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Boston Marathon Terror Suspect Communicating; Profile of a Terror Attack; Did Tsarnaev Brothers Have Help?; Won't Be Treated As Enemy Combatant; Police in Spain Arrest Two Suspected Terrorists; Midwest Flooding

Aired April 23, 2013 - 06:00   ET


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: New this morning, major developments in the Boston Marathon bombings, the surviving suspect answering questions in the hospital about his older brother's role, their possible motive, and what, if any, terror groups may have backed their attack.

Plus a CNN exclusive, a firsthand account of one suspect's last stand, that account from the SWAT team that took him down.

ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR: And a developing story, an alleged --


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We put hands on him, grabbed him and pulled him off the boat.


SAMBOLIN: And a developing story, an alleged plot to attack a passenger train traveling between Canada and the United States, and this morning the suspects are due in court.

Good morning to you. Welcome to EARLY START. Thanks for being with us this morning. I'm Zoraida Sambolin in New York.

BERMAN: And I'm John Berman live in Boston this morning. It is Tuesday, April 23rd. It is 6:00 a.m. in the east right now.

And Boston Marathon terror suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is talking, not necessarily with words at least he's communicating. CNN's Jake Tapper, my friend and colleague, has key information from a government official that Tsarnaev is communicating to law enforcement.

Claiming that he and his brother pulled off last week's attack and their motivation seemed to be that of a jihadist. Jake is with us this morning. Jake, it's so good to see you. Based on what your source is telling you, what did Tsarnaev have to say?

JAKE TAPPER, HOST, CNN ANCHOR, "THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER": Well, first of all, let's just say this is a preliminary interview with Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. Law enforcement officials are cautioning this is what he's saying initially. They still need to check out all the facts and make sure what he is saying is accurate. But what he is saying to investigators is that first of all, this was not planned. This terrorist attack was not planned in conjunction with any foreign terrorist group.

Second, that they were radicalized online, that there was a video component to their being radicalized, that they were self-radicalized. There was not necessarily any internet communication. But they learned what they learned in terms of ideology, and other things, from the internet.

The older brother, according to Dzhokhar, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, was the driving force. Of course, we'd expect him to say something like that, but according to all accounts that was their relationship anyway.

And from this initial impression, the initial interviews, investigators believe that these individuals, at least according to Dzhokhar were self-starters, self-radicalized, their motivation was that of a Jihadist.

They were driven by the Jihadist thought, the political and religious motivations, believing that Islam is under attack, believing that they need to fight back against it. That is what investigators are garnering from these initial interviews with Dzhokhar.

BERMAN: Radicalized online. Not through communication, but radicalized according to these interviews simply by watching videos?

TAPPER: By watching videos. Obviously, we know that Tamerlan spent time abroad in Chechnya where there is a big Islamic ideology in dealing with the fight against Russia, the war with Russia.

But from what we know they were radicalized here at home, from these videos, and again, you know, this is all this initial, the investigation is just days old. They were just picked up on Friday. Dzhokhar was picked up on Friday. So everything still needs to be checked out.

BERMAN: We don't know how much of this communication was verbal or written or just nodding.

TAPPER: Right.

BERMAN: The other thing, Jake, do we know if this information was conveyed before or after he was given his Miranda Rights?

TAPPER: We don't know as of yet. He has been read his Miranda Rights, but we don't know if this information came before or after. As you know there was a public safety exemption before he was read his Miranda Rights.

So there was time when law enforcement had the opportunity to talk to him before he had quote/unquote "lawyered up." But we don't know yet whether or not this information came before he said he understood his rights or after.

BERMAN: All right, Jake Tapper, terrific reporting. It's great to have you here this morning.

TAPPER: Thanks, John.

BERMAN: Don't miss "THE LEAD" every day at 4:00. All right, we're also learning more this morning about -- we're learning more this morning about criminal complaints against Tsarnaev detailing step by step how the deadly attack on the Boston Marathon unfolded.

Our coverage continues this morning with Miguel Marquez outside Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center right here in Boston. Good morning, Miguel.

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, John. This is the criminal complaint that contains what we expect are the first charges. We'll see many more against Mr. Tsarnaev.


MARQUEZ (voice-over): In the criminal complaint, investigators built a minute by minute account of the Tsarnaev brothers as they moved the crowds at the marathon. At one point, Dzhokhar had his phone to his ear maybe a ruse, seconds later, the first bomb.

Only then does he begin to walk away from the bag he's left amid the crowd. Ten seconds later, the second bomb is detonated. We are also learning about his older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev.

