Return to Transcripts main page


President Obama Speaks at West, Texas, Memorial; Interview with Sen. Lindsey Graham; Boston Bombers Reportedly Planned to Attack New York City

Aired April 25, 2013 - 17:00   ET


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Many of you are probably descended from some of those first settlers. Hearty immigrants who crossed an ocean and kept on going. So, for you, there's no such thing as a stranger. When someone is in need, you reach out to them and you support them.

You do what it takes to help them carry on. That's what happened last Wednesday when a fire alarm sounded across a quiet Texas evening. As we've heard, the call went out to volunteers, not professionals, people who just love to serve, people who want to help their neighbors. The call went out to farmers and car salesmen and welders and funeral home directors. The city secretary and the mayor.

It went out to folks who were tough enough and selfless enough to put in a full day's work and then be ready for more. And together, you answered the call. You dropped your school work, left your families, jumped in fire trucks, and rushed to the flames. When you got to the scene, you forgot fear and you fought that blaze as hard as you could knowing the danger buying time so others could escape.

And then about 20 minutes after the first alarm, the Earth shook and the sky went dark and West changed forever. Today, our prayers are with the families of all who we've lost. The proud sons and daughters of West whose memories will live on in our hearts. Parents who love their kids and leaders who serve their communities. They were young and old from different backgrounds and different walks of life.

A few were just going about their business. An awful lot ran towards the scene of disaster trying to help. One was described as the kind of guy whose phone was always ringing with folks in need of help. Help he always provided. That's just who these folks were. Our thoughts are with those who face a long road, the wounded, the heartbroken, families who lost their homes and possessions in an instant.

They're going to need their friends in West, but they're also going to need their friends in Texas and their friend all across this country. They'll still need you to answer that call. They will still need those things that are lasting and true. Scripture teaches us a friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.

For the people of West just as we've seen the love you share in better times as friends and brothers and sisters, these hard days have shown your ability to stand tall in times of unimaginable adversity. You saw it in leaders like Mayor Muska who lost close friends and you saw it in the hospital staff who spent the night treating people that they knew, toiling through their tears as they did what had to be done.

We saw it in the folks who helped evacuate an entire nursing home, including one man who drove an elderly man to safety and then came back to do it again twice. We saw it in the people so generous that when the Red Cross set up a shelter for folks who couldn't go back to their homes, not that many people showed up because most had already been offered a place to stay with their friends and family and neighbors.

Complete strangers drove from hundreds of miles to donate supplies. Firefighters from surrounding communities manned the station, so surviving volunteers could recover from their wounds. Right here at Baylor, students stood in line for hours to give blood. And the nearby school district opened its doors to the students who can't go back to the classrooms putting welcome signs on lockers and in the hallways.

So, that's the thing about this tragedy. This small town's family is bigger now. It extends beyond the boundaries of West. And in the days ahead, this love and support will be more important than ever because there will be moments of doubt and pain and the temptation to wonder how this community will ever fully recover and the families who've lost such remarkable men of the sort that we saw in that video.

There are going to be times where they simply don't understand how this could have happened. But, today, I see in the people of West, in your eyes, that what makes West special isn't going to go away. And instead of changing who you are, this tragedy has simply revealed who you've always been. It's the courage of Deborah Suelock (ph) who works as a cashier just around the corner from the fire station.

She said, "it's going to be tough for the families, but we're going to rebound because we're fighters." And that courage will bring West back.


OBAMA: It's the love of Carla Ruiz (ph) who used to live in West but now lives in Austin. And last week, she drove all the way back. "I had to be here," she said. You have to be here for family. That love will keep West going. It's the faith of someone like Pastor John Crowder (ph) that will sustain the good people of West for as long as it takes. His church was damaged in the explosion.

So, on Sunday, the congregation assembled outside. "What happened Wednesday was awful," he told them, "but God is bigger than all of this."

(APPLAUSE) OBAMA: God is bigger than all of this.


