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Senators Question FBI's Investigation on Tamerlan Tsarnaev; Explosion Crater Still Crime Scene in West, Texas; Transit Officer in Critical Condition; Funeral Today for Krystle Campbell; Manhunt End, City Relieved; Athletes Encourage Victims after Tragedy

Aired April 22, 2013 - 09:30   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to our special edition of NEWSROOM. I'm Wolf Blitzer reporting from Boston.

While investigators look to try to find out why the Boston bombings were carried out, some are questioning if the FBI could have done more to prevent the terror attack in the first place.

Our team coverage continues with our crime and justice correspondent Joe Johns. He's in Washington -- Joe.

JOE JOHNS, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, investigators obviously still have a lot more to learn about this case. But as you've been discussing this morning, there's already enough information for policymakers to start asking some very basic questions and the one question that is already being asked the most right now in Washington is whether the FBI dropped the ball at the very start.


JOHNS (voice-over): In the search for how suspected marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev turned radical, a big part of the investigation is focused on what role a six month trip to Russia played and any contact he may have had with extremists in Chechnya where his family originally hails from.

REP. MICHAEL MCCAUL (R), HOMELAND SECURITY COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: I think it's very probable that when he's in the region, it's a very dangerous region, they're known for their tactics, that he possibly could have been trained at that point.

JOHNS: When he got back from Russia, Tsarnaev started posting radical videos on a new YouTube page with an address that bore the names of prominent militant leaders among Islamist groups. And CNN has learned at one point the page included this video since deleted from Youtube of a jihadist killed this year by Russian forces in the same town where Tsarnaev went to visit his father in 2012. The group denies any connection to him.

DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: What does that say to you if anything?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's certainly a major point in the investigation.

JOHNS: In hindsight, many are asking whether the FBI missed a radical having investigated Tsarnaev in 2011, after the Russians raised concerns about possible ties to extremists.

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER, (D) JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: This man was pointed out by a foreign government to be dangerous. He was interviewed by the FBI once. What did they find out, what did they miss?

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM, (R ) JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: I want to know how the FBI or the system dropped the ball when he was identified as a potential terrorist.

JOHNS: The FBI says it interviewed him, his family and looked for concerning phone and internet activities and found no threat. After asking Russia for more information, Moscow did not respond. The FBI closed the case and moved on.

TOM FUENTES, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Thousands of these requests come in worldwide, so you don't have the resources to follow every person on from then on for the rest of their life because they might be a bad guy.

JOHNS: But what's still not clear is why Tsarnaev would target his adopted city. One possibility here as to why he might target his adopted city, the "New York Times" reports, his citizenship was delayed because of the FBI investigation, Wolf.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: No word yet on the U.S. attorney announcing when -- if the charges will be filed today. We expect as early as today, but we have no official word yet, right, Joe?

JOHNS: We have no official word and quite frankly we just got a schedule released by the justice department at least in Washington, D.C., no public events scheduled, so that adds to the mystery, Wolf.

BLITZER: We'll stay in close touch with you. Thanks very much. We're going to have a lot more from Boston in just a moment, but here is what else we're seeing right now, we're watching this morning. Many homes and businesses in the Chicago suburb of Des Plaines, they are under water after last week's storms. Flooding is blamed for at least three deaths in the Midwest, some areas are seeing water levels near 60-year highs.

We're learning more about the snowboarders who died in a Colorado of a large this weekend. The men were all in their 30's and living in Colorado. The sixth member of the party survived by digging himself out of the snow, and hiking to a road for help. All were wearing avalanche beacons and proper equipment.

In the city of West, Texas several residents are being allowed back to see their homes for the first time since last week's fertilizer plant explosion. That explosion killed 14 people, left 200 others injured. Investigators have yet to determine what caused Wednesday night's blast, but today they will head into the blast crater to start searching for clues. CNN's Martin Savidge is joining us now from West, Texas with more. Martin, what exactly are they looking for in that blast crater?

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Wolf. Yes, just so you know, this is one of the main check points to get this to the explosion zone directly behind us here. It is pretty much off-limits and here is the reason why. Getting into that crater is crucial as part of the investigation. A lot of figuring out what happened, what went wrong, will be based on forensic science because the records and everything that was in that facility that could tell them things like how much and what sort of chemicals and what kind of fertilizers, that was obliterated along with the plant itself with that terrible explosion on Wednesday night.

So going in there, and everything in that explosion zone is considered evidence. That would include say the debris, that would include the kind of damage that was done, the blast pattern coming out from the plant itself. It would even include the victims' bodies and that's one of the reasons they have not been released to family members. Because they, too, are part of the investigation. They need everything in there behind me to help try to come up with a solution to figure out what happened.

BLITZER: Martin, thanks very much. We'll stay on top of this story together with you, as well. Heart breaking story, indeed. Just ahead, questions about whether the Tsarnaev brothers were aided by others outside the United States. Our continuing coverage. We're live in Boston. Resumes right after this.


BLITZER: Welcome back to special edition of NEWSROOM. FBI and others are trying to piece together a motive for the deadly marathon attack and we're learning they may be getting some assistance from the lone surviving suspect. Sources telling CNN Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is communicating with officials through writing. He has been questioned since yesterday. CNN international security analyst Jim Walsh is joining us with more on what's going on. One of the key questions, that a lot of people have been wondering, the weapons that they have, the weapons that eventually killed an MIT police officer, seriously injured another local law enforcement officer. Do we have any idea where they got those weapons?

JIM WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Not yet. And I think that question also extends to the explosives as well. We don't know, but this is an investigation pursuing lots of lines of inquiry both foreign and domestic. I would have to guess, though, that rather than risk acquiring weapons and explosives from abroad, it's much more likely they were acquired domestically.

BLITZER: What about the money that was -- these two guys apparently didn't have much money, but enough to buy explosives, pressure cookers, a rifle, long rifle according to the Watertown police chief I spoke with. Other weapons, as well.

WALSH: I'm sure they're already well into the suspect's computer files and financial records. We're getting a mixed picture because on the one hand, they seem to have had a modest style of living. On the other hand, there is that picture that's been widely circulated of suspect number one wearing expensive shoes, expensive clothes. There have been other reports by people who knew them that the older brother engaged in a more lavish lifestyle. So this picture is not adding up.

And still another question for me personally is the explosives. They had more explosives than I would have originally guessed from the original reporting. And the question is if you've never done this before, just because you have a blueprint doesn't mean magically you can make something that works. And in this field what's important is reliability. You want that bomb if you're a terrorist to go off when you want to, not before, not after. That normally takes practice. So the question is, is there some facility or someplace outside of Boston or was that an experience gained overseas. That's one of the big questions I'll be paying attention to.

BLITZER: And who trained those guys.

WALSH: If they were self-trained, they would have had to have tested somewhere in Massachusetts or nearby. But the other alternative is that they received help and training and testing elsewhere.

BLITZER: And the suspicion is that the older brother when he went back to Dagestan may have received training there.

WALSH: And that's why this investigation is as likely as active on the foreign front as it is the domestic front.

BLITZER: But, local law enforcement seem pretty assured there is no one else here in Boston area at large that may have been a co- conspirator.

WALSH: Yeah, they've been crystal clear about that. In the press conference immediately after suspect two's capture, the Boston police chief was asked this directly and he gave a shockingly by these standards crisp and clear answer. He said as far as Boston was concerned, it's over. Now, there may be other things going on outside of the area, but he was definitive in the statement that at least for the people in the city of Boston that the danger had passed.

BLITZER: Jim Walsh, thanks very much. Our national security analyst. Still ahead, remembering the victims of the Boston marathon bombings which happened one week ago today.



DR. RUSSELL NAUTA, CHAIRMAN, DEPT. OF SURGERY: The officer's blood volume was almost entirely lost to the point of the heart stopping. The heart was resuscitated over the next 45 minutes or so.


