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Boston on Lockdown for Manhunt; Manhunt for Teen Bomb Suspects; Heavy Police Activity in Watertown. Suspect's Uncle Interviewed, Shocked; Concern More Bombs in Area.
Aired April 19, 2013 - 11:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Erin and Chris, it almost looks as if this was someone who is doing a sweep for IEDs.
As we see everything that's developing, everything that's going on, we're keeping an eye and monitoring it. You also get the feeling that they're trying to close the news, that they're pushing and basically trying to get this guy. So that's what we're keeping an eye on right now.
But, again, the activity that's here to get to this area, you pass several dozen police cars. They're sitting at check points. They're looking in trucks, they're asking for I.D.s. So things are really going on right here.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Thank you, Deborah.
This is consistent with what we've been saying. I heard a source that says they do believe they're getting closer to the suspect by talking to more people in this area. The reason they wanted the interpreter is because they're doing interviews with people.
We do not know that these people have any connection in the Boston Marathon bombing. They could be helpful in finding the suspects.
This was an area the suspect thought it was familiar, was comfortable with it. He chose it. And that's why they're focusing on it.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: Right, a Russian area. Again, from what we know from the friends before, who we've been speaking to, a lot of people may not know that what they know may be useful. And, right now, people may not, you know, not be aware. I spoke to this person and they said this. Those are crucial little pieces of information that they need as they try to hone in on him.
Again, we just want to keep emphasizing that their ultimate goal at this point is to take him alive, because we need to get answers. But what they really need is to talk to this young man and get a picture of why he did what he did and why he, from what we understand, change from being one kind of person to a completely different kind of person so quickly.
CUOMO: All makes complete sense.
Let's just begin with our fundamental understanding about justice in America. The authorities here want to capture, bring in and put through the process of justice, any suspect of a crime. That's just the operating assumption. All the red-blooded, vengeful feelings aside, the justifiable pain of what was done, the goal has to be for this to be done the right way. That is the goal of the American justice system.
Tom, we are being overwhelmed by manpower and shows of force and quick movement. But give us some context in terms of how when you're dealing with so many different moving parts on a massive investigation like this, you're going to have huge flows of manpower and vehicles.
TOM FUENTES, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Right. Well, in the command post, and in this case, you would have a formal command post. Different agencies have different names, you know, incident command post or tactical operation center. But in the forward command post, as well as back in the main office command post, you've got representatives from every agency and representatives from each of the components. So you'd have the bomb techs and the SWAT teams and the negotiators, all of that. So the on-scene commander is basically like the leader of an orchestra. Each of the different sections are performing what they do. And the commanders are making sure they're seeing it and including each other, including the ATF and FBI and Boston P.D. and all the others that are in that post, and members of the JJTF, which is maybe 20 agencies, they're representative. So you have the sharing of information going on and discussion about the approach to be taken.
Now, in the reactive mode, like you're seeing here, every 10 or fifteen minutes, we're seeing a flood of police cars, lights and sirens going into an area because something has come up. Someone has reported a suspicious package or event or something that appears could be an explosive trap and turns out it's some type of trash. But they have to respond that way. That's why you see this continuous response like that to make sure they can resolve any issue that comes up as quickly as they can. Then they resolve it and go back to the regular mode that they're approaching this.
I think right now, what you are seeing is the attempt to contact everybody that he might be related to or that might have information about what he's doing now or where he is now or maybe housing him now.
BURNETT: I want to bring Peter Bergen, security expert, into the picture, too, Tom.
Peter, right now, we're looking at Watertown, Massachusetts, where they're trying at this moment, our understanding is, to try to contact the suspect. Might not necessarily be implicated but are associated.
How are they operating right now, Peter? Can you walk us through how they're trying to communicate with this guy? How they're trying to reach communication with the suspect so they can try to have a conversation with him? Try to have this end where he comes into custody.
PETER BERGEN, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, that's more of Tom Fuentes' area of expertise than mine. But I will say -- CUOMO: Peter, hold on one second.
CUOMO: Peter, hold on one second. We just got a development here. The uncle of the suspect has just released a statement. We want to go to it right now. This is what he had to say.
BURNETT: Sounds like we don't actually quite have that. We're getting it.
CUOMO: It's coming. We're getting ready to go.
(BEGIN LIFE FEED)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Move the mic stand down. Can someone move the mic stand down?
Easy, easy, fellows. Easy.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Whoa!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sorry.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Someone take the stand back there.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Down in front.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Here we go.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Down in front.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you come up here, please?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you. Thank you very much.
