tv The Lead With Jake Tapper CNN April 15, 2013 4:00pm-5:00pm EDT
we'll stay on top of this story. iebl back p i'll be back in oneo continue the coverage on "the situation room." jake tapper is next up on "the lead". i'm jake tapper. we're watching breaking news, the eyes of the nation are on boston, massachusetts, after a pair of explosions rocked the boston marathon. just over an hour ago, a ball of flames erupted from the side of the street in an area known as copley square. a second blast was felt just a short time later. the street was lined with spectators as the runners passed. a terrifying spectacle in the middle of an event that brings out the entire city. security is being beefed up all over boston. we have reports of counterterrorism crews visiting local landmarks. of course president obama has been notified, the white house saying he's in touch with local authorities. one witness said the scene was absolute chaos. >> we just saw the runners stop
running. they were blocked, and we just heard a lot of sirens and just people were kind of frantic. so we knew that it was a bad situation. we had to get out of there. >> at this moment, we do not know what caused the explosions. we do not know whether there were explosives and if there were we don't know if there are more out there somewhere. the boston marathon put out a statement referring to two bombs that exploded near the finish line of the marathon. that's not a definitive law enforcement source. joining us from the scene is cnn producer matt pruchy. you were there cheering on your brother running the marathon. we know he's safe. tell us what you saw. >> it was boil ston avenue, the final mile of the boston marathon, just crowded with people, crowded with runners and spectators, too, and then i heard a big giant explosion about 100 yards down farther from me towards the finish line. i looked over there and saw a
giant plume of smoke rising up. it wasn't on the street proper it looked like it was on the sidewalk or perhaps a parking lot. and i would say the smoke went up about as high as a three or four-story building. about ten seconds later after everyone was wondering what that was, about 20 yards from me across the street another big explosion. it looked like it came oust the sidewalk or something under the sidewalk or in the sidewalk. i'm not entirely sure. then that's when people just started scrum bling. the -- scrambling. people were terrified, wondering if there was going to be a third explosion. this one was awfully close. only after the dust settled i saw about six, seven people strewn about the area where the second explosion was, down on the ground. everyone sort of scrambling to get oust way, scrambling into buildings, off of boylston and on to side streets. i saw a separate six or seven people strewn about on boylston avenue itself being treated by
emts or police officers. >> matt, we've seen photographs from the scene of streaks of blood on boylston street. what did you see in terms of injuries of those who were injured? we're now told by massachusetts general hospital that 19 people were hurt in these blasts. that's the latest information. what were you able to see in terms of how injured people were? >> it was really hard to tell. you know, you saw a big explosion and then everyone was sort of scrambling to get away from that. when i was able to actually get on the scene, what i saw more was -- >> matt, i'm going to interrupt you, i'm sorry. boston police are telling cnn that two dead as a result of the massachusetts attack, whatever happened at the end of the boston marathon. two individuals are dead, 22 wounded. that's from boston police. that's the latest information we have about this attack. if you are tuning in right now, there were two explosions in the
final mile of the boston marathon, just over an hour ago. there were multiple injuries. police report two explosions. we do not yet know the source of the explosions but we're told by police that two individuals are dead. we are on the phone now with cnn executive producer matt frucci who was there and witness to at least one of the explosions. matt, the scene must have been complete pandemonium, people just running for their lives, i would think. >> it was exactly that. i mean, when it first occurred i sort of got shoved in along with a bunch of other people into the will building directly behind us. but then there were a lot of people inside who started to freak out that maybe this building was a target or maybe this building would be something that would explode. people started working their way back onto the sidewalks, to get off the street entirely. but people were terrified. it was just one of those mad scrambles that i've always reported on but never had the unfortunate moment of being stuck in myself. >> all right, we are going to go
to an eyewitness who is on the phone now, will ritter. he was an eyewitness to the blast. will, thanks for joining us. what did you see? >> thanks for having me. i was a block away, about kitty corner across copley square. i was trying to arrange a press conference for a candidate that i work for that just finished running. and we heard two short bursts, about as loud as the big concussion bursts at the end of a fireworks show, about a second apart from one another. looked toward boston bpublic library, the finish line for the boston marathon, and saw billowy white smoke come up. cops started jumping the bike rack and running toward the scene, and then a lot of emergency vehicles just general pandemonium. >> and what did you see in terms of injuries, if anything, and describe for us the scene, when you say general pandemonium, were people running away from the blasts, were law enforcement and national guardsmen running
to the blast? we were told 400 national guardsmen were already on the scene because of general security for the boston marathon. describe in a little more detail, if you would, what you saw. >> sure. the actual scene of the explosion was blocked because of the media tent between me and it. you could see the smoke, and basically what you saw -- if you imagine times square right before the ball drops, that's what copley square looks like at the end of the boston marathon. you have 26,000 people crossing the finish line and the race is only about half done as far as most of the attendees. so everybody was packed in. explosions went off and you saw people start to run east toward boston common and public gardens. and you saw a lot of cops, stretchers, ambulances running west down boylston street and down st. james ave. >> if you're just tuning in, there were two explosions in the final mile of the boston marathon. two individuals are dead from
these explosions, 22 wounded. that's according to the boston police department. president obama has ordered a response to the boston blast telling his administration to do whatever is necessary to investigate it. we have on the phone a witness -- two witnesses actually, matt frucci and another individual. but briefly i want to go to chief national correspondent john king who is sitting here with me in studio. john, what are your sources telling you about this attack? or i shouldn't call it an attack. about this incident. >> that's the big question. you always get conflicting information. i'll tell you one source has said they heard a bomb squad has detonated a third device. but i want to be careful about this, that is one source on the ground not confirmed through law enforcement. there's a scramble on in the area. as you noted, boston police saying two dead, 22 wounded. those are preliminary numbers. often the numbers go up and they're not always accurate. >> the one thing we know about covering situations like this is the first information is almost always wrong.
