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EARLY START WITH JOHN BERMAN AND ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN

Sources: Tsarnaev Had No Weapon in Boat; Suspects Had Six More Explosives; Suspects' Next Target NYC; Bombing Suspect Moved to Another Hospital; Bombing Suspects' Parents Relocate; Senate Moves to End Flight Delays; Fisher Top Pick in NFL Draft; U.S. Intel: Syria Used Chemical Weapons

Aired April 26, 2013 - 06:00   ET

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


ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR: John, good morning. Welcome to EARLY START. Nice to have you with us. I'm Zoraida Sambolin in New York.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm John Berman live in Boston this morning. It is Friday, April 26th. It is 6 a.m. in the East. And already this morning over the last hour, we've seen dozens of people walk by this beautiful memorial here in Boston. This is Copley Square. This is the memorial for all the victims in the marathon bombing attacks.

They took all the memorials around the city and they brought them together here to make one big site, and it is simply stunning. You see running sneakers. You see flowers. You see stuffed animals for Martin Richard, the 8-year-old, who was, of course, killed so tragically here.

ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR: John, it looks like there's a guy --

BERMAN: It's a beautiful place.

SAMBOLIN: Yes, it is. I'm seeing the guy in the red jacket. I don't know if you're seeing the same picture that I am. But is there a place for people to actually write messages as well?

BERMAN: There are message boards there for people to leave notes. There's chalk. There are magic markers there and of course, all the runners who ran in the race are leaving their running shoes behind. It is a beautiful, beautiful site, worth coming to Boston just to see it.

Meanwhile, Zoraida, there are some chilling new development in the terror investigation here. It seems that Boston may not have been the only target. The Tsarnaev brothers apparently had planned another attack or at least discussed it. New York's Times Square.

Also new this morning, the "Boston Globe" reporting that anti-terror intelligence units in Massachusetts were never advised that the FBI had looked into Tamerlan Tsarnaev's activities in 2011, and the apparent security gaffes do not end there.

On a different front, a U.S. official says a counterterrorism task force received a warning about Tamerlan's extended trip to Russia nine months before the Boston bombing, but there was never any apparent follow-up.

Also we're now hearing from the man who says he was carjacked by the Tsarnaev brothers over a week ago and spent a terrifying 90 minutes with the alleged bombers. He has an amazing story to tell.

There are also new details emerging from those tense moments when Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was discovered hiding last week in that boat in Watertown, Massachusetts.

I want to go now to Miguel Marquez. He is at Boston's Beth Israel Deaconess Center. That is where Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is still being treated this morning. Good morning, Miguel.

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, John. We're not entirely sure he is still here, actually. While we had photographers and people staking out the hospital all night, they were sort of shoved off around 1:00 in the morning here.

And a lot of the police officers that had been behind us earlier, they all took off and there are reports that he may have already been moved to another facility. That's something we are trying to get confirmed. All of that as we are learning more details about this investigation.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MARQUEZ (voice-over): In a shocking revelation, sources now say Dzhokhar Tsarnaev had no weapon when he was hiding in a boat. And a police officer injured during the operation, appears an accidental victim of friendly fire. This, as it's revealed New York City may have been a target as the Tsarnaev brothers sought to flee Boston.

MAYOR MICHAEL BLOOMBERG, NEW YORK: The surviving attacker revealed that New York City was next on their list of targets. He told the FBI apparently that he and his brother had intended to drive to New York and detonate additional explosives in Times Square.

MARQUEZ: The brothers had six more explosives under the pressure cooker and five pipe bombs. The 11-year-old Aaron Fern injured in the attack, still wheelchair bound, visited the memorial. If it was comfort he sought, he got it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a little more like home.

MARQUEZ: And 11 days on from the attack, there is this survivor story.

HEATHER ABBOTT, SURVIVOR: I felt like my foot was on fire. I knew I couldn't stand up. And I -- I didn't know what to do. I was just screaming, somebody please help me and I was thinking, who's going to help me?

MARQUEZ: Four people did then Heather Abbott had to make a decision she thought she never would. Keep her left foot, mangled by the explosion, or have it removed.

ABBOTT: 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. I think I'm going to be able to live my life in a normal way eventually when I get that permanent prosthesis.

MARQUEZ: And finally one more sign of Boston's strength. Marathon Sports, site of the first bombing, tore down the paper and opened its doors. Runners welcomed once again.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MARQUEZ: And, John, we have confirmed that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has been moved here from Beth Israel to a prison facility in Fort Devens, Massachusetts. That happened overnight. The U.S. Marshals Office confirming to CNN that he has, in fact, been moved.