RUSLAN TSARNI, UNCLE OF BOMBING SUSPECT. My name is Ruslan Tsarni. I wanted to speak on behalf of the Tsarni family. What happened when we heard this morning about people associated for my family, I would say my family associated. I want to start, and I will finish with that.
First, the only purpose here to deliver condolences are those who have been murdered, those who have been injured. Those boys, those Chinese girls, I've just been following this. I've been following it from day one, but never, ever would imagine that somehow the children of my brother would be associated with that. So it is a tragedy. I was shocked. Again, I don't know. His family does not know how to share their grief with the victims. That's pretty much --
(CROSSTALK) UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Can you tell us about the last time you saw --
TSARNI: We've not been in touch with that family for a number of years. A number of years for --
TSARNI: Pardon me?
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Did they ever live --
TSARNI: No, they never lived here. They never lived here.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: When was the last time you saw them?
TSARNI: The last time I saw them was 2006. I'm sorry, December, 2005.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Did you ever know them to have any ill will towards the United States?
TSARNI: No. No. I never knew it. Even if I had to guess or something, I would say myself.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: What do you think provoked this?
TSARNI: Being losers. Hatred to those who were able to settle themselves. These are the only reasons I can imagine. Anything else, anything else to do with religion, with Islam, it's a fraud. It's a fake.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Did they have any military training at all?
TSARNI: No. Again, I've seen them when they were kids.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Any experience with guns?
TSARNI: I don't know. I've seen them only in 2005.
TSARNI: We're Muslims. We're Chechnyans. We're ethnic Chechnyans.
TSARNI: If that happened, most likely somebody radicalized them. But it's not my brother, who just moved back to Russia and spent his life bringing bread to their table. Fixing cars. Fixing cars. He didn't have time or chance or anything optional. He's been working. That's it.
TSARNI: No, no, no. I've not been inside with my brother, no. I don't know anything about that.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Do you have children who are close to them?
TSARNI: No, my family has nothing to do with that family.
TSARNI: Pardon me?
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Are you ashamed by what has unfolded?
TSARNI: Of course we're ashamed. Yes, we're ashamed. They're children of my brother who had little influence of them, honestly, as much as I know, who has little influence of them.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Is there any reason why you haven't had contact with them? Have you had a falling out or anything?
TSARNI: It's a personal -- it's a personal -- it wasn't like -- I just wanted -- I just wanted my family kept away from them.
TSARNI: Again, I say what I think what's behind it, being losers. Not being able to settle themselves. And thereby just hating everyone.
TSARNI: They came early, 2003.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: What are they in Cambridge?
TSARNI: They came -- when they moved to the states -- so they came to Cambridge area.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Why? What took them there?
TSARNI: They emigrated. They emigrated. They received asylum.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Were they working there?
TSARNI: Yes, they lived there.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Do they go to college?
TSARNI: I hope so. I don't know.
TSARNI: When they grew up, I said me, myself, and this family has nothing to do with them for long, long time.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: How do you feel about America?
TSARNI: Last time I spoke with my -- it was about 2009.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: How do you feel about America? What do you think of the United States?
TSARNI: I say I teach my children and that's where I feel myself. This is the ideal -- my world is the entire world. I respect this country. I love this country. This country, which gives chance to everybody else to be treated as a human being and just to be human being, that's what I feel about this country.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Sir, were you caught up in the violence?
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: What's the proper spelling of your name?
TSARNI: My name Ruslan, R-U-S-L-A-N. Last name, Tsarni, T-S-A-R-N-I.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: We're they involved in any sort of training?
TSARNI: I don't know. I don't know.
TSARNI: I guess, again, I don't know. I've seen them as a kid. And if I -- even slightly be aware that they were involved, I'd be the first one to bring them into responsibility. I'm their uncle.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Were they ever caught up in the fight against Chechnya?
TSARNI: No, they've never been in Chechnya. They have nothing to do with Chechnya. Chechnyans are different.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Were they born there?
TSARNI: No, they were not born there. One of them, Dzhokhar, he was born Kyrgyzstan. That's the neighboring region.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: When you say their pictures, did you recognize them?
TSARNI: I saw them only this morning when I was contacted from --
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: When you saw their pictures on the news last night, did you recognize them?
TSARNI: Yes, in the pictures, when you said have you seen the pictures, my wife opened up Internet.
TSARNI: And on AOL, I saw picture of Dzhokhar.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: What do you say to Dzhokhar right now?