>> almost always. and there's a scramble under way now because you have this event, a huge event every year. i would say this about copley square, it's a state holiday in massachusetts for patriots day. copley square is in the middle of the city, schools are closed, a lot of businesses closed, state and city offices. you have tourists, people off work. that tends to be where they go, either to watch the runners after the game breaks up, very close to boston common and public garden. if you are looking -- and i want to emphasize the if -- to make some kind of political statement, that would be the place to do it, copley square on marathon day. >> we have report that two are dead from those explosions and 23 now we're told wounded. go ahead. >> i was talking to a state government source who said, look, things are very iffy right now, just trying to get information. people are responding. but this government source noted there's always hiech hyped-up security for this event.
this source says there were no threats viewed as credible before the eventment as they now try to sort through, is this an explosion, a bomb, is it something else, they say in advance they had no inklings whether there could be a targeting of this event. obviously it's always a concern in the post-9/11 world we live in, big events always a concern. i want to also note you mentioned mass general hospital numbers. often they're the central point because of their emergency room facilities but there are also six or eight very fine hospitals within a mile or less from that site. so we could get other information from hospitals as well. >> thank you, john. we're told that president obama has been notified and has ordered his administration to respond and do whatever is necessary to help local authorities. we'll go now to jessica yellin, senior white house correspondent for cnn. jessica, what are you hearing from your vantage point at the white house? >> reporter: jake, the president has been notified and officials here have been asked to stay, the president asked them to stay in constant contact, with local officials there to provide any
assistance that they can. but my understanding from various administration officials is that information is coming in very slowly. i can tell you here at the white house the area directly in front of the west wing has been cleared and is on lockdown, in essence. standard precaution in this area. there are tourists being kept at a distance in front of the white house because security here goes on alert during some kind of incident of this nature. washington, d.c., itself is also on a heightened level of security. vice president biden himself was conducting a conference call when this news broke on cnn, and he was talking about guns and the guns legislation when he said that his aides came in and turned on the television and he saw what was happening. so he broke from his conversation and made a statement about some of the people he was seeing injured in boston. want to play with you a moment
of what the vice president had to say. >> as i'm speaking here, they just turned on the television in my office, and apparently there has been a bombing. i don't know any of the details, of what caused it, who did it. i don't think it exists yet. but our prir prayers are with people in boston who have suffered injury. i don't know how many there are. i'm looking at it on television now. >> reporter: meaningful that he did use the word "bombing." again, we don't have confirmation explicitly from white house officials but i would say the vice president pretty senior official calling this a bombing, jake. i continue to stay in contact with officials and we'll bring you any detailed information either about the president's contact with officials there or further details about boston. jake? >> jessica yellin at the white house. we'll come back to you in a bit. if you're just tuning in, just to catch you up, shortly over an hour or so ago in the last mile of the boston marathon there were two explosions. police now say that two individuals were killed in those
explosions and according to police and local hospitals about 28 are injured. we still do not know exactly what happened. we will update you as events transpire. we're now going to go to cnn national security contributor fran townsend. fran, what are your law enforcement sources telling you? what are they doing right now? >> jake, it's interesting because the first thing you want to do is identify the substance that was used in the explosion and who was the perpetrator. so they're pulling -- they're doing the typical investigative steps. i understand that through the jttf in boston, the joint terrorism task force, the fbi is working with boston law enforcement to pull surveillance camera videos to see if there are any clues there. they're going through open cases, whether those are counterterrorism or criminal we don't know what the motivation is. they'll cast a wide net as they bring in forensic information and crime scene data to match that up with to see if they can identify both a motive and a
suspect. >> even though the vice president used the word "bombing" and the boston marathon refed to two bombs that exploded, we don't have official confirmation yet that this was an act by an individual as opposed to anything else that it could have been. horrific horrifically, manmade or not. fran, when you see these explosions watching cnn, what do they look like to you? do these look like bombs? could they be something else? >> well, look, jake, we should tell our viewers of course it could be something else. that's one of the things that the fbi and local law enforcement will look at. but the sorts of things that will be concerning to law enforcement, multiple simultaneous explosions, in close proximity at a high-profile event where there are bound to be cameras and horrific images after an explosion. all those things make law enforcement deeply suspicious that this was not sort of an accidental event, some sort of
gas explosion or water pipe explosion, but that it was actually intentionally set. and so they're going to comb through that pretty deliberately to try and figure that out. but i will tell you at first blush, to those in the community, it looks like it was, in fact, a bombing. >> and, fran, we're told that other cities are going on heightened alert. you heard from jessica yellin our senior white house correspondent saying the white house is in something of a lockdown mode. is this just protocol? >> it is protocol, jake. we know places like from the east africa embassy bombings, you had one in kenya and one in tanzania. it's not infrequent if this was a planned, premeditated attack that it would be not only in boston. so the right thing to do from a preparation standpoint is to go to a heightened state of security until you can have a better sense of what the cause and what the motivation was. >> if you're just joining us, there were two explosions at the end of the boston marathon, around the 3:00 hour, two
