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Terror Attack at Boston Marathon: Two Dead, Dozens Wounded
Aired April 15, 2013 - 18:01 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: All right, there he is, the police commissioner in Boston, the governor of Massachusetts, the mayor of Boston, updating us on what we know right now.
And information is just coming in. We're also standing by to hear from the president of the United States.
If you're just joining us, here's a recap of what we know right now, a horrific scene, one explosion, then another near the finish line at the Boston Marathon. If you're just joining us, we're following breaking news this hour.
Two people are dead, more than 100 reportedly injured in what is clearly a terrorist attack at a sporting event followed around the world. We're standing by, once again, for remarks by President Obama. He's getting ready to go into the White House Briefing Room. He will be speaking within the next eight or nine minutes. We will have live coverage standing by. You will hear from the president. He's been updated by the FBI director and the secretary of homeland security.
The twin bombings happened a little over three hours ago. The area was packed with tens of thousands of runners and spectators, but now it's a disaster area. It's filled with wreckage and stained with blood.
Boston police are scrambling to try to figure out who's behind these bombings. They tell us no suspects have been arrested or are in custody, although they are questioning individuals. No one has yet claimed responsibility for these terrorist attacks.
Counterterrorism experts have been combing through the area in search of other explosive devices. We have CNN correspondents and analysts. They're following this unfolding story, bringing you team coverage of every new angle as it comes in and what's going on.
We have -- we're watching what's going on here on this special edition of THE SITUATION ROOM. I'm Wolf Blitzer. And once again, we want to welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world.
Let's bring in our national security contributor, Fran Townsend. She's been working her sources.
You're getting some new information, Fran. What are you picking up?
FRANCES TOWNSEND, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CONTRIBUTOR: Wolf, a federal law enforcement official with knowledge of the investigation said to me the FBI has indeed classified this as a terrorist attack, but they have made clear to me they do not know at this time whether those responsible for the attack were a foreign or domestic group.
They do not know that answer yet, Wolf, and that's their highest priority. There was no threat to the marathon in advance of the marathon today. They are going back now to see if there was something that was missed, either by federal or local officials.
FBI confirmed there is no one in custody, and this law enforcement official also said to me that the two explosions that we have shown the tape of, Wolf, along that end of the marathon route, it looks horrific, but I was told by the source that both packages that caused those explosions were small and that as of right now, initial tests, there does not appear to be used C-4 or other high-grade explosive material, which would indicate, if that turned out to be true, Wolf, that this was a more crude device, a crude explosive device.
BLITZER: It was still a killing device. There's no doubt about that. At least two people are dead.
When you say federal law enforcement authorities, Fran, have now formally designated this a terror attack, what goes into a definition like that?
TOWNSEND: Well, there's no question that it was a planned, coordinated attack intended to cause causalities.
The point about this being small packages, Wolf, is that, look, we're fortunate. There would have more greater causalities if this had been a high-trade explosive or if the packages themselves had been larger. While we know there are causalities and that's tragic, it's fortunate that this wasn't either a higher-grade explosive or a larger incendiary device, which would have caused more causalities.
BLITZER: Let me bring Tom Fuentes into this discussion, the former assistant FBI director, also a CNN contributor.
The two explosive devices, Tom, small packages, not believed at least at this time to include a C-4 or other plastic explosives, what does that say to you?
TOM FUENTES, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, it says that somebody basically pretty amateurish put that together and that it probably wasn't a well-trained terrorist who either would have had access or tried to get access to a more potent device that would have caused much more damage and bigger causalities, had it been.
BLITZER: Because a more sophisticated device would have been a more powerful explosive, but also a device that would include projectiles, if you will. You throw in a bunch of nails and other stuff, that could really injure and kill a lot of people. (CROSSTALK)
FUENTES: Right. You could add shrapnel to it, as was done in the Atlanta Olympic bombings, Centennial Park bombing.
But here you also have, from the bomber's point of view, all that glass and all the plate glass window at sidewalk level that suddenly become shrapnel. So you don't have to have your own shrapnel. The explosives are going to blow out the windows and create that. I'm sure later we will find out that many of the injured were injured by the glass that was airborne following the blast.
BLITZER: Just to be precise on this, Tom, the material needed of what is at least as of now believed to be a relatively crude bomb, that's pretty available, it's not that difficult to get this kind of material.
FUENTES: Very available, and it's going to be hard to single out a certain group or individual that may have put that together.
As far as designating this as terrorism, that would have happened the instant that they know this was a bomb, an explosive device that was put together in a deliberate act, not a manhole cover or an accidental infrastructure explosion. As soon as they know it's an explosive device, it's terrorism.
BLITZER: So, now does that make -- it is a federal jurisdiction now if it's deemed by the FBI to be a terrorist -- so the FBI takes charge of this investigation?
FUENTES: Yes, they would have primary jurisdiction whether it's international or domestic, and that's by statute and by presidential decree. That's why the FBI runs the joint terrorism task forces throughout the country.
As soon as the designation is given that it was an explosive device, it's terrorism, but at that point, I want to add that, you know, in a way it doesn't matter who's in charge. These agencies have already been working together for months on this event. They are working together in the aftermath of it. The prosecutors will work together.
So you're going to have a group effort, if you will, a task force effort, no matter what, regardless of who gets designated as the lead.
BLITZER: In about two minutes, we expect the president of the United States to walk into the Briefing Room over at the West Wing of the White House and make a statement to the nation.
He has been briefed by the FBI director, by the secretary of homeland security, by his White House chief of staff, his homeland security adviser.
Gloria Borger, as we await the president of the United States, you have been talking to your sources as well. What are you picking up?
GLORIA BORGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, the first thing I picked up before this press conference we just had is that people -- there was some confusion, as John King pointed out, about whether the fire at the Kennedy Library was at all related to the Copley Square incidents, and the answer to that is that it was a mechanical fire or an explosion that was completely unrelated.
In these kind of situations, we tend to link things together that may not always be linked together. So, and I would also like to report that the fire is in the new wing of the fire, did not affect any of the Kennedy archives.
As for the president speaking in a few minutes, to me, I think it's important the president actually go on the air and speak to the American people. We have just had this -- been told, as Tom is saying, that this is a terrorist incident, whether domestic or foreign, and the president needs to speak to the American people.
BLITZER: Yes, we're told he's only a minute or so away.
Jessica Yellin is over there watching what's going on.
We have any indication, Jessica, what the president is going to say?
JESSICA YELLIN, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, they haven't told us exactly what he will say, but I'm sure he will reassure the American people that officials here in Washington are in ongoing contact with the officials there on the ground as they have told us consistently since the president was first briefed at 3:00 in the afternoon.
I would remind you that this White House took quite a lashing after they failed to call another incident terrorism when an American -- a number of Americans were killed in attacks then overseas, so one would imagine the president would be careful to call this, I should guess, I would guess, terrorism today.
If you do hear him say that, it could have a broad range of meanings. Politically, it's something that one might imagine he has to do. Also, he spoke today with Deval Patrick, the mayor as well of Boston, and Speaker Boehner. Speaker Boehner released a picture of that conversation as well.
The speaker will hold a moment of silence later this evening for those who lost their lives in Boston, and I expect the president will tell us a little bit more about the efforts he's undertaking now to solve this problem.
BLITZER: All right, here comes the president.
(BEGIN LIVE PRESS CONFERENCE COVERAGE)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Good afternoon, everybody. Earlier today, I was briefed by my homeland security team on the events in Boston. We're continuing to monitor and respond to the situation as it unfolds. And I have directed the full resources of the federal government to help state and local authorities protect our people, increase security around the United States as necessary, and investigate what happened.
The American people will say a prayer for Boston tonight, and Michelle and I send our deepest thoughts and prayers to families of the victims in the wake of this senseless loss.
We don't yet have all the answers. But we do know that multiple people have been wounded, some gravely, in explosions at the Boston Marathon. I have spoken to FBI Director Mueller and Secretary of Homeland Security Napolitano. And they're mobilizing the appropriate resources to investigate and to respond.
I have updated leaders of Congress in both parties, and we reaffirm that on days like this there are no Republicans or Democrats. We are Americans, united in concern for our fellow citizens.
I have also spoken with Governor Patrick and Mayor Menino and made it clear that they have every single federal resource necessary to care for the victims and counsel the families. And, above all, I made clear to them that all Americans stand with the people of Boston.
Boston police, firefighters, and first-responders as well as the National Guard responded heroically and continue to do so as we speak. It's a reminder that so many Americans serve and sacrifice on our behalf every single day without regard to their own safety in dangerous and difficult circumstances. And we salute all those who assisted in responding so quickly and professionally to this tragedy.
We still do not know who did this or why. And people shouldn't jump to conclusions before we have all the facts. But make no mistake. We will get to the bottom of this. And we will find out who did this. We will find out why they did this.
Any responsible -- any responsible individuals, any responsible groups will feel the full weight of justice. Today is a holiday in Massachusetts. Patriots' Day. It's a day that celebrates the free and fiercely independent spirit that this great American city of Boston has reflected from the earliest days of our nation. And it's a day that draws the world to Boston streets in a spirit of friendly competition.
Boston is a tough and resilient town. So are its people. I'm supremely confident that Bostonians will pull together, take care of each other and move forward as one proud city. And, as they do, the American people will be with them every single step of the way.
You should anticipate that, as we get more information, our teams will provide you briefings. We're still in the investigation stage at this point, but I just want to reiterate we will find out who did this and we will hold them accountable.
Thank you very much.
(END OF LIVE PRESS CONFERENCE COVERAGE)
BLITZER: The president making a brief statement, about three minutes or so.
If you were monitoring what he had to say, the president vowing that the United States, that the U.S. will find out who did this and hold those individuals or individual fully responsible for what happened just about three hours or so ago.
If you're just joining us, we're covering the breaking news out of Boston, clearly, a terror attack at the Boston Marathon. Two explosions have killed at least two people. "The Boston Globe" reporting at least 90 people have been injured, some of them critically injured. Sources tell CNN a third apparent explosive device has been found.
Experts are working to dismantle it. This is in a different location. Boston police are urging everyone right now to keep off the streets, to stay at home or in their hotels. Cities, including New York City, Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles, they are increasing security right now out of an abundance of caution, according to local law enforcement.
We have complete CNN team coverage of this terror attack on the Boston Marathon. We're watching all angles of what's going on right now. These are some of the images that were captured of what's going on.
Jessica Yellin was in the briefing room when the president spoke.
Jessica, the president did not say this was a terror attack, as we are saying now based on what law enforcement, federal law enforcement, is telling us. But I assume the president is trying to be overly cautious before he declares this a terror attack.
