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STARTING POINT WITH SOLEDAD O'BRIEN

Fingerprint Found on Bomb Debris; Boston Terror: "Danny" Speaks; Paul Broadwell Speaks Out; Snow in May?; Amanda Knox Breaks Her Silence; Goodbye Octopussy, Hello Streamageddon

Aired May 1, 2013 - 08:00   ET

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


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: -- Boston marathon bombing investigation and what could be a key piece of new evidence. A law enforcement official says investigators have lifted at least one fingerprint from bomb debris.

Meantime, the Tsarnaev brothers' carjacking victim known as Danny, he is a Chinese immigrant. He is speaking out describing in detail the fear that he felt, his bold get away and the 911 call that helped take out the two suspected terrorists.

Our Pamela Brown is live in Boston at the memorial site with the details this morning.

Good morning, Pamela.

PAMELA BROWN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning to you, John.

That's right. The carjacking victim, Danny, gave me a detailed account of what happened in person. In an off camera conversation we had, he said Tamerlan Tsarnaev was the leader and no he said, he was a bad guy. Danny said he still recovering the nightmare of being carjacked by the two brothers-turned-suspects just a few days after the Boston bombings.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BROWN (voice-over): For days after the Boston marathon bombings, Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev hid in plain sight until investigators say they killed MIT police officer Sean Collier and then carjacked a Mercedes SUV. The man inside that SUV, a Chinese immigrant who had moved back to Cambridge only two months earlier. He wants to remain anonymous and is calling himself "Danny".

He describes his terrifying moments with the two alleged bombers and the taped interview with CBS News.

DANNY: They asked me a question, like, "Did you know the Boston explosion on Monday?" I said, "Yes". And he said, you know, "I did that, and I just killed a policeman in Cambridge."

BROWN: Danny told me in a face to face conversation off camera that the older brother was talkative, outgoing, but also threatening. At one point warning him, "Don't be stupid. If you're cooperative, I won't kill you." Danny finally saw his chance to make a run for it when they pulled over for gas.

DANNY: I was counting, I was counting, "One, two, three, four." And I just do it. And I did it. And I can feel Tamerlan trying to grab me. I was running. I was just running as fast as I can and I never, I never looked back. >

BROWN: This as investigators continue painstaking forensic work. Sources say they found a fingerprint on the remnants of one of the bombs. But as of yet, no match.

Scrutiny of a different sort as critics question the FBI's handling of intelligence received from Russia about the older brother.

The president staunchly defending the agency's handling.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The FBI investigated that older brother. It's not as if the FBI did nothing. They not only investigated the older brother, they interviewed the older brother.

BROWN: And, for the first time, we're hearing Tamerlan talk, introducing himself in this boxing video that aired on "Entertainment Tonight."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you excited?

TAMERLAN TSARNAEV, SUSPECT: Yes, why not? You know?

BROWN: Meanwhile, Tamerlan's widow has given the medical examiner's office consent to release his body to his family.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BROWN: And in my talk with Danny, he said he heard the two brothers talk about Manhattan. It turns out according to authorities that the brothers had allegedly made spontaneous plans to go to Times Square and set off more explosives. So had Danny not escaped there could have been more lives lost.

Danny, however, tells me he does not consider himself a hero. He was just trying to save his own life.

BERMAN: Of course, this guy Danny had a view of the brothers that no one else had. Pamela, you had a chance to speak with Danny. What did he tell you about that night?

BROWN: Yes, it's interesting, John. Danny tells me there was a clear contrast between these two brothers. As I mentioned earlier, Tamerlan was the leader. He was the one calling the shots here, Dzhokhar. Dzhokhar was the follower. He was the quiet one.

Danny tells me that Tamerlan was very talkative, very outgoing, kept asking questions about his Chinese heritage and his family. At one point, he said this feels like something out of a movie, doesn't it? However, you look at Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, he was very quiet, didn't ask many questions. He sat in the back seat. He asked -- the only question Danny could really remember that was a personal question was how much he paid for his car.

