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THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER

New Boston Bombing Details Revealed; Suspect in Ricin Case Released; First Photos of Boston Shootout; Interview with Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa

Aired April 23, 2013 - 16:00   ET

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


JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: One top senator tells us, straight up, the FBI screwed up before the Boston bombings.

I'm Jake Tapper and this is "The Lead."

Gunfire in the streets of Watertown, we've only had to rely on descriptions of the first showdown with the suspects until now.

Fresh pictures show the battle which only one suspect would leave alive.

Home: After an act of terror forced them to flee with whatever they could carry, the people who live on Boston's Boylston Street are now coming back, life moving on at the scene of the crime.

And the man suspected of mailing a ricin-laced letter to President Obama has been released, his lawyer telling CNN he was set up, as another possibly tainted letter arrives at a military base.

Hello. We're coming to you live from Boston where in just the last hour authorities finished reopening the site of the bombings, a six-block stretch of Boylston Street, to the people who live and own businesses there. Block by block, people were allowed back for the first time in more than a week.

But, like there, it's far from normal. People have to show I.D. to get in and out and the general public is not allowed yet. Meanwhile, the surviving Boston suspect has been upgraded to fair condition. We have been told he's communicating with investigators. Much more on that in a moment.

Our thoughts remain with the victims of this terrorist attack. Four people dead and more people hurt than anyone first understood. The revised injury total is now 264 up from 183, because some people did not realize how badly they were hurt according to health officials. This morning, 8-year-old Martin Richard was laid to rest in a private funeral. The family says it's planning a public memorial in the coming weeks. Services were held for 29-year-old Krystle Campbell yesterday, and last night Boston University held a vigil for Lingzi Lu, the 23-year-old grad student from China.

And a private funeral today for MIT officer Sean Collier who was allegedly gunned down by the suspects Thursday night. Tomorrow, MIT will hold a memorial service for him and Vice President Joe Biden will attend.

It is giving people all over the country a way to help in the wake of the Boston bombings, The One Fund. And whether's $5 or $500,000, like Major League Baseball donated, every little bit is helping those whose lives were forever changed.

Governor Deval Patrick and the Boston Thomas Menino are making an announcement about The One Fund right now. Let's take a listen.

(BEGIN LIVE PRESS CONFERENCE COVERAGE - JOINED IN PROGRESS)

GOV. DEVAL PATRICK (D), MASSACHUSETTS: All of the money will go to victims, none to administrative costs. We thank all of the donors, the large benefactors who are represented here behind us, but the thousands of others all over the world who stepped up.

And above all and first and foremost, for his vision and his leadership in this and so many things, Mayor Menino.

(APPLAUSE)

THOMAS MENINO (D), MAYOR OF BOSTON: Thank you, Governor.

Thank you all for being with us this afternoon. The individuals behind me are the lead donators to The One Fund.

This past week, our city triumphed over terror and showed the world the meaning of Boston strong. But one particular person was on TV and spoke about Boston and he says, you picked the wrong city. And that is so true, because the action of so many, their love and care of so many has really showed how beloved our great city is to people all over the world.

As President Obama spoke last week, what makes Boston such a special, unique place? He spoke with a love we all share for each other. He said, we hit the toughest miles as when someone is there to pick us up as we fail, as we fall.

Last week, many people in our city fell. But so many have rushed forward to help pick each other up. He also spoke of Boston holding a special place in everyone's heart. People all over the world share that special Boston feeling and it shows.

As a tragic event occurred, the calls and tweets and support was overwhelming. So, in an effort to harness the unbelievable outpouring of generosity all over the world, we created The One Fund Boston. In just over a week, I am proud to announce that The One Fund Boston has raised $20 million.

(APPLAUSE)

MENINO: Nearly five of that million dollars -- $20 million, $5 million, had been generated by simple clicks on your computer across the world.

It is tremendous and truly amazing. We have about 50,000 donors. We still haven't -- Mitch (ph) has a bag full of money.

(LAUGHTER)

MENINO: We haven't opened that yet. Wait a while.