YELLIN: I think that they are being very careful, and he is -- has had experience with these kinds of situations after the attack in Libya and carefully avoiding using the word, using the word.
The fact he didn't mention it, Wolf, I think is meaningful. And perhaps they have some more information than we do. He's being considered, I think, and there must be a reason he chose not to use that word. He, clearly, is determined and one of the, you know, messages that they consistently sent out -- they sent out after the death of bin Laden -- was bin Laden's capture -- the killing of bin Laden was a message to the world that when we say we will make people who attack America or cause death in America pay, we mean it.
And when he stood here today and said we will find out who did this and they will pay consequences, he clearly had intent and he meant it. So, that doesn't mean that somebody will pay the same price, but he was quite sincere, and quite firm in that and at the same time was quite careful not to use the word terrorism, so I think we should all heed what he said and take interest in that. I will try to find out why they were being so careful here in avoiding calling it terrorism.
BLITZER: Yes. The president is very precise in his words. That's a very sensitive issue, declaring it a terror attack. And it has real ramifications as far as the federal government is concerned.
Go ahead, Jessica, check with your sources.
Fran Townsend, your sources, your law enforcement sources told you the federal government now does believe this was, in fact, a terror event.
TOWNSEND: That's right, Wolf. It may be -- let's remember, you know, the memory of 9/11, September 11, is not so far away, and when Americans hear a terror attack, there's implicit in that in many respects that it's a foreign sort of -- a foreign-driven event.
And I think what we know from law enforcement, it's not clear. Could it be a domestic terror group? Yes, it could. Could it be a foreign group? Yes, it could. They just don't know, Wolf. It may be that the president is being cautious, reluctant to label it a terror event until he can say with more precision who did it, why they did it, and the progress that they are making in the investigation.
COOPER: Would it be called a terror event, though, Fran, if it were, let's say, one individual who was just loony, if you will, crazy, a lone wolf, if you will, and going ahead and plotting this kind of joint bombing?
TOWNSEND: Sure, Wolf, we have talked about homegrown terrorists and the lone wolf symbol, where it's an individual inspired by a terrorist -- an extremist ideology, but not directly affiliated with a group. Look at the Fort Hood shooter.
Was that a terrorist event? Yes, it was. That was an individual, Nidal Hasan, who went on a shooting rampage because he was inspired by Anwar al-Awlaki, the Yemeni preacher. And so certainly an individual can be responsible for a terrorist attack, a lone wolf, but again, I think some of this is the president's being cautious until they understand more what was the driving force behind this event.
But as Tom Fuentes said earlier, Wolf, once you know that it's an intentional act designed to create causalities and injuries and it's not a manhole cover or gas explosion, the FBI's within its rights to designate it a terror attack and then begin to coordinate at the federal level the ongoing investigation.
BLITZER: Good point. All right, Fran, this is what I want to do.
"The Boston Globe" released some dramatic video of actual twin bombings near the finish line at the Boston Marathon. The video is disturbing. I want to play it and let it -- You will hear the first explosion and then a few seconds later you will hear the second explosion. I will play it and then we will assess what we just saw. Watch this. You can see the aftermath of these twin bombings near the finish line at the Boston Marathon, a horrific, a horrific scene, something no one expected on the day where nearly 27,000 participants in the Boston Marathon, half of them or so had just crossed the finish line.
Another -- the other half were still running, but, of course, they immediately shut down the Boston Marathon and took major, major action. One member of the House Homeland Security Committee now telling our own Deirdre Walsh up on Capitol Hill that they have been briefed by law enforcement sources, who call this a sophisticated, coordinated, planned attack.
Let's talk about the video that we just saw. Tom Fuentes, former FBI assistant director, is here, a CNN contributor.
This video, it may have been an unsophisticated bomb, they have been unsophisticated, but it looked horrific, Tom.
FUENTES: Well, it looks horrific, but this video, I think, is pretty similar to the ones that we have already seen. It just had a better sound quality and you can hear the screaming and the explosions.
BLITZER: But the smoke was permeating that whole area, the aftermath of that, those two bombings, and you heard the explosions, what, within a few seconds apart.
And, again, that would be amplified because it's surrounded by tall buildings, because that would help contain that in a confined area, as opposed to if it was out in a field somewhere or out on the side of a road like an IED where the smoke would clear pretty quickly.
And so, yes, it's a horrific event, and the video shows in a situation like that, the explosion becomes larger. It does damage to the people that are near it. It could have been much worse, though, and I keep saying that. Having been to these scenes, it could have been worse.
BLITZER: John, you're a Boston native. You grew up in Boston. You worked in Boston. You know this area very well.
When you see those twin bombings right in the heart of Boston near the finish line at the Boston Marathon, what goes through your mind?
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, back years ago, when I worked the Associated Press, we'd sometimes go help the sports guys. We would go down to the finish line, interview runners when they come in or just help the sports guys out with anything they needed at the end.
When you see the flags on your right and the big granite building to your left, that's the main Boston public library on the left, and you're looking up from Copley Square toward the Back Bay, behind you is the Boston Common. This is right in the heart of the center of the city. There's many hotels around there. You can see the Lenox Hotel in one of those shots, more hotels just behind you out of the picture. Fenway Park is not far away.
There's a Red Sox game every day. Important to note, this is a state holiday in Massachusetts, Patriots' Day, every year. The event is run every year. The Red Sox have a game every year. Wolf, just a block to the right behind those flags is Newbury Street, a huge shopping area. Thousands there for the marathon, thousands more I suspect enjoying the day off from school, the day off from work for shopping, in the area for shopping.
