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CNN NEWSROOM

The Suspects' Many Mistakes; Memorial Service for Victims of Blast; Memorial Service for Victims of Blast; "I Was Reminded Evil Exists"; Unveiling the Bush Presidential Center

Aired April 25, 2013 - 09:30   ET

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


JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: After four years behind bars in an Italian prison. Amanda Knox says she is ready to tell her side of the story.

CNN's Alina Cho has more.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ALINA CHO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In a glossy rollout timed to the release of her new book, waiting to be heard, Amanda Knox is breaking her silence and a primetime special on ABC. Interviews the world has been waiting to hear.

BETSY GLEICK, EXEC. EDITOR, PEOPLE MAGAZINE: She is very thoughtful, articulate, emotional.

CHO: In "People," the 25-year-old speaks candidly about life in prison.

GLEICK: One of the things that sustains her is some family photos. She is so lonely, she caresses it.

CHO: So lonely she thought about committing suicide.

GLEICK: She talked about, you know, would you do it in the shower? And there's a little window in the shower and it would all fog up. So, nobody could see her an she would bleed to death and it would be a peaceful death.

CHO: Knox, then a college exchange student Italy, spent nearly four years in prison after she and her Italian boyfriend were convicted of murdering Meredith Kercher, Knox's then roommate. Details emerged of a kinky sex game gone wrong. Knox was dubbed a femme fatale. The media ate it up.

ROBERT THOMPSON, SYRACUSE UNIVERSITY: Attractive young woman is taking place overseas. There is this issue of, was the wrong person accused or weren't they? Let's face it, Alfred Hitchcock made movies about subjects like this for about 50 years.

CHO: Then, two years later, 2011, following a dramatic turn of events involving bad evidence, the convictions were overturned.

AMANDA KNOX, FORMERLY ACCUSED OF MURDER: Thank you to everyone who's believed in me. Who's defended me. CHO: Knox tells people, "I'm not a murderer. I wanted to lay myself out in a completely honest way. It was, 'You can judge me, but this is what you have to judge me on.'"

BETSY GLEICK, EXECUTIVE EDITOR, PEOPLE MAGAZINE: She's studying in Seattle, she has a boyfriend, she's really, really close to her family.

CHO: But returning to regular life has presented its challenges. Knox says she had trouble using her iPhone, had no idea what Twitter was, and one night while watching David Letterman --

GLEICK: His top 10 list that night is the top 10 questions Amanda Knox would ask. And one of the things on his list was, who is Justin Bieber, and Amanda says, she turned to her family and she's like, who is Justin Bieber?

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Alina Cho with that.

Back now to our special coverage here in Boston. Since the naming of the bombing suspects one week ago today, investigators have been praised for turning this massively chaotic crime scene into a treasure trove of clues. And the suspect themselves helped.

CNN's Randi Kaye shows that some of the mistakes that put authorities on their trail.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): From his hospital bed not long after surgeon amputated both his leg, this man scribbles something on a piece of paper. It would give investigators a big jump in catching the Boston bombers.

Jeff Bauman, who had come to watch his girlfriend race, writes, "Bag, saw the guy. Looked right at me." According to the Bloomberg interview with his brother. Words that help investigators narrow down the suspect as they pore through hours of security camera footage and hundreds of expectators' photos.

Bauman saw the older Tsarnaev place a backpack right next to him, close to the finish line. He was wearing a baseball hat. He found on video footage behind him another young man. Investigators zero in.

RICHARD DESLAURIERS, FBI SPECIAL AGENT IN CHARGE: Today, we're enlisting the public's help to identify the two suspects. After a very detailed analysis of photo, video and other evidence, we are releasing photos of these two suspects. They are identified as suspect one and suspect two.

KAYE: April 18th, just three days after the bombing, authorities give us our first glimpse of the suspected bombers, brothers, Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. How did they isolate them? Chilling details from the FBI affidavit. At 2:38 p.m. the day of the marathon, a security camera picks up the two suspects turning east on Boylston from Gloucester Street. Both are carrying knapsacks. Bomber one a few steps ahead of bomber two who made the mistake of wearing his baseball hat backward and no sunglasses, making him easily identifiable.

Additional security video from the foreign restaurant cited the second explosion shows the two men standing together at 2:41 p.m. At 2:42 the same camera shows the older brother heading toward the finish line. The younger one stops, right in front of the restaurant. He stayed there for several minutes. Only when the first bomb explodes at 2:49 does he begin to walk away, leaving his knapsack on the ground, ten seconds later, it explodes.

