April 15, 2013
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
Guests: Jackie Bruno, Steve Silva, Vernon Loeb, William Bratton
CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: Good evening. I`m Chris -- good evening. I`m
Chris Matthews with the latest on the breaking news out of Boston.
As you know doubt have heard, two bombs exploded, there they are, near
the finish line of the Boston marathon, killing two people and injuring
more than 100, according to "The Boston Globe." And one of the people
killed was an 8-year-old child, law enforcement officials told NBC.
Well, the White House is calling this an act of terror and there`s
been no claim of responsibility yet for the attacks.
Dramatic witness video, however, captured the horror starting with the
first bomb. The crowd panics and begins to run. A few seconds later, you
can hear a second explosion in the background. Let`s watch.
(VIDEO CLIP PLAYS)
MATTHEWS: The last hour, President Obama spoke about the attack.
Let`s listen to the president.
(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 of the facts.
But make no mistake: we will find out who did this. And we will find
out who did this, we`ll find why they did this. Any responsible
individuals, any responsible groups will feel the full weight of justice.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Steve Silva is "The Boston Globe" sports reporter who shot
that finish line video. He`s with us now by phone.
Steve, were you there on assignment. Did you have a regular camera or
was that a cell phone?
OK. We have Jackie Bruno with the New England Cable News. Jackie,
thank you for joining us.
JACKIE BRUNO, NEW ENGLAND CABLE NEWS: Thank you for having me, Chris.
What I saw today was nothing I`ve ever seen before.
To give you an idea of our location, we were literally right across
the street from where the second explosion happened. It was right outside
of the forum restaurant, right between the Atlantic restaurant and
Starbucks. We were coming out of the parking garage there. I had been
covering a story about this couple that was running the marathon and they
were about to get married on Boston Common after running at 5:30.
So we were moving our car and as we were coming out, I have the
receipt that we paid with. It says 2:49, and seconds later we heard both
explosions, the second one being much stronger. We knew immediately
something terrible happened.
So, my photographer literally jumped out of the car and went into
action. I had took the key out of the car, trying to stop it. And that`s
what thought, I just a drove of people coming at me, and I thought at
first, should I get out of the car? I`m going to get trampled. That`s how
many people were coming at me with extreme amount of force and terror.
I made my way through those people and got to the scene of where this
all happened and the people were strewn about, to be quite honest. There
were limbs missing, mostly lower limbs missing and I did see a police
officer carrying a small boy who had blood all over his face.
It was an horrific scene and everybody was running around frantically
and the Boston marathon was still going on. This was just a few feet away
from the finish line and runners still coming up were looking to their left
with horror trying to make out what had just happened. Many of them likely
had heard -- some people told me they had headphones on so they didn`t hear
the explosion while others had. But they were all shocked.
Other people were stopped before they could get to that point. We
talked to people who got stopped at marker 25 and had to get explained to
them what happened but they had family members waiting at the finish line
So, as you can imagine, they were absolutely panicked it.
I have to make a shout out not just to the Boston PD, but also to the
Boston Fire Department, and also the volunteers of BAA. They really made a
difference today. They were telling me that they were giving people their
phones so they could call family members and trying to let people know they
were safe because, as you can imagine, panic set in.
MATTHEWS: We had over 100 wounded today. How many were able to get
out of there in their first ride? Did they have enough -- did they have
enough ambulances for everybody?
BRUNO: They had a lot of ambulances there right away. We saw people
getting carted away in the wheelchairs that they had out for people that
will already there in case people came in from the marathon, too dehydrated
and unable to walk.
So, there was a lot of medical personnel already on the scene,
thankfully, but you still could not -- I was there too quickly before
anything was really sanitized. What I saw was, as I said, limbs lost,
people laying about and people are trying to help them but it was all so
quick and then police said, go away, go away, go away.
We were also concerned about whether there would be another loud
explosion somewhere else. I also wasn`t sure about the structure of the
parking garage. So, we quickly got in our car to move that for anybody who
was in the parking garage to get out of that because, again, we weren`t
sure what else would have happened.
MATTHEWS: You know, it strikes me when I watch -- take a look here of
the casualty list. Each one of the major hospitals up in Boston, Brigham
Williams got 26 patients from this, Mass General, 22, Boston Medical, 22,
Tufts got nine and Beth Israel Deaconess has nine.
It shows that this horror has filled the hospitals across the city.
BRUNO: Yes. There`s a lot of hospitals here. We have some of the
best in the country.
So, people who are injured are in the best of hands. But as I said,
the things I saw were very horrific and they were not clean cuts, to try
not to be too graphic, I saw people whose legs were blown off and at one
point, somebody had their a foot blown off and there were body parts strewn
along the route.
So, as you can imagine, it was a scene of chaos and people were trying
their best to get people comfortable and then transported as quickly as
I was only on the scene for a while because I had to move that car
because I was afraid of blocking people in a place we weren`t sure if it
was safe or not. But that`s what I experienced and I can tell you in my --
I haven`t been reporting for many years, about four or five, and I can tell
you it`s the worst thing I have ever seen in my young life and I hope I
never see anything that tragic ever again.
MATTHEWS: Jackie Bruno, thanks for joining us tonight on HARDBALL.
Steve Silva is the "Boston Globe" sports reporter who shot that
dramatic finish line video you`re watching right now. He`s with us now by
STEVE SILVA, BOSTON GLOBE (via telephone): Hi, Chris.
MATTHEWS: Steve, tell me about this. What were you doing at the time
when you put your camera on that site and just happened to catch both
explosions and sequence there?
SILVA: Yes, I do a finish line scenes video for the marathon. I`m
out there for about five hours because you have the professionals and
charity runners coming in. In fact, there were over 9,000 runners still
out in the course when this happened, about at 2:50 p.m. I was dead center
on the finish line shooting, running coming across, you know, waiting for
someone to do a cartwheel across the finish line.
SILVA: And then, just off to the right side and camera, there was a
large thud, a loud but dull thud and it went off -- I thought, was this
some kind of some kind of, you know, hoist coming across, someone important
coming across the line, was it some sort of a firework, you know, for a
split second. And than we all ran towards it and you can immediately see
it was different.
