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CNN NEWSROOM

Suspects' Mom: Attack Was A Hoax; FBI, CIA Investigated Boston Suspect; Source: No Firearm Found In Boat; "Terror" And Your Insurance

Aired April 25, 2013 - 10:00   ET

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


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BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Half a world away from Boston, the parents of the bombing suspect lash out. They say their own lives are now in danger and their sons are victims of an elaborate hoax.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning and welcome to a special edition of NEWSROOM live from Boston. I'm Jake Tapper.

BALDWIN: Good morning. I'm Brooke Baldwin. We got a lot to talk about, busy, busy morning in terms of developments here in Boston and beyond.

I want to begin this morning with investigators because they are looking into this bizarre, but fascinating possibility here that this older brother, a devout Muslim with fundamental beliefs may have financed the attacks by peddling illegal drugs.

Meanwhile, the father of Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev says terrorists are threatening the family back home in Southern Russia. He says both of his sons are innocent. He says they were somehow framed.

Their mother though takes it a step further. She believes this whole bloody crime here in Boston was no more than elaborate hoax. She says actors played the victims and the blood on the sidewalk on Boylston Street, just a block from us, nothing more than paint she says.

TAPPER: That's just crazy talk. Our Nick Paton Walsh sat down with the mother. Here she is in own words.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ZUBEIDAT TSARNAEV, BOMBING SUSPECTS' MOTHER: Tamerlan was close friends with him. So I think that Misha made him to become more, more deeply religious. That's why somebody told them Misha was the one who was influenced on him.

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You met Misha?

TSARNAEV: Of course, I met Misha.

WALSH: Describe him to me.

TSARNAEV: Very nice, nothing wrong, very intelligent. Very like -- nothing to talk about.

WALSH: What else did they ask you about his trips here? Were they particularly in the time he came to Dagestan?

TSARNAEV: About who? Tamerlan. All questions were about Tamerlan.

WALSH: And his trip here?

TSARNAEV: Yes.

WALSH: Two trips, one in 2011 and one in 2012.

TSARNAEV: No, only 2012.

WALSH: Only 2012 and that was six months in which he was with --

TSARNAEV: Yes. Yes.

WALSH: Are you going to America?

TSARNAEV: I think so. I think so.

WALSH: You want to?

TSARNAEV: Yes, because I really want to. Really want to see how it is going to end.

WALSH: You want to bury your son?

TSARNAEV: Of course. Of course, even though I don't know if they'll let us to see Dzhokhar, but I want to go. I want to see my Tamerlan, if it's possible. Yes, I want.

WALSH: There's an issue to do with an arrest warrant for you?

TSARNAEV: That I don't even care. That's not something that is difficult. It's not a big deal and I don't care about it. What I care is only death of my oldest son who I think was killed and youngest one, who is really -- need the support.

WALSH: Can you describe to me how you think this situation came about? We saw it before and now you believe their innocent. How do you think it has come to this stage of American officials saying they're guilty?

TSARNAEV: You know, it is really difficult to -- I really don't know how to explain this crime, but I feel that there is something wrong. I don't know I really feel there is something wrong. I am thinking through the day, through the night. I don't see anybody. I don't see anything to pay a real attention to like -- I mean, about his friends whoever surrounded him, nothing that would catch my attention.

WALSH: Describe to me the pain.

TSARNAEV: I don't know how to describe it, you know. You know mother, you have a mother, right? Just because you are not mother you won't understand it. I am mother, loving mother of two kids. I don't know. It is really crazy. I can't even -- I can't even describe it.

I saw my Tamerlan naked, putting into police car, pulling -- they pulled him out of whatever the cruiser or their car and put him into a police car where he walked naked, naked, and they are saying that it is not my son, but I know my son. I know my son.

I know the body of my son I raised from this side -- this is my son. This is -- I don't know how to describe it. He was alive. Just 2 minutes later, they put out the pictures that he's dead already, so I don't know. If you have a pictures please show me that.

WALSH: You went to Chechnya yesterday.

TSARNAEV: Yes.

WALSH: To -- father's house. Is that an important place for your family? Is it a good family location?

TSARNAEV: Well, we haven't like been living there that much, so I don't really care about that place.

WALSH: I want to ask you some of the things we've been hearing. There are reports he sent you text messages talking about the radical nature of his faith and he would be willing to die for Islam. Is that true?

