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THE SITUATION ROOM
Boston Bomb Suspect's Friends Charged; How America Feels After Boston Attacks; FBI Seeks Three Men in Benghazi Probe; Phillipos' Neighbor Interviewed
Aired May 1, 2013 - 16:59 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Jake, thanks very much. Happening now, we're following the breaking news, three new arrests tied to the Boston bombings investigation. Friends of the alleged bomber, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev have just appeared in court. They are charged with a cover up. Two of them are said to have disposed of Tsarnaev's laptop and a backpack containing fireworks.
And we've learned of text messages Dzhokhar Tsarnaev allegedly sent to his buddies while on the run.
I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
BLITZER: We begin this hour with a stunning new twist in the Boston bombings case. Federal authorities have charged two friends with conspiring to destroy, conceal and cover up tangible objects belonging to the suspected bomber, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, namely, in their words, a laptop and a backpack containing fireworks.
A third friend is charged with willfully making materially false statements to investigators. The first two are Kazakh nationals, the third an American citizen. All three have just appeared in court.
Let's go to the courthouse in Boston; CNN's Pamela Brown is right outside. She was inside during the proceeding.
How did it go, Pam?
PAMELA BROWN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Wolf. The initial appearances ended just about an hour ago. All three of the suspects waived bail and will remain in voluntary detention until their next hearings.
Now we did learn from the U.S. attorney's office that the three suspects were arrested on these federal charges early this afternoon. Two of the suspects, Dias Kadyrbayev and Azamat Tazhayako from Kazakhstan here on student visas are facing federal charges of obstruction of conspiracy to obstruct justice, which carries a maximum penalty of five years and a $250,000 fine.
The second -- the third suspect in the second hearing, 19-year- old Robel Phillipos, faces up to eight years in prison for allegedly making false statements to investigators.
Now, each of the three suspects walked in today with their heads down. They were wearing chains around their feet and handcuffs, which were taken off, by the way, during the appearance. They looked nervous, upset, not making eye contact.
In fact, at one point during the second hearing the judge, Mary Ann Bowler (ph), told Robel Phillipos, "I suggest you pay attention to me rather than look down."
When they spoke to the judge and addressed her, they were very soft-spoken. According to their attorneys, the three 19-year olds are nervous, they're scared and said they were actually helping the government and had no idea they were intentionally destroying evidence.
Let's take a listen to what defense attorney Robert Stall had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERT STALL, ATTORNEY FOR DIAS KADYRBAYEV: Dias Kadyrbayev absolutely denies the charges, as we've said from the very beginning. He assisted the FBI in this investigation. He is just as shocked and horrified by the violence in Boston that took place as the rest of the community is.
He did not know that this individual was involved in the bombing. His first inkling came much later. The government allegations, as far as that he saw the photograph and recognized them immediately, we dispute. And we'll be looking forward to proving our case in court.
Mr. Kadyrbayev and his family are very sorry for what happened here in Boston and he did not have anything to do with it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: So all of the defense attorneys for the three suspects are categorically denying the allegations.
And this very detailed criminal complaint from federal authorities that we just saw earlier this afternoon, I'm just going to talk about a couple of parts of this criminal complaint, Wolf.
And one of them, one of the excerpts says, "Two days after the marathon bombings, Kadyrbayev drove to Tsarnaev's dormitory and texted him to come down and meet them.
"When Tsarnaev came down, Kadyrbayev noticed that Tsarnaev appeared have given himself a short haircut. They chatted while Kadyrbayev smoked a cigarette and then Tsarnaev returned to his dormitory room."
And, according to this criminal complaint, Wolf, after that, the two Kazakhstan students are charged with going into Tsarnaev's dormitory room and taking a backpack with fireworks in them and a laptop and disposing of the evidence.
In another part of this criminal complaint, "Kadyrbayev says he knew when he saw the empty fireworks" -- that I just talked about in Tsarnaev's dormitory room -- "that Tsarnaev was indeed involved in the marathon bombing."
So, Wolf, we asked the attorneys here today, and he said, if they suspected that their friend was indeed involved in the bombing, why didn't they alert authorities right then and there?
The attorney told me that that information, explanation will come out in court. We know a probable cause hearing for the two Kazakhstan students is May 14th at 11:00 am. There is another hearing for the other student that will be this coming Monday at 2:00 pm.