Just we were kind absorbing the situation and the second bomb went off
another half a block up. One was on the corner of Exeter and Boylston and
they all go up the street alphabetically, so the next street up is
Fairfield. And the second bomb went in the corner of Fairfield. We
understand that they were both in trash cans.
It was just a horrific scenes. It`s something I`ve never seen before.
Pools of blood, (INAUDIBLE) of blocks everywhere because the marathon
sports stores and window blow out. And, you know, I saw a man whose leg
was blown off from the knee down. He wasn`t the only one. There were body
MATTHEWS: You know, we all know from the Kennedy assassination years
ago, trying to find out whether the blast comes from, in this case, a
blast. Could you tell in your mind`s eye, could you tell that the blasts
came from streets, perhaps from trash cans perhaps, or they came from
inside buildings? Could you tell?
SILVA: Clearly tell, no. They were in the sidewalk. You can tell in
the video, it was clearly outside. It was not -- you know, race
(INAUDIBLE) it`s partitioned off with a gate all the way up and down
Boylston Street. So, the blast were both clearly inside of the gate.
The crowds of probably 10 to 15 people thick at that point. And from
we understand, there are open public trash cans and the understanding is
the devices were deposited in the trash cans during the race and timed them
to go off simultaneously.
MATTHEWS: Would that be consistent -- I guess that explains the
injury, they were all at knee-high and looked what was shrapnel but could
have been metals coming from the trash cans.
SILVA: That`s right. The trash cans are lined with metal bars going
around and then a liner that goes inside. Probably blew that right apart.
It appears to be leg injuries and I can certainly agree with that.
MATTHEWS: Did you get a still out of this? Is this going to be in
the globe? Will they be able to isolate that picture of explosion, moment
SILVA: Well, we had a couple of photographers also on the finish
(INAUDIBLE). I don`t` think we`ve seen all the work. I know John Talmaki,
a photographer for "The Boston Globe" was right next to me and he was
immediately on the scene as well and I think David Abel.
We had a couple folks out there. I was just shooting video, so our
video is at boston.com but I`m sure that "The Globe" photographers are
going to have some pretty dramatic photos in tomorrow`s paper for sure.
MATTHEWS: Well, we appreciate getting that photo of this horror,
because, you know, you took a great picture there. It gives us a
tremendous sense of what happened.
Let`s go to Michael Leiter. He`s NBC News terrorism analyst.
I`m well beyond my ability in talking about this but tell me where I`m
right or wrong here. He said it was clearly outside but he thought it came
from the trash cans, although he heard that later, too. I`m sure that`s in
the conversation up there.
MICHAEL LEITER, NBC NEWS TERRORISM ANALYST: It`s possible. I think
it`s really hard to tell, Chris. We`ve seen over and over today, this
started all about 2:50. I would say about half of what we hear is right
and half of what we hear later on is wrong. We heard about the JFK
Library. It wasn`t a bomb --
MATTHEWS: That was the commissioner telling us that, yes.
LEITER: Exactly. So, we have to take this slowly and the president
was right about that. It`s going to be a methodical investigation now.
Could they have been in the trash can? It`s certainly a possibility. Were
they simultaneous, were they timed to go off later and potentially hurt
first responders? We`re not quite sure yet.
MATTHEWS: What does it tell you that the most of the wound, lost
legs, their limbs, in fact, the young 8-year-old boy is obviously close to
the ground, too, and the idea that it might be going horizontally, the
LEITER: Well, it does suggest that the blast was close to those
people and across the ground rather than something higher up. That`s
pretty self-explanatory. Some reports also about specific shrapnel that
might have been included. But as you mentioned in the previous segment, it
could have also come from the garbage cans.
What this shows, at least, is these are powerful blasts. These aren`t
small incendiary devices. This is clearly intended to maim and kill. This
is a pretty sophisticated attack that you got two bombs going off nearly
simultaneously in the midst of a huge public event.
MATTHEWS: The World Trade Center, of course, was both with people,
thousands of people and buildings, iconic buildings.
MATTHEWS: Here, it wasn`t an iconic building that was the target. It
wasn`t a big insurance building or anything like that. It was a bunch of
What does that tell you? Just aiming at people, Americans,
international crowd, in fact, just aiming regular sort of street traffic --
I don`t know if I`ve heard something like this before. I guess we get into
the movie theaters and you get in the schools, it`s pretty indiscrete.
But the idea of just blowing people that happen to be standing there,
for no other reason that they happened to be standing there, they`re not in
uniform, they don`t represent a government agency, they are not the Murrah
Building, they`re not bureaucrats. They`re not -- they are just people
that happen to be in a spot cheering on runners.
LEITER: You know what --
MATTHEWS: Killing that, like the regular people.
LEITER: As you know, being from Boston -- I lived in Boston for a
number of years. It`s an iconic event. It`s Patriots` Day.
LEITER: It`s something that everybody in the Northeast knows --
MATTHEWS: Actually, I`m from Philly. But I went to Holy Cross, so --
LEITER: You`re adopted.
MATTHEWS: And I worked for Tip O`Neill for six years. So, I know the
Boston area and I do know how much pride that city has and the sports
teams. We all know about the Sox and we know that anything in Boston, it`s
the -- what do they call it? The hub of the universe and they believe it.
LEITER: We haven`t seen this sort of attack be successful in the
United States but we`ve seen things very similar to this attempted. On the
international terrorism front, we saw in 2009, 2010, a plot against New
York City subways. The Times Square bomber 2010 where the bomb fizzled --
LEITER: That`s right. So, that is the power of terrorism. You can`t
harden everything. You can go after large assemblies of people and to
defend against all of this perfectly all the time is impossible. I think
what we`ve seen so far in Boston is some real success in the response. I
hope that we`re going to see equal confusion --
MATTHEWS: Let`s talk about that. I know you don`t want to speculate.
Le you`re a one step at a time kind of guy and I`m a little different.