TSARNAEV: No. Never true.

WALSH: Did he go to the mosque when he was here?

TSARNAEV: He went to every mosque that he could go and it is not -- I don't to emphasize one -- I don't know why everybody wants to emphasize the --

WALSH: I understand completely. Give me one second. We also spoke with a police officer who talked about Abu Dujan.

TSARNAEV: Who is that?

WALSH: He was killed in December. Did your son ever mention him? There was a link to him on your son's YouTube page.

TSARNAEV: He never talked to me about Dujan.

WALSH: I'll take one second to download.

TSARNAEV: I mean, I was told that you have --

WALSH: It was downloaded before I came here.

TSARNAEV: Yes.

WALSH: And it is gone away and now it has to come back. This will take a couple of seconds. I am embarrassed that this is the case.

TSARNAEV: I think you're just kind of not honest. Are you going to show me?

WALSH: Here it is. It is downloading. It was supposed to be here and it is downloading now. I am completely honest with you.

TSARNAEV: Please be honest.

WALSH: Why would I be dishonest?

TSARNAEV: Remember I told you that I saw it.

WALSH: I know. I know.

TSARNAEV: It is there I saw it.

WALSH: Just a few minutes, it will be ready. Describe your son. Is there a moment from their childhood that you remember close to you?

TSARNAEV: I remember him always from the very first day that he was born. There was no day that I don't remember him. Every day like many, many moments in our life -- I -- there are many of him to be talking about, so -- he was the most caring son.

WALSH: Describe to me -- described when he came back here, he was amazing because most kids go to America and they get into drink or drugs and he came back and he was very devout Muslim. You are a devout Muslim as well. Explain to me what your faith means to you and what it meant to him.

TSARNAEV: What it meant to me?

WALSH: What he told you his faith meant to him and what your Islamic faith means to you?

TSARNAEV: Islamic faith is to believe that there is one God and only one messenger. His messenger is Muhammad -- everyone so.

WALSH: What does it mean in daily life?

TSARNAEV: Praying five times a day, daily life and making some remembrance of Allah.

WALSH: What did it mean to him?

TSARNAEV: For him it's the same.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BALDWIN: That was the mother of these two suspected bombing suspects. She sat down in an interview with CNN's Nick Paton Walsh. Again, just hearing from Nick, he was saying after both the parents gave that news briefing then father is headed this way to Boston.

TAPPER: Yes, remarkable turn of events. Still ahead, the FBI and CIA are under scrutiny why some say the agencies may have dropped the ball when it comes one of the Boston bombing suspects. Stick around.

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TAPPER: Growing questions about the FBI and CIA this morning and whether the agencies could have done more to prevent the Boston marathon bombings. New information shows Russia warned both agencies about suspect, Tamerlan Tsarnaev. Those warnings come in just months apart in 2011. The FBI and CIA later closed their investigation.

BALDWIN: Joining us now here in Boston is CNN national security analyst Juliette Kayyem and in Washington is CNN law enforcement analyst and former FBI assistant director, Tom Fuentes. So welcome to both of you.

Let's just say this that the former CIA agent, Bob Baer, former operative for many, many years knows this neck of the woods in Russia. You know, he had some pretty sharp words about the government's handling of some of those warnings. Here is what he told Piers Morgan. I want everyone to listen.

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BOB BAER, FORMER CIA AGENT: It's systemic absolutely. There's no other way to describe it as a failure. Immigrations didn't tell the FBI that he was leaving. Immigrations didn't tell the FBI that he was coming back. We don't what the CIA told the FBI, but two warnings from Russian intelligence you don't ignore. The FSB, the SPR, the two main Russian intelligence services don't like the United States. They don't provide tactical intelligence and when they do, you'd better listen.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: Tom Fuentes, you hear Bob Baer saying those are two warnings you just don't ignore. Does he have the point using the phrase systemic failure?

TOM FUENTES, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: If you wouldn't ignore the warnings and all the indications are that they weren't as of this time. First of all, the FBI did the investigation based on the information that they first received from the Russians.

I have not seen the second request, which went to the CIA to know whether they match and if it is the case they sent the same information to multiple agencies or not. I don't know what's in that request.

The CIA's job is not to investigate on American soil. So they would have coordinated with the FBI. You know, they work in FBI offices and headquarters in Washington, and FBI agents work in their headquarters as well.

