THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW
April 15, 2013
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
Guest: David Abel, William Keating, Jeff Clachko, Will Ritter
COMMISSIONER ED DAVIS, BOSTON POLICE DEPARTMENT: The mayor`s office has
fielded many calls of concern. We`re going through those right now.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nine-thirty tomorrow morning for the next briefing.
RACHEL MADDOW, HOST: Coming to you tonight from Massachusetts General
Hospital in Boston. Thanks for being with MSNBC tonight. I`m Rachel
Maddow, and this is THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW.
Just wrapping up the latest press conference from Massachusetts authorities
as they try to communicate the most information they can and let people
know the latest in this incident. Right now the most important bottom line
is we know two people confirmed dead and more than 100 confirmed injured.
Over the course of the next hour, we are going to be speaking with a number
of people who are eyewitnesses to today`s events.
Pete Williams NBC`s justice correspondent is on the line as well.
I`m sorry, I said there were two confirmed dead, it`s three confirmed dead
in the incident now.
Massachusetts Congressman Bill Keating is due to be joining us with and
reporters there on scene today.
But again, right now, the bottom line is 113 wounded by blasts, at least
three people killed.
And in Boston today, as you know today is the Boston marathon, and the
Boston marathon is held on a state holiday in Massachusetts only that`s
called Patriot`s Day. And that always makes today a different kind of day
than the rest of the year.
But driving through Boston tonight to get here, to get to Mass General,
it`s eerie. It`s eerie in Boston tonight that even with all of the
security response that we`ve got right now, there`s just nobody out. And
obviously people are doing that and staying at home in order to respect the
wishes of law enforcement authorities who are telling people essentially to
stay out of the way while the investigation continues.
But as we get further details on the investigation, Boston is left to
confront the fact that with everything planned, with everything planned in
terms of security, with everything planned in terms of making this the mega
event that it is in Boston, with hundreds of thousands of people coming
into the city who aren`t familiar with the city, who are here specifically
for this event, to have a security event like what happened today, is --
it`s hard to fathom. It`s been hours, but it`s hard to fathom.
"Boston Globe" reporter David Abel one of the people who`s able to join us
tonight. He was at scene today when this happened.
Mr. Abel, thanks very much for being with us tonight. It`s a pleasure to
have you here.
DAVID ABEL, BOSTON GLOBE (via telephone): Thanks for having me.
MADDOW: Can you tell us where you were today and what you saw.
ABEL: Sure. I was standing on the finish line taking video of runners as
they were coming in. I was about ten feet from the first blast. And --
and I was sitting there in a crouch taking the video when I heard a massive
explosion. I saw a plume of white smoke and -- and when that cleared, I
just saw the most horrific images I`ve ever seen, images that will be
seared into my mind for a long time.
MADDOW: Is it clear to you -- you were so close to the first blast, from
what you`re describing, is it clear to you how you avoided injury? Did it
seem like it was a very directional blast? A directional blast where the
force all went in one direction and you were lucky enough to be out of its
ABEL: Yes. I think it was -- it was shaped -- shaped to have a charge
that detonated from the curb on the sidewalk into the -- into the sidewalk.
Thus, trying to maximize the number of casualties. On the sidewalk right
by the finish line, you had hundreds of people on both sides.
I have run the Boston marathon three times, and I like to describe it as
when you cross on to Boylston Street, that last leg of the marathon, it`s
like you feel like you`re hitting a home run at Fenway Park because the
roar is deafening. And the crowd is like 10 people deep, often.
So whoever did this knew that where they were placing these weapons, these
bombs, they knew that they were going to try to maximize their casualties
because this is where the crowds are.
MADDOW: David in terms of the first blast and then the second blast. It
must have been so disorienting to be so close to the first one. Even if it
were the noise alone, that`s a disorienting thing, was it clear that there
were two separate explosions, or did you think it was a shock wave?
ABEL: No, it was -- it was clear. It sort of felt to me, someone who
covered the attacks on September 11th, like, you know, at first, when you
heard the first blast before -- before the smoke cleared, and you could
sort of see the damage, there was this disorientation that sort of felt
like you`re not quite sure, and then suddenly when the second blast
occurred, it was seven seconds later, it was like when the second plane hit
the World Trade Center, you knew immediately that this was an attack, this
was not machinery malfunctioning or something like that.
MADDOW: David, in terms of having run the marathon, covered it and being
there today, is there a visible and sort of palpable security presence at
that part of the race and along the race in general? Is this the sort of
thing where there`s a police cordon and it`s hard to imagine something like
this having gotten through?
ABEL: Yes and no. There is -- there was an immense police and security
presence there. Police and marathon volunteers line the route. That all
said, you know, I think more than a decade after September 11th, 2001,
people probably are not thinking about homegrown or local terrorism in the
And perhaps, you know, this is just purely speculation, that the kind of
security that we might have expected after September 11th, we aren`t
necessarily getting. That all said, you know, there couldn`t have been
more police officers and security on the scene.
MADDOW: Right. We`ve seen the rush of first responders --
MADDOW: Sir, go ahead.
ABEL: Sorry, I just want to add. And their presence was felt intensely in
the moments after the blast in which they swarmed the scene and -- while
many people fled, they, you know -- while not knowing if there were other
bombs, clearly, arguably risked their lives, and were very brave and very
amazing the way they carried people to safety as quickly as they could.