The Prudential Tower is there, the Hancock Tower is there. This is essentially the northern end of Boston's financial district, steps away from many of the historical and cultural in the heart of Boston there. On that side of the streets, where the flags are, it's mostly restaurants and offices. There's a Starbucks there, there's a camera store there.
Just every time I'm back home, you make your way down there because of how important it is, how central it is to the culture, and the restaurant, and the sporting life of Boston. Thousands of people here for this event every year.
As you see the chaos unfolding there, another thing to note is, again, speculation, but if you were someone who came up to do this and you wanted to get away, you could go back from that side of the barrier to Newbury Street pretty quickly, or there's a subway that runs right underneath, the green line at Copley Square, which takes you out of the city to the north, right out into the heart of the city, just a few stops away from connecting to the red line. Then you connect to the other lines as well. If you hopped on the subway, you can be gone in a matter of minutes.
BLITZER: We're now being told by Democratic Congressman Keating of Massachusetts, a member of the House Homeland Security Committee, that in addition to these two bombs that went off, and killed and injured at least two people killed, maybe 100 people injured, they have found two other explosive devices.
An unexploded device was found at a hotel on Boylston Street not far away, and another unexploded device was found at what's being described as an undisclosed location.
So when we say this could have been a whole lot worse, clearly, two other bombs were found that had been unexploded. It clearly could have been a whole lot worse.
Tom Foreman is over at the magic wall.
Tom, tell us where these explosions, these bombings occurred.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Sure, Wolf. Let's look at the layout of this. This is Massachusetts over here. If you move in toward the finish line here, you can see this 26.2-mile route that winds and largely in a straight line winding back and forth up and down some hills. Right down here into the heart of the city, that's where the finish line is.
And when we talk about how bad this was and how bad it could have been, it's worth bearing in mind that, in fact, "Runners World" is now reporting, Wolf, that about 17,500 runners had already crossed this line before the explosion, which meant about 6,000 actually hadn't crossed. Even though they normally get 27,000, this year, not as many started ultimately. A lot of people drop out at the last minute.
So, in fact, every runner that went across this line, that took people away to celebrate and say the race was over. In fact, this was late in the process here. One thing I want to notice here, though, we have been analyzing this explosion and the second explosion just down the street here, because if we move in towards it over here near the Mandarin Oriental over here, if you move into this area and you take a closer look, one of the things that seems to be clear is that this explosion appears to be substantially bigger than the first one down here.
Most of our video is down here, but this one seems to have covered the entire area, from the buildings here, all the way out to the sidewalk out here and maybe out into the runners a bit. So, this seems to have been a substantially larger explosion, Wolf.
I will say one thing about this. If you look at the finish line area down here, the police have been telling everyone to try to steer clear from about a 15-block radius. Look at this. If you're talking about just 15 blocks in here, this really is a substantial heart of Boston. This is really in the middle of everything. MIT's right over here, Fenway Park is over here, Boston University, Boston College. So many things revolve around this area.
As John just said a minute ago, if you're in this part of Boston, you're trying to get away from it, if nobody is looking for you at that moment, it's an easy place to get away from. Very hard now, and, and, I want to add this, as the police say, they don't want people to congregate, that's tough. Many runners are gathering down here at the Garden and the Boston Common because they have been told to for a period of time. Then police say we don't want people in groups.
With a city with this many universities and this many places where people do gather, that's a tough order, Wolf.
BLITZER: Certainly is. All right, Tom, stand by. We're going to get back to you.
By the way, a spokeswoman for Boston's Children's Hospital tells us that seven people injured at the bombings are now in the hospital. Six of them are children. One is the adult parent of one of the children. Their conditions, according to the spokeswoman for Boston Children's Hospital, are good to serious. No patient deaths reported at this hospital. But you can see all of the hospitals in the Boston area right now receiving injured, treating injured, dealing with this twin terrorist attack in Boston, two explosions only seconds apart right there near the finish line at the Boston Marathon.
If you're just joining us, we're following the breaking news here in THE SITUATION ROOM. I'm Wolf Blitzer reporting, a terrorist attack at the Boston Marathon.
President Obama spoke out just a few moments ago. He never used the word terror or terrorist, but he's vowing to find out who is responsible. And he's vowing that they will be brought to justice.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: We still do not know who did this or why. And people shouldn't jump to conclusions before we have all the facts. But make no mistake. We will get to the bottom of this. And we will find out who did this. We will find out why they did this.
Any responsible -- any responsible individuals, any responsible groups will feel the full weight of justice.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Two bombs exploded right near the finish line at the Boston Marathon more than three hours ago.
Nearly 27,000 people were participating in the marathon. About half had completed the marathon. The other half were still running, but they immediately canceled the marathon. At least two people are confirmed dead. At least 80 or 90 are being treated at local hospitals. Others have been injured as well.
We're told federal authorities have characterized this as a terrorist attack, but it's not clear whether it might have been carried out by foreign or domestic terrorists or carried out by a sophisticated group or an unsophisticated group. Could have been just a lone Wolf-type terrorist.