As far as immigration and some of the statements that they're stove piping or lack of cooperation among the U.S. agencies or coordination, that simply is not the case. The modern joint terrorism task forces formed since 9/11 -- representatives of every one of these agencies sit side by side in the same office space, have access to all the various databases that are in place. So it is not like the FBI needs to send a formal communication to immigration saying, you know, do this or do that with passport information. Their representatives sits right there and can do it on the spot so --

BALDWIN: Juliette, you're nodding. You're listening to Tom. Tom, forgiver for jumping in, but I just want to get your voice as well.

JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: So we need to separate two different issues here. So one is all of these people who clearly were told by the Russians either the FBI or CIA, and what were they told. That is sort of a quantity sharing information issue.

There's a different issue, which I think we should start focusing on, which is the quality issue. We have so much intelligence moving around. There are millions of people going in and out of our borders. It is clear that the FBI's original investigation of him led them not to increase either surveillance or an investigation.

That therefore did not trigger any additional looks that you would want either from Customs and Border Protection or TSA. So why was that? That's an important question. People should know the answer to that.

But is that the same thing as no one is talking to each other as Tom makes clear the CIA and the FBI were both notified by the Russians. They both did an investigation. The information from the Russians was described at least from government sources as weak at best.

And so I'm not saying we know. That's what we have to make clear. We don't know. It is probably true that the government right now doesn't know and that's why you're seeing this internal review. But those are two very different issues.

TAPPER: An intelligence source told me last week and Bob Baer basically said the same thing. It is very rare for the Russians to do that. So 2011, the Russians come. They say to the FBI and then to the CIA, we're worried about this guy. He is an Islamic extremist.

He is going to come to our country and join underground groups. The CIA checks it out and the FBI checks it out. They don't necessarily find anything. It seems on its face -- not just in hindsight. On its face they say we're worried about this guy. He is coming here to join underground groups. Once Tamerlan Tsarnaev comes back, it seems there should have been some follow up investigation or at least surveillance.

KAYYEM: So that gets to the quality of the initial review question? What did that initial FBI review look like? Because the fact that they do not put it into a higher listing and there's so much watch list -- let's say a higher watch list or even a no-fly list meant that there wasn't further review.

So it is possible and very true likely that the Russians rarely do this, but it was because the initial review came up short in terms of elevating it. The reason why is because the FBI is asked by lots of foreign countries to look at people here whether they're nationals or illegals.

Because that's true -- I want to get to the quality issue. I think we're focusing on the quantity issue. I think we may not know that story for while. It is what happened in that initial investigation matters because everything from there triggered people to behave in certain ways either an initial investigation or not, CBP, TSA and things like that.

TAPPER: Tom, what's your reaction to this briefly because we have to wrap up this segment? What is your reaction to what Juliette was saying?

FUENTES: I agree completely with Juliette on that. Frankly, the people that are telling you how many of these requests go from the FSB to the FBI aren't informed. I ran the office that controlled those requests the last five years of my burea career. So I know exactly how strong the relationship has been with the Russian authorities, the FSB.

Their state security service and the MVD, their police, there are many, many requests that come in on a continuing basis from them to U.S. law enforcement, U.S. intelligence, but particularly the FBI because my office, my former office handled the requests.

So all I'm speaking to is to say that it is rare. Just in and of itself should have triggered all kinds of warning bells. Yes, it did qualify for diligent investigation, but the requests are common. They are not as uncommon as what's being portrayed.

BLADWIN: Something else I just wanted to point out. Moments ago we just confirmed from our chief White House correspondent, Jessica Yellin that she has learned through a source that the younger suspect in that boat from Thursday night -- Friday night when he was in the boat that he was not armed.

KAYYEM: Everyone needs to prepare for this as well. This is so common in crises. Just to go back to Hurricane Katrina, no one thought the levees broke for hours. This happens. This is a healthy process. It is a review process. He was either armed and some news sources now are reporting that the boat was in the perimeter -- important facts to know do not mean that what they did was wrong. It is just going to be part of a narrative and --

TAPPER: What is the significance of the boat being in the perimeter?

KAYYEM: The search in the area did not cover the waterways. I think what it means from the police perspective. If I'm there, it means you want to make sure he didn't have hostages. That's what they were worried about.

Remember when they said, everyone to stay home because it was spring break and they worried people might be there and not answering because they were hostages. So when that moment that seemed totally appropriate.