And you have to remember, Wolf, this is just a criminal complaint. We haven't even seen the indictment, which means there could possibly be more charges down the pike here.
BLITZER: Wouldn't be surprised at all.
Did the lawyers explain, if on that Thursday night after the FBI released the photographs of the two suspects and they clearly recognized their roommate, their friend, as being one of their suspects, did the lawyers explain why they never picked up the phone, called 9-1-1, or went to the FBI website and said, we know who that guy is, at least one of them?
We probably know both of them. Here's the information. We can identify those individuals suspected of killing those people and injuring those people at the Boston Marathon. Did either of these two lawyers ever explain why they never called the police?
BROWN: That question was asked when they first walked out of the courthouse, Wolf, and they said no comment. And then I ran up to them after that and asked that question again, and he looked at me and said, "There will be an explanation about that that will come out in court."
And then he reiterated that he denies all of these allegations.
But you have to wonder, if this criminal complaint is true, if they suspected once they saw the empty fireworks in the room, that Tsarnaev was indeed responsible for the bombings. And then seeing his picture on news outlets, including CNN, why they didn't pick up that phone; so many questions here, Wolf. And we hope to get some answers soon.
BLITZER: And the criminal complaint says they did recognize as a result of what they saw, when they saw the pictures on CNN, they did recognize their friends were the suspects in the Boston Marathon bombings.
Pam, stand by. I want to show our viewers a picture of the third suspect, the U.S. citizen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER (voice-over): There he is. Robel Phillipos, he's the third suspect now -- third person arrested in connection with this alleged cover-up of the Boston bombing investigation.
There you see all three of them there right now.
Ashleigh Banfield is joining us. She is in Boston. She is watching what's going on.
You're getting some information about this alleged cover-up as well, Ashleigh. What are you picking up?
ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN HOST: Well, Wolf, what I think is so fascinating is so many people have wondered if he -- if the suspect made connections with the two new suspects from Kazakhstan because of their heritage and their ethnic background.
What about the connection to this third suspect who made the court appearance today, Robel Phillipos? Well, I have just spoken with one of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's high school classmates, who can now confirm to us that the relationship between Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and Robel Phillipos may have, in fact, gone back to their high school.
Both of them were in the graduating class in 2011 of Cambridge Rindge and Latin High School. It is not clear whether Dzhokhar spent all of 9, 10, 11, and 12 at that school, but certainly Robel Phillipos did. In fact, the classmate with whom I spoke not only played basketball with Robel Phillipos, but also had gym class with Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.
This classmate was not able to confirm a friendship between these two, but he could confirm that they did have mutual friends.
In fact, one of them was just communicated with on the telephone, and none too pleased to be talking at this point.
And I can also tell you there is very little description I can give you about Robel Phillipos, as at least a high school senior, other than he played on the basketball court with the source that I was speaking with, the classmate; that he liked to talk a lot of smack on the basketball court but when I asked what kind of person he was, was he a nice guy, was he a tough guy?
It seemed as though the description was that he was just a good guy, a bit mouthy, but a good guy.
Again, we're talking about a 17-year old in the graduating class of 2011. They were -- once again they both attended Cambridge Rindge and Latin High School. That's Robel Phillipos, the third suspect, making that court appearance today.
And he is the suspect, Wolf, who is charged with making those false statements to the investigators, the allegation being that he knew full well where Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was when he was on the lam, and yet made false statements to the FBI investigators who were asking questions of this, despite knowing the severity of the incidents that he might be accused of, and despite having seen his picture on CNN and making the connection that, my God, he might actually be one of these bombers they're seeking.
So extremely serious and it does tell you that this could have been a far longer relationship that he had with this third American suspect dating back to school.
BLITZER: Ashleigh, good information. Thanks very much.
And there it is. We finally got a picture of this third person arrested today, Robel Phillipos, arrested together with the two students from Kazakhstan, Dias Kadyrbayev and Azamat Tazhayako. There they are, all three of them, appearing -- two of them appearing in court; Robel Phillipos will be appearing on Monday.
We're going to continue to follow the breaking news, the dramatic news out of Boston.
Up next the criminal complaint, laying out step by step by step what these young men are accused of doing. We're breaking down all the details for you. And then what those suspects in the alleged cover-up are saying. We're going to hear from their lawyers.