OBAMA: And he's here with you in West. He is bigger than all of this, and He is here with you. Going forward, it's not just your town that needs your courage and your love and your faith. America does, too. We need towns where if you don't know what your kids are up to, then chances are your neighbors do, too, and they'll tell on those kids in a second.

America needs towns that holds fundraisers to help folks pay the medical bills and then take the time to drop off a home cooked meal because they know a family is under stress. America needs communities where there's always somebody to call if your car gets stuck or your house gets flooded. We need people who so love their neighbors as themselves that they're willing to lay down their lives for them. America needs towns like West.


OBAMA: That's what makes this country great is towns like West. For you, o God have tested us. You have tried us. We went through fire and through water, yet, you have brought us out to a place of abundance. You have been tested, West. You have been tried. You have gone through fire. But you are and always will be surrounded by an abundance of love. You saw it in the voices on those videos. You see it in the firefighters and first responders who are here.


OBAMA: All across America, all across America people are praying for you and thinking of you and when they see the faces of those families, they understand that these are not strangers. These are neighbors. And that's why we know that we will get through this. God bless West.


OBAMA: May God grant his peace on those we have lost his comfort on their families. May he continue to bless this great state of Texas and may he continue to bless these United States of America.


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): The president speaking movingly in West, Texas over at Baylor University nearby at a memorial service honoring those who were killed in that fertilizer plant explosion. Fourteen people killed. Many, many were injured. Our deepest condolences to everyone involved.

OBAMA: And it is very pleasing to us.


BLITZER (on-camera): We want to welcome our viewers here in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer in the SITUATION ROOM. A stunning revelation by New York's mayor and police commissioner suggesting their city was next on the Boston bombing suspect's target list. They say the surviving brother has told investigators that the plan was to bomb Times Square in New York. Mary Snow is in Times Square right now with the latest details. What do we know about this alleged plot, Mary?

MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, what we know, Wolf, is that the mayor of New York City and the city's police commissioner say they were told this information by federal investigators last night. They say this was -- there is no specifics of exactly where in Times Square would be talked about. And they described this plan as being made spontaneously, that it was talked about last Thursday night.

And New York City's police commissioner, Ray Kelly, described how this came about and the information that he was told by federal investigators.


COMMISSIONER RAY KELLY, NEW YORK POLICE: Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the terrorist suspect who was captured alive, initially told investigators that he and his brother decided after the Boston bombings that they would go to New York City to party. However, subsequent questioning of Dzhokhar revealed that he and his brother decided spontaneously on Times Square as a target.

They would drive to Times Square that same night. They discussed this while driving around in the Mercedes SUV that they had hijacked after they shot and killed an MIT police officer in Cambridge, Dzhokhar said.


SNOW: Now, the question is why these two very differing accounts that the police commissioner described, one mentioning partying in New York and then the second, one day later, mentioning this alleged plot or targeting of Times Square in the way the police commissioner described it was that there were two rounds of questioning and he was told the initial information came during that first round of questioning and that the second information, piece of information about this plan involving Times Square came during this second round where he said he was told that the suspect was much more lucid and gave more detailed information.

And the information, of course, conveyed to city officials was that the brothers had apparently talked about detonating the remaining explosives and the way the information was relayed is that there were six improvised explosive devices, one being a pressure cooker bomb that was similar to the two that went off in Boston and five pipe bombs -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Could have potentially killed a lot of people in Times Square. I know you're standing by. You're going to have much more later here in the SITUATION ROOM. Mary, thanks very much. Senator Lindsey Graham, the Republican senator from South Carolina, said the Obama administration bears, in his words, some serious blame for the attacks. He's standing by. He'll join us live.

Also coming up, five presidents leaving politics behind, sharing some laughter, some tears, and a common bond. Stay with us. You're in the SITUATION ROOM.


BLITZER: We're following the investigation into the Boston bombings. Word today that the two suspected bombers were actually planning on driving from Massachusetts to New York and blowing up a bomb, a pressure cooker bomb, in Times Square. We heard that from the mayor of New York. We heard it from the police chief in New York.