So I think that -- these facts unfolding are a healthy process of how we learn to do this better next time. I'm not surprised -- rewriting it is the wrong word as people recollect.

FUENTES: This would be more of an issue had he been shot and killed by the police or the FBI while he was in the boat. You'll notice he treated it that he was potential armed and potentially had explosives, but he was talked into surrendering by the FBI negotiators and allowed to surrender.

He stood up. He lifted his shirt. He completely complied with every single order and was taken alive as a result of that. Whether there was a gun in the boat or not, he was treated appropriately when he was taken into custody.

BALDWIN: Tom Fuentes and Juliette Kayyem, thank you both so much for being with us here.

TAPPER: Many businesses on Boylston Street here in Boston affected by the bombings -- they lost a lot of commerce last week. They might want to think twice however, about filing a claim. It turns out their insurance policies might not cover any acts of terror.

Christine Romans is in New York following this story. Christine, it is that word terror that seems to be an issue here. What does that designation mean for an insurance provider?

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Well, it means, if you have terrorism insurance and the Treasury secretary of the United States designates this as a terrorist attack then you're paid for business interruption. You're paid for the physical damage on sight.

But if the Treasury secretary of the United States says this is a terrorist act and you don't have terrorism insurance, you may very well not get reimbursed under the policy you have right now. Here's the background.

After September 11th, Congress passed a law, September 11th, 2001. Businesses had to be offered terrorism insurance. For the coverage to kick in, a terrorist attack had to be declared as certified act by the secretary of treasury.

Now the estimate here is that insured property losses of the actual bombings you guys is going to be in the low millions of dollars, but it is the loss of business that will be so expensive. When you look back at some of the previous terrorist acts, you can see how the terrorist attacks were in terms of property loss.

But this is going to be a business interruption story. So the question here and I'm going to tell you some of the business owners behind you are starting to ask these questions, what do their policies cover? What will be covered if this is officially declared a terrorist attack?

And some might privately be hoping, hoping that we don't actually declare this, the Treasury Department stamp it's certified terrorist attack because then they won't get covered. They'll be state insurance officials, lawyers, the works surrounding this. But again, this is not a physical property issue as much as it is a business interruption issue. It is going to be kind of mess to deal with in the next few days and weeks for these business owners who I'm sure you guys are hoping for an awful big quick snap back in their business try to recover what they've lost in the last week because the insurance process could take a while.

BALDWIN: Christine, can we just step back a minute because I was asking Jake. I've never heard of terrorism insurance? Who thinks to buy terrorism insurance?

ROMANS: Well, after September 11th, 2001, there was tens of billions of dollars of claims to the insurance companies. Just like a flood, you know, the federal government passed -- Congress passed a law saying look, we need to offer people insurance against terrorism so they know they're covered if there's a terrorist attack that hurts their business and we don't take down the economy with these huge claims.

You can see those big numbers that were on your screen. Property damage from this one is going to be relative small. It is going to be the business interruption that's going to be a big problem here. I want to talk about homeowners for a moment.

So say your car has somehow been caught in a police gunfire. Your boat, for example, was blown up while they were trying to catch a suspect. If you have a regular homeowner's insurance policy or renters insurance policy or auto policy or life insurance, a terrorist act will not nullify those.

So for individuals they are protected. Their insurance will likely -- they're going to check your policy, but it will likely stand. But for businesses what they'll be doing is trying to sort out whether -- because it was a terrorist attack, if they won't be covered under the policy under their regular insurance.

TAPPER: This is also significant because this $20 million that's been raised for the "One Fund," to help those who were victims of the bombing that Ken Feinberger is going to be administering. That money is not going to businesses. That money is going to individuals' families, but it is not going businesses. These businesses behind us that were shut down for a week -- what Christine is reporting on, it's incredibly significant.

ROMANS: Would you buy me a burger? Would you send a little money and encourage other people to send money for the small businesses? I worry about the small businesses that don't the time frame. We'll see what the governor and what the state insurance officials also say about getting relief to the businesses who've lost that business the past week or so.

BALDWIN: I promise you I'll eat a burger on Boylston Street tonight. Thank you, Christine, very much.

Here in Boston so many questions when it comes to this investigation and obviously the big question and I don't know if we'll get an answer is why did this happen? To figure that out we may have to look at a dead cleric who is inspiring a new generation of terrorists from his grave.

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