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tv   The Situation Room  CNN  April 15, 2013 2:00pm-4:00pm PDT

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>> i think the actual constituency inside the bomb will make a big difference on how we identify the person or persons who did this because if it's hydrogen peroxide, that points to al qaeda. if it's something else -- >> could be a different group. >> -- could be a right wing extremist group or another group. >> i turn this to wolf blitzer in "the situation room" for the latest on this tragedy. thank you very much. we're following important breaking news in boston, a pair of bombings rock the finish line of the historic boston marathon just acouple hours or so ago. at least two people are dead in the explosions, at least 28 being treated for injuries. a number of them critical injuries. and we've just learned of yet a third bombing, this one at boston's jfk library. that's some distance away. the bomb blasts came only seconds apart, 4 hours into the race as the steady stream of runners approached the finish line. you can see one explosion ripping through the crowd at the finish line, sending up a thick
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cloud of smoke. then if you look closely, you can see a simultaneous explosion sending up smoke about a block away. boston's police commissioner says a third explosion has taken place at the jfk library, this within the past hour. we don't know the extent of that explosion. we don't know the extent of injuries at the jfk library. a state government official says there were no credible threats before the race, at least none known yet. security has been stepped up in boston and several other major cities, including new york city and washington, d.c., all of this out of an abundance of caution. we're deploying all of cnn's resources to bring you full team coverage of what's going on. a very important development on this day this boston. cnn executive producer matt frucci was on the scene at the time of the explosions. he was watching his brother run, participate in this marathon. tell our viewers, matt, what you
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saw, what you heard. >> sure. it was right near the finish line, maybe a mile, even less, to it. as i said before, it's lines, the crowds were packed. there were thousands on either side, hundreds running down the middle, all the runners heading toward the finish line. and that's when i heard a big explosion about 100 yards away from me, looked to my right and saw a big plume of white/gray smoke. it was going up about two or three stories high. people were shocked. we didn't quite know what to do at that point. about ten seconds later, right across the street from me about 20 yards away, another explosion. it didn't seem as big as the last one, but it was still pretty big and booming. that's when everyone started to panic and scramble away. >> and you heard people screaming, is that accurate, matt? >> that people were screaming and people were fleeing, it was definitely panic. people just wanted to get away from that. some of us got pushed into the building behind us and others
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just started to go off onto side streets. i was able to collect my parents finally and work our way through a building into the back and then we were able to view from one of the wind doughs through a corridor that overlooked boylston street, we were able to see paramedics or police sort of helping people. i saw that first explosion -- the second explosion, about six or seven people were piled around that general area. afterwards i saw people in the street being treated separately by pair medics. >> we are now being told that at least two people dead according to local authorities, 46 people injured according to hospital authorities in the boston area, 46 people injured some of them critically, according to these authorities at local hospitals in boston. what's it like now, matt? you're still not far away. >> no. now it's sort of a matter of people just trying to find their loved ones. i had my other brother and his family, his three kids, were on the other side of the street.
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took us a while to be able to connect with them over the phone. we were finally able to about 45 minutes, an hour afterwards. they were close to that first explosion when my brother heard it, one of the young kids 5 years old, asked what is that? my brother said it was a bomb. they got out of the way. they're okay. now we're trying to find my brother who was running. they stopped all of the runners and are bringing them into kenmore square where they're being bussed to boston commons. trying to link up with him now. >> have you spoken with him? >> we haven't, his wife has. there was a lot of confusion for the runners who didn't know what happened, who weren't near the front. in some small way disappointment as well as they got stopped from doing something they trained a long time for. obviously that's a small point. >> some people don't really realize some 27,000 people participate in the boston marathon, at least this year. that's a lot of people. the winners had already gone ahead of the finish line, but
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thousands and thousands of people were still running and they obviously immediately canceled the rest of the marathon. isn't that right, matt? >> exactly. i would say about half of the runners had already gone through so still thousands left to go who just sort of got stopped dead in their tracks. >> that's what happened. matt frucci will stay on the scene for us, our cnn executive producer who happened to be watching the marathon because his brother was participating. tom fuentes is here, former fbi assistant director, cnn contributor. what does it look like to you? and i don't want to overly speculate, tom, because as you know early reports are often wrong. we could be way off base. but clearly they are saying this was an explosive
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investigating whether there's a connection. we'll see how that plays out. as a precaution, the jfk library is in the dorchester section, the john f. kennedy school of government across the charles river in cambridge has been evacuated, one of the many precautions being taken as people are alert and on edge because there's such conflict g ing information. you heard ed davis, the boston
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police commissioner, confirm what i was told by a state government official a bit earlier, that there were no advanced credible threats or warnings something was coming. as they launch will into the investigation now, it's not like they're trying to follow up on information they received in advance of t advance. as you look at the site here, just want to remind people this is the heart and soul of downtown boston. copley square, the major public library, several big hotels around here, the marathon finishes here. back in my days as a reporter in boston, i used to help our sports fenway park is less than a mile away. there's an 11:00 patriots day, a holiday in the state of massachusetts. people go to the early game, come to copley square. schools are closed, government offices closed. right around there are dozens of tourist attractions so there's a huge crowd,s not just the marathon. the marathon brings in thousands and then just others are there. if you're trying to make a
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political statement, wolf, on this day sadly that's the place to do it. but as tom noted earlier, we have a tragedy unfolding but the strength and scope of the explosion seems to be relatively modest. that's one thing that police are now trying to investigate. >> "the boston globe" is now reporting 100 people have been injured. that number keeps going up. initially with the original reports we were at 4, 6, then the 20s, 30s, now "the boston globe," local newspaper in boston, reporting 100 people have been injured, some of them critically injured. we don't know the extent of the other injuries. we do know that at least two people are dead. >> i was just going to say, i hate to use this word, but one of the advantages in this case is number one our initial numbers were coming from massachusetts general hospital, just a short distance from the main site, but one of the good things, is that you're in a city with many, many groundbreaking medical institutions so as we get more numbers, tufts new england medical center, children's hospital, city
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hospital, brickham and women hospital, within a mile or two of the finish line there are a number of renowned medical institutions. mass general is the first place you'd like, but there are many other emergency rooms in the area and that's where the numbers are coming from. >> john as a native of boston knows the city well, worked there after growing up there. chad wells,that you on the phone now? >> yes, wolf. i can hear you. >> chad wells was an eyewitness to what was going on. i understand your wife, chad, was running in the marathon. where were you when these twin explosions occurred? >> i was walking down boylston street. i was one block from the finish line with my son mason. my wife had just finished at 2:10 eastern time. we got stuck on the subway coming back in from heartbreak hill. we were coming back to the finish to join up with her. i was standing on the southeast corner of the museum there at copley square by the medical tent with my son walking to meet up with my wife in the family area, and an extremely loud, violent blast went off and just
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shook the ground and shook us. >> your wife i hope is okay? >> yes. she was fine. luckily she was in the -- she had finished and passed through the finish area and had already transitioned to the family waiting area. within about, i don't know, 10, 15 seconds of the first blast there was a second huge blast and then my son and i saw people sprinting from the finish line area up towards us. so we cleared out of the area quickly, too, because it became a scene of pure chaos. >> and where are you now? what's it like where you are? i assume you're still in boston. >> well, funny enough, wolf, i'm sitting in my hotel room on the 35th floor in the marriott in copley square looking over the scene. there are multiple s.w.a.t. units, dozens of police cars, ambulances. it looks literally like a war zone out there. >> it certainly does. we've been showing our viewers here in the united states and around the world images of what's going on. it does look like a horrific scene, reminds me of some of the other terror ifist incidents if fact this is one of them that
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we've seen over the past few years here in the united states indeed in london and other places around the world. as of right now, i just want to reiterate, we don't know the source -- we don't know who set these bombs in the boston area. at least two, maybe a third at jfk library as well. we don't know -- no one has taken responsibility as far as we know, at least not yet. for viewers just tuning in, want to let everyone know that at least two people are confirmed dead. t"the boston globe" now reportig at least 100 people have been injured in these multiple explosion, some of them critically injured. they've been taken to local hospitals in the boston area. just a few moments ago we did hear from local police in boston, among other things we learned this. >> today there were simultaneous explosions that occurred along the route of the boston marathon near the finish line. these explosions occurred 50 to
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100 yards apart, and each scene resulted in multiple casualties. we have at this point in time determined that it thethere hasa third incident that has occurred. there was an explosion that occurred at the jfk library. so this is very much an ongoing event at this point in time. we are not certain that these incidents are related, but we are treating them as if they are. we're recommending to people that they stay home, that if they're in hotels in the area that they return to their rooms, and that they don't go any place and congregate in large crowds. >> that's the police commissioner in boston, ed davis, saying this third incident at jfk library may or may not be related but they are treating that third incident at the jfk library as if it was related to the two other bombings at the boston marathon.