Marathon veteran Bob Leonard snapped hundreds of photos at the finish line. When the FBI released the security camera footage showing images of the suspect, Leonard used his time stamp to see if his camera had picked them up, too. Sure enough he had photos of the men's faces. He uploaded them to the FBI.

(On camera): But even with such strong leads, there was no sign of the suspects. It was as if they had vanished after the bombing. Had they left town or did they make the mistake of laying low until they could escape safely? Authorities had no idea until late Thursday night when hours after the suspects were ID'd, they got word of shots fired.

(Voice-over): About 10:30 p.m., on the campus of MIT, police find campus officer Sean Collier dead in his car, shot multiple times. Just before midnight, also in Cambridge, a carjacking and another series of mistakes by the suspects. The driver tells authorities that one of the suspects pointed a firearm at him and admitted the bombings, saying, quote, "Did you hear about the Boston explosion? I did that."

The suspects need cash, the man is forced to hand over his ATM card. The stolen SUV is running low on gas. They stop at a gas station at 816 Memorial Drive in Cambridge. The younger brother caught on surveillance footage.

ED DAVIS, BOSTON POLICE COMMISSIONER: It was the first real clear cut picture we had of the suspects. Not only showing what they look like as far as their physical description, but also what they were wearing.

KAYE: According to the carjack victim he manages to escape while one of the suspects was inside and the other pumping gas. A short time later, police track the men down in Watertown. Not only had they kept their hostage's car, but also his phone, which allowed police to track their location. Another goof.

When approached, the suspects throw explosive devices out of the car and an intense gun battle begins on Laurel Street in Watertown.

DAVIS: There was an exchange of over 200 rounds of gunfire. There were improvised explosive devices and handmade hand grenades that were thrown at the officers at the scene. This is the stuff that in an urban police department, it's almost unheard of.

KAYE: The older brother Tamerlan Tsarnaev died at the scene, 19-year- old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev escaped. Then late Friday, a Watertown resident notices the straps on his boat's tarp were cut and there is blood. A state police helicopter's thermal imaging spots someone inside.

It is Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. Law enforcement uses stun grenades, call on him to surrender. After a brief standoff, Tsarnaev stands up, his hands raised. Five days after the city of Boston was terrorized and countless lives shattered, it is over.

Randi Kaye, CNN.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

TAPPER: We're getting an up close and personal look at the disaster area and crater formed by an explosion at a plant in Texas. Now investigators are sifting through all that debris, looking for clues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: More of our special coverage from Boston here in just a moment, but first, a lot is happening across the country. Let's check some of the headlines here. First up, people in Kenner, Louisiana, they're cleaning up today after two tornadoes hit their town, 90-mile- an-hour winds ripped roofs off several homes, blew out windows, no one was injured, thank goodness. But crews, as you can see, working to restore power.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: And a little more than an hour from now, the George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas will get its official dedication. All five living presidents are expecting -- expected to be there, including President Obama who will speak at the event. We'll have live coverage of the dedication starting at 11:00 Eastern.

BALDWIN: And later today, President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama will head to Waco, Texas. They will be attending a memorial for the 14 people who died in that massive explosion, just up the road in West, Texas, at that fertilizer plant last week.

And CNN's Ed Lavandera is live for us this morning in Waco.

And, Ed, I know you've been there for days and days, you've got this up-close look at the investigation and into this massive explosion. What does it look like?

ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, an incredibly powerful scene there as we were taken up close to the blast site yesterday for the first time. We are here in Waco, just down the interstate from where that explosion happened where preparations are under way for the memorial service that will start here in a few hours, Brooke.

Before we get to what's going on here, we'll take you back to what we saw yesterday at the blast site and investigators took us up close, and it was the first time that we've got a chance to see exactly what was going on at that site. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A bomb has went off inside here. It's pretty bad. We've got a lot of firemen down.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): Captured from firefighter radio transmissions, those were the frantic moments just after the West, Texas, explosion sent a deadly shockwave through this central Texas town. This is the first up-close look at the blast site.

(On camera): This is the blast site here, you can see the crater, which is 93 feet wide, 10 feet deep, and that was part of one of the buildings that were -- that was on the ground here.

(Voice-over): Investigators say they still don't know what caused the fire or what triggered the explosion about 20 minutes after firefighters were called to the scene.