So, let`s talk about this. If it`s domestic, and they have a message,
it could be anti-taxation, anti-big government. It could be anything, from
the right or left. We don`t know yet. Didn`t want to say that, this
doesn`t explain itself.
In other words, if you`re a terrorist group or person, this does not
explain itself unless you just hate people. So, you got to come out and
put some sort of banner out, hey, look, this is why I did this. Look out.
And if it`s a foreign group, they are going to have to explain
themselves, too, otherwise it doesn`t many anything, right? Don`t you have
to put an advertisement on one of these horrors?
LEITER: People are going to claim responsibility, Chris.
MATTHEWS: I mean, the real person.
LEITER: That`s right. Well, fake people are going to claim and
people who did do it may or may not claim.
MATTHEWS: Why wouldn`t they claim? Why would they do it and not
LEITER: If you look at what happened with Timothy McVeigh, Timothy
McVeigh never claimed anything.
MATTHEWS: Timed it to Robbie Rich (ph) and Branch Davidian.
LEITER: That`s right. And, you know, there were indications and
ultimately that`s how we caught him, with great forensic information. But
he never raised his hand up and said I did this. I think chances are
somebody is going to claim responsibility for this, someone who really did
it. The forensic investigation, going through the intelligence from
overseas potentially and domestically, we`re going to find it.
MATTHEWS: OK. What does April 19th, April 15th mean to you? April
19th was the Murrah Building in Oklahoma City, the anniversary of the
action by the ATF and FBI, what does the April 15th tell you? Anything?
LEITER: I -- it`s one of 20 things that might mean something in this
investigation. It`s something. Are people going to think about tax? They
absolutely. Will they think about that --
LEITER: Are you going to have the CIA and overseas organizations
looking overseas? Absolutely.
MATTHEWS: I`m sort of looking at this conceptually rather than
evidentiary. But you got to be an intelligence guy.
Thank you, Michael Leiter. And stay with us actually.
Bill, of course, Bratton is the great commissioner of police New York,
Los Angels and, of course, Boston. He`s been everywhere, especially
Mr. Commissioner, thank you for coming back tonight. I don`t know if
you`ve accumulated any more evidence except for as the horror that an 8-
year-old was killed and apparently, a child, and also the two people dead,
we have new numbers on the wounded, over 100 now, 107, according to "The
Globe." They are at every one of the hospitals at the Boston area.
They`ve got -- their patients are the people who came from that scene right
Any evidence you could give up putting all that together?
WILLIAM BRATTON. FORMER BOSTON POLICE COMMISSIONER: Well, like
Michael, I`m an evidence guy also. And have also warned that after 40
years of covering these types of events, the first story is never the last
story. You will appreciate this story has changed quite a bit over the
last several hours.
What we clearly know is that there were two separate devices, a
horrific number of devices and injuries and two deaths being reported.
There will be a phenomenal investigative effort made to quickly identify
who did this. As Michael indicated, as of now, nobody is claiming credit,
no credibility. And they will eventually do that, though. They will come
out of the woodwork and claim credit for it.
MATTHEWS: What do you make of this trash can thing? I guess you`re
far from the evidence for that, this idea that the trajectory of the blast
went knee-high, apparently most of the injuries were to the lower forms of
the body. A kid was a target, or one of the victims of that. And then
this all happened out in the street here. It didn`t happen in some
buildings. People putting bombs apparently in these trash cans.
BRATTON: Well, one of the stories is that it wasn`t a trash can,
although the idea, depending on the type of trash can, it may have, in
fact, pushed the explosion up rather than out.
So, it`s one of the things they are going to have to determine where
were the two devices? Were they in something such as a trash can or were
they just on the ground? They just don`t know at this stage of the game.
It`s going to take a while to determine that and they will let the general
public know what they know.
MATTHEWS: What kind of a drag net? Earlier with the Reverend Al
Sharpton about, airports, arrivals/departures when you look for somebody --
people obviously it seems to me a person could drive or whatever. They
could take the bus.
The airports, what do you think about the airports? When somebody --
can you begin to check on that and really catch somebody before they leave
BRATTON: They would be looking at the airports because that`s the one
area that they have records of who is coming and going. You don`t
necessarily have that on buses or trains and certainly not in automobiles.
They will be certainly looking to retrieve at those locations where
automobiles leave the city, the toll, toll booths, et cetera, the Mass
turnpike, the terminal, Callahan Tunnel.
They will be seeking to gather information from any source possible
this is an extraordinarily travel day in Boston, in and out of the
airports, in and out of public transportation, half a million people in the
city. The investigation will be comprehensive. The first thing to be
looking at, all of that area, the square around that area, they will be
looking at every camera that is facing on the street to see if there`s
somebody at the scene picked up early on camera, farther away.
I`m reminded of the terrorist bombing in London, the subway bombing,
and how they were able to track entering the train system from miles away
and repeated instances where cameras track their movements. They will be
able to replicate that as part of this investigation.
MATTHEWS: Can you draw a radius with a compass, an old time compass?
Can you draw a radius and keep growing in terms of size and radius as to
how far away a person can be away at a certain point? If they detonated
this by hand at 2:50 this afternoon, can you tell how far away they are
BRATTON: I would not be able to. We don`t know how the device was
detonated. Was it with a timer? Was it remote control through a cell
phone? I don`t think anybody at this particular point in time understands
how it was detonated.
MATTHEWS: Yes. Well, thank you very much, Commissioner Bratton for
coming to us from London tonight. Thank you so much.
Let me go to Chuck Todd right now, our political guy. He`s NBC`s
chief White House correspondent.
Chuck, can you give us a sense from the White House from your beat as
to how this is going to be a national story, a national investigation?
CHUCK TODD, NBC NEWS CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, I can
tell you a few things. Number one is, when you heard the president`s
statement -- and many people have made note of the fact and the White House
themselves acknowledges after the fact that the president didn`t use the
And I can tell you from talking to some sources, they discussed
whether he should use that word or not and they made the decision not to.
