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PIERS MORGAN LIVE
Suspects Planned to Attack Time Square; Russia Warned U.S. About Suspects' Mother
Aired April 25, 2013 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
PIERS MORGAN, CNN HOST: This is PIERS MORGAN LIVE. Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. You're looking live at a jam-packed Times Square in New York where police now say the bombing suspects planned to attack next. It's a chilling thought. But officials believe the two Tsarnaev brothers targeted the heart of the city, a plot that could have killed and maimed many, many more people.
Also breaking tonight, sources tell CNN --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COMMISSIONER RAY KELLY, NYPD: -- disposal, six improvised explosive devices. One was a pressure cooker bomb similar to the two that had exploded at the marathon. The other five were pipe bombs.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Also breaking tonight, sources tell CNN that the Russians didn't just warn the U.S. about Tamerlan Tsarnaev, they also alerted the U.S. about the suspects' mother and added her name to a terrorist identity data base and the FBI interviewed her back in 2011, but the case was closed after several months.
And today in Washington, where everything becomes political, Senator Lindsey Graham says the White House isn't doing enough to keep Americans safe.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: I know that when he goes to Russia and the Department of Homeland Security picks up him leaving and the FBI and the CIA are not informed, 11 years after 9/11, that's a mistake. That's a big mistake. And when he comes back from Dagestan and he goes on the Internet, YouTube, and other public outlets and starts talking in a radical fashion and we can't pick that up in light of all the warnings we've had, I know that's fair.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: There's a lot to get to tonight. We bring Jake Tapper in from Boston and Nick Paton Walsh in Dagestan. But we begin with Jake. Jake, pretty disturbing development today about the New York connection with these two Boston marathon bombers.
JAKE TAPPER, ANCHOR, "THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER": That's right. And we've heard from both Mayor Bloomberg and the police commissioner in New York, Ray Kelly, that the thinking is from both what the bombers said when they carjacked the car, thankfully the man whose car it was escaped unscathed, and also from subsequent interviews with Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in his hospital bed, that the plan was after leaving Boston, the brothers, the suspected terrorists, would head to New York City and try to explode this considerable explosives they had upon them in Times Square. That's the latest information, and as you say, it's quite alarming.
MORGAN: And also, Jake, we have this development that you had an interview with a cab driver in Boston who claims to have driven the two brothers on the Sunday of the marathon.
TAPPER: That's right. It's this really interesting story. His name is Jim Duggan. He's a cab driver in a local town called Maldon, he says, and he has told his story both to police and to the Department of Homeland Security which all seem to take the story very seriously, that on the Sunday before the terrorist attacks, he picked up the Tsarnaev brothers at the station there in Maldon, drove them to Cambridge.
They had two backpacks. They wanted to put them into the trunk of the car -- of the cab themselves. They did not want him to handle it. When he dropped them off, and he described them from conversations as being Chechen, as being Muslim, the younger brother was friendly, the older brother was hostile. When he dropped them off, he accidentally started to drive off without letting them take their bags. They banged on the cab. He stopped, he apologized, he got out of the cab and listen to the rest of this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JIM DUGGAN, DROPPED OFF SUSPECTS DAY OF BOMBING: I remember reaching in and grabbing another bag, it was dark. It had like ribs on the -- you know, the straps, and maybe like black edges, whatever. But I picked it up and the older brother's, I don't want to swear, I'm sorry, but the older brother's very upset, and I turned around and hand it to him. I said, dude, just hang you a bag, relax. And when I handed it to him, I said well, it's a -- you know, a really packed backpack, I don't know what you got in there.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: And so we can't say for certain that he picked up the Tsarnaev brothers but he believes he did. He swears on the life of his mother. We know he told the local police authorities who relayed this to Homeland Security and Homeland Security has interviewed him. It's a rather chilling story because he thinks about what was probably in those bags and also just the fact that they were wearing the white hat and the black -- black hat, and it's just a haunting memory for this local cab driver -- Piers. MORGAN: Absolutely. Jake, thank you very much.
I want to bring in Nick Paton Walsh now in Dagestan.
Nick, you had a fascinating interview with these bombers -- alleged bombers' mother today. And we also discovered that she turned out to have also been on the receiving end of a warning from the Russian authorities to the FBI, and they interviewed her as well back in 2011. A very significant development, you might think.