Listen to witnesses describe the blast and the panic that followed.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We were standing across from Lord & Taylor, and to our left, short (ph) of the finish line, two huge bombs, smoke coming out of buildings. And then something else to the left of us, and the whole thing stopped and they sent us away.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A big, huge explosion while we were having lunch. And everybody ran for the doors and windows, and there were children under tables.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I work in the Prudential (ph), but I don't know what's going on. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're at the Lenox. And a window (UNINTELLIGIBLE).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Elevator, the elevator shook the whole building. It was quite a blast. Scared the hell out of us.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was watching the race, and we heard explosion. And we knew it was a little bit louder than an M-80 cherry bomber, and we saw the smoke was right across the street from us, basically. It was the most scariest thing I've dealt with being on the fire department for 26 years. It was a terrible scene.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When I made the turn, I mean, the first pop, boom, then another one, boom! And then another one, boom. It's like one after another. It was just one big cloud of smoke, white smoke, and then the other one, one after the other after the other. It was just crazy.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you OK?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, I'm OK. She was in the grandstands. I was -- I was just worried about her, you know? It's bad. This is really, really bad.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: We're now being told, as bad as this situation is, according to WCVB, one of the local stations in Boston, one of the two people killed was an 8-year-old child. We don't know if it was a boy or a girl, but an 8-year-old child killed in this terror attack near the finish line in Boston at the Boston Marathon.
Democratic Congressman William Keating of Massachusetts, a member of the House Homeland Security Committee, is joining us on the phone right now.
Congressman, I know your heart, our hearts, all of our hearts go out to the families of those who have been killed and injured, and now we've heard that an 8-year-old child is among those who have been killed in this terror attack. Give our viewers an update, because I know you've been briefed. What do you know?
REP. WILLIAM KEATING (D), MASSACHUSETTS (via phone): It's just heartbreaking, first and foremost. From the perspective of people in the Boston area and Massachusetts, to have something like this occur at an event that usually brings people together, brings communities together, brings countries together. Being a D.A. before I was in Congress, I just -- prayers are with the family members of those who lost their lives, those two individuals, as well as perhaps scores who were injured as a result of this.
That's the first reaction of everyone here. It's something that was traumatic, I think, even in today's day and age to witness. It was a coordinated event. Clearly, it appears to be a coordinated event. There were the two explosions at the finish line. There's an unclear situation at the JFK Library, whether it was some type of incendiary event, whether that's connected or not is not clear at this point.
There's reports through our sources in our office of an undetonated bomb that was at a hotel in that area, and another undetonated bomb, the source of which was not given to us. But it's clear from that that there's been a series of explosions or potential explosions.
It's too early to tell who's responsible for this, of course. The two things typically that come to mind when a terrorist is involved is that they choose symbolic targets. And certainly, the iconic Boston Marathon, the oldest marathon that brings people together from all over the world, is that kind of symbolic event. It's also April 15. It's tax day, an event that might incite domestic or lone Wolf type of terrorists. We just don't know. The investigation, I'm confident, will yield who's responsible for this.
But we go forward with, really, a heavy heart in the Boston area and one of the things that they are cautioning people in our area through the National Guard has contacted our office and just giving people -- stated the obvious: stay in your homes, unless you have to get out; stay in your apartments. There's an ongoing forensic investigation and the site of -- the criminal site is really not known at this point.
So this goes forward and, you know, on many fronts. The emergency responders were among the finest. At the fusion (ph) center, we have the coordinating federal, state, and local agencies is among the best in the country. The medical centers that are treating these people are among the best. It doesn't mitigate the terrible loss there, but we're proud of the people that responded, and we're confident that the people that are going to be responsible for this are will be brought to justice.
BLITZER: Quick question, Congressman: when you say this is a sophisticated, coordinated, planned attack, I assume you mean it's a terror attack and that not just one, but several individuals may have been responsible. Is that what you're being told?
KEATING: As a district attorney, I know there's one thing: you only know what you know. But clearly there were multiple sites. They were coordinated in that respect, and the rest will come through shortly. We might have people taking credit for this that aren't responsible, so people will be led -- law-enforcement officials will be led through the evidence, not through people that might take credit. But we'll get to the bottom of this. That much I'm sure.
BLITZER: Has anyone, as far as you know, taken responsibility for this?
KEATING: Not yet. You know, as you know, Wolf, people will take responsibility, even if they're not responsible parties. This will be dealt with through the professionals.
The federal law enforcement community is all at our disposal in terms of assets here locally. They're already bringing in some -- some of the best bomb experts around the country to supplement some of the best people that are already here.
So believe me, the weight of the United States, the weight of the commonwealth of Massachusetts, and the weight of the city of Boston and the people connected will be coming to bear on this, and we will bring the responsible people to justice.
But in the meantime, I think back home here everyone's focused on the loss: the loss of innocent lives, the nature of the injuries involved, and even people that are connected to our own office have been injured in this. And people will -- far reaching in terms of the number of people that have been injured.
BLITZER: It sure is.
KEATING: Our prayers are with them right now, that's first and foremost in our mind.
BLITZER: Let's hope they find out who is responsible, why these -- this individual or individuals would commit a horrific terrorist attack like this.
Congressman, we'll stay in touch with you. Thank you very much.
Once again, WHDH is reporting that, of the two individuals killed in this terror attack, an 8-year-old child is one of the dead. Eight- year-old child killed near the finish line at this Boston Marathon.
Marilyn Miller is joining us right now on the phone. She was an eyewitness to what happened. How close were you to the scene of these two bombings, Marilyn?