BLITZER: All right. We just got some sketches in from the courtroom appearances today for the three suspects, the three arrested today in front of this federal magistrate judge. There's Robel Phillipos, he had a separate appearance today after the other two students from Kazakhstan, there they are, the two students from Kazakhstan, Dias Kadyrbayev and Azamat Tazhayako.
They appeared together. And then separately Robel Phillipos, the American citizen, he appeared. They are accused of serious allegations, accusing them of covering up and potentially destroying evidence, all serious charges that they could face many years in prison if convicted.
The federal criminal complaint spells out the detailed allegations against these three friends of the suspected terrorist Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. Let's bring in our crime and justice correspondent, Joe Johns. He's got more details.
It's a powerful, dramatic day today. And what's going on?
JOE JOHNS, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. And there are a lot of details, Wolf. The FBI account of this case filed in court today alleges that these three individuals took measures to get rid of evidence for their friend, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, even though they had serious reason to believe he'd been involved in the Boston bombings.
Now they're charged with conspiracy to obstruct justice, false statements. But if obstructing an investigation is what they were trying to do, they didn't do it very well.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHNS (voice-over): An FBI affidavit says the two men from Kazakhstan got the first hint of what was coming in a conversation with Dzhokhar Tsarnaev about a month before the marathon when Dzhokhar explained that he knew how to make a bomb. Two days after the bombing before the photos were released, Kadyrbayev meets up with Tsarnaev and noticed as he, quote, "appeared to have given himself a short haircut."
But according to the third suspect, Robel Phillipos, full realization of what was going on apparently kicked in when he, Kadyrbayev, and Tazhayakov started to freak out because it became clear from a "CNN report we were watching that Dzhokhar was one of the Boston bombers." This was the evening of April 18th. They reached out in text messages to Dzhokhar and told him he looked like the suspect on television.
Tsarnaev's return text contained "LOL" and other things Kadyrbayev interpreted as jokes such as "you better not text me." Also, "come to my room and take whatever you want." Between 6:00 and 7:00 that night, Kadyrbayev, Tazhayakov, and Phillipos went to Tsarnaev's dormitory room on the UMass Dartmouth Campus, the affidavit says.
Kadyrbayev located a backpack that contained an emptied out cardboard tube described as fireworks, a jar of Vaseline believed to have been used to make bombs. Kadyrbayev decided to remove the backpack from the room in order to help his friend Tsarnaev avoid trouble and took the laptop and the Vaseline as well. About 10:00 p.m., Kadyrbayev said they collectively decided to throw the backpack and fireworks into the trash.
April 19th the next day, Tazhayakov saw a garbage truck come to their apartment to empty the dumpster where Kadyrbayev had discarded the backpack. When authorities interviewed Phillipos on April 20th, the affidavit says, he initially said he did not remember going to the dormitory room then changed his story, saying he did not remember going there with the other two men, denying they had entered the room at all.
It apparently wasn't until a fourth interview on April 26th when Phillipos eventually confessed that he had lied to agents during his previous interviews.
JOHNS (on-camera): This afternoon, their lawyers are essentially saying they didn't know what they were doing and there are hints of support for that in the court papers. For example, one of the men said they took the laptop because it didn't want Tsarnaev's roommate to think they were acting suspiciously by just taking the backpack. So, there's stuff there for the lawyers to hash out.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Apparently unclear based on the complaint, the affidavit that was released today if they ever did recover that laptop, right?
JOHNS: Absolutely. It's unclear.
BLITZER: We don't know if they found it in the landfill like they found some of the other stuff.
BLITZER: It's unclear what happened, the fate of that laptop right now.
JOHNS: Yes. There are a number of gaps in here, and obviously, this is the first court filing. So, you have to expect the justice department will fill in their gaps of the case in time and so will the defense attorney.
BLITZER: All right. Thanks very much, Joe Johns, reporting for us.
The suspects in this alleged cover up could face very stiff penalties, many years in prison. Let's bring in our senior legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin. You know, what jumped out at me, Jeff, is that the MIT police officer, Sean Collier, he was killed after, apparently, after if these allegations are true, these three students recognized the picture and apparently failed to call the FBI or local police and say we know who at least one of the suspects is.
And I wonder if they potentially could be charged with some sort of involvement in negligent homicide, if you will, in the death of that MIT police officer.
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: I think that's unlikely. It's very difficult to prosecute people for failing to act. That's been a traditional dilemma in American law about how you can hold people responsible for moral faults like that, but that is not really a criminal offense. They're in a world of trouble for what they did do. I think it's going to be difficult to prosecute them for what they didn't do.
BLITZER: Because if they would have immediately called the campus police or the local police or the FBI and said, you know what? I think I know who this suspect is, that could have changed that whole situation and maybe the older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, he'd still be alive right now.
TOOBIN: Well, the what ifs are very significant in this case, and the individual crime, itself, the core crime is lying to the FBI. The judges view that very differently depending on the context. You know, Martha Stewart had -- was in prison for six months for violating, you know, lying to an FBI agent, but you know, no one died as a result. It was just a financial matter.
Think about the magnitude of lying to the FBI in this situation. No one is going to be looking to cut these three any break.
BLITZER: How serious would you say these charges are? And obviously, the door is wide open to more charges being leveled down the road.
TOOBIN: Well, I think the most important thing to say about these charges is what isn't there. There is no allegation that any of these three participated in the conspiracy to do the bombing, in the first place, and that would certainly put this in a completely different magnitude. I mean, that would make them liable for many, many years in prison if not the death penalty. And there is no allegation that they were involved.
However, the fact that they could be -- that they have now been charged in a cover-up, makes them eligible, I would say, for three, four, five years in prison, which is certainly very bad news, but it's not like what it would be if they were accused of being involved in the conspiracy, itself.
BLITZER: It's interesting that you say that. If you were one of the people who didn't recognize one or both of the suspects and failed to make a phone call, failed to get in touch with local law enforcement or the FBI, that's not necessarily a crime, although, morally, knowing what happened in the aftermath, you probably feel awful about not doing that.
TOOBIN: As well you should.
BLITZER: All right. Thanks very much, Jeffrey Toobin, our senior legal analyst.
Coming up, you're going to hear from the lawyers for the suspects in this alleged cover up. They just spoke to reporters moments ago. We'll share with you what they have to say.
And we're also going to hear from someone who met the two Kazakh nationals accused of helping to cover up the bombing suspect, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.
BLITZER: Our breaking news we're following right now. Three friends of the Boston bombing suspect, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, appeared in court just a little while ago charged with a cover-up. Two of them are nationals of Kazakhstan. CNN assignment editor, Lawrence Crook, met them right after they were first questioned by authorities in the Boston area back on April 20th.
Lawrence is joining us now from New York. What happened on that day, Lawrence, when you tracked them down and I know we have some video?
LAWRENCE CROOK, CNN ASSIGNMENT EDITOR: Yes. We decided to go down on April 20th, which was a Saturday morning, after receiving a tip from Jason Kestler (ph) on New York desk (ph) that three people had been taken into custody just the previous night on April 19th. Those three people have been released overnight and were sent back to the apartment on Carriage Drive where we showed up Saturday morning. It wasn't a lot of activity going on when we showed up, so I decided to go around and talk to neighbors.
I was in Watertown when they took Tsarnaev into custody and it looked a lot like that according to the neighbors with the police presence that was there. There was a lot of bomb squad trucks, FBI vehicles. Armored vehicles were in the area at the time. That's why we decided to go because we figured there must have been some kind of connection.
The first thing I did was I went and I knocked on the door and tried to get one of the two suspects to come to the door and try to tell me what was going on. I saw what i believed to be Dias opened the door. A photographer started snapping photos, and he's carried back into the room. He didn't want to say anything. We stayed there for a few hours. There were a couple of people that came in and out to say hi.
But, you know, one of the overwhelming things that I noticed while I was there was that the kids seemed to actually enjoy us being there. They were laughing. They were taking videos and photos of us. It was like they were getting a kick out of it. So, about six hours later, we saw some vehicles pull up which we -- as you can see in the video were DSS, homeland security, and a consulate van.
They ended up taking out Dias and Azamat in custody in handcuffs and put them in separate vehicles and they were taken off to an unknown location, excuse me. So, it was a very interesting scene to say the least. At the time, we didn't know what was going on there. We had heard they had some kind of issue with their visa. We weren't a hundred percent certain if it was involved with the Boston bombings, but as you can now see, they are -- been taken into custody for the Boston bombings.