This charitable organization will help those families most affected by Monday's tragic events, provide comfort to those who wish to donate to an organization that has experience and know-how to do it right, and do it right is the most important part of this organization.

I have met with Ken Feinberg, who I have known for many years. I asked him to help us get this support to victims as swiftly as possible. I also asked him to work with victims' families to decide the best way to do this.

He will outline a timetable today that accomplishes both goals. I want to thank Ken for agreeing to be the administrator of The One Fund Boston. Ken, besides being a good guy, is a Massachusetts native. He comes from some city down in Brockton, I think it is, yes, and has always displayed outstanding commitment to public service. At one time, he was chief of staff for our great Senator Kennedy.

His work in our community is an example to all of us. I cannot imagine a better leader for this important work at this time. I want to also thank all the people who have already committed to One Fund Boston. The response is more than I could ever have imagined.

I'm hopeful for a better tomorrow because of that, our generosity. It is so important that we keep those affected by this tragedy our number one priority. I met with the injured last week and again today. I admire their strength and courage.

We are here for you. We will help you move forward. We will support you during these difficult times. You need information, we're waiting it to you. You need connections to each other? We will help make those connections. You need resources? We will help direct you to them. And when people around the country have reached into their wallets to reach out to you, we will make sure that generosity gets to you right away. We will get through this together.

So I just want to say, I never imagined after this tragedy last Monday that the generosity of the folks, the business community of Boston especially, but around the world, I have got many calls from folks who said, we want to be helpful. To raise $20 million in one week is tremendous.

And I just want to say to everyone out there, I want to thank the media. Thank you for the promotion you have also done to help us help those folks. And I met with those families this morning. There's going to be a lot of help needed for them, but we will be there for them, because that's what Boston is all about.

We're one city committed to making a better city for all our people and not to forget as we go further down the road. Thanks much. Now I would like you to introduce to my friend, the guy who is going to be the administrator of this fund. Call Ken Feinberg when you're having any problems. Ken is going to -- this guy is a wonderful guy, let me tell you. We are so lucky to have him.

Ken Feinberg is going to be the administrator of this fund. And he comes to say -- he came to me. He said, Mayor, I want to be helpful. He's going to be helpful to us as we distribute those funds to the families in need as quickly as possible. Thank you very much.

(APPLAUSE)

KENNETH FEINBERG, ADMINISTRATOR, THE ONE FUND: First, I want to thank the mayor and the governor for their confidence in me.

Why am I doing this? I'm doing what thousands of people would do if they were asked, I'm sure. And I'm doing it because you learn over the years you do not say no to Mayor Menino and you do not say no to the governor of the commonwealth.

And when they ask you to do something, you do it. This is not the first time I have been asked to administer a fund for victims. Every time I do this, I say to myself, well, hopefully that will be the last time. And it just isn't the last time. Bad things happen to good people every day in this country.

And a fund like this, I am amazed. I am amazed in my experience to see this type of outpouring so quickly in such large amounts after this horrific tragedy. One thing I have learned in all of these funds, and this is the latest example, never underestimate the charitable impulse of the American people.

It is astounding to me how Americans from all walks of life, from all around the globe really step up in a time like this and show sort of a national sense of community. It's not just the money. In the past three days, I have been contacted, I would say, by almost 200 individuals offering their services, pro bono, volunteer.

Ken, we just want to help. Here's my e-mail. Here's my phone. Here's my resume. I'm ready. Call on me. I will do whatever you want large or small. Just let me know. I'm ready to serve. It's astounding to me. It certainly reaffirms my faith in the American people, our nation as a nation.

It's incredible, the sense of community shown after 9/11 and Virginia Tech and these other tragedies and now this horrible tragedy here in Boston. Now, I just want to highlight in one minute what the mayor and the governor have said. The first week of May, I will be here in Boston to hold public -- two public town hall meetings to hear from the families, to hear from the public, to hear from anybody who wants to come to the meeting.

One will be in the afternoon. The second meeting will be at night for those who work during the day. I want to hear from them. What do they think ought to be done with this money? I want to get as much input, open discussion, very emotional. And I want to hear from those families and the public and others who were injured in the attacks.