That doesn`t mean they don`t believe and they aren`t treating this as an
act of terror, but they`re being very careful, and part of the reason why
is that the president himself seemed to emphasize this, they still don`t
know who do this and nor do they know the motivation. Is it an individual?
Is it a group? Is it domestic? Is it international?
And I can tell you, you can hear it in the president`s voice and
talking to others, there`s clearly some frustration about how little they
seem to know and I know it`s my understanding that Michael Leiter is
listening in on this, why would there be such concern internally about
being careful about whether you call something terrorism and why they may
have made the decision not to?
LEITER: I think the reason is, as we saw in Libya, anything that the
president says is going to be parsed over and over and over again for the
next who knows how long, and in that respect, they`re probably being a
little too cautious. The fact is we know this wasn`t an accidental
So, at that point you`re left with a criminal act or terrorism. And
the only differentiator is whether or not it was politically motivated.
Now, we don`t know it was politically motivated or not, but I think it
is more than a fair guess to say that if you are planting bombs around lots
of people at the end of the Boston marathon, this is not just a criminal
act. This is someone who wants to kill people and I think that if there
were not the likelihood that people would attack the president from both
parties, all sides, if he gets an initial statement wrong, they would be
saying terrorism now.
MATTHEWS: Yes. Chuck, I guess we all made the assumption that the
government, the FBI will be able to catch the bad guys, or bad guy.
Remember back -- I remember back, you know, but I remember, I was a Capitol
policeman back in 1971, and I`ve got to tell you, they never found out who
blew up the inside of the capitol. I must tell you, nobody knew how bad
that damage was. I knew it and other officers knew how bad that damage
A huge bomb went off somewhere, near the Senate site of the Capitol
building itself, right going down into the foundations of the buildings
doing incredible damage. I remember going down there to look at it. They
never found out who did it. They never made a conviction.
So we don`t always catch the bad guys. Therefore, can`t we establish
we can`t always establish their motives?
TODD: Well, I think -- let`s remember the Atlanta Olympic bombing and
how long it took. And some people don`t take credit.
I heard Commissioner Bratton say that they expect someone to take
credit. Sometimes, they don`t take credit. Eric Rudolph did not take
credit at the time it seems. Or at least that they weren`t.
Michael, I had another security official, former security official
say, that one reason they know so little. It`s either one of two things.
Either it`s a brand-new group that they haven`t been tracking or the person
is just a completely unknown individual acting as a lone wolf. Would that
be the conclusions you`d be coming to at this point?
LEITER: I probably wouldn`t go that far this soon. The reason is
that often after one of these events, when you go back in the intelligence
stream, you will see something which starts to give an indication. And in
those circumstances, it will turn out that someone who you thought was
unknown was connected to a group that you should have been watching.
This happened to some extent in London with the bombings in 2005,
where they thought it was out of the loop, but in fact, it was someone that
they had been watching for some time and then dropped surveillance.
I think it`s a good guess to say that it`s an individual or a new
group. But I think it`s too early to say, Chuck.
MATTHEWS: Again, you can start the circle. If this could include
just about anyone because of the type explosive is not state-of-the-art,
just like you can`t figure out how far the bad guy or the bomber, if you
will, had gotten away from the scene at the time it happened, you also have
a question of how wide of a loop that covers. It can cover anybody who is
experienced with studying the Internet.
LEITER: That`s right. And that`s why a lot of these precautions at
the airport, part of that is because you think somebody was involved might
be trying to fly away. Part of it is simply you don`t know really what`s
going on so it makes sense, the tightening security at the airport, in case
there is a follow-on attack of some other sort.
You don`t know anything specific so you go as wide as you can to start
and the investigation would slowly narrows the suspect and will also enable
you to limit the extent of your additional protective measures that you
have to take.
MATTHEWS: Chuck, can you tell me something about the president after
studying him for months and years now, does he get beyond just checking in
with the FBI? Does he give advice? Does he suggest areas of emphasis over
-- efforts to -- does he say what he thinks or does he just say how it`s
TODD: No. He`s more -- I mean, look, this is the first one of these
incidents that he`s doing without John Brennan by his side. John Brennan
was the chief counterterrorism official. He`s at CIA. He`s got a new
person at his side on that front.
What I`m sort of reading into this and I`m only reading into it is
that he`s used to getting information a lot faster than they are getting on
TODD: The -- but, of course, this frustration seems to be law
Michael, are you surprised, we are now near five hours after the
incident. Are we just too used to you guys being so good that you usually
have the leads after three or four hours are on the way and that we know so
little at this point in time?
LEITER: I think that is right, Chuck, and especially when we disrupt
an attack in the case of Najibullah Zazi who is driving from Colorado to
New York. The reason we knew so much as soon as it broke was because we
had been following him for days. But when it`s a surprise, it really does
take time for this to be surfaced.
And just a note about the president having served with President Bush
and President Obama, I think the early days of the administration,
President Obama gave people a little bit of room. But I saw the president
become I am enmeshed in these issues and he, President Obama, is extremely
active, having worked with him through Christmas Day bombing, he will be
poking fingers, demanding answers. He`s not going to get involved in the
operations and tell Bob Mueller what to do.
MATTHEWS: But he`ll be saying, what about, what about?
LEITER: He is a very forceful leader in the --
MATTHEWS: What do we make -- let me ask you before Chuck leaves, what
about the other bombs, the other bombs? Perhaps two others, one at a
hotel, one somewhere else, we`re hearing, that didn`t explode, that were
set to explode, obviously. It could have been worse.
What does that tell you, four different bomb sites?
LEITER: I`m going to go back to be the evidence guy on this. We know
there were packages or bags that the Boston Police Department treated as
potential explosive devices. We don`t actually know if they were bombs or
not. We know that there were bags that people couldn`t identify and they
treat it as devices.
MATTHEWS: Did it blow them up?
LEITER: They probably disabled them, either with a water cannon or
with explosive ordnance guys. Those will be investigated as well. But
even there the numbers have shifted on these other packages. I don`t think
we know how many devices there were other than two.
MATTHEWS: Well, thank you, Chuck, at the White House.