BLITZER: And these two students from Kazakhstan, they were picked up, they were detained, they were questioned, let go, and then, they were picked up again. And they've been detained ever since. And obviously, now, they appeared in a courtroom today in a federal courthouse today with chains on. So, they're not going anywhere at least for the time being.
How surprised were you, Lawrence, when you saw this latest twist today unfold remembering what you saw on April 20th when you were there on the scene?
CROOK: You know, it was kind of surreal. You know, like I said, we didn't realize this had anything to do with it initially. I had almost been, almost forgotten about my experience down in New Bedford and then when I saw us break in earlier today that there were three people in custody, my mind immediately went to New Bedford and I started making calls.
And we were able to confirm that, in fact, two of the suspects were in New Bedford. And as you can see from that video were taken into custody on that day and eventually charged with the happenings on the Boston marathon Monday.
BLITZER: Good point. Lawrence Crook doing an excellent job for us. One of our CNN assignment editors in New York had been in the Boston area, New Bedford on that day, April 20th, when law enforcement showed up and started to question these two students from Kazakhstan. Thank you.
Coming up, our national security analyst, they're getting ready to break down the alleged cover-up case against these friends of the Boston bombing suspect, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.
Also coming up, what two of those friends are saying about the allegations against them. We're going to hear from their lawyers.
BLITZER: The breaking news this hour: three friends of the bomb suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev appeared in court today. They are charged with hindering the investigation by covering up for him. Two are nationals of Kazakhstan. Their lawyers spoke right after the court appearance in Boston. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERT STALL, ATTORNEY FOR DIAS KADYRBAYEV: Dias Kadyrbayev absolutely denies the charges as we've said from the very beginning. He assisted the FBI in this investigation. He is just as shocked and horrified the violence in Boston that took place as the rest of the community is. He did not know that this individual was involved in the bombing. His first inkling came much later. The government allegations as far as he saw a photo and recognized them immediately we dispute, and we'll be looking forward to proving our case in court.
Mr. Kadyrbayev and his family are very sorry for what happened here in Boston. And he did not have anything to do with it.
(CROSSTALK - INAUDIBLE)
STALL: We are not saying that. Mr. Kadyrbayev told the FBI about that. He did not know that those items were involved in a bombing or of any interest in a bombing or of any evidential value. So, that's all we have to say on that.
But we are the ones, Mr. Diaz Kadyrbayev, who cooperated with all law enforcement when they came to him, without the benefit of counsel, to assist them in their investigation of this horrible tragedy.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But did he notice Tsarnaev knew how to make bombs? Did he also know that the gun powder or the powder that was in the fireworks and the Vaseline could also be used for bomb making (INAUDIBLE)?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If the FBI didn't come to your client, would they have at any time go to the authorities to tell what they knew?
STALL: I can only stick with what's happened. I won't speculate. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What about the text from Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, according to the complaint saying go into my room and take whatever you want. Was that some kind of signal to your client?
STALL: It was no signal. I think it means the plain English meaning.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you concerned these guys won't get a fair trial considering all that's going on in the country?
STALL: No. I believe that the citizens of Boston can fairly and accurately listen to the rules of law and give someone a fair trial. At least at this moment in time. So, that's all I have to say.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why did your client reenter the country when he was no longer a student (INAUDIBLE).
STALL: Our contention -- he was a student. He's a sophomore, engineering major at the University of Massachusetts. He did not attend classes regularly as the allegation later in this semester. So, he has been in this country illegally. The technical violation of a student visa for not regularly attending classes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) The government said they were expecting justice. Can you explain that to me?
STALL: No. No.
HARLAN PROTASS, ATTORNY FOR : Yes. I have a very brief statement for you. My name is Harlan Protass. P-R-O-T-A-S-S. My client, Azamat Tazhayakov, feels horrible and was shocked to hear someone he knew at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth was involved with the Boston Marathon bombing, just like many other individuals who were interviewed on campus. He has cooperated fully with the authorities and looks forward to the truth coming out in this case.
I'd like to say, also, that he considers it an honor to be able to study in the United States and that he feels for the people of Boston who have suffered as a result of the marathon bombing. Thank you. Thank you.
STALL: Thank you, guys.
BLITZER: There you hear the two lawyers for the two suspects that were arrested today, charged with covering up, clearly, the serious, very, very serious charges. The third suspect, by the way, the third person arrested today in this alleged cover up, Robel Phillipos, had a separate hearing. Those two lawyers do not represent him. We'll hear more about Robel Phillipos, the American citizen, who was arrested as well. There you see all three of them who were arrested today involved in this alleged cover-up of the Boston bombing investigation.
Just ahead, a friend and a neighbor of one of the three men arrested today is now speaking out. You'll hear directly from him. That's next.
BLITZER: A friend and a neighbor of one of the three men charged today, James Turney, tells our affiliate WBZ about the cover-up suspect, Robel Phillipos.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAMES TURNEY, NEIGHBOR OF ROBEL PHILLIPOS: Robel is a very good kid himself. He went to school, never got in trouble, took care of his mom. Plays basketball. A quiet kid. That's about it.
UNIDENTIFED MALE: When you say quiet, given what we're talking about, that seems weird to hear. We have to look at each other and say, quiet, huh?
TURNEY: Not really outgoing. Stayed in the house a lot. Did homework. Got good grades.
UNIDENTIFED MALE: And he was taking online courses at U-Mass Dartmouth from his house here?
UNIDENTIFED MALE: You say he helped his mom. What do you mean?
TURNEY: She was sick, so he was taking care of her, helping her clean up the house, driving her around, normal stuff.
UNIDENTIFED MALE: Tall, athletic? What?
TURNEY: Robel? He's sort of my height now. Good at basketball.
UNIDENTIFED MALE: I know everybody knew the younger Tsarnaev brother here, and he did too as well, right? What was their relationship? Friends, what?
TURNEY: Yes, friends, roommates, I think.
UNIDENTIFED MALE: Down there they were roommates?
TURNEY: I think one year they might have been roommates. Not sure.
UNIDENTIFED MALE: OK. So, when you hear about this, your initial reaction when you hear Robel is arrested?
TURNEY: It just doesn't make sense. Robel doesn't have anything to do with this or what happened. So I don't see why he has been arrested.
UNIDENTIFED MALE: Do you think he would lie to cover for the Tsarnaev brother?
TURNEY: No. I don't think so. UNIDENTIFED MALE: Don't think he would. No.
UNIDENTIFED MALE: No, not that kind? What about you? Any political agenda that you ever -- this was all about -- we hear, right, you know, Muslim and U.S. things, so what --
TURNEY: No, Robel is a Christian. Doesn't have any anti-American thing about him. Neither did Dzhokhar.
UNIDENTIFED MALE: Never heard anything from Dzhokhar along those lines.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Stunning new twist in the Boston case. Cover-up charges against three friends of the surviving bombing suspect, including hiding or destroying evidence, making false statements to investigators. Joining us now, our CNN national security analyst, the former FBI assistant director, Tom Fuentes, and the former Homeland Security assistant secretary Juliette Kayyem.
Tom Fuentes, you know something about these kinds of charges, cover-up charges, conspiracy, lying. These are very serious charges. These guys could go to jail for a long time.
TOM FUENTES, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, they're looking at the -- Dias Kadyrbayev and Azamat Tazhayakov are looking at five years; Phillipos is looking at eight years for lying to federal investigators. But yes, it is serious because it obstructs the case. It causes the investigators to not have key evidence that they need that might be a link to other people. So the issue of taking things out and throwing them in the dumpster is a pretty critical issue for the investigators.
BLITZER: You know, Juliette, I want to read to you from the criminal complaint that filed today in the court. This is the criminal complaint, USA vs. Robel Phillipos. He is the U.S. citizen. "During these interviews," and I'll be precise, it's up on the screen, "Tazhayakov also informed the FBI agents that while eating a meal with Dzhokhar and Kadyrbayev approximately one month prior to the marathon bombing, Dzhokhar had explained to Kadyrbayev and to Tazhayakov that he knew how to make a bomb."
Now, when a sentence like that is included in a criminal complaint, that raises all sorts of suspicion. "How to make a bomb." What does that say to you?
JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN SECURITY ANALYST: Well, it says to me that the three of them were well aware of what they were doing when they got rid of the backpack and the computer. That's all it says to us right now. That's all that's in the complaint.
