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April 21: Deval Patrick, Mike Rogers, Dick Durbin, Pete Williams, Michael Leiter, Michael Chertoff, Tom Brokaw, Doris Kearns Goodwin, Peggy Noonan, Jeffrey Goldberg

MR. DAVID GREGORY: This Sunday, a special edition in MEET THE PRESS, after the terror in Boston and frenzy violent manhunt. Now the way forward, and the broader question about securing America.

(Cheers and applause)

GREGORY: The nightmare ends for the Boston area, but the president says there is much more to learn.


PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Why did young men who grew up and studied here as part of our communities and our country, resort to such violence? How did they plan and carry out these attacks? And did they receive any help? The families of those killed so senselessly deserve answers.

(End videotape)

GREGORY: Did the Tsarnaev brothers have ties to foreign terror groups? How was their path to violence missed, particularly since the FBI tracked and interviewed the older brother two years ago? This morning, the latest on the investigation and the way forward.

Joining us, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick; NBC’s justice correspondent Pete Williams; Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee Mike Rogers of Michigan; former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff; former director of the National Counterterrorism Center Michael Liter. Then, how the marathon bombings changed things after such painful loss.


MS. PATTY CAMPBELL: We have broken at the death of our daughter Krystle Marie. She was a wonderful person. Every-- everybody that knew her, loved her.

(End videotape)

GREGORY: There were powerful signs of resilience, alongside a renewed sense of vulnerability as a manhunt virtually shut down a major American city. We hear from assistant Senate majority leader Dick Durbin of Illinois and our special roundtable.

ANNOUNCER: From NBC News in Washington, the world’s longest running television program, this is MEET THE PRESS with David Gregory.

GREGORY: And good Sunday morning. What a week it has been and developments are still moving very quickly in the Boston terror story. We want to go for the very latest this morning to the governor of Massachusetts, Deval Patrick, who is with us this morning from Boston. Governor, it’s good to see you and…

GOV. DEVAL PATRICK (D-MA): Good morning, David. Nice to see you.

GREGORY: …congratulations on the-- on the end of a very difficult week.

GOV. PATRICK: Well, I accept your congratulations on behalf of the extraordinary team of law enforcement folks who-- who have done this the right way, by building from facts up to a theory rather than from a theory out.

GREGORY: Governor, the-- the Boston Globe says it all this morning for Boston edging toward no-- normal, but there's still a lot of concern. Based on what you know, has the threat passed?

GOV. PATRICK: I think we think so. There are a lot of-- lot of leads that law enforcement is still pursuing, the FBI and the ATF, the state police and local police as well. There are a lot of questions that all of us have and that law enforcement have yet to answer for us including questions directly to the suspect, but there isn’t any basis for a-- for concern about another imminent threat.

GREGORY: Let me ask you some particulars about the surviving suspect, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who is now in the hospital. Apparently, he has got a wound to the throat. Did he try to commit suicide?

GOV. PATRICK: I don’t know the answer to that.

GREGORY: Do you know when doctors are saying he might actually be able to communicate? Is there a real question about whether he’ll be able to speak?

GOV. PATRICK: I don’t know those answers, David. I-- I do know that he is in serious condition, but he is stable. And there are-- there are investigators prepared to interview him when he is able to be interviewed.

GREGORY: The question about him coming onto the radar of the FBI two years ago. He was interviewed. He was tracked at the request of the Russians, according to federal officials. These questions now, for you and-- and authorities in Massachusetts, have to raise some concerns about whether something was missed here.

GOV. PATRICK: Well, sure. There’s-- there’s-- there’s a whole process here. