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CNN SUNDAY MORNING

Bombing Suspect Unable to Talk; Exploring Bombing Suspects' Past; Colorado Avalanche Kills Five; Red Sox Help Boston Heal

Aired April 21, 2013 - 08:00   ET

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


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Let's get right to the latest information on the marathon bombings. Perhaps the only person who knows the motive for this attack is sedated with the tube running down his throat this morning.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is under heavy guard at a Boston hospital. Officials say the 19-year-old will face federal terrorism charges, possibly also state murder charges here in Massachusetts. Meanwhile, at least 57 bombing victims are still in the hospital this morning, two of them in critical condition. Investigators now are also saying that evidence suggests the brothers acted alone. And we've learned more about the older brother who was killed in the Friday morning shootout.

The FBI says its agent interviewed Tamerlan Tsarnaev in 2011, but at the time, they did not find any ties to terrorism. Even so, the contact was reportedly enough to deny him American citizenship.

We have reporters here in the U.S. and abroad with the latest on the attack.

Our national correspondent Susan Candiotti is at the hospital where the suspect right now is recovering. Chris Lawrence is at UMass Dartmouth where he went to school and Nick Paton Walsh is in the Russian town with the suspect's father is trying to grasp this horrific accusations.

Before we get to Susan, we want to show you incredible video from the night Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was captured. These are thermal images. You can see Dzhokhar is the dark figure there lying (INAUDIBLE). Those are amazing pictures.

Then you'll see what appears to be a dark blast.

SAMBOLIN: That is what one of the flash bangs used to startle the suspect, that's just moments before the teenager was actually taken into custody and into the hospital after suffering massive blood loss after a shootout with police.

Susan Candiotti is going to join us live now.

What do you know about his condition, Susan?

SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Zoraida. Well, because of those injuries to his throat investigators are unable to speak with him at the present time because he can't talk. But they'd like to because they have so many questions to find out.

They figure he has a lot of secrets to tell them.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CANDIOTTI: Even if suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev wanted to cooperate with the FBI, he couldn't.

Sources tell CNN because of injuries to his throat, the 19-year- old suspected terrorist bomber cannot talk yet. He's intubated and sedated.

GOV. DEVAL PATRICK (D), MASSACHUSETTS: All of the law enforcement professionals are hoping for a host of reasons that the suspect survives because we have a million questions. And those questions need to be answered.

CANDIOTTI: In this photograph taken right after his arrest, the college student's neck area appears covered with blood. The younger brother's escape was busted when a man found him hiding in his backyard boat.

A series of thermal images taken by a state police helicopter shows a white image of an object projecting heat. And another still photo you can make out the suspect's feet in black lying in the boat. A robotic arm moves in and lifts the tarp.

Watertown's police chief told CNN's Wolf Blitzer about those dramatic moments.

CHIEF EDWARD DEVEAU, WATERTOWN POLICE: We could tell he was alive and moving. We began the negotiations that way. And over a long period of time we were able to get him to surrender.

CANDIOTTI: Agents yelled to him to give up.

POLICE OFFICER: You will not be harmed.

We know you're bleeding. We know you're tired.

CANDIOTTI: Police say there was an exchange of gunfire. Authorities have said Tsarnaev's injuries mainly came during Thursday night's shootout when his brother was killed.

FBI agents spent the day Saturday combing over every inch of the boat, collecting blood, hair, signs of explosives and more to build a case against the suspected Boston marathon bomber.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CANDIOTTI: So because of his medical condition investigators will simply have to wait until doctors say it's all right for him to try to communicate with investigators. In the meantime, prosecutors are working up those terrorism charges that we might find out as early as today -- Zoraida.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Susan Candiotti live for us outside Beth Israel Hospital.

And in about an hour from now, the University at Massachusetts at Dartmouth is set to reopen. The campus were the teen bombing suspect was a student was evacuated Friday as police tried to track him down. He, of course, was found in Watertown. But school officials confirm he had been back on campus after that attack.

BERMAN: That is stunning.

And our Chris Lawrence is there this morning.

Chris, what are students saying there?

CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, on one hand, John, they're shocked. This is someone they knew as Dzhokhar and someone they hung out a lot, went to parties with, saw all the time, talked to all the time. So they're shocked at that aspect. And then on the other hand you've got the fact that, you know, within 48 hours of this bombing while the investigators were poring through thousands of photos and hours of video that Dzhokhar was right here on the campus.

They say he went to the gym and worked out. We talked to a couple students who saw him in the dorms walking down the hall. They live right down the hall from him and say it was just like normal.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAY HONGDA, BOMBING SUSPECT'S FRIEND: I was just shocked and I was just grateful that he didn't place a bomb in our building, you know, in our hallway. We live right next to the guy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LAWRENCE: Yes. That's the sentiment we were getting from a lot of students. They say Dzhokhar was someone who liked to play soccer. A couple students say they would occasionally smoke weed with him. That he just did not do anything that really stood out from other students.

But they just can't get over the fact that within 48 hours of that bombing that he was back on campus and it was like nothing had ever happened -- John.

CANDIOTTI: Right. And also a lot of the students are saying it's really unnerving that somebody who appeared to be so normal actually could pull something like this off. So how is the campus helping the students cope with all of this?

LAWRENCE: Well, they've been pushed off campus. The students that we met we actually had to meet at a local hotel. They are some of the few who after the evacuation were not able to get parents or somebody to pick them up. So the school took a lot of them to a local hotel and put them up for a couple days.

Some of them were even saying, you know, we had to run out of there so quickly, I wasn't able to grab my books. I couldn't grab my coat. Things like that.

So they're definitely looking forward to getting back on campus here later today.

BERMAN: All right. Chris Lawrence, about an hour south of us, at the University of Massachusetts in Dartmouth -- our thanks to you.

And we are learning more about the suspects from where they once lived this morning as well in Russia. CNN's Nick Paton Walsh traveled to the Russian republic of Dagestan, that's near Chechnya where he caught up with the suspect's father and able to dig up some new information about the suspect's past.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's hard to link Boston's terror with a street so ordinary, where the alleged bomber's father now lives in. The spotlight to the point he even drives past his own home and let neighbors echo his disbelief of what happened.

"I didn't think that his kids," he says, "could have done that. It's not true."

"If someone prays answer, this means he's a terrorist or Wahhabi," he adds. "That's what it's like now. I don't believe any of this."

Anzor Tsarnaev did stop outside his home briefly, though.

(on camera): We don't really have a chance to properly hear what you have to say about the terrible circumstances you're in.

ANZOR TSARNAEV, ACCUSED BOMBERS' FATHER: My kids never did anything -- that's it.

WALSH: Sir, your sons didn't do this?

TSARNAEV: Never, ever.

WALSH: Are you going to America?

TSARNAEV: Yes, I will go.

WALSH: When will you leave?

You will forgive me, sir. I know it's a difficult time for you. I'm simply just trying to do my job here.

TSARNAEV: Sorry.

WALSH: I understand. When was the last time you spoke to them? TSARNAEV: Sunday morning. That's it.

WALSH: Have you been in touch with the special services here? What do they have to say to you? OK, I understand, I understand.

(voice-over): Officially, Makhachkala denies the Tsarnaevs schooled here long enough to be called locals. Records show they came from Kyrgyzstan and says the principal then became America's creation.

(on camera): This records sow the four Tsarnaev family members coming in 2001 from Kyrgyzstan and then leaving it says here to America the 25th of March 2002.

(voice-over): "They were with us for five months," he says. "Their formative years were in America. It's their culture. That's where they socially matured."

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WALSH: Now, people are still trying to find out further information here. The father says he will go to the United States, as you heard. It's not clear whether he is still here. I spoke with him very briefly this morning, but of course a man devastated by what he's finding out American official says the truth about his sons -- Zoraida.

BERMAN: All right, Nick Paton Walsh in Dagestan, in Russia, this morning. Thank you.

SAMBOLIN: And, up next, a terrorism expert helps us understand what may have driven the attack. And we're learning more about the suspects' past. Family members saying one suspect was brainwashed.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: Remembering the victims of the violence here in Boston. Krystle Campbell, Martin Richard, Lingzi Lu all three killed at the finish line of the Boston marathon and Officer Sean Collier was shot and killed Thursday night while police searched for the suspects.

SAMBOLIN: And police officers and firefighters from all around the Boston area saluted Officer Collier as a hearse drove his body to a funeral home yesterday.

Police say it's not clear why one of the suspects shot and killed him. But they say Collier had been responding to a loud disturbance call at the time. The 26-year-old had been a police officer for just over a year.

BERMAN: And new details are trickling in this morning about the bombing suspects and possible ties to Islamic extremism.

CNN foreign affairs correspondent Jill Dougherty at the White House this morning.

And, Jill, you are also Moscow bureau chief for nine years. You are very familiar with Russia.

So, what more do we know about the investigation into the older brother's behavior?

JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN FOREIGN AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: OK. So that would have been the older brother of course is Tamerlan Tsarnaev. And we have to go back to early 2011 when the FSB, that's the investigative arms in Russia, asked the FBI to talk to Tsarnaev.

They were concerned, the FSB, because they felt he had been radicalized. And the FBI also says that somehow they believed he had changed in the last year and that he was going back to have some type of contact with radical Islamist group. So the FBI talks with Tsarnaev, they find nothing as they put it derogatory.

And then in 2012 Tamerlan Tsarnaev goes back to Russia. He goes back to visit his family in Dagestan. He spends six months.

And that, John, is where it's unclear precisely what happened at that point. Back in the United States he creates a YouTube channel. And on that channel he includes videos from some radical preachers.

Now, his uncle who was here in the United States in Maryland, Ruslan Tsarni, claims that his nephew was brainwashed.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RUSLAN TSARNI BOMBING SUSPECTS' UNCLE: I said this person just took his brain, brainwashed him completely. Tamerlan is off now. There's no obedience even to respect his own father.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DOUGHERTY: And the person that he's talking about although not named he says is an Armenian who had converted to Islam. So, again, a lot of questions about this. And we still have to see whether there would be any direct link to any type of terrorist organization.

SAMBOLIN: And what about the connection to Chechnya? How does that affect things?

DOUGHERTY: Well, there's certainly ethnic Chechen. And it's important to note that that area, as we all know, has been war torn for years. And then they became refugees, moving. In fact, the two brothers were born in Kyrgyzstan, so another place. And then they come to the United States.

So talking with some experts in that region, they said that they may have been looking, especially the older brother, for their identity, who they were. And when you Google anything on Chechnya, you come up with some brutal stuff about the war in Chechnya, '94 and '96. And it could easily become a radicalization or self- radicalization procedure as one of these experts said.

BERMAN: Our Jill Dougherty at the White House for us this morning -- thanks so much. SAMBOLIN: And of the many, many questions investigators will have for the Boston bombing suspect when he wakes, perhaps one of the most important ones is whether he had any ties to a larger terror network that could be planning another attack.

And Peter Krause is a terrorism analyst. He's joining us this morning.

And, Peter, do you suspect that there are some ties? We hear that the older brother spent some time in Russia. And that's the big question right now is what did he do while he was there.

PETER KRAUSE, TERRORISM ANALYST: Yes. Well, first off, I mean, obviously his father lives in Russia. So, it's very possible he went over there for family ties, for family means.

SAMBOLIN: By the way, that is what his father says. He says while he was there, he was laying low at home.

KRAUSE: Yes, the other possibility is look, this guy had a YouTube channel that had apparently a video from a group called Caucuses Emirate, which is a group that, it is a jihadi organization that some ties to al Qaeda. That being said you can upload things without necessarily being tied to the organization. The FBI looked at him and didn't necessarily think that there was a threat.

Even if he didn't when he went over and met with the group, very positive to look to him and said, you know, this guy is a zealot. This is the type of guy we want to have. He didn't actually demonstrate that much operational security when he hijacked or took control of the car, the cell phone was in there allowing the police to track them down. Even if he met with one of these groups, he wasn't a highly trained operative.

BERMAN: You mentioned, of course, that the FBI did checked him out. They into him back in 2011 at the request of the Russians.

Why might the Russians ask the FBI to look into this guy? And clearly the question so many people are asking right now is, did the FBI miss something?

KRAUSE: Yes. Well, I'd, look, first, after 9/11 in particular there's been increased intelligence sharing internationally. So, it's definitely possible the Russians and United States said, OK, he's a guy to keep an eye on. He's now, not a U.S. citizen, but he's living in the United States.

That being said, I'm not sure if the FBI necessarily missed anything. As I say, I haven't seen access to the intel they have. But, you know, again, just having a couple YouTube videos and pretending or saying that you're more religiously devout isn't a crime or necessarily something that needs to be flagged.

As we've talked about before and some of the FBI directors have said, there are thousands of individuals who share these belief and very few who try to carry attack and even fewer who are actually able to successfully carry one out. So, to say the FBI missed something here, I don't think we have nearly enough information yet.

SAMBOLIN: You know, you've been watching the reports with all of us. Dzhokhar, the 19-year-old in the hospital right now intubated and not being able to talk and answer questions, a lot of people are saying he was guided by his brother. That he in fact perhaps doesn't bear as much fault in all of this. How do you respond to that?