So, this notion that they were just helping out a friend and oh, poor him is probably belied by that comment. That they had some knowledge that this was a kid who -- that the younger brother was someone who was playing around with bombs. There is another incident explained in the indictment regarding fireworks and him working with fireworks.
So, right now, you know, this piece of paper, right -- these complaints right now are really just the baseline to keep them in jail. There is going to be no bail. There's going to be no more immigration proceedings because the criminal justice system has taken over it. And so more might be added is true.
And just picking up on what Tom said, you know, this is also a statement to the world. One is they lied to us. It is also if anyone knows anything about either the brothers' travels or who they met with or what they did in that five-day period between the 15th and Friday night, come forward. Don't hide. Don't lie. Because this is serious stuff. And I think that's an important message to send out to whatever peer group they were hanging out with.
BLITZER: Tom, does it take it to a new level, this reference to how to make a bomb, a month before the Boston Marathon in this criminal complaint?
FUENTES: Possibly, Wolf. But we don't know the full context. They're just giving you little excerpts. As Juliette said, they're only putting in the complaint the bare minimum to bring the charges and hold them in custody. There will be much more come out later as to why they feel that they tampered with evidence. And again, you know, some of the indications in the charging document, if you tell a friend to go -- you know, go clean out my apartment, I'm not going to be there for a while, you think of that as washing dishes and vacuuming the rugs, you wouldn't think of it as take personal property and throwing it in the dumpster.
BLITZER: Juliette, we saw the photograph, the criminal complaint included a picture of what they found at that landfill, including some of the left over from the fireworks. There you see it right now, some homework, some other stuff. That picture was included in the criminal complaint.
Was it included with any reference to whether or not they actually found the laptop that apparently had been taken from that room from Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's room? There is no reference in this criminal complaint to the whereabouts of the laptop, whether they found it, didn't find it. What does that say to you?
KAYYEM: Well, either they do have it, I mean, because right now just Tom and I are building off each other here, so they might have it and are not disclosing it and I think we'll probably know that in the next hour or two because it is less --
BLITZER: Why wouldn't they disclose that? If they have it?
FUENTES: Well, they may not -- they may not want to alert other people who may know that they've been exchanging e-mails or texts that would be found on the laptop or Facebook or other social media entries that could be found on the laptop so that laptop is still one of the most critical pieces of information and evidence that --
FUENTES: They're ever going to have in this case.
BLITZER: The other interesting thing --
KAYYEM: I think that's right.
BLITZER: I was going to point out there is apparently at least one of these guys arrested today, one of these students from Kazakhstan started deleting pictures after he saw on CNN the picture of the two Boston bombing suspects deleting pictures from his social network Web site. So what do you make of that, Juliette? Well, I think it just -- it goes to the, did they have an intent to lie to or misinform a federal investigation of a terrorist attack? And so all of those pieces of information go into making a strong case against them, you know, a statement to other peers, or even people outside the country who may be involved with this, and so there's two parts to this complaint. Right?
One is these guys, the three of them, and then the other is sort of a message. I found in the complaint one of the more interesting things that's at least alleged in it is of course that they met here. I mean, we've been having this discussion for a couple of weeks now about the ties abroad and what might be going on, whether there is a connection to the Boston marathon abroad. It appears that they met here at U-Mass, were not roommates but in school together, and then in fact the roommate of the younger brother Tsarnaev is not -- has not been charged with anything.
So this was a different peer group that was just -- you know, either helping out a friend and being really stupid, or part of a plan. That doesn't matter right now. Right now they're not going to go anywhere because they didn't get bail.
BLITZER: Juliette and Tom, guys, thanks very much.
When we come back some changes in how Americans are feeling about terrorism since the Boston attacks. We have new numbers coming in from a brand new CNN/"TIME"/ORC poll.
BLITZER: We have a new CNN/"TIME" magazine/ORC poll in the wake of the Boston terror attacks. Let's discuss with "TIME" magazine's Washington bureau chief, Michael Duffy, of a brand new issue of "TIME" magazine. Put up the cover, show our viewers, "Homeland Insecurity: Do We Need to Sacrifice Privacy to be Safer."
Some of these poll questions are fascinating. Are you worried that family -- a family member will be a victim of terrorism? Forty percent say yes, 4 out of 10. But if you take a look back, that's going up in 2011, 34 percent, 2010, 37 percent, 2009, 36 percent. More people are apparently worried right now that a family member will be a victim of terror.