MATTHEWS: NBC News justice correspondent Pete Williams is with us
with more on the investigation.
Pete, it`s your beat now. The FBI.
PETE WILLIAMS, NBC NEWS JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Let me pick up on
that. We still don`t know how many explosive devices there were. We know
that two went off. And we`re still hearing tonight that there could have
been others because packages found on the street were deemed suspicious.
They were destroyed but we haven`t heard any confirmation on whether at
least five other packages actually were explosive devices. Some officials
say there is reason to think at least a few of them were but we still don`t
have confirmation on that. That`s number one.
Number two, there is no suspect in custody. However, there are some
people that the investigators are very interested in talking to. One of
them is a young person who had a student visa who has burns and was seen
running from the area.
Now, of course many people were running from the area and some of them
were injured. So what particular reason there is to be interested in this
person, we`re not sure of. But nonetheless, that person is being
aggressively questioned now.
Several officials say two bombs that did go off included shrapnel to
multiply the injuries that. That would include BBs and ball bearings.
That unfortunately is not an innovation. That is a technique that`s been
used in other attempted bombings here in the U.S. by domestic terrorists.
Investigators are now looking at surveillance video to see if they can
see anyone actually placing packages at the points where these bombs went
off. There is some indication that they are being lucky with the
surveillance video but we don`t have a final conclusion on that.
A couple of officials describe these devices as crude and although
they caused two deaths and over 100 injuries it could have been much worse.
They say that the devices have less explosive power than might have been
contained in packages of this size.
So the second thing -- the third thing I guess I should say, Chris, is
that we`re told by several officials that there is no reason to think that
there is any kind of threat elsewhere, that this is part of anything else
larger. Nothing to indicate that. The Boston police have said and federal
officials confirmed that there was no intelligence or warning ahead of
this, that anything like this was coming.
Nonetheless, strictly as a precaution, security was stepped up around
the White House and in other cities, at hotels and places where crowds
gather, New York, for example, some airports are stepping up security but a
homeland security official says that no directives have been set out
suggesting a higher alert. So, these actions being taken are being taken
by local authorities simply based on what you and I can see.
You`ve been making comparisons to other attacks. This is I think
reminiscent of the Olympic Park bombing in Atlanta in 1996.
WILLIAMS: That one was caused by a white supremacist, Eric Rudolph.
That one, two people were killed and more than 100 injured. In that one,
the device was placed where a big crowd gathered. And the other thing that
immediately came to my mind was three years ago when a white supremacist
planted a backpack bomb, including shrapnel that was coated with rat
poison, along a parade route for a Martin Luther King Day observance that
was planned for Spokane, but fortunately that one was discovered before the
event, a few hours before the event and it was safely removed.
MATTHEWS: Let me ask you about the suspect that ran away. How do
they know he was a student here on a visa if he ran away? I mean, how did
they ID the guy?
WILLIAMS: First of all, you know, I`d be careful about the word
suspect. They are not calling him suspect at this point.
WILLIAMS: But this person, yes. They know he has a student visa
because when he showed up at the hospital with burns, he presented his ID
and he had a student visa. They didn`t know that beforehand. But now they
know -- there`s interest in talking to that young person.
MATTHEWS: So they have him? He`s available to them?
WILLIAMS: Yes, in the hospital being questioned. That`s right.
MATTHEWS: I see. So that could mean hardly anything.
In these kinds of cases, do they -- how do they operate? Because
we`ve been talking about the conceptual idea of profiling. Does this
person follow the pattern of a domestic terrorist or that of a foreign
terrorist? Is there any difference in the evidence gathering or do they
have to decide through triage of where to put their effort? Do they make
assumptions, such as April 15th, for example, and it is a bomb that
certainly wasn`t that sophisticated? And they could well have been simply a
person with a political angle or attitude, and wanted to do damage but
wasn`t part of anything big and strategic?
MATTHEWS: Yes, go ahead. I`m sorry.
WILLIAMS: Well, they will work it on a number of levels. On the
ground, at the scene, they will be trying to pick up every tiny piece that
they can of these devices to try to figure out how they were made, what the
explosive composition was and how they were to be detonated. That itself
will suggest a certain signature because there are certain kinds of
construction of devices that are favored by, say, domestic terrorist versus
foreign terrorists. So, that`s the first thing they will do.
Second thing they will look for another evidence from witnesses,
surveillance video, that kind of thing.
Third thing is to go back and look at all the intelligence take that
led up to this event. Were there -- was there, for want of a better term
that is often used these days, was there chatter that indicated that
something like this was planned?
So I think it`s fair to say there won`t be any assumptions, that in
fact that might give investigators a tunnel vision. They will be very
agnostic about what kind of an attack it could have been and simply start
with the evidence and see where that leads them.
MATTHEWS: How successful have we been in the age of cell phones where
-- you know, when I go somewhere, everybody has a phone of some kind, a
camera of some kind. It seems to me this must be one of the whole new ways
of police work where you immediately try to round up everybody that has got
a phone on and taking pictures because they are also picking up audio.
WILLIAMS: Absolutely. Of course, a lot of those things will be
looking away. I mean, they`ll be looking towards the runners and the bomb
is coming, for most of them, from behind. So they`re probably not looking,
but you never know. So, yes, that`s one thing that is done these days.
In addition to trying to find eyewitnesses, they will look at any kind
of video that was recorded in the area and try to -- this is a very
painstaking process, but try to lay that all out and then kind of match
these devices up in terms in time so that you get hundreds of different
angles from the same point in time that they`re all sync up by time and see
if they can learn anything from that. In addition to the more conventional
kind of surveillance video cameras that are in businesses and stores.
MATTHEWS: Pete, you`re great. Once again, Pete Williams, justice
correspondent for NBC News -- thanks for joining us with all that
information and know how.
WILLIAMS: You bet.
MATTHEWS: Brian Levin is with the Center for the Study of Hate and
Extremism out of California State University in San Bernardino.
Brian, thank you for coming in. You`re coming in at the worst times
in the world for us. But there you have it. Now we have you.