Lindsey Graham is joining us now, the Republican senator from South Carolina. Senator, thanks very much for joining us. How serious do you believe this alleged Times Square bombing follow-up, if you will, really is?

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM, (R) SOUTH CAROLINA: I just think they were trying to go out in a blaze of glory. I think it was deadly serious. The only reason they didn't make it is because of the good police work and the people of Boston stopped them.

BLITZER: You caused quite a stir today when you suggested that the Obama administration must have a great deal of the blame for what happened at the end of the Boston marathon because they didn't do the right thing whether it was the FBI or the CIA in following up with those Russian leads. I want you to explain to our viewers what you were -- what you were driving at.

GRAHAM: Absolutely. Well, the blame goes to the two terrorists. They're the ones that bear the responsibility but, you know, when we got Bin Laden, that was a great operation, gutsy call by the president. A lot of praise. Here's my concern. The system clearly failed to me.

When you have Russian intelligence services informing the FBI and the CIA that you have a radical Islamist in your midst and we put him into whatever system there is, he goes to Russia, Dagestan, the homeland security people, know he leaves, but they don't share it with the FBI or the CIA and he comes back in July of 2012, goes on the internet, YouTube videos, expressing radical thoughts and hatred and following radical Islamic websites, the rest is history. Clearly, the system failed.

BLITZER: When you say the Department of Homeland Security, they knew he went back last year for six months to Dagestan which is in Russia, but they never notified either the FBI or the CIA. But, I guess, the argument they make, Janet Napolitano, the secretary of Homeland Security is, he was going back to visit his mom and dad.

(LAUGHTER) GRAHAM: Well, all I can tell you is that when the Russian intelligence service points out to you to the FBI and the CIA that we believe after 2010 he's become a radical Islamist and he is tied to maybe unspecified terrorist groups that you would want to, if you put him on a list, that it pinged twice. It pinged when he left and pinged when he came back.

What is the use of the ping if you don't follow him? The system is not working. When Homeland Security knows he leaves and he comes back, they don't tell the FBI or the CIA. Clearly, the watch list is not working.

BLITZER: Because I think you could make the argument that maybe the FBI and the CIA should have told the homeland -- the Department of Homeland Security about this guy.

GRAHAM: They did.

BLITZER: Did they tell them all the details of what they learned from Russia?

GRAHAM: As I understand, based on the inquiry from the alert from the Russian intelligence service, both agencies put him in at a data base that was under the control of Homeland Security and there's a joint task force where Homeland Security is part of the custom border patrol group. And when the system alerted about this guy going and coming, it was never shared with the FBI or the CIA.

But here's what gets me the most. Giving all this information about the guy, how could we miss the fact that he went on websites and was telling the world he hates America and he's going to try to kill Americans and we missed that? And after the bombing, when we have his photo, how could we not put two and two together?

Surely, if you're on a watch list and there's a photo available, we should be able to put two and two together. There's a lot of failure here, and it's not about so much blame as it is fixing it and, clearly, our system 11 years after 9/11 is not working.

BLITZER: You believe these two brothers were acting alone or they were part of some other group, they had other individuals who were helping them?

GRAHAM: Well, we now know of a third person. The young man tells us they were self-radicalized by watching videos. Now, we're looking for somebody that was close to the elder brother. I really don't know, but I can tell you this.

The reason I've been wanting a national security interrogation and not a criminal law interrogation is to have time with this second suspect to ask him questions about what they know, terrorist organizations involved, other people that may be involved. I'm not trying to solve a crime. I'm trying to enhance our security and prevent a future attack.

None of the information can be used in the criminal law system. So, I think the Obama administration made a mistake by not looking at this man, given his ties and the radical Islamic attack Boston faced as a potential enemy combatant so we could have time with him without the criminal justice system being involved.

I don't want to undercut his rights in court. A first-year law student could convict this guy. I want to make sure we're gathering intelligence, and now, we've lost that.

BLITZER: Do you know anything about this individual named Misha (ph) who may have brain washed the older brother at least according to the ex-brother-in-law with whom I spoke yesterday?

