tv BBC World News America PBS April 15, 2013 5:30pm-6:00pm EDT
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explosions rocked the boston marathon. police say two people have been killed and more than 20 injured. runners and spectators are caught up in the twin last. witnesses are speaking of a lot of people down. and a third bomb went off close to the jfk library, also in boston. welcome to our viewers on public television in america and elsewhere around the globe. there have been multiple explosions at the annual boston marathon here in the u.s.. the blast happened at the finish line. authorities have confirmed that two people are dead and two dozen injured. coveragewe have full
and we start with this report from the bbc north america entered. >> one had just crossed the finish line, a normal, happy holiday. then an explosion. people do not really understand what happened. one woman falls to the ground. isn another explosion this patriots' day in massachusetts. policey services and were quick on hand to pull debris off of the survivors. it seems emergency services reacted quickly and efficiently. walked 20 feet away and a bomb went off. it knocked me to the ground. everyone started running, panicking. >> there is already plenty of speculation about what caused these explosions. the white house is being cautious, saying that the
president has told his administration to give what help is necessary for the investigation and response. >> mark morelle their reporting. is the former homeland security chief. obviously, the details are still coming in from boston, but what is your understanding of what happened there today? in, ithe details to come understand there were reports of two, and then a third explosion, but i've been unable to confirm that. these are improvised explosive devices. as fatal as they were and as harmful as they were, they were small and obviously, must have been concealed. describe a motive to anyone. there is speculation of a suspect or two in custody.
again, in democracies, when people gather weather in the u.k. or in the u.s., these big, public events attract large crowds. they have been and will always be attractive targets for people organizations respect -- responsible for this deadly attack. >> you were director of homeland security after the attacks of 9/11 here in the united states. it is too early to tell if this is from a domestic source or an international source. what are you looking for here? >> well, i think the forensic evidence associated with the would behat were found a good source of information. i suspect, although i could not confirm, as part of the precautionary measures around events such as this, they may have had analytical cameras focused on certain areas. they may have had observers.
either there will be witnesses to be interviewed. as the president has said, the full force of the fbi, the massachusetts state police and local police will do everything they can to as quickly as they can get to the bottom of this. right now, everyone is in a prayerful mood for the survivors. it is sad that they have to deal with the tragedy of going to a public event, or purchase of trading in the event and experiencing the tragedy and horror that they have. >> and we still do not know exactly how many are in critical condition in boston. the president is being briefed. when you look at your time running national security year in the united states, did you start to see a pattern to these types of attacks or attempted attacks? >> there has not exactly been a pattern to these types of attacks, but among these types of attacks globally, the concern at a high level of
around major public events has existed since 9/11, and will thereafter. it probably existed in the eyes of the law-enforcement community long before 9/11. heightened awareness and security will be in place. but it also means that we will be dealing with the prospects of the possibility of these kinds of events in the future. one of the big challenges for any country, particularly democracies that are concerned about privacy and the rights of individuals, we cannot change how they live because of the incident of attack. countries where we enjoy freedom of movement, freedom of access, mobility, etc., you cannot possibly guarantee feel safe environment. we have to be very careful not to impose so much security that we change dramatically how we live. >> right now, security is being stepped up. there have been calls around the white house already.
