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CNN NEWSROOM

"Misha" Comes Into Focus; Two Militants Killed In Russian Raid; Debating The Suspect's Miranda Rights; U.S. Looks At Russian Wiretap; Thousands Visit Bombing Memorial; 10X10 Feet Cell For Boston Suspect

Aired April 29, 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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CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: This morning the global search for answers in the Boston marathon bombings turns to Russia. Take a listen. You are looking at the explosions, you're hearing the gunshots of Special Forces, Russians ones, carrying out a spectacular raid on a militant group. One of those killed, a radical who may, keyword, may have had ties to one of the Boston suspects.

Meanwhile, layer upon layer of tributes blanket on Boylston Street in Boston, two weeks to the day since the attacks. Bostonians paused to honor the victims. This is NEWSROOM and it begins right now.

Good morning, everyone. I'm Chris Cuomo in New York with this special edition of NEWSROOM. Carol Costello is on special assignment in Boston. We'll be checking in with her in just a minute.

So we're going to begin this hour with new details on Misha, the shadowy figure accused of radicalizing the older brother. A source in the U.S. government tells us that Misha lives in Rhode Island. He flatly denies the claims of some relatives that he brainwashed the suspect or nudged him toward radicalism.

The man says he is fully cooperating with the FBI. Joining me now is the reporter who tracked down Misha, spoke with him in depth. Christian Caryl, thank you very much joining me from Washington. Appreciate it.

Highlights of his interview are posted on the web site for "New York Review of Books." So you can go there and read all of it. Christian, thank you very much. First of all, we keep saying Misha in quotes. Were you able to ascertain the real name of this individual?

CHRISTIAN CARYL, "THE NEW YORK REVIEW OF BOOKS": Yes. Well, Misha is the short form of the name Mikhail and his name is Mikhail Allakhverdov. And as you said at the outside, he lives in Rhode Island.

CUOMO: OK, so when you go to him and you got a sense of who he is and what he knows about this situation, what was your take in his understanding and his level of credibility?

CARYL: Well, I think he was very credible because -- I mean, I knew it was him as soon as I saw him because he fit the physical details that we already heard about "Misha" and I had got his name from some sources that I run across during my investigations in Boston.

They gave me his full name and his home. So when I got there, everything fit the description perfectly. He seemed quite credible to me because his family was quite friendly and welcoming. I walked in the door. I just showed up unannounced because I couldn't get them on the phone.

And they were very friendly and welcoming at first. But as soon as I got in the house, they were very, very nervous and anxious because they kind of had been expecting somebody to show up. He began telling me without my having to ask that he had cooperated with the FBI.

That he had done all of these things, he has given over his computer and cell phone, and didn't really even have to ask about that stuff. He just started unburdening himself because he'd kind of known that this moment was going to come.

CUOMO: Well, Christian, let's talk about what he was unburdening himself with. What did he have to say about what he knows about the brother, any idea of radicalization? Whether or not he had anything to do with it? What can he tell you?

CARYL: Well, there are a lot of things he didn't tell me because, again, I completely surprised the family. They were very, very nervous and anxious about my being there. So I have to say that at the outset, there are still many questions that we have to get answered.

I tried to ask everything that, you know, we want to know about "Misha" and I wasn't able to ask all of it because -- I wasn't able to get answers to all my questions because the family was so nervous and anxious about it.

But basically when I asked them about Tamerlan Tsarnaev, it was quite -- he made it very clear that he had indeed known him. He did not specify any details about the nature of their relationship, but he was very, very intent on explaining that he had nothing to do with any kind of radicalization.

What he told me was I was not his teacher. If I had been his teacher, I would have made sure that he knew that doing something like this was wrong. So he was very, very emphatic about that, very upset.

He went to great lengths to convince me that he really had nothing to do with this. He made the point -- he claimed to me that the FBI had told him that his case was, in fact, about to be closed because the FBI had investigated his computer, his cell phone, all his equipment and documents.

And concluded that he wasn't really involved, certainly not involved in the organization of the attacks. Is that true? I don't know, but we still have to find out.