MADDOW: David Abel, "Boston Globe" reporter who was an eyewitness, a very
close eyewitness to this blast today -- David, thank you very much for
being with us. It`s really helpful to have your eyewitness perspective.
ABEL: Thank you.
MADDOW: I do want to give you the latest information on user and where
people are being treated and the kind of injuries sustained.
Again, the total number of injured that we know at this point is 113. In
terms of the way that breaks down, there are 28 at Brigham and Women`s
Hospital, nine in the operating room, two with are described as limb-
Overall, at that hospital, at Brigham and Women`s, they`re talking about
mostly bone and tissue injuries. The age range of those patients ranges
from teens to mid-60s. Eights to ten with are in serious condition, two
critical. The most common types of injuries being described there are bone
and tissue injuries.
Now, Boston Children`s Hospital, this is harder to hear, 10 patients as of
8:00 p.m. The conditions range from good to serious. Six patients there
are children. One is the adult parent of one of the children.
There have been no patient deaths among the patients brought to Boston`s
Children from the scene. There`s a 14-year-old with a head injury, a 10-
year-old girl with leg trauma, a 9-year-old girl with leg trauma who`s in
the operation room, 42-year-old parent of a patient is also being treated
there at Children`s Hospital, 7-year-old boy treated for minor leg injury,
a 12-year-old has femur fracture, and has been admitted, a 2-year-old with
a head injury has been admitted to medical surgical ICU, three additional
patients listed in good condition just at that hospital.
At Massachusetts General Hospital, where I am now, 22 patients here. Eight
of them critical, five of them serious, no fatalities, the rest are being
At Boston Medical Center, they`ve got 23 patients, seven in fair condition,
16 in serious condition. There are also nine patients being treated at
Tufts, 21 patients being treated at Beth Israel Deaconess.
So, Boston, obviously -- one of the things that Boston is known for,
particularly the part of Boston I`m in right now is the density of world-
class level medical care available in the city and this part of the city
and it`s never felt more fortunate than it does today.
I want to bring in to our discussion now, Congressman Bill Keating of
Congressman, thank you very much for being here.
You are new congressman. You are not new to Massachusetts politics, to
public service. And am I right that you serve on the Homeland Security
REP. WILLIAM KEATING (D), MASSACHUSETTS: That`s correct.
MADDOW: Can you shed light from your perspective as somebody on the
Homeland Security Committee in terms of how this incident should be
characterized, how we should think of this investigation going forward?
KEATING: It`s hard to separate yourself from representing Boston before
and being here. The city is just -- has a somberness tonight that I can`t
remember in a long time. So try to do that as all of us are looking at the
family members of now three people that have lost their lives, and I think
the number is even 120 now in the number of people that were injured.
And you just try and make sense out of something that makes no sense. In
terms of what appears to be a terrorist action.
And we don`t know. I mean, from a homeland security perspective, you look
at the symbols. Because that`s what terrorists try to attack, that`s the
targets. Here we have the marathon, which is the oldest in the country,
one of the largest in the world, it`s an international event attracting
almost 100 countries that have runners here. So, it`s that kind of symbol
that a terrorist would look at.
And also, it`s Tax Day. It`s April 15th, and if it`s a domestic terrorist
that hates the government and wants to rebel, that`s a symbol as well.
I think we`ll follow the evidence the way law enforcement do. Being a
former D.A., you only know what you know, and their sorting those things
out. I can tell you this, that the fusion center here, where the federal
law enforcement people work with the state law enforcement people and the
local is one of the finest in the country. It`s rated that way.
And so, there`s no question in my mind that that group added the assets of
the entire country that the president is calling on will bring the person
responsible to justice. There`s that level of confidence right now.
But it`s hard to go there when you`re sitting there, and, you know, that
people that you know, and people that know other people have been injured
in this, and this terrible incident, three already have lost their lives.
KEATING: It`s hard to get past that, now. But the professionals that are
doing this are doing that. And they`re going to bring that person to
MADDOW: It is -- and one of the reasons I wanted to get specific about the
details that we have from the hospitals is because while this targeted
apparently near the finish line or near the finish line of the marathon, it
really did target the bystanders which may explain why we have so many
children among those injured. I mean, you don`t have 2-year-old kids
running the marathon. They`re there as babes in arms with family members
watching this --
KEATING: Usually with family members in the race.
So many of those family members are people running for charities, they
might have a family member that has cancer, another kind of ailment. And
they`re running to raise money for that. And their children and their
loved ones are sitting there at the finish line to embrace them after an
enormous commitment of time. So --
MADDOW: In terms of the type of attack this is, one of the things that`s
broken late this evening. There`s reportedly a number of unexploded device
was a the event. We don`t have the details and locations yet, and they`re
telling us to proceed with caution in terms of the way we understand the
character of the attack and how many different events might have been
planned in addition to the two explosions happened.
KEATING: There are sources that we have had that have told us that there
are at least two other bombs that weren`t detonated as well. So you can
look at the brighter side and say it could have been worse without the
medical hospitals that we have so clear, without the triaging that`s there
for the marathon. Anyway, it`s small solace to those who lost loved ones
and those injured, but it could have been worse.
MADDOW: As a former D.A., one thing about the unexploded devices in
custody, that`s very valuable evidence in terms of tracking the types of
devices these were, and in terms of giving leads for investigative process.