GRAHAM: Well, you know, the plot thickens because the young man said, hey, you know, nobody was involved. We watched videos. We came self-radicalized. Well, Dagestan, and you've been all over the world, Chechen rebels, fighters, have joined al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Iraq. That is a really very dangerous part of the world.

So, it doesn't make sense to me. I'd like to know who this third person was. Clearly, they did more than watch videos according to the brother-in-law and why we do not have time with this suspect not to torture him, not to undercut his day in court on the criminal side, but to gather intelligence is a mystery to me.

BLITZER: Well that's all moot now (ph) since he has been given his Miranda rights.

GRAHAM: Maybe not but maybe so.

BLITZER: Well, you know more about the law than I do.

GRAHAM: I don't know.

BLITZER: Quickly on Syria, because I know you're deeply concerned. The intelligence community now believes small amounts, they say small amounts of chemical weapons, sarin gas probably were used by the Syrian regime of President Bashar al-Assad against Syrian rebels. The president previously has said that would be crossing the red line, that it would be a game changer. What should the U.S. do?

GRAHAM: Rally the international community, Jordan, Turkey, the international community to bring this war to close by giving safe havens to the rebels, putting together a no fly zone to ground the Syrian air force and neutralize their tank advantage to allow the rebels to fight back. There are a bunch of radicals in the midst of the rebels, right arms to the right people.

But the thing I worry about the most, Wolf, and always have is the chemical weapons. We need to have a plan the day after Assad falls to go in and secure these chemical weapons sites and destroy those weapons before they get in the wrong hands. And if the war doesn't end soon, the king of Jordan is going to be a casualty of this war.

BLITZER: Let's hope he's not. King Abdullah who's here in Washington right now, a very good friend of the United States. GRAHAM: Absolutely.

BLITZER: That would be an awful situation.

GRAHAM: Yes it would.

BLITZER: All right. Senator, thanks very much for joining us.

GRAHAM: Thank you, Wolf.

BLITZER: Coming up, why federal agents swarmed the bombing suspects' university and why they're still holding two students.

And it started out as a fun day at a baseball game and ended in horror and pain at the Boston marathon. A survivor. Her story, that's next.


BLITZER: Happening now, all five living presidents come together for the first time in more than four years to honor one of their own. The stories and the laughs, the tears, as well at the dedication of President George W. Bush's Presidential Library.

Investigators target a second home in their search to determine who sent ricin-laced letters to President Obama and others.

And she says it felt like her foot was on fire. A Boston bombing victim speaking out about her life changing decision to let doctors amputate her leg.

I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in the SITUATION ROOM.



BLITZER: We're learning new details about a federal raid at the university attended by Boston bombing suspect, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. Let's go to CNN's Drew Griffin. He's on the scene for us. What are you learning, Drew?

DREW GRIFFIN, CNN INVESTIGATIVE UNIT CORRESPONDENT: You'll recall that the police, the FBI, the federal agents actually swarmed one residence near that university in Dartmouth. There was a reason we are told for such a heavy-handed approach that Friday, Wolf. It's because they thought Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was there.

They believed he was there, because Tsarnaev was sharing a cell phone with one of the two Russian speaking, Kazakhstan students who were detained from that raid. Those two students are still in immigration custody because they apparently violated immigration laws, but they're also being held at an abundance of caution to make sure that the FBI and the agents can track every move of the Tsarnaev Brothers both before and after the bombing. They were able to learn of the cell phone and through social media of the sharing of the cell phone between these two people, but as of right now, there is nothing, I should say, nothing that links these two Russian students to the actual attacks, though, they're being held still with an immigration visa hold on them.

I might also add that one of these students is pictured in that Times Square photograph that we've been showing of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in Times Square with a group of his friends. This person who shared the cell phone with him is one of those other students -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Do we know if these two students from Kazakhstan who were studying at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth are cooperating with law enforcement?