We are also learning about his older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev. In 2009, he was arrested for domestic assault after his girlfriend said he beat her up. Last year, he openly argued with a preacher at a mosque he sometimes attended, telling him that holiday celebrations were not allowed by Islam.

Again, last January, he disrupted a sermon about Martin Luther King, calling the civil rights leader a nonbeliever. The revelations and charges just as this city is struggling to recover a moment of silence marking one week since the attack from the oval office and around the country, a solemn tribute.

(on camera): -- in Boston, almost every spot in this city is silent and still.

(voice-over): Another step toward normal, Boylston Street turned over by federal investigators to the city of Boston. In a sign of the investigation's intensity, a tree, possibly touched by Dzhokhar removed, taken as evidence and photos of Dzhokhar withdrawing money from an ATM after a carjacking and the murder of MIT Police Officer Sean Collier.

This, as the victims continue to heal, 50 in the hospital, two still critical, for some seriously injured, hope.

DR. JEFFREY KALISH, DIRECTOR OF ENDOVASCULAR SURGERY: Nearly all of the patients that have lost legs are already walking the halls with physical therapists. MARQUEZ: Still, grim reminders here, just about everywhere. In Medford the funeral for 29-year-old Krystle Campbell, the church overflowing, the grief unbearable.


MARQUEZ: Now, another good sign for Boston today, Boylston Street will begin to open at 10:00 a.m. Eastern Time for residents and business owners only. They'll stage that out throughout the day. It's a painstaking process to get it reopened, but hopefully it will be opened both to traffic and the general public very soon, as well -- John.

BERMAN: Miguel, most business owners and homeowners need to go in, they have to make sure all the residences are safe. They have to fix the windows that may have broken. There's a lot of work to be done behind me right on that crime scene on Boylston Street. Miguel Marquez, thanks so much for joining us this morning.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev may have conveyed no foreign terrorist groups were involved in these attacks, but there are lingering questions like how the brothers got their guns, how they got their explosives. Barbara Starr joins us now from Washington with that angle. Barbara, what can you tell us this morning?

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, good morning, John. The brothers -- the younger brother, of course, is claiming that they were radicalized online. Even if that is true, the question for investigators now is that somebody, somewhere, knows something about how they carried it off.


STARR (voice-over): One week after authorities say that Tsarnaev brothers attacked Boston --

EDWARD DAVIS, BOSTON POLICE COMMISSIONER: The two suspects were armed with handguns at the scene of the shoot-out.

STARR: But neither brother had a license for a gun. A senior U.S. official says investigators are looking at the brothers' connections to any individuals or groups that might have trained them to make explosives, or supplied them with material.

And what did Russia know about the older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, an aspiring boxer? In 2011, Russia asked the FBI to look into his activities even before Tsarnaev spent six months in Russia last year.

SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN (D), CALIFORNIA: Did he sit in his aunt and uncle's home for six months or was he doing something else? And when he came back to this country, why didn't it ring a bell with the FBI intelligence unit that he should be checked out and vetted again.

STARR: The Russians asked the U.S. to check out Tamerlan because, quote, "his lifestyle had changed." After coming home from Russia, his YouTube Channel carried radical videos, as well as names of militant leaders. As for his younger brother, the wounded Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, controversy in Washington over what to do with him.

JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: He will not be treated as an enemy combatant. We will prosecute this terrorist through our civilian system of justice.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: I strongly disagree with the Obama administration's decision to rule out enemy combatant status for this suspect.


STARR: And the question of whether the FBI dropped the ball in 2011 when it looked at Tamerlan Tsarnaev's activities will be the subject of a closed-door briefing on Capitol Hill later today, when law enforcement officials brief lawmakers -- John.

BERMAN: Barbara, I know members of Congress have a lot of questions they want to ask today. Barbara Starr in Washington, thanks so much.

There is other news going on, including a developing story we want to tell you about. Let's go back to Zoraida in New York for that. Hi, Zoraida.

SAMBOLIN: Thank you very much, John. It is a developing story this morning. CNN learning just an hour ago about the arrest of two suspected al Qaeda terrorists in Spain. Spanish officials say the men, one Algerian, the other Moroccan, have a profile very similar to the Boston Marathon bombing suspects although they did not say how.

It is also unclear if the pair were planning any attacks. Their arrest comes just days before the Madrid marathon and that event on Sunday is expected to draw 26,000 runners.

Another developing story that we're following for you this morning, an alleged plot to attack a passenger train traveling between Canada and the United States. Canadian police arrested two men who will appear in court later today.