BLITZER: That was Dr. Russell Nauta talking about the transit officer Richard Donohue. He's in critical condition after a shootout with the Boston marathon bombing suspects Thursday night. More than 50 other people are still hospitalized. Three of them in critical condition. At least a dozen survivors had amputations. The bomb attack at the Boston Marathon was one week ago today and today at precisely 2:50 p.m. Eastern, the exact moment the first bomb went off, Massachusetts will observe a moment of silence. Church bells will then toll for the victims. Those four people lost their lives, 29-year-old Krystle Campbell, 18-year-old (sic) Martin Richards, Chinese graduate student, 23-year-old Lingzi Lu, and MIT police officer Sean Collier, only 26-years-old. Mourners lined the streets of Medford, Massachusetts to say good-bye to Campbell. Her funeral, now set for 11:00 a.m. this morning, a little more than an hour from now.

CNN's Jason Carroll recalls as life cut tragically short.


JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Krystle Campbell's mother, Patty, so overcome by grief, as she stood on her front porch. Each word was a struggle.

PATTY CAMPBELL, KRYSTLE CAMPBELL'S MOTHER: (inaudible) She was a wonderful person. Everybody that knew her loved her.

CARROLL: A family spokesman finally had to read her statement and say what she could not.

BRIAN KENNY, FAMILY SPOKESMAN: Everyone who knew her loved her. She was sweet and kind and friendly, always smiling, she worked so hard at everything she did.

CARROLL: Krystle Campbell's story a tragic case of mistaken identity. The 29-year-old had gone to the marathon with her friend. Both were caught in the first explosion. Her parents say doctors told them their daughter survived and they were trying to save her leg. But when Campbell's parents were finally allowed to see her, they discovered it wasn't her at all but her friend.

CAMPBELL: This doesn't make any sense. Thank you.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What kind of a daughter was she, ma'am?

CAMPBELL: She was the best.

CARROLL: Campbell described as sweet and kind by those who knew her here at the restaurant where she worked.

NICK MIMINOS, SUPERVISOR, JIMMY'S STEER HOUSE: You would like her immediately and she was one of the hardest workers that we had. And I think that's what our crew here enjoyed most about her is she would get in the trenches and work right next to you. She wasn't afraid to -- to get her hands dirty. So she was a very, very popular manager.

CARROLL: A devastating mix-up, leaving a grief stricken family wondering how it all could have happened. (on camera): Campbell's grandmother says the body was identified here at Massachusetts general hospital. A hospital spokeswoman would only say they have no record of Krystle Campbell.

Jason Carroll, CNN, Boston.


BLITZER: Heartbreaking story indeed. Still to come on our special edition of NEWSROOM, with cameras rolling, Watertown police came face- to-face with the Boston bombing suspects.

And an entire city shut down as police close in. My interview with the city's police chief, that's next.


BLITZER: Friday morning in Watertown, Massachusetts, just outside of Boston, police came face-to-face with the two suspects in the Boston Marathon bombings. The older brother Tamerlan was killed in a shootout -- in a shootout with the police. But Friday -- by Friday evening they closed in on the younger brother hiding in a boat, in someone's backyard. Here is the rest of the story from my interview with the Watertown Police Chief Ed Deveau.


BLITZER: When did you realize that that was going down, that you had the second suspect?

EDWARD DEVEAU, WATERTOWN MASSACHUSETTS POLICE CHIEF: We -- yes we -- it was late in the day. We had a report, you know, that we got from our citizens. We asked them to keep vigilant and we got the call and it sounded like really good information.

BLITZER: That person called and said there's a guy in this boat in my backyard.

DEVEAU: That's right.

BLITZER: And there looks like there's blood there. So have you got, pick up the story.

DEVEAU: Right at that point, we had a couple of thousands police officers on scene. The turnout out was just incredible, the support that we got from the -- from the state and from the region. So we had the tactical people to be able to close that scene down and secure it. We did take our time to make sure that everybody was safe in the neighborhood. And eventually we had to use some flash bangs to render the subject a little dazed --


BLITZER: Tell the people what a flash bang is.