MARILYN MILLER, EYEWITNESS (via phone): We were about 30 feet away from the first bomb. It was really scary. You know, you're just standing there waiting for our runner. She was only, like, ten minutes away, so we are standing right near the finish line. We were going to be running with her, getting out of our line and just running along with her so we could see her cross the finish line, and the first bomb went off.
And we found out later that her feet and her legs cramped up, which never happened before, and we were, you know, we said, you know, if it was God, because we were amazed, because she's never had that. And she should have been crossing the finish line when the bomb went off. And we'd have been -- I mean, we saw injuries all around us. We were there.
BLITZER: What kind of injuries -- what kind of -- what kind of injuries, Marilyn, did you see?
MILLER: -- thing in her neck, like I don't know if it was glass or what, but she was -- they were holding pressure against her neck. I saw injuries to her neck. And a little boy, his leg was torn up. And another woman, they were carrying out, like, you know, running like "Critical, critical, get out of our way." And yes, it was quite scary, yes.
BLITZER: And did you get out of the scene as quickly as you could? What did you do?
MILLER: Well, what we did, I mean, you -- we heard the first bomb, and we're looking, OK, "What, what?" And the smell, oh, my God, it's a bomb. And then all of a sudden the next one's going off, and we're in between the two.
And then the man that was with us, three women, they were right away, "Girls, under us, get down." And they're like, "Go, go," you know, walking like hovering over us, and I was like you didn't know where to go because you're thinking, OK, where's the next one going off. You know what I mean? It was quite scary.
I just went numb kind of, and you just do what you're told. I mean, everybody's screaming around you. And it just kind of hits you now. We're out of this city. We're in Beverly. At the shore (ph). And it just kind of hits you like, "Oh, my, what did I just live through," you know? It's crazy.
BLITZER: Are you OK, Marilyn, and your friends? I'm assume you were there with some other friends.
MILLER: We're all fine. I'll tell you, the girl we were waiting for to run passed us. She just was about to come around the corner, the first corner before she'd come to the second corner and run down the finish line. She was there. She heard the first bomb. She was heading towards the second where she would come down, and the other bomb went off right near there. And right then, boom, it shut everything off, and she -- no, no. And she said, "I got to get to my family. They're down there." And like, no, and she collapsed into the arms of another male runner.
And she said, you know, how everybody just worked together. It was, like, amazing. Amazing. And we just -- we actually tried to stop to help, but we just kind of flagged down the ambulance and then we were like we just got to get away from here. And so we just kind of walked as quick as we could and got to the other side of the river. That's what we did. And our men waited there and got our runner.
BLITZER: You got away. Well, Marilyn, I'm glad you got out, and thank you for your eyewitness account, and thanks for sharing. I'm glad your friend, who was running, the legs cramped up and she wasn't near that finish line when those bombs exploded.
Marilyn Miller on the phone for us.
Our Deborah Feyerick is getting more information from her law enforcement sources, federal law enforcement sources telling her that they are now -- that they, the federal law-enforcement agencies, have been placed on what's called level-one mobilization, this according to government sources. That's equivalent, according to these officials, all hands on deck.
Another senior federal official tells CNN that teams are on stand-by to search flights leaving the United States. That's the information coming in from Deborah Feyerick. Fran Townsend, maybe you can explain what this means. Federal law enforcement has been placed on level-one mobilization, meaning the equivalent of all hands on deck. What does that mean?
TOWNSEND: Basically, Wolf, that means people who are in the office are to remain. They're going to work shifts -- they're not going to go home, right? Your shift is over, you're not going home.
People who are at home, once they know that they're on a level- one alert, there is a protocol for who comes back into the office and in what order so that they can work every available lead.
It's not unusual. It's interesting, Wolf, that they're talking about targeting and looking, screening, all international flights. That suggests that there's some concern that an individual may have been identified that may try to flee the United States.
We heard earlier that Lisa Monaco, the president's homeland security adviser, was going out to the CIA. If that's true, that would suggest also sort of an international connection.
We ought to remind our viewers, though, Wolf, you know, law- enforcement officials have been very clear. They do not know at this point whether or not it is a foreign attack or it is a domestic attack, you know, a terrorist group. And that's their No. 1 priority, to try and figure that out. It could be a domestic individual who's looking to flee the United States to avoid prosecution. We just don't know.
But those are the kinds of law-enforcement investigative steps that you would expect the FBI to do immediately so as to stop somebody if they were trying to flee.
BLITZER: Hold on a minute, Fran. I want to bring in Tom Fuentes, the former assistant FBI director, into this conversation. Level-one mobilization, that sounds pretty serious.
TOM FUENTES, FORMER ASSISTANT FBI DIRECTOR: Well, yes, but it's, you know, basically, as Fran said, if you're already working, you stay at it. Everyone else be ready.
But the FBI's always in that. That's how you live seven days a week the entire time you're in the bureau as an agent and as a senior analyst. So, in a way, you're always at a level-one alert. You're not off, you know, going home --
BLITZER: But you don't always check all outgoing flights leaving the states.
FUENTES: Well, they haven't done it yet.
BLITZER: That's what they're planning, apparently, on doing.
FUENTES: Well, they're planning to do it, should they be called to or should they have a need. BLITZER: So what does that mean? Basically, every flight, you're flying United to London. You're flying Air Italia to Rome, every flight will now be checked before those planes take off?
FUENTES: I'm not sure what degree of checking they will do. I mean, the flight manifests are already checked. You already have a great deal of intelligence work done on international flights leaving or coming into the United States. So -- so in terms of that, what we're talking about here would be a higher elevation of maybe hand searching every single person getting on a plane to a greater degree that's going on now.