KEATING: It is. And the devices that have exploded, they`re valuable too
in terms of evidence. So, that kind of forensic evidence.
We bring in the best people in the country here in Boston. We`ve got some
of the best to begin, but they`re bringing in people from the FBI, from New
York, and other areas that are specially trained on that.
This is an amazing country, and as much as we feel that we`re pulled apart
tonight, I just think of all those people running shoulder and shoulder.
And this city is lifeless tonight.
KEATING: But there will be tomorrow, and we`re going to be pulling
together as a country. And this is a very resilient city as well.
KEATING: And we will pull together and help as much as we can the victims,
and we`re going to make sure that the people who did this are brought to
MADDOW: Congressman, thank you for being with us on a difficult night.
Appreciate your time.
Thanks again for being with us on MSNBC tonight. Again, at this point, we
are able to confirm three dead and more than 110 people injured. The
injury numbers at this point, we`ve heard 113, we`ve heard 120, we are
getting continued updates from the hospitals, from the many hospitals close
to where I am, at Mass General, in terms of those treated.
We are finding, as we get more details, of who has been injured, that this
really does seem to have mostly hit people who had been gathered on the
sidelines, not just passers by, and not just runners, but people who are
there to cheer on runners approaching the end of this four-hour long race.
The president today is characterizing this as something that the
perpetrators of this event will know justice, will know the full weight of
justice. A senior White House official after the president`s remarks
characterizing this as an act of terror. Much, frankly, inane political
discussion about whether everybody is using the right nouns and verbs in
talking about this when it is multiple explosions targeting civilian
population in an American city, whether or not you use the politically
correct terminology at this point, it seems to me, beside the point to me.
But the president`s remarks today will be marked as a benchmark in terms of
the American response. I think we`ve got some of the president`s remarks
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We still do not know who did
this or why. And people shouldn`t jump to conclusions before we have all
But make no mistake: we will get to the bottom of this. And we will find
out who did this, we`ll find out why they did this. Any responsible
individuals, any responsible groups will feel the full weight of justice.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: President Obama speaking this afternoon at the White House.
We`re joined now from Washington by NBC`s Pete Williams. He`s our justice
Pete, what can you tell us in terms of further leads or directions of the
investigation at this point?
PETE WILLIAMS, NBC NEWS JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, one of them is one
you were just talking to the congressman about, Rachel. And that is really
how many were planted and frankly this has been something that`s been all
over the map today.
The most up-to-date information tonight is that they now believe there were
just two devices. Now this is very confusing because at least five other
packages found on the street were deemed to be suspicious and were
At first, the thinking was some of them were actually explosive devices
that didn`t go off. But, the best information we have tonight is officials
believe none of those other packages contained explosives. So that`s one
thing that they`re looking at.
Secondly, they stress there is no suspect in custody. But we know that
they`re talking to a 20-year-old Saudi man who was here on a student visa,
he was seen running from the area. He had burns. He is being questioned
at the Boston Hospital. He has denied having anything to do with this.
Several officials say the two bombs that did go off included other things
in them to multiply the injuries, including BBs and ball bearings. Now,
this is not a new development in explosives. Recall that Eric Rudolph, the
man convicted of the Olympic Park bombing in Atlanta in 1996 put screws and
nails in his bomb.
So this is a relatively common thing, unfortunately. Investigators are
studying surveillance video, they are asking for people who are in the area
if they were -- happened -- cameras or cell phones were making pictures at
the time, to let them have that video, to see if they can see anyone
placing packages at the points where the bombs went off.
Now, they`re analyzing the pieces now. They will try to get what you might
call a signature of the device, to see if it`s similar to other kinds of
devices that have been here or overseas, but their initial take this, just
looking at the damage to the buildings, the injuries, the pictures of the
explosion, they described the devices as thankfully crude with less
explosive power than might have been contained in something of that size.
MADDOW: Pete, on that point, on the nature of these explosives, obviously
those of us who are watching this footage over and over again of what it
looks like to se a bomb going off in a civilian environment like this, it
looks huge. But is there anyway that can we get a sort of appropriate
forensic perspective on the size and power of the bomb? How we might
compare this to other kinds of explosives that we see in a war zone,
improvised explosive devices, or even military ordnance?
WILLIAMS: Yes. I mean, that`s the kind of analysis going on now. The
people I`ve talked to who are doing that seat of the pants comparison say
it`s not huge. Of course, it does look huge. If you just consider that
over 100 people were injured, that seems extremely frightening. It is, but
they were right around it, they were very close to it, crowded around,
which you assume is the reason the devices were placed there.
It does seem they were intended to cause a maximum amount of casualties,
injuries and potentially deaths. Where they were placed, when they were
placed, and how they were constructed with these additional things in them,
to these bits of shrapnel to further amp up the injuries.
MADDOW: Pete, over the course of the day, obviously you get a lot of
conflicting reports, some of which are not true, but we did hear at least
some tentative reports about the strategic placement of the devices, for
lack of a better term, whether they might have been put in trash cans or in
mailboxes or in parcels that were leaned up against the building.
Do we have anything firm on that other than those early conflicting
WILLIAMS: No, no. I think we`re still waiting to hear more about that.
The best information I have was that they were placed in backpacks. But
beyond that, where they were, whether they were leaning up against
buildings, inside doors, in trash cans, I just don`t know.
