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STARTING POINT WITH SOLEDAD O'BRIEN

Boston Marathon Bombing Suspect Moved to Prison Facility; Airport Delays Due to Sequester Continue; NFL Holds Draft; Syria Used Chemical Weapons?

Aired April 26, 2013 - 07:00   ET

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


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: We do begin with the breaking developments in the Boston bombing marathon investigation. The U.S. marshal service confirms that suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has been moved to the best Israel Deaconess medical center here in Boston and it's now being held about 30 miles away at a prison facility at Fort Devens, Massachusetts. We want to go to Miguel Marquez who is with me here live for details. This is breaking overnight.

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. We had a photographer and folks that are at the hospital at Beth Israel overnight. Around 1:00 they shooed everybody away. And sometime between 1:00 and 3:00 police then left and it was very clear that something had changed at the hospital. We found out this morning that he has been moved to this medical facility at Fort Devens 40 miles northwest of Boston. It is a former military facility, been decommissioned, but it's a prison that can take anything from, you know, low security prisoners to high security prisoners.

But most importantly it does have a hospital. We understand that Mr. Tsarnaev was in fair condition here at Beth Israel within the last 24 hours. Doctors are concerned about moving him. But there was also a great push to get him out of Beth Israel because there were so many others being cared for in the bombing that he took part in, or at least allegedly took part in. So, it's been done. He has moved there and now we have to wait and see what his condition is at this new facility.

BERMAN: It's very much outside of Boston in a somewhat secluded area, as you said, in this former military base, completely separate from the victims here.

MARQUEZ: And they were certainly looking for anything even considering other community hospitals, something that might not be a prison facility. This one run by the bureau of prisons. So it really worked out perfectly for the authorities who were concerned about where do we move him to that is going to be safe enough, secure enough, that he can get the care that he needs so that we can keep him in a good state through trial.

BERMAN: Do you have more on the investigation now?

MARQUEZ: We do know that on the investigation side that he may be talking to investigators again after being Mirandized. This has all become part of this, as well. We also know that they are continuing to follow up every lead that they can. Certainly the concerns about New York and whether or not they were headed there is a big concern.

It's not very clear whether these were two individuals based on the "Boston Globe" exclusive and this discussion with Danny, this guy who got carjacked by these two, it's not very clear whether these were just two guys desperate to get out of Boston and saying let's go to New York in a last-ditch effort to do something, or if they had other targets around Boston they were hoping to hit. But clearly they had one -- they had one bomb and they had several others, so we are learning a lot more about this investigation.

BERMAN: Miguel Marquez, all these details, thank you so much for being with us. Again, the big news this morning, the suspect has been moved to this facility outside Boston.

And new developments in the past hour with the parents of the alleged bombing brothers, they have left Dagestan, the parents have, but not to come to the U.S. The mother tells CNN that her husband is delaying his trip indefinitely because of health concerns. The suspect's mother says that she and her husband are now staying in another part of Russia. CNN's Nic Robertson speaking with her just a short time ago. Nic is live with us this morning in Dagestan. Good morning, Nic.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, John. The first indication we had that something wasn't right was the stated plans of the family that the father would travel yesterday and arrive in the United States today came late last night. The wife saying that he had to get an ambulance for her husband, that he was ill, sick, and now it's information today that they left Dagestan, that they are elsewhere in Russia, and that her husband plans to travel to the United States has been delayed indefinitely. That does seem to be a result of his health condition.

Specifically we don't know precisely what is wrong with him, but we have heard for a number of days that perhaps he wasn't doing very well. We heard the mother yesterday, the relationship between her two sons Tamerlan and Dzhokhar, of course that a point of interest for investigators, how much influence does Tamerlan have over Dzhokhar. This is how she described their relationship.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ZUBEIDAT TSARNAEV, BOSTON BOMBING SUSPECTS' MOTHER: Very close. Very close. Very love each other. Very love each other. When Dzhokhar used to come on Friday, Friday night home from dormitory, Dzhokhar used to hug him and kiss him, hold him because he was a big, big boy you know, Tamerlan. So he would hug him like this, and he would hold him, my Dzhokhar, and he would kiss him like.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERTSON: So I asked the mother at the press conference yesterday if she'd rather have Tamerlan come home to be brought back here to be buried. She said yes, she'd rather have that. But accept that he's probably going to be buried in the United States. And it does seem that the parents now have accepted quite possibly that he'll be buried without them being present, John.