But again, I think that it's going to require a little more lead information to -- to warrant that, because there's just thousands of -- you would stop aviation if you start taking that to an extreme. That's more than an abundance of caution. They're going to have to have legal material (ph) --
BLITZER: They would have to really believe that there was a foreign terrorist who got into the United States and now was trying to escape if they were going to undertake a massive operation like that.
FUENTES: Well, they'd have to know what they were looking for and who they're looking for.
BLITZER: All right. Hold on for a moment. Hold on for a moment. If you're just joining us, you're watching CNN's team coverage of the terror attack at the Boston Marathon. I'll update viewers on what we know right now.
Two explosions killed at least two people. According to "The Boston Globe," at least 110 people have been injured. NBC News is reporting one of the dead is an 8-year-old child. CNN has not yet confirmed that report.
Congressman Bill Keating of Massachusetts tells CNN two other unexploded devices were found in the city. Police say those unexploded devices are now being investigated, examined.
President Obama spoke out from the White House this hour, a little while ago, and while he stopped short of calling this a terror attack, he did vow that whoever is responsible will feel what he called "the full weight of justice."
Certainly, it's been a chaotic scene for emergency workers on the scene. They've been rushing to treat the wounded only moments after the explosions. Let's bring in our chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta.
Sanjay, as you well know, there are a lot of medical personnel already at any marathon, especially near the finish line, because that's when a lot of those runners are exhausted, and they collapse.
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, so that is a piece of good news, I guess, in all this, Wolf: lots of ambulances and medical capabilities who are really expecting to take care of people who may be dehydrated, who may have had some sort of heart condition or something like that. But also as you point out, Wolf, well trained to be able to do this.
And one thing that happens sometimes in such situations, Wolf, is they will set up triage areas right there near the site, but because of what you just described, Wolf, that wasn't necessary. These ambulances could quickly move people to hospitals.
We know that seven different hospitals have taken patients, at least 90 patients. We're hearing the same numbers, Wolf: two people have died, six people critically injured, and many more in serious condition, Wolf. So -- but it was -- it was pretty quick in terms of getting these people help, it sounds like, in part because those medical capabilities were standing by.
BLITZER: And so all of the hospitals in the Boston area -- and Sanjay, you know these hospitals. They are some of the best hospitals in the country. They're receiving 100 or so injured, and they're dealing with a situation like this. I assume they're prepared for these kinds of emergencies.
GUPTA: Yes, you know, they are. And these are trauma centers that we're talking about, so while this is unusual, there aren't, obviously, a lot of these types of injuries. They are trained.
You know, the first thing you sort of think about in an explosion like this are what are known as primary injuries from the blast itself causing injuries. And also, because of the location in between buildings, it can cause a sort of concussive sort of effect, so people may have eardrums that are affected by this. They may have delayed concussive symptoms. That's going to be important for people who think they're just fine, but in fact, have concussive -- concussion- like symptoms later on.
Secondary blast is when there's shrapnel moving through the air and that injures somebody. And then the tertiary blast is when bodies are actually moving against bodies or bodies are being pushed against buildings. That sort of thing.
Looking at the video, Wolf, even showing it, I didn't see evidence of that tertiary blast, but those primary and secondary type injuries, which are going to be important.
I will point out we heard from the Boston Medical Center folks that they have at least 20 patients there, and most of what they're seeing are lower leg injuries.
So again, trying to get an idea of how this blast behaved: Did it blast up and out or was it just sort of more along the ground. At least from what we're hearing from Boston Medical Center, it sounds like it was sort of more closer to the ground, Wolf.
BLITZER: I just want to update our viewers. We played the video, Sanjay. Just watch this for a moment. Just listen to this for a second: Boston Medical Center, 20 people have been admitted. Massachusetts General, 22. Tufts Medical Center, 9. Brigham and Women's Hospital, 26. And it goes on and on.
At least 110 people have been injured. Eight of them are listed to be in critical condition; at least 14 in serious condition. At least eight of the 110 are children. And as we now have been told, at least one of the two fatalities, an 8-year-old child.
All right, Sanjay, watch this. This is from "The Boston Globe." This is the actual blast within seconds apart.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We need help!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's an attack.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, my God! Oh, my God! Oh, my God! Oh, my God!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Dramatic video, indeed. Sanjay, you see that and you hear 110 people injured, two dead, eight of them in critical condition, 14 in serious condition. When you see that, just tell our viewers what you think of that.
GUPTA: Obviously, it's tough, tough to watch. It's horrific images.
One thing I point out from a medical standpoint is you saw that -- where that blast occurs, the one that's closer to the finish line. And you see the smoke, and then you see just a few seconds after that people sort of emerging from that very area. And that's important.
Because again, it gives some insight into what sort of injuries they're going to expect. There are people who are close to that blast who were still able to run away from that area, which I think is very important in term of the magnitude of this, suggesting that it wasn't as powerful. Obviously, we're dealing with a horrific situation here. But these are the sort of things medical examiners are going to pay attention to.
Also when you see the runners coming up right before the explosion occurs, there's one runner who sort of goes down. Several runners keep running. And that also gives you an idea of the blast of this thing. It wasn't a situation where several runners were -- there you see it there, Wolf. One runner -- just sort of falls. Not sure, was the person struck by something? Did they have a concussive blast that may have affected their eardrums? Who knows?