MADDOW: OK. But, Pete, one last question for you in terms of what we`re
able to reverse engineer on what happened based on the evidence from the
explosives, is there anything in terms of either pattern or association
with different types of extremist groups or even lone wolf previous events
that is suggested by this pattern of multiple explosive devices seeming to
be of sort of similar caliber, timed to go off simultaneously, but not all
of them do.
Is that the signature or the kind of evidence that we see of any other kind
of attack that we might reasonably compare this to?
WILLIAMS: Yes, that`s a good question. Now, remember, we have to be
careful saying others didn`t go off. Our best information as of 9:22 and
53 seconds, is that there were only two. That there were no others that
were intended to go off and didn`t.
And, of course, one thing you touch on is a critical point. Were they
timed? Were they actually on a timer? Were they on some kind of remote
Was there a cell phone call? Was there a radio signal? Or was there
someone standing there pressing a button that started a delay and they ran
They don`t know the answers to those questions.
Two points about that, one is that may give them a clue in terms of how,
where all that sort of thing. But the other problem with this, is that
unfortunately there is a lot of this bomb-making introduction on the
Internet. It all says the same thing, if you want maximum casualties, put
them at soft targets, put them where people are standing around and known
The United States has been relatively luckily free of this sort of thing.
But, you know, that`s a key question.
One other point that I should probably mention here, Rachel, is that there
is no advisory tonight from the Department of Homeland Security urging
other cities to take precautions. And the reason for that is, that in this
day and age, they don`t just turn up the -- the next signal on the chart
unless they have specific intelligence that indicates they should do that.
We`re told there isn`t any. There`s nothing to suggest this is part of a
larger plot or other cities targeted. Indeed, we`re told there was no
credible intelligence running up to this event today indicating that Boston
would be a target.
MADDOW: Which is the double edged sword. On the one hand, it`s good to
hear that there isn`t intelligence indicating any subsequent targets or
wider targets. On the other hand, there was none that have intelligence
lead up to this either.
Pete Williams, I know we`ll be checking in with you again. Thank you so
much, Peter. It`s good to have your reporting.
I`m live at Massachusetts General Hospital right now in Boston. If you`re
hearing ambient notice and seeing stuff going on behind me, it`s because
this is very much a part of the continuing response to today`s events.
I want to bring in Jeff Clachko, who works for NBC family of companies.
And Jeff was a runner quite nearby when the explosions happened near the
Jeff, thanks for being with us. I appreciate your time.
JEFF CLACHKO, EYEWITNESS (via telephone): No problem. First, I just want
to say that my thoughts and prayers with the victims and their families
MADDOW: As are all of ours. Absolutely.
Jeff, can you just describe for us where you were and what you experienced
when the explosions happened?
CLACHKO: Yes. Well, I just turned down Boylston Street, and I about a
third of a mile to go. I was trying to break four hours in the marathon
and I had about two or three minutes when I got a leg cramp. You know, if
not for my desire for four miles -- for four hours, I -- I probably would
have stopped and kind of walked to the finish line. But I said, you know,
I`m going to power through and try and go as fast as I can.
I finished -- I crossed the finish line, and within five seconds, I heard a
huge boom. Didn`t really know what that was. All the day at the marathon,
you see band and drums and music, a lot of noise all day.
So to hear a loud noise, I didn`t think all that much of it, but I turned
around and saw a huge mushroom of smoke. And then, immediately I knew it
was something serious. About 10 seconds later, I heard a second boom. And
clearly, I knew at that point, you know, it was a serious situation.
You know, the volunteers did a fantastic job of getting the runners away.
You know, I immediately started walking back. My family -- I didn`t know
where they were. I had seen them earlier, about mile 16, at Wellesley
Fortunately, for me, they got stuck in traffic on the way back because
their plan was to be sitting right there close the finish line. In fact, I
saw one of my colleagues sitting near the finish line. And, obviously, I
was very concerned for her.
And then it was mayhem. I didn`t have my cell phone. The volunteers were
incredible, they offered up -- saying anyone needs a cell phone. But the
problem was you, you know, the lines were all, you know, everyone was
trying make a call at the same time.
You know, finally, I did get through to my wife and kids, and, you know,
fortunately for me and my family, they were OK.
MADDOW: Jeff, in terms of your perspective as a runner and came through
that area, was there anything that you could tell in terms of just the
number of people that were in the area that seemed to be where the initial
-- where the two blasts were concentrated, how deep were the crowds there?
CLACHKO: You know, very, very deep. You know, 10, 15, 20 people deep.
You know, you turn down Boylston Street, and I equate it to someone`s
announcing your name for the starting lineup of the Super Bowl. It`s the
last third of a mile, mile, a quarter mile, and just thousands and
thousands of people.
Many runners have their name on their shirts. So, you know, a personal
feeling, they`re screaming your name. At least 15, 20 deep.
And as I was looking for my wife and kids, there`s almost -- there were so
many people, there was no way I could have spotted them. So -- you know,
MADDOW: Jeff Clachko, who`s V.P. of sales and marketing for NBC Universal
Sports never expected to be on TV discussing this tonight -- I`m really
glad that you took the time to do it. We`re glad you`re OK, Jeff. Thanks
for being with us.
CLACHKO: Thank you.
MADDOW: All right, if you watched this video from "Boston Globe" reporter
Steve Silva, you can see that he hears the explosions and he starts running
not away, but toward the chaos.
