PoliticsNation, Monday, April 15th, 2013
Read the transcript from the Monday show
April 15, 2013
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
Guests: Steve Silva; Dave Abel; Bill Bratton; Neil Gottlieb; Clint Van Zandt; Dean Walker; Mike Barnicle
REVEREND AL SHARPTON, MSNBC ANCHOR: Thanks for joining us.
We are watching as Boston officials conclude another press conference
here on this horrific day in Boston. We are standing by to hear President
Obama address the nation after today`s events.
Today is one of the biggest sporting events of the year. The Boston
marathon attended by half a million people, but on this day it was a scene
of tragedy. Two explosions detonated near the finish line around 3:00 p.m.
sending runners crumbling. And we are seeing blowing out of window as
nearby buildings and causing bystanders to run for their lives.
Video from the "Boston Globe" showed the moment of the blast.
(VIDEO CLIP PLAYING)
SHARPTON: Here`s what we know at this hour. Two blasts just seconds
apart. Authorities now say a fire at the JFK library was not related. Two
people are confirmed dead. At least 100 are being treated for their
injuries. Also, the FAA has restricted the air space around the air of the
President Obama will address the nation in just a few minutes, his
first comments since the blasts.
That first explosion occurred near the finish line of the race around
3:00 p.m. About ten seconds later, the second blast went off just up the
block. Fire, police, and police and medical responders are on the scene.
As we speak, people with horrific injuries are being treated at nearby
Joining me now by phone is Boston.com sports writer Steve Silva. He
recorded that video we just showed you at the start of the show.
Steve, thanks for coming on the show --Steve?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hello?
SHARPTON: I`m trying to connect with Steve but we are watching the
video. The scene as an absolute out of nowhere attack, no confirmation yet
on what was the cause of the attack, no calls or threats. We are
witnessing with someone would not imagine at the Boston marathon. This is
-- this is a huge day in Boston.
Let me go to Boston to NBC contributor who is in Boston, Mike Barnicle
MIKE BARNICLE, NBC NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Reverend.
SHARPTON: No one knows that city better than you, Mike. Today is
patriot`s day in Boston for people around the country. That`s the day
schools are closed there. They celebrate the Lexington and concord that
day. Tell us what this means in the context of this horrific act, Mike.
BARNICLE: Well, Reverend, Patriot`s Day in Boston is the day when
they have a red sox baseball game that begins at 11:00 on the morning,
Monday morning, Patriot`s Day today. The marathon goes off simultaneously
with the Red Sox game being played. And then it usually works out as it
did today. You will get 35,000 people spilling out of Fenway Park, which
is about six city blocks from the finish line on Boylston Street where
thousands upon thousands of people gather to root home their relatives,
their friends to see cross the finish line.
So today, as it is every year, Patriot`s day, it`s a day when the
entire city wears a smile. No one goes to work. Schools are out. Kids
are abundant within the city. And as you indicated, this afternoon,
shortly well while after the winners crossed the finish lines, as people,
normal people who chose in to run the 26-mile marathon, they come across
with their relatives and friends waiting for them and cheering them on.
There were two explosions.
I speak to an eyewitness standing on the Boylston street with the
finish line, about 50 yards to his right he heard the first explosion, saw
the first explosion and estimates within 10 to 15 seconds later to his
left, about 50 yards across the street heard a second explosion that. That
would place both explosions within about 30 seconds of one another in about
a two-block city radius.
The explosions appear to be set at low level, on the sidewalk, perhaps
in a trash can. That`s speculation. Perhaps in a mailbox, again,
speculations because they really haven`t located --
SHARPTON: But we know it was low level, Mike?
BARNICLE: Low level because of the multiple, multiple leg injuries of
those wounded and unfortunately the two who you referenced who died. And
this person, the witness Andrew Calowell (ph), a young lawyer, who I spoke
to, saw a woman being applied -- a tourniquet being applied to her leg in
order to save the leg. He saw many other people covered with blood from
leg injuries, wounds. Fortunately, in another where it is a dreadful day;
there is a huge, huge medical contingent on site at the finish line as
there is, as you know, Reverend, as the New York marathon, at every
marathon. So, the triage unit geared up for marathoners who may be in some
difficulty as they cross the finish line, were there to immediately to
respond and they less, I think, probably saved many people from even
SHARPTON: Hold on one minute, mike. Joining me now by phone is
Boston.com sports producer Steve Silva.
Steve`s footage is what we have been watching.
Steve, what can you tell me that happened? You were there. You were
filming while this was going on.
STEVE SILVA, SPORTS PRODUCER, BOSTON.COM (via phone): Yes. I was
filming near the -- right across the finish line. They roaring in to
believe those are the charity runners running for the various charities
around town coming in around the four hour mark standing right upon the
(INAUDIBLE) other photographers and videographers when just out of the
blue, bam, a loud explosion off to the right of the sidewalk on Boylston
street just inside the (INAUDIBLE) street. The understanding now s that
the bomb has moved in the trash can and leave that place setting and I
rushed over there and just saw a horrific scene of blood. So, there has a
flown out of marathon sports and a lot of glass flew into people but also
leg injuries. I could see a gentleman with his leg had completely off but
being brought in a wheel chair. And then, again, within probably about 20
seconds another same large explosion took place another block up the street
where (INAUDIBLE) intersection of Boylston Street. So, it was just a
complete scene of chaos kind of 9,000 runners are still on the course that
have o be diverted.