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joining us on the phone once again is tom hey, one of the marathon runners who also witnessed the explosion. tom, what did you see? >> i had just finished -- i had just come in, had gone through the area where you get sports drinks and food after completing the marathon, and had started to head back to where i was staying with some friends from college and was on newbury street, probably around i guess the intersection -- near newbury and clairn done and there was a large boom and huge cloud of smoke that came out. and there was almost like a pause and then everyone started screaming, running away from the cloud and explosion, and there was no debris or anything.
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it was just absolutely surreal. no one really knew what had happened, and everyone started to evacuate the area, police and fire started heading towards where the explosion had happened. >> so what did you do when you -- did you immediately start running away yourself? >> honestly, i couldn't because i had just finished. i was almost a little bit kind of in a state where i was trying to get out of the way because people were running down the street, sidewalk. so i just turned around, tried to as quickly as i could head back away from the area, make my way back to where i was staying
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and try to get my cell phone and call my loved ones, respond to texts, let everyone know i was okay. >> was there any indication in advance of the marathon -- you are one of the nearly 27,000 participants who were running or in a wheel claire taking part in this annual event -- that there should be any concern as far as security? were you given any advanced indication, just be careful? >> i mean, a marathon -- it there's police out from every single town along the way. in many ways it's one of -- it's the safest event you would think because there are so many police and fire and paramedics all along the race course, the whole 26.2 miles. so it's really an event where it brings out the best in the city it. you feel the safest and there's just a lot of people out and
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smiling and just never could even consider that something like this would happen on this day. >> on this day. no one could imagine that there would be two bombings right near the finish line of the boston marathon and a third suspected bombing over at jfk library in the boston area as well. at least two people are dead, and "the boston globe" is saying at least 100 people have been injured, some of them critically injured, as a result of these bombings. before i let you go, tom, are you going to be back at boston next year for the marathon, or is this your last one? >> i definitely would like to run it again. it just -- it's even too crazy to think about right now. still trying to piece it all together. >> you're absolutely right. i'm glad you're okay, tom. thanks very much for your eyewitness account, tom hay, one of the marathon runners who
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witnessed the explosion in boston. jane harman is here, used to be a key member of the house homeland security committee. you see what's going on, jane. what goes through your mind? >> well, hopefully we don't see much more of this. as the police chief said, this is still an open incident. there may be more that may happen in boston. >> refusing to speculate about a possible motive or source. >> no, we don't know that and we don't know -- that's right. but there may be other bombs, there may be other events in boston or elsewhere. it's important, as fran townsend said earlier, that cities that are logical cities for some sort of incident like this be on high alert right now. >> if there were some sort of political motivation. >> that's right. if there were. we don't know there isn't. the good news is, as john king and i were saying, that these first responders are so dedicated and courageous, running to the problem as the people standing there are running away.
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ready to risk their lives to save the rest of us. i was the senior democrat on the house intelligence committee,s and then i chaired an intelligence subcommittee of the house homeland security committee. i was here in washington on 9/11, and the scene was -- again, the various scenes were right there, and there was no evacuation plan in congress. i was headed to the dome of the capitol, which was then the location of the intelligence committee rooms. that was the, we all think, the intended sitest attack of the fourth plane that went down in pennsylvania because of the heroism of the passengers. so most of us of a certain age have sadly lived through an era of terror. this may not be terror, but it may be. the possibility of a homegrown attack, even though these are lo low-grade explosives, could be still connected to some larger organization or to material on the internet that's prepared by a larger organization.
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so there are many more questions than answered. one last comment based on what john king was saying, maybe the good news is it was a holiday. there is no rush hour right now. the subways at the site are closed. maybe the subways in the city are closed. that means there will be more people on the streets but fewer people than there would have been if this were a workday. >> we just got a statement from the pentagon, pentagon force protection agency, saying we have temporarily increased security presence at the metro transit center at the pentagon out of an abundance of caution and not based on any specific threat. we're also getting a statement in from the washington, d.c., police department saying the police chief will be holding a briefing, a news conference, 6:00 p.m. eastern to discuss what happened in boston and what's happening in washington, d.c., where again out of an abundance of caution they've increased security in d.c., in the greater metropolitan area. they've done the same thing in new york city as well. tom fuentes, former assistant
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director of the fbi and cnn contributor is here with us. you hear the police chief in boston, tom, say -- and the governor suggest people should just go home, stay home, don't go on the street. that's pretty scary, even when you hear that kind of talk, although i totally understand why they're saying it. >> oh, i think for now they want to reduce the number of people that could be suspicious just walking around. other people are going to see people walking around, they're still it carrying their backpacks they've had with them all day. they're liable to be calling in so many extra phone calls to the police that they just don't have the resources to deal with. so the best thing for them is the same as if you were having a blizzard in town, get off the street, go home, you just get in the way of the police and emergency responders and investigators that need to move resources around. so i think that would be the main issue, just getting out of the way so they can do their job. >> i assume the fbi, atf have sent forensic experts to the scene to take a look at these
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homemade -- whatever kind of bombs they were to try to get a sense of who might be responsible. >> absolutely. they would have had bomb techs at the event. they would have been present there, members of the jttf. >> what can they learn from the residue of what is maleft? >> what it was made of, how it was put together. >> how long does that take? >> not a long time if you see powder, residue, get it to the lab and see what it was made out of. but more importantly for them, especially since they did have an unexploded device that i'm hoping they photographed before they debt naitded it, to see how it was put together, how it was wired, how the timers were set off. was it triggered by a cell phone? all of those type of indications of who made it or how they learned how to make it. >> so if there were two bombings at the marathon, a third explosion or whatever happened at the jfk library, then they discovered a bomb that had not yet detonated at a fourth location. if they see there is some
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similarity to these devices, then they think this is a carefully coordinated operation. >> well, it's coordinated. i think we give too much credit to people. it doesn't take a lot of coordination if four psychotic kids decide to make four explosive devices and time them to go off within a certain period of time or at a certain time. it's not something that would take years of planning to set up like a 9/11 type of attack. but still, yes, coordinated to they would go off relatively close together to create the panic and create all that. now, the other side of that, i ran the chicago marathon several years ago, those last four miles, the ambulances are bumper to bumper on the street on the side of the street because so many people collapse from dehydration. >> right. good medical attention. >> you're already going to have the first responders, paramedics, and law enforcement. >> hold on a minute. we have another eyewitness joining us on the phone right now.
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sheld sheldon, are you there? >> yes, i'm here. >> tell us your last name. >> my name is sheldon irkenbrak. >> where were you, sheldon at the time of the bombings? >> i was on boylston street directly across from where the second blast occurred. >> what was it like? what did you see? >> the first blast i think toward the finish line, which i'm about a half a block away, a white cloud of smoke. then about 20, 30 seconds later i -- that's when the second blast, and it literally threw me back, knocked over some of the barricades and i noticed several injuries, flying debris, and just kind of chaos at that time. >> were you hurt? >> no, i wasn't hurt. just kind of in shock and shook up. i was wondering what had just happened. >> we have some pictures, sheldon, i think of you and your
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wife. what were you doing there? >> my wife was running the myrrh thon a -- marathon and i was a spectator waiting for her to come through. she was a quarter mile away and was unable to finish it. we're kind of disappointed there, but really sad to hear about the injuries and so forth, more worried about them than the race. >> which is understandable. at least your wife and you are okay. thanks, sheldon, for that report. sheldon being an eyewitness to what occurred. we're also being told now that president obama has been briefed by the fbi director robert muller and the homeland security secretary janet napolitano on this incident. now, take a look. we're just getting in new video of the blast. i want to play it.
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>> we've had an attack. >> that video made available by t"the boston globe," dramatic video. you heard the first explosion, then a few seconds later you heard a second explosion. let's queue that back up.