And if you stay with it, you`ll notice that within two minutes, race
volunteers, volunteers from the Boston marathon, are pulling back the
barricades and reaching the people affected by the explosions. And police
officers began flooding into the scene, along with regular folks and a
couple of guys in camouflage.
I`m not suggesting that you yourself should run toward danger in a
situation like this, but today in Boston, that is what hundreds of police
and fire fighters did. Among the many, many first responders were state
police and FBI agents and National Guard and federal agents from Alcohol,
Tobacco and Firearms.
So many people reaching for the cell phone companies like Sprint and
Verizon asked customers to please send text messages instead of calling so
they could free up space on their networks.
The National Hockey League cancelled the game between the Boston Bruins and
the Ottawa Senators. The NBA cancelled the Celtics game scheduled for
tomorrow. It`s also police can concentrate on the aftermath here in Boston
and also police can concentrate on the aftermath in Boston. And also
because who in Boston feels like playing anything at this moment?
The Boston police department put out a call today for video of the finish
line. For any civilians who may have been taking video in that area. Peel
who had video did respond to that call from the police. Police asked
people to go home, not to stand around in large crowds. Then they cordoned
off streets in the immediate area.
The subway line is closed, with hotels evacuated, it was not clear that
marathon runners from out of town would have a place to sleep. One of the
remarkable things today is seeing the people of greater Boston starting to
post offers of shelter on message boards. Extra bed and couches to sleep
four to five plus floor space.
I will come pick up anyone who needs a place to stay. I will do whatever I
can. So much of the response makes sense in a "that`s what humans do" kind
of way. The Boston marathon attracts elite runners from around the world.
In the top class, you need to have finished in just over three hours just
to qualify. After months of training, they run the race and they have a
big after-race party. This year, obviously, the Boston marathon cancel the
after race party.
We`ve also got reports of runners continuing to run the final mile and half
after the race to Mass General Hospital where I stand tonight so they could
give blood if that`s what needed, because that`s what really determine
really tired borderline-hero humans do for each other in situations like
this. So many people donated blood today that the Red Cross Web site kept
crashing, and tweeted that they had plenty of blood and thank you and
please make an appointment in the future to come back.
Today is a holiday in all of Massachusetts, and especially in Boston.
Boston`s Mike Barnicle is going to be joining us here in just a moment.
For Massachusetts, this Patriots` Day, with schools and government officers
closed for Patriots` Day and the marathon day. It`s a Red Sox day. The
Red Sox always play a morning game on Patriots` Day at Fenway Park in
Joining us now, I`d love to bring into the discussion is my old pal Mike
Barnicle, long time Boston sports writer, MSNBC contributor, who was at the
Red Sox game today.
MIKE BARNICLE, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: I was.
MADDOW: This has been one of the strangest days in Boston history.
Patriots` Day is something that alienates the rest of the country anyway
because it only happens here in Massachusetts. It`s like a Boston-only
holiday that we think of as a national holiday.
BARNICLE: Tough day, hard day.
BARNICLE: It`s a community day here, a festival, a communion of interest,
people from all around the world come here, as you indicated the Red Sox
play at 11:00 a.m. That game goes off at 11:00 a.m. It concludes,
depending on the length of the game as the struggle of marathoners come
through (INAUDIBLE) square and down to the finish line on Boylston Street.
Thirty-five thousand people in Fenway Park, hundreds of thousands along the
marathon route and on Boylston Street.
It`s a school holiday, school vacation week, people standing there ready to
cheer on their relatives, their friends, their wives, their husbands, their
significant others who are running for causes as desperate as cancer,
muscular dystrophy. Also, it`s a passage rite, too.
And then the explosions occur, too. It`s a very small city, as you know,
very small downtown, walkable city. I talked to one particular young man,
a lawyer, Andrew Tatelwell (ph), eyewitness, he was standing in front of a
department store, and the finish line was perhaps 75 yards to his right.
And he was waiting there for his girlfriend to finish the marathon. He
heard one explosion down at the finish line, 75 yards to his right. He
estimates 15 to 20 seconds later, a second explosion about 25 yards to his
left. Low level explosions, number of -- number of the injured suffered
leg wounds, amputations, horrific physical damage to them.
This is a two block area, perhaps 100 yards long. And on this particular
day, as happens every Patriots` Day, again as we indicated, people from all
over the world, a Kenyan and Ethiopian were the first two finishers in the
marathon, people from all over the United States run, they arrive with
their extended families who wait innocently and joyously, and what was once
a joyous scene is tonight a murder scene.
MADDOW: Mike, you came through the city tonight to come down. And as
you`ve been out in the city since this happened today, it does not feel
like Boston in a way.
BARNICLE: No. It`s -- there`s a solemnness, obviously, to the city this
evening. The city is pretty much -- large areas of the downtown shut down.
BARNICLE: Difficult to travel by car.
But there`s a resiliency in the air that you would sense not only in
Boston, I think any place, in the Berkshires, in northern California, in
Dallas, Texas, and it is this -- I think, in that the objective of these
bombings today were to instill fear in people, to instill such fear in them
that they would not commune together, they would not gather together, they
would be afraid to go out of their apartments and their homes.
Not here, not this time, not in this country. The sun will rise tomorrow.
People will get up, go to work, slap each other on the back and go forward.
That`s who we are as Americans.
MADDOW: One of the things about Boston public safety and Boston security
is the whole country knows in a way about the closeness of the Boston P.D.
and FBI in terms of totally unrelated measures.