KRAUSE: Well, I'd say first and foremost, we have to hear from him to get an idea. But I will say there are some signs here. The older brother does seem to be the one who was more ideological committed. A lot of the personal accounts from the family and from the friends of the two brothers kind of say that the older brother was more domineering, that he was kind of the one who maybe either the younger brother looked up to or perhaps controlled to some degree.

So, I think that's possible. And we have seen things like that before. With the D.C. sniper case, you kind of had the older and younger dynamic with the mentor. So, it's definitely possible.

But, again, I think we're hoping he comes to not so much we care about his health necessarily, but more in the sense we want to find answers about why this happened.

BERMAN: And if the brother, older brother, was in fact radicalized, there are questions about when. Was it during the six- month trip to Russia in 2012? Or people say he was showing signs as far back as 2009. Explain to me radicalization, can it happen here in the United States?

KRAUSE: It actually can. And to be clear, you know, in this case, it does seem like maybe religion played a role but doesn't have to by any means. In fact, one of the common things across political ideologies, across religions in this type of violence is kind of being socially disconnected from a community, or from a group. Feeling that you have to reach out to someone else to be more accepting of you.

Again, this brother said, the older brother said, I don't have any American friends, I don't feel like they don't understand me. I don't understand them.

So, that's actually one of the most calling cards here. It absolutely can happen to America and it's actually one of the major reasons going forward, one of the most important things is a community is that we recognize these individuals, we put them to trial, or the younger one to trial and hold them responsible for their crimes if they are in fact guilty. But also making sure that we don't accuse people based on race or religion, because the public was the most important aspect here in terms of capturing these people.

The FBI did a great job, but the public tipped off where these people were and that's because they trust the government, they feel they have bonds to this community. That's something we make sure we doing going forward. Falsely accusing people, et cetera, is only going to make sure this tragedy becomes a much worse tragedy for this society.

BERMAN: And we just don't know.

KRAUSE: And we don't. And at the end of the day, as I say you can be someone who is religious or envy some group, and at the end of the day, you could still be doing this for personal reasons. Maybe they told you said we don't think you're worthwhile and you did this to show them that you're a warrior, that you have got something to say. So, again, we're not sure of motivations at this point, but hopefully, we'll find out in the coming weeks.

SAMBOLIN: We certainly and, you know, a big question why Boston? Why the marathon? We know the 19-year-old went back to the university, bizarre behavior. Why the marathon?

KRAUSE: Well, a couple things, one, again, 95 percent terror attacks are committed locally or close to where they grew up. It's very possibly that they saw as kind of a target of convenience close to where they were.

And also note, to the extent that there is a connection to the Caucuses Emirate, and again, we have no idea that point if that's case. But this is a group who has threatened and they said they were going to attack the Special Olympics in 2014. A couple of years ago, they did carry out an attack in a ski resort close by, as kind of perhaps a dry run.

So, again, if there is a connection, there could be something about public sporting events. Obviously makes sense in terms of getting some getting notoriety. Although as I said, it's kind of a terrible attack in the sense that we were able to get videos of these individuals quietly quickly.

Marathons are the type of event that's going to happen next year and this is a great opportunity for the Boston community to show it's resilient and come together and hopefully there's more spectators and runners than before.

And so, in that sense, I think it was quite a poor target to select.

BERMAN: Peter Krause, terrorism analyst, thank you so much for being with us this morning. I really appreciate it.

KRAUSE: Thank you.

BERMAN: So, the small town of West, Texas, preparing to begin its new normal. Other news going on in the country this after the fertilizer plant explosion devastated the area. We'll take you there as residents prepare this morning for Sunday services.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: Across the country, from Boston to the town of West, Texas, hundreds, maybe thousands are expected to turn out for church services this morning.

SAMBOLIN: Today is the first Sunday after the massive fertilizer plant explosion that killed 14 people.

Martin Savidge is outside one of the largest churches in the area.

And, Martin, set the scene for us on this Sunday morning.

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's a beautiful day, Zoraida. Good morning to both of you.

This is St. Mary's Church of the Assumption. It's a Catholic Church, and it is the largest here. Not effected by the blast, directly -- impacted though greatly because so many of the first responders that died in the explosion in Wednesday night have connections to this church. Some were married here, others attended here, some have family that go here.

It is really sort of at the heart of the tragedy here. And all week long the people in this community, the survivors, have been leaning on one another I guess you could say, leaning the help of fellow Texans.