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we'll play it again. then jane harman, tom fuentess, john king, we'll relive it. watch this. >> oh, my god, my god. >> we're queueing it up for our viewers. here it is. 0
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pf you. >> you can get a sense of the panic as a result of those bombings. you could clearly hear both of the explosions as a result of those bombings. tom fuentes, former assistant fbi director is with us. when you listen to that, you hear the bombings, see the bombings, see the reaction, you get a sense of the enormity of what happened in boston. >> i did. the first time i saw that video and each time i've seen it sense, i thought to myself, thankfully there were no more explosives used than actually was. you see that cloud of smoke go up into the air, but you also see people running from that cloud of smoke. all of those people could have been killed had that been a bigger amount of explosives. just thankful it wasn't. and also in and urban environment like that with buildings all around, it has a canyon effect, it actually amplifies the concussion from the amount of explosion to make it seem bigger and do more damage and hurt more people. so the injuries from that, to me, indicate that it could have been, as bad as it was and we feel terrible because we do have
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fatalities, it could have been much worse. >> if there would have been -- if those devices would have been more powerful, is that what you're saying? >> yes, i'm saying that. and you could have had a knapsack full that would not have attracted anybody's attention because you have 20,000 spectators nearby, the majority of carrying backpacks with dry clothing for runners and food and water. for the police, that's an almost impossible scene to contain. you know, when you have 50,000 or 100,000 spectators at the super bowl, they're in a contained environment. you can settle up the magnetometers. when you have spectators over 26 miles and thousands in a large city square like that, it's virtually impossible for police to really secure that environment. >> one of our white house producers was in boston watching this marathon as well, adam eigner was at the scene when the bombings occurred. adam, where are you now and what are you seeing? >> yes, hi, wolf. i am right outside the westin actually near the medical tent,
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just down here where the evacuated area is. there is police tape up everywhere and crowds of people, many runners, who can't get back into their hotels. one thing i know in one of the alleyways where people have been gathering, a lot of the locals have been coming out of their houses and giving coffee and bananas and orange juice to the people who ran who are very underdressed for the slightly chilly day here in boston and who are just loving each other and sort of huddling together and talking and trying to stay warm. one of the men said, thank you very much, i'd like to repay you for this. he said, this is just what humans do, what people do. it's a heartwarming scene of people coming out and helping each other. for a lot of people who are visiting here and come into the city to run the race and have nowhere to go. >> you were there as a participant, adam, or just watching? >> i was just watching, wolf. my stepsisters are runners, and one of them -- the professional runner was a competitor and my
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stepmother was on the press truck. all of them are fine as far as i know. i've been in touch with them, all on lockdown in a hotel in the area where people were taken immediately after the bombings. but i've talked to many of the first responders here. one of the medical volunteers who just described a horrific scene and said when they rushed to the area, first responders were already there and obviously the medical personnel here is more sports medicine to help runners with aches and pains and problems running the marathon. they're not necessarily prepared for this. they said they were triaging patients applying tourniquets to open wounds. they said hundreds of people wounded, it's just been -- they said it was a horrific scene. as of now, it seems to be calmer and everybody waiting around trying to find their loved ones and get back to their hotels and find out what's going on. >> adam, stand by. we're just getting this in, update now.
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an important one from the boston police. they now say the incident at the john f. kennedy presidential library, in the words off the boston police, appears to be fire related. earlier the police commissioner ed davis said that investigators were trying to determine whether the reported explosion at the jfk library was connected to the two other bombings at the boston marath marathon. the library said fire was started in the mechanical room, apparently not related to the two bombings at the boston marathon, which is important information just coming in from boston police. they said they're going to have another updated news conference at 7:00 p.m. eastern. we'll of course have live coverage of that. right now it looks like the incident at the boston john f. kennedy presidential library not related to the two bombings at the boston marathon. matt frucci, one of our executive producers, also was on
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the scene at the time of the explosions. once again, he's joining us. the latest numbers we have, matt, two dead and at least a hundred injured in these two explosions, two bombings. they are now officially being determined as bombings. do we have more information coming in from the scene? you're there. >> i've been talking to my family, just trying to figure out what they saw in those first couple moments. and my mother said she did see children around the area around the second explosion, the explosion about 20 yards away from us, right across the street, after the explosion she turned around and saw a man with his shorts burned and his legs bloodied. i think that my brother who we've been trying to find may finally be arriving at this moment. so my parents are walking to him right now to give him a big hug. it's been about two hours plus, and his cell phone has been shoddy and the texting hasn't really worked. but he's okay.
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we're just going to give my brother a hug right now, if you don't mind. i'll be back in a couple of minutes. >> much more important notion. give him a big hug from all of us, matt frucci, one of our executive producers. jessica yellin is over at the white house watching what's going on. jessica, we've been told the president has been briefed by the fbi, by the department of homeland security. what else do we know? >> reporter: wolf, he was briefed twice today about the incident so far. first at 3:00 he was notified about the incident while he was in the oval office by his homeland security adviser lisa monaco while some of his team was in the oval. and then he had a second briefing, as you mentioned, by fbi director robert mueller and department of homeland security secretary janet napolitano. in fact, we have a photograph of his briefing by robert mueller. he is on the phone with the fbi director while his new homeland security adviser lisa monaco is watching and his relatively new chief of staff dennis mcduff on
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in the foreground with him. we are told they talked to him about the response to the incident there in boston and coordination between state and local officials. as you know, a task force is being sent up to coordinate efforts among federal, state and local officials. that's part of the response that the federal government has under taken after 9/11. the president, again, expressed his it sympathies first to the mayor of boston and the governor of the state, patrick duvall, and has also -- i'm sorry, duvall patrick, and has also offered them any assistance that they might possibly need from the federal government. i'd add outside the white house the area there is completely on lockdown, fully secure with police tape barring any tourists from the area right in front of the white house. they say necessary security precautions always taken by the secret service after an incident
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like this. and, finally, wolf, no word whether the president would come out and speak tonight, but just as somebody who has covered this building for a while, i can tell you it would not surprise me, in fact, i would somewhat expect the president to come out and make some type of statement. >> i suspect he will. i think they want more information before the president of the united states speaks and reassures the nation whatever he's going to say. this is an important moment for the president, an important moment indeed for the entire country. two bombings at the boston marathon right near the finish line. at least two people are dead, at least 100 people injured, some of them critically injured. there have been reports, at least one report, that the boston police have at least one suspect in custody. but we've checked now with a spo spokeswoman for the boston police department who tells us flatly, quote, i don't know where they got that from, we don't have anyone in custody. no one in custody right now. john king, you're checking with your sources as well. >> the confusion here seems to
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be after an event like this and tom and the congresswoman know more about the specifics than i do, an alert is sent out to the emergency rooms, when people come into the emergency rooms, look for certain types of burns, someone in closest proximity to the explosive device to see if there's burns on your hands. it's a law enforcement tool to see if somebody who may have been part of the perpetrators of the attack sought medical attention. but as you know from that, my sources said as well, there was an alert set out, if they find people like that, the hospitals call back a person of interest. law enforcement have nobody that they categorize in any way as a suspect, that is part of the alert system that goes out to the hospitals. one quick thing i want to follow up on is the jfk library thing. that is again part of the confusion. the library itself said from the beginning it was a fire, but the police as a precaution thought it might be related. so you've had other buildings evacuated, schools evacuated because of that. it's part, wolf, of the necessary i would say but unfortunate confusion that komdzs after an event like this.
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>> wolf, these devices may have been remotely detonated in which cases the people who pushed a button wouldn't be injured and may not be found for some time. but as fran townsend has said, there is surveillance tapes, may be other ways to identify who left the package where this bomb went off. i just wanted to add that, as we keep watching this same sequence, the flags of the 50 countries represented by these runners are flying. let's understand this is not just a u.s. event or a boston event. this is a world event. this boston marathon is iconic, and our response has to be measured and careful, but the world is in this problem together. and a lot of the victims, if this turns out, if it turns out to be anything related to al qaeda or terror groups in that part of the world, are muslims, innocent muslims. so this is a problem we're going to have to face for a while, and we do need to be resilient as we figure out how to deal with it.