BERMAN: More on the strange movements and strange situation with the parents. Nic Robertson for us in Dagestan this morning, thanks so much, Nic.

We're learning that New York City may have been the next target for these brothers after they finished here and were fleeing Boston. They reportedly wanted to set off their remaining bombs in Times Square. The suspected Boston marathon bombers planned to drive to New York on April 19th, the night they wound up in a shoot-out with police in Watertown police. CNN's Richard Roth has the latest from Times Square.

RICHARD ROTH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, John. New York's police commissioner Ray Kelly using the word spontaneous to describe the decision by the brothers to head to Times Square, this according to an interview with the surviving brother. The other night New York was saying, well, they had plans to party here. And then within 24 hours the story is now they were going to do more than party here in Times Square, the crossroads of the world with 35,000 people at any moment on the sidewalks. Last night Times Square humming away, and New York, the lights are slowly coming up here. New York is very familiar with terror threats since 9/11.

Now, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was actually in Times Square not that long ago, as a photograph has surfaced of his appearance here. And the police commissioner took note of that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RAY KELLY, NEW YORK CITY POLICE COMMISSIONER: We know that Dzhokhar was photographed in Times Square with friends on or before April 18th of 2012. And that he was in the city again in November of 2012. We don't know if those visits were related in any way to what he described as the brothers' spontaneous decision to target Times Square.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROTH: And the police commissioner and the mayor saying that in the hijacked vehicle was one bomb, and several pipe bombs. So there could have been considerable damage here. And John, we remember, in 2010 a Pakistani-born U.S. citizen planned to attack with a major car bomb here, later arrested at the airport. Back to you, John.

BERMAN: Clearly a high level of sensitivity about that subject. Richard Roth in Times Square for us this morning, thank you so much.

We have more now on the breaking news. We are getting more information now on the facility where Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has been taken to, where he was taken overnight and the reaction by patients there to his arrival. CNN medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen joining us now live on the phone. Elizabeth, what have you learned about this place where he was taken?

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: What I've learned, John, is that it's one of six facilities operated by the federal bureau of prisons. There are small hospitals all over the country, but only six are designated as medical centers. And one source told me they handle the tough cases. It is the only center that is located in the northeast. So it makes that he would have been moved there. It is about an hour away from the Beth Israel by car, or by ambulance, I would guess.

We're learning a little bit more about the pieces of the puzzle of why he was moved. A doctor tells me that he is in touch with a doctor who does not work at Beth Israel, tells me he was in touch with colleagues who do work at the Beth Israel, and this doctor said that the families of the victims, and the victims themselves, were very unhappy, were freaking out, those were the words he used, were freaking out that they were being treated in the same hospital as Tsarnaev. They were freaking out that the person who had hurt them was being treated in the same hospital and living right there with them.

BERMAN: Well, obviously now they will not have to deal with that. And just to stress I've actually spent a lot of time in the Devens area. It's a rural area about an hour away from Boston, as Elizabeth said. It's part of this closed army base there. So really that facility in a much greater sense of seclusion right there so Dzhokhar Tsarnaev will be quite separate from everyone who was affected by his alleged activities in Boston. Elizabeth Cohen, our thanks to you for that information.

Also this morning, hijacked by terrorists, a 26-year-old man describing in detail the terrifying hour and a half ordeal when he was allegedly held at gunpoint by the Boston bombing suspects. He tells the "Boston Globe" they threatened him and asked if his car could drive out of the state, specifically to New York, where they planned, they said, to detonate more explosives in Times Square. "Boston Globe" reporter Mric Moscowitz will be with us in the next hour with more chilling details from the carjacking victims' account.

And we have a heartwarming image to show you that really defines the phrase Boston strong. You have to look at the cover of "Boston" magazine. Running shoes forming a heart, with the phrase "We Will Finish the Race." That, of course, were the words spoken by President Obama here more than a week ago. Every pair of shoes in that image was worn by someone who ran the Boston marathon the day of the attack.