GRIFFIN: We are assuming they are. We don't have that for sure. But we understand that they have been at least forthcoming to the authorities. There's nothing to suggest that they have not been, Wolf. But, again, they are tracking every single move they make. And once we found out that these two shared cell phones it was easy to understand now in hindsight why there was such a heavy handed federal presence there on that campus on Friday during the day before Dzhokhar was actually captured.

BLITZER: There's a picture of Dzhokhar with some of his friends including one of those students who's being held right now at Times Square last year.


BLITZER: When they were there. All right. Thanks very much, Drew, for that information. If you get more, let us know.

We're going to have much more on the Boston investigation coming up. But there's some other news I want to check out right now including this. For the first time in more than four years all five living U.S. presidents and their first ladies were together on one stage for the dedication of the George W. Bush Presidential Library in Dallas. It was an event filled with emotion. There were laughs and there was also a humble respect for the unique bond that only they share.


JIMMY CARTER, 39TH PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Mr. President, let me say I am filled with admiration and great gratitude for you about the great contributions you've made to the most needy people on earth. Thank you very much.

GEORGE H.W. BUSH, 41ST PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: What a beautiful day in Dallas. It is a great pleasure to be here to honor our son, our oldest son. And this is very special for Barbara and me. And thank all for coming and to all of those who made this marvelous museum possible we thank you especially and we're glad to be here.

BILL CLINTON, 42ND PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I like President Bush. We do a lot of speeches together. And I like it when we have disagreements. He is disarmingly direct. We were having an argument over health care in one of these speeches and I went on about the German health care system and he said, I don't know a thing about the German health care system. I think he probably won the argument.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: To know the man is to like the man. Because he is comfortable in his own skin. He knows who he is. He doesn't put on any pretences. He takes his job seriously but he doesn't take himself too seriously. He is a good man.

GEORGE W. BUSH, 43RD PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I dedicate this library with unshakable faith in the future of our country. It is the honor of a lifetime to lead a country as brave and as noble as the United States. Whatever challenges come before us I will always believe our nation's best days lie ahead. God bless.


BLITZER: The president tearing up. Our chief national correspondent John King is there for us.

John, he got pretty emotional there at the very end.

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: He did get emotional at the end. And that he would say is in the Bush DNA. Tears at big emotional moments.

I have to tell you, Wolf, as a political junkie, it's pretty cool to be here on a day like this, not making judgments about the Bush presidency but with five presidents up on stage, five first ladies up on stage, a lot of buzz here even among the Republicans saying, is there a sixth president up there, meaning will former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton run in 2016.

But this was a day to focus mostly on the dedication of this library. Those three Democrats, Presidents Carter, President Clinton and President Obama, all praising George W. Bush, setting aside the differences they have had with him in the past over things like the Iraq war, over things like the federal government response to Katrina.

President George W. Bush, as you noted, emotional at the end. A lot of work has gone in to this center. And it's striking when you walk through inside. Very touching statue, a sculpture of the 41st president and the 43rd president, both George Bushes in there.

Also very striking when you move from a room with education reform exhibits and a Mexican state dinner and then bang, 9/11 happened and you're in the room, we have a twisted piece of steel from the second tower. The 83rd floor, and the point of impact.

Now I had a conversation with President Bush and his wife, the former First Lady Laura Bush, and he said he knows this day will re- stoke the debates about the big things and some of the big controversies of his administration including the federal response to Katrina and the Iraq war. He says those, walking through this museum, Wolf, will find it to be more objective than they might think.

Among the things you do find in there is the admission that there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. President Bush, though standing by his decision to remove Saddam Hussein from power.


G. W. BUSH: The removal of Saddam Hussein was the right decision. America is more secure. The Iraqi people have a chance to live in a free society. The museum -- it does give people the opportunity to hear the different points of view that I got on these particular issues. The purpose of which is not to try to defend the policy. The purpose of which is to try to show people what it's like to be president and how you make decisions. History will ultimately judge the decisions that were made for Iraq and I'm just not going to be around to see the final verdict.


KING: It is impressive to be inside the museum. They raised more than $500 million. There is one interactive theater called the Decision Points Theater where you can see some of the advice the president received on Iraq, on Katrina, on the financial crisis, and as a visitor you can decide whether you would take the same course or something else.

