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WEEKEND EARLY START
Boston Bombing Suspect in Custody; Dzhokhar Tsarnaev May Be Designated Enemy Combatant; 14 Bodies Recovered in West, Texas Explosion
Aired April 20, 2013 - 06:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Look at that. Jubilation and relief. Boston simply erupts in celebration after police captured the sole surviving suspect in the Boston marathon bombing. The historic manhunt is over and a major U.S. city rumbles back to life.
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, everyone, we'd like to welcome our viewers across the U.S. and around the world this morning. I'm Christine Romans.
BERMAN: And I'm John Berman. It is a -- rainy morning but a very special morning here in Boston. And you're watching CNN's special coverage of the capture of the marathon bombing suspect live from the rainy streets of Boston.
ROMANS: Let's begin this morning with the latest. Nineteen year old, Dzokar Tsarnaev hospitalized this morning in serious condition. This image from CBS News shows the bloody teen climbing out of a boat in Watertown, where he'd been hiding for hours. Bleeding, curled up, hiding in this boat that had been winterized.
He was first wounded in the Thursday night shootout with police that killed his brother. He may have been hit again in last night's gun fight with police.
The boat's owner says he saw smeared blood, pulled back a tarp on his winterized boat to find Tsarnaev lying there. He was apparently weak from blood loss but still refused to surrender until the very last volley of gunfire.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER: We have movement in the boat. He just sat up. He is moving, flailing about.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: This dramatic end to the man hunt. It really exploded across social media. Everyone talking about it. And this photo has been a favorite image. An intelligence source close to the Boston investigation confirms that it was taken immediately after Tsarnaev was arrested. After keeping the city in virtual lockdown for hours, the Boston Police Department was quick to announce the manhunt was, in fact, over.
This tweet says, "Suspect in custody. Officers sweeping the area. Stand by for further info."
And this image from CNN affiliate WMUR shows Tsarnaev in the back of an ambulance being taken to a hospital. He remains there this morning under very heavy guard here at Beth Israel Hospital, one of the fantastic local hospitals in the area.
ROMANS: All right CNN's Poppy Harlow joins us know with more from Watertown on how all of this unfolded.
Good morning, Poppy.
POPPY HARLOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Christine and John.
It was unreal. That's really the only word I can find to describe what transpired over those 24 hours. Especially in this community. You've got these beautiful houses all around. This is the last thing they expected. Truly dramatic. A very tense 24 hours, a very scary 24 hours. Especially for the residents here. But here is how it all went down.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER: An extraordinary manhunt for two brothers on the run.
UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER: Today we are enlisting the public's help to identify the two suspects.
UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER: Just hours after it began an MIT officer is gunned down. Then a carjacking, and a middle of the night chase into Watertown where a shootout with police ensues. Some 200 rounds of gunfire are exchanged. Sources tell CNN the suspects threw a grenade and pipe bombs at police.
UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER: We heard gunshots and then we saw the explosion.
UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER: Like a ton of gunshots and then like boom, boom, three big bangs.
UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER: Officers shoot suspect number one, 26-year-old, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who later dies with explosives strapped to his body. But his younger brother Dzokar Tsarnaev flees, armed and dangerous.
UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER: What we're looking for right now is a suspect consistent with the description of Suspect #2.
UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER: More than 9,000 officers mobilized, much of Boston under lockdown as authorities search high and low for Suspect #2.
UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER: We believe this to be a terrorist. We believe this to be a man who's come here to kill people.
UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER: As the hunt continues, the suspect's family speaks out. UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER: Someone framed them. I don't know who exactly did it, but someone did. And being cowards, they shot the boy dead.
UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER: He put a shame on this family, on our family Tsarnaev family. He put a shame on the entire Chechen ethnicity.
UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER: Late Friday, still no capture.
UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER: We do not have an apprehension of our suspect this afternoon. But we will have one.
UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER: But just an hour later, officers have Suspect #2 cornered.
UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER: They have the suspect, they believe it is the suspect. They know exactly where he is. They've cordoned off a section of Watertown.
UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER: They are yelling loudly to someone you know, in the boat or near it, come out, we just heard them say come out on your terms. We also heard them say come out with your hands up.
UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER: And then at 8:45,
UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER: 8:45 p.m. the Boston Police Department has just tweeted, suspect in custody.
UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER: Soon after the streets of Boston erupt in celebration.
UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER: Two perpetrators, who caused so much pain and anguish, are no longer a threat to our personal safety and to our communities.
UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER: We've closed an important chapter in this tragedy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARLOW: And indeed John and Christine, that chapter in this tragedy has been closed. But let's not forget amid all the jubilation we saw in the streets of Boston here last night, this is still very much a tragedy for this city.
At this hour 58 people remain hospitalized with injuries from the attack, three in critical condition, two of them are children. And of course the four precious lives that were lost. Including that 8-year- old boy, beautiful, Martin Richard. Also Lingzi Lu, the Chinese exchange student studying at Boston University. The 29-year-old Krystle Campbell, and of course that officer, Sean Collier, who was gunned down in the middle of that fight with police.
BERMAN: Poppy Harlow in Watertown, thanks so much. Appreciate it Poppy.
ROMANS: All right the suspect, Dzokar Tsarnaev, now under heavy guard at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. He was brought to that hospital, excuse me, shortly after being taken into custody last night. It's believed that he may have been injured in Friday night's shootout with police.
Pamela Brown is outside Beth Israel right now where it is also windy and rainy for you too. What do we know this morning, Pamela, about his condition?
PAMELA BROWN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Christina, last check we know that he is in serious condition. We don't know the exact nature of his injuries or where they were. But we're hearing from sources that he experienced a substantial amount of blood loss.
There are indications that he was first wounded yesterday morning in Watertown during a shootout with police. Because that's, and then after that, authorities found him on a boat in Watertown, there was blood on the boat when authorities arrived. So there's a possibility that he also sustained injuries during a gunfight at the scene there as well.
But again, we do know serious condition and that he experienced a substantial amount of blood loss.
ROMANS: Pamela, what about the police presence at the hospital? Clearly there must be, they must be guarding the front door.
BROWN: Oh they've been guarding here around the clock ever since he arrived here last night. You can see behind me here, there are five officers right outside Beth Israel Deaconess right now. There are two officers inside the hospital that we've seen. And we presume that there are also security guards in the room where he is.
So there is a fairly large presence at this point. It was a very large presence here last night when he arrived. These guards will be here as long as he is here as a patient.
BERMAN: Now Pam, this is the same hospital where the brother Tamerlan Tsarnaev was taken. He was taken there after he was shot. Many of their alleged victims were also brought there as well.
BROWN: That's right, 12 victims we're hearing at last check, are here, still 12 victims that were injured in the bombings on Monday. So you can imagine how disturbing that may be for victims and their families who are staying here. And even other patients for that matter.
I mean this is a man who police were calling a terrorist that was intent on killing people. So there's a level of concern and a disturbing feeling here. But I think it is comforting that there are security guards here at the hospital.
BERMAN: All right difficult situation to say the least. Pamela Brown at the Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital right here in Boston, thanks so much.
ROMANS: Alright this entire ordeal has just stunned the suspects' parents. BERMAN: They seem to be in denial right now about their sons' apparent role in this bombing.
ROMANS: Even so you might be surprised to see who they blame. A live report is ahead from the central Asian town the family is from.
BERMAN: What a scene that was. Watertown residents lining the streets, cheering on police last night, after officers took 19-year-old Dzokar Tsarnaev into custody.
ROMANS: Those celebrations may have been difficult to watch for the family of the suspects. They still, that family still seems stunned that these two young men could be responsible for such an atrocity. And they're insisting that the brothers were framed.
Both the young men went to school in the capital of Dagestan, a Russian Republic bordering Chechnya. Nick Paton Walsh is at the suspects' former school there. Nick what have you learned? What have you learned there in Dagestan about this family and its history there before emigrating to the United States?