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>> an interesting question as well and maybe tom can weigh in. as you start to investigate something like this, does the timing have any impact on the investigation in the sense that everyone knows about how long it takes these world-class runners to run a marathon, within a few seconds or certainly minutes or so of when the top world runners would cross the finish line, these explosions took place about two hours after that. >> right. >> does that tell you anything in terms of, if you're starting an investigation, again, forgive me for saying it like this, but if you wanted to make the most dramatic statement on this day, you would have done it right about when the world-class field was crossing the finish line. >> absolutely you would think so. the world-class runners finish just over two hours. that's when the most media coverage is, going to be the most intense. then as people dwindle in, as i did when i ran it, a few hours later, most of the media is gone, just the family members and the loved ones are left behind to greet the straglers as we came in. so an event like this, yeah, why would they have waited so long? maybe the crowd was so thick
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they couldn't get in close enough at the finish line, they couldn't penetrate and had to wait for the original people to get out of the way and go home and work their way up closer. but the police -- you know, the amount of media coverage that would be on and the cameras available would be reduced. there's still a lot, as we see here, of film being taken and also private film and private videos being shot by spectators. but everybody's going to look very suspicious. unfortunately in the modern era we have a diverse audience, diverse spectatospectators. >> mrint of surveillance cameras there, wolf. >> look at you'they'll look at closed-circuit tv cameras that were rolling at the time of these two bombings near the finish line of the boston marath marathon. the governor of massachusetts, duvall patrick, we'll play a clip of what he just said, but we have just been told that president obama will make a statement to the nation shortly
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after 6:00 p.m. eastern time, right at the top of the hour around 6:10 p.m. eastern. the president will go out and make a statement as we anticipated he would want to do to reassure the country, tell us what he knows, tell us what he can about these two bombings at the end of the boston marathon. once again, right now the white house saying ining at 6:10 25 minutes from now, the president of the united states will come out and make a statement to the nation on these bombings at the boston marathon. the governor of massachusetts, duvall patrick, he just spoke out a few minutes ago as well. let me play this clip. >> we are asking that people stay out of crowds and calmly make their way home, or if they're visiting, back to their hotels. all of the hotels' security will be prioritized at the outset. again, if people have information, please use those
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tip lines. this is very, very important that we get as current information as we can as quickly as possible. >> and now, by all indications, this does appear to be a terrorist attack. these two bombings in boston, multiple people have been injured, at least 100, some of them critically injured. there you see the first explosion going off, and a few seconds later a second explosion goes off as well. at least two people are dead. the president, once again, will be making a statement to the nation at 6:10 p.m. eastern. that's right after the top of the hour, less than 25 minutes or so from now. we're also told that the speaker of the house of representatives, john boehner, plans to preside over the house chamber fairly soon, call for a moment of silence for the victims of this boston attack. clearly an attack. no one yet has claimed responsibility. we don't know who is responsible for this, but clearly we have
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now concluded this is a terrorist attack, for whatever motivation -- whatever the motivation is. we don't want to overly speculate about possible motivations, but clearly two people are dead and a hundred people injured, some of them critically injured, as a result of these bombs going off. kyle pinto is joining us on the phone right now, another eyewitness to the explosion. kyle, where were you, and what did you see? >> i was about 20 feet away. i was at the bar right down the street from the blast. and when it went off, just huge noise. everybody ran out from the bar to try to see what was going on, and all you saw was just people laying on the street. first responders were there quickly. but it was just mayhem. >> and what did you do then when you went outside and saw what was going on? >> you know what? went out and tried to help as much as you can, give cpr, whatever you can do. but you just try to help out
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with the first responders. >> did you help some of those first responders deal with those who were injured? >> as much as i can. you know, you clear debris off, whatever you can do. absolutely. >> did you see injured people? >> we did, yes. >> and what were their conditions, the ones that you saw? >> there was a lot of blood everywhere. it was a scary scene, absolutely, because this had never happened before to boston. it was just a scary, scary scene. >> how did the other people react? was there a sense of panic, or did people sort of come together and say, let's go out and help? >> you know, i actually felt, wolf, there was a sense of camaraderie. everybody went together and tried to help out everybody that was there. >> that's encouraging to hear, that kind of camaraderie developing as a result of what is clearly a terror attack at the boston marathon. two bombings. >> it was a horrible, horrible scene. >> i can only imagine. the video that we've seen, the pictures that we've seen, the descriptions, the eyewitness
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accounts, kyle, like yours, have been horrific about what's going on. once again, we don't have a motive. we don't know who was responsible. a spokeswoman for boston police tells us no one is in custody, but they're going through closed-circuit television camera video to see what they can learn, fbi and other forensics experts. >> i hope they find those responsible. >> we hope so as well and hope justice of u.s. law develops. we have some other eyewitness accounts of what happened. let me play the videotape. >> we were standing across the street from lord & taylor. and then two huge bombs, smoke coming out of the buildings, then something else and they sent us away. >> big huge explosion while we were having lunch. everybody ran for the doors and windows, sheltered under tables. >> i work in the prudential, i don't know what's going on. >> we were at the lenox.
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we opened a window. >> the elevator shook the whole building. it was quite a blast, two of them. scared the hell out of us. >> what did i see? i was watching watching the rac heard explosion, and it was louder than an m-80 cher cherry bomber. the smoke was right across the street from us, most serious problem i've dealt with being on the fire department for 26 years. it was a terrible scene. >> when i made the turn, it was like the first pop, boom, then another one, boom! then another one, boom. one after another. just one big cloud of smoke, white smoke. the other one, one after the other to the other. >> you okay? >> yeah, i'm okay. she was in the grandstands. i was just worried about her, you know? it's bad. this is really, really bad. >> so, the president of the
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united states will be making a statement to the nation, 6:10 p.m. eastern, about 20 minutes or so from now. he'll go into the brady press briefing room. there you see they are getting ready the podium for the president, camera crews, reporters, getting themselves ready, as well. president will walk in, make a statement. don't know if he'll answer reporters' questions, but he will make a statement to the nation. that's coming up less than 20 minutes from now. a horrific dual explosion, two bombings. we are now saying they are terrorist attacks, although no one has claimed responsibility, we don't know any motive for what occurred, but we do know two people are dead, maybe more. right now, two people are confirmed dead and 100 people are injured, some of them critically injured. tom fuentes, i wanted to bring you back into the analysis going on, tom fuentes, former assistant director of the fbi. walk us through, the president hears through his national security team, homeland security team, white house chief of
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staff, director of the fbi robert muller briefs him on the telephone. the president wants to know what's going on, but there may be more questions than answers. >> always in that situation, the initial blast goes off, no one knows who did it, how big it was, how many were injured, all they know is the bureau and atf and other federal agencies, state and local agencies, would have had hundreds, if not thousands of law enforcement officers really deployed at the event because of such a huge event, in addition to the medical personnel we talked about earlier. it's not like the president has to be told, okay, send somebody there. they are already there. he may say pull out the stops and send more people, but there's already a huge deployment at the event before the first runner arrives that day. there would have been weeks, if not months, of planning on the part of the officials, jttf and others would be sharing intelligence on any threat of any kind coming in, whether it's from overseas or a domestic
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group or chatter in a prison in a u.s. jail. >> jane harbin is here, former member of the homeland security committee, former congresswoman. i remember i was covering at the time the oklahoma city bombing, and all -- a lot of the initial speculation about who may have been responsible and what happened turned out to be inaccurate. do you remember that? i want to caution our viewers right now, we don't know who's responsible, we don't know motive, and some of the initial speculation could be way off. >> it could be way off, but there is probably a review going on, again, of what traffic, intelligence traffic, we saw before the race. and maybe things that didn't seem to be clues before are clues now, and maybe there is some connection to future events, which is, again, why we have to be vigilant across a number of cities. just want to applaud john boehner, you reported that he's
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presiding over the house now and there will be a prayer for those who were killed or injured and their families. i think that's very important the congress stay open. on 9/11, i was there. we closed congress and we closed the office buildings, obviously, out of concern for the safety of the people who were there, but those people represent the constituents in boston and else where across the country who may be at risk, and they have to stay there. and it is a good thing that the leadership of the house decided to keep the house open. i assume the senate, and also one other thing to add, wolf, which is the leaders of congress and the heads of the intelligence committees need to be briefed too, not just the president. >> there was fear a plane might be heading towards capitol hill on 9/11, they said get out of there, go to secure underground areas. they didn't know what was happening. i expect this is different right now. >> first responders know that, they are running to these events and members of congress have an
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obligation to keep the country safe. >> we have another eyewitness account of what happened. let's listen. >> we had just crossed the finish line. i guess around 3:45. we were about 100 yards into what we call the finishing chute, the long area that you walk through after finishing. there was a huge explosion right behind us. we turned, as you do, and saw a white plume of smoke rising into the air which seemed to be -- >> explosions happened the last few hours. boston p police, state police, all public safety officials working together on this issue. the governor and i have spoke with the president of the united states a half hour ago and this is for the investigation. i offer my condolences and prayers to families that are involved in this explosion. also the mayor's hotline, need
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some assistance, call the mayor's hotline at 635-4500 if they need information over the next 24 to 48 hours. let me say that this is a tragedy. we're going to work together on this, and boston police, state police, fbi, all the agencies we just met and are committed to working together and be sure to come to what happened this afternoon and the governor has been very helpful to us on several issues this afternoon. i'll turn it over to the governor and have him say a few words. >> thanks, mr. mayor, and thanks so much for coming out today. obviously, we all send out our condolences to the victims and their families. we are asking everybody to stay out of the perimeter of the explosions, about a 15-block area has been secured by the state police. that is a crime scene right now. very, very important helping
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people do their job, law enforcement do their job, the people stay out of the area. we said earlier it's probably best most people make their way calmly home, and if they are visiting the city, back to their hotels. the commissioner has prioritized security at the hotels just so for everyone's peace of mind. we are working on a, i guess the term we're using is a drop-in center in the city so that people who are trying to find runners or family members who didn't meet at the usual meet-up space, place, because of the race was cut short, will be in a position to announce that, we hope, very shortly. so that people can find some assistance to help people find their loved ones. but i really am grateful that all of the federal, state, and local law enforcement officials
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are coordinating so closely and so well. they are talking constantly. they are all in investigation mode right now. very serious time, so we do need people to stay out of the area of the explosion for the time being. >> commissioner -- >> i'd like to clarify one statement. the device at the jfk library was actually an incindiary device or a fire. right now, this incident is two incidents on boylston street. could very well be premature, but we are still asking people to be calm, to go to their homes, and to work closely with us. if they have information, we need to hear about it, that's 1-800-494-tips. as the governor said, the area, about a 15-block area around the blast site, will be closed down
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for the next 24 hours and maybe further than that. if you wish to be aware of that when they make plans for tomorrow. >> we are looking at all of that right now. that's one of the investigative steps we have taken. >> reporter: they said they were doing drills this morning for the same exact thing to happen. did you know ahead of time of this taking place? >> as i said earlier, there was no specific intelligence. we certainly increase posture around a big event like this. all things happen in preparation for this event, but no speculation of this kind of thing happening. >> reporter: any type of idea what type of device? >> too early to get into specifics, powerful devices that resulted in serious injuries. >> reporter: was there shrapnel? >> reporter: do you have a suspect? >> those reports aren't true. there's no suspects in custody. we're questioning many people,