MADDOW: The most famous cases in the country, the Whitey Bulger case
breaking open here.
MADDOW: We have all these reports today about the joint terrorism task
force, the FBI and the Boston police. Also, ATF and federal authorities
coming in to work together.
In your sense about how Boston public safety works, is this the sort of
thing where you`re expecting the city to take the lead? Do you think there
will be a seamless integration about all the federal interest now on what
happened and what the city can provide?
BARNICLE: I`m led to believe, and from talking to several people in the
past few hours, the integration has already taken place. That the FBI is
running it. That the ATF, the Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms Agency has a
pretty solid forensic hand print on the contour and the makeup of the
explosive devices. They have at least one, perhaps a couple of them. So
that would provide enormous leads, I would think.
Interagency jealousies, Boston police, FBI, federal, that will always
exist. But it does not exist on the matters such as this.
MADDOW: Yes. Mike Barnicle, this is a hell of a day -- thanks for being
here. And it`s good to have you here.
BARNICLE: You`re welcome.
MADDOW: We`ll be checking back in with you.
All right. Mike is, obviously, a long time Boston journalist and MSNBC
All right. We are in Boston. We`re here are at Massachusetts General
Hospital in downtown Boston, and we`ve got more ahead for you on the
aftermath of the bombings at today`s Boston marathons.
We`ll be right back.
MADDOW: Joining you tonight from Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.
Thanks for being with us here on MSNBC.
At an earlier press conference tonight, Governor Deval Patrick of
Massachusetts stressed that the site of today`s bombings at the Boston
marathon are still an active crime scene. He said that federal, state and
local officials are on the scene, but that the FBI is leading the
investigation at this hour. The governor speaking, of course, about the
two large explosions, seconds apart, that tore through the city today. It
happened 2:50 p.m. this afternoon on a day when half a million people had
poured into Boston to take part in and to watch the city`s annual marathon.
The first explosion hit as runners approached the finish line of the
marathon, the second between ten and 20 seconds later, about 100 yards away
from the first.
As of this evening, authorities say that three people have died, including
an 8-year-old boy. More than 113 people have been injured in these blasts,
several people sustained critical injuries. At least a dozen of those who
are injured are children.
Witnesses describing a horrific scene. According to eyewitnesses, some of
the injured lost limbs, what medical professionals call traumatic
here is new information tonight coming from a local hospital. Beth Israel
reporting 21 patients, seven with threatening injuries, three other
hospitals, including Mass General where I stand right now, reporting having
more than 20 patients on scene, Boston children`s hospital reports 10
patients from the attack today including a 14-year-old with a head injury
and a 2-year-old boy also with a head injury sent to surgical ICU.
It has been reported tonight that two more devices were found near the
scene of the initial explosions, two more devices. That is the number
reported this evening. But as we spoke with Pete Williams, NBC`s justice
correspondent earlier, he stressed caution about whether or not those
devices that were found were -- should be seen as similar to the ones that
exploded. We shouldn`t characterize them as unexploded bombs of the type
that did explode near the finish line of the Boston marathon.
Law enforcement officials did carry out one controlled explosion we know
about an hour after the bombings. That controlled detonation usually means
there were more devices that were supposed to explode in the attack, but
for one reason or another did not explode when they were supposed to, and
so police detonated those devices. But, again, some of the things that
police may have detonated may not themselves have been bombs. The one that
achieved the most notice happened roughly 4:00 p.m. this afternoon.
I should also tell you that three hotels were evacuated today because of
reports of suspicious packages. The Mandarin Hotel, the Marriott Hotel and
Lenox Hotel all are very near to where I am right now. Flights in and out
of Boston were also grounded today for a time following the attack welcomes
and the air space over Washington, D.C. was closed for a time. That D.C.
airspace has reopened as have now the Boston airports.
Also, today, what could just be a bizarre coincidence, there was a fire and
an explosion at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library in Boston. That
incident begun just after 3:00 p.m. this afternoon. There was a large hole
through outside wall of the building. There were conflicting reports all
day about whether this incident at the JFK Library, which is about a 15-
minute drive from the scene of the explosions at the finish line of the
marathon, conflicting reports today as to whether or not law enforcement
believed those incidents to be related to the double bombings.
The latest word tonight from law enforcement is that the JFK incident and
the incident of the marathon may not have been related at all. It may just
have been a fire at the library that was unrelated to what was happening 15
minutes away by distance at almost the same time.
At this hour, law enforcement officials tell us there have been no arrests,
no identified suspects in the attack.
This evening President Obama addressed that lack of information in his
comments about the bombings.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Make no mistake: we will get
to the bottom of this, and we will find out who did this, we`ll find out
why they did this. Any responsible individuals, any responsible groups
will feel the full weight of justice.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: The president during his comments did not refer to the explosions
today as terrorism or as an act of terror, but shortly after he finished
speaking, a White House official said any event with multiple explosive
devices is clearly an act of terror and will be approached like that.
I want to bring in now NBC`s Kerry Sanders joining us from Boylston Street.
Kerry Sanders, essentially, as close as we can be to the scene of what
Kerry, what can you tell us about what police are doing on scene right now
and how that site is being treated?
KERRY SANDERS, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Well, right now, beyond just this
location, the authorities have deployed teams of officers that are looking
in every abandoned spot to see if there is something else out there.