So, there was a clear contrast here. Whenever Tamerlan want something, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev would do it like get money out of the ATM. So, it seemed like Dzhokhar was at his beck and call. Even though Tamerlan was the leader, we can't let Dzhokhar up the hook here. He still had a choice in this matter.

I spoke to a criminology professor about this. And interesting, he said that the brothers were emboldened by allegedly setting off the bombs at the Boston marathon and that the secret they had between them only solidified their bond and brought them closer together.

BERMAN: All right. Pamela Brown for us this morning in Boston Thanks so much for being with us. Appreciate it.

ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR: So, let's bring in Tom Fuentes. He's CNN's law enforcement analyst and a former FBI assistant director.

Thanks for being with us, Tom.

TOM FUENTES, FORMER FBI ASSISTANT DIRECTOR: Good morning.

SAMBOLIN: Good morning to you.

There is a lot of finger pointing going on and questioning about, who dropped the ball? Did someone drop the ball? The president has ordered a review of intelligence gathering to the lead-up to Boston.

What do you think specifically he is looking for?

FUENTES: Well, I think he wants to see how thorough was the investigation based on the information provided by the Russians. So, that's a critical factor.

By appearances right now, you know, most of the -- everybody I have talked to has said, it looks like they conducted a thorough investigation based on what the Russians provided. And again, they did not provide any information that they had the mother under electronic surveillance, that they were wiretapping her. And in fairness, nor would we have told them if the opposite was true.

But looking at this, it appears that what the Russians were doing was basically causing the FBI to do an investigation to see if Tamerlan was fundraising or putting together a team to go to Russia and kill Russians. I think that was their concern.

So when the FBI discovers that he is not in touch with anybody in the U.S. that appears to be a terrorist, any calls overseas are to his mother and father. So, that's not suspicious and doesn't appear that he can put two nickels together. So, the fundraising aspect isn't going too well. You know, that satisfies them. When the FBI says this is what we found, if you want more, we'll do more. Give us more. And twice, the FBI asked for more and does not get it. So, it would appear to me that under the circumstances, the Russians were satisfied that if he comes to Russia he is coming alone. And that's mainly all they wanted to know.

BERMAN: Tom, there seems to be a lot of activity right now surrounding the wife of Tamerlan Tsarnaev, Katherine Russell. She spent about 3 1/2 hours with her attorneys and federal officials yesterday. There was the news that female DNA was found on one of the explosive devices.

You know, what do you think is going on behind the scenes here?

FUENTES: Well, obviously, the FBI wants to be able to ask her a number of questions and verify much of the information that has been provided from other aspects of the investigation and from what statements she has made.

Now, remember, under her rights, she does not have to talk to the FBI, not even one word. They cannot compel her to talk. Now, they can issue subpoenas for DNA samples or do other investigative activities with her. But she is not obligated to talk in any way.

Now, she is obligated if she does talk that it be the truth. And then she would be charged with lying to the FBI in an official investigation. But she doesn't have to. And that's a big part of this is whether the physical evidence and other aspects of the investigation link her to a bigger involvement or greater knowledge of what Tamerlan may have been up to during the time that they were together.

BERMAN: Does the fact that she lawyered up, that she has representation, is that something that causes law enforcement officials to be suspicious?

FUENTES: Not necessarily. I think she is intelligent enough to know that they're going to be looking at her because she should know what her husband is up to. But theoretically, you would expect her to know. So, that's a logical step, I would think, on her part to say, I don't know what's going to happen next. I need a lawyer to advise me.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Tom Fuentes, CNN law enforcement analyst, thank you for joining us.

FUENTES: You're welcome.

BERMAN: New this morning, the woman at the center of the affair that triggered the downfall of David Petraeus is speaking publicly. For the very first time, Paula Broadwell discussing her life after the sex scandal with the general. She's doing this at a YMCA prayer breakfast in Charlotte.

Our Barbara Starr is live in the Pentagon with more details on this.