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but no one is in custody at this time. again, we're still compiling that information, but we hope to have a count as soon as we can work with the hospitals and public health people. >> reporter: is that accurate -- >> there are fatalities, i won't get into the details on that. i said i wouldn't get into the details on that. there are people that have expired as a result of this incident. >> reporter: were the devices in the trash can or mailbox? >> we don't know. >> reporter: report of police guarding victims at mass general. >> police have been dispatched to all of the hospitals as part of our investigative protocol to get every witness statement we can possibly get. all that stuff is happening right now. i'm sorry? >> reporter: guarding rooms, specific rooms at mass general? >> heavy police presence at hospitals, hotels, and other venues throughout the city. shouldn't read anything into that. >> reporter: garbage cans, are they scouring the area looking
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at all types of possibilities? >> anything that is unattended right now, any package that is unattended is being treated as a potential problem and we're methodically going through the area to check each particular parcel and item that's out there. >> we're going to conference for now, we'll be back with more information when we have it. thank you all for coming. >> and you've been listening now to -- >> there he is, the police commissioner in boston. the governor of massachusetts, the mayor of boston, updating us on what we know right now, and information is just coming in. we're also standing by to hear from the president of the united from the president of the united states. -- captions by vitac -- if you're just joining us, here's a recap of what we know right now, a horrific scene, one
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explosion, then another near the finish line at the boston marathon. if you're just joining us, we're following breaking news this hour. two people are dead, more than 100 reportedly injured in what is clearly a terrorist attack at a sporting event followed around the world. we're standing by, once again, for remarks by president obama. he's getting ready to go into the white house briefing room. he'll be speaking within the next eight or nine minutes. we'll have live coverage standing by. you'll hear from the president. he's been updated by the fbi director and the secretary of homeland security. the twin bombings happened a little over three hours ago. the area was packed with tens of thousands of runners and spectators, but now it's a disaster area. it's filled with wreckage and stained with blood. boston police are scrambling to try to figure out who's behind these bombings. they tell us no suspects have been arrested or are in custody, although they are questioning
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individuals. no one has yet claimed responsibility for these terrorist attacks. counterterrorism experts have been combing through the area in search of other explosive devices. we have cnn correspondents and analysts following the story, bringing you team coverage of every new angle as it comes in and what's going on. we have -- we're watching what's going on here on this special edition of "the situation room." i'm wolf blitzer. welcome to our viewers around the united states and around the world. national contributor fran townsend, you're getting new information, fran, what are you picking up? >> reporter: a federal law enforcement official with knowledge of the investigation said to me the fbi has indeed classified this as a terrorist attack, but they've made clear to me they do not know at this time whether those responsible for the attack were a foreign or domestic group. they do not know that answer
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yet, wolf, and that's their highest priority. there was no threat to the marathon in advance of the marathon today. they are going back now to see if there was something that was missed, either by federal or local officials. fbi confirmed there is no one in custody, and this law enforcement official also said to me that the two explosions that we've shown the tape of, wolf, along that end of the marathon route, it looks horrific, but i was told by the source that both packages that caused those explosions were small and that as of right now, initial tests, there does not appear to be used c-4 or other high-grade explosive material, which this was a more crude explosive device. >> still a killing device. no doubt about that, at least two people are dead. when you say federal law enforcement authorities, fran, have now formally designated
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this a terror attack, what goes into a definition like that? >> reporter: well, there's no question that it was a planned, coordinated attack intended to cause causalities. the point about this being small 5: packages, wolf, we're fortunate there would have more greater causalities if the packages themselves had been larger. while we know there are causalities and that's tragic, it's fortunate that this wasn't either a higher grade explosive or a larger device, which would have caused more causalities. >> let me bring tom fuentes into this discussion, former assistant fbi director, also a cnn contributor. the two explosive devices, tom, small packages, not to include a c-4 or other plastic explosives, what does that say to you? >> somebody amateurish put that
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together and probably wasn't a well trained terrorist who either would have had access to a more potent device that would have caused much more damage and bigger causalities, had it been. >> more sophisticated device would have been a more powerful explosive, but also a device that would include projectiles, if you will. throw in nails and other stuff that could injure and kill a lot of people. >> you could add shrapnel to it, that was done in the atlanta olympic bombings, but here you also have, from the bombers point of view, all the glass and plate glass window at sidewalk level that become shrapnel. the exlossives are going to create that. we'll find out many injured were injured by the glass that was airborne. >> just to be precise on this, tom, the material needed, as of now believed to be a relatively crude bomb, that's pretty
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available, it's not that difficult to get this kind of material. >> very available, and it's going to be hard to single out a certain group or individual that may have put that together. as far as designating this as terrorism, that would have happened the instant they know this was a bomb, an explosive device put together, a deliberate act, not a manhole cover or infrastructure explosion. as soon as they know it's an explosive device, it's terrorism. >> does that make it a federal jurisdiction now if it's deemed by the fbi to be a terrorist crime? the fbi takes charge of this investigation? >> yes, they would have primary jurisdiction whether international or domestic, that's why the fbi runs the joint terrorism task forces throughout the country. as soon as the designation is given that it was an explosive device, it's terrorism, but at that point, i want to add that, you know, in a way it doesn't matter who's in charge. these agencies have already been working together for months on this event. they are working together in the aftermath of it, the prosecutors will work together.
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so you're going to have a group effort, if you will, a task force effort, no matter what, regardless of who gets designated as the lead. >> in about two minutes we expect the president of the united states to walk into the briefing room over at the west wing of the white house and make a statement to the nation. he has been briefed by the secretary of homeland security, the white house chief of staff, homeland security adviser, as we await the president of the united states, you have been talking to your sources, as well, what are you picking up? >> well, the first thing i picked up before this press conference we just had is people, there was some confusion, as john king pointed out, whether the fire at the kennedy library was at all related to the copley square incidents, and the answer to that is that it was a mechanical fire or an explosion that was completely unrelated. and these kind of situations, we tend to link things together that may not always be linked
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together. so, i would also like to report that the fire is in the new wing of the fire did not affect any of the kennedy archives. as for the president speaking in a few minutes, to me, i think it's important the president actually go on the air and speak to the american people. we've just had this been told, as tom is saying, that this is a terrorist incident, whether domestic or foreign, and the president needs to speak to the american people. >> we're told he's only a minute or so away. jessica yellin is over there watching what's going on. any indication, jessica, what the president is going to say? >> reporter: they haven't told us exactly what he'll say, but he'll reassure the american people that officials here in washington are in ongoing contact with the officials there on the ground as they have told us consistently since the president was first briefed at 3:00 in the afternoon. i would remind you this white house took quite a lashing after they failed to call another incident terrorism when a number of americans were killed in attacks then overseas, but one
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would imagine the president would be careful to call this, i would guess, terrorism today. if you do hear him say that, it could have a broad range of meanings, politically, it's something that one might imagine he has to do. also, he spoke today with deval patrick, the mayor of boston, and speaker boehner. speaker boehner released a picture of that conversation, as well. the speaker will hold a moment of silence later this evening for those who lost their lives in boston, and i expect the president will tell us more about the efforts he's undertaking now to solve this problem. >> all right, here comes the president. >> good afternoon, everybody. earlier today i was briefed by my homeland security team on the events in boston. we're continuing to monitor and respond to the situation as it unfolds, and i directed the full resources of the federal government to help state and local authorities protect our people, increase security around
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the united states, as necessary, and investigate what happened. the american people will say a prayer for boston tonight, and michelle and i send our deepest thoughts and prayers to the families of the victims in the wake of this senseless loss. we don't yet have all the answers, but we do know that multiple people have been wounded, some gravely in explosions at the boston marathon. i've spoken to fbi director muller and secretary of homeland secretary napolitano, and they are mobilizing the appropriate resources to respond. i've updated leaders in both parties. we realize there are no republicans or democrats, we are americans united in concern for our fellow citizens. i have also spoken to governor patrick and mayor menino and made it clear they have every federal resource necessary to care for the victims and counsel the families, and above all i
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made clear with them the american people stand with the people of boston. boston police, firefighters, and first responders, as well as the national guard, responded heroically and continue to do so as we speak. it's a reminder that so many americans serve and sacrifice on our behalf every single day, without regard to their own safety, in dangerous and difficult circumstances. and we salute all those who assisted in responding so quickly and professionally to this tragedy. we still do not know who did this or why. and people shouldn't jump to conclusions before we have all the facts. but make no mistake, we will get to the bottom of this, and we will find out who did this, we'll find out why they did this. any responsible individuals, any responsible groups, will fill the full weight of justice. today's a holiday in massachusetts, patriots day. it's a day that celebrates the
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free and fiercely independent spirit that this great american city of boston has reflected from the earliest days of our nation, and it's a day that draws the world to boston's streets in a spirit of friendly competition. boston is a tough and resilient town, so are its people. i'm supremely confident that bostonians will pull together, take care of each other, and move forward as one proud city and as they do, the american people will be with them every single step of the way. you should anticipate that as we get more information, our teams will provide you briefings. we're still in the investigation stage at this point, but i just want to reiterate, we will find out who did this, and we will hold them accountable. thank you very much. >> president making a brief statement about three minutes or so. if you were monitoring what he
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had to say, the president vowing that the united states, that the u.s. will find out who did this and hold those individuals or individual fully responsible for what happened just about three hours or so ago. if you're just joining us, covering the breaking news out of boston. clearly, a terror attack at the boston marathon. two explosions have killed at least two people. the boston globe reporting at least 90 people have been injured. some of them critically injured. sources tell cnn a third apparent explosive device has been found. experts are working to dismantle it. this in a different location. boston police are urging everyone right now to keep off the streets, to stay at home or in their hotels. cities, including new york city, washington, d.c., and los angeles, they are increasing security right now out of an abundance of caution, according to local law enforcement. we have complete cnn team
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coverage of this terror attack on the boston marathon. we're watching all angles of what's going on right now. these are some of the images that were captured of what's going on. jessica yellin was in the briefing room when the president spoke. jessica, president did not say this was a terror attack, as we are saying now based on what law enforcement, federal law enforcement, is telling us. but i assume the president is trying to be overly cautious before he declares this a terror attack. >> reporter: i think that they are being very careful, and he is -- has had experience with these kinds of situations after the attack in libya and carefully avoiding using the word, using the word. the fact he didn't mention it, wolf, is meaningful. perhaps they have some more information than we do. he's being considered, i think, and there must be a reason he chose not to use that word.
