect right now, this man, allegedly, according to authorities told a hostage that he was the Boston marathon bomber. They had been pursuing him and his brother. His brother has been shot and killed. They are now looking for him. They believe that he may have explosives on him.
That's why there's this abundance of caution about blast range. And the media is trying to respect that while also keeping cameras trained on the situation. We're feeding video to you with a delay just in case something does happen that we can control.
BURNETT: A five-second delay. As everyone knows, five seconds.
There is -- and we're going to keep showing you the shot. This is where Deborah is in Watertown. As soon as we can get Deb back, we will. You can all just hope one of these is going to lead to the final showdown and that it's going to end with the suspect being taken alive -- apprehended alive so that we can get information -- more information about this 19-year-old Dzokhar and how he came to be the monster that he came to be.
BURNETT: Everything we've heard has not matched that.
CUOMO: Juliette was saying change can happen very quickly. Human nature is very complicated. People can get ideas and believe that they're going to act and see a sense of glory without being related to any type of organization that we would traditionally identify with terrorism.
But all this goes into the category of what we do not know. What I want to know is -- do we have Joe Johns who's following this investigation down in Washington. Do we have Joe? Are we able to get him up?
JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I am here. Can you hear me?
CUOMO: I'm going to try to get Joe Johns because he's monitoring this from Washington.
BURNETT: There he is. We've got him.
CUOMO: I hear you, Joe. Thank you for being with us. What are you hearing down there in terms of official information?
JOHNS: We're not hearing a lot of official information. And I have to tell you, there's been a lot of radio silence, among at least some of those law enforcement officials in Washington D.C. deferring to the authorities in Boston on the ground there. But while we're waiting for some more information from Deb and other I just wanted to sort of reset you on how we got to where we are right now.
Authorities told us that there was some type of a convenience store robbery late last night. There was also the murder of an MIT police officer which got authorities interested. But I can tell you as of 11:53 last night, authorities were drawing no connection between the marathon bombing case and what was going on at MIT.
There was some time after that a carjacking, a vehicle was carjacked, and then authorities started getting real interested in these series of events. These individuals they have been looking for apparently told the driver of the vehicle that was carjacked that they had actually been the bombers at the marathon.
And sometime after that one of the two individuals got outside of the car. Shots were fired and that individual, apparently, was hit. And then we're told the other suspect ran over his brother with the car. Kept going. They got that individual, check him out and discovered the guy who was killed was wearing some type of an explosive, apparently, an IED.
So, then, authorities went in to full alert. Realizing they had a situation where one suspect was wearing an explosive. Thought that the other suspect could, as well, be wearing an explosive. The chase was on. Authorities started going door-to-door, checking on the welfare of individuals. And that's how the entire city of Boston, eventually, came to be locked down. That's where we are now.
I've said to you before, there are tons of questions in this case right now. How do all of these things fit together especially when you consider the fact that there was a very carefully-planned bombing at the Boston Marathon, but after that it seems like everything just got thrown up in the air. The fact of the matter was these individuals may have planned the bombings very well, allegedly, but they certainly didn't plan an escape very well at all. That's where we find ourselves right now.
BURNETT: Joe, we want to add some point to this conversation. Please don't go anywhere. We're monitoring here on five-second delay, the shot that you see is of Watertown. Our Deborah Feyerick is there. As soon as we can get her on camera, she gets more information, we're going to bring her to you.
But the latest obviously is a big and sudden increase in the police presence there, on the scanner, a request for an interpreter who speaks Russian, we're not sure who they wanted to speak to or what that was regarding. But that is the latest that we have.
And Tom Fuentes, let me just add you into the conversation. This is the second time this has happened in Watertown. When you look at how this is happening, do you have a level of certainty that, you know, what it appears to us to be that they believe that this 19-year-old young man is in a few block radius of this area. Or is it possible that they aren't sure and he could be somewhere else?
TOM FUENTES, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I think it's possible that he could be somewhere else. But I think the probability is that he's in that area and he would have stayed close to some type of a support group, whether it's his own apartment or aunts or uncles or some other relatives.
As far as asking for the interpreter, you know, Chris is right. They're fluent, they're Americanized kids, fluent in English. You heard the one classmate say hey, he's as American as I am. I don't quite think that, but, certainly, he doesn't need an interpreter.
But they might be trying to get entry to search a relative's house, who needs an interpreter, and they may be asking for that thinking that he could have gone to another aunt or uncle or cousin or somebody else's house that maybe, in that house, they're still speaking Russian.
So these are the type things they don't know. This could still be just part of sweeping the apartments of anywhere he might have gone to, any known relative or any telephone contact that's come up or some reason to believe that he could be in another place, but with someone that's a relative from the old country. So that could be what the interpreter is for.
BURNETT: We want to bring in Deb Feyerick. We have her now on the phone.