individuals according to the boston police dead, 28 injured. cnn political reporter peter can by is on the scene. that's copley square. peter, tell us what you're seeing. >> jaim, it's kind of haphazard now. the police are trying to shut down various roads that people are just sort of going around to get where they need to go. in the immediate vicinity where i am, at the corner of exeter and commonwealth just a few blocks north of copley square. the immediate blocks have been pretty handily cordoned off. you have a bunch of onlookers here. i'm looking at three fire trucks and a small group of police officers and first responders. there's lots of people milling around. i'm surrounded by more than a few people who are in tears. it's kind of an odd scene, kind of hard to get a read on people'ses emotions because as you know after running a marathon there are plenty of
people lying on the ground. there's plenty of people who are happy. but there's lots of people walking around in complete disbeli disbelief. everyone here is on their cell phone. i first heard about the explosion when i was over in cambridge and ran across the harvard bridge to come over here, and in kind of a telling moment of how people get their news now, you saw lots of young people with ashen looks on their face staring at their phones, trying to make phone calls. a lot of older people just walking around not knowing what had happened in the immediate aftermath. but right now, jake, right here we have a small group of reporters and onlookers and just thousands and thousands of people milling around the back bay as ambulances and police cars come by. >> we were just told, peter, there will be a press conference by local authorities, including the boston fire department, at 4:30 eastern. that's just 14 minutes from now. to talk about what happened. we will bring you that live as it comes.
i also -- peter, how big is the law enforcement presence where you are right now? as you know, often when there is an explosion in a situation like this, if it is a terrorist attack, the terrorists will take the occasion to do a secondary or tertiary attack once people have gathered to -- once first responders have gathered. are there a lot of policemen there? >> right, that's exactly right. that's sort of the hallmark of those incidents. i'm currently looking at -- again, this is just down exeter street, i see about a dozen firefighters and three dozen police officers, and they're trying to keep as many people back as possible. again, i talked to one police officer earlier and was trying to walk down mass ave to get over here. he said, you can't go this way. so i just walked around the block. there's so many people and so many treats and alleys to close off, jake. you have a lot of people who are walking away on foot, streets
are shut down, but a lot of people also walking toward the scene. p p one more thing, i talked to ben, an eyewitness, he's say student at tufts university, and his description of the explosion was that the size of the explosion -- you heard earlier it was probably the size of a four-story building. this eyewitness said something similar, that it was bigger than the grandstand at the finish line, the first explosion. he said it, quote, felt like a huge cannon and then he said a second explosion came out of what he said looked like a trash can. now, that's his description. can't confirm that, but that's what he said. he said that they came very quickly, one after the other. the way he described it was boom, two, three, boom. so in pretty quick succession according to one witness. >> peter hamby on the scene there in boston. if you're just joining us, there were two explosions at the end
of the boston marathon. 28 wounded and 2 have been killed in these explosions, according to police. we still do not know exactly what type of explosions they were, although vice president joe biden did refer to them as a bombing. i want to bring in cnn's national security an alift peter bergen. peter, does this -- obviously we don't want to speculate. we don't know what this was. but is there reason for people who deal in counter terrorism to think this is an act of terrorism, or suspect it strongly at least? >> sure, although i'm reminding of oklahoma city which was a bombing but first treated as a gas explosion. first reports are often erroneous. the fact there were two explosions, two bombings -- one of the things i would be looking at is, once the device,s if it is a device, is found, what kind of explosives were used? for instance, if it was hydrogen po pour oxide, this is a hallmark of al qaeda. something else could be a
right-wing extremist. we've seen a number of failed bombing attempts by al qaeda using bombs, for instance, manhattan subway in 2009, in times square in 2010, the attempt to bring down the flight over detroit in 2009. but we've also seen other extremist groups attacking, for instance -- trying to attack the martin luther king parade in oregon in 2010. so if it is a device of some kind, you know, we shouldn't lead to conclusions about where it's coming from in terms of a political persuasion and the kind of device will indicate i think if it has any links to al qaeda. it is much more likely to be a hydrogen peroxide bomb than other kinds, the reason is hydrogen peroxide is relatively easy to accumulate. whereas if you go out and buy something for a fertilizer bomb you'll attract a lot of law enforcement attention at this point. >> we have in studio with us
former congresswoman jane harman who was the house intelligence -- the ranking democrat on the house intelligence committee. in a situation like this, what are your counterparts doing right now? what is the house intelligence, the senate intelligence committee members doing? what are members of the cia/fbi doing right now? >> well, congress needs to be briefed and i'm quite sure that the chief of staff of each committee, house and senate intelligence, is on the phone right now with either janet napolitano or a top aide. >> the head of the department of homeland security. >> and possibly with the white house as well. fran townsend was in the white house chair when i spent my time on the house intelligence committee, and she was the source of information. there will be concern, especially by the members of congress from boston or new york or washington. these are obviously places that have to be on heightened alert. and those members need to be