CUOMO: Right. Now you mentioned the word teacher. He's a teacher of what and what, if anything was his relationship to how he knew the brother? CARYL: Well, it seems that they were united. Somehow they came into contact it may have been and I emphasize may have been, through one of the mosques in Boston, through the Islamic community there.

And of course, these are two Russian speaking Muslims. So I expected it had something with that, but I have to emphasize he did not say -- he denied very emphatically that he was a teacher of Tamerlan Tsarnaev.

He said, no, I was not his teacher. I didn't instruct him in anything. I had nothing to do with these developments. But I couldn't get him to tell me anything more than that about their relationship. He was just extremely agitated and didn't want to go into details.

CUOMO: I'm sure very high stakes. Christian Caryl, thank you for very much for getting the information. Always best to get it from the source. Thanks for joining us this morning on NEWSROOM.

CARYL: My pleasure.

CUOMO: Absolutely. We're getting new information coming to us about the older brother's possible ties to Islamic extremists. Half way across the world in the forest of Dagestan, that is where Russian Special Forces took out members of the militant group called the Abu Dujan.

It all went down to violent raid you're seeing here right now. Nic Robertson live in Dagestan, monitoring this situation. The obvious question, Nic, is, any connection between what they did in that raid and what we're trying to figure out about the Boston bombers?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Certainly, the Russian security forces are not saying that they went on that raid because there was a direct link. But we do know that Abu Dujan is someone Tamerlan, if you like, idolized. He had posted a video of him on the web site.

It was one of his close associates that were killed by the Russian Special Forces in that operation. Two people killed in that military operation last night. But again, this comes against the backdrop here of ongoing military operations just a day before another three rebels were killed in an operation in a slightly different area.

So you have to take it all in that context. Is there a direct connection? We don't know. Certainly, there are interesting linkages there -- Chris.

CUOMO: All right, Nic, thank you very much, important distinction. Hopefully, the U.S. government knows better than we do what's going on with those Russian movements. Appreciate the reporting right now. I'll be back to you later.

We're going to turn now to the investigation here in the U.S. and leading Republicans on Capitol Hill are fuming over what they say was the first mistake in the case. It's the moment a judge stepped in giving the suspect a lawyer and Miranda Rights and effectively allowing him to claim up under the Fifth Amendment to the constitution. So listen to this from the chair of the House Intelligence Committee.

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REP. MIKE ROGERS (R), CHAIRMAN, HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: It is highly unusual for a judge to intervene so hastily and make the decision not based on the facts of the interviews and the public safety exception, but what they perceived was happening based on what they saw on television. It is dangerous.

It is precedent setting that I think we need to change and correct right away. We still need more answers on this particular question. Once they walked into the hospital room and offered the lawyer and Mirandized, they haven't -- as sure as I'm standing right now, the subject has not continued to cooperate with authorities and that's a huge problem.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CUOMO: All right, so we're bringing in Deb Feyerick right now. Let's set out a couple of these things that may not have been clear from what the congressman said. The suspect has rights as an American citizen under the constitution.

Under the constitution, anything that you get for whatever circumstance before you are Mirandized cannot be used in court almost all the time, very few exceptions to that. And they waited a while in which he was talking to them before the rights were given. So with all that put into a little package for you, Deb. What is our understanding about right, wrong, good, bad here?

DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, one thing that -- one thing that I want to say is that I spoke to the Justice Department as well as the U.S. Attorney's Office in Boston. They said, look, this guy is an American citizen. He had to be Mirandized under the laws of the U.S.

Once public safety was no longer an issue then in fact they were allowed to go in and he is entitled to know that he doesn't have to speak and that he is entitled to a lawyer as well. Now you said the first mistake, well, arguably, the first mistake wasn't setting up a meeting between the judge and U.S. Attorney's Office, and the FBI, and the doctors and everybody else in the room that day.

The first mistake was whether the United States really paid close enough attention to what they got was a warning from Russia. Look, we know the relationship is very tense, but Russia picks up the phone and says, you may want to check into this guy.

Well, guess what? That's when you have to go back because Russia doesn't pick up the phone. I've spoke to a lot of members in the intelligence community. Russia does not pick up the phone. When they pick up the phone, you better take it seriously. And you better have this person not just on the radar for a week or a couple of months. You have to have this person on the radar consistently to track their movements. So that's really where the first mistake was made.