SHARPTON: So you, Steve, were out there. You were out there when the
bomb went off and you actually saw one man with his led completely civet
off. You`re standing there watching this.
SILVA: I saw that in a little bit after the other. Right one, the
folks were bringing people back to the medical tent in wheel chairs and in
stretchers, yes unfortunately, yes.
SHARPTON: Now, as you stood there, there was a blast 10 to 15 seconds
later a block away across the street?
SHARPTON: Where did it seem that second blast was in proximity to
where you were?
SILVA: Yes, on the same street. So the blast is further up the
street. So that`s in the street. It is intercept of Boylston Street right
near the finish line. The next block up is where Fairfield Street
intercepts with Boylston Street on the finish line. So, that`s where they
took about 100 apart near the finish line essentially simultaneously.
SHARPTON: I mean, this is horrible. Mike, I`m going to have to go in
a minute. The president is going to address the nation.
But, Mike Barnicle, if someone we have no idea, no confirmation at all
on what is behind this, but if someone domestic, foreign wanted to make a
statement to -- let me come back to that. The president is coming. Let`s
go live and listen to President Obama address the nation from the White
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Earlier today, I was
briefed by my homeland security team on the events in Boston.
We are continuing to monitor and respond to the situation as it
unfolds and I directed the full resources of the federal government to help
state and local authorities to protect our people, increase security around
the United States as necessary and investigate what happened.
The American people will say a prayer for the people of Boston tonight
and Michelle and I send our deepest thoughts and prayers to the 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 Muller and secretary of Homeland
security Napolitano and they are mobilizing the appropriate resources to
investigate and to respond.
I have updated leaders of Congress in both parties and we were
reaffirmed that on days like this, there are no Democrats or Republicans.
We are Americans, united and concerned for our citizens.
I have also spoken with Governor Patrick and Mayor Merino and made it
clear that they have every single federal resource necessary to care for
the victims and council 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 and 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 of 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 individuals, any responsible
groups will feel the full weight of justice.
Today is a holiday in Massachusetts, Patriot`s 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 a
Boston is a tough and resilient town. So are its people. I`m
supremely confident that Bostonians will take care of each other 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 are 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.
SHARPTON: That was President Barack Obama live from the White House
making his first statement since this horrific occasion this afternoon,
3:00 p.m. in Boston.
Mike Barnicle who is in Boston.
Mike, you heard the president say several things. One, that he has
spoke to the leaders and the Congress that no Republicans or Democrats
today. We are all Americans but he also confirmed we do not know who did
this and we don`t know why it was done. But he committed that we will get
to the bottom of it and they will feel the full weight of the U.S.
government and they will be held accountable.
Your reaction to the president as he`s called on the nation to, of
course, say a prayer to those in Boston and said he and the first lady will
be praying. And he spoke to the governor and mayors giving all the
resources they need.
Mike, do you have any response to the president`s statement?
BARNICLE: Well, Reverend, this is an act of terror. It`s intended to
inflict fear in an open and free society. We live here in Boston in a
wounded city this evening but we`re still a free society. It`s very
difficult to stop people who are intent on doing things like this. We all
know that. We all realize it. And I think when an incident like this
occurs in this city or in other city in this country, we should be
cognizant of the fact that it could happen in a society such as ours.
And the intent of terror is to make people afraid, to make people
fearful of gathering in community spirit as they gather here today at the
finish at the Boston marathon. But, that will not happen. We will have a
marathon next year. Other cities will have marathon in the suing months.
We will go to ball games. We will gather collectively at many events, at
schools, at athletic events, because that`s who we are. And two terror
bombs in this city, while horrific and having killed two people and perhaps
that death count might rise, we don`t know, it will not stop us because
this is who we are. We are a free people.
SHARPTON: And we still have no idea of who is behind it or what,
domestic, foreign, or what, but clearly to choose today, whoever did this,
is a day that we celebrate Patriots` Day there. We have half a million
people in Boston. It is the days someone could easily want to use some
jaded, insane way to make a statement. That is also very troubling.
BARNICLE: Yes. Reverend, according to my report as of 45 minutes or
an hour ago, no one has yet to claim responsibility for that, at least from
the people I have spoken to. So we don`t know.
SHARPTON: All right. Joining me now by phone is "Boston Globe"
reporter, Dave Abel. He was 10-feet from one of the explosions.
Dave, first of all, thank you for coming on the show.
DAVE ABEL, REPORTER, BOSTON GLOBE (via phone): Thank you.
SHARPTON: Can you recall for us what happened? You were there ten
feet away. Tell us what you recall this afternoon.