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well the most interesting fact that leaps out at you is in the register of School Number One, here in the Dagestani Provincial Capital of Makhachkala. It says the four siblings of the Tsarnaev family arrived there in September 2001 directly from Kurdistan, according to their documents, and stayed until March the 25th, 2002, when the document says, they departed for the United States.
Now that kind of tallies with what we know about three of the siblings, the two sisters and the now arrested brother Dzokar. But it does leave a little bit of confusion about Tamerlan himself, who potentially, according to U.S. officials, didn't arrive in the United States until 2006. So there could be a question as to what he did for those five years where he could have been in Russia or perhaps elsewhere before arriving in America.
But above all, there is a climate of disbelief here in Makhachkala. People really unable to take this in. Believing it can't simply be true. Much repeating and echoing the sentiments of their parents who spoke yesterday. Here's what they had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANZOR TSARNAEVA: 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. I honestly can't imagine who could do this. Whoever did it is a bastard. I have nothing more to say."
ZABEIDAT TSARNAEVA: My son Tamerlan really was a, not involved in religion, like religious politics, five years ago. He never, he never told me that he would be on the side of jihad. He was controlled by FBI for like 5, 3, 5 years, they knew what my son was doing. They knew what actions and what the sites on internet he was going. How could this happen? How could they, they were controlling every step of him. And they're telling today that this is a terrorist act?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALSH: In all the disbelief there is some questions that are slowly clearing up. Why was it that Tamerlan came back here for six months according to U.S. travel documents, to Russia? A shopkeeper who lives opposite his father's apartment here says that she did see him in the summer of last year, helping his father out in the refurbishment of apartments he does around here to make a living.
So real key questions really as to how this many, who everyone describes as being a model student, a great pillar of society, seems to have transformed, both these brothers. Through their time here and in the United States into what we saw in Boston.
BERMAN: That region of the Russian Caucasus Nick, Dagestan, Chechnya. A lot of people here don't necessary know very much about them. What's the sentiment towards the United States over there?
WALSH: Well effectively they've been a long (inaudible) on the doorstep of Europe, down in the deep south near the Black Sea that could be potential foothold for al Qaeda-type militants. Now (inaudible) after the second Chechnyan War which ended in 2000, 2001. But then continued with a series of Russian military maneuvers in the area, trying to crack down on the increasingly radical elements that had slipped in to the Chechnya separatist movement that Russia has fought so many wars against to keep a hold of the Chechnyan Republican.
Here in Dagestan, to the east of Chechnya, neighboring, the real fear was the overspill. Some of these radicals ended up attacking police officers here, roadside bombings, in turn they were rather handily repressed by Russian Security Forces.
But as we saw that violence go on year after year, the kind of message, the kind of rhetoric you got from these radicals just got more and more extreme. And where we previously would here Russian Security Officials refer to links with al Qaeda, would not necessarily think that was the case. It's become more self-evident over time. So real fears here that what we may be seeing is the tip of an iceberg which is certainly a concern (inaudible) which may be coming home to roost in a more global fashion.
ROMANS: All right Nick Payne Walsh reporting for us this morning, live from Dagestan. Thank you Nick.
BERMAN: This story truly taking on major international implications right now.
ROMANS: Oh yes.
BERMAN: Some politicians here in the United States find the parents suspicion to be simply ridiculous. New York Congressman Peter King told CNN's Jake Tapper, that the very idea that they would accuse the U.S. after seeking asylum here is outrageous.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. PETER KING (R), NEW YORK: Again, to be saying the FBI set them up, or the FBI controlled them is just absolutely wrong. And it's really offensive. I mean here's a country that gave them sanctuary, gave them asylum, the United States. And to turn against the country like this. It's bad enough what their sons did, but for the parents to attack the country to me is wrong.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROMANS: The oldest brother Tamerlan Tsarnaev's in-laws and wife are asking the public to please respect their privacy at this time. A statement was issued outside their North Kingston, Rhode Island home yesterday afternoon.