I'm sure it comes as a great relief to the hospital because we've all been camped out here, but also there's been several patients here cared for by -- that were injured in the attack were also here. Their friends and family were not happy that Mr. Tsarnaev was here as well -- John.

BERMAN: All right, Miguel Marquez at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, thank you. Just to confirm what Miguel just said. The suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has been moved to a medical facility at a prison in Fort Devens, Massachusetts. That's about 35 miles west of where we're standing right now.

He has been moved and of course, very sensitive issue because a lot of the victims at Beth Israel were not happy that he was also there. This also just in to CNN, we've learned that the mother and father of the suspect, Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the mother and father have left Dagestan and are now in another part of Russia.

The mother tells us that the father's planned trip to the U.S. has been delayed indefinitely. CNN's Nic Robertson has the latest on these details from the capital of Dagestan. Good morning, Nic.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, John. It seems that the health issues that her husband has been facing has led the wife now to make this statement that as far as the family is concerned that trip that we heard yesterday that he was going to make to the United States, people have expected him to arrive as early as today for his son Tamerlan's funeral.

They're now saying that's been postponed indefinitely, and beyond that they've now left Dagestan for another part of Russia. This is what they're telling us right now. All this information is new and just in. What we heard from the mother yesterday was very telling detail about how much the relationship between her two sons, Tamerlan and Dzhokhar.

A lot of speculation, obviously, Tamerlan was the one that really took a sort of radical understanding of Islam and pushed that on his younger brother. This is what she said about their relationship.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ZUBEIDAT TSARNAEV, BOSTON BOMBING SUSPECTS' MOTHER: Yes, I would prefer not to live in America now. Why did I even go there? Why? I thought Americas -- I don't understand for like any reason but it happens. America took my kids away from me only in America.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERTSON: She was really emotional in that press conference. Clearly there talking about how she was devastated. She thought they made the wrong decision by going to live in the United States. She described the love between the two brothers.

She said that Tamerlan on a Friday when Dzhokhar would come back from college after spending the week in his dormitory. Tamerlan would greet him, hug him, and kiss him on the head. She described a very, very strong and powerful relationship between the two brothers.

BERMAN: All right, Nic Robertson, our thanks to you from Dagestan. Of course, that news that we just learned the mother and father of Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, they have moved from where they were in Dagestan and are now in another part of Russia, another piece of this developing story -- Zoraida.

SAMBOLIN: All right, thank you very much, John. It's 7 minutes past the hour -- 8 minutes exactly past the hour. New this morning, the House could vote today to put furloughed air traffic controllers back to work after the Senate approved the plan.

Nearly 1,500 of them had to take unpaid time off because of those forced spending cuts. The goal is to end the big delays that have made flying such a pain this week. Those workers wouldn't be back in the towers until tomorrow. They're saying that would be at the earliest.

So today, my dear friends, it could be really ugly for you. CNN's Zain Asher is live at New York's LaGuardia Airport. Do they have delays at this hour?

ZAIN ASHER, CNN PERSONAL FINANCE/BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: No. No delays right now at this hour. It's still early, but it has been a very disruptive week for passengers. By the way, pilots have also been complaining, as well. Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, we saw 3,000 flights delayed, specifically because of budget cuts.

Essentially the FAA had to find a way of reducing their budget by $600 million as a result they reduced staff at air traffic control towers by 10 percent. So what you saw was more space between planes, planes being on the tarmac for longer, planes circling in the sky for longer.

I actually just spoke to a pilot from American Eagle. Here's what he had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's just been torture. That's all I could say. It's been torture and I've never been -- I haven't been home on time yet. So I plan on coming back about 3:00 today, probably going to be about 6:00 so plan on being on duty for at least 12 hours today.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ASHER: That pilot also told me that he's being very open and honest with his passengers saying, guys, if there are delays it's not our fault, it's because of the sequester. It's because of those budget cuts. So bottom line, if you are planning on traveling today or tomorrow just make sure you call the airport or airline in advance -- Zoraida.

SAMBOLIN: You know, I've got a family member who is traveling and they actually went on the overhead and said, we're delayed and it's because of the sequester. So if you want to blame somebody, blame them.

ASHER: They're open and honest about it.

SAMBOLIN: Yes, they are. All right, thank you very much. Zain Asher live for us at LaGuardia Airport.