What is your sort of sense of smell? Do you have one right now about
this? Do you have a pattern in your head? What do you see of this whole
horror right now so far?
BRIAN LEVIN, CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITY (via telephone): Yes, the
first thing I can tell you is the counterterrorism analysts who come out
and say they know who it is are the ones usually wrong. So let me tell you
what the schematic that we use when we train folks for law enforcement and
then kind of narrow it a little bit.
First, you have three types, ideologically motivated -- can be
political, religious or a hybrid. Second type, psychologically dangerous -
- could be a sociopath or someone who has some cognitive impairment.
Third, personal benefit or revenge.
Here are a couple interesting things I`d like to put together. First
of all, there are cameras all over the place. So they will piece together
stuff as it comes in. The other thing I want to say is, there`s a lot of
stuff that the local and federal law enforcement know that they are not
going to put out because it`s going to hamper the investigation. They are
just not going to do it.
Don`t think that they don`t know what is going on or that they don`t
have a bigger picture than they have.
Now, a couple of things. We know it`s Patriots` Day up in Boston.
It`s a holiday. It celebrates Lexicon and Concord. And in the past, we`ve
seen attack like that.
So, it very well could be an anti-government person. We talked about
Eric Robert Rudolph and that kind of thing.
But remember, large symbolic events attract a variety of unstable
people. Let me put another thing in the mix so you might be able more
confuse by the time I get off. And not is, just within the last week or
so, there has been a Salifist jihadist handbook that has been released that
shows a variety of things about how lone wolfs can cause havoc and in there
they put a pipe bomb.
But for every individual, an unstable sociopath, with idiosyncratic
motive, an anti-government extremist, or even a Salifist jihadist, I think
someone can make an argument.
Right now the only thing we know is that we have to cast a wide net,
not a narrow one, and we don`t want to indict whole communities. Bu
there`s a lot of stuff there and I think an argument can be made for any of
these types of people.
MATTHEWS: How about April 15th, Brian? Does that tell you anything?
Joe Stack, Joe Stack crashed a plane into the IRS building as well.
So, we have anti-government, anti-tax people.
We also have the recent release of a handbook designed by al Qaeda to
train loners in small cells and how to do this kind of stuff. One
instruction that they have in there is a pipe bomb that could be similar to
one that was used here if in fact it was one. And I don`t want to
Let me say this. I would point to smaller rather than bigger. And
what I mean is, as deadly as this was, this was not a sophisticated type of
device that would be beyond someone who was committed who could have access
to handbooks on the Internet that are available to a wide variety of people
who could have motives ranging from domestic anti-government, anti-tax, all
the way to international.
And, of course, never under estimate the wide card, someone with an
idiosyncratic reason. Columbine was done on Hitler`s birthday. So, what
I`m saying is, any kind of symbolic event that goes around a date that is
an anniversary, can attract all kinds of people and not necessarily the
person you might not think at first would do it.
MATTHEWS: Brian, if this person was out to kill a lot of people, it
seems they would have detonated this bomb -- two bombs at a time when there
was a large crowd of finishers crossing the finish line. As we`ve seen in
this picture over and over again, this horrible picture, there`s only one
guy crossing the finish line, you see him there on the right, red and
blocks, he falls down. None of the other runners fall. There`s only a few
crossing the line at that point.
Does that tell you that he was finishing this by a time bomb? Because
he`s not getting a lot of people at this point.
LEVIN: It could. But here`s the point, even bombs that have timers.
And here`s the thing. This kind of information is all over the place. And
for every suspect movement that you could say would be involved with this,
I could show you someone who can find a type of device that would have a
Timers oftentimes do not work exactly as you might think. It also
could have been set off in variety of other ways that I don`t want to go
into. But nevertheless, I think whoever did this was doing it to get it
done and they knew that it would make a big splash. But, again, I think
its somebody smaller rather than bigger.
Al Qaeda does not like this kind of small kind of attacks. However,
there`s been a split -- within al Qaeda, for instance, they are trying
encourage lone wolfs. By the same token, we`ve seen the Portland event
that Pete Williams talked about. There are a variety of different type of
individuals who were attached to movements for their own idiosyncratic
reasons and it`s just too soon to tell.
But I do think it`s interesting, the date has significance to people
in the anti-government and anti-tax role. By the same token, a Salifist
magazine encouraging loners to cause mayhem here in the United States in
variety of ways just came out as well.
So that`s the information we have. It`s all speculation beyond that.
MATTHEWS: Thank you very much, Brian Levin, for coming on with that.
Brian has a good sense of what the waves are of different groups and we
still don`t know how it all connects here and how it connects here to
reality. It`s just these are the various forces of the world.
LEITER: Yes. Chris, this is still -- this is a step by step process
now. I agree with Brian`s main thrust which is it`s too early to say.
First step, make sure that people who are injured in that, you get
them out of there. Second step, you`re starting to put protective measures
in place because you don`t really know what this was caused by or who
caused it. That`s the stage we`re in now. We are just, just starting to
enter the phase of who, where, why, is there an additional threat? You can
draw lots of implications. It`s easy to connect the dots if you know what
the conclusion is.
MATTHEWS: It seems to me watching this it doesn`t always follow the
evidentiary tale. Someone trying to run a red light somewhere, you know,
20 miles away, they pick them up and they are sweaty and nervous.
LEITER: After the fact, it`s clear why it happened. We`re in the
earliest hours and that`s when you have to be careful not to connect the
dots that shouldn`t be connected.
MATTHEWS: Or people talk. That`s why we do this show because people
talk and all of a sudden, this guy is bragging in a week or two and he`s
caught that way. That`s how human frailty works.
Thank you so much, Michael.
And, by the way, we got right now, NBC`s Katy Tur.
Katy, thanks so much for coming on tonight.
Katy, I`m sorry. That`s why I got the wrong person. Katy, thank you.
KATY TUR, NBC NEWS: How are you doing?