Police say the planned attack was real, but they said that the public was never in any danger. They also claim the suspects had support from elements of al Qaeda in Iran. CNN's Ted Rowlands is live in Toronto for us this morning. What's the latest here, Ted?

TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Zoraida, the latest is that these two suspects are expected in a Toronto courtroom at 10:00 Eastern for a bail hearing. They believe that they were targeting a specific train from Toronto to New York City.

About 300 passengers travel on that train that goes both ways twice a day, each day. Chiheb Esseghaier out of Montreal was transferred here to Toronto last night. Raed Jaser was working out of Toronto.

One was in Montreal, one was in Toronto. They'd been under surveillance for several months after a local imam in Toronto alerted authorities that one of these individuals was acting strangely. That's when the surveillance started. The Canadian authorities were working with the FBI during this entire procedure, as well. Again, they believe that the train that was targeted was headed from Toronto to New York and Zoraida, they would not comment if they expect, while this investigation continues, if they expect more arrests to come.

SAMBOLIN: Ted, what they did say is they believe the public was actually never in danger. So how close were these suspected terrorists, close to carrying out this attack?

ROWLANDS: Well, it's a good question and why did they make the arrest at this time? They say that the threat was not imminent. However, they do believe that these individuals were capable of pulling this off.

SAMBOLIN: A lot more to investigate here. Ted Rowlands, live for us. Thank you very much.

Up next on EARLY START, rain and snow in today's forecast means, sadly, more flooding across the Midwest. Take a look at these pictures. And apparently it is far from over. We're going to take you live to Spring Bay, Illinois. It was really hard-hit. The rain swollen Illinois River is continuing to rise.


BERMAN: You are looking at live pictures right now of just one of the many, many memorials that have popped up in and around Boston for the victims of the terror attacks here at the finish line of the Boston marathon. Eight days ago now, people still going by these memorials leaving mementos for all those people affected.

Welcome back, everyone. I'm John Berman, live in Boston this morning.

News about the investigation: They acted on their own to defend Islam from attack, at least those are the initial indications. CNN has learned that marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is now communicating with investigators.

A government official tells our Jake Tapper that Tsarnaev has told law enforcement that his older brother Tamerlan was the driving force behind last Monday's attack. He also said that no foreign terror groups were involved and he indicated that their motivation was to defend Islam.

Tsarnaev wounded and unable to talk in a hospital bed, he is charged with using a weapon of mass destruction and malicious destruction of property. Those are counts that could bring him the death penalty.

Meantime this morning, there is some good news. Residents and people who work on Boylston Street which is just behind me right there, the finish line of the marathon simply one block away, those people who live and work there, they will be allowed back in today. It could be a few more days or at least a day before the general public is allowed to go back, or that street opens for business -- Zoraida. SAMBOLIN: There's a little good news, that they're back into their homes and that business is going to hopefully get back to normal soon. Thank you, John.

We'll check back in with you. Seventeen minutes past the hour.

Rain and snow in the forecast means record flooding across the Midwest. The Grand River is now more than two feet over flood stage. This is Grand Rapids, Michigan. The Mississippi River is topping levees in Missouri. And governors have declared disaster areas in Iowa and Illinois, 40 counties in Illinois.

CNN's Jim Spellman is live in Spring Bay, Illinois, where the Illinois River has been flooding the streets since Sunday. Jim, how are the people there holding up?

JIM SPELLMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's definitely stressful. This is a trailer park community just south of where we are right now, about 40 homes there under water.

The good news is we haven't heard widespread reports of this kind of damage. But for these sort of small, riverside communities, it's just devastating when this floodwater comes in. Take a look.


SPELLMAN (voice-over): Last-minute preps in Spring Bay, Illinois, as floodwaters inundates this riverside community.

(on camera): Where is your home?

STARLYNN WINCHELL, FLOOD VICTIM: My home is the gray and white mobile home with the black shutters on it.

SPELLMAN: You can't get to your home by foot now?


SPELLMAN: Have you ever seen this much water come up here?




SPELLMAN (voice-over): Starlynn Winchell's home, along with about 40 others in this trailer community, began to flood Sunday and the water has continued to rise.

WINCHELL: Yesterday, I cried all day.

SPELLMAN (on camera): And today?

WINCHELL: Today, I'm not crying yet, but the more I see that water come up, the more I'll cry. SPELLMAN (voice-over): The Red Cross is on site assessing the area as the fire chief prepares for the worst.

(on camera): This is evacuation order?

CHIEF DENNIS PERRY, SPRING BAY FIRE DEPT: This is the evacuation notice.