briefed. i was listening to peter who is enormously qualified to talk about this. i think it's true that if it turns out to be a bomb what substance was in there may determine the signature of the group, but let's remember there have been attacks at olympics in the past, big sporting events, at the olympics in atlanta and then the munich bombing in the '70s, way long ago. and the motives for those attacks were very different from an al qaeda motive. it's too early to know, but i certainly think it looks suspicious and it is an enormous tragedy. the good news, if there is something that we could call good news, is there's a lot of law enforcement and medical help on the scene, and simultaneously a rocket didn't go off in north korea. or at least not yet. >> we're joined on the phone right now with josh cox, he's in boston. josh, tell us what is happening where you are right now. >> well, i was brought back here by universal sports with my
sponsors power bar and garmin to just be at the expo, and i was here doing the commonating. we were actually getting ready to shoot the recap show and our studio is set up right by the finish line on boylston. i was just walking over and talking to a friend of mine right there by the finish chute, and we heard one just massive explosion. huge boom. obviously we didn't know what it was. i had my phone out and i snapped a photo thinking, oh, a generator blew or transiter. then when the second one went off, we said, that's a bomb. it was -- we could smell the smoke. we saw people lying on the ground. runners were crying. and the police were on it. boston pd were all through the area earlier in the day. i saw the bomb-sniffing dogs. they cover the whole area. but you're talking about 26.2 miles and over -- right around 500,000 spectators lining the
course. boylston street is where everyone just -- it's shoulder to shoulder standing room only. everyone is trying to see. the pros finish and the friends and families finish, and everyone just kind of scattered once the second one went off. very, very frightening. very, very scary. >> according to some other news ort reports, there have been two more -- the associated press specifically -- explosive devices found in boston. we were told not long ago that counterterrorism crews were roving around boston looking at other landmarks, other places where bombs might be located. we're told by the associated press citing sources in boston that two of those devices suspected devices have been found. john, you are from the area.
tell us more about what your sources are telling you. >> just a little bit. number one, we're told the first official law enforcement briefing will be at 4:30 p.m. being held at the weston hotel copley square, very near where the explosions took place. that tells you police feel they've secured that area. it's in that area. one of the sources i spoke to via e-mail is using the term "explosive devices." we've been trying to figure out, was this a gas explosion, something else, or could it be a bo bombing? they're using the term "explosive devices," which tells you they have a law enforcement investigation. i spoke to a source that said at least one device had been detonated by a bomb squad. sometimes you get conflicting information. >> let's bring in cnn crime and justice correspondent joe johns. he's in our newsroom here in washington. joe, you have news about another device. >> right, jake. that's sort of comports with what john king was reporting there. we've talked to i government source who has told us that what
he describes as a third explosive device has been discovered. they believe by fire department officials on the ground there in boston. it's important to say that this federal source also says the fire department, other first responders, have been, as you'd expect, combing the area looking for any ignition source or any explosive device that might remain in the area. and apparently have found at least one, possibly more, there on the ground. so you obviously have to use an abundance of caution right now in these situations because no law enforcement authority has gone on the air and confirmed for us on the record that this was, in fact, a bomb, but many of the signs are certainly pointing there right now. >> and we know that in four minutes law enforcement and the fire department in boston will give a press conference, giving more information about what they know. we're expecting that presses
conference in roughly three minutes, and we will bring that of course to you live. tom foreman is here to tell us more about the incident and the event itself. tom? >> sure, jake. as you know, this is not just any big sporting event. for the world's runners, this is the big sporting event of the year. it's extraordinary. the route starts out here in hopkinton. it gets more and more dense as it works its way into boston. as we move toward the finish line, i'll stop it part way in here so you see landmarks, which i know john over here is well acquainted with. as you move in, you're going past fenway park over here, the massachusetts institute of technology over in here, boston college, boston university. so lot of places passing here. right now what police have been telling runners to do, this is mass ave cutting right through here. they're telling the runners on this side of mass ave to keep going toward boston common. the rest of them they want to come back toward kenmore square. let's move into the finish line and talk about what was happening there. we were talking about the crowds
that were in there. s best we can map this out, this is where the finish line occurs. you can see it marked here. this is where the first explosion occurred, right in this area. when you watch that video we saw a short while ago, you can see the second one is just down the road here. we're not real sure of the distance, but it happens in very, very short order. i'm going to bring in a street view so you get a better look at what it's like. if you were standing at the finish line when this happened, this is exactly where you would be. you have an idea of what's around it, the general setting you're in. this is a very, very popular and very dense part of boston on any day. but on marathon day it's a huge, huge event. in fact, i have a friend about two miles short of the finish line when this happened so this is just a mammoth event. and when we widen this out once again, i'll exit the street view here, i'll show you where the hospital is. massachusetts general is one of the most renowned trauma centers you can find in the whole area, and it's not really that terribly far away. but through the traffic here that would be quite a haul to get through to, especially the