BERMAN: The note reads: "Our daughter has lost her husband today. The father of her child. We cannot begin to comprehend how this horrible tragedy occurred. In the aftermath of the Patriot Day horror, we know that we never really knew Tamerlan Tsarnaev, our hearts are sickened by the knowledge of the horror he has inflicted. Please respect our family's privacy in this difficult time.
ROMANS: As we know, Tamerlan Tsarnaev is the bombing suspect who was killed Friday morning in a shootout with police. All right, the president proclaims a painful chapter is now closed.
BERMAN: We're going to have the latest on the White House's response to the end of this saga that has kept this city and this entire nation on edge.
BERMAN: Remembering the victims of the violence here in Boston. Krystle Campbell, Martin Richard, Lingzi Lu, all three killed in the blast near the finish line of the Boston Marathon. And then of course Officer Sean Collier was shot and killed while police searched for the suspects.
ROMANS: The president offering gratitude for all the men and women of law enforcement last night. Promising the city any and all federal resources that will necessary in completing this investigation.
BERMAN: Those promises being made as the nation closes what the president called, "an important chapter in this tragedy."
Athena Jones at the White House this morning.
And Athena, what else did we hear from the president?
ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning John and Christine. Well in the days since the bombing in Boston we've heard words of comfort from the president. Comfort to the victims, comfort to the city of Boston. Late last night in his statement, he also offered words of comfort, but in addition to that, he asked the question that many people who have been closely following this story have been asked. Let's listen to that. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Obviously tonight there are still many unanswered questions. Among them, why did young men who grew up and studied here, as part of our communities and our country, resort to such violence? How did they plan and carry out these attacks? And did they receive any help?
The families of those killed so senselessly deserve answers. The wounded, some of whom now have to learn how to stand and walk and live again, deserve answers.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JONES: The president also said that the investigation into this continues, to try to get some of those answers. He's directed the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security to deploy all necessary resources to try to get to the bottom of this. Guys.
ROMANS: I know the FBI Director Robert Mueller issued a statement. What else is he saying about where we go from here?
JONES: He also thanked all the law enforcement involved and he said "that during this long week we have seen an extraordinary effort by law enforcement, intelligence, and public safety agencies. These collaborative efforts, with the help and cooperation of the public, resulted in the successful outcome we have seen tonight. The investigation will continue as part of our efforts to seek answers and justice and there will be no pause in that effort. But tonight, I wish to thank all those who worked so tirelessly throughout the week in the pursuit of safety and justice."
And so that's the word we hear from the FBI Director and from the president. Back to you guys.
ROMANS: All right, thanks Athena Jones for us this morning, at the White House.
BERMAN: As you heard the president declared this chapter of the terror attack on Boston to be over. But really, for many of the effected, the most important chapter has only just begun. And we're talking about the recovery.
And to help with that, what will surely be mounting medical bills. Many have answered a call. Donors have been flooding campaigns for some of the individual victims of the blast. One site collecting donations for a newlywed couple who each lost a leg, has raised nearly half a million dollars so far for their recovery.
BERMAN: A similar site for a mother and daughter injured has topped $452,000 so far, that is simply wonderful. If you are looking to help those affected by the Boston bombings, there is a way to do it. Visit CNN our website, CNN Impact Your World at cnn.com/impact. ROMANS: One of the bomb suspects was once interviewed by the FBI. They suspected he may be following Islamic extremism but nothing ever came of that. We're going to talk about why.
BERMAN: Amazing pictures, elation and relief after an unprecedented day on lockdown. Students in Boston celebrate the capture of the sole surviving suspect in the Marathon bombings. This dragnet is lifted and Boston begins to grasp its new reality.
Welcome back everyone. This is Early Start Weekend, I'm John Berman, live this morning in Boston.
ROMANS: And I'm Christine Romans. Very big news out of Boston this morning with the second Boston bombing suspect taken into custody following a shootout last night.
Good morning, everyone. Welcome back to a rainy and windy Boston morning this morning as the siege on the city has ended.