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, she actually never mentioned when the FBI came to talk to Tamerlan, her son, because they were, in her words, concerned about his radical Islamic beliefs, that they in fact also expressed an interest in her. But it would make sense, because the two of them describe how they both went down that devout path pretty much the same time.
This character Misha, a family friend, opening their eyes, in her words, to the correct Islamic path, influencing Tamerlan who then turned to his mother and said mother, it's time to start covering your hair, dragging her, I think, it's fair to say, in that direction as well.
But I should also point out, you know, this is now I think perhaps the third instance in which the Russians have appealed for further information to the Americans, warned them about the potential for the Tsarnaevs being something that needed further observation.
And we heard today on the hill suggestions that maybe the Russians aren't cooperating. And I thought that we're going to see this diplomatic spat grow a little bit. And I think it's fair to point out the Russians appear to have done quite a lot of warning and got quite a lot of rebuffing -- Piers.
MORGAN: Absolutely right. And of course one of the reasons they may not be quite so keen now to cooperate is that they -- you know, this could all be sourced back to where you are in Dagestan, that may be where Tamerlan Tsarnaev went and got the training and the practice to use these bombs. So understandable that perhaps they're a little more circumspect now.
What is not understandable is why the FBI appear to have had separate warnings about both Tamerlan and the mother, and also the CIA had a warning about Tamerlan. There's been no collective assessment of this character that would imply he may be the danger that he turned out to be.
WALSH: There's a great, I think, suspicion between both sides, the Russians and the Americans, dating back to the Cold War in many ways. The Americans don't buy the Russian argument that Chechen militants here are any way involved in international terrorism. I think the issue you've also got to face is a real sense of -- a real sense of the Americans not having got enough detail, they say, from the Russians in this particular area.
I should point out also, we spoke to the mother today. She was extraordinarily distraught and appears to be grasping at any possible theory she can find, a line, that means she doesn't have to accept what U.S. officials are saying her sons are guilty of.
Let's hear what she had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ZUBEIDAT TSARNAEV, SUSPECTS' MOTHER: I saw a very, very interesting video last night that the marathon was something like a really big play. There is like paint instead of blood. Like it is made up something.
WALSH: You really believe that? I know it's hard for you to believe what the American officials are saying, but you believe the whole thing was a show? Why would it be a show?
TSARNAEV: Well, I don't -- that's what I want to know, because everybody's talking about it, that this is a show. That's what I want to know. That's what I want to understand, Nick.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALSH: Piers, when you put aside the accusations now being leveled towards her, we're dealing with a woman now at an incredibly traumatic time, trying to reconcile her belief that her sons were angels, devout Muslims, to what she's hearing now through the media through U.S. officials, the heinous crimes they've been accused of. That perhaps explains these -- the many strange conspiracy theories she used there to talk about there -- Piers.
MORGAN: Yes, it does. Although of course she could also be hiding something herself given what we now know about what the Russian authorities were concerned about. But for now, Nick, thank you very much indeed.
Let's get more on the suspects' alleged plot to target Times Square. With me now is John Miller, senior correspondent for "CBS This Morning."
John, this is all like a movie, isn't it. I mean, every day there is a new twist and turn to this. But it's a real life situation. We now understand from the words of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to the investigating authorities that the brothers were planning to come from Boston, blown up the marathon, and go to Times Square and do the same thing there. They had five pipe bombs and a very similar bombs to what they used at the marathon.
JOHN MILLER, SENIOR CORRESPONDENT, "CBS THIS MORNING": That's right. What you see here, Piers, is you see -- I mean, if you were talking to a criminal profiler, they would say you see two organized offenders. They have a specific plan. They have been working on it for a time. They execute that plan, we're going to bomb the Boston marathon, and then they make their escape.
What you see after that is two disorganized offenders because they weren't expecting apparently to be identified so quickly, they weren't expecting to see both of their faces splashed across national television as they did last Thursday, and then you see their plan go from organized and well thought out to kind of on-the-fly and make it up as you go along.