ABEL: So, I was standing on the finish line, right at the center
taking video of the runners as they were coming in when all of a sudden
there was a massive boom. There was a sort of blow that pushed a lot of
people back. I could see runners falling in front of me. Moments later,
of course, as everyone now knows, there was a second explosion. When the
smoke started to clear, I could just see -- I could see lots of bodies. I
could see one woman staring, basically into the sky.
ABEL: I could see a lot of mangled limbs, a lot of blood and
shattered glass. It was probably the most horrific thing I`ve ever seen
and hope --
SHARPTON: My God. I mean, to just one minute you were standing
there, end of the race, people who won the race jubilant, people coming in
for charities and then the next thing you were standing there at a scene
with bloodshed, limbs having been severed. I mean, this is the worst
nightmare one could imagine.
ABEL: It was incredible jarring scene bombing, you know, I`ve run
three Boston marathons and I know what it`s like to cross on to Boylston
Street, the last leg of the race, and it`s this incredibly exciting moment.
You have this war that washes over you. I compared it to like hitting a
home run at Fenway Park like and everybody`s cheering for you and you have
this moment and suddenly in a flash everything, everything changed.
SHARPTON: I mean, it`s indescribable and you were there 10-feet away
then, another bomb goes off. As the president gave credit, first
responders immediately on the scene running in the face of danger because
no one know what is going on, whether it`s one, two, or more possibly bombs
coming. But, they immediately responded and immediately grabbing people
and trying to get them to some kind of medical attention.
ABEL: Yes. It was a pretty amazing thing to watch. All right, of
the sudden, people, I mean, there were a lot of police officers, marathon
volunteers, all kinds of folks, runners suddenly just pulling the grating
down that was a barrier that was separating speculators from the runners.
And people just carrying the wounded to medical tent which at about 50-feet
away and it was really amazing to see how people really helped very
quickly. But it was also really awful to see the aftermath.
SHARPTON: No, I mean, in the middle of this awful, unbelievable scene
and we are just a couple of hours, a few hours away, it`s already an
amazing story how other runners and spectators and first responders even in
the middle of all of this didn`t panic but went and helped the injured and
you are there observing this. I mean, this scene must have been
unbelievable to you.
ABEL: Yes. Really uncovered words and, you know, the shocking scene
of seeing what is such a peaceful and wonderful moment of people cheering
complete strangers on an old man. I was screaming runners screaming, you
are all winners and then --
SHARPTON: Can you hold for me, Dave? I want to go, I want to bring
in -- joining me now is the former Bratton police commissioner Bill
Commissioner, you know Boston better than anyone. You were
commissioner there. You have been a commissioner and other cities. What
is going on now behind the scenes where law enforcement at this stage of
such a horrific act?
BILL BRATTON, FORMER BOSTON POLICE COMMISSIONER: Well, in a previous
press conference, police commissioner Ed Davis referenced that he had
already received a call from the head of the FBI and that as he indicated
in that press conference, they are on their way. And that`s the full
resources of the federal government, homeland security, FBI, the various
intelligence agencies, to work with the Boston police department,
Massachusetts state police to very quickly secure that crime scene, get as
much information, get as much evidence as they can to basically begin what
will be a massive coordinated investigation.
I`m also just listening to your previous speaker and watching the
scene he`s describing, there was phenomenal heroism in the midst of that
chaos, in the midst of what could have been a panicked situation.
SHARPTON: No question.
BRATTON: But, watching those videos, you have to applaud that
everybody is running toward the situation, pulling the fences apart,
getting to the wounded. And you can`t help but be amazed and impressed at
the initial reaction of not only the law enforcement, National Guard
resources that were there but the runners and spectators and media running
to help. It`s to be applauded in the moment of chaos.
SHARPTON: What steps would be taken, commissioner? You know better
than anyone the kinds of procedures. What steps would be taken to make
sure that you lock down every possible way to cut off whomever or whoever
may be responsible from getting away from the area before they can be
BRATTON: Well, effectively what the federal agencies would be doing
one of the things that they would be checking, for example, is flight
manifests has past, people coming into that city, people leaving that city.
This is a huge event for Boston so the planes coming in and exiting
yesterday, today, tomorrow, would be booked fully. It this is the biggest
event in Boston each year, half a million people come in for this event.
You have 20 some plus thousand runners coming from all over the world. So,
somewhat what they would be looking at will be plane manifest. They will
be certainly examining the intelligence that has been gathered that
shattered, if you will, that they watched for all the time.
Police commissioner in Boston indicated that they had had no previous
warning or threats directed against the marathon. So, what they will
attempt to do was analyze the intelligence that they normally gather to see
if there`s something going on that they might have missed prior to this
event, an increase in chatter.
I think Mike Barnicle reported from one of his sources and Mike was
probably one of the best source people n Boston, that there was no claim or
credit for this event at the time he was reporting to you about 15 minutes
BRATTON: I`m hearing the same thing from my resources at the Boston
SHARPTON: Commissioner, now n the coming hours, what will they -- I`m
talking law enforcement now, what will they be looking for? How will they
gather evidence? What will begin to happen in the coming hours from a law
enforcement point of view, both from the police as well as the FBI?