BERMAN: This morning, 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, he's hospitalized, in serious condition. This image from CBS News show him bloodied, on a boat in a backyard in Watertown. He was first wounded in the early Friday morning shootout with police that left his brother dead, and he may have been hit again in a gunfight last night with police officers.
ROMANS: So, the boat's owner says he saw smeared blood on a tarp over this boat. He pulled it back, found Tsarnaev lying there apparently weak from blood loss, but still he fought capture.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have movement in the boat. He just sat up. He's moving, flailing about.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROMANS: The arrest ended an all-day lockdown of the entire metro area. This tweet from the Boston police department confirmed what residents had been hoping for since Monday's bombing. Suspect in custody.
BERMAN: That's great words for this city. The FBI was also quick to announce the dramatic conclusion, adding the words, "Captured" to its "Wanted" poster. So, this ambulance with Tsarnaev away from this final hiding spot. He remains in the hospital under heavy guard right now.
ROMANS: CNN's Poppy Harlow joins us this morning with more from Watertown. Poppy, such a chaotic day. This was a culmination of a 24- hour manhunt. Take us back. How did we get to this point?
HARLOW: Good morning, Christine.
It is surreal how this all happened in just about 24 hours, as you said. You know, the FBI came out and they showed the two images of these suspects, basically saying to the public, we need your help, that was Thursday evening, and then within a few hours of that, there was a massive gunfight and a shooting.
We heard news that a police officer on the MIT campus was shot down at that point, and we didn't know if it was associated to these or not, then a carjacking by these suspects, and then this massive shootout where I'm standing now in Watertown, that all happened around -- between the hours of 10 PM and 1 AM on Thursday into the early morning hours of Friday. And that's when the search became so intense here for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.
Where is that 19-year-old suspect number two? Is he here, is he elsewhere? Boston, this city, this neighborhood, really on lockdown. I've never seen anything like it. A ghost town as police searched high and low for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, not finding him, and then frankly, having a press conference, it was pretty disappointing for many people around 6:00 last night saying we have not apprehended him yet, but we will, lifting that lockdown on Boston saying you can get back on the streets.
But then, Christine, within an hour, news from our own Deb Feyerick, that they have that suspect cornered, then we found out he was cornered in a boat, and you know what happened since then.
So, it was an unreal unfolding of events here, very tense and intense investigation, very dangerous, frankly, for all of these officers, all of these first responders. But once he was captured, joy, celebration. I want you to listen to Rick DesLauriers, he is the FBI special agent in charge. Here is what he said after that capture.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RICK DESLAURIERS, FBI SPECIAL AGENT IN CHARGE: Today the city of Boston, the city of Cambridge and the city of Watertown and many other communities can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that two perpetrators who caused so much pain and anguish are no longer a threat to our personal safety and to our communities.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARLOW: No longer a threat, indeed. I want to show you the video of the jubilation that broke out within minutes of the announcement at 8:45 last night of this capture. Just incredible video of people on the street, cheering, chanting, USA, USA, feeling safe in their own city once again, but now, even with that jubilation, a lot of pieces to pick up, guys, 58 people still hospitalized and those four precious lives lost, those four victims in all of this.
BERMAN: So much loss, Poppy. Poppy Harlow in Watertown, Massachusetts, for us this morning, nearby. Thank you so much.
As Poppy said, this investigation very much still continuing. And Justice Departments official tell CNN the 19-year old suspect, he will not be read his Miranda rights. The governor is invoking what he calls, "the public safety exception." This (inaudible) questioning of a suspect without warning him first. It's allowed in cases of immediate danger.
Meanwhile, Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham in a statement last night said Dzhokhar Tsarnaev could be treated as a potential enemy combatant. It said this, they said "Now that the suspect is in custody, the last thing we should want is for him to remain silent ... Under the law of war we can hold this suspect as a potential enemy combatant not entitled to Miranda warnings or the appointment of counsel.' Again, that's statement from Senator John McCain and Lindsey Graham.