How should we distribute the money? It's not a lot of money when you look at the nature of the injuries, the number of injuries, how you're going to divide this money. It is a wonderful outpouring, but it will not make people whole. It can't do that.

So how should we allocate limited resources? Then we will provide beginning May 15, next month, a couple of weeks, the claim form. For anybody who wants to file a claim on behalf of a lost loved one, on behalf of a victim, file the claim, because we will announce before May 15, a few days before, a final protocol that will govern issues like eligibility, the calculation of damages, how much you will receive, how you file a claim. That'll all be posted. It'll be public, and that will be the guiding benchmark as to how we will go about distributing the funds.

Beginning May 15, people will have one...

(END LIVE PRESS CONFERENCE COVERAGE)

TAPPER: So, we are going to break away from this press conference because we have some breaking news.

A government official tells me that the surviving suspect, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, is revealing some new details about his motives to investigators. A U.S. government official tells me that the suspect has cited the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq as motivating factors in the attack.

Investigators say he claims they had no contact with any foreign terrorist organization and they were self-radicalized on the Internet. The preachings of cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, who was killed several years ago in a drone strike, were -- quote -- "likely" -- unquote -- to have been among the videos the Tsarnaev brothers watched in this process, according to this official, likely.

We should add we have no evidence that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is telling the truth and the investigators still have to check out the preliminary interviews, but some information is forthcoming.

Investigators are looking into whether the brothers were influenced by a magazine put out by an al Qaeda affiliate -- yes, al Qaeda has a magazine. But instead of wore it best, it features articles like how to make a bomb in your mom's kitchen.

Meanwhile, Phantom Fireworks confirms to CNN that the older suspect, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, bought two reloadable mortar kits with 48 shells from a store in New Hampshire on February 6th, a law enforcement source tells CNN. That amount alone would not be enough to set off explosions as big as the ones in Boston a week and a day ago.

The FBI wants to talk to the wife of the older suspects. So far, they've only been able to talk to her attorneys who today read a statement. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIRIAM WEIZENBAUM, ATTORNEY FOR BOMBING SUSPECT'S WIFE: The injuries and loss of life to people who came to celebrate a race and holiday has caused profound distress and sorrow to Katy and her family. The reports of involvement by her husband and brother-in-law came as an absolute shock to them all.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TAPPER: So, I want to bring in Juliette Kayyem, CNN national security analyst.

Let's talk about Ken Feinberg who will be the administrator of the One Fund, $20 million for victims of the Boston terrorist attacks. You when you worked at the Department of Homeland Security, you worked with Feinberg when it came to the BP oil spill and restitution for people in that area. It's a tough job.

JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: It is. One of the toughest jobs because what we're asking him to do, what he's been asked to do is to put a number sign, a dollar sign on misery. And it's an impossible sort of victory. He never wins but he often gets very close to -- has been terribly successful for a variety of reasons.

TAPPER: He did it for 9/11. That's his biggest one.

KAYYEM: He did it for 9/11. He did it for Madoff. He did it for the BP oil spill.

So, he has a couple goals and you just heard him just now. One is transparency. He is out there. He is talking to the community. Those are going to start May 1st here.

He is going to listen to the victims about what kind of harms they have both physical and, of course, mental. Then he's going to come up with essentially a template of claims form that gets distributed to anyone in the city, or anyone else, who may have been harmed and he essentially puts numbers behind them and then decides, sort of, what's the final number?

We've got $20 million right now in the one Boston Fund. It is a very hard process but there are two points. One is closure of course.

TAPPER: Right.

KAYYEM: That people need to feel whole through money and that's important. But the other is that there is a goal to steer people away from the courtroom. That if you have hundreds of pieces of litigation going on it doesn't add closure and actually ends up pitting people against each other.

TAPPER: So, let's talk about the investigation for one second. Since the show yesterday, CNN broke the news about some of the motivations that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is discussing in terms of no foreign terrorist groups involved in terms of he and his brother have a jihadi world view. Islam is under attack in their view, with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Is this a surprise to you?