BRATTON: Well, initially, the idea here is to get all of the injured
out of that scene. So, there is a rescue mission. Once that rescue
mission is complete, the scene is secured as a crime scene and then they
will keep everyone that doesn`t need to be there out of there. They will
be seeking to retrieve whatever physical evidence from the scene, certainly
physical evidence from the victims at the hospital in terms of the various
devices that they might have been hit with. They are trying to identify
what is the nature of the bomb, what was the explosion, device used, what
would the -- the makeup of the bomb, if you will.
So that will be moving very quickly. The FBI, in particular, the ATF
will be seeking to work with the Boston police on that.
Additionally, Boston and other cities around the country can
anticipate. There will be an increase in see something, say something type
of calls and alerts that any suspicious package, package that does not
appear to under the control of somebody particularly in Boston but
elsewhere, you can expect it occurs after these events that that will be a
pressure upon police to respond to the calls coming in.
Additionally, while there may not have been any claims of credit for
this event received as of this moment, over time you can anticipate that
there will be a number of them. That has been the history. Most of them
will certainly if not all, will be false. They will attempt to do is
identify is this an initiative that was initiated external to our shores or
a homegrown criminal, a homegrown terrorist, if you will.
SHARPTON: Now, the president just addressed the nation moments ago.
He said that we will get to the bottom of this. Those responsible will be
held accountable. Is there any doubt in your mind that that will be the
BRATTON: Not at all. But, we have subvert preventive capabilities
that, unfortunately, instances such as this it`s always a matter of not if
but a matter of when, but also after one of these events occur that there
is almost always the capability to identify those responsible and almost
always the ability to, no matter how long it takes, to get them and bring
them to justice. We have certainly the event of the past year with the
killing of Osama bin Laden some ten years after the event, we will
eventually get them.
SHARPTON: Commissioner Bratton, thank you, as always, for your time,
BRATTON: Thank you.
SHARPTON: Let me go back to Mike Barnicle.
Mike, you heard the president, you heard the commitment that he made
that we will get to the bottom of this. You are there in Boston. You are
there where obviously great trauma and uncertainty. How will this resonate
in Boston, Mike?
BARNICLE: Well, I think the same way would resonate New York City in
Omaha and Nebraska and every other city in this country. As we spoke
earlier, it`s a -- people are resilient. People are also aware of the
constant danger. We live in an age of tweeting and blogging and news
becomes instantaneously available to everyone. So, we find out about
things as they happen and it is they are going. But, we are not a fearful
Today, as commissioner -- former commissioner Bratton just explained,
I mean, we everything as it happens and we are not fearful people. As the
commissioner just explained, there was a triage unit right at the finish
line. Three, three world class hospitals, mass general, Boston medical
center, (INAUDIBLE) hospital all within a two to three-minute ambulance
ride from the scene. So, many people who were probably would have been
wounded much more badly, much more critically, perhaps you know, their
wounds were adhered to, taken care of in a situation that they would not
have been taken care of had it applied elsewhere. But, people know this is
a free and open society. People know that there are lone Wolf terrorists
out there or organized terrorists out there, that these things can happen.
I think Al, we`re probably fortunate in this country that things like this
have not happened more regularly or in a more consistent basis.
SHARPTON: Well, you know, I must say, we are under four hours since
it happened but you got to say that there is some real heroes in terms of
not only the first responders, clearly they are heroes as the president
pointed out, but so many other runners and spectators. There was no panic
breaking out that we have heard of and they were actually running towards
helping people. And I think that is a real statement that should be made
even as early as now.
BARNICLE: Well, one thing to remember, one hopeful, optimistic thing
to remember out of this horrific violence today in the city of Boston, is
at that finish line, while you were waiting for perhaps a sister or
brother-in-law, whatever, running for cancer awareness, or running for Lou
Gehrig`s disease awareness, for whatever cause you were there, whatever you
were waiting for, whomever you were waiting to finish, when this incident
occurred, it was basically a community of strangers, people who did not
know most of the runners and the runners certainly did not know most of the
But, in this horrific moment of violence, if two terrorist explosions
on a city sidewalk people join together. You had complete strangers tying
tourniquets to the legs of those who are wounded, who would suffered
horrible injuries, perhaps has lost a leg or lost a foot, but complete
strangers. This is eyewitness testimony from people who saw this, who
witnessed it, who participated in helping strangers. That`s who we are.
That`s the larger picture to remember, not the terrorist explosions as
horrific as they were, the fact that we come together in times like this.
SHARPTON: That`s truly, truly important. Let me ask you to hold one
Joining me now by phone is Neil Gottlieb. He was actually running the
Boston marathon and witnessed the explosions.
Neil, first of all, we appreciate your time. What did you see out
there today? Describe what you saw, Neo.