The FBI says its agent interviewed the older brother, the one killed on Friday, on suspicions he was a follower of radical Islam. That meeting happened in 2011. It came with the request, they say, of a foreign government, but in the end, authorities did not find any ties to terrorism. I have to say, it does raise questions, though. We are joined now from London by a counterterrorism expert, Will Geddes, and here with us in Boston, is Mike Sullivan, he is the former U.S. attorney in Massachusetts and a former acting director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
Will, let's start with you in London. It raises questions. The FBI talked to this man in 2011. So it does beg the question, did they miss something when they talked to Tamerlan Tsarnaev?
WILL GEDDES, MANAGING DIR., INTERNATIONAL CORP. PROTECTION: Well, it's always very difficult to say. And however, having said that, if you have an individual that's how he is brought in by the authorities and questioned, again, without knowing exactly what the topic or agenda was that they were requesting him on, one would say that there was sufficient intelligence that may have been brought to them by this foreign government. That said, that's -- they could be a potential risk. However, one would have hoped that they would have been continually monitored beyond that point to ensure that even if there was ambiguity in his instance, that's maybe they could prove it out, the problems (inaudible) out as to whether they could in fact discount them as a potential threat.
BERMAN: Apparently the United States, the FBI asked this foreign government for further information, the FBI says that information did not come. The boys' country of origin, they are from -- ethnically, they are Chechnyan. What do you think authorities are looking into in terms of their Chechnyan roots for a possible motive?
GEDDES: Well, again, we know with Chechnya, it's a very challenged country. And it has its own position under the long standing conflict through two wars and a number of significant terrorists attacks, (ph) on domestic Russia. And I think the biggest question will be whether there was any particular al Qaeda driven plot behind the two brothers, especially as there has been a long-standing belief by the intelligence communities that al Qaeda and the Chechen rebels have worked progressively together in -- about the resource, intelligence and supply of weapons, and ultimately if it does have an al Qaeda angle to it, this could be significantly concerning as this would be the first Chechen-born or led attack on the United States.
BERMAN: That is right. It has not happened before. I want to bring in Michael Sullivan, he's really been with us all week, and is a terrific resource on issues like this. When he heard -- he was not read his Miranda warnings, I think that surprised a lot of people. How unusual is that?
MIKE SULLIVAN, FMR. U.S. ATTORNEY, DISTRICT OF MASS.: Well, it's very unusual. But it's the right thing to do under these circumstances. Obviously, you are concerned of all the risk of continuing public safety. We know him and his brother were bomb makers, are there other bombs out here, is there a greater conspiracy than just the two brothers? It's a great concern. So, the public safety exception for the Miranda warning was most appropriate under these circumstances.
BERMAN: Will this be an issue, in whatever trial happens, or is this a one and done thing, they did not read him his Miranda rights, (ph) they didn't read him his Miranda rights. Will that become an issue later on or not likely?
SULLIVAN: Well, it may be raised, but certainly, it's not going to affect the ability of the government to move forward in the investigation, in the prosecution.
BERMAN: What is the next step then in the prosecution? I imagine there are a lot of people wondering what kind of trial this might be?
SULLIVAN: Well, if it's going to be a trial, if it's determined he is not an enemy combatant, if they decide not to hold him as enemy combatant, they they'll proceed under the Article III Court, it will proceed in the federal district court, they'll be charged, they'll be indicted at some point in time, likely with a death penalty eligible offense.
BERMAN: Explain to me that distinction now. Because it is important. If he is held as an enemy combatant, which you heard Senators and John McCain and Lindsey Graham ask for, what then would happen?
SULLIVAN: Well, and this is something the government should seriously consider as to whether or not he should be held as an enemy combatant. They have to look at the national security and the national interest, not simply a retribution or punishment. To see what's the greatest benefit to our country in terms of the way that he is going to be held, (ph) or prosecuted. So, the option really is to hold him as an enemy combatant during the duration of the war, and this is a war on terror. I mean this is a terrorist act. So they could do that, if they decide to do it. They have to make a decision, which is the best course in terms of our national interest?
BERMAN: How quickly do they have to make that decision?
SULLIVAN: Well, it doesn't have to be made at this moment in time, they could do this over the next several weeks to make a determination as to whether or not they want to hold him as an enemy combatant.