Good morning., Barbara.

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, John. Good morning, Zoraida.

Really fascinating to listen to Paula Broadwell. She was apparently in the audience at this prayer breakfast when afterwards, she was approached by a reporter and for the first time, as you say now, we are hearing from Paula Broadwell and what her life is all about now.

Have a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PAULA BROADWELL: I have made some mistakes in the past. I am trying to look forward with my family. This whole breakfast is a reminder of what should be first in one's life and I'm thankful to have that reminder.

I have been involved in a number of Wounded Warrior organizations and veterans support initiatives in our community. And I'm back to work in my doctoral pursuits. I count my blessings, and being in this wonderful country and wonderful community, and having such a wonderful family, and opportunities, and the opportunity to rebuild.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STARR: Broadwell indicating she is trying to rebuild her life. But she still has a few legal challenges ahead of her. By all accounts, the federal government still looking at her and why and how she had classified material. It is alleged in her home that was unauthorized.

Also, as for Petraeus, retired general, retired CIA director, still being looked at by the CIA internally for any potential wrongdoing associated with all of this. But really interesting, both of them saying they are affiliating themselves with Wounded Warrior organizations as they try to rebuild their lives. That is a strategy we have seen so many times before -- John, Zoraida.

BERMAN: And worthy cause, we should say, too.

All right. Barbara Start, thank you so much. Great to see you this morning.

SAMBOLIN: It is 10 minutes past the hour.

It is May 1st, but look at this. There is a powerful winter blast that's dropping snow this morning in parts of the Rockies and the Northern Plains. It's a very rare occurrence for this time of year.

So, our Jim Spellman is live in Boulder, Colorado, which is two days ago, it was nearly 80 degrees.

You seem to be enjoying the weather.

JIM SPELLMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, it's really beautiful. The sun is just starting to come up here around Pearl Street (INAUDIBLE) in downtown Boulder. And it's really nice.

You can see that it is sticking to the grass about maybe two inches or so. Not sticking too much on the pavement here. But it is causing some problems, up in the mountains near Georgetown, Colorado, our affiliate KUSA reports that I-70 is closed. This is the main thoroughfare that crosses the Rocky Mountains. So, it's definitely causing some problems up there.

Here, only about one school district up in northern Colorado is closed and not a lot of those huge problems at this point. They are trying to be ready for if this starts sticking. They've got plows out. About 35 flights cancelled at the airport.

But this really is good news. We need the water for the drought. We need it to help abate wildfires that come every summer. Terrible season for that last year. So, it's good if we can make it through this.

But it is so jarring to go from wearing flip-flops to wearing winter boots and snow outfits.

So, I think everybody here will be glad when this goes. But, you know, you're right. It's beautiful. Why not enjoy this morning while we can? And I'm going to hit this camera at some point.

BERMAN: That's about 0-for-20 for the morning, Jim.

SPELLMAN: You don't think so?

BERMAN: Keep trying.

Jim Spellman --

SAMBOLIN: You have horrible aim.

BERMAN: We appreciate the effort, we really do.

Please, take it off the poor guy. He is embarrassing himself.

Eleven minutes after the hour. And the conditions have to be just right this late in the season for a storm like this.

Jennifer Delgado is live at the CNN weather center.

Jennifer, who is getting the worst of this?

JENNIFER DELGADO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: You know what? I think Jim is getting the worst of it. Horrible aim. You know, I just assume he wasn't throwing the snowball at the camera.

BERMAN: No, he is.

DELGADO: Now, I know he is.

Jim, work on that. You have no game, all right? Let's talk about the snow that's coming down and what we're going to see. Six to 12 inches, right along the Front Ranges, especially in those eastern slopes, in parts of Colorado, as well as into Wyoming. As we move up towards the Upper Midwest, for regions like Minneapolis, you could see six to nine inches of snowfall.

And the snow is already coming down. Here it is on the radar. There is Denver. Boulder just to the north. Cheyenne, there is the snow is.