MICHAEL DUFFY, TIME WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF: Yes, probably more now in a fourth night or so after Boston. It's less, though, Wolf, than it was after 9/11 when it was up close to 50 percent.
BLITZER: On that specific question.
DUFFY: On that specific question. So it does -- go up and down as -- over the last 25 years.
BLITZER: I was also fascinated by this question. Are you willing to give up some civil liberties to curb terrorism? Forty percent said yes, 49 percent said no. Same question was asked in 1995, right after the Oklahoma City bombing. Forty percent now say yes, they're willing to give up some. It was 57 percent right after the Oklahoma City bombing.
DUFFY: Yes. Really interesting. The civil libertarian, sort of chorus, very strong in this country. And it's gotten stronger in the last 10 years. Americans are by almost a 2-1 margin, Wolf, more concerned about losing civil liberties even in this time of watching out for terror and breaking up terror plots, than they are about the government not doing enough to stop terrorism.
BLITZER: Even in the aftermath of a terror attack like occurred in Boston.
BLITZER: And can terrorists -- look at this question. Can terrorists always find a way to launch attacks no matter what the government does? Sixty-three percent say yes. That's pretty pessimistic.
DUFFY: Yes, much more pessimistic than even before or after 9/11 when we thought we would just more -- perhaps more -- one off less of something that occur occasionally. And when we go in and look and ask Americans in the "TIME"/CNN poll, how they feel about privacy and liberty, they're very nuanced about it. They don't -- they say, if you're in public, you have no presumption of privacy.
The government can surveil you, we can listen to you. But if you're in the privacy of your own home, they're much more reluctant to grant the government any kind of access.
BLITZER: And you've got a fabulous cover story. The article really goes in-depth in explaining what went right, what went wrong. A lot of stuff to digest.
DUFFY: And what needs to be fixed.
BLITZER: Michael, thanks very much for coming.
DUFFY: You bet. BLITZER: Michael Duff is the Washington bureau chief of "TIME" magazine.
When we come back, new potential clues coming out of these arrests today. Right at the top of the hour. How Vaseline might have been used by the bombing suspects.
And a dramatic new development in the FBI probe into the deadly Benghazi attack. We have details on the three men now the U.S. authorities say they need to speak with.
BLITZER: Get back to the three arrests in Boston in the Boston bombing investigation in a moment. But another major story that's developing right now, the FBI announcing today it's seeking information about three men now wanted for questioning in the investigation into the September 11th attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, that killed a U.S. ambassador and three other Americans.
Our Pentagon correspondent, Barbara Starr, is joining us now with the latest.
What are we learning, Barbara?
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, in this terrorist attack back in September, the FBI today putting out these photos of three men they say were at the compound when the attack happened. They want them identified. They want to talk to them. They are not yet calling them suspects, but they believe they were there. This comes from video taken at the scene.
They believe they were there. They want to know who they are and what they know about the attack. Not yet calling them suspects, but somebody the FBI wants to get ahold of -- Wolf.
BLITZER: And so what are they -- are they expecting people in Libya or elsewhere in North Africa to help find these individuals? Is that what they're saying?
STARR: Yes, great question, exactly. The FBI putting out a notice saying that it would like help from anyone in Libya, and anyone anywhere. If they look at these pictures, can they identify these men? Can they tell the FBI and Libyan authorities who they are and where they are? This terrorist investigation still very much open after all these months -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Is the Libyan government being of any assistance in this investigation?
STARR: Well, the official word is, of course, that they are. That they are cooperating and doing what they can. A lot of frustration, as you know, building in Congress that this is not a resolved situation yet, that somebody somewhere in Libya must know who was behind the attack, and why can't they get to them. BLITZER: Yes. It's not a huge, huge country. And the population not huge as well. All right. Thanks very much, Barbara Starr.
And happening now, we're following breaking news. Three of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's friends are charged with trying to cover up for the Boston bombing suspect. This hour, we're getting new details of the messages they sent while Tsarnaev was on the run.
We're also tracing two of the new suspects' routes back to Kazakhstan, where one young man's father has spoken out about his son's connection to the bombing investigation.
And you may have seen the photos. Now stand by to see the rare and dramatic video of a fiery 747 crash.
I'm Wolf Blitzer. We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.