And, Wolf, there is an exact replica of the Oval Office from the George W. Bush White House, the sofas, the carpet, the desk. I covered the Bush White House for six years and trust me, it is exactly the same here as it was back at the White House.

Again, this is a day for celebration, not a day to air the political differences. Many of the Democratic presidents who are here have had with the Bush team in the past and a great celebration and frankly great to see the 41st president here, George Herbert Walker Bush, who's had some health issues of late, and the 43rd president, his son, was clearly grateful to have his dad on hand for this big day.

BLITZER: It was really moving to see both of those presidents, 41 and 43 as they're called, together and it got emotional for that entire family.

All right, John. Thanks very much. John King on the scene for us at the dedication of this new presidential library.

Up next, denial in Dagestan. A day after they spoke to the FBI, the parents of the two bombing suspects are speaking with the media.

Also coming up, it began as a fun day, the best of what Boston has to offer, but a bombing victim tells how it ended in pain and horror at the finish line of the marathon.


BLITZER: A day after talking to an FBI team in Russia the parents of the Boston bombing suspect spoke to the media.

Let's go live to our senior international correspondent Nic Robertson. He's on the ground in Dagestan, that's in Russia.

What happened, Nic?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, one of the interesting things was to hear the mother describe the relationship between the two sons. A lot of speculation that Tamerlan really had a huge amount of influence over the younger brother Dzhokhar. When you hear -- their mother speaking, it really kind of fills in a lot of those blanks.




TSARNAEV: Very loved each other. Very loved each other. When Dzhokhar used to come on Friday night home from dormitory, Tamerlan used to like hug him and kiss him. Hold him like -- because he was a big, big boy, you know, Tamerlan. So he would have him like this and he would hold him, my Dzhokhar, and he would kiss him like this. He would never -- he would never, like, think that kissing brother is a shame. He kissed him.


BLITZER: Nic, do the parents still maintain their children are innocent?

ROBERTSON: They really do. And when you listen -- and when the mother was asked, OK, how can you say that? You've seen the images of them. You've seen the video of him placing what appears to be the backpack with the bomb on the site. All these things, she said, no. He was taken out of a car. I remember seeing him being taken out of the car alive. He was naked. I recognize that body.

Again, this was -- this was one of the moments in this press conference when she described it and she became really emotional.


TSARNAEV: And when he is laying down there already killed, cruelly killed, oh, my god, I wanted to -- I want to scream. To scream to the whole world, what did you do? What have you done with my son? He was alive. Why did they need to kill him? Why didn't they send him to -- you know, Guantanamo, or whatever? Why did they kill him? Why? Why did he -- why did they have to kill him? They got him alive, right? He was in their hands.


ROBERTSON: You know, listening to her it sounds like she is very confused there with the young man who was arrested, taken, put in a police car, naked, later released, not related to the -- not related to the two brothers at all. She seems to think that is her son Tamerlan and how, therefore, could he be dead after her seeing those pictures of him alive? So a lot of confusion and a lot of denial there -- Wolf.

BLITZER: At that news conference, Nic, did any of the reporters point out to that grieving mother that her two sons are accused of having killed three people and injuring more than 250 people with really brutal pressure cooker bombs with BBs and nails designed to kill and maim as many people as possible? Did anyone point that out to her?

ROBERTSON: They did. And again, she would come back with a scenario that this wasn't her sons, that this -- these -- they wouldn't have done such a thing. That they were -- they were good people. She really -- you get the sense there, Wolf, that there is a huge amount of pressure and stress going on with the parents at the moment. They just can't comprehend that their son is dead, that another one is lying gravely injured in the hospital, that they could be responsible for this.

They just -- when people put those details to them, they were seen in those videos. She was saying, well, no. The backpack really wasn't like that one. There was another one. They were -- they weren't involved. She cannot bring herself to accept that her sons were involved -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Is either parent, the father especially, coming back to the United States?