Today, they're going to be leaning heavily on their faith. So they'll be gathering inside of this church for a number of masses. It's not a special mass, but of course you can understand why it's impactful mass for many of them.

Let's talk about good news and that is people have started going home. About half the town was evacuated as a result of this disaster and they've been waiting to return. Yesterday, the first few families were allowed to go back home. There were long lines at checkpoints. Very strict rules. You can only go in 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. water in many places does not function because of the impact of the blast.

But, you know, at least some people can go back as you would understand those who are returning are those farthest away from the blast site. Still many more are returning and they hope to go back today, but it's going to be a while before everybody goes back home, 50 homes destroyed, not everybody will.

SAMBOLIN: Martin, are investigators any closer to understanding why this happened?

SAVIDGE: There are a lot of teams working at both the state and federal level. The fire marshal yesterday said they had finished up pretty much their initial investigation here, but it's going to take months.

What is being looked at very carefully is that fire because they believe it was the fire of course that triggered the explosion. Somehow that fire caused the material inside of this fertilizer plant to ignite in a catastrophic way.

So why did that fire start? Was it an electrical short? Wiring problem? Something left on? Was it a piece of mechanical equipment?

They can't say at this particular point, but it's key to know. And the reason it's key because facilities like this are in rural communities across the country, thousands of them. And so it's not just a mystery for this town, it is potentially trying to figure out to prevent a disaster in many other communities, Zoraida.

SAMBOLIN: Now, there are a lot of people who are waiting for answers on that situation.

Martin Savidge live for us in West, Texas, thank you very much.

And before we even knew who the suspects were, one prominent Muslim said, please, God, don't let the Boston marathon bombers be Muslim. We're going to talk to that man to get his reaction now.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: Welcome back to Boston, everyone. I'm John Berman.

SAMBOLIN: And I'm Zoraida Sambolin. Nice to have you with us this morning.

BERMAN: Of course we are live in Boston to catch you up on the latest on the Boston Marathon bombing investigation and perhaps the only person who knows the motive for this attack is sedated with a tube running down his throat this morning. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, he's under heavy guard right now at a Boston hospital. Officials say the 19-year-old will face federal terrorism charges and possibly state murder charges.

SAMBOLIN: Investigators now also think he and his older brother acted alone. And the FBI says its agents interviewed that brother back in 2011 but didn't find any ties to terrorism at the time. Even so the contact reportedly was enough to deny Tamerlan Tsarnaev American citizenship.

For one Muslim American his first thought after the bombings was quote "Please, God, don't let the bomber be Muslim." And well now we know that they are.

BERMAN: Remember, the FBI says there is no clear motive for the bombings. And there's no connection as now as far as we know to any jihadist group, although Tamerlan Tsarnaev's YouTube channel hints at Islamic extremism, posting some videos and the like. And family members have commented on his religious changes over the last few years.

With us now from Chicago is Arsalan Iftikhar he is the senior editor at the Islamic monthly magazine. He's the former of the MuslimGuide.com. Arsalan when you found out the brothers were Muslim, what was your first reaction?

ARSALAN IFTIKHAR, SENIOR EDITOR, ISLAMIC MONTHLY MAGAZINE: Well, I think that, you know, obviously the vast majority of American Muslims after 9/11 whenever there is an act of terrorism or mass murder whether it's the Newtown, Connecticut, school shooting whether it's the Aurora, Colorado "Dark Knight Batman" killing, you know, the first thing that comes to mind is "Please, God, don't let it be a Muslim." Because we know that, you know, whenever there is an act of mass murder committed by a brown dude with a foreign sounding name, you know, it's something that casts a pall upon the entire American Muslim community.

And you know there are Muslim victims of the bombing in Boston, there are Muslin marathon runners. You know we grieve with the country. This is an attack on all Bostonians and all Americans regardless of their race, religion or ethnicity.

SAMBOLIN: And how does it make you feel when you hear that there may be ties to Islamic extremism, at least with the older brother?

IFTIKHAR: Well, you know, I always tell people that, you know, Islamic extremists are about as Muslim as the Westboro Baptist Church is Christian. You know just because somebody you know proclaim to you know watch tourist the YouTube video it doesn't make them a religious expert or a vanguard for, you know, an entire faith of over a billion people. I mean, to the vast majority of American Muslims these guys were crazy criminal losers. And they do not represent Islam or Muslims at all.

You know, just like Timothy McVeigh after the Oklahoma City bombing didn't represent Christianity even those his co-conspirator Terry Nichols was a self-profess member of the Christian identity movement.