NEIL GOTTLIEB, WITNESSED THE EXPLOSIONS (via phone): Yes. Thanks,
Al. You know, in the previous interview said it really well. And my heart
and prayers goes out to those who were injured and killed, of course. It
was a tough day. I had run a pretty decent race and had come across the
finish line and there was a long, I might say, a corral-type situation
where you get your waters and can have instant free, and close race
nutrition. And so, I was walking getting that taking care of and my
daughter had just called me and they are setting up a meeting place. They
had just left about ten feet from in those people which is right next to
where the explosion was. So, I had crossed the finish line, so any slower,
they would have been standing right there.
And so luckily, I was running at a nice pace and it`s funny that
sounds for an athlete. At the end of the day, it became about that which
is quite disturbing but also very interesting as well. And as I was
getting the blanket wrapped around me, we hung up with my daughters, turned
around and we literally was about 100 yards away and an explosion rocked
the area. Of course, everyone has seen it by now on TV. And we felt it.
We felt it. I never felt anything like that. It clearly wasn`t just a
And then about -- it couldn`t have been more than three to five
seconds later, during the explosions, maybe 300 yards were like down the
streets where the runners take the curve off the Boylston Street where
there at their ultimate high and (INAUDIBLE) where they know they have
about 0.2 miles left in their race. It`s a horrific spot to place a bomb
where people are at their most adrenaline-filled happy moment.
SHARPTON: Now, Neil, let me ask you this. You said that the fact
that you were at the pace you were at made your daughters not be where you
feel the bomb went off. That has to be a chilling thing for you to
GOTTLIEB: It is. I mean, it`s a very chilling thing and you know,
fortune was on our side. And it was -- it became all about that. And they
shut the cell phone service down very quickly in the city to prevent any
cell phone-type detonations if there were additional bomb. So, we all
could have reached each other. And it was a very intense moment in time
for sure. So, it was tough but it was, you know, it was we are all fine
and safe and I`m sitting here in my hotel room at the Fairmont with all of
the other elite runners and everyone is safe and we`re sitting here and it
makes us reflect in our fortune and very, very sad to those who are not
sitting in the hotel with their families right now.
SHARPTON: When you saw the second -- heard the second bomb go off or
felt it, we are hearing that people were actually running toward people
that were injured helping people. Some of the early reports we`re getting
off some of the heroic responses from some of the first responders as well
as other people in the race and spectators were not panicking and were not
running away but running towards trying to help people who had been
obviously injured in this atrocious attack.
GOTTLIEB: Yes, Al. That`s a very accurate account. As a matter of
fact, we all tried doing that and probably within three to five seconds of
heading back towards that direction, that`s exactly what I was doing, they,
the police and fire reacted very appropriately and started to heading --
sending people in the opposite direction. So, there was a lot of unknown
at that time. There were two obvious explosions that went off. It was
clearly a deliberate action versus something that just happened, a gas
leak, for example.
So, yes, there were several guys, me included, we did start heading
that direction and -- but we did see those who were on the other side of
the police really react very heroically and head towards the folks who were
-- head right into the smoke which was amazing. But, I think it`s just the
nature of this event, the nature of the people who are here, we all know
each other, maybe that was 27,000 runners, we don`t all know each other
personally but we see each other all over the country, all over the world
at races and families go et t get to know each other. So, we all -- it`s a
family of athletes. And it is a very -- this has not happened before and
puts a black mark on the 117th running of the Boston marathon which is the
oldest marathon in the majors that exist out there and kind of puts a
damper on the fact that I`m supposed to be running in Berlin, Germany, in
September and I`m not convinced that`s what I want to do.
SHARPTON: Well Neil Gottlieb, thank you and God bless you and your
family. And thank you for taking the time today. I know this is a very
troubling time for you to talk about it.
Let me go back to Mike Barnicle.
Mike, the White House has said they will be investigating this as a
terror attack. We are hearing from everyone, including you, the hero --
the heroism that was demonstrated at the scene. And you just heard Neil
wanted to run and say, people were actually running into the smoke trying
to help people. I mean, you can`t be more heroic than that, hearing
another bomb going off, not knowing if there`s fire in the smoke you`re
running into. This is absolutely a demonstration of the kind of solidarity
and the people trying to bind together that you were talking about, Mike.
BARNICLE: Yes. Well, it would happen anywhere, too, not just Boston.
I choose to think it would happen in any city, El Paso, I don`t care what
you are talking about because it is who we are. There`s a couple of things
that Neil was talking about, Al, that struck me and it struck me for the
past couple of hours as the coverage of this has ensued and it is this.
Given our society, given our culture where everything is instantly
available on cell phones and on TV and cable news, on tweets and
everything, somewhere out there this evening, probably right now, whoever
did this, whatever group, whatever individual is watching this.
BARNICLE: And you have to wonder what goes through their mind, his
mind, her mind, we don`t know obviously who they are, if it is an
individual, but what`s going through that mind? Because one thing is
certain, and the commissioner Bratton spoke to this early, it`s not if the
person or the group is apprehended. It`s when. And when that occurs, we
get another anecdotal tale of people who seem intent, groups who seem
intent on inflicting harm and trying to inflict fear on collective joy.