TSARNI: I say, Dzhokhar, if you're alive, turn yourself in. And ask for forgiveness. The victims from the injured and from those who are left, ask forgiveness from these people. We're not requiring forgiveness in this family. He put a shame on our family, Tsarnaev family, put a shame on the entire Chechnyan community. For now, everyone now blames the world's Chechnyan. So they put that shame on the entire ethnicity. That's what I would say. Turn yourself in. And whatever, whatever, I mean, put yourself in the discretion of those people.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Do you consider them --
TSARNI: Pardon me?
TSARNI: Not yet. Not yet.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: What is your name again?
TSARNI: Last time I spoke with them, that was about -- about three months ago, maybe.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Did you express --
TSARNI: No, no, no.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Where are they from? Where were they born?
TSARNI: They came here from Kyrgyzstan.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Where were they born? Where were they born?
TSARNI: In Kyrgyzstan.
TSARNI: Pardon me?
TSARNI: No, they're losers. I'm saying those who are able to make this tragedy are only losers. That's what I say. There's no idea that they may follow.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Would you consider them terrorists?
TSARNI: I work. I work. I have legal background.
Thank you very much. (CROSSTALK)
TSARNI: One more thing, from now on, I clearly ask you to respect our property. Again, we're the families of -- I mean, those who suffered, we share with them their grief. I'm ready just to meet with them. I'm ready just to bend in front of them, to kneel in front of them seeking their forgiveness.
Again, on an entire -- in the name of our country -- of the families, so that's what I say.
Thank you. Please. Please.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You've got to give me a little room. What?
(END LIVE FEED)
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: All right, we've just been listening to the uncle, the uncle of these two brothers. The uncle, Ruslan Tsarni.
Chris, clearly upset, saying these two brothers, one of whom are now dead, is a loser -- they're losers.
CUOMO: He said he spoke to them three months ago. No indication of this. Has nothing do with the family. The family loves being here. They're assimilated. Where they are from. What their faith is. They say it has nothing to thing with anything. That they love America. He says to his nephew, the suspect, if you are alive, turn yourself in, ask for forgiveness.
BLITZER: That's the 19-year-old, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. He's the suspect still at large. The 26-year-old, older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, he's dead.
BURNETT: And the uncle -- it may have been hard for the viewers to understand everything he said. In addition to what Chris was just reporting, he said my family has nothing to do with this family. He feels the shame that's associated with sort of thing. It's a shame on the entire community and the entire Chechnyan community.
BLITZER: He says his brother is the father of these two suspects.
BURNETT: Yes, the brother is the father of the two men.
BLITZER: And the father is back over there. And he's living over here, obviously. The uncle is here in the United States.
Deborah is in Watertown right now. Watching all of this unfold.
Set the scene for the viewers who may just be tuning in, Deb. What's going on where you are? FEYERICK: This is an area that we got to just about 5:00 this morning. It was still dark before we arrived here. An entire perimeter was set up in a 20-block radius. We went to one location because it seemed there was a staging area. That staging area was where you see those lights, the traffic lights. There was activity there where you had a lot of law enforcement, a lot of law enforcement in tactical gear, riot helmets and the like. That was this morning.
Now, second location. You've got police questioning somebody, talking to somebody. But because of the way the cars are surrounding this particular individual, it's likely that he didn't have any sort of device on him. That's really what law enforcement is fearful of, Wolf, is this person on this wild ride, that he may have, in fact, dropped several pipe bombs. And that's the concern that officials are having. That's one of the big reasons that they told people that they really just need to shelter in place. So that is the active scene going on right now.
The first scene this morning, that is a home, investigators, law enforcement very, very interested in a home. They are now searching that home, forensics. We're trying to still exactly determine who lived there, whether it was a friend, an associate or what they're doing there.
Right now, we've got a helicopter in the sky. That probably came at 8:00 -- 7:00, 8:00 this morning. It's funny, we were sort of joking with some people here, nobody really knows what time it is. It feels like we've sort of been running and dodging and covering the activity of law enforcement as they try to really push this guy into a corner, try to flush him out. And that's really what they're focused on now.
And our understanding is that he does have access, that he is communicating with people outside, whether it's through social media or whether it's another way. But that he is -- that he is engaged -- Wolf?
BLITZER: And there seems to be little doubt, Deb, and I want to be precise on this, that the intense security, the intense military and police presence there is something that is rarely, if ever, seen. Certainly, not in the Boston metropolitan area.
FEYERICK: Absolutely. We heard numbers between nine and ten thousand law enforcement personnel on the ground. We don't know if that's investigators that are just here or law enforcement force. People have their flap jackets bulletproof vests, I should say. There were a few people walking around dressed in military gear, FBI and had bomb sniffing dogs. You really got the feeling they were sniffing out IEDs, that they were looking for other Devices -- Wolf?