And what you see then is a litany. They murder a police officer in a failed attempt to steal his gun. They carjack a person knowing that none of their two broken down cars is going to make it to New York and they don't have the money. They stop and they gather up all their leftover bombs and they load it into their carjacked vehicle and they end -- they end up in a chase and shootout with police, and that unravels.
But the idea that spontaneously they were just going to drive through the night to New York and as the morning rush developed into Times Square down Broadway, set off a pressure cooker bomb, if they could find a crowd, and let off five other devices, is kind of interesting, especially since after the marathon bombing, the NYPD flooded Times Square with cops. I think they would have found a lot of -- a lot of police officers waiting for them there, too.
MORGAN: But the fact that these two characters, as Joe Biden called them, sort of wannabe jihadists, could bring Boston to a halt for a week, cause so much devastation there, and then even have the potential capability to bring one of these bombs that they've made to New York City and do something here, pretty terrifying, isn't it, that this can all -- if it is indeed a homegrown Internet driven operation, and there has been no outside assistance, that's quite a scary thing for the FBI to have to deal with.
MILLER: Well, I think what you're seeing, Piers, here is a shift in paradigm and that is we've gone for more than a decade of al Qaeda, al Qaeda is running the plot, al Qaeda affiliates are driving the plot, al Qaeda lures the radical overseas, trains him as a bomb maker, Zazi, the New York subway plot, Shahzad, the Time Square truck bomb plot, Abdulmutallab, the underwear bomber in the airplane.
But when you go from al Qaeda to al Qaedaism, now you have people who are self-starters just on the Internet. They may never make contact or meet anybody from al Qaeda. So now you're flying so far below the radar screen that it's an awful lot harder to prevent these plots in a sense because they're not tripping any of the trip wires that you pass when you make contact with others for help.
MORGAN: There are two aspects to that that I would pick up with you. One is of course this link to Dagestan may be much more sinister. We now know Tamerlan, who had a wife and young baby here, decides to go back home for six months. We don't know what he got up to there, but we do know there were active Islamic fundamentalist groups training in forests.
With all your expert knowledge of bomb making and bombs, is it likely that they could have pulled off this Boston marathon double bombing in the extremely efficient successful way that they did without having physically trained with similar devices, at least Tamerlan, back in somewhere like Dagestan? MILLER: You know, Piers, it actually works either way. Either way, it has certain requirements. And when you see the case, it also presents certain gaps. The biggest gap right now is that six-month trip to Dagestan, because it could be all the answers we're looking for. Where did they get the expert training, where were they able to test the device. You're not going to go read up on a device, follow the instructions, make it, put it in a public place, and set it off without first going to see does that that detonator work, does the device actually function, somewhere.
So I mean, that could be all of it. On the other hand, though, if you -- and they won't -- but if you take the statements of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev at face value, that this was a plan his brother dreamed up and brought him into just a couple of months ago, that, you know, the instructions match what you would have found in al Qaeda's online "Inspire" magazine.
If you follow the instructions to a tee and you went out into the woods in Massachusetts and you set off a smaller version of the bomb to see if your bomb recipe and your initiator worked, and you did it again, you could pretty much go back and make that happen. And that is not that far-fetched. I mean, the al Qaeda instructions in "Inspire" magazine, whether it's for a fuse detonation or a remote detonation, is meant to be bomb-making for dummies. It's meant to keep it simple.
MORGAN: Pretty terrifying if that's what happened. John, stay with me. And when we come back, I want to talk to you more about all this. Plus joining us is former deputy defense secretary, Paul Wolfowitz, on the -- what appears to be a huge intelligence break down. And we'll have more on what authorities knew about the suspects' mother who insists her sons are innocent.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TSARNAEV: I really feel sorry for all of them. Really feel sorry for all of them. But I do not want to believe that these were my sons, OK?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Tonight, Boston and New York, one the site of a terror attack, another where police say the suspects planned to strike next. John Miller is back with me now.
John, the other point I'm going to make to you is when you said there were no trigger points that could have alerted people to the Tsarnaev brothers, of course, we did have these apparent warnings to the FBI about Tamerlan, the older boy, and also to the CIA and now we know a warning about the mother. Are those not enough to trigger real alarm bells?