This was a day of collective joy in the city of Boston and the attempt
obviously in addition to maiming and wounding and kill people was to
inflict fear on people, to prevent them from gathering. But, that`s not
going to happen in this city or any city.
SHARPTON: I think that on top of that, that you have raised and I
think what you have said is very important, that we also have to remember,
as the president said, that we put aside all of our differences, political
differences or whatever. Whomever is responsible, domestic, foreign, one
person, group, whoever it is, clearly they didn`t care about the race, the
politics, or the religion. The attack was made on people indiscriminately.
And we have got to learn how to respond and live and work together in that
same fashion because people see us as one even though sometimes we rarely
see that ourselves.
And again, we have no idea where this is coming from but we do know
that wherever it was coming from, they did not seem to care about what the
color or the politics or the gender of the people that was coming across
that finish line where these bombs obviously were targeted, who they might
kill, harm, or affect for the rest of their lives.
BARNICLE: Yes. And there were a lot of small children out there, too
Al, on Boylston street along that finish line, young children with their
parents waiting for perhaps another parent to finish the race. But, I saw
numerous, numerous children as you do every day on patriots` day in the
city ranging in ages from four, five, six years of age up obviously to the
teens and into the their twenties. One of my sons had he not stopped for a
drink coming out of the ballpark with his girlfriend, was going to meet
someone right at the finish line at exactly the time that the first
explosion occurred. He was three blocks up from the first explosion. But,
maybe I should be giving thanks that he stopped for a drink.
SHARPTON: That`s chilling right there. Your son, and then we heard
from Neil Gottlieb saying that if he had run at a different pace, his
daughters might have been right at the explosion. I mean, this is real,
real stuff. That close to this kind of disastrous behavior. And two
people have died.
You know, Mike, it`s just one of the unexplainable things in life and
you claim to find meaning in it, but there`s really no rational at all for
people behaving in this fashion.
BARNICLE: No. And the other thing you think of and, unfortunately,
I`ve covered several events in the course of my career, where people have
been maimed and wounded and are dead. You wonder about the freeze frame of
a 7-year-old who was perhaps out there with his parent today or a 9-year-
old, a young child who saw things that no young child, no adult, really,
should ever see. I think Steve spoke to that earlier from Bostonglobe.com.
BARNICLE: About, you know, a severed leg in the street, the victim
being wheeled away in a wheelchair. And you wonder, you know, a child
witnessing that, what impact that has on a child, what impact that has on
the collective society around us, actually.
SHARPTON: And I remind our viewers that the schools were closed today
in Boston because it was Patriots` Day. So, there were a lot of children
out there because there was no school in Boston today. So when you are
talking about children, you are not just talking about two or three, a
small number whose parents kept them home, schools were closed. This is
the big day in Boston.
BARNICLE: It is a huge day, a huge day. Half a million people from
again, around the world, certainly around his country, but around the
world. Beneath (INAUDIBLE) young man won the marathon today. So, you have
people from all around the world there gathered at the marathon and, again,
it`s a collective, circus-like atmosphere, street-like atmosphere, a crowd
of innocence. No one ever, ever expected anything like this.
SHARPTON: Mike, stand by for a minute. To learn more about the
investigation, I want to bring in Richard Esposito, senior executive
productive for NBC news investigative unit. He has been trying to
determine what kind of device was used unit and what the finding out of
that device might mean.
Richard, what can you tell us?
RICHARD ESPOSITO, SENIOR EXECUTIVE PRODUCTIVE, NBC NEWS INVESTIGATIVE
UNIT: Well, Rev., I could tell you that they look like small devices
placed slow to the ground. You can tell that by the buildings being slate
and a lot of limb injuries to the people indicating there might be some
shrapnel added to the mix. That`s not clear yet, but that`s what they are
thinking right now.
SHARPTON: Small devices, low to the ground because of where the
wounds are, you could tell it was low to the ground. How can you tell they
are small devices?
ESPOSITO: Well, if you look at the buildings, you will see what the
physical damage is to the buildings. And you see that big white cloud go
up but you don`t see heavy damage to the facade of the building.
SHARPTON: So, that would mean that the devices were most likely
small. We could not then tell whether they were planted, were they
transported. Could it be devices that could have been detonated from
somewhere other than the persons involved being there present?
ESPOSITO: I think that`s what they are going to look at for now, that
they picked up the pieces whether it was a cell phone, whether it was
controlled by an alarm on the device itself. Any number of ways that they
can do controlled explosion like that.
SHARPTON: We are told that there was a couple devices that may have
been -- that did not go off. Can you tell us anything about that?
ESPOSITO: Well, we can tell, there are reports as many as six
suspicious packages that some people are calling suspicious devices, as
many as six of these are being investigated right now.
BARNICLE: Do you know where they were located in proximity to the two
that went off?