And I should tell you I'm standing here in Copley Square at the site of the memorial. This is where they brought all this temporary memorials from around the city. They made one large one right here. It is a beautiful, beautiful location. There have been people coming here this morning for hours, for hours here, even before the sun was up to pay their respects here. There are four separate memorials for the three people killed in the blast as well as MIT officer Sean Collier. It is an unbelievably poignant memorial here in Boston where I think everyone in the city is stopping by if they can.

There is lots more happening today, meanwhile, including some potential relief for flyers, Christine romans is back in New York with more of the day's other top stories. Good morning, Christine. CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, John. The house could vote today to put furloughed air traffic controllers back to work. Nearly 1,500 of them have had to take unpaid time off because of forced spending cuts. The Senate approved a plan last night that would free up some money. The goal is to end the big delays that have made flying such a hassle and headache this week. CNN's Zain Asher at New York's LaGuardia airport. Good morning, Zain.

ZAIN ASHER, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Christine. Yes, it's been a very disruptive week. Over 3,000 flights delayed specifically because of budget cuts. So the FAA was trying to save $600 million from its budget between now and September and as a result they've been reducing staff at air traffic control towers by up to 10 percent. What you're getting is more space between flights. You're also seeing more flats on the tarmac for longer. Also planes circling in the air longer before landing. I just spoke to a pilot from American Eagle. Here's what he had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ADAM CHRONAS, AMERICAN EAGLE PILOT: 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 I 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 passengers about the reason for the delays. He's been coming over the PA system during flights saying, hey, if there are delays, it is because of the sequester. So bottom line, if you are traveling today or tomorrow, you can expect delays. Also, go to faa.gov. It will tell you what delays are looking like on the ground in real-time at all the major airports. Christine?

ROMANS: All right, Zain Asher from LaGuardia in New York. Thank you, Zain.

A new round of tension between north and South Korea. The south saying it will pull all of its citizens out of a manufacturing zone the two countries share over fears for their well-being. This comes after the North snubbed Seoul's requests for talks on the situation. The North pulled its workers out two weeks ago. The complex is considered the last symbol of cooperation between these two feuding countries.

And 38 people are dead after a fire ripped through a psychiatric facility today in the town of Ramensky, Russia, just outside of Moscow. And 41 people were inside the hospital at the time. Only three managed to escape the flames. Fire may have been sparked by an electrical short. Tomorrow will be an official day of mourning in Russia for those lost in the fire.

A new state law in Florida restricts police use of drones in the sunshine state. Governor Rick Scott signed the measure into law yesterday. The freedom from unwanted surveillance law requires police to get a judge's approval before using drones as part of any investigation. The measure has the backing of both the ACLU and conservative Republicans.

The NFL draft got under way last night. The first pick wasn't your typical flashy quarterback or wide receiver. Joe Carter here with more on last night's draft. Good morning, Joe.

JOE CARTER, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Christine. It was a big boy. For the first time in NFL history we saw two offensive tackles be drafted into the first and second pick. It sort of lacks star power, but I think the draft made up for it in size and certainly surprise. The first seven selections were offensive and defensive linemen.

(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)

JOE CARTER, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: And Eric Fisher is a big one, 6'7", 306 pounds. He's not only tall. He's athletic. And he's still growing. Just 22 years old. His job next season is a very important one. He's going to protect the Chiefs' new quarterback, their new investment, Alex Smith.

Now one of the most touching moments of the night came when former Patriots lineman Joe Andruzzi expressed his boss' pride. Andruzzi recently earned praise as a bona fide hero after he carried injured victims to safety after the Boston bombing.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE ANDRUZZI, PAYS TRIBUTE TO BOSTON VICTIMS AT DRAFT: On this note I'd like to share the positive mantra that grew out of the events of last week. We have a new saying in Boston. "Boston Strong, Baby."

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARTER: All right. That was a nice moment. Of course, 617 representing the area code in Boston. Now, making news for not getting picked, Notre Dame line backer Manti Te'o. He was passed up by all 32 teams last night. Maybe it's because he's got major baggage or because he played poorly in the national championship game against top town Alabama. He must have had a feeling, though, because he did not make the trip to NYC. Instead he's in Hawaii with his parents where he'll watch for his name to perhaps be called later on today.