It's 10 minutes past the hour, a very big night for some very big linemen in the first round of the NFL draft.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: With the first pick in the 2013 NFL draft, the Kansas City Chiefs select Eric Fisher, tackle, Central Michigan.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAMBOLIN: That's a big boy, 6'7", 306-pound defensive tackle, Eric Fisher of Central Michigan, congratulations, picked first last night by the Kansas City Chiefs. In fact, the first seven selections were all linemen and Fisher never expected to hear his name called first by the commissioner.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ERIC FISHER, NUMBER ONE PICK IN NFL DRAFT: This is so hard to process the fact that I was the number one pick in the NFL draft. It's a dream come true. Something I've been working for, for so long, and I'm standing here right now and I just can't believe it yet.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAMBOLIN: Well, here are the top five picks from last night's first round. At number two, another offensive tackle, Luke Joeckel of Texas A&M heading to the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Miami Dolphins trading up to number three to select linebacker Dion Jordan of Oregon and number four another offensive tackle Lane Johnson of Oklahoma chosen by the Philadelphia Eagles and rounding out the top five, defensive end Ziggy Ansah of BYU now a Detroit Lion.

And making headlines for not getting picked, Notre Dame's Manti Te'O hoping someone will take a chance on him in round two tonight. Boy, that's worth millions of dollars moving from one to two. So coming up, the Obama administration says the Syrian regime has used chemical weapons in its ongoing civil war. The president has said that would be crossing a red line. Will the White House take action now? A live report coming up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: Welcome back to EARLY START, everyone. I'm John Berman live in Boston this morning. We have two big new pieces of information in the Boston bombing investigation at this hour.

We just learned the U.S. Marshal Service confirmed to us, in fact, that suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has been moved from the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center here in Boston, he is now being held at a prison facility in Fort Devens, Massachusetts. That's 30-plus miles or so west of Boston.

This houses male offenders who require specialized or long-term medical or mental health care. That is a big development. We also just learned that the Tsarnaev parents have left their home in Dagestan for another part of Russia. We don't know where.

And we also learned that the father's trip to the United States has been delayed indefinitely. There is other news. Also this disturbing development that the Tsarnaev brothers were planning another attack, this one on New York City's Times Square.

And this morning, the "Boston Globe" reports anti-terror intelligence unit in Massachusetts were never advised that the FBI had investigated Tamerlan Tsarnaev's activities in 2011.

And on another front, another apparent security gaffe: a U.S. official says a counterterrorism task force received a warning about Tamerlan's extended trip to Russia nine months before the Boston bombing, but there was never any follow-up and that was never passed on.

So, a lot of news. Also a lot of questions this morning, Zoraida.

SAMBOLIN: A lot of last-minute developments. Thank you very much, John.

Fifteen minutes past the hour. The Obama administration on the record saying it believes the Syrian government has used chemical weapons on civilians in its ongoing civil war.

But the White House is moving cautiously, even though some in Congress are calling for a swift response now.

So, we're joined by Pentagon Correspondent Barbara Starr.

And, Barbara, you know, we have talked about this red line for a very long time and President Obama saying that if they cross that red line of using chemical weapons, that the White House would take action. So, what are we hearing this morning?

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Zoraida, you know, the evidence is mounting now, not conclusive according to the administration. So the question is: if Syria did cross the red line, what would the White House do? Maybe the real question for many is, is there anything that can be done?

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

(SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)

STARR (voice-over): March 19th, Aleppo, Syria. There is talk civilians here have been attacked with chemical weapons but no confirmation.

Now, suddenly, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel traveling in the Middle East --

CHUCK HAGEL, DEFENSE SECRETARY: The U.S. intelligence community assesses with some degree of varying confidence that the Syrian regime has used chemical weapons on a small scale in Syria, specifically the chemical agent sarin.

STARR: The White House sent letters to Congress responding to questions about chemical weapons used and calling for a U.N. investigation.

After the debacle over Iraqi weapons, Hagel says the U.S. needs to confirm exactly what happened.

HAGEL: We need all the facts. We need all the information.

STARR: Senator John McCain told CNN's Jake Tapper it's not the response he wants.

SEN. JOHN MCAIN (R), ARIZONA: A disappointment but not surprise. The president has not wanted to engage in Syria in any way, any meaningful way for a couple of years.

STARR: McCain wants a no-fly zone, weapons provided to the Syrian opposition and chemical weapons secured.

President Obama had promised action but was never specific.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: A red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized. That would change my calculus.