BERMAN: All right. Michael Sullivan. Great to see you. Will Geddes, Sullivan, we really appreciate your help on this.
There is so much ground to cover here as again, the manhunt is over, the investigation and the prosecution or possible prosecution, very much, continues.
Fourteen people confirmed dead, 16 others still missing. There is a lot of other news going on in the world right now. We are live in Texas after this -- for the latest on that massive explosion that leveled parts of one small town. Stay with us.
BERMAN: We are live in Boston this morning where an intense manhunt for two terrorists grabs the world's attention, but there is no forgetting the devastation and heartache in West, Texas, after a massive fertilizer plant explosion leveled parts of that small town. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED GIRL: OK.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you OK?
UNIDENTIFIED GIRL: Dad! I can't hear! I can't hear!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROMANS: Thankfully, that little girl and the family that shot that video are OK. But 200 others are injured, 200.
ROMANS: At least 14 lives were lost including five volunteer firefighters. CNN's Martin Savidge is live in West, Texas. He has been there for the past few days.
Martin, 60 people still unaccounted for. It's almost impossible to imagine what they are trying to do right there right now.
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It really is, yes, good morning to both of you. You know, every time I hear that tremendously compelling audio coming from the little girl and her dad and what they went through, and that's just a sample of what so many went through. I talked to people on the (inaudible), a gentleman yesterday said, you know, the heart of our town is broken. He meant that both figuratively and physically.
The center of this town has suffered from that devastating blast as far as destruction -- I think it's 50 homes have been wiped out. This is a town of only 2600 people, so you can imagine 50 homes lost, an entire apartment complex and a nursing home. Three of the four schools have all been damaged. I can go on and on and on, just to get the sense of the impact. And then lives lost. 14 people. That's the official death toll now that has come out. We know from talking to officials and talking families, the vast majority of that number are the first responders, those who went to try to help, that's the volunteer firefighters, and then on top of that, the volunteer EMS people, they were not only trying to put out the flames, but they were evacuating people out of harm's way. And it appeared that it worked, because 14 -- it actually could have been far worse.
Now, you mention the number of 60. That number was actually believed to be a lot less. Now, they've talked to the hospitals, they managed to hear from other residents, they think it's less than a handful that are actually missing, so if the death toll is going to go up, it is hoped and prayed for that it will only go up slightly. But there is still just so much recovery work. The first statement came from the factory owner, it's a local man, he said his heart is broken, he is devastated by this tragedy, and he pledges that his company will work with investigators to try to determine what happened. Back to you.
BERMAN: Martin, we are looking at aerials of the blast here. I still can't get over the scope of the devastation, the obvious power of that blast. So, where does the investigation stand into what caused that blast?
SAVIDGE: There are a number of investigative entities that are working on trying to determine just that, John. And you are right. I mean, that blast was 2.1 on the Richter Scale, it triggered an earthquake. And then on top of that, it could be felt, not just heard, felt 15 miles away. So it was in a word, cataclysmic. And what was it that was in that building or that somehow became involved as part of this fire, that triggered that kind of an explosion is very much what people want to find out. People have been critical, why is that that you had a factory of fertilizer plant in the middle of a community? It actually was the other way around. That plant was build in the early '60s, that community wasn't really there at the time. The community grew around the plant. Nonetheless, the devastating blast was just horrific. ATF, federal entities, local authorities, no determination as yet, they don't believe in any way that was terror. They do believe it's an accident, and they've got to figure out how, but it's very early in that process.
ROMANS: And I think, Martin, you're going to see towns around the country taking a good part to look at their zoning laws, because the school and nursing home -- homes, apartment complexes so close to that plant really has a lot of communities raising -- asking some questions. Martin Savidge in West, Texas, for us this morning. Thank you, Martin.
BERMAN: It's really a good point.
Meanwhile, U.S. intelligence agencies are reviewing all the information they have right now on the two Boston bombing suspects.
ROMANS: We're going to have live update from the Pentagon, that's next.