KAYYEM: It hasn't been. I've been saying all along we need to separate the motives from the means. So, the motives may have all sorts of international networks through the Internet or through his visits to Russia. But it appears now and this is just preliminary that the means were all devised here and there are aspects of what happened, the focus on the Boston marathon, the fact they lived here, the fact they had no exit plan, they have lots of arsenal on themselves rather than distributed to other terrorist groups, that sort of support at least what we're hearing right now from them.

So, separating sort of this motivation, this sort of, you know, radicalization from how did they do it is what the investigators are doing now. So, what he is saying is consistent with sort of, that they were motivated by something bigger but they did it through just sort of a homegrown training.

TAPPER: All right. Juliette Kayyem, thank you so much.

Up next, a bullet went right through his roommate's desk chair. I'll talk to the Bostonian who was uncomfortably close to the Tsarnaev's gun fight with police.

And we're waiting to hear the latest from Senator Dianne Feinstein on what the FBI really knew about Tamerlan Tsarnaev's trip to Russia and why it didn't raise red flags in the government.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

TAPPER: I'm standing in Watertown, a nice beautiful neighborhood, Laurel Street. But this is the neighborhood where in the early morning hours on Friday, a shootout between the police who were down there and the Tsarnaev brothers, who were right there, allegedly took place. You can still see the remnants of one of the bomb blasts as havoc was wreaked on this street in the early morning hours. And neighbors watched especially one particular neighbor in that house up there.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANDREW KITZENBERG, WITNESSED SHOOTOUT: Cars were stopped right in front of that pole. It was roughly 75, 80 yards from here.

TAPPER (voice-over): Andrew Kitzenberg's normally tranquil suburban street erupted into a war zone. The 26-year-old had a presence of mind to start taking pictures with his iPhone and live- tweeting the gun battle as the Tsarnaev brothers were allegedly pinned down by police. He walked us through what he experienced that night.

KITZENBERG: I can see the two shooters behind the SUV, shooting on -- down Laurel Street. As soon as I saw the two shooters and saw that gunfire I ran immediately up the stairs to my bedroom on the third floor. And I immediately, when I got into the bedroom, jumped on my bed, on my stomach, tried to stay below the windows.

Then, I also got my camera right up against the windows and the glass, continuing to take photos of the shooters and what was happening right in front of my bedroom window.

TAPPER (on camera): Describe what you're seeing here.

KITZENBERG: So, this is one of the first pictures I took. It was the two shooters that were taking cover behind the black SUV and, still, engaging in gunfire and shooting down towards the Watertown officers.

TAPPER: So, that's the green sedan is where they had pipe bombs and explosives.

KITZENBERG: Yes. They were bringing out backpacks, so I assume that in those backpacks were additional ammunition and explosives.

TAPPER: And they were both firing?

KITZENBERG: They were both firing, yes.

TAPPER: Did you see police on the street?

KITZENBERG: Yes. I could see all the way down Laurel Street and see the police vehicles at the end of the block there.

TAPPER: What's going through your mind when you were taking these pictures? Did you know these were the brothers that were wanted?

KITZENBERG: Not initially. When I first heard the gunshots I had seen the reports about the MIT shooting and that's something that happened there. So when I saw gun fire that was immediately what I thought. I was live-tweeting the event and using the hash tags #MIT, #MITshooting. That's what I thought.

TAPPER: You thought it was separate?

KITZENBERG: I just wasn't thinking marathon. I didn't make a separation. I just -- it didn't come into my mind until they started using explosives. And then when they started using explosives, that's when I knew it was something much more significant and pretty much knew who I was looking at.

TAPPER: Were you worried for your life?

KITZENBERG: At that moment, taking pictures, I was more just in a state of shock with a lot of adrenalin running through me and combination of shock and curiosity and absolutely just terrified but I guess not enough to stop or get away from the windows. After that larger explosion and there was a smoke cloud on the street, one of the brothers ran toward the officers.

TAPPER: The older brother? KITZENBERG: Yes. And he was running down the street still engaging in gun fire. Ran down the street. As he got closer to the officers, he was taken down and as that happened the second -- the other brother --

TAPPER: The younger brother, yes.

KITZENBERG: -- got back into the SUV, turned it around, and then he started accelerating down the street.