traffic after the event. i will tell you, jake, we talk about the people who were there. last year boston had an extraordinarily hot marathon, and they had a lot of marathoners who were in trouble. that was taxing to a degree on all the medical services there because at marathons the care is focused on people who get into this kind of trouble. there is security, but i've run a lot of marathons and usually the security is focused on just crowd control and taking care of people who get into trouble. this level of security that you see here for this kind of event, that really occurs mainly at the giant marathons, boston being one of them, new york, the marine corps marathon. they are prepared for that, but, as so many people have noted, jake, you can't guard 26.2 miles. it's just too much ground through too dense of an area. >> i want to go now to national public radio's peter saying elle who was a witness to the event. peter, what did you see? >> hey, jake. well, it just so happens i ran the marathon this year as a
guide to a blind runner named william greer, and william and i had just crossed the finish line i guess at around 3:45. we were about 100 yards into what we call the finishing chute, the long area that you walk through after finishing, when there was a huge explosion right behind us. we turned, as you go, and saw a white plume of smoke rising into the air from what seemed to my perspective the course side of the finishing line, which is a big structure. and then as we were all staring at it in surprise and dismay, another explosion immediately thereafter either adding to or causing another white plume of smoke. that's what we saw. we had no idea what it was, and the officials there immediately started shuttling us all down that chute away from the area of the explosion. >> peter, we -- first of all, i'm glad you're okay and your friend is okay. we have reports that two individuals have been killed, 28
wounded. were you shuttled out before any of them were taken away to get better medical care? or did you witness -- >> no. i really saw nothing of the explosions because we were 100 yards away, moving away, and then a helicopter is right above my head, i apologize, then shuttled quickly away. all i saw was a convergence of emergency equipment and personnel on the site. in fact, as i was trying to get away from the site, i walked by an area on huntington street in boston and there must have been two dozen ambulances staged and ready to go. so i can only assume there were taking casualties. but i saw nothing from my perspective. i saw the same photos and twitter that you guys have seen. >> when you were taken away, where were you taken? how far from the scene awere yo
taken? >> well, it was an odd experience. if you've ever run a marathon, you know part of the finish is you're very carefully and efficiently moved away from the finishing line to make room for the next finishers. as far as we were concerned, we were just walking more quickly through the chute. we were given our medals and our mylar blankets and bananas just like we normally would. and at this point we were hearing only rumors of what had happened. people were guessing all kinds of things, from something harmless as a blown-out transformer to something more serious. so in an odd way our experience beyond the finish line moving away from the explosion was perfectly normal for a post-marathon. it was only after a while that the police started moving through the area and telling us in rather, shall we say, energetic tones to get out and to evacuate the area that i left. >> peter, we're glatd that you and your friend are okay.
former fbi official tom fuentes joins us now. we're told definitively from sources in boston that these were two bombs that went off at the end of the boston marathon in the last mile on boylston street, copley square area. what exactly would the fbi be doing right now and what are you hearing from your law enforcement sources? >> hi, jake. well, it's too soon for any sources to know since no one has apparently claimed public credit for planting those bombs or setting them off. we're going to have to wait on that a little bit. what the main focus is initially, is to rescue the people who are injured, get them to medical facilities as quickly as possible, create a perimeter, cordon off the area so no one can come obliterate the crime scene, which is possible when you have a large crowd in an area like that and people panic in the aftermath of a bombing. so that's the preliminary thing. then, after that, the crime scene investigators come in,
particularly ones with post-blast investigative expertise, to look for the residue, the tell tale signs of a bomb, explosive residue that they would capture and analyze later to determine what type of explosive was used. they would be looking for wires, batteries, timers, any other device or pieces of a device that might indicate what the original bomb looked like. but i would like to adhere that in watching these videos this afternoon, in seeing the one that tends to show the origin of one of the bombings and the smoke coming from it, thankfully it's not a huge amount of explosives that were used. and i know it's devastating and i'm very sorry that people have been killed and adozens of people have been injured, but i've been to those kind of bombings, particularly in an urban area, spending time in iraq dealing with that and investigating the aftermath, and normally large city buildings act like a container and amplify
the concussion, if you will. so when a bomb goes off, the energy from the bomb can't just dissipate into thin air. it's contained within the walls of those buildings almost like a city canyon. and i think a lot more -- if it was a huge amount of explosives we'd have dozens of people dead not just at this point the two that we know have been killed. it could have been really, really much worse. >> former fbi assistant director and cnn contributor tom fuentes, we'll be back to you soon. i want to go back to senior white house correspondent jessica yellin who has more information about the president and how he was notified. jessica? >> reporter: hi, jake. president obama was notified by his new homeland security adviser lisa monaco and other members of senior white house staff when he was in the oval office earlier today. monaco as you know took the place of his now-departed homeland security adviser who has now left for the cia.