STARR: A senior U.S. official says the Syrians continue moving chemical stockpiles, causing even more worry. Hagel is sending the First Armored Division's headquarters from Ft. Bliss, Texas, to Jordan. The official tells CNN it will spearhead securing Syria's weapons if ordered.

ANDREW TABLER, WASHINGTON INSTITUTE FOR NEAR EAST POLICY: We could use air strikes, drone strikes. There could be teams of Special Forces who go into the country.

STARR: But the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff who is reviewing military options says troops aren't the answer.

MCCAIN: Do you have confidence that we could secure it?

GEN. MARTIN DEMPSEY, CHAIRMAN, JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF: Not as I sit here today, simply because they've been moving it and the number of sites is quite numerous.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

STARR: So there you have it. The top U.S. military official saying he doesn't even think the U.S. military could secure it. The White House is really ruled out at this point any go it alone U.S. military action. Allies are reluctant to get involved.

But the pressure, the political pressure is mounting on the White House to do something to show more support for the opposition -- Zoraida.

SAMBOLIN: You know, Barbara, as we were watching there what the president said, he said a whole bunch of chemical weapons. If we see evidence of a whole bunch of chemical weapons so you have to wonder what that means, as they continue looking at the evidence here, right?

STARR: Well, you know, this is the real question. What is the red line? How much is a whole bunch of chemical weapons? What we know now is they are investigating several potential attacks.

We know that they say they have some evidence, some confidence, but I think Iraq looms very large in this administration's mind. The debacle there for many years, the intelligence debacle is not something they want to repeat so they are saying they want more intelligence, more certain information, but not saying what they're going to do about it -- Zoraida.

SAMBOLIN: OK. Love having you there. Barbara Starr live at the Pentagon for that.

And developing overnight in Bangladesh, the death toll from a devastating building collapse on Wednesday climbing now to 285. More than 2,000 people have been rescued. It's believed hundreds more may still be trapped under all of the rubble there. So before it crumbled, cracks developed in the buildings which housed garment factories. But workers were reportedly ordered inside that building, anyway.

And if you were thinking about buying a home, you may never find a better time than right now. We're going to tell you why, coming up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SAMBOLIN: Welcome back. Good morning to you. We're minding your business this morning.

It's been a solid week for the stock market. We are loving it. CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: It has been up. And it will be up on the week. I mean, stock futures this morning are lower, Dow off about 38 points but it has been a solid week.

At 8:30 Eastern, we're going to get the first look at economic growth for the first quarter. Experts forecast 2.8 percent growth in the U.S. economy. The fourth quarter of last year, you can see the little slim blue bar. It wasn't good.

You know, it's been a bumpy year. You want to see strength and increasing strength so that you can get some jobs growth. Now one bright spot is housing.

Here's what's going right in the real estate market: super low mortgage rates. These are brand-new numbers on your screen, folks. Thirty-year fixed rate, 3.4 percent. Super close to a record low. Fifteen-year fixed, that's a popular refinancing tool. Two-point-six- one percent for the 15-year.

I think those numbers were inverted. But, anyway, low inventory. Buyers are creating this sense of urgency. There's not a lot for sale out there.

And here's another reason why the housing market is recovering, prices are rising. They're rising slowly as we told you yesterday, just half a percent during the first quarter but they are rising.

Now, here's what could stop the recovery. First, this is very investor-driven. You've got cash buyers. You've got people buying five, six, seven properties in Vegas and Phoenix. What happens when that dies down?

Some people say that could help create a little housing bubble in some of those markets, too. The jobs market needs to rev up. We need more jobs growth.

Three, generation Y loaded down with debt. So the next generation of buyers is not likely going to be as enthusiastic as say generation X was, or even able to rush into buying. That's something people are really watching, as well.

SAMBOLIN: It kind of makes sense, right?

ROMANS: Yes.

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

ROMANS: Air traffic controllers could go back to work as early as Saturday. That could ease the long lines and delays.

SAMBOLIN: Tomorrow --

(CROSSTALK)

ROMANS: Yes, yes, yes. But what hasn't been fixed is Congress' inability to think long-term about what's best for the American economy. So, as those lines get shorter at the airport, let's remember, Congress is still lurching from crisis to crisis. Don't pat yourself on the back, Washington, even though we have longer lines or shorter lines.

SAMBOLIN: Shorter lines. Thank you so much, Christine. Appreciate it.

ROMANS: You're welcome.

SAMBOLIN: Twenty-five minutes past the hour.

Coming up next, carjacked by terrorists. The man who spent 90 horrifying minutes with the Tsarnaev brothers breaks his silence.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)