ESPOSITO: I think several of them were found further away from where
the two that went off. I`m not sure but one is reported at least half a
SHARPTON: All right, Richard Esposito. Thank you for your time this
ESPOSITO: Thank you.
SHARPTON: Joining me now is former FBI profiler Clint Van Zandt.
Clint, thanks for coming on the show tonight.
CLINT VAN ZANDT, FORMER FBI PROFILER: Good to be with you, Al.
SHARPTON: Clint, tell me what do you -- can you share with us would
be going on at this point in the investigation? It`s very early but we
know that the FBI is either there or on their way. What can you tell us
that you think would be going on right now in the investigation?
VAN ZANDT: Well, you`ve got both. Number one, the FBI would have had
a team assembled already. This was a national event. So, there would have
been FBI as well as, of course, other federal agencies. Now, additional
FBI bomb techs are coming in from New York and other places, too.
You know, one of the things they are trying to do, Al, as your guest
indicated, was trying to identify the type of device. We have heard it
referred to as small IED, and that is small improvised explosive devices.
You know, I think you and I talked back in January of 2011. We
remember the Martin Luther King parade in Spokane, Washington, and a white
supremacist placed a device, a backpack, under a bench. That device Al,
was a six-inch pipe bomb filled with black powder and fishing weights. He
had connected that to a car starter, something that you would start your
car in the winter or something, a remote car starter and he was going to
use that device to detonate it. Now, that guy was no rocket scientist but
he was a bomb builder. So, these devices like that used in a low order
explosive, unfortunately don`t take a great degree of sophistication to set
SHARPTON: Now, the IEDs can be detonated from far or near. Do you --
in terms of an investigation as they move in, why is that important quickly
to find out whether or not the person or persons was there or not? Will
that determine how you try to track down or try to in some way freeze the
areas that you are looking for your suspects? I mean, walk me through what
all of this means immediately to an investigator.
VAN ZANDT: Yes. For investigators, real quick, let`s say you find
small pieces of a cell phone that were there where the cell phone was used
to send that debt nation signal to the device. You and I know you can call
another cell phone. You can be in Afghanistan and call a cell phone here
in the United States. But if it was a much shorter device, something like
a garage door opener where you have to have almost a line of sight, then we
know that the subject or subject, whoever sets this device off, if they did
it by hand or a timer, they may have had to be right there to watch it.
Sometimes within the psyche of an individual like this, he or she wants to
see the damage. They want to be there firsthand to see the may ham they
So, that part of the investigation is going to be very important to
investigators to determine just how close that person was when they set the
SHARPTON: Now, given that, as you say, the psyche of some is to --
and no matter what their motive is, they are in my opinion, sick and in the
sense that they would do something this horrific. But, you would also
wonder if they would be concerned that you`re at an international event,
you`re near the finish line and there has to be all kinds of videos and
cameras all over the place that could pick something up. Wouldn`t
investigators be combing through as quickly as they can every video and
every street video and any kind of video that was possible around that area
of pedestrians, of spectators, of other runners?
VAN ZANDT: Yes. This is -- you were here very quickly, a call go out
from the FBI to the Boston police and other agencies asking anyone who had
an iphone, a video camera, anybody who took pictures at all the morning
prior to the race or at the time of the race, anybody who had that, police
come to investigators, Al. They will have dedicated groups of police
officers and federal agents that will sit there and review these phones
looking for some indication. If we have two different devices planted
probably within the length of a football field apart from each other,
somebody have to physically set that device down.
One person, two people, this is what we need. There will be
photographic evidence that shows this person or persons setting these
devices down. We just have to get our hands on this film and we have to
get our hands on these pictures as quick as we can before this person
perhaps, if he or she or they are not from the area, before they get away.
You made the point earlier that I think is important. The FAA stopped
air traffic coming in and out of Boston. That`s out of concern, of course,
for safety and it`s also to make sure if we have got a bomber who is trying
to get out of town, we are not going to help him by letting jump on the
plane and fly out of town right now. We want time to be on our side, not
the bad guy`s side.
SHARPTON: Now, in light of what you said a few moments ago, that
would mean anyone watching this program that was around the marathon today
at all, no footage, no cell phone picture, nothing is unimportant. Am I
VAN ZANDT: You are absolutely correct. Somebody within ear sight or
ear shot of your program right now, somebody in Boston, somebody watching
has got a video footage or still footage pictures that is going to show
Now Al, it may be one shot of somebody setting a bag or something done
but if another person -- the next 500 people we interview, somebody else
comes up with another camera, we see the same guy, the same t-shirt, the
same baseball cap have got the bomber. Now all we`ve got to do is match
the photo op to whoever this guy is and get him in custody.
Law enforcement are doing interviews right now of people who may know
something. They may develop this in the suspects. This is a solvable
case, Al. The type of person who would do something like this would talk
about it. If he had a grudge against the government, society, he would
talk about it. This is somebody who would take joy in seeing other
bombings that are taking place. This is likely not on the original
thinker, but somebody who has copy the action of others, that`s all going
to help law enforcement and profilers when they start to look at who would
be capable of this horrific action.