monaco new on the job, the president has spoken with the mayor of boston, tom anino, and massachusetts governor duvall patrick and offered them all the resources that they may need from the federal government. in a statement we're also told that he expressed his concern for those who were injured and made clear, again, that his administration is ready to provide needed support as they respond to this incident. jake, the president does have one event later this afternoon so we are scheduled to see him on camera. h will be officially induct the new diplomats into the foreign service corps. so we'll look to see if the president makes s any kind of statement about the events in boston, and we'll bring that to you when it happens. i would imagine it would be hard for him to avoid commenting on this at this stage. jake? >> jessica, thank you. if you're just joining us, we are expecting a press conference from boston police commissioner
ed davis at 4:45 eastern, 1:45 pacific in response to the two bombs that occurred a few hours ago in the final mile of the boston marathon. we're told by boston police that two individuals have been killed in these blasts and at least 28 have been wounded. cnn can also confirm that the faa ahas placed a temporary flight restriction over the site of the explosion in boston at the request of law enforcement. it has a radius of three nautical miles from the site and extends from the surface to 3,000 feet. i'm joined here in studio by jane harman, former congre congresswoman and chair ever the house intelligence committee. congress wox, we have been through a lot, certainly not as house intelligence chair or ranking member, ins departments like this. in fact, i believe this friday is the anniversary of both waco and the oklahoma city bombing. what's going through your mind as you watch these events
unfold? >> well, i'm concerned. a signature of al qaeda, if this may be al qaeda -- and we have no proof yet or some associated organization -- is near-simultaneous attacks. yes, there were at least reported so far several bombs that went off along the route of the marathon, but there may be other things at other sporting events or in other cities that are high targets. i'm looking at peter bergen who is sitting across from me, and he's nodding. >> just to interrupt for one second, in fact, six days from now the london marathon will take place. we're already told the chief superintendent of that marathon is going to be reviewing security arrangements in light of today's attack, today's bombing at the boston marathon. >> so i would say, based on experience in this modern era with al qaeda and al qaeda-like organizations, we should anticipate, if this turns out to be the signature, some other
attacks either in sporting eechbltss or high-target cities or in -- on holiday afternoons where there are mass gatherings. i mean, this is an obvious tragedy, but when you think about 500,000 people along the rut route, this is one of the premier if not the premier marathon. i've run the marine corps marathon. one of my children has run this marathon. they're big deals. 50 nations represented. i mean, if you really want to target innocent civilians, this is a great opportunity and sadly maybe someone will have taken advantage of it. >> and we have a statement here from the governor of massachusetts, duvall patrick -- this is a horrific day in boston. my thoughts and prayers are with those who have been your. i've been in touch with the president and the mayor. our focus is on making sure the area around copley square is safe and secure. i'm asking everyone to stay away from copley square and let the first responders do their jobs.
we're waiting. in about five minutes we're told the boston police commissioner ed davis will have a press conference to talk about what's happened today. john, every city probably feels like it could happen there, but it hasn't happened yet. now we have this horrific event happening in boston. >> and right in the heart of the city. not only the finishing line for the marathon, that big building tom foreman showed was the central library, boston public library. the boston common and public garden less than a quarter mile away, a lot of students and tourists go through that area. if you're looking to make a political statement -- and we do hear from sources they were explosive devices -- two went off, at least one other was found unexploded that we know of, and we're waiting to hear details from law enforcement. you have devices. someone is trying to make a statement. the question is who. is it a local issue, international issue? hopefully the law enforcement officials -- i assume they'll say they don't know yet. i have a lot of family in boston, including a son at
boston college. you're trying to reach people and the cell phone networks have been overwhelmed so it's a hard time getting through. you're seeing now i have high school classmates using a page on facebook. i reached out to my family and sticks have helped to make sure everybody is safe. thank god everybody in my family is by all accounts. that's one of the interesting phenomena that happens, with such an event with so many people, people around the world trying to find friends and loved ones, the system gets overwhelmed. as we try to get information, we should also make note there are people watching in the states and around the world are desperate to find out friends and arelatives, family members who may be in that area. >> that's right. in fact, we don't know about the two who have been killed, at least two, and we don't know who they are. there are 28 individuals who have been wounded. we're told by police some critically. we want to go to cnn national security adviser fran townsend who is in new york. fran, what are you hearing from your sources? >> jake, as jane harman alluded to, we're now hearing from law
enforcement source familiar with the investigation that this appears to be a well-planned and coordinated event. they're not using the word "attack" but this is the sort of language it looks very much like it's headed in that direction now. >> and we're told by federal law enforcement sources that authorities have found other devices in boston, not just one but other devices they're working to render safe. but the federal source says the bombs seemed small. >> the one source i spoke to, a federal source, said to me there was -- he acknowledged there was a third device. they weren't sure what they had. they were attempting to disarm it safely now. >> we're 0 going to go to chris cuomo, he's on his way to the scene in boston. what are you hearing, chris? >> hi, jake, how are you? can you hear me? >> yes. >> how are you? this is what we understand. we're trying to get on the plane up to boston. they just issued a ground stop there. now part of that -- the defunctry part of that is i'm