CUOMO: So you have that on that side, but then you also have with how we are treating this suspect, which is what the congressman is speaking to. Public safety, he mentioned, right? That is very limited in duration of analysis. Is there another threat? Are there more bombs? Could this man do something else? Are there others?

Once that expires, it starts to get to be dicey territory, if you don't start affording rights, right? It could compromise the case, couldn't it?

FEYERICK: A 100 percent. Can you imagine this case being thrown out on technicality? That would be the worst thing and a good lawyer would argue, you had no right to hold this person and therefore, he should never have been questioned.

So that's a big issue. Investigators are really running down leads. They do not believe, Chris, that these two brothers acted alone and they were looking at a handful of people who may have helped in connection with this.

People who very quietly are being looked at, they're being questioned and they're being investigated so again, the fact to say that these two brothers were operating in a vacuum, not accurate.

Also we do want to mention that during the raids in Dagestan, which is fascinating if you look at this in its entirety. That is these two brothers here in the United States who may have thought they were waging Jihad just in the Boston marathon.

Well, you look at what's going on there, what we do know is that, I'm being told by a source that one of the people killed in this attack was a man by the name of Shakhrudin Allakhabov. He was a close associate of the rebel commander.

He is also believed to have been a facilitator for people who would come to that region so all of this is being with it. Don't forget. Let's keep in mind, 2014 the Olympics are going to be held in that part of the world, the Winter Olympics.

So this is, you know, the Russians are nervous. So there are a lot of sort of pieces in this puzzle.

CUOMO: A big umbrella of suspicion. Hopefully, the authorities are working to put some meat on the bones of speculations. As of now, we don't really know whether these two suspects were working alone or with somebody else, but hopefully they would figure it out.

FEYERICK: The indications they are not, yes.

CUOMO: Thank you very much. Appreciate it. Of course, this story is in Boston and there are thousands upon thousands of people who feel a personal connection to what happened. It is prompting many of them to visit a memorial site, a powerful gesture to those suffering from physical and emotional scars.

That's where Carol Costello is. Carol, these memorials are getting bigger. There are more being added to them and quickly becoming a place of healing.

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You have that right, Chris. A lot of people are coming here for closure. Take a look. It's a work day, Monday and there are a sizeable number of people going through this memorial, leaving flowers, teddy bears and writing messages on the walls there.

I talked to a lot of people who came through this weekend and also this morning, and they just wanted to come and pray and reflect on what happened. But most of all, they want Boston to return to normal and maybe it's a new normal, but it will be a strong normal.

I talked to them. This man is named Dennis. You'll meet him.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COSTELLO (voice-over): They came by the hundreds to just think or pray or hold one another.

LIZ FITZGERALD, VISITING MEMORIAL TO BOSTON VICTIMS: I think it is such an important thing to remember the people who were lost and those who were injured in the horrible events that happened.

COSTELLO: Bostonians call this a makeshift memorial, but it's become a shrine. Not one filled with sorrow, but strength. Just read the messages. We love you, Boston, stay strong, Boston strong. Perhaps no one quite captures that spirit better than 70-year-old Dennis Deaner. On Sunday, he walked 26.2 miles, a full marathon, that ended at Copley Square on CNN.

DENNIS DEANER, BOSTON MARATHON RUNNER: So 10:00 this morning, I started it in Hopkinton and here I am.

COSTELLO: Deaner actually ran the marathon on April 15th when the bombs went off. He had to stop at mile 21. Inspired by the Red Sox's David Ortiz, Deaner decided to remedy that.

DEANER: I was watching the Red Sox game and he used some colorful language about these terrorists and I said they're not going to stop me. I'm going to go do it again.

COSTELLO: And he did. After he finished, he paid tribute to those who could not. How could you not admire a man like this?

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COSTELLO: How could you not give Dennis a hug? Can you imagine that, Chris? This 70-year-old man walked 26.2 miles to show the terrorists that they could not win and of course, to pay amiss to the survivors and those who died in the Boston bombings, amazing. CUOMO: That's what Boston strong is all about. You know, when they opened it back up, we were watching people coming and just crossing the finish line who had to stop short during the race, just walking across, just to show that it wasn't over.