ROBERT CHAMPION, ATF SPECIAL AGENT IN CHARGE: It's like putting a puzzle pieces together. Re-enacting that fire to see what transpired to cause the explosion.

LAVANDERA: The damage is so extensive that state and federal investigators are using shovels to sift through the debris. Looking for clues to what ignited the fire that led to the explosion.

KELLY KISTNER, ASSISTANT TEXAS FIRE MARSHAL: It could be remains of the buildings, it could be electrical components, it could be fertilizer remains, that's what we're looking at, chemical remains, it could be the way that the material was stored. They may be able to find containers -- pieces of containers. There's a whole list of things they will be looking for.

LAVANDERA: This is an aerial picture of the fertilizer facility before the explosion. This part of the building is where the explosion erupted. This is the site after the blast. The twisted and charred remnants of two fire trucks are still at the scene.

(On camera): You can see the charred remains of a second building that was on the site. And between these two buildings we're told is where many of the firefighters and EMS teams that were killed in this explosion were working at the time of the explosion.

LOUISE MILLS, VICTIM'S SISTER: It's killing me. Killing me bad inside. I just want some answers.

LAVANDERA: Louise Mills is still waiting for investigators to identify her brother's remains, 41-year-old Morris Bridges, was the father of three children. He joined the West Volunteer Fire Department three years ago. He was one of the first people on the scene.

(On camera): So you just pray he didn't suffer?

MILLS: Yes, I do. Every day. I know he didn't suffer. I know he didn't. We're suffering. We want him back. LAVANDERA (voice-over): Louise Mills says her brother loved wearing his bright red firefighter shirt and showing off his volunteer firefighter badge. For Morris Bridges, jumping into harm's way is how you earned the firefighter's badge of honor.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LAVANDERA: And, Brooke, already a powerfully emotional scene unfolding here on the campus of Baylor University in Waco. There will be a procession that will come down the road here that will lead up to the Farrell Center here on the campus of Baylor University. And you can already see hundreds of people already lining up and there are honor guards from fire departments from across the state of Texas who are turning out here today.

We expect thousands and thousands of firefighters to come here to pay their respects to the 14 people who were killed in that blast last week -- Brooke.

BALDWIN: So, so sad. Ed Lavandera, thank you . As he mentioned the President and First Lady will be there and he'll be speaking this afternoon and we'll definitely take it live here on CNN.

Still ahead this morning, a mystery man emerging as officials search for clues in the Boston marathon bombings. His name is all we know.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Misha.

BALDWIN: Misha is his name. Who the heck is he? We'll explain.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

TAPPER: Former President George W. Bush is speaking out on the terrorist attack in Boston last week. Here is what he told CNN's John King about hearing the news.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRERSPONDENT: As the man who was Commander-in-Chief on 9/11, what went through your mind when you heard explosions at the finish line at the Boston marathon?

GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Yes. I was reminded that evil exists and that there are people in the world who are willing to kill innocent people to advance a cause. I don't know what this cause is, but we'll find out.

At the -- during the same week, in a town close to us, at Crawford, a plant exploded and both incidents remind me of how fragile life can be for some and both incidents, you know, made us weep knowing that somebody was hurting a lot.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: Who could forget 2001; George W. Bush was President when the U.S. suffered its worst terror attack in recent history the events of 9/11.

TAPPER: The response to 9/11 will be just one of many events in focus today as four living presidents join former President Bush for the dedication of the George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas.

That's where we find CNN's Brianna Keilar this morning. Brianna good morning, you got a chance to tour the museum, what's it like?

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: I did. I got a sneak preview, Jake. It's -- it's pretty fascinating. And it takes you from really the legacy that George W. Bush intended for himself. A domestic agenda to 9/11 which ultimately is what defined his presidency.

At one point, you're staring at a dress that First Lady Laura Bush wore to their first state dinner just six days before 9/11. You take a right turn and then you're confronted with a twisted hulk of steel that comes from the World Trade Center from the second tower. And everything follows from there, the wars that were fought after.

You have the bull horn, which you just saw that President Bush used on September 14th at Ground Zero. And also one of the big features is that there are a number of interactive exhibits. The largest is the Decision Point Theater which allows visitors to go in and contemplate some of the decisions that George W. Bush considers were his toughest, that has to with Iraq, Hurricane Katrina and the financial crisis. People can actually get advice from his advisors, from military commanders. They might get some inputs from the press then they got to make their decision as they would make it. And President Bush comes on to sort of discuss what he ultimately decided and why.