Boy, it was a rough night. You've got to feel bad for this guy. West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith. He did make the trip to New York City. He's there, sitting in the green room, dressed in his suit, ready for his name to be called. Instead Geno Smith waited and waited and waited some more, his name was never called. Many picked this quarterback to go in the first round but he was passed up 32 times. He said he's not going through this again. He's going to fly home to watch today's second round with his family.

If you remember back in 2007, now Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers went through the same thing, Christine. He sat there and waited, and waited, and waited, many predict him to be a first round -- first few picks, instead he waited until the very end. But hey, we all know how that story turned out. He's a Super Bowl champion, one of the best in the league. So hopefully for Geno Smith, it turns out better as well.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Looked like that young man handled it with class, though. I will say that.

All right, thanks so much, Joe Carter.

Ahead on STARTING POINT, Syria has used chemical weapons in its civil war reportedly on its own people. President Assad has been warned that action would cross a red line. So will the U.S. have to act now?

You're watching STARTING POINT. Back in a moment.

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ROMANS: Welcome back. New developments this morning in Syria's two- year-old civil war. The Obama administration on the record now saying it believes the Syrian government has used chemical weapons against civilians. But the White House is moving cautiously. Even though some in Congress are calling for a swift response.

We're joined by Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr.

Good morning, Barbara.

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Christine. The White House indeed moving very slowly, very cautiously on this. The question is, has President Obama's red line been crossed? What to do about it? And can anything be done?

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

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 MCCAIN (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 NEW 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 telling Congress U.S. troops can't secure Syria's chemical weapons. And, in fact, don't look for U.S. troops to get involved in this on any kind of go-it-alone strategy. But the political pressure clearly mounting on the White House to get more involved with supporting the rebels -- Christine.

ROMANS: All right, Barbara Starr live for us this morning in the Pentagon. Thank you, Barbara.

Ahead on STARTING POINT, show me the money. Show me the money but only if you majored in the right subject in college. I'm going to give you the highest paying fields, next.

You're watching STARTING POINT.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROMANS: Welcome back to STARTING POINT. "Minding Your Business" this morning, how fast is the U.S. economy growing? We'll get official word next hour. Experts forecast GDP, as it's known, to come in at 2.8 percent. That's for the first quarter. The fourth quarter of last year shows a slim game of just 0.4 percent the past year. A little better than that. Stock futures lower right now ahead of that report. But it's been a solid week overall for stocks.

All right. Most college grads would dream of a starting salary of $93,500. But for one major, that's a reality. The National Association of Colleges and Employers says petroleum engineering brings in the highest average starting salary. Computer engineers second, by about $20,000 less, around $71,000 a year. Look at that. Chemical engineering, $67,000. Computer science majors are the fourth highest paid starting salaries, and then you've got aerospace on there, as well.

Even if you're not an engineer, though, salaries overall for recent college grads are improving. The average for 2013 is $45,000. That's up 5.3 percent compared to the class of 2012.

All right, how has Boston changed the sequester fight? We want to have all the resources necessary to catch terrorists, we want to fly without hassle. But do we want to pay for it? We're going to be talking about that and a whole lot more this weekend on my show. Check out "YOUR MONEY," airs new time, Saturday 9:30 a.m. then again at 2:00 p.m., Sundays at 3:00.

Plus former labor secretary Robert Reich, "Wall Street Journal" editorial writer Stephen Moore is going to join me to talk about the strength of the economy.

Ahead on STARTING POINT, the man allegedly carjacked by the Tsarnaev brothers recounts his harrowing ordeal and his brave split-second decision that saved lives. The report's intelligence agency potentially let one of the Boston bombing suspects slip through the cracks, is the system broken? Chris Van Hollen is next with reaction on that.

And a presidential tribute. President George W. Bush tears up at the dedication of his new library.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE W. BUSH, 43RD PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Whatever challenges come before us I will always believe our nation's best days lie ahead. God bless.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: The touching tributes from two unexpected sources next.

You're watching STARTING POINT.

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