ROBERTSON: You know, he says he is but it is very confusing. I spoke to him as he was coming out of the press conference. He'd said, I'm going back today. That was Thursday. That's already yesterday here in Dagestan. He said that he was going to try and see his son Dzhokhar in hospital but they'd already said they had been told that they wouldn't be able to see Dzhokhar in hospital as you would expect.

So it is very confusing. Is he going to go Friday? There are several flights he could be on to Moscow and connect home to the United States. And it just isn't clear. He has poor health at times. We're told that he came out of that press conference and wasn't feeling well. He didn't seem to be so unwell when I talked to him but, again, very hard to tell what this family is really going to do and when they're going to do it -- Wolf.

BLITZER: All right, Nic, thanks very much.

Nic is reporting for us from Dagestan in Russia.

When we come back there's been another bizarre twist in the search to determine who sent President Obama and other officials ricin-laced letters. That's coming up.

More on the Boston investigation as well. But first, a preview of this week's "NEXT LIST."



DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: They told him he could never do it.

ABRAMOWITZ: It is a disruptive idea.

SUSAN SILVERMAN, WIFE: He said, someone's got to bring solar energy to this place. And I was like, please, not you.


ABRAMOWITZ: It will be the field with the best security in the whole world because we have two armies guarding it.

GUPTA: Yosef Abramowitz and Israel's first solar field on "THE NEXT LIST."

SILVERMAN: Whatever he can envision, he can then figure out how to make it happen.

ABRAMOWITZ: It is so moving.

SILVERMAN: If he can see it he can do it. It's incredible.

UZI LANDAU, FORMER ISRAEL ENERGY AND WATER MINISTER: Like a bulldog. He just put his teeth in something, and he doesn't give it up.



BLITZER: What started out as a fun day at the ballpark quickly turned to horror for one Boston marathon bombing victim. She suffered an amputation but is finding the strength to fight through it.


HEATHER ABBOTT, LOST LEG IN MARATHON BOMBING: If someone had told me that I was going to have half a leg basically at the age of 38 before this happened I think I would have never believed it. I think I would have been devastated. And I really haven't had a moment yet of being devastated because I've gotten so much support from the hospital. I mean, the hospital has brought in individuals who are in the same situation as I am. They live normal lives. They were able to tell me about that which has been great.


BLITZER: Let's bring our chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

Amazing woman, Sanjay. She says she was given a choice to amputate. Here is the question. Why would someone choose to amputate if it wasn't absolutely necessary?

GUPTA: Well, it is a tough decision, Wolf. And as you point out there are some situations where it's going to be very obviously necessary and sometimes where there's injuries to the leg that there's no doubt are not going to require amputation, but there are some times where it sort of falls in between.

The scenario typically, Wolf, is like this. There's a significant injury to the leg. Doctors will go ahead and stabilize the bones, reconnect blood vessels, even address some of the nerve injury. But the question is after that what kind of shape is the leg going to be and how functional is it going to be. The leg, the ankle, the foot, and also the issue of pain. I mean, despite all those operations, the leg may not -- it may be, first of all, still a source of great pain and it may just not work. She even said that the legs, because of the different lengths, there was concern about that.

I want you to listen, Wolf, to how her doctor put this particular decision.


DR. ERIC BLUMAN, BRIGHAM AND WOMEN'S HOSPITAL: It's very, very rare that the doctor makes a decision. We do everything to let the patient come to their own decision. That's because the values for every separate patient are different. And keeping a limb may be very important to one, while for someone else, I think like Heather, function is paramount.


GUPTA: So ultimately, in medicine, sometimes they say function versus form, to some extent. And as you heard from the doctor, function in particular, very important to Heather -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Surgeons waited a week, as you know, Sanjay, before actually amputating her leg. Is it possible we're going to see other victims having to undergo amputations in the coming days and weeks?

GUPTA: It is possible, Wolf. And again, there's this idea that they're going to do all these different things to try and fix the injuries in the leg. The bones, the arteries, the nerves. And then sort of give it some time. Give it some time to see how that leg is going to behave, how it's going to work, if it's going to be a source of pain or not. There's no, you know, hard and fast rule in terms of how long that period should be.