not confident about what the extended capabilities are here, how many other devices there could be. i don't know what you've reported so far, i've missed some of it. two of the bombs that went off they believe were detonated by, let's say, the bad guys. a third explosion that went off was detonated by bomb techs, they found another device, they exploded it themselves. we're hearing there may be a fourth device that they are working on dismantling that's developing information. we do hear that the death toll is rising and expected to do so. one of the things that we got as an indication from this explosion, the white smoke. that is usually an indication of a more crude device, nonplastic explosives. it is a distinction of a difference in that plastic zmroesives have much higher blast capabilities, can take people out in a much bigger range. these white smoke bombs, more crude bombs, can cause great damage as we've seen, smaller perimet
perimeter. they believe that they were remotely detonated, could have been cellular capabilities. that's why they've been careful about cell phones but is it a very developing situation. lots of different parties on the ground for the marathon communicating, jake, on the investigation of this situation. still very fluid obviously. no information about who did this or why, the nature of the explosives lead the experts to tell cnn they believe it would be more of a home grown variety, crude devices. >> i want to go to adam igner from boston. what are you hearing? >> i've just been pushed back near the corner of dartmouth and stewart streets. we're near the westin hotel where we're awaiting the press conference. police says there is potentially a suspicious package. pushing us farther away from the copley area where the explosions took place. i've talked to several people
who were on the ground very close and one meadow official who was treating and triaging patients who were affected by the explosion. everyone described a horrific scene, lots of blood and glass and bricks and just the thing where you see lots of people very emotional here on the ground, a lot of people shaken up. not sure what to expect. >> adam, we are expecting that press conference from the boston police commissioner ed davis any minute now. we'll bring it to you live as it happens. those who are just joining us, just to recap, there were two explosive devices that went off towards the last mile of the boston marathon earlier today. we're told that two individuals at least have been killed, 28 wounded, some of them critically. i'm going to now go to former fbi official tom fuentes, former assistant director of the fbi. tom, what would the fbi be doing right now, now that we know that these devices were explosive devices, this was an event
designed to cause loss of life and limb. what would the fbi be doing right now? >> well, first and foremost would be to try to identify what the bombs were made of you, how they were put together, what materials were used, what type of explosive, where it could have been obtained. oftentimes that will tell you whether, if it's a crude bomb, somebody just learned to do it off the internet or whether or not it's a more sophisticated put-together piece that may be indicative of a certain group or a certain terrorist organization, let's say, that makes bombs a certain way and therefore has a signature for how they put them together. so the first effort -- but all these efforts will be going concurrently. one of the efforts will be obviously the crime scene investigation. if they have another device that's not exploded and has not been detonated by the bomb squad, then that will be a wealth of information as to how it was put together. they'll have the ready-made view of that particular device.
then secondly behind the scenes, has anybody claimed credit? was there any threats? what was the intelligence reporting going on leading up to the event that may have impacted on this particular event? there will also be trying to obtain copies of all of the media videotapes, the iphone cameras, personal cameras that were being used at the time before, during and after the bombings, to see if they can get a view of what individual may have actually placed the device. now, that's going to be extremely difficult. you have thousands of people near that finish line, probably more than half carrying backpacks so they have dry clothing for the runners when they cross the finish line or water or food or other material. so you'll have people from all over the world that come to attend this, their family members, their friends. as i said, they're going to be carrying packages and backpacks and setting them down on the sidewalk because they're out
there a long time. it will will be very difficult to find some individual that stands out as suspicious in a crowd that diverse. >> and i want to play some sound from witnesses, but before i do, congresswoman harman wanted to say something about the fact that they were able to find some of these devices unexploded. >> yeah. i think this is a great tribute to law enforcement. i don't think we know everything yet. there may be more devices. there may be devices in other cities. i just wanted to offer something about homegrown terrorism, if that may turn out to be what it is. it is easy on the internet to find out, quote, how to make a bomb in the kitchen of your mom. there's an english language magazine called "inspire" produced in yemen by folks who have lived in the united states a long time, and one of their recent issues they've come out with a tenth issue, encouraging people to do small bomb tacks on transportation routes. i don't know that there's any
connection yet and hopefully there won't, but we're a long way from knowing whether this is homegrown or not. just one other comment, jake. i know this may be hard to hear, but one of the things we have to show in this country is resilience. these have been so far small bomb attacks. it is horrific that we have lost two or three lives and that dozens are injured. but we can't stop our entire economy and dwell on this. what we have to do is, in a very targeted way, use our counterterrorism resources and our law enforcement resources and find out who did this. we have to move crowds safely out of harm's way. but it would be terrible to shut down our country. then the bad guys, if they're out there, really do win, and we have to show we're not terrorized. >> i want to play some sound from eyewitnesss if we can roll that tape. >> the explosion looked like it was right outside the marathon sports, right outside the finish
line or the building next to it. i was over there literally two minutes before. i walked down and heard two big explosions, large plumes of dust, smoke, glass. obviously everybody was going crazy. >> we help ed people, putting pressure on their wounds. a lot of people were hurt. we just ran as fast as we could to give blood. they were banged up bad. severe lacerations, amputees, a lotshrapnel. a lot of blood everywhere. >> the press conference with police commissioner ed davis is about to begin. here's governor duvall patrick. >> mindful that we don't have the whole picture yet, but we have gotten a good deal of information. commissioner davis will take all of us through the informations that we have, and then i'll come