They were able to continue and it kind of raises a question about what the memorial is. We keep calling it makeshift, but Carol, what do we know about future plans of what they'll in that area to remember these moments?

COSTELLO: Well, at some point, they're going to have to do something because it's growing every bigger. Volunteers for the most part are coming and taking care of things. You know, they are cleaning up the garbage and replacing the poster boards so that people will be able to continue to write these messages because as you might expect, those message boards filled up.

I don't think the city has made a decision on what kind of memorial should be placed here permanently, if any. There is a sentiment that there should not be any permanent memorial or it should be very subtle because, you know, some people feel that just living life as normal and the city returning to normal is memory enough. We'll see.

CUOMO: All right, Carol, thank you very much. We'll be back to you in a little bit. We're going to take a break right now.

When we come back, we've been talking about the younger suspect and what happened legally. How about what's happening every day? We're taking a look at his lockdown in a 10x10 cell.

Is he still talking? Where is he living? We'll tell you when we come back.

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CUOMO: Look at the Boston memorial there up on Boylston Street. We've been talking this morning about the latest in the investigation. The surviving suspect is out of the hospital, but he is far from free, currently held at the Federal Medical Center in Fort Devens, Massachusetts. That's where inmates requiring a specialized medical treatment go. We have Don Lemon on the scene. Don, what can you tell us about this facility?

DON LEMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Forty miles west of Boston, Chris. It is a sprawling facility over my shoulder here. They have added extra security. There's a checkpoint up further, but they have put more armed police officers out front because of this high value detainee that they have here.

We have this graphic. It only shows you so much because when you say 10x10, what does that mean? That's what he is being housed in. He's one of a 1,044 people here. He is in an isolated area with about 33 other people with extra security, extra protection. but that's what it is. That's about the size of that cube.

People will say, what is 10 by 10 like? I'm going to show you. This is what it's like and this is exactly how big it is. We just happened to have this tent, which is a 10x10. There's a slot, a metal door, a food slot, which is about this size so that he can get food.

Of course, there's a bed in there. There is a toilet and a sink. It's really not that much space to move around in, a very small space for him. Of course, because of the crime that he has committed of doing, some people say he shouldn't have had even this amount space.

But he has gone from an apartment to a dorm room and now to a 10x10 foot cell here at the Devens Federal Medical Center. That's all we know. Chris, they say he's talking. He's not speaking with investigators, but he is speaking with medical staff, nurses and doctors about his condition.

But apparently, since he was read his Miranda Rights, not giving up much information to investigators, that all has to go through his attorneys.

CUOMO: All right, tough conditions there, Don. But if he is guilty of these allegations, people will think even that is way too good for him. Appreciate the reporting. We're going to take a break.

Coming up, the new suspect accused of sending ricin laced letters to President Obama and others is going before a federal judge this hour, a bizarre case with all these twists and turns. Even an Elvis impersonator now we're live in Mississippi digging for new information.

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CUOMO: Welcome back to our viewers on the east coast and those on the west coast, if you're just getting up. I'm Chris Cuomo. We return to our Boston coverage in just a few minutes, but right now, I want to check some other major stories making news.

First off, security increased this morning at schools at Northern California community after an 8-year-old girl was stabbed to death in her home. The girl was discovered by her brother who is not considered a suspect at this time.

In just a few hours, an L.A. jury will hear opening statements in the Michael Jackson wrongful death lawsuit. The pop icon's family is seeking billions from the company that promoted his comeback tour. They accused AEG Live of hiring and supervising the doctor convicted of killing him. AEG attorneys say there was never a signed contract with Dr. Conrad Murray

Major flooding, hits far, go, North Dakota. Warm temperatures have accelerated the pace of snow melt leading to the high water. The Red River expected to crest Wednesday at 37 feet, 3 feet below the all time record.

Those are some headlines. Coming up next, we will have a live report from Boylston Street makeshift memorial up in Boston. We will also give you the latest on the investigation as our special coverage of the Boston marathon bombing continues. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)