would you be nervous now about the possibility of a further attack after this? >> i think there is a natural inclination to believe that there could be follow-on attacks, just as there was a natural inclination to believe that right after 9/11, after the horror associated with that day and in the immediate future there would be a tax. it is prudent and responsible to security, but that is also why law enforcement needs ,o move as quickly as possible to determine what individual or urbanization is responsible. that will impact how much security they put in other places, or when they wrapped it down. >> former director the the of homeland security here in the u.s., thank you for joining us
on the program. >> thank you. by the bbc'sd security correspondent as well as rick pereira who served at the national counter -- counter- terrorism center. gordon, let me talk to you. evidence would leave them to who is behind this. is that where people will start? >> that is right. they will try to determine what kind of the the device was used, how it was detonated. that will lead them to closed- circuit surveillance, which is likely to be a lot given the area. it might help identify whoever plays these items in the area. follow theill evidence trail. not know who is
behind this. police are not saying. we cannot say whether this is either domestic or international. what are the things that you are piecing together out of what happened in boston? what will forensics people and investigators look at? >> kollhoff can be told by the sophistication of the device -- >> i lot can be told by the sophistication of the device and the coordination of the device. >> what was the size? >> based on the explosions, relatively small, but it still had a gift -- a detrimental effect on the people nearby. is isoup or whoever this able to get publicity. it achieved its intended purpose. >> they would have known that there would have been cameras and police and law enforcement. does that give you an indication of who might be behind this? >> every terrorist organization is looking to get their message
across. large locations to get the maximum effect to get publicity for their message. >> when you look at these kinds of attacks, this is what you report on all the time. what patterns are you looking for? >> with certain terrorist groups, for instance, al qaeda, it will do something sophisticated the the like smuggling a bomb on an aircraft. but you also see different tactics and you see different tactics from right-wing domestic extremism groups. the oklahoma city bombing was a massive bomb. but also, you have a lone wolf individuals like the atlanta olympics. there are a range of detractors who do different things. the the -- of different actors to do different things. it is hard to narrow it down
quickly, but you have to keep those options as the most likely at the moment. a domestic extremism group perhaps thinking petrie today in -- pape triet's day in boston is a good target. 's guay in boston is a good target. >> not only is it patriot's date, but it is tax day in the u.s. as well. there are a number of extremist groups that have either various agendas. it will be too early to know what law enforcement can focus on. what they will be focused on at this juncture is to make sure there will be no more attacks. >> i was interested that the police commissioner just a little while ago in boston said that people should not congregate in public.
they should stay indoors. >> asaph of the, we're trying to minimize the effects of these attacks. trying toely, we are minimize the effects of these attacks. that is critical at this juncture. the who, what, when and where will come after we get the public in safe conditions. >> and gordon, you said that they are wise to step up security precautions. would you expect vulnerability in other places after something like this, or not necessarily? >> the vulnerability of a crowded place is always there and hard to protect against. they will be wary in the immediate aftermath whether there could have been a secondary device, but obviously, if whoever planned this have gotten away and we understand there is no one in custody, then the worry could be that they could have gone somewhere else and a plan to do something else.
have a plan to do something else. that could be a worry. they've got to ascertain what their targets might be. atsince 9/11, we're looking 12 years here in the united states and there has not been an attack like this. they have managed to foil several attacks. right. is there have been some close calls. the bomb in times square could have gone off. it was just not wired properly. and there have been other plots disrupted in the the al qaeda related groups. and we have seen some domestic extremism turning to violence. even very recently in the u.s. with shootings and an event that could be put in the same category potentially. even though we have not seen major attacks in the u.s., it is not as though there are any indications or warnings of this
kind of possibility. people have not been on their guard about something like this happening. >> thank you very much for coming in. let's go now to boston. on the line is david abell. he was 10 feet from the explosion. what did you see and hear? >> yes, hello. >> and david, what did you see and hear at the time of the explosion? i was standing at the finish line taking video of the runners as they were coming in. heard a massive boom. i saw a white plume of smoke. and when that clear, a second boom and we immediately knew it was an attack. we could see what was clearly the most horrific thing that anyone could see, which was a
lot of people lying on the limbs mainheir goals, their eyes vacant. shattered gasp -- shattered glass next to a lot of blood. >> a terrible scene, and i can hear it in your voice, the shock of the moment still. did you get a sense of where the explosion may have been placed? did it seem to come inside the building? from the sidewalk? did you just not know? >> i was standing near the center of the street where the boston marathon finishes. it was to my right and on the sidewalk. it could have been, and i do not know, a bomb placed in a receptacle, a garbage can. someone could have been standing
pictures.ters taking this ratner, -- the shrapnel, i the -- the seeat that. however, the concussion, i can still hear my ears ringing. it does not look like the full brunt of the blast hit the people on the other side directly. >> and how much damage was there the -- the see that. to buildings? were there. flying around? was there concrete on the ground? -- were there breaks flying around? there a concrete on the ground? >> this was probably not a very large bomb based on the damage. not the sort of thing that you expect to see in the middle east, where you would see large .raters in the ground there was shattered glass on the
ground. i have no idea at this point, and i'm still trying to piece together eyewitness accounts. i cannot say where the bomb was located, but all i can say is that it seemed to be relatively small bomb meant to maim and kill people. peopledavid, how many were around? i know the police are saying they do not know how many have been injured yet and they do not have a final tally. did it feel to you like there were a lot of people close to the site of the bomb? who were injured by it? >> absolutely. bomb there knew how to maximize the violence. i have run the boston marathon three times. i used to describe the crossing off of boylston street, sort of .he last hurrah of the marathon
,nd using the baseball analogy it was like hitting a home run at fenway. the crowd is roaring and generally, their biggest right by the finish line. there are many people that have loved ones at the finish line .hat they're hoping to greet it was carefully placed for maximized violence. i would say, there were hundreds of people both sides of the street right by the finish line. fromve abell joining us the boston globe. take care and go and get the help that you need. you say that your ears are still ringing. of course, you need medical attention as well. thank you for speaking to us so soon after these attacks.