Of course, they`re getting multiple calls, everything looks suspicious.
That is just fine. They want to check every single thing out on the off
possibility there may yet be an unexploded device planted in and around the
The police have put all the officers on alpha bravo shifts. That means
they`re on for 12 hours, and then another 12-hour shift. So, every
officer, every detective, everybody in or out of uniform is working over
the next 24 hours. That will continue for the coming days.
Now for those who live and work in and around this city, the governor said
this it will not be business as usual. Part of that will be just getting
around. Traveling on the T, which is the subway and the streetcar system
here will be much slower for passengers because many of those officers are
going to be looking in backpacks, looking in parcels, anything that people
are carrying just to make sure there is nothing that is going to be in an
area that could be a problem.
Interestingly, as all of this has developed here, the police commissioner
who is really now tapping into the intelligence network that he has in this
city calls this act a cowardly act. If it is a single individual,
intelligence analysts say it will be perhaps a little more difficult track
down that person unless they raise their hand in some way.
If it is a network of people, analysts say it will be slightly easier
because likely somebody will say something and word will get out. The
officers in the intelligence network here are now tapping every source that
they have, every confidential informant that they have to try to find out
if there is any little piece of information, something that may not have
appeared to, important, but connects back to the people or person
responsible for what happened here in Boston.
As an aside, it`s been very interesting that when the explosion happened,
and then the second one followed, I`m originally from Boston, my niece was
here, she`s a short distance away, she felt the explosion in her apartment,
called my brother. My brother got me on the phone. We all started talking
about it. She said she could feel it vibrating in her body. Then within a
few minutes, the phone went dead, we weren`t able to talk in a few minutes
because the phone system was overwhelmed these people were calling,
realizing just what happened.
I spoke to one person who said when that explosion happened, they were a
good distance way, they could seat vibration in the water on their glass
wondering what was going on.
Most of the communication now is back, but a lot of people in the initial
hours were getting word out to loved ones, texting, on Facebook, using
Google People Finder, putting up Twitter accounts, and releasing
information those folks who have been unable to reach loved ones, it`s a
matter of their problems. The system itself is up and working. Think
about this, 26,000 plus runners, 96 countries, word went out on the
internet almost immediately, that there have been explosions and people
from all over the world started calling to find out, are you OK?
A very, very complicated and tragic night in a stay city that you and I
MADDOW: Absolutely. Kerry Sanders, thank you so much. We`re going to be
checking back in with you. NBC News` correspondent Kerry Sanders is on the
scene at Boylston Street.
I want to tell you that we have just received some new video that we have
not shown before. New video from APTN that clearly shows the second blast.
We have been able to see the first blast on the video today, but looking at
the second blast.
I want to bring in now Michael Leiter, MSNBC and NBC News national security
analyst. He`s the former director of the National Counterterrorism Center.
He`s currently a counselor at Palantir Technologies.
Mr. Leiter, thanks very much for being with us. I appreciate having your
expertise to tap this evening.
LEITER, MSNBC NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Good to be here, Rachel.
MADDOW: Can you give us, I guess any sense of context for understanding
how sophisticated, how big these types of bombs were compared to the other
types of explosive devices that are used in attacks around the world. Can
you give us context or understanding of the size?
LEITER: Sure. It`s difficult to estimate. But, generally, something like
a suitcase or medium backpack bomb could carry 50 pounds of explosives and
that would have serious amount of -- provide a lot of damage for a radius
of 150 feet out.
So, these look like they are smaller than that, which would fit with the
description they might have been backpacks. And as Pete Williams noted,
what we don`t see is significant damage to the structures around where the
bomb appeared to be. So, this is clearly not what we have seen in places
like Pakistan or what we saw in the Murrah Building with Timothy McVeigh
where a car bomb, truck bomb, van bomb does tremendous damage to buildings.
So, my guess is we are looking at smaller backpack size. In terms of
sophistication, it`s difficult to say, but clearly they are reporting about
items in there like ball bearings, BBs, a very good indication they were
clearly intended to maim and kill.
MADDOW: Is bombs of that size and of what we know of the description about
what was there, as you mentioned in terms of what seems to be deliberate
shrapnel, to build something like that, does it take expert knowledge or is
that the kind of thing people can find easily available public sources?
LEITER: Well, regrettably, it is much easier to find information on this
than officials and the public would like. If you get online, not all the
reports on the Internet are perfect. With any sort of comfort with
chemicals, access to things like nitrogen-based fertilizer, an individual
who`s relatively handy can make these bombs. Now, that can be dangerous
for the bomb maker. They are not always successful as we saw in 2010 with
the Times Square bomber.
There`s an individual who is trained, he bought the wrong materials and the
bomb fizzled. We saw with the underwear bomber in Christmas Day 2009,
another relatively sophisticated bomb that didn`t go off. So, this is
neither extremely difficult, nor it is not perfect or easy. And,
regrettably, with either hydrogen peroxide, explosives or fertilizer,
anyone who is remotely handy or original handy can make bombs like this.
MADDOW: Mr. Leiter, what would you expect to be the first thing the FBI
would be doing in starting the investigation into an attack like this?
LEITER: Regrettably, this sort of situation is one that the U.S.
government and state and local governments had to deal with before. It is
one that they are actually very well-trained in doing this sort of thing.
In fact, in March of 2011, my organization, the national counterterrorism
with homeland security did an exercise with the city of Boston to prepare
for an event like this.