MILLER: Well, they're not really warnings. What they were was inquiries. I mean, what comes into the FBI in March of 2011 from the Russian FSB is request for foreign police cooperation. They're like this guy is on U.S. soil, we think he may have had ties to extremist, he's changed drastically in the last year, can you please investigate him and report back to us.
Their theory is, as a potential Chechen radical, he could be a threat to Russia. So they want the FBI to see what's he doing on U.S. soil. They do a full background, data bases, wiretaps, as an informant mentioned his name, does he surface in another case and when nothing comes up there, they interviewed him, they interview his parents, they write that up, they send it to the Russians with an important caveat at the end which is we didn't find any information about links to terrorism, what else do you have? If you have more, send it.
They never hear back from the Russians. What the Russians do is in September, about September 28th of 2011, they send the same request to the CIA with no further information either. CIA runs its traps, say we don't find anything, and then in October, when they close it out, just as a precaution, they nominate him to a low level terrorism data base so that if he travels, it will say when he left and when he came back, and those things register.
But officially, to the U.S. government, unless the Russians came back with more, he's a closed case. Here's the most important thing. The Russians don't have the Department of Justice guidelines or the intelligence guidelines. They're not limited that way in Putin's Russia. When he went there for six months, one might ask if they felt that Tsarnaev was such a threat, did they follow him? Did they tap him? Did they arrest him? Did they detain him? Did they question him?
We haven't seen any of that material here. And the focus seems to be on what did the FBI or CIA do. I'd be very curious to say, if he was a threat to the Russians, what did they do with him while he was on their turf?
MORGAN: John, stay with me. I want to bring in now Paul Wolfowitz. He's a former defense secretary and a former president of the World Bank.
Paul Wolfowitz, after 9/11, and you were in the administration then, we were all assured that there would never be a kind of collective failure of intelligence again on a terrorist operation, in the sense that if the CIA and the FBI had had independent information, they would be able to collate this and stop any breakdown of collective intelligence in that way.
Have we seen exactly the same thing happen again here?
PAUL WOLFOWITZ, FORMER DEPUTY SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: Piers, I don't think anyone that I know of was foolish enough to give that sort of assurance. I think what people did feel had been done was to substantially reduce the barriers to information sharing which had in fact left some important information, particularly that the FBI had I think in Minneapolis, unconnected to other information, and some information that the CIA had on people coming into the country that wasn't shared with other agencies. But look, this is a murky world. I don't think you can have that kind of assurance.
And I have to say, Mr. Miller obviously knows more than I do, but I think there's still an awful lot that we don't know about what these guys were doing when they were outside of the country, what their real motivations were and obviously one of them we will never be able to talk to. So the one thing I think we know for sure is that when it happens the next time, it will be different from this time.
We need to learn everything we can from this episode, but we shouldn't think that these problems are ever solved completely once and for all.
MORGAN: I mean, you're speaking at the dedication ceremony for the George W. Bush Presidential Library. There's a big dinner there tonight. All the presidents were there. Obviously George W. Bush launched this war on terror. Are we now seeing the second phase? As John Miller suggested earlier, it's moved away perhaps from al Qaeda in the sense of how we understood al Qaeda to operate, to kind of wannabe al Qaeda-like groups, like these two brothers who are acting in the manner of al Qaeda. Is that the new phase of the war on terror?
WOLFOWITZ: Well, I think it's a little early to say that al Qaeda is not part of the problem as well. You have the news (INAUDIBLE) in Syria which is maybe the largest armed al Qaeda organization at least since 9/11, maybe even larger than what they had in Afghanistan. You have these attacks on our consulate in Benghazi which have all the earmarks of being al Qaeda. You have a spread of al Qaeda networks in North Africa.
I think, you know, there was a lot of talk today about President Bush's legacy, including some very impressive achievements in Africa that were quite fairly noted by former President Carter, who correctly gave Bush credit for this amazing campaign against AIDS and for ending the war in Sudan.
I do think that one of his huge achievements that none of us would have dared to predict on September 12th, 2001 is that the United States was not attacked again during his administration, and I would say so far at least, we haven't had anything like those systematic attacks but it's very important, I believe, to stay on offense as he did, and I worry a little bit that we're not quite sure now whether we have to do that anymore. I think we have to.
MORGAN: Today, we heard from Chuck Hagel that there is, in his view, he's confident there's been evidence of chemical weapons being used on a small scale in Syria. President Obama had already said that would be his red line moment.
Have we crossed that red line by that criteria, and if so, what should the president be doing about it?
WOLFOWITZ: Well, it would appear that we have but it seems to me the red line should have been something much, much earlier. To say that we can wait for 70,000, 80,000 Syrians to be slaughtered by this regime and it's only if they're gassed that it bothers us, we've already run out of a lot of the options that could have been effective, very effective much earlier on. I still think we should be finding elements within the Syrian opposition that we're comfortable supporting. I still think at this point we should probably try to create a protective zone in northern Syria.
I don't think we need to put boots on the ground. I don't think we should put boots on the ground in Syria. But we should do what we can both militarily and politically to try to hasten the end of this bloodshed which has to mean the end of this regime.
MORGAN: Paul Wolfowitz, thank you very much indeed for joining me.
WOLFOWITZ: You're welcome.
MORGAN: John Miller will stay with me. We'll take a short break. When I come back, I'll ask John about the handling of the suspect in custody and the controversy whether he received his Miranda rights too soon.
MORGAN: Back now on this very busy day of news in the Boston bombing case. You're looking at Time Square where authorities say the suspect planned to attack next. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the city would have been prepared but cautioned the toll could have been catastrophic.
Also tonight, Russia warned the U.S. about the mother of the suspects and her name was also put on the terrorist identities data base.
Want to bring back John Miller, senior correspondent for "CBS This Morning."
John, so many twists and turns to this. Let's get into when Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is taken to hospital and his life has been saved, he's not dead, so he can be interrogated. The FBI get in there, they start interrogating but after 16 hours and plenty of information coming out, they suddenly have to stop because magistrate turns up and he's read his Miranda rights. Was that done too soon? Or was there a duty of care, if you like, to an American citizen, as Dzhokhar is, to give him his Miranda rights at that time?
JOHN MILLER, "CBS THIS MORNING": Well, I think you framed the argument there. Now, who's doing the interrogation at the hospital? It's the HVDIG. That's the High Value Detainee Interrogation Group. These are specialists. This is what they do. You have cases where you have caught Somali al Qaeda operatives at sea, they have been transported by Navy SEALS to a U.S. destroyer where the HVDIG has been waiting and they've questioned them and unraveled terrorist groups and plots from Somalia to Kenya.
But we're not out at sea and we're not on a battleship. This is in the city of Boston, in the United States of America, under the rubric of the criminal justice system. And what you have there is you've got the HVDIG is questioning him in the hospital, but there's also a United States attorney, the federal prosecutor, and there is also a U.S. magistrate, which represents the court. And in the American system, within usually one business day of your arrest, you are supposed to be brought before a magistrate and arraigned.
And at that point, the court is saying to the U.S. attorney, you've got an arrest, he's in custody, he's not free to go, so we either have to charge him or do something, we're going to have to arraign him on that charge. They charged him on Monday and they came into the arraignment. I think if you go to the interrogators, they would say we would love to interrogate him for another month. But there is the Constitution. There are laws.
MORGAN: Right. You have to remember this guy, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, unlike his older brother, who's dead, he's an American citizen, living in America, and committed a crime in America. So when you hear these senators and congressmen leaping up and down saying we want to have him tortured and we want to have the interrogation lasting for months, you're straying into Guantanamo Bay territory for someone who is an American citizen.
MILLER: This is the conundrum, which is this is a political debate. There's a bunch of people on one side who say he should have been an enemy combatant and taken to Gitmo, and we wouldn't have to worry about the niceties of the Constitution. Then you have other people saying, it's a criminal act in the United States, we have a system for this. But let's skip the politics of it because I don't have an opinion. I'm a journalist and the politics don't matter to me.
But if you get down to the practical mechanics, you say Guantanamo Bay, the military justice system, enemy combatants, they have been at it 10 years. They have tried four cases. Two have been reversed. And one that I testified in under oath, that guy is sitting home in Yemen sipping tea right now. And he was bin Laden's bodyguard during the planning of 9/11.
Switch over to the other side. The U.S. federal courts, criminal justice system, has tried and dealt with over 500 terrorism cases since 9/11. So you can argue about which system fits into your political box, but from a strictly mechanical sense, one system has a depth of experience and is working, and the other system is struggling to figure out how it could work, if it ever did. That's kind of what it is.
MORGAN: There's this other twist in the tale that two college friends of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev are still in custody. They're foreign exchange students from Kazakhstan. One of them shared a cell phone with him, which sent the police and FBI obviously crazy when they discovered this, because they thought it was Dzhokhar using his phone going to this safe house.
MILLER: So what you have is on Thursday, you've got the unfolding drama. You've got one brother dead. You've got the other being searched for in this perimeter by SWAT teams who are going house to house. Then you have this other thread of intelligence, which is they're tracking what they believe is his phone through different technology and it's on the move.
He also shared a Twitter account with one of these guys. So he's Tweeting along the way. And they're watching it. They track that to New Bedford and they're thinking well, they're still searching the perimeter, but there's a really good chance that our guy is in this house. They call the elite FBI hostage rescue team, which is their top trained SWAT Team. It's the special forces of the FBI. And they hit that house with lightning precision, and ended up finding three guys who are very surprised to see them,, and one guy who is really sorry he ever shared a phone number with Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.
MORGAN: As far as we're aware, they've got nothing to do with it.
MILLER: They're out of status in terms of immigration, but to date, having interviewed them in a fairly shocking condition after an HRT raid on their house, it doesn't appear that there's any connection between them and this plot.
MORGAN: John Miller, fascinating. Thank you so much for coming in.
MILLER: Thank you.
MORGAN: Now a very sad update to the search for Brown University student Sunil Tripathi. The Rhode Island medical examiner today confirmed the 22-year-old's body was pulled from a river on Tuesday. He vanished last month and was falsely labeled a possible suspect in the Boston bombing. His cause of death is yet to be determined. Police do not though suspect foul play.
I spoke with Sunil's brother and sister last night. Today they released a statement saying "despite their indescribable grief, they are grateful to everyone who offered support in the search for Sunil." I would also add those sentiments from everyone here. Extremely sad end to a very sad story.
Coming next, is President Obama to blame for the breakdown in intelligence? I'll talk to former CIA operative Bob Baer and former FBI Assistant Director Bill Gavin.
MORGAN: This is Times Square tonight, where police say the suspects planned to strike next. Was it an intelligence breakdown? That's what a lot of people are asking. With me now is Bill Gavin, he's a former CIA operative, and now with Garzmark (ph) Incorporated, and CNN contributor and former CIA operative Bob Baer.
Bob, let me start with you. I want to play you a clip. This is from Nick Paton-Walsh's interview with the Boston bomb suspects' mother, Zubeidat. Now the reason it's significant will be obvious once I've played it. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ZUBEIDAT TSARNAEV, BOSTON BOMB SUSPECT'S MOTHER: Misha, everybody is talking about Misha now. I don't know -- Misha -- yes, when Misha visited us, we just kind of -- he just opened our eyes, you know, really wide about Islam. He was really -- he's devoted and he's a very good, very nice man.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: If you put this together, Bob, with the fact that we now know that the Russians asked for information from the FBI about this mother, too, we're getting a picture not just of the radicalization of Tamerlan, the older brother, and then perhaps moving on to his younger brother in the later stage, but also the mother. She seems to have been just as radicalized. And this interview would seem to confirm that this mystery character that so many family members are talking about, Misha, may have been partly responsible for that. What do you make of it?
BOB BAER, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, he sounds so far like a charismatic recruiter. He shows up, explains the real Islam, explains that Jihad is obligated on a course for a true Muslim, and may have even invited the elder son back to Dagestan. We just don't know that yet. But it's typical for a charismatic recruiter to come in at some point and actually turn these people.
But you have to look at this from the point of view of the FBI, since we're talking about an intelligence breakdown. We have to face the fact this country is being overwhelmed by political asylum seekers. They show up at the border in Mexico, Canada, don't have passports, don't have -- they'll state a name, but is it a true name, we don't know. And so when the FBI is combing through these people, they don't know who they are.
They may not know who Misha is at this point. And this is why this case is so difficult to put together, and also why, when they went and interviewed Tamerlan, they have a minimum amount of time to go see somebody, they look for obvious connections and they're moving on to the next one. The question is, putting all these dots together, did the FBI agent in Boston responsible for Tamerlan know that he went to Dagestan? Apparently, according to Homeland Security, the FBI was not pinged when he returned back from Dagestan, as I understand it, which is the failure here.
Secondly, Tamerlan should have been interviewed at immigrations when he came back. He was a permanent resident alien. He doesn't have the same rights as Americans. He should have been pulled aside, questioned, his documents gone through. If he had a laptop, his address book and the rest of it. So yes, when you have an attack like this, there is some sort of breakdown. This guy was all over the Internet. There's no other way to describe it.
We cannot pinpoint the fault with the FBI, the CIA or immigration. It's just a big country with a lot of immigrants. And there's no perfect computer system that takes care of this.
MORGAN: OK. Bill Gavin, FBI getting a lot of flack at the moment. You've been in high shoes over at the FBI. How much of it is deserved?
BILL GAVIN, FORMER FBI ASSISTANT DIRECTOR: I think, you know, we have to trace it back, Piers, to say how did this whole thing start. You know, being Chechnyans, the Russians have pretty good coverage of everybody's phone in their country and particularly Chechnyan. The way these things originate, they intercept a call, they find out who the call came from, and then they'll contact, whether it be an intelligence agency or the Bureau, and say listen, this person could be engaged in terrorism. That may or may not be true, based on any conversation they overhear, but it's a way to get the attention of authorities.
So the FBI does the backgrounds. They do whatever they can on the computer and what not, and they'll do some interviews. If there's no red flags that go up, this is a very difficult point of view, because there's nothing much they can do. It's a democracy. They have to be careful about how they handle it.
Now, from the other standpoint, I hear some of the agency guys saying, you know, they should have followed him. Well, you can do that maybe in a foreign country, if in fact you don't get caught at doing it in a foreign country, but everybody has a series of problems. And when there's a breakdown in communication -- I'm not saying they don't talk to each other. They do. It's a very -- the intelligence agencies and law enforcement agencies do a real good job of it now.
But in the past, there have been some problems. But now, there doesn't seem to be a problem. It's just one of those things that nobody knew that this guy came back into the country. When he came back, was he asked to interview him again, don't know. I don't know the answer to that.
MORGAN: It remains a mystery. But there's more and more coming out about this all the time. We'll just have to wait for more information, I guess. Bill Gavin and Bob Baer, thank you both very much.
When we come back, hope after the horror, an incredible emotional story of a victim of the Boston bombing who is planning a graduation and her wedding. I will talk with the fiance who has been by her side.
MORGAN: One remarkable story after another of the recovery and resilience of victims injured in the Boston Marathon bombing. Britney Loring was hurt in the blast, expected to physically recover in time for her graduation ceremony at Boston College and her wedding in September. Britney's fiance John McLoughlin joins me now.
John, obviously a devastating couple of weeks for you and for Britney and your family. You were at the Red Sox game on the day of the marathon and she had gone along to watch the marathon. Tell me how you heard what had happened.
JOHN MCLOUGHLIN, FIANCE OF INJURED BOSTON MARATHON VICTIM: Yeah, that's correct. I actually left the Red Sox game soon after, was watching television and saw the explosions, smoke envelope the running course and immediately became frantic, sent out text messages to her, to my fiancee, Britney, and waited for approximately 20 to 30 minutes, first saw a text message that said "hurt at Boston Medical Center." And Britney is not one to embellish. She says it as it is. And, so, I -- it immediately became more frantic and made a straight beeline to Boston medical Center at that time.
MORGAN: What is her condition now? I mean, her injuries were pretty serious?
MCLOUGHLIN: Yeah, she was very serious. She's stable now. She had large wounds on her legs that were filled with shrapnel as a result of this bombing. And you know, it was a bit 06 an emotional roller coaster going through. We weren't necessarily sure how it would all play out, you know, whether or not there was going to be an amputation or not. We're so fortunate today that that wasn't the case.
MORGAN: Britney, it was her birthday on the day of the marathon. She'll graduate next month from Boston College with an MBA and law degree. You were planning a wedding in September, an extraordinary sort of triple whammy of emotional things for her to deal with. All three should have been extremely happy occasions. She's determined, from what I hear, to go ahead now with both the graduation and with your wedding.
MCLOUGHLIN: Yes, absolutely. No -- none of those plans have changed. We're continuing on as if this never happened. A little bit of a blip, but, you know, we're going to continue as if nothing happened. And so, you know, life goes on.
MORGAN: John, you lived rather close to the Tsarnaev brothers who perpetrated this attack or accused of perpetrating the attack. What is your feeling towards them from what they've done to your fiance?
MCLOUGHLIN: Well, it's nuts. These are our neighbors. They're part of our community -- or at least they were a part of our community. They should be here to support us. They should be, you know, the people that you'd count on, your community. And emotionally, it's mixed, you know. You have some sad days. You have some frustrated days, you know. A little bit of anger, of course. You know, overall, I think that, you know, we're a little bit saddened, confused that, you know, people would feel the need to do this, that they felt so out of touch with their own sense of power, so disillusioned and disenfranchised from their society that they would need to do something like this to feel some type of satisfaction or power in their lives.
So, you know, we can intellectualize this as much as we can. But, emotionally, I think there are certain things that come through our minds, you know, tons. It's a mixed bag, constantly.
MORGAN: John McLoughlin, thank you so much for joining me. Do send our very best to Britney. And I wish her all of the luck in the world with both her graduation and to the pair of you with your wedding. I hope you go ahead and don't let these people ruin what will be great days for you and your families.
MCLOUGHLIN: Thank you very much. Today, I just wanted to call attention to a fund that we've created for Britney, GiveForward.com. If you search under the Boston Marathon logo there, it's the third one down. It's called Recovery for Britney. And so that's really the reason we're out here today is to make sure that she's able to continue on the path that she had set forth and uninterrupted. That's all I wanted to say about that.
MORGAN: Great. I urge everyone watching to get on there immediately and help out. John, thanks again.
And tonight another survivor's incredible determination. Aaron Hern, just 11 years old, was severely wounded in the bombing. First Lady Michelle Obama visited in the hospital. And his mother, Catherine, joins me now on the phone. Mrs. Hern, thank you so much for joining me. First of all, how is Aaron, your little boy?
CATHERINE HERN, MOTHER OF INJURED BOSTON MARATHON VICTIM: You know, Aaron has made an amazing recovery, actually. We feel very fortunate for him to be -- to have come so far from where he was last Monday. The part that imagined his drive and determination and all of the support and the care that he has received has just made incremental improvements each day.
MORGAN: What was so poignant about your story and Aaron is that you were running in the marathon. And you had reached the finishing line. He was with his father, Alan, and his older sister, Abby. And they were just cheering you on. He was just cheering on his mother when this appalling atrocity happened. What has been his reaction to the fact that somebody just turned up to bomb people?
HERN: His reaction, it was one of -- it's been a lot of things. It was anger and it was a lot of emotion and a lot of sadness. And it was much more intense -- a much more intense feeling than I would normally see from an almost 12-year-old. So it was very hard to see him with that intent of an emotion about something that he's seen and been involved in. It's much too early in life.
MORGAN: Aaron is a natural sportsman. Loves his sport. And you also had a visit from the First Lady. How did that go?
HERN: Oh, it was wonderful. And the First Lady was amazing. She just came in the room and just brought this incredible energy into the room with her. And it was one of his first really good, positive experiences after the bombing. He was still in the ICU at that point. And she was -- she was a mom before she was the First Lady. And so she was just kind of a wonderful manner about her and expressed very sincere care for him and for everyone, and just brought and energy and one of the steps toward the emotional recovery.
MORGAN: Catherine, thank you so much for joining me. I wish Aaron all of the continued success with his own recovery here. And I have three teenage sons and can't even imagine how I'd feel if this happened to one of them. So I really admire your stoicism and determination to get your family back on track and get him home as soon as possible. Send him our very best.
And we'll be right back.
MORGAN: Tomorrow night, the very latest on the bombing investigation, plus the heroes who ran to help the injured moments after the blast. Their stories are uplifting and simply remarkable. That's all for us tonight. Now Anderson Cooper.