BLITZER: All right. Deb, thanks very much. We'll stay in close touch with you.
I just came in from the airport. If you want to fly out of Logan right now, you got to go through intense security. There's a lot of military and police presence. Anyone who wants to try to get to that airport, they're watching everyone go into that airport. And when I got off there were police right at the gate. Everything, you know, for those of us who fly a lot, this is extraordinary what's going on right now.
BURNETT: And what about getting from here? From getting from there to here?
BLITZER: That was relatively easy.
BURNETT: The streets are so quiet.
BLITZER: There's nobody on the streets right now. It's pretty empty. Getting from the airport to here was pretty easy. If you're trying to get out of Boston right now, they're watching everybody. They want to make sure that a suspect or suspects don't disappear.
CUOMO: Obviously, operating in the abundance of caution.
We're going to take a break. When we come back, we'll keep monitoring the situation and let you know what we know when it develops. Be right back.
CUOMO: Welcome back to our continuing coverage here at CNN, Chris Cuomo, Erin Burnett, Wolf Blitzer. We've been monitoring the situation here. Authorities have been pursuing a suspect, a second suspect. The first one killed in gunfire in a massive manhunt earlier this morning. Now the second suspect on the run. There's been a lot of activity at a certain area in Watertown where they were trying to talk to somebody. Had a Russian translator trying to get brought, trying to get closer and closer, trying to close the circle on this suspect is what the investigators are telling us.
We heard from the uncle of the second suspect and he said this has nothing to do with the family, that they must have been radicalized here and recently. He had spoken to his nephews some three months ago, there was no evidence of this.
So knowing that is the most recent information, we'll bring in Peter Bergen.
Peter, give us some context on this.
BERGEN: Well, I think investigators will be looking obviously at these guys' e-mail and internet activity. We talked about Major Nadal Hasan who killed soldiers at Ft. Hood in 2009. We described him as a home-grown militarized radical. That's not completely accurate. He was in touch with one of the leaders in Yemen. He was given some sort of religious permission to do what he did at Ft. Hood, Texas. That would be one kind of case you might think of, Chris. Another would be the Somalis. We've had literally a dozen Somali Americans travel to fight in the Somali civil war. These are kids who grew up in the United States very much like the two brothers we're discussing now who events in Somalia began to be very important for them. In fact, we had the first American suicide bomber -- was in fact a Somali American who traveled to Somalia to engage in the Somali Civil War. So you'd be looking at what was the subject matter of this kind of web sites they were looking at, were they on the jihadi forum, for instance? Were they in communication of people outside the United States by e- mail, for instance?
CUOMO: What does that mean then in the context of what they decided to do last night, robbing a convenience store, seemingly going up to this MIT security officer, Sean Collor, 26 years old, for no reason and taking his life? How do you put that into any sense of plan or organization?
BERGEN: Well, I think you're applying completely rational standards to this situation. And these people while they're probably certainly not psychotic, very few terrorists are psychotic, that tends to interfere with the ability to pull off a successful terrorist operation. Certainly, they can have strange ideas. Eric Rudolph motivated by anti-abortion, he attacked the centennial park in Atlanta and killed one person during the Olympics. It didn't seem to be a completely rational act. So the fact you can be motivated by certain ideologies and do things that don't seem to make sense. If indeed they were motivated by the Chechnyan issue, why not go to Moscow and do something there? Doesn't seem to make any sense at all to do something in Boston.
BURNETT: Peter Bergen, thank you very much.
Peter will stay with us, Tom Fuentes, all of our security experts as we continue our breaking news coverage of the manhunt for the second suspect.
We'll take a brief break and we'll be right back.
CUOMO: Welcome to our continuing coverage here at CNN, Chris Cuomo with Wolf Blitzer.
BLITZER: We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world.
Everyone seems to be glued right now to this standoff that's taking place here in Boston.
CUOMO: Well, this is the time to be watching because there is a manhunt going on right now on the streets of Boston. The city literally shut down.
Here's what we know. One suspect is dead. One suspect on the run. Dramatic developments underway here in Boston.
Let's bring you up to speed on the list of facts and the context that got us to where we are in the investigation. Authorities identified the Boston Marathon bombers as brothers from a predominantly Muslim region in Russia. They have gone to school her. They've said they're grateful to be here and love the country. But right now, a door-to-door search is underway in the Boston suburb of Watertown as police look for the younger brother, 19 years old, believed to be extremely dangerous, possibly armed with explosives -- Wolf?
BLITZER: And that is 26-year-old brother, the older brother, died after a shootout with police. We're told he was wearing explosives and a triggering device when he died. This dramatically intensified overnight.