MATTHEWS: What`s new? We`ve got over 100 injured people. We`ve got
people at every hospital up there. Brigham and Williams, Mass General,
Boston Medical, at Tufts, at Beth Israel. It just seems that the whole
city has become a hospital for this horror at the Boston marathon.
TUR: Certainly the whole city is on alert. You have 100 people
injured at least. You have two people dead. We`ve learned in the last
hour that one of those dead people is an 8-year-old boy.
One law enforcement official or source has told us that which was just
a huge tragedy. You have people walking around these streets here in a
state of shock and a state of disbelief, looking for some answers. There`s
so few answers, as we`ve been talking about all night so far.
What we can tell you is that the homeland security chairman is
officially calling this terrorism. The White House may not be causing it
terrorism but he is. He says it was not an accident. It was not
It was intentional. It was intended to harm and scare. It`s done
just that. Dozens injured and two people dead. It was timed it seemed to
be at the height of the race, around the four-hour mark when most of the
racers would be finishing that race.
Right now, we`re at the back bay of Boston. And if you`ve been around
here, you know it`s a very busy area, a very popular area, especially after
the marathon. Everybody is celebrating around here.
There are number of bars that should be packed right now but as of
now, they are completely empty. Everything is shut down because people are
trying to figure out what happened. Right behind me two blocks away is the
finish line. That area is completely frozen as they continue their
There`s about a 15-block radius where they are stopping any cars from
entering this area. The commissioner -- the police commissioner here in
Boston has asked everybody to go home, to stay inside, to stay safe,
partially because they are not sure if there are any more threats out
Everything dropped along the race route is being considered a
suspicious package. So, they`re looking at everything. And as you can
imagine, it`s a marathon. People are dropping things left and right and
when everything started to happen, people were dropping more stuff as they
were trying to get away from the scene.
Initially, people thought it could have been an accident, it could
have been a gas explosion, who knows what it could have been? But about 15
seconds later, once that other explosion happened, people started to
realize this probably was not an accident. It probably was intentional and
that`s when you started seeing panic.
There were people with shrapnel wounds. There was shrapnel involved
with the explosions. A lot of lower limb injuries. A lot of people who
have very serious bleeding. One person reported seeing somebody get a
tourniquet on the race, which is just something you would never imagine
seeing in the middle of busy American city. It`s not something that you
would imagine seeing during a marathon. So, this whole city right now is
in the state of shock. They are trying to figure out what happened.
You see people walking around with a glazed look in their eyes, as
they`re trying to get anything they can from the passersby, from local
officials, from the reporters in the area. We have learned that the Navy
is assisting, Chris, which is not something you normally hear. The Navy is
assisting in the investigation there, assisting, of course, the federal,
straight, and local municipalities out there. All of them trying to piece
together the time of this. They are pouring over surveillance video.
They`re going to try to figure out as much as they can about the moments
leading up to and the moments after those two explosions.
MATTHEWS: Is there anything new on the John F. Kennedy Library? What
happened over there? Whatever happened in terms of an incendiary device or
was it just a mechanical fire? What caused the fire, do we know? Was it
TUR: As of now, they are saying -- officials are saying this it was
not an incendiary device, that it was just a fire. And we`re not hearing
that it was intentional. Of course, the timing of it is very suspicious
but right now, we`re not getting very many answers about that fire. There
was a third undetonated device that they did find. They did detonate that,
but no word on what exactly caused that fire or whether or not it was
intentional. They are being -- not many answers right now.
MATTHEWS: Katy Tur, thanks so much for joining up from Boston.
We`ll be back after this.
MATTHEWS: We`re back with the latest from the bombing at the finish
line of the Boston marathon. You know, the music tells me it`s moving into
history. We had the initial shock of learning what happened. Now, we`re
going to spend days perhaps finding out exactly what was the culprit behind
it right now. Two people were killed, one was an 8-year-old boy. And more
than 100 are in various Boston hospitals right now.
Vernon Loeb will never forget this day. He was a "Washington Post:"
editor who was running as a civilian, of course, in the marathon.
Vernon, we`re going finish up our hour, and let you do a big part of
it. Narrate as a good journalist your personal experience today.
VERNON LOEB, WASHINGTON POST EDITOR (via telephone): Yes. Well, you
know, I`ve run the Boston marathon ten or 11 times, I have it written down.
I can`t remember.
I love this race. This is an iconic race. Everything about it is
special. It`s been run for 117 years, it`s deep in tradition. People have
to qualify to get in, so really serious runners train and compete for this,
for a place in this race all year. And, you know, I even stopped this
morning as I was walking to the bus to go to the start line and stopped on
the finish line and sort of took in the scene.
To think bombs were going off a few hours later is sort of
heartbreaking and I doubt this marathon will ever be the same.
MATTHEWS: When you look back at the pictures, do you feel what you
LOEB: I`m sorry?
MATTHEWS: The pictures we`re watching over and again, is that the
experience you went through? Did it feel like that?
LOEB: Chilling to watch, because to see those people, you know,
approaching the finish line. It`s an incredibly joyous moment, you`ve been
out there for three or four hours, you`ve run 26.2 miles, almost at the
finish line, to see them knocked off their feet or stride for a runner is
I mean, you know, it was me out there 30 minutes before. And it`s
such a great day here on Patriot`s Day. The stay is closed. The city
comes out for the marathon like you wouldn`t believe. So, whoever did this
hit a special target and knew, you know, what they were attacking.
MATTHEWS: Why do you want to compete so hard to get into the
marathon? Why do you kill yourself to be able to run 26.2 miles?
LOEB: You know, if you enjoy marathon running, you got to run Boston.
It`s sort of like if baseball fans were allowed to play in the World
Series, it`s kind of like that, yes, we`re not like the top old elite world
marathoners who win, but to run in the same race with them is just really
And then there`s the whole allure of the course, Heartbreak Hill, the
up and down rolling aspect of the course, get to mile 18 and hit with three
back to back to back hills called Heartbreak Hill. It`s really the most
iconic, special course in American running.
MATTHEWS: And now, it`s going to be known for this.