And, again, we are going to continue to see this cold air moving up towards Northeast. So, it's going to be changing the rain that you are seeing. This is going to be going over to snow for parts like Sioux Falls, as well as into Minneapolis. Expect that change over to happen, right around midday, say 1:00.

And a lot of the snow is going to be melting early on but then it starts to accumulate and that is why we are talking in some locations, six to 12 inches of snowfall.

Have some more weather fun facts for you. Again, on this day, May Day, they picked up 8.3 inches of snowfall in Denver back in 1944. A little more recent, May 11th, one inch of snowfall.

So, it's not unusual, it's just a rare treat, we'll call it -- guys.

BERMAN: All right. Rare treat indeed. Jennifer Delgado, thank you so much.

SAMBOLIN: Thirteen minutes past the hour.

The U.S. is stepping up aid to Syria rebels in the wake of suspected chemical weapons use by the Assad regime. Officials announcing we are doubling our commitment of nonlethal aid to $250 million. And the Obama administration is saying all options are on the table, including providing arms to the rebels.

BERMAN: The U.S. Senate will hold hearings at a deadly explosion at a fertilizer plant in the town of West, Texas. California Senator Barbara Boxer announced the Environmental and Public Works Committee will conduct the hearing. The explosion killed at least 15 people, injuring more than 160 others. And destroy dozens of buildings in that small Texas town.

SAMBOLIN: And happening now, riot police in Istanbul gassing and firing water canons at dozens of demonstrators. They were trying to reach the city's Taksim Square for labor protest, were stopped by more than 20,000 police.

Back home immigration, reform advocates are planning May Day rallies in several cities across the country, including Seattle, New York and Los Angeles.

BERMAN: President Obama is expecting to nominate Tom Wheeler as the next chairman of the Federal Communications Commission today. Wheeler was, of course, a top fundraiser for the president's reelection campaign. The White House describes Wheeler as an experienced leader who shares the president's commitment to protecting consumers, enhancing competition and encouraging investment in communication technology.

There are people who worry he's too close to the industry.

Here's a question: how in the world did a Memphis police cruiser end up like this?

SAMBOLIN: It's quite a picture, isn't it?

BERMAN: It's a crazy picture.

We're told the officer behind the wheel was attempting to pull over, pull over a driver when he lost control. He hit a guide wire attached to the utility pole and it all the way up the poll there. And the wonderful thing is no one was injured. But it is a crazy picture.

SAMBOLIN: So, you got great pictures out of it.

All right. Ahead on STARTING POINT, I am not a murder. Amanda Knox telling the world her side of the story and talking about how she was portrayed by the international media.

That's next. You're watching STARTING POINT.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SAMBOLIN: Welcome back to STARTING POINT.

It's Amanda Knox in her own words and she wants the world to know that she is not a murderer.

BERMAN: Knox is speaking publicly for the first time about her long legal nightmare in Italy.

We get more now from CNN's Nick Valencia.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

AMANDA KNOX, FORMER PRISONER IN ITALY: I was in the courtroom when they were calling me a devil. I mean, it's one thing to be called certain things in the media and then it's another thing to be sitting in a courtroom fighting for your life while people are calling you a devil. It's not true. For all intents and purposes I was a murderer whether I was or not.

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In an exclusive interview with ABC News Amanda Knox opened up for the first time in years about her murder conviction and ordeal through Italian courts and prison. Speaking to Diane Sawyer Knox talked about her roommate Meredith Kercher, the girl she was convicted of murdering and what happened the day in 2007 that would change her life.

KNOX: It bothers me when people suggest that she wasn't my friend. I was stunned by her death. She was my friend. VALENCIA: But that's not how much of the media saw it at the time as prosecutors painted a picture of their kinky sex game gone wrong, Knox was dubbed the femme fatale. And the media eat it up.

At the crime scene and the immediate after math of her room mates death it was actions like kissing her then boyfriend who would eventually be convicted along with Knox in Kercher's death that made her critics question her innocence.