back and talk about some of the things and ways in which we're going to ask people to help us help you this afternoon. let me turn it over to ed davis, commissioner of police here in boston. >> thank you, governor. at 2:50 p.m. today there were simultaneous explosions that occurred along the ruts of t-- route of the boston marathon near the finish line. these explosions occurred 50 to 100 yards apart and each scene resulted in multiple casualties. at this point in time, all of the victims have been removed from the scene, we have sent officers to hospitals to be in touch with family members and possible witnesses. we immediately activated a system of response that the commonwealth of massachusetts
and the federal government has in place for these type of incidents. my first two calls were to the special agent in charge to the fbi and to the colonel of the state police, both immediately sent resources. we have at this point in time determined that there has been a third incident that has occurred. there was an explosion that occurred at the jfk library. so this is it 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. wasn't to make sure to completely stabilize the situation. we're setting up two telephone numbers that are very important. the first one is for families of
victims, people who are trying to locate people. that number is 617-635-4500. that is the mayor's hotline. the second number, if anyone saw anything at this incident, if anybody knows of any information that could lead to the arrest and prosecution of the individuals responsible for this, they should call us at 1-800-494-tips. that's 1-800-494-tips. that line will be staffed tonight, along with the fbi and the state police, we are working with the alcohol toe p babacco firearms. we have the general here from the massachusetts national guard who assisted us in securing the perimeter. and we have assets from other agencies who are volunteering to assist us. after this incident occurred, there was certainly a lot of people who were running from the scene, some of them depositing bags and parcels they were
carrying. each one of those bags and parcels is being treated as a suspicious device at this point in time. we have multiple eod teams that are checking each one of these bags. but at this point we have not found another device. the three incident that's have occurred, two of them simultaneously on boylston street and third one at jfk about a half hour ago. people should be calm, but they should understand that this is an ongoing event and they should understand that we need all the information that we can get available to us. thank you. >> ed, thank you very much. i want to thank the commissioner. i had a call from the president p about half an hour ago who assured us that we would have full cooperation of the fbi, the atf, who are also on the ground. s the commissioner said, we have the state police, the national
guard fully deployed. and we thank them for their assistance. the city fire marshal is here as well. a lot of coordination in a very fluid situation. 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 tip lines. this is very, very important so that we get as current information as we can as quickly as possible. happy to take any questions. [ inaudible question ] well, you know, i -- the marathon is a pretty special day around here, as you know, and i started this morning visiting
may or menino in the hospital who's devastated he couldn't be at the marathon today. he's on his way here, right? am i right? from the hospital. so obviously he is as concerned as the rest of us are about the safety of the people who come for this iconic experience here in the city. >> we heard reports that you're looking for a specific kind of truck our motorcycle? >> no. there is no specific type of truck that we're looking for at this point in time. we are looking for any information that people have as to what they saw, might have heard at the site of the explosion or coming and going. we're investigating all leads right now. >> what's the latest death and injury toll? >> we don't have the number of casualties at this point in time. this is very early. we wanted to get you as much information as we had, but we can't tell you exactly how many are hurt. >> there were rumors there was a
controlled explosion an hour ago. >> that was a controlled explosion on boylston street. but the third explosion at jfk we believe is related. [ inaudible question ] as i explained earlier, there are a number of parcels that have been dropped by people on the parade route -- on the race route. anything that's out there right now is being viewed as a suspicious device, and we are clearing each one of those items with an eod team. they could be blow things up over the next few hours, but at this point in time we haven't found another device on boylston street. >> had there been any warnings, threats could have happened? >> none. we talk about the threat picture all the time as we lead up to this particular event and we have no information that this was going to happen. >> can you tell us what happened at jfk? >> it's literally just unfolding. i don't have specifics. there was an explosion there.
[ inaudible question ] we got reports after 3:00 that there was an explosion there. >> commissioner, any injuries at jfk library? >> none that we know of. [ inaudible question ] would you say this is a terrorist attack? >> we're not being definitive on this right now, but you can reach your own conclusions based upon what happened. >> would you describe the di diligence -- >> has anyone claimed responsibility for this? >> at this point, no. every asset in the commonwealth of massachusetts or the federal government is here or coming here. the governor says the president has talked directly to the mayor as well as the governor and i had a personal conversation with the director of the fbi who pledged any help that we needed. so we are stabilizing the situation at this point in time, but people should be cautious. that's all. thank you all very much. >> thank you. >> thank you. >> we're going to try to do
another briefing at 7:00, two hours from now. >> that's police commissioner ed davis speaking, giving us the latest information. as we know, at 2:50 p.m. eastern near the finish line of the boston marathon, two explosive devices went off, killing at least two individuals and wounding at least 28. some of them critically. the explosions were 50 to 100 yards apart. there were multiple casualties at each. there's also been reports, according to commissioner davis, of a third incident at jfk library. we only have 30 seconds, very quickly, congresswoman jane harman, peter bergen, your thoughts? >> hats off to the boston pd and emt officials around the marathon site. this is what they're trained to do it's a huge tragedy but it will be less bad because they're so good. >> what are you wait gt to hear about in these coming hours, peter? >> i think the actual constituency inside the bomb will make a big difference on how we
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