SPELLMAN (voice-over): Mandatory evacuations for residents in low- lying areas. His biggest fear: people ignoring the order and getting trapped in hard to reach parts of the community.

PERRY: Some of these places I simply can't get to, and that's going to be a real big disadvantage for us.

SPELLMAN: Jared Teegarden just moved to Spring Bay a few months ago.

JARED TEEGARDEN, HOMEOWNER: Welcome to the neighborhood.

SPELLMAN: As the river began to flood, he built this homemade levee from four dump trucks full of sand. So far, it's working.

TEEGARDEN: We're probably four feet of water if not. So, we're doing all right. Better than most.

SPELLMAN: His neighbor, Brad Lohman, among those not doing as well.

BRAD LOHMAN, BAR OWNER: It's kind of emotional to kind of see this situation. You know, it's bad deal.

SPELLMAN: He's worked at this bar, Beamer's (ph) Village Inn, since he was a teenager, eventually buying it. He says repairs would total more than $50,000.

Will he reopen?

LOHMAN: No, I don't think so. It's going to be a total loss. I really do.


SPELLMAN: The Illinois River here in Spring Bay is probably cresting right about now, Zoraida. But, it's going to be about a week and a half before all this water drains out of here and they can really start cleaning up this mess.

SAMBOLIN: Can I tell you that there's more water headed their way? So, you know, tell them to brace themselves.

SPELLMAN: They don't want to hear about that. They don't want that.

SAMBOLIN: I know. I know.

All right, Jim Spellman live for us. Thank you. Appreciate it.

And lots of people complain about their jobs, right? But only a few can say that they have the worst job in America. Is yours at the top of the list? Find out when we come back.


SAMBOLIN: Welcome back. Good morning to you. Twenty-four minutes past the hour.

Christine Romans is here. She is minding your business. We want to know how the markets are looking.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: A little soft this morning. Stock futures are improving, though. The NASDAQ now in positive territory. More corporate earnings on tap today including Apple. Apple is -- we're going to be watching for how many iPhones and iPads it sold during the quarter.

Big question, has the rest of the tech industry caught up with apple? Is the shine off the Apple? Sorry, I had to use that terrible little pun. So, we're watching Apple, that's a big story today.

And another big story for you, the list is out. And sorry to all of you newspaper reporters out there, you officially have the worst job in America.

SAMBOLIN: The worst job?

ROMANS: The worst job in America, with the median income of about $36,000 a year.

CareerCast does this study every year. The results are based on things like income, industry outlook, stress, physical demands.

SAMBOLIN: So not happiness?

ROMANS: Happiness is in there.

Here's the rest of the top five worst jobs. Lumberjack is number two, followed by enlisted military personnel, actor, and oil rig worker.

So the best jobs in America? The number one job in America according to CareerCast, an actuary. They make about 87 grand a year. Biomedical engineers, number two, they make $80,000. Software engineers, you know that was on the list, Zoraida.


ROMANS: An audiologist and financial planner round out the top five.

When I look at the best jobs in America, all top 10 or 20 of them, it's a lot of STEAM jobs, science, technology, engineering, math. A lot of very high-skilled, high-tech jobs in health care, and also in engineering.

So listen up if you've got a kid in college if you're planning for your own future, science, technology, engineering, math, that's where the growth is on a lot of these jobs and that's where the money is, too. So, I'm going to tweet that whole list out, to take a look and send it to your kid --

SAMBOLIN: I know but here's the problem. What if the passion doesn't lie there, right?

ROMANS: It's true. But remember what you can do well, what they'll pay you for and what you like --

SAMBOLIN: Make equal happiness.

ROMANS: Exactly.

SAMBOLIN: What's the one thing we need to know about our money?

ROMANS: Mortgage rates. The average 30-year fixed rate mortgage 3.41 percent. Its' falling for four weeks in a row now, 15 year mortgage 2.64. That's the popular refinancing option.

SAMBOLIN: Oh my goodness!

ROMANS: Look at those numbers. If you have a mortgage still in the 5 percent range you must refinance and you must do whatever you can to refinance. If you have not bought a home yet, still a lot of excitement about the spring selling season. We're going to get a bunch of data today, too. Those numbers are really important.

That's real money for real families there. Watch those mortgage rates. They've been low and they're staying low.

SAMBOLIN: That is incredible. Thank you for sharing. Appreciate it.

Twenty-seven minutes past the hour. Up next, new information on the Boston marathon bombing investigation from CNN's Jake Tapper, telling us what terror suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is communicating to investigators about last Monday's deadly attack.