TAPPER (voice-over): Four and a half days later adrenalin is still running high on this street. After all, anything could have happened.

(on camera): What point did the bullet go through your roommate's wall and into his chair?

KITZENBERG: I don't know. I didn't hear it coming. I was still up in my room.

So, I did not see when I came in or didn't hear it. I took a picture kind of after the gun fire had stopped.

TAPPER: A bullet was fired from that direction where the police were, and it went through the second floor here, through his calendar, through his desk chair and landed on the ground thankfully not hitting any person.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

TAPPER: And, miraculously, no one on Laurel Street was hurt.

Tensions on Capitol Hill have been flaring since the Boston bombings. Today, during a hearing, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano took heat from lawmakers who want to know why nothing was done to stop Tamerlan Tsarnaev even after the government was warned in 2011 that he might represent a threat to national security. Tsarnaev reportedly traveled to Russia last year.

Napolitano admitted today that the government had at first taken notice of the trip but then dropped the investigation.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. CHUCK GRASSLEY (R), IOWA: Was your department aware of his travels to Russia? And if you weren't, the reason?

JANET NAPOLITANO, HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: The travel in 2012 that you're referring to.

GRASSLEY: Yes.

NAPOLITANO: Yes, the system pinged when he was leaving the United States. By the time he returned, all investigations had been -- the matter had been closed.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TAPPER: And just a few moments ago, I spoke with Senator Chuck Grassley, ranking member of the judiciary committee about that exchange.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GRASSLEY: When you have a ping like that or an alert like that, that immediately the FBI should have been notified about it and Senator Graham brought out today that the Senate -- that the FBI didn't know anything about it.

So you get back to a major problem that we have, does the left hand of government know what the right hand is doing?

And if we're going to win this war on terrorism, we've got to have complete cooperation among all the departments that are involved in the war against terrorism.\

TAPPER: Do you think the FBI did enough due diligence when they checked out Tamerlan Tsarnaev?

It sounds like they talked to his parents, they checked out his communications, concluded that there were no threat there. But further reporting by reporters this week indicated that Tsarnaev was something of an extremist, at least in his views.

Do you think the FBI did enough in 2011?

GRASSLEY: No, I don't think so. I think there's a lot of unanswered questions and we've got to get to the bottom of it. And I hope that we do.

But you -- you get back to the very same thing, you've got to have these two departments cooperating. And when the Department of Homeland Security knew something and they didn't tell the FBI, then that -- that probably is one reason why the FBI didn't go as far as they normally would have gone.

TAPPER: And we know that there have been some closed door intelligence briefings by the FBI explaining to members of Congress what went on, what happened when they looked into Tamerlan Tsarnaev.

Is that going to be it or is Congress obligated to have open hearings to find out more about this?

GRASSLEY: Well, I think at least in the House of Representatives, you're going to have open hearings on this. And I think it's going to be a major issue when the immigration bill comes up, not -- not because of the Boston bombers themselves, but because of the fact that when you only do an immigration bill once every 25 years and everybody knows that the borders aren't secured and terrorists can come into this country and, and all of the, uh, protections aren't in place, it's something that we've got to do right.

TAPPER: Lastly, Senator, you have talked about this case in the context of immigration reform.

Can you point to anything specifically, that has happened that would have led to Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the last remaining living suspect in this incident, not becoming a naturalized citizen?

Is there anything in this background that would have prevented him becoming a naturalized citizen?

GRASSLEY: Well, I think that there is some questions about how student visas are given out. There's some question about whether or not there's enough follow-up on them that would raise questions, that's very important. And also, when the older brother came back from Russia, he stayed right up until the -- almost the last few days of the six months that he could be out of the country coming back. That should have sent a signal.

But the most important thing is, what's wrong with a system that an alert comes up in the Department of Homeland Security and then in the end, the F -- not only is the FBI not notified, but there's some question about whether or not, uh, that ping would come up again now, according to the testimony of the secretary of Homeland Security.

TAPPER: All right, Senator Chuck Grassley, thank you so much for joining us.

GRASSLEY: Thank you.

(END VIDEOTAPE)