Obviously with Heather, you know, you've got a sense of the time period. But, Wolf, there may be others who are still sort of waiting, seeing, could the leg regain more of that function, could some of that pain be addressed -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Is Heather's positive attitude, and she does have an amazing positive attitude, is that going to help her recover?

GUPTA: Yes, I think absolutely. And I think, in particular, it's going to make a difference with rehab. I mean, look, you know, you have -- this is the beginning of a -- of a process, obviously, a long one, a long road for Heather. But the -- within, you know, six weeks or so, she'll probably be up moving around, on a prosthetic leg. But how -- how well she's going to do with that prosthetic leg, the types of things that she wants to do.

I talked to some rehab specialists over the last couple of days who specialize in this area, and I think it's safe to say nothing is off the table. I mean, any type of activity basically is going to be within her reach. But to your question, that attitude and how engaged she has in rehab, and it looks like, you know, just listening to her, she's going to be very engaged. But that's going to be -- play a big role in terms of her ultimate outcome, talking about, you know, months and years down the road -- Wolf.

BLITZER: I admire that young woman a lot.


BLITZER: Sanjay, I know you do as well. Thank you very much.


BLITZER: Coming up, we have new information on the so-called mystery man, accused by relatives of steering one of the bombing suspects to radical Islam.


BLITZER: There's been a twist in the FBI search to determine who's behind the ricin-laced letters sent to President Obama and others.

CNN's Victor Blackwell is in Mississippi. He's got the very latest -- Victor.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, the focus of this investigation has shifted to a former politician who's also a Tae Kwon Do instructor, Everett Dusky. Well, according to authorities, Dusky befriended the father of one of his Tae Kwon Do Students. And some time they spent together recently agitated the FBI.


BLACKWELL (on camera): Are you concerned that your son is involved in this ricin incident at all?

MELVIN KITCHENS, TUPELO RESIDENT: I don't think nobody around here. I know my son's not.

BLACKWELL (voice-over): Melvin Kitchens says his son, Kirk Kitchens, knows nothing about those poisonous letters sent to President Obama, a senator and a Mississippi judge, and brings nothing dangerous into this house.

KITCHENS: See, Kirk comes down here and hunts. BLACKWELL: But Itawamba County Sheriff Chris Dickenson says the FBI is keeping tabs on Kitchens' friend, Everett Dusky.

SHERIFF CHRIS DICKENSON, ITAWAMBA COUNTY, MISSISSIPPI: They thought that the two were here. I think at one time they were here.

BLACKWELL: Deputies conducted a traffic stop Wednesday night on a vehicle Kirk Kitchens was driving. After the deputy let Kitchens go, the sheriff says he was told he thinks by the FBI that Dusky was in that vehicle.

DICKENSON: The deputy said there was only one person in the vehicle. So obviously I think he was hiding. Why he was, I don't know that. I can't answer that.

BLACKWELL: Dusky is not a suspect and his attorney says he's not required to check in with anyone, but authorities could not find him.

DICKENSON: I think that Mr. Kitchens was attempting to give Mr. Dusky just a place to lay low, and you know, try to relax.

BLACKWELL: Overnight the FBI surrounded this home that belongs to the Kitchens. But never went in.

KITCHENS: They can go in without a warrant if they want to.

BLACKWELL: Thursday afternoon the sheriff searched the property and found nothing. Most importantly to Melvin Kitchens, no connection to his son.

(On camera): Did anyone in this family, the Kitchens family, Kirk Kitchens especially, a suspect or person of interest?

DICKENSON: No, they are not. Not that I'm aware of.


BLACKWELL: Wolf, I spoke with Dusky's attorney, Laurie Basham, and she said that no one called her about this search for Dusky. And when she found out that authorities had difficulty finding him, she called the FBI and told them exactly where he is -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Victor Blackwell, thanks very much.

Happening now, the alleged marathon bomber claims he and his brother also had plans to bomb Times Square.