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he, clearly, is determined and one of the, you know, messages that they consistent ll lly sen is bin laden's capture -- the killing of bin laden was a message to the world that when we say we will make people who attack america or cause death in america pay we mean it. and when he said today we will find out who did this and they'll pay consequences, he clearly had intent and he meant it. so, that doesn't mean that somebody will pay the same price, but he was quite sincere, and quite firm in that. and at the same time was quite careful not to use the word "terrorism," so i think we should all heed what he said and take interest in that. i'll try to find out why they were being so careful here in avoiding calling it terrorism. >> the president is very precise in his words. that's a very sensitive issue. declaring it a terror attack.
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and real ramifications as far as the federal government is concerned. go ahead, jessica, check with your sources. fran townsend, your law enforcement sources told you the federal government now does believe this was, in fact, a terror event. >> that's right, wolf. it may be, let's remember, you know, the memory of 9/11, september 11th, is not so far away, and when americans hear a terror attack, they are implicit in that in many respects that it's a foreign-driven event, and i think what we know from law enforcement, it's not clear. could it be a domestic terror group, yes, it could. could it be a foreign group, yes, it could. they just don't know, wolf. it could be the president is being cautious, reluctant to call it a terror event until he can say with more precision who did it, why they did it, and the progress that they are making in the investigation. >> would it be called a terror event, fran, if it were, let's
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say, one individual who was just loony, if you will, crazy, a lone wolf, going and plotting this kind of joint bombing? >> sure, wolf, we've talked about homegrown terrorists and the lone wolf symbol, where they are inspired by an extremist ideology but not directly related to a group. look at the fort hood individual, he was inspired by a preacher. an individual can be responsible for a terrorist attack, a lone wolf, but again, i think some of this is the president's being cautious until they understand more what was the driving force behind this event. but as tom fuentes said earlier, wolf, once you know that it's an intentional act designed to create causalities and injuries and it's not a manhole cover or gas explosion, the fbi's within
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its rights to designate it a terror attack and begin to coordinate at the federal level the ongoing investigation. >> good point. fran, this is what i want to do. the boston globe released some dramatic video of twin bombings near the finish line at the boston marathon. the video is disturbing. you'll hear the first explosion and a few seconds later you'll hear the second explosion. i'll play it and we'll assess what we just saw. watch this.
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>> just had an attack. oh, my god. oh, my god. oh, my god.
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oh, my god. >> you can see the aftermath of
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these twin bombings near the finish line at the boston marathon. a horrific, horrific scene, something no one expected on the day where nearly 27,000 participants in the boston marathon, half of them or so had just crossed the finish line. the other half were still running, but, of course, they immediately shut down the boston marathon and took major, major action. one member of the house homeland security committee now telling us on capitol hill that they've been briefed by law enforcement sources who call this a sophisticated, coordinated, planned attack. let's talk about the video that we just saw, tom fuentes, former fbi assistant director is here, cnn contributor. this video, it may have been unsophisticated bomb, but it looked horrific, tom. >> looks horrific, but this video, i think, is pretty similar to the ones that we've already seen, just have better sound quality and you can hear
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the screams and explosions. >> the smoke was permeating the whole area and you heard the explosions within a few seconds apart. >> again, that would be amplified because it's surrounded by tall buildings. that would help contain that in a confined area, as opposed to a field somewhere or side of a road like an i.e.d. where the smoke would clear quickly. yes, it's a horrific event, and the video shows in a situation like that, the explosion becomes larger. it does damage to the people that are near it. it could have been much worse, though, and i keep saying that, having been to these scenes, could have been worse. >> john, you're a boston native, grew up in boston, worked in boston. you know this area very well. when you see those twin bombings right in the heart of boston near the finish line at the boston marathon, what goes through your mind? >> back years ago when i worked the associated press, we'd help the sports guys to interview runners or help out with anything they needed at the end.
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when you see the flags on your white and granite building to the left, that's the main boston library to the left, behind you is the boston common, this is right in the heart of the center of the city. many hotels around there, the lenox hotel, more hotels behind you, fenway park is not far away. important to note, this is a state holiday, patriots day. every year the event is run, red sox have a game every year. just a block is newbury street, a huge shopping area. thousands there for the marathon, thousands enjoying the day off from school, from work for shopping, the towers there, the northern end of boston's financial district, steps away from everything historical and cultural in boston. that part of the street is host to restaurants and offices, starbucks there, camera store there. every time i'm back home, you make your way down there because of how important it is, how central it is to the culture,
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restaurant, and sporting life of boston. thousands of people here for this event every year. as you see the chaos unfolding there, another thing to note, again, speculation, but if you were someone who came up to do this and wanted to get away, you can go back from that side of the barrier to newbury street very quickly, or there's a subway that runs underneath that takes you out of the city to the north, right out to the heart of the city, few steps from the redline. if you hopped on the subway, you could be gone in a matter of minutes. >> we're being told by democratic congressman of massachusetts, member of the house homeland security, in addition to these two bombs that went off, killed and injured at least two people killed, over 100 injured, they have found two other explosive devices, an unexploded device was found at a hotel on boylston street not far away, and another unexploded device was found at what's being
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described as an undisclosed location. so when we say this could have been a whole lot worse, clearly, two other bombs were found that had been unexploded. clearly, could have been worse. tom foreman is at the magic wall. tom, tell us where these explosions, these bombings occurred. >> let's look at the layout, this is massachusetts. the finish line, 26.2-mile route that winds back and forth up and down some hills. right down here into the heart of the city, that's where the finish line is. and when we talk about how bad this was and how bad it could have been, it's worth bearing in mind that, in fact, runners world is now reporting, wolf, that about 17,500 runners had already crossed this line before the explosion, which meant about 6,000 hadn't crossed. even though they normally get 27,000, a lot of people drop out at the last minute. so, in fact, every runner that went across this line, that took people away to celebrate and say
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the race is over. in fact, this was late in the process here. one thing i want to notice here, we've been analyzing this explosion and the second explosion just down the street here. if we move towards the mandarin oriental here, if you take a closer look, one of the things that seems to be clear is that this explosion appears to be substantially bigger than the first one down here. most of our video is down here, but this one seems to have covered the entire area, from the buildings here, all the way out to the sidewalk out here and maybe out into the runners a bit. so, this seems to have been a substantially larger explosion, wolf. i will say one thing about this. if you look at the finish line area down here, the police have been telling everyone to try to steer clear from about a 15-block radius. look at this. if you're talking about 15 blocks in here, this really is a substantial heart of boston. this is really in the middle of everything. m.i.t.'s right over here, fenway park over here, boston
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university, boston college. so many things revolve around this area. as john said a minute ago, if you're in this part of boston, it's an easy place to get away from. very hard now, and, and, i want to add this, as the police say, they don't want people to congregate, that's tough. many runners were gathering down here at the garden and boston common because they've been told to for a period of time. then police say we don't want people in groups. with this many universities and places people do gather, that's a tough order, wolf. >> certainly is. tom, stand by. we're going to get back to you. by the way, a spokesperson for boston's children's hospital, several people injured at the bombings are now in the hospital, six of them are children. one is the adult parent of one of the children, their conditions, according to the spokeswoman for boston children's hospital, are good to serious. no patient deaths reported at
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this hospital. but you can see all of the hospitals in the boston area right now receiving injured, treating injured, dealing with this twin terrorist attack in boston. two explosions, only seconds apart right there near the finish line at the boston marathon. if you're just joining us, we're following the breaking news here in "the situation room," i'm wolf blitzer reporting. a terrorist attack at the boston marathon. president obama spoke out just a few moments ago. he never used the word terror or terrorist, but he's vowing to find out who is responsible. and he's vowing that they will be brought to justice. >> we still do not know who did this or why, and people shouldn't jump to conclusions before we have all the facts, but make no mistake, we will get to the bottom of this, and we will find out who did this, we'll find out why they did this. any responsible individuals, any responsible groups, will feel
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the full weight of justice. >> two bombs, exploded right near the finish line at the boston marathon. nearly 27,000 people were participating in the marathon. about half had completed the marathon. the other half were still running, but they immediately cancelled the marathon. at least two people are confirmed dead. at least 80 or 90 are being treated at local hospitals. others have been injured, as well. we're told federal authorities have characterized this as a terrorist attack, but it's not clear whether it might have been carried out by foreign or domestic terrorists or carried out by a sophisticated group or unsophisticated group. could have been just a lone wolf-type terrorist. listen to witnesses describe the blast and the panic that followed. >> we were standing across from lauren taylor, to our left, to huge bombs, smoke coming out of