for more, we can speak to josh cox who also witnessed these explosions. where were you? >> i was right down on boylston street. i am a professional writer myself. myself.ner i was doing some things and i was part of the announcing team. stepped onto boylston just past the finish line and are universal sports team was there getting ready for the recap show. we were just keeping our eyes on the finish line and it was a massive boom and smoke was billowing into the air. and to be honest, i thought that maybe it was the generator or was an electrical. i had my phone out and took a picture of the smoke. and then when the second one happened, i thought, this is foul play. at that point, we could see
bodies laying down. industry, there were runners coming through the finish that were crying. they were trying to get away. a very emotional time for everybody. >> i do not know if you heard david, who was speaking a few minutes ago, describing the debris that was around. did you see a lot of glass, breaks, building debris on the street after the attacks? >> i could definitely see some degree, but really it was the smoke. my ears are ringing. and it was just the smell of smoke. and the first responders, i have to tip my hat to them because it was not more than 30 seconds after the first explosion that sirens were going and motorcycle cops were flying down the road, and police officers and fire
trucks and ambulances. police were evacuating the finish line and getting everyone out of harm's way. >> do you have a sense of how many were in harm's way? was it a crowded area? that manyavid saying runners had finished the race, but there were still many people around the finish line. >> it was right around the four- hour mark. boston is part of the world theor lot -- meriter -- world marathon major series. it is up there with london and new york and chicago and tokyo. there are 20,000 people running this race. they all have to get a qualifying mark. for them, it is their own personal olympics. they all bring their friends and family and make the pilgrimage every year to boston to run this race. when you are talking about crowds, you're talking about 42.6 miles that the police are
trying to secure, which is next to impossible to do. but particularly the finish line on boylston, it is shoulder to shoulder, just jam packed with folks. you cannot move at all on the sidewalk, you have to -- if you want to make your way to the finish, you've got to move around the buildings and go back on the back side. it is one of those tragedies and i do not want to speculate on how many were hurt. i am praying that it is on the low end and that not too many people are hurt and injured. from what i saw, it could definitely be worse. we are getting a lot of people of were running -- a lot reports from people who were running.
many of them fell down. are you aware that there might be the video cameras anywhere, cctv footage, that kind of thing? is this a race that is well film, for example? but it definitely is well filled, particularly at the finish there. it would not surprise me at all to see footage there. everyone has their cameras out there. know.don't i have not heard any reports at all. the cellular service in the area, i do not know if it has been shut down or what ever, but networks are just jammed. i have an ipad and iphone on two different carriers and neither of them are working over there. i just kept walking away and a way so i could call my wife back
home and let her know i was ok. not know what was filmed and what was shot. >> either are people taking part in the race or the people watching the race have to go through any kind of security? or is it the presence of the police that are keeping an eye on things? >> it is really the presence of the police. when you're talking about sporting events and tragedies like this, we had the atlantic games and the bombing there, and of course, what happened in munich in 1972. it is certainly tragic, but when you're talking about securing 42 kilometers of road is next to impossible i was out there for the pre show the early in the morning and the boston police department was out there. they had their bomb sniffing dogs walking up and down boylston i saw that and i thought, craig, we will be safe.
it never really crosses -- great, we will be safe. it never really crosses your mind that a day that should be a demonstration ended up being a day of tragedy. >> he hasn't run the race before and was which is to the bombings the -- was witness to the explosion in boston. a quick reminder, we have had confirmation that there were two explosions at the boston marathon today. there are multiple casualties. we do not know exactly how many have been injured. we have heard in the course of this program that they're looking at forensic evidence. and we have just heard that president obama will be making an address to the nation over the course of the next hour about the boston explosion. this is bbc world news america. thanks for watching. >> funding of this presentation is made possible by the freeman foundation of new york, stowe, vermont, and honolulu, newman's own foundation, giving
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