We spoke with his former Chief of Staff Josh Bolten about obviously some of his decisions that were controversial and really what President Bush sort of thinks about people making judgments on the decisions that he made during his time in the White House. Here is what Josh said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOSH BOLTEN, FORMER BUSH WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: One of the really cool things about President Bush is he doesn't care very much. He is not fixated on his own personal popularity. What -- what he cares about is that he did the best he could; he applied principles, very strong principles for some tough problems. And then he'll be comfortable with history's judgment.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KEILAR: So you'll have the five presidents here today at Southern Methodist University for the ceremony. There are also a number of current and former heads of state. Some of it Jake I will tell you is a little bit like a blast from the past. You've got Tony Blair, Australia's John Howard as well as Italy's Silvio Berlusconi here.

BALDWIN: You can see also just beyond -- behind Brianna it's only 9:00 o'clock in the morning there in Dallas and it's quite a crowd. Brianna Keilar for us in Dallas. Brianna thank you very much.

TAPPER: And of course, we'll have special coverage of today's dedication of the George W. Bush presidential library. That will be coming up on CNN. It starts this morning at 11:00 Eastern.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

TAPPER: Welcome back to CNN's special coverage live from Boston, I'm Jake Tapper. I'm here with Brooke Baldwin.

And we're taking a closer look this morning at a man who is known as "Misha". Little is known about him; he is the friend of Boston bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev. He is Armenian, has a red beard and holds strict Muslim beliefs. Tsarnaev's mother is sharing what she knows about "Misha". She did so earlier with CNN's Nick Paton Walsh.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ZUBEIDAT TSARNAEV, BOMBING SUSPECTS MOTHER: "Misha", everybody is talking about "Misha" now. I don't know. "Misha", yes, "Misha" -- when "Misha" visited us, we just kind of -- he just opened our eyes, you know, very wide about Islam. He was really -- he's devoted and he's a very good, very nice man.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: But other relatives say the Boston suspects have a different view of this so-called "Misha" person as officials are trying to figure out exactly what role, if any he played in the possible radicalization of Tamerlan Tsarnaev. Brian Todd did some digging. Here's what he found.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Family members describe a mysterious man who they say had a mesmerizing influence on Tamerlan Tsarnaev. They only know him as Misha. They say they don't know his full name.

Here is how the suspects' uncle described the man and his influence on the older brother in an interview with CNN.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RUSLAN TSARNI, UNCLE OF BOMBING SUSPECTS: There's a person who is a new convert to Islam of Armenian decent. He said this person -- he took his brain. He just brainwashed him completely. Tarmelan is off now. There is no obedience and respect to his own father. That concerned me big time unbelievably.

TODD: More pieces fit together in a telephone interview Wolf Blitzer did with the ex-brother-in-law of the two suspects.

Elmirza Khnozhgov said he'd met Misha twice and was introduced to him by Tamerlan. Kozhgov said he didn't witness Misha actually Tamerlan into a radical Islamist, but -- ELMIRZA KHNOZHGOV, FORMER BROTHER IN LAW: He surely did have influence and said things that would make Tamerlan, you know, go away from the people and go more into the religion and maybe it is possible that he suggested him some radical ideas.

TODD: Khozhgov said Tamerlan Tsarnaev had told him he'd quit boxing and listening to music because Misha taught him that in Islam it is not good to do those things.

Asked if he suspected that Misha was connected to any terrorist groups --

KHOZHGOV: I didn't suspect him or Tamerlan being connected to terror groups or having terrorist ideas. But I know that they had a lot of conversations about just, you know, Islam and how Islam is being attacked from the outside from the Western countries and how Islam is under pressure.

TODD: Asked when Tamerlan became a more devout Muslim, the ex brother-in-law and the uncle. Both say they noticed it about four years ago.

We searched for Misha, using the internet. A search database and social media; cross referencing his name with descriptions of him. One name did come up. We scoured matching addresses in the phone numbers and e-mails. We couldn't find him so we're not mentioning his name.

Has Misha ever been connected with the Islamic Society in Boston -- the mosques in attended? I put that question to Yusufi Vali

YUSUFI VALI, ISLAMIC SECURITY OF BOSTON: Not to our knowledge. Not to our knowledge no.

TODD: And another mosque official told me quote, "we're looking for him too. They say they want to find Misha as much as anyone else right now.

Brian Todd, CNN, Boston.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

The next hour of CNN NEWSROOM begins after this quick break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)