But pay attention to the other runners. They all became aware that something happened here. But they're not being sort of a victim of that secondary blast. People sort of being -- being forced into each other or blown away from the -- from the blast site itself.
So again, this may be a little bit of a moot point now. The investigators are going to be looking specifically at what happened. But the medical sort of -- medical examiners are going to want to look at this very carefully, Wolf.
BLITZER: When they say, these hospitals, that eight people are in critical condition, 14 in serious condition, give us an example from a medical perspective. What does that mean: critical condition, as opposed to serious condition?
GUPTA: Yes, it's a good question, and I will tell you, it's a little bit arbitrary. Different hospitals classify this a little bit differently. But critical typically means that someone is requiring an intensive care unit. They typically need a breathing machine to help them breathe. And this is somebody who may need surgery quickly, and they're really going to be in a situation where doctors and nurses are going to be monitoring them very, very closely.
Serious condition is basically one step below that. They may not be needing surgery. They may still be in ICU. Their blood pressure may be up and down a bit, so doctors and nurses are paying attention to that. There may be a situation with bleeding, ongoing bleeding.
But again, you know, when you're at that level after an injury like this, these -- this nomenclature may not mean as much, Wolf.
BLITZER: And we know at least eight of the 110 injured are children. Two fatalities, and one is reportedly an 8-year-old child.
Sanjay, don't go too far away. We will stay in close touch with you, as well.
Gloria Borger has been watching what's going on. You're been checking with your sources. What else are you hearing?
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, what I'm hearing from Capitol Hill is that Senator Dianne Feinstein, who's the chairperson of the Senate Intelligence Committee. It's saying that they had no intelligence on this beforehand. There was no briefing scheduled tonight.
And when she was asked on her way to the Senate floor whether the attack had some hallmarks of some sort of terrorist attack, as we've been talking about this evening, whether homegrown or foreign, she said, "I don't think there were any hallmarks other than the fact that it could be either. It could be home-grown; it could be foreign." And she said, "Now as the day goes on, that may well change. But that's what I've learned so far."
And when she was specifically asked, Wolf, whether it was a terrorist -- terrorist incident, she said, "That's my understanding. It's an incident with a bomb," which is what we've been talking about.
BLITZER: Designed to kill and maim individuals, as many as possible. John, what else are you hearing -- John King?
KING: One point to follow up on Gloria. The political and cultural definition of terrorism changed a lot since 9/11. There will be a lot of people saying why didn't the president use that term?
If you look at the Webster's Dictionary and, Tom knows, the law enforcement dictionary, you have an event with a huge crowd. Bombings like this clearly designed to terrorize people, clearly designed to hurt people and, in this case, kill at least two people. So it meets the definition of terrorism without a doubt.
I think, to Jessica Yellin's point earlier, post-9/11, when you hear the word "terrorism," people in the United States, many people automatically think al Qaeda or some foreign plot. So --
BORGER: Under attack.
KING: -- I think the president -- I think that's one of the reasons --
BLITZER: There was a terrorist incident in Oklahoma City, done by U.S. citizens.
KING: Right. I think -- and that's an important point of context. Post-9/11, I think people immediately think al Qaeda or some foreign terrorist group. The president was reflecting caution, just till we get more information.
So the point now about the investigation. These pictures here are quite telling, because Tom's been talking about this. This is clearly some sort of a crude device. Now, that doesn't mean it wasn't an international organization. Because of security, they may have used a crude device. It could be somebody who's not well-trained as a terrorist, trying to help with some, whether it's a domestic group or not.
If you look at the pictures, right -- even right near the impact site, if you look at the windows right behind it, the store windows are intact. Almost all of them you can see in this video right behind. You can see the names of the stores. You can see up above the glass is still in the windows. One window you can see open. You can see the names of some of the shops. So in term of the power of the explosive -- and Tom knows a lot more about this than I do -- it seems relatively modest.
Again, you have a tragedy here. We have people killed. A lot of people injured. But in terms of what we have seen in the past for the strength of bombs in a location like this --
BLITZER: Tom Fuentes, formerly of the FBI, former assistant director of the FBI, this clearly was not a suicide bombing. It's not -- somebody wasn't wearing a vest full of explosives. This was someone who placed a bomb somewhere near the finish line at the Boston Marathon.
FUENTES: Right. This almost reminds me of about three years ago at a Martin Luther King Day parade where there was a suspicious backpack left on the sidewalk. Somebody reported it. The police came and took it away. And sure enough, it was a bomb.
Eventually, the FBI solved that case and convicted a member of a white supremacist group, who wanted to have that explode on the sidewalk next to the parade, during the parade.
So -- so the idea of somebody making a crude device, putting it in a backpack, going to a sidewalk like that where there's a large number of people, a big event, a lot of media coverage, that's what you could have.
BORGER: What do you think about the fact that -- that we seem to be hearing from a number of sources that there was no intelligence on this at all? What does that mean?
BLITZER: No advanced warning.
FUENTES: Well, it tells you that it wasn't being planned, probably not being planned by one of the major groups, the usual suspects.
BLITZER: We've got some iReport pictures I want to show our viewers. These are just still photos that have come in from CNN iReporters. They underscore the chaos; they underscore the tragedy of the horrific nature of what happened at the Boston Marathon today.
CNN is going to stay on top of this story. I'm Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM. Erin Burnett picks up our coverage.