DEVEAU: It's a loud compression that would stun somebody for a short period of time. And then we begin negotiations and slowly over 15, 20 minute period we were able to get him to stand up and show us that he didn't have a device on him.

BLITZER: All right, so -- he's lying in this boat.

DEVEAU: Right.

BLITZER: He's been there for several hours. He's wounded clearly he's bleeding.

DEVEAU: Right.

BLITZER: He's obviously weak. You come over there and what do you say to him? You have a bull horn and you start saying come up with your hands up.

DEVEAU: Well we have -- we have a negotiator who was actually on the second floor of the house looking down at the boat.

BLITZER: You could see him?

DEVEAU: No, we couldn't see him there is a plastic tarp over him. We had the state police helicopter that could tell us when there was movement in the boat by the heat sensor. So we could tell he was alive and moving and we began the negotiations that way. And over a -- over a long period of time we were able to finally get him to surrender without any other -- anybody hurt.

BLITZER: So you don't use anymore gunfire and of course while he is in the boat.

DEVEAU: Well once we got -- there was early gunfire when we first got in the area. There was -- he exchanged gunfire with some of the officers and then we secure the scene and then there was no more gunfire after that.

BLITZER: What kind of weapon did he have?

DEVEAU: We're not sure. We have -- that crime scene is still live down there. The boat -- the FBI crime scene search is there now. We haven't got into that boat, we don't know what's in that boat. There could be devices.


BLITZER: Because the FBI is in charge of that?

DEVEAU: The scene on there today, yes.

BLITZER: Did he have an explosive vest on his body like his -- his older brother did the night before?

DEVEAU: Well that was our major concern. And that's why no one wanted to go near him until we were able to get him to understand that we needed him to lift his chest up, lift his shirt up so could see his chest. But we felt comfortable to send some people in to take him in to custody.

BLITZER: Did he do that?

DEVEAU: Yes eventually over a long period of time 20 to 30 minutes, we finally got him to do that.

BLITZER: So he had no explosives with him in the boat as far as you know?

DEVEAU: We haven't got into that boat, it's a decent size boat so we don't know what else is in there. He needed first aid you know and so he was transported by ambulance into a Boston hospital.


BLITZER: You can see my entire interview with the Watertown Police Chief Ed Deveau in the next hour of the CNN NEWSROOM.

We're back here in Boston in just a moment.


BLITZER: Welcome back.

Sports certainly continuing to help people in Boston and beyond come together after the marathon tragedy. Here are some of the latest images. Look at these, many Nascar teams had Boston strong stickers on their car at yesterday's Kansas 400 race. There was a moment of silence before the race began to remember the victims of the Boston tragedies, those killed in last week's plant explosion in West, Texas as well.

On Sunday Boston Red Sox outfielder Jonny Gomes used bats with the names of the three people killed last Monday and the MIT police officer killed Thursday night. The bats will be auctioned off with the proceeds going to the One Fund, helping those most affected by the bombing.

The Florida Panthers honored law enforcement by wearing Boston police and Massachusetts state police caps during their pre-game state in Boston. After the game the Boston Bruins, gave first responders and marathon runners their jerseys. The team's annual shirts off their back even usually thank select season ticket holders. The Bruins head coach says the team still has the events of the last week on their mind.


CLAUDE JULIEN, BOSTON BRUINS HEAD COACH: Too much has happened in this past week to all of a sudden we turn a corner and say we've forgotten. We haven't and we never will. But at the same time, you know, there's still some good electricity in the air. And you know, people out there are showing solidarity, which is great. We're just trying to entertain them. And like I said from day one, give them something to cheer about and something to smile about.


BLITZER: A Bruins fan at the New York Rangers-New Jersey Devils game emotionally sang along to "Sweet Caroline".

Others in the Madison Square crowd joined in. The song, of course, a staple at Boston's Fenway Park. It has been played in other cities, arenas and stadiums in the last week as a show of support for the people of Boston.

The next hour of NEWSROOM we're live from Boston, starts right after a short break.