LOEB: Yes. Yes. I can`t imagine what it`ll be like next year. It
fills up incredibly fast now. A place in the Boston marathon is so
coveted. It fills up so fast, and I wonder whether it will.
MATTHEWS: No, I know my country, and so do you. It will fill up
faster. Come on.
LOEB: You`re probably right. But people are going -- I`m sure
security will be much more intense.
MATTHEWS: Well, it will be interesting the feelings that come over
people as they reach the finish line. That will be different. And,
Vernon, congratulations on being a good witness to a horrible event. I
know you`ll write about this for posterity, and I`d like to read what you
Thank you very much, Vernon Loeb of "Washington Post".
LOEB: Thank you. Thanks a lot for having me.
MATTHEWS: He was in the race today. He wasn`t on duty.
NBC News terrorism correspondent Michael Leiter is back with us.
Again, I`d like you to finish out.
I want to say something about Boston because I worked up there for Tip
O`Neill. That city, region back in the `50s and `60s was an old, dying
industrial area. They lost the linen industry. They lost textiles to the
South because of labor. They lost the shoe industry. They lost the
industries, and they were dying and came back. It`s a very positive part
of the country.
The spirit of the Sox fan is unmatchable, unmatchable. And the spirit
of community, the hub of the universe, they call it, New England is a
region, centered around Boston. It`s so much a comeback region for the
last 50 or 60 years, I don`t think it`s going to hurt it.
LEITER: This is a terrible tragedy. This is a time to think about
the victims. It`s the time to figure out who did it and catch them and
bring to justice. But I`m with you, I lived in Boston and worked in Boston
for four years, I was just up there last week.
This city like New York did, like Pennsylvania did, like Washington,
D.C. did, will recover and do great, and my prediction the Boston marathon
next year will be bigger, stronger and more emotional than ever. I happen
to have run the Marine Corps Marathon in 2001 just a couple months after
9/11, and this city and this country, regardless of who did this, comes
back from these things very, very strong, and Boston will too.
MATTHEWS: Yes, I think it`s good for America that we have this spirit
of comeback. But we to want find out who did this. And I have no idea.
I`ve seen the Murrah Building down in Oklahoma City tied to, yes, it`s
extremism, I hate to say right wing, it`s nothing to do with voting for
Mitt Romney or anything like that. It`s nothing to do with politics. It
has do with this extremism that won`t voice its name, won`t say anything.
It`s only way of communicating is this. This is how it talks, and
maybe an individual.
I thought it was great the way you pointed out that it could be a
psychological situation, it could be ideological, it could be revenge, it
could anyone of the motives. In fact, I can see mixes of these motives.
And I think this country can get through it.
And the country, 300 million people, I`m always astounded how many
sane people there are in this country, and how many good people who vote
when they have a political opinion and don`t to want get involved in this.
So, this is the kind of coverage we`re going to do here on MSNBC. It
isn`t our usual coverage. We`ve dropped a night of discussion about gun
control and gun safety and the question of what`s going to happen in the
We have great bit of news coming later this week, far more important,
I believe in the end -- in terms of our future, about whether we`re going
to have a society safe with our use of guns, that vote`s coming up in the
next couple of days, probably tomorrow, we`re going to have a vote on
whether we have the Manchin/Toomey bill accepted. We`ve got up to 50 late
-- perhaps up to 60 senators willing to withstand a filibuster. It could
fall short. And then we have to ask ourselves the question, 58 United
States senators who want to see gun safety passed, they want to see better
background checks, which include sales at gun shows, and they want that
done, that one symbolic response to what happened in Newtown.
And if it doesn`t get done because we only 58 senators, a very strong
majority, I think we`ll have to try again. Unfortunately, it may take
another disaster for us to try again. But I think we`re going to try
We also have the issue of immigration. Who is going to decide whether
them people become Americans or not? Under what circumstance do you get to
become legal if you came here illegally? All that is within reach right
We have a chance to pass an actual immigration bill with 70 senators
behind it. There`s a good chance this country is going to have workable
politics on the issue of guns and even more likely on the issue of
immigration. This is really going in a good direction.
So even with today`s tragedy, there`s great reason for optimism, great
reason to believe that our republic, which has its roots back in Boston, as
well as in Philadelphia, is going to prevail and succeed.
So it`s been an interesting night and terrible night, but I do believe
as we proceed as a country, this will not be the norm, the norm will be how
we respond to it. And that`s the great thing.
Michael, your last words about how the investigation goes down?
LEITER: It`s going to go slowly, methodically, and we`re going to
find the people who did it.
LEITER: And Americans have to understand that the threat of terrorism
domestically and internationally is with us. It doesn`t have to change the
way we live. It`s will require some precautions. It`s going to require
and we`re going to experience some hits like this.
But, again, next year, we`re going to have the marathon. We`ve got to
grieve with the families who lost people today, and we`ve got the people
MATTHEWS: OK. What we saw today with 9/11, perhaps not quite as
dramatically because nothing will ever be that dramatic. The guys raced --
fire fighters racing up the stairs when everyone was coming down.
But great reaction by the first responders today. They were in those
-- they were in those ambulances and they were in the hospital fast. They
were divided up among the various hospitals, with good triage, it looks
And let`s talk about what`s going on. If you`re head of the FBI,
you`re Robert Mueller right now, and you`re going to be up late tonight and
up early tomorrow morning, what are you going to try to do the first --
what is the major goal of the FBI right now? Is it evidence on the ground?
Is it collecting cell phones? Is it checking ports of entry?
What is it?
LEITER: It is all of the above. Bob Mueller will make sure all the
evidence coordinated with the Boston Police Department, they`re going to
come through, talking to agents across the country, check with sources, who
knows what, going through social media, seeing if there are indicators
there or chatter beforehand. It`s going to be working with the CIA to look
internationally. Everyone is going to have very long nights across the
country figuring out who did this.
MATTHEWS: I can`t think of a better cause. Michael Leiter, it`s been
great working with you.
LEITER: Thank you.
MATTHEWS: Great to have you available to us. Our coverage of the
explosions of the Boston marathon continues now with Chris Hayes.
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