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buildings. and something else to the left of us and the whole thing stopped and they sent us away. >> big explosion as we were having lunch, we were sheltered under tables. >> i work in the provincial, but i don't know what's going on. >> we're at the lenox. >> elevator, the elevator shook the whole building, it was quite a blast. scared the hell out of us. >> i have watching the race, and we heard explosion and we knew it was a little louder than an m-80 cherry bomber, and we saw the smoke was right across the street from us basically. it was the most scariest thing i've dealt with being on the fire department for 26 years. it was terrible scene. >> when i made the turn, i mean, the first pop, boom, then another one, boom! then another one, boom. it's like one after another, just one big cloud of smoke,
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white smoke, then the other one, one after the other after the other. just crazy. >> reporter: are you okay? >> yeah, i'm okay. she was in the grandstands. i was just worried about her, you know? it's bad. this is really, really bad. >> we're now being told, as bad as the situation is, according to wcvb, one of the local stations in boston, one of the two people killed was an 8-year-old child. we don't know if it was a boy or girl, but an 8-year-old child killed in this terror attack near the finish line in boston at the boston marathon. democratic congressman william keating of massachusetts is joining us on the phone right now. congressman, i know your heart, our hearts, all of our hearts go out to the families of those who have been killed and injured, and now we've heard that an 8-year-old child is among those who have been killed in this terror attack. give our viewers an update,
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because i know you've been briefed. what do you know? >> it's just heartbreaking, first and foremost. from the perspective of people in the boston area and massachusetts, to have something like this occur at an event that usually brings people together, brings communities together, brings countries together, being a d.a. before i was in congress, i just -- prayers are with the family members of those who lost their lives, those two individuals, as well as perhaps scores that were injured as a result of this. that's the first reaction of everyone here. it's something that was traumatic, i think, even in today's day and age to witness. it was a coordinated event, clearly, it appears to be a coordinated event. the two explosions at the finish line, there's an unclear situation at the jfk library,
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whether it was some type of incendiary event, whether that's connected or not is not clear at this point. there's reports through our sources in our office of an undetonated bomb that was a a hotel in that area, and another undetonated bomb, the source of which was not given to us. but it's clear from that that there's been a series of explosions or potential explosions. it's too early to tell who's responsible for this, of course. the two things typically that come to mind when a terrorist is involved is that they choose symbolic targets. certainly, the iconic boston marathon, the oldest marathon that brings people together from all over the world, is that kind of symbolic event.
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it's also april 15th, it's tax day, an event that might insight domestic or lone wolf type of terrorists. we just don't know. the investigation, i'm confident, will yield who's responsible for this, but we go forward with really a heavy heart in the boston area and one of the things that they are cautioning people in our area through the national guard has contacted our office and just giving people, stated the obvious, stay in your homes, unless you have to get out, stay in your apartments, there's an ongoing forensic investigation and the criminal site is not known at this point. this goes forward and, you know, on many fronts. the emergency responders were among the finest. we have coordinating federal, state, and local agencies is among the best in the country.
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the medical centers that are treating these people are among the best. it doesn't mitigate the terrible loss there, but we're proud of the people that responded and we're confident that the people that are going to be responsible for this are going to be brought to justice. >> quick question, congressman, when you say this is a sophisticated, coordinated, planned attack, i assume you mean it's a terror attack and that not just one, but several individuals may have been responsible. is that what you're being told? >> as a district attorney, i know there's one thing, you only know what you know, but clearly there were multiple sites, they were coordinated in that respect, and the rest will come through shortly. we might have people taking credit for this that aren't responsible, so people will be led, law enforcement officials will be led through the evidence, not through people that might take credit. we'll get to the bottom of this. that much i'm sure. >> has anyone as far as you know
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taken responsibility for this? >> not yet. you know, as you know, wolf, people will take responsibility, even if they are not responsible parties. this will be dealt with through the professionals. the federal law enforcement community is all at our disposal in terms of assets here locally. they are already bringing in some of the best bomb experts around the country to supplement some of the best people that are already here. the weight of the city of boston and massachusetts and the people connected will be coming to bear on this, and we will bring the responsible people to justice. but in the meantime, i think back home here everyone's focused on the loss, the loss of innocent lives, the nature of the injuries involved, and even
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people connected to our own office have been injured in this. far reaching in terms of the number of people that have been injured. >> sure is. >> our prayers are with them right now, that's first and foremost in our mind. >> let's hope they find who is responsible, why this individual or individuals would commit a horrific terrorist attack like this. congressman, we'll stay in touch with you. thank you very much. once again, whdh is reporting that of the two individuals killed in this terror attack, an 8-year-old child is one of the dead. 8-year-old child killed near the finish line at this boston marathon. marilyn miller is joining us right now on the phone. she was an eyewitness to what happened. how close were you to the scene of these two bombings, marilyn? >> we were about 30 feet away from the first bomb. it was really scary, you know,
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you're just standing there waiting for our runner. she was only, like, ten minutes away, so we are standing right near the finish line. we were going to be running with her getting out of our line and just running along with her so we could see her cross the finish line, and the first bomb went off. and we found out later that her feet and her legs cramped up, which never happened before, and we were, you know, we said if it was god, because we were amazed, because she's never had that. and she should have been crossing the finish line when the bomb went off. and we'd have been -- we saw injuries all around us. we were there. >> what kind of injuries -- what kind of injuries, marilyn, did you see? >> -- in her neck, i don't know if it was glass or what, but they were holding pressure against her neck. i saw injuries to her neck and a little boy, his leg was torn up,
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and another woman, they were carrying out, like, you know, running like critical, critical, get out of our way. yeah, it was quite scary, yeah. >> and did you get out of the scene as quickly as you could, what did you do? >> well, what we did, i mean, we heard the first bomb, okay, what, what, and the smell, oh, my god, it's a bomb. then all of a sudden the next one's going off and we're in between the two, and the man that was with us, three women, they were right away, girls, under us, get down. they were like, go, go, walking like hovering over us and i was like you didn't know where to go because you're thinking, okay, where's the next one going off, you know what i mean? it was quite scary. i just went numb kind of and you just do what you're told. everybody's screaming around you. and it just kind of hits you
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now, we're out of this city, we're in beverly, and it just kind of hits you like oh, my, what did i just live through, you know? >> are you okay, marilyn, and your friends, i'm assume you were with other friends. >> i'll tell you, the girl we were waiting for to run passed us, she just was about to come around the corner, the first corner before she would come to the second corner and run down the finish line. she was there, she heard the first bomb. she was heading towards the second where she would come down and the other bomb went off right near there. and right then, boom, it shut everything off, and she -- no, no. i got to get to my family, they are down there. no, and she collapsed into the arms of another male runner. she said how everybody just worked together.
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it was, like, amazing. amazing. we actually tried to stop to help, but we just kind of flagged down ambulance and then were like we got to get away from here. so we just kind of walked as quick as we could and got to the other side of the river. that's what we did. our men waited there and got our runner. >> you got away. well, marilyn, i'm glad you got out, and thank you for your eyewitness account, and thanks for sharing. i'm glad your friend, who was running, the legs cramped up and she wasn't near that finish line when those bombs exploded. marilyn miller on the phone for us. our debra faric is getting more information from her law enforcement sources, federal law enforcement sources saying now they, the federal law enforcement agencies, have been placed on what's called level-one mobilization, this according to government sources. that's equivalent, according to these officials, all hands on deck.
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another senior federal official tells cnn that teams are on stand by to search flights leaving the united states. that the information coming in from debra faric. fran townsend, maybe you can explain what this means, federal law enforcement placed on level-one mobilization, equivalent of all hands on deck. what does that mean? >> basically, wolf, that means people who are in the office are no remain, they are going to work -- they are not going to go home, right? your shift is over, you're not going home. people who are at home, once they know they are on a level-one alert, there is a protocol for who comes back into the office and in what order so that they can work every available lead. it's not unusual, it's interesting, wolf, that they are talking about targeting and looking, screening, all international flights. that suggests that there's some concern that an individual may have been identified that may try to flee the united states. we heard earlier that lisa
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monico, the president's homeland security adviser was going out to the cia. if that's true, that would suggest also sort of an international connection. we ought to remind our viewers, wolf, law enforcement officials have been very clear. they do not know at this point if it is a foreign attack or domestic attack, terrorist group. that's their number one priority, to try and figure that out. it could be a domestic individual who is looking to flee the united states to avoid prosecution. we just don't know. but those are the kind of law enforcement investigative steps that you would expect the fbi to do immediately so as to stop somebody if they were trying to flee. >> hold on a minute, fran, i want to bring in tom fuentes, former assistant fbi director into the conversation. level-one mobilization, that sounds pretty serious. >> well, yes, but it's, you know, basically, as fran said, if you're already working, you stay at it. if everyone else be ready.