DIANE SAWYER, ABC NEWS: People kept saying, where is the anguish? Where is what we think we would do if this happened to our friend?

KNOX: I have seen the same picture like the kissing just can't stop. And that's not what that was. I want the truth to come out. I'd like to be reconsidered as a person.

VALENCIA: Which is why she agreed to the interview and released a memoir. She hopes it will help clear her name.

SAWYER: Did you kill Meredith Kercher?

KNOX: No.

SAWYER: Were you there that night?

KNOX: No.

SAWYER: Do you know anything you have not told police? That you have not said in this book? Do you know anything?

KNOX: No, I don't. I wasn't there.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VALENCIA: Amanda Knox's freedom is now back on the line. An Italian court has ordered a retrial of her repealed conviction. And Knox may once again find herself pleading her case in an Italian court, proclaiming her innocence -- John, Zoraida.

BERMAN: A lot of people taking a look now at that interview at what she says at her expressions.

SAMBOLIN: Scrutinizing. Yes.

BERMAN: Every look.

SAMBOLIN: That's right. Ahead on STARTING POINT take a look at this. Does she look fat to you? That cheerleader? A blogger received major backlash after commenting on this woman's weight. And now she has learned her fate. That's what's trending. It's headed your way next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: All right. Let's take a look at some stories that are trending this morning.

For Netflix customers it is streamageddon.

SAMBOLIN: Sounds very upset about this.

BERMAN: Starting today nearly 2,000 movie titles will vanish from the Netflix streaming service which I just signed up for.

SAMBOLIN: Yes.

(LAUGHTER)

BERMAN: And the reason for the purge --

SAMBOLIN: Yes, it's timing.

BERMAN: -- the films belonged to Warner Brothers, MGM and Universal and they will now be available only through Warner's new classic film service. But cheer up, Netflix users, two words that will make you feel better, instantly, "Arrested Development."

(LAUGHTER)

All 15 new episodes coming May 26th.

SAMBOLIN: So did that make you feel better?

BERMAN: A little.

SAMBOLIN: A little bit. All right. So check this out. Actual atoms manipulated by scientists at IBM used to create the world's smallest animated movie. It is called "A Boy and His Atom." It's only 90 seconds long. It shows the boy shaped by atoms playing with a ball which is a single atom.

So listen to this, this movie is so small. The BBC reports what we are seeing has been magnified 100 million times.

BERMAN: All right. Another picture that a lot of people are talking about right now.

SAMBOLIN: Cool.

BERMAN: Too chunky to cheer? A CBS blogger in Houston is taking heat for bringing that question to readers about Oklahoma City Thunder girl Kelsey Williams. The "Post" pointed out a little pudginess, this is what "The Post" said, in Williams' midsection and asked readers to weigh in. They did overwhelmingly calling "The Post" insensitive and instead of demanding the cheerleader lose weight, they insisted the blogger lose her job and that blogger has reportedly been fired.

SAMBOLIN: I was surprised that it was a woman writing this. Quite frankly. Terrible.

All right. Ahead on STARTING POINT, a mother goes missing after her shift and police are trying to piece together what may have happened to her. There's your picture. We're going to talk with Jessica Heeringa mother and fiance about the investigation. The very latest on that coming up next.

BERMAN: And why does a school deny an airman just back from Afghanistan a request to escort his sister to her prom. That's next.

You're watching STARTING POINT.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: Welcome back to STARTING POINT, everyone. I'm John Berman.

SAMBOLIN: And I'm Zoraida Sambolin.

Updating you on new developments on the Boston terror investigation. Danny, the man who was carjacked by the Tsarnaev brothers is now speaking publicly about his 90 minutes of terror. Listen to what he told CBS about his harrowing encounter just days after the Boston marathon bombing.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DANNY, CARJACKING VICTIM: He took out his gun, pointed to me, he dolt me like, you know, I'm serious. Don't be stupid. He asked a question like, do you know the Boston explosion on Monday. I said, yes. And then, you know, I did that.