BERMAN: Welcome back to Boston, everyone. Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham released a strong statement, shortly after Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's capture, stating under the law of war we can hold this suspect as a potential enemy combatant not entitled to Miranda warnings or the appointment of counsel. Our goal at this critical juncture should be to gather intelligence and protect our nation from further attacks."
ROMANS: U.S. officials are now investigating what significant terrorists threat or connections Dzhokhar Tsarnaev may have had. Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr joining us this morning. Barbara, what are you learning about the suspects and any wider terrorism connection he may have had?
BARBARA STARR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, good morning. That is the key question for the U.S. intelligence community, both the CIA, the FBI right now. What did these brothers -- what were they really involved in? Did they have outside help and support to carry out these attacks, are there ties to terrorists groups? That's why you are not seeing him read his Miranda warnings. The younger brother, and that means he doesn't have to have a lawyer right away. No decision on whether he would be held as an enemy combatant, but they want to get as much information as possible, they are using the government's detainee interrogation group to do that, we are told, the best experts the government has in interrogation.
So where are we right now? Well, the FBI, as we now know, had a request from a foreign government to look into the older brother last year before he traveled -- when he was traveling to Russia to look into his activities. There was a belief by that government he might have been involved in some kind of activities. The FBI did look into it. And they've issued a statement I want to read to you in parts, saying "In response to this 2011 request, the FBI checked U.S. government databases, other information to look for things like derogatory telephone communications, possible use of online sites associated with radical activity, associations with other persons of interest, history -- travel history, plans, education. The FBI did not find any terrorism activity, domestic or foreign, and those results were provided to the foreign government, which has not been named, in the summer of 2011 and we know the older brother then traveled to Russia last year, in 2012. What we also know is the FBI said they asked that foreign government for more information, so that they could look again to see if there was anything more, they say the foreign government did not come back to them.
Now the FBI, the CIA once again going back through all of their information, all of their databases to see if they can find any link to any terrorism activity, and of course very much wanting to talk to this young man. John, Christine?
ROMANS: Oh, yes. All right. Barbara Starr live for us this morning in Washington. Thank you, Barbara.
BERMAN: I am sure that time in Russia in 2012 will be a key focus of the investigation.
ROMANS: Especially that his mother had said that the FBI had been watching him, you know, it was part of the mother's rant where she said that she didn't believe that he could have done this, she mentioned as well that she knew the FBI was watching him. So, that'll be a really interesting part of this investigation to follow.
BERMAN: So, here in Boston there were many people who did not make it to the finish line in the Boston marathon.
ROMANS: That's right. But one woman finally did, many miles from Boston, with the help of some of her favorite little fan. We're going to explain next.
ROMANS: So, if you didn't know this by now, Bostonians are known as a tough bunch.
BERMAN: Yes, we are.
ROMANS: Sticking together, powering through. Early this week, there was another incredibly touching moment.
BERMAN: Yes, and it happened of all places at a hockey game. Take a look at this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(SINGING NATIONAL ANTHEM)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: That was at the Boston Bruins game earlier this week. All the fans took a moment of silence for the victims of the bombing before uniting to sing the National Anthem. Chilling, I got chills.
ROMANS: I know.
BERMAN: And how is this for feeling the love? The principal at a Michigan school ran the Boston Marathon but she was a mere point two miles away from the finish line when those bombs went off.
BERMAN: So, when she got back to school, here is what her students did for her.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
PAM MATHERS, PRINCIPAL, HAMILTON ELEMENTARY SCHOOL: Oh, thank you!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: That's great.
ROMANS: They created a finish line for her inside the school so she could run the rest of the marathon.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RYAN SMALLEY, STUDENT: We all felt bad that she could not finish the 26.2 miles. So, we decided that we would help her finish these last .2. MATHERS: It's incredible. And the students, just, you know, they make everything, win or lose, it doesn't matter, they make everything worth it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: As President Obama keeps on saying we will finish the race.
ROMANS: That's right. All right. Thank you for starting your morning with us.
BERMAN: We still have so much more to come all morning on CNN SATURDAY MORNING. Our next our begins right now.