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but the fbi's always in that. that's how you live seven days a week the entire time you're in the bureau as an agent and as a senior analyst. so, in a way, you're always at a level-one alert. you're not off, you know, going home -- >> but you don't always check all outgoing flights leaving the states. >> they haven't done it yet. >> that's what they are planning, apparently, on doing. >> planning to do it should they be called to. >> what does that mean, every flight, you're flying united to london, to rome, every flight will now be checked before those planes take off? >> i'm not sure what degree of checking they want to do. the flight manifests are already checked. you have a great deal of intelligence work done on international flights coming or leaving the united states, so in terms of that, what we're talking about here would be a higher elevation of maybe hand searching every single person getting on a plane to a greater degree that's going on now. but again, i think it's going to require a little more lead information to warrant that,
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because there's just thousands of -- you would stop aviation if you start taking that to an extreme. that's more than an abundance of caution. >> they would have to really believe there was a foreign terrorist who got into the united states and now was trying to escape if they were going to undertake a massive operation like that. >> they'd have to know what they were looking for and who they were looking for. >> hold on for a moment. hold on for a moment if you're just joining us, you're watching cnn's team coverage of the terror attack at the boston marathon. i'll update viewers on what we know right now, two explosions killed at least two people, according to "the boston globe," at least 110 people have been injured. nbc news is reporting one of the dead is an 8-year-old child. cnn has not yet confirmed that report. congressman bill keating of massachusetts tells cnn two other unexplode ed devices were found in the city. police say those unexploded
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devices are now being investigated, examined. president obama spoke out from the white house this hour, a little while ago, and while he stopped short of calling this a terror attack, he did vow that whoever is responsible will feel what he called "the full weight of justice." certainly, it's been a chaotic scene for emergency workers on the scene, they've been rushing to treat the wounded only moments after the explosions. let's bring in our chief medical correspondent, dr. sanjay gupta. sanj sanjay, as you know, there are a number of medical personnel already at a marathon, especially near the finish line, because a lot of runners are exhausted and they collapse. >> yeah, so that is a piece of good news, i guess, in all this, wolf, lots of ambulances and medical capabilities who are really expecting to take care of people who may be dehydrated, may have had some sort of heart condition or something like that. also as you point out, wolf, well trained to be able to do
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this. one thing that happens is they'll set up triage areas right near the site, but because of what you just described, wolf, that wasn't necessary. these ambulances could quickly move people to hospitals. we know seven different hospitals have taken patients, at least 90 patients, we're hearing the same numbers, two people have died, six people critically injured and many more in serious condition, wolf. but it was -- it was pretty quick in terms of getting these people help, it sounds like in part because the medical capabilities were standing by. >> so all of the hospitals in the boston area, and sanjay, you know these hospitals, some of the best hospitals in the country. they are receiving 100 or so injured and they are dealing with a situation like this. i assume they are prepared for these kinds of emergencies. >> yeah, you know, they are. and these trauma centers we are talking about, while this is unusual, there aren't, obviously, a lot of these types of injuries. they are trained.
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the first thing you sort of think about in an explosion like this or what are known as primary injuries from the blast itself causing injuries. and also because of the location in between buildings, it can cause a sort of concussive sort of effect, people may have eardrums affected by this, they may have delayed concussive symptoms. that's important for people who think they are just fine, but have concussion-like symptoms later on. secondary blast is when there's shrapnel moving through the air and that injures somebody and then when bodies are moving against bodies or bodies pushed against buildings. that sort of thing. looking at the video, i didn't see evidence of the tershiary blast, but i will point out we heard from the boston medical center folks they have at least 20 patients there and most of what they are seeing are lower leg injuries. again, trying to get an idea of
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how this blast behaved, did it blast up and out or was it sort of more along the ground, at least from what we're hearing from boston medical center, it sounds like it was more closer to the ground, wolf. >> i just wantground, wolf. >> i want to update our viewers. watch. this boston medical center, 20 people admitted. massachusetts general, 22. tufts medical center, 9. 29 at the women's hospital. at least 110 people injured, ten in critical injury, 14 in serious condition. eight of the 110 are children. one of the two fatalities, an 8-year-old child. watch this. this is from the "boston globe." this is the actual blast within seconds apart.
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>> oh, my god. oh, my god. oh, my god. >> oh, my god. [ sirens sounding ]
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>> dramatic video, indeed. you see that and hear 110 people injured, two dead, eight of them in critical condition, 14 in serious condition. when you see that, just tell our view whaeers what you think? >> it's tough, tough to watch. it's a horrific image. one thing i point out from a medical standpoint is you saw where that blast occurs, the one that is closer to the finish line. and you see the smoke and then you see just a few seconds after that people sort of emerging from that very area. and that is important. again, it gives some insight into what sort of injuries are going to expect. people that are close to that
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blast who were still able to run away from that area, which i think is very important in term of the magnitude of this, suggesting it wasn't as powerful. obviously, we're dealing with a horrific situation here. but these are the sort of things medical examiners will pay attention to. also when you see the runners coming up right before the explosion occurs, there is one runner who sort of goes down. that also gives you the idea of the blast. it wasn't a situation where several runners -- there you see it. one runner -- just sort of seems like they fell. were they instructed by something? who knows? but pay attention to the other runners. they become aware that something happened here. but they're not being sort of subject to the blast. people sort of being forced into each other or blown away from the blast site itself. this may be a little bit of a mute point now. the investigators are looking specifically at what happened.
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but the medical sort of examiners are going to want to look at this very carefully, wolf. >> whether they sn they say the 8 in cyst call condition, 14 in serious condition. give us an example from a medical perspective. what is critical as opposed to serious? >> it is a little arbitrary. different hospitals classify this different. critical means someone is requiring an intensive care unit. typically need a breathing machine. this is somebody that may need surgery quickly and they're going to be in a situation where doctors and nurses are monitoring them closely. serious condition is one step below that. they may not need surgery but they may be in icu. blood pressure may be up and down a bit so doctors and nurses are paying attention to that. there may be a situation where bleeding, on going bleeding.
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when you're at that level after an injury like this, the kn nomenclature may not mean as much, wolf. >> eight of the 110 are children. don't go too far away. >> we need to check in with our sources. what are you hearing? >> what i'm hearing from capitol hill is senator dianne feinstein is the chairperson of the intelligence committee. they said they had no intelligence on this beforehand. there was no briefing. when she was asked on her way to the senate floor whether the attack had hallmarks of some sort of terrorist attack as we've been talking about this evening, whether homegrown or foreign, she said i don't think there were any hallmarks other than the fact that it could be either. it could be home ground, it could be foreign. she said now as the day goes on,
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that may change. but that's what i learned so far. and when she was specifically asked, wolf, whether it was a terrorist -- terrorist incident, she said that's my understanding. it's an incident with a bomb which is what we've been talking about. >> designed to kill and maim. >> one point to follow up on gloria. the definition of terrorism changed a lot since 9/11. if you look at the websters dictionary and law enforcement dictionary, you have advancement of a huge crowd, bombings like this clearly designed to terrorize people and hurt people and in this case kill at least two people. it meets the definition of terrorism without a doubt. i think people in the united states think al qaeda or some foreign plot. >> under attack. >> i think that's one of the reasons -- >> there was a terrorist incident in oklahoma city, u.s. citizens. >> right. and that's an important point of
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context. post 9/11, people think al qaeda or some foreign terrorist group. the president is reflecting caution. they're talking about this. this is a crude device. that doesn't mean it was international organization because of security. it could somebody who is not well trained as a terrorist, trying to help whether it is domestic or not. you look at the pictures, even right near the impact site, you look at the windows right behind it, the store windows are intact, almost all of them in this video right behind. you can see the names of the stores and up above the glass is still there. so in term of the power of the explosive and tom knows more about this than i do, it seems modest. again, a tragedy. we have people killed. a lot of people injured. in terms of what we've seen for the past for the strength of bombs in a location like this. >> former assistant director of the fbi, clearly this was not a suicide bombing.
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somebody wasn't wearing a vest full of explosives. this was someone who placed a bomb somewhere near the finish line at the boston marathon. >> right. this almost reminds me of three years ago at a martin luther king day parade where there was a suspicious backpack left on the squawk. eventually they solved that crime and that was a white supremacist group member. so the idea of somebody making a crude device, putting it in a backpack, going to a sidewalk like that where there are a large number of people, big event, lot of media coverage, that's what you could have. >> what do you think about the fact that we seem to be hearing from a number of source that's there was no intelligence on this at all? >> no advanced warning.