SHARPTON: Clint Van Zandt, thank you very much for joining me
Joining me now by phone is universal sports Dean Walker. He was
covering the race today. He was right at the finish line.
Thanks for coming on the show, Dean.
DEAN WALKER, UNIVERSAL SPORTS (via phone) . Hi, Al.
SHARPTON: Can you tell us what did you see?
WALKER: Well, at the time that we -- the first device went off, we
were in between our shows. We had just wrapped up our show covering the
elite runners on the course and we were preparing for our 4:00 p.m. wrap-up
show. I was currently in the production truck that was on the south side
of Boylston and Exeter (ph) and we were probably about 75 to 100 feet away
from the first explosion.
That first explosion went off very loud, rocked the truck violently.
At that time, I turned to my video monitors and ten seconds later I saw the
second explosion go off. The thing that you were talking about earlier
about cameras and being able to capture footage, we do know that since that
time we were immediately evacuated from our production trucks and cleared
from that area but since that time police have gone into our production
truck to look to see if we have any footage of what actually happened.
SHARPTON: So you actually -- the truck you were in was actually
rattled by the explosion?
SHARPTON: And when the second explosion went off, you also felt the
impact of that so you were right there in the danger zone, so to speak?
WALKER: Yes. Like I said, the explosion occurred across the street
and a little bit diagonal from where we were. It was directly across from
the grandstand. The second explosion occurred about 150 feet down the
course before the finish line as the runners were coming up at that time.
And at that time, the explosion, we think it was about 10 until 3:00
east coast time. And at that time, many runners were still on the course.
Basically, runners have until approximately 4:50 eastern time to finish the
course. So, there was still another two hours of runners on the course
because not all the runners start at the same time because there are 27,000
people running the course so they send them out in waves. And a lot of
time the people -- when the elite athletes start at 10:00 a.m., it can take
an hour or two hours for the runners behind them to get to their place at
the start line and start their race.
SHARPTON: Dean, we have just learned and we have just confirmed that
one of the two people killed today was an 8-year-old. I mean, which only
makes this even more sickening. One of the two people killed at this -- by
these explosions today at the Boston marathon was an 8-year-old.
Dean, thank you for your time.
WALKER: Absolutely. Thank you.
SHARPTON: Mike Barnicle, let me go back to you. I just reported
shocking news. I mean, this is getting worse and worse, that one of the
two that died as a result of these bombs today was an 8-year-old.
SHARPTON: Yes. Al, we were talking before you spoke to that last
guest about exactly this, about the number of children out on the streets
on Patriots` Day along the finish line, waiting for a parent to finish or
relative to finish, many, many young children.
There were also in attendance today many of the victims running for
Newtown, Connecticut, and there were many people from Newtown in
attendance, running as well as observing.
And, you know, there`s just nothing you can say about that, really.
It strikes to the heart of the deepest sadness that we could ever feel.
Children are our most valuable commodity, our most precious commodity. And
again, we spoke I think earlier, we spoke earlier with a little fear in our
hearts about what would be in the mind`s eye of a 9-year-old, I think we
indicated who witnessed such a horrific scene and now we find out that an
8-year-old is dead. There`s nothing you can say.
SHARPTON: No. And when you think about the fact that an 8-year-old
is among those are that dead, that people that were there, among them,
people that were running for charities, running for people that needed that
run to help support programs that help those that are injured or those that
need help, running for victims of Newtown. The best of our American
citizens is that they care about other people and face this kind of
explosion. It`s the despicable and ruthless mentality whether it`s one
person, ten people, domestic or foreign that we`re dealing with here, Mike.
And I would think that we all as Americans, we all need to look and
say no matter how we differ, no matter how much we debate, no matter how
much we have passionate disagreements, none of us would stoop as low as
this and all of us must stand together, Mike. I think this is a call for
unity in this country that the president right fully made.
BARNICLE: Well, Al, today, the worst among us, whether they were
home-grown or imported, whoever committed this act of terror, no matter how
many they were, the worst among us inflicted great harm among the best of
us, the best among us, including killing now, we know, an 8-year-old, the
absolutely best among us, the ones with the brightest futures.
But think about that, no matter the horror, no matter the sadness,
they were far, far more of the best among us out there today than there was
the worst among us.
SHARPTON: And NBC has now confirmed that there`s no one in custody,
but they are questioning people. People are being question but there`s no
one in custody. And I repeat with a former FBI Van Zandt said, people that
at any footage at all, any still photos at all that were in or around the
scene of the marathon should not think any of what is unimportant. I think
that any and everyone should come forward and help to capture whomever and
who is responsible for this.
I also think that you are right, Mike, that the fact that we can say
when our heart is broken for the two victims, one an 8-year-old that has
passed, the fact that we could say there was no panic, no running away,
people ran in to the smoke to help to save people and to help those that
are injured, show the best of Americans and that in times like these we
come together, those are the early heroes of today.
And Mike Barnicle, thank you for staying with me tonight.
A live edition of "Hardball" starts right now.
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