And so you murder knows no religion and this is a time where Americans of all faith, all religions and all ethnic backgrounds need to come together and help rally for the people of Boston.

BERMAN: How do you think their religion affects people's perception of this attack?

IFTIKHAR: That's a very good question, John. You know I think that perceptions, you know, were -- were created in the very early parts of this investigation even before the Tsarnaev brothers were named as the suspects. You know as we all know there were several media outlets that erroneously reported that there was an arrest of a dark skinned male. You know and that helped to shape narratives also within the general American discourse that it was one of those other guys. You know, when we look at the, you know, Aurora, Colorado, "Dark Knight Batman" massacre where 12 people were kill and 58 people were injured, it was a brown Arab dude who thought of himself as the Joker, we probably would have referred to it as an act of terrorism.

You know terrorism in this country after 9/11 has sadly been co- opted to really only apply when -- when brown dudes something -- do something but not necessarily when white guys might commit the same act of mass murder.

SAMBOLIN: Are you concerned then about how this particular situation will have Americans feel about Muslims?

IFTIKHAR: Well, you know, one of the silver linings, you know, in the last ten or 12 years is the increase in the number of interfaith outreaches that has happened all across the country at the local and national level between Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, people of all faiths to come together, you know, to rally around each other as Americans. I know mosques in Boston have opened their doors. They've issued condemnation statements. You know Muslim leaders like myself have called on, you know, local Muslims in Boston to donate, you know, their blood in blood drives for the victims of the attacks.

Again, you know, there are Muslim victims of the bombings. There was a Saudi female doctor that was injured. You know, there were Muslim female runners that were taking part in the Boston Marathon who have written about their experiences and how they were heartbroken, you know, for the people of Boston. I grew up a Boston Celtics fan. You know this was -- this was an attack on all Americans. This was not something that was, you know, discriminated at all. It affected people of all colors and all backgrounds.

BERMAN: All right. Arsalan Iftikhar.

SAMBOLIN: Yes you're welcome.

BERMAN: Thank you so much for joining us this morning and giving us your insight and see what's going on here.

IFTIKHAR: Thank you.

BERMAN: I appreciate it.

We've been talking about the Boston marathon attacks for almost a week now that has consumed us. But there is other news that's been happening in the country including one of the deadliest U.S. avalanches in years. We will have an update on the Colorado tragedy where five snowboarders lost their lives.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is CNN Breaking News.

BERMAN: All right. This just in.

Rebels in Dagestan, which is part of the region the Russian North Caucasus, they have denied any link to the Boston bombings. In a statement on its Web site the group called the Mujahedeen of the Caucasus Emirate province of Dagestan says quote, "The Caucasian Mujahedeen are not fighting against the United States of America. We are at war with Russia."

The brothers suspected in the attacks are of Chechen heritage. They've spent some years in the region of course there's been a lot of suspicion about whether their ties to that region fueled whatever actions they may have taken. There's a lot of militant groups that work within that area. But most of their gripes of late over the last actually half a century or more have been with Russia.

Most people saying they've seen no animosity directly towards the United States. And now at least one of these groups they are saying that they are not responsible in any way for the attacks here -- so that development just in.

SAMBOLIN: And there was some concern because the older brother had spent some time there in 2011 and nobody really knows what he went there to do.

BERMAN: No. We should say just because one group is denying responsibility, it doesn't mean that there are not others there who in some way may be connected. This is really -- these are just the fledgling stages of the investigation right now and we hope to learn more over the coming days and weeks.

Other news now here in the United States. In Colorado an avalanche killed five snowboarders in White River National Forest that is right in the heart of the Rocky Mountains.

SAMBOLIN: This marks the state's deadliest avalanche accident in more than 50 years. But there is some remarkable news coming out of this tragedy -- a sixth person who was buried in the snow managed to dig himself out and actually find help.

CNN's Nick Valencia joins us now for more. So what do we know about these snowboarders and this remarkable survivor?

NICK VALENCIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, John and Zoraida. Where it appears from all out ward appearances that they were experienced snowboarders, they had avalanche beacons on they had all the proper equipment according to the sheriff who I spoke to last night. We also and you mention just this remarkable story of survival.

If it wasn't for the lone survivor, that sixth person in the group, it's likely that this group would not have been found as quickly. The sheriff told me last night, Zoraida, that he was buried waist deep in snow. Was able to dig himself out of the snow. He walked 200 yards to the nearest highway at which point he flagged down somebody from the Colorado Department of Transportation. The sheriff tells me that this area where it happened in the mountains, it's hard to see. It's pinned back behind a valley.