What the FBI will do focus on, the Joint Terrorism Task Force, is the FBI,
all federal agencies in Boston and state authorities in Massachusetts, they
are going to do a couple things. One, as people talk about, the forensic
examination of the site. Second, they are going to go back and talk with
all their sources. They will do that with their routine criminal sources,
but also, the more sensitive intelligent sources.
Everyone in the federal government will coordinate with the FBI, but
they`ll be looking overseas. They`ll be looking domestically. They`ll be
looking at signals intelligence and telephone communications, all trying to
piece together to see things they had that were previously innocent or new
information about people who might be talking about this attack.
It will take a little time. But over the next 12 to 24 hours, we`ll get
some forensic information about the bombs. That will be the first step.
And from there, it will piece together, as people have also mentioned, the
videotape from the scene, license plates of cars that were in the area.
All of this enormous data will be used to combine a more holistic picture.
I expect in the coming days, we`ll have a better sense of who is behind
MADDOW: Michael Leiter, former director of the National Counterterrorism
Center, we are lucky to be able to talk to you on a night like this with
your expertise on these matters, sir. Thanks very much for joining us.
LEITER: Thank you, Rachel.
MADDOW: Massachusetts is about to have a Senate election. John Kerry gave
up his Senate seat in order to be secretary of state. The race to fill his
seat included somebody running in the marathon today. Republican Senate
candidate Gabriel Gomez is running the Boston marathon today, crossed the
finish line within minutes of the explosion.
Joining us now live here at Mass General, is Will Ritter, who`s Mr. Gomez`s
press secretary, who is arranging a party for Mr. Gomez when he heard the
blasts going off.
Will, thanks very much for being here.
WILL RITTER, EYEWITNESS: Thanks, Rachel. Thanks for having me.
MADDOW: So, tell us where were you and what happened?
RITTER: So, I was at the corner of Copley Square. We were going to have a
press conference after Gabriel had run. We were going to talk to the
media. We were assembling some of the media.
MADDOW: He already cleared the finish line?
RITTER: He had cleared the finish line, fortunately about 10 minutes
earlier. He heard the blasts and turned and saw the smoke from Boston
Public Library about 100 feet away. And then kind of pandemonium ensued.
MADDOW: Yes. In terms of the scene and how people reacted, obviously,
most people`s instinct is to run away. People who are trained or know they
have something to offer will run toward the scene, how did that balance
RITTER: That was scary there. Where I was, where the friends and family
meet up with the 26,000 people crossing the finish line. So, you have a
lot of fathers jumping the barricades knowing that they had loved ones who
are crossing the finish line. You have police and fire jumping the
barricades to get to the explosion.
You have a great mass of people running east toward Boston Garden, Boston
Common Public Gardens. So, it was a lot of chaos.
MADDOW: The chaos in terms of just people trying to figure out where to go
must have been magnified by the second explosion.
RITTER: Yes. So, the first one went off. I think people are a little
confused. I`ve heard people said before, we have a lot of cannon blasts in
Boston. It`s kind of a ceremonial thing. Just kind of confused.
The second one, you hear people yell things like bomb and running. At that
time, you know, we just kind of dispersed. I live a block away on the
other side of Copley Square. I ran back to my apartment to make sure my
sister and my girlfriend were OK.
MADDOW: Yes. How is Gabriel?
RITTER: He`s all right. He was shaken up. He got with his wife and kids.
And, you know, we suspended the campaign activities, and he`s home with his
MADDOW: This is a day when all politics is suspended except for jerks who
MADDOW: But in Massachusetts, the different people who are vying for the
Senate seat have to make a decision about how to respectful contribute now.
I mean, Gabriel Gomez is not a public official, but is vying to be one.
Somebody else like Ed Markey is running on the Democratic side and Steven
Lynch, vying on the Democratic side. Everybody obviously is suspending
But s there a way as people who got all these resources focused on
campaigning for public office, that you can do more help than you might
RITTER: I think we have asked people to give blood. We haven`t put
anything on the schedule. I think that`s the important thing is the
victims. I mean where the finish line, where the bombs went off, whoever
was trying to make a political point need to realize, they were children
clapping for their moms and dads crossing the finish line.
RITTER: They didn`t make a political point. They just created havoc.
So, that`s farther thing from our mind right now. And our hearts go out to
the victims. It`s just sad that this had to happen. So, (INAUDIBLE).
MADDOW: Yes, on the day that is more Boston than any other day.
Will, I`m glad you are all right. I`m glad everybody is all right.
RITTER: Thanks, Rachel.
MADDOW: Thanks for being with us. Appreciate it.
Will Ritter is the press secretary for Massachusetts Republican Senate
candidate Gabriel Gomez, who did finish the race today and is fine.
All right, we showed video earlier on of the first explosion at the end of
the Boston marathon. We have now since received video and play video of
the second explosion at the end of the Boston marathon.
At this point, our latest reports from the scene indicate that police and
law enforcement are treating it as an active crime scene. Obviously, this
is an active and open ended investigation. Federal law enforcement and
local law enforcement appear to be working seamlessly at this point.
But being out in Boston, I`m here at Massachusetts General, Mass General
Hospital, it doesn`t feel like the Boston you know. If you have ever been
to Boston before, it`s a very serious night.
We`ll be back with you. Thanks for being with us here on MSNBC.
Now, it`s time for "THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL".
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