So it's very hard to see from the road. And it's likely that if this survivor didn't flag down workers, authorities would still be looking for this group this morning -- Zoraida.

BERMAN: Nick, you said they were prepared for an avalanche. They had all the correct gear there. Is there a lot of concern typically this time of season about avalanches in Colorado?

0845

VALENCIA: Well, just to put in perspective for our viewers, John, they were in the back country. This is an area where experienced skiers and snowboarders go. Any time you have an area with a large amount of snow, there's a chance for an avalanche. And the sheriff told me that they had some heavy snowfall there yesterday. We also understand that this area's a very popular area for snowboarders and skiers to go to even though it is in the back country. But we got a release earlier this morning. Our national desk received an update saying that this is an avalanche that doubled the death toll in Colorado's avalanche season this year. So far there have been at least 11 people to die this season in Colorado avalanches -- John.

BERMAN: All right. Nick Valencia for us, thank you very much for that report.

SAMBOLIN: And Fenway Park reopened for the first time since Monday's bombings here in Boston creating just an awesome day for a city that really needed it. We have all the highlights up next.

BERMAN: Go Red Sox.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: So yesterday's baseball returned to Boston. And to some the reopening of Fenway Park, the green monster, signifies that things were beginning to get back to normal.

CNN Sports Andy Scholes joins us now with an update on this emotional and ultimately victorious day -- Andy.

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS: Yes, good morning guys.

Well, there's no better way for the city of Boston to return to a sense of normalcy than a good old packed house at Fenway Park. And that's what we saw yesterday. More than 35,000 strong are on hand to cheer on the Red Sox in their first game back since the bombings.

During an emotional pregame ceremony, the Red Sox honored all those affected by Monday's tragedy and the law enforcement who helped capture the two suspects. At the end of the ceremony David Ortiz took the mic to personally thank everyone involved and then used some strong words to deliver this message.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAVID ORTIZ, BOSTON RED SOX: This is our (EXPLETIVE DELETED) city. And nobody's going to dictate our freedom. Stay strong. Thank you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHOLE: Big Papi. You may have noticed something different about his uniform. That's because instead of the normal home jerseys with Red Sox on the front, the team wore special uniforms with Boston across their chest.

Red Sox didn't give fans much to cheer about until the bottom of the eighth. Trailing two to one Daniel Nava blasts a three-run home run right here into the Red Sox bullpen. The crowd finally got a good chance to go crazy. Red Sox will take the lead and go on to get the win 4-3.

Meanwhile over at the Garden the Bruins were back on the ice yesterday afternoon playing their game with the Penguins that had been postponed on Friday. During warm-ups the Bruins wore state police, Boston PD and Watertown PD hats. Then for the game both teams wore special Boston patches on their jerseys. Those Jerseys will be auctioned off tomorrow on nhl.com with the proceeds going to the One Fund which benefits those affected by Monday's marathon bombing.

So the Celtics also wore special patches on their jerseys for yesterday's playoff opener in New York against the Knicks. Boston they led this game after three quarters but would only scored eight points in the fourth. They fell 85-78 to the Knicks. Game two is Tuesday night before the series shifts back to Boston for game three on Friday.

And, guys, Fenway going to be rocking again today as Red Sox play a double header to make up for Friday's game. They sure have picked a good time to go on this winning streak. Right now they've won seven in a row. They're the hottest team in the American League.

BERMAN: And it's a great winning streak indeed. Andy Scholes, thank you so much you know. And Andy showed you that footage of David Ortiz using somewhat naughty language in front of 35,000 fans in Fenway Park.

SAMBOLIN: Very naughty, I might add.

BERMAN: And an entire TV audience with millions of people watching, normally the FCC, it's the federal organization which tracks naughty language and usually, you know, issues penalties if people use bad words, but the chairman of the FCC Julius Genachowski tweeted this out yesterday saying "David Ortiz spoke from the heart at today's Red Sox game. I stand with Big Papi and the people of Boston." So the FCC giving David Ortiz something of --

SAMBOLIN: Special dispensation.

BERMAN: -- yes, a free pass. Just this once you can say that word. Don't do it again, but just this once. So that's rather nice.

SAMBOLIN: Yes.

BERMAN: Other news, the house homeland security chairman, he is no fan of how President Obama and the FBI handled the bombing suspects.

SAMBOLIN: Here to tell us what's going on is "STATE OF THE UNION" Candy Crowley in Washington. Good morning to you.

Tell us what Texas congressman Michael McCaul is saying.

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN HOST, "STATE OF THE UNION": Well, he and Peter King who heads up the subcommittee on counter terrorism have written the FBI director, the head of Homeland Security and the head of DNI and said, listen, we want any information that you have, any contacts you have had about these suspects, in particular the older brother now deceased.

They are concerned that the FBI might have missed something in the process. As you know, there is our reporting and others that say that the Russians had asked the U.S. to look into possible terrorist ties of the older brother -- there you see him on the left of the screen.

And in this letter that the congressman -- Congressmen McCaul and King wrote they brought up other past terrorist incidents that they think were missed. I just want to read you a key line from the letter that they wrote, "Five of these six intelligence failures have taken place since 2009." They raise the most serious questions about the efficacy of federal counterterrorism efforts.

So it seems to me that they think there's a big hole here and they want to get into it and find out whether more should have been done, whether a red flag was raised and people missed it. And you know, as you know, there are lots of folks pushing back at this point saying there are also rules about if you can't find any -- if there is no terrorism connection that you can see and nothing criminal going on, you can't stalk the guy for several years until he does something. So the question here is and the clear implication of this letter is they think that the feds may have dropped the ball on this.

BERMAN: Candy Crowley, thank you so much. Clearly a lot to talk about this morning on "STATE OF THE UNION -- appreciate it. And stay here for "STATE OF THE UNION" which starts at the top of this hour, that is 9:00 a.m. Eastern, 6:00 am. Pacific right here on CNN.

Millions of people show up to support runners today in London's marathon and many even wore their support for the Boston bombing victims. We'll show you how they did it. That's next.

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BERMAN: An unbelievable feat by American Tatyana McFadden. She not only won the Boston Marathon women's wheelchair race last week, but --

SAMBOLIN: That is right, John. She is now the winner of London's women wheelchair race that was held earlier today. And she set a new record course as well. Congratulations to her.

BERMAN: A new record for her. And those participating in the London Marathon today, they honored the victims of the Boston bombing during a moment of silence. Here's a clip of that from the BBC.

SAMBOLIN: People are also sporting black ribbons to honor all of the victims. Our senior international correspondent Dan Rivers is live in London. Dan, the British community has really shown their support for the Boston bombing victims. Share some of that with us.

DAN RIVERS, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's certainly not silent now as you can hear. This is the bulk of the ordinary runners, if you can call them that, extraordinary really. We're coming up to the four-hour mark here. Many of them I'd say about half of them are wearing those black ribbons in solidarity with the victims of Boston.

There is a really electric atmosphere down here -- lots of people turning out, many more than normal to see this marathon. I think in part because of what happened in Boston, many of them as well will be raising money for the victims in Boston. The organizers here say they're going to donate $3 for every single person that comes past and finishes to the Boston victims. So it is a fantastic atmosphere, so far thank goodness gone off without incident.

BERMAN: It is wonderful that they are donating that money. It is wonderful to see and hear the enthusiasm, Dan, all around you. If you can hear me, let's talk for a minute about security. Did they increase security for today's event, and how?

RIVERS: They did a bit. Yes, they increased it by several hundred officers, about 40 percent more than last year. But I think they were pretty open about the fact that they can't secure an entire 26-mile course through London. It's impossible. And routes here there are actually no police at all in front of the barriers here. There's nothing they can do.

If there was a determined bomber who wanted to disrupt this, there's nothing they could really do along the course to prevent this. Of course the start and the finish are much more secure, but along most of the route here you can see ordinary people and these extraordinary runners doing their thing -- everyone hoping that there will not be a repeat. People defiantly coming out really in support to show that the terrorists won't win.

BERMAN: All right. Dan Rivers along the boisterous route of the London Marathon this morning.

SAMBOLIN: I think he's at the halfway mark there. It's just very cool to watch all the runners go by.

BERMAN: And he's cheering them on, no doubt also. And we should tell you because we know you all care Prince Harry was out and about at the marathon today. No, he was. He was out showing people that again with security --

SAMBOLIN: Well, with all the security concerns --

BERMAN: That's right.

SAMBOLIN: -- yes, it's really great that he was there.

BERMAN: Comforting to see him. All right.

Thank you for sharing your morning with us this morning.

SAMBOLIN: And "STATE OF THE UNION" with Candy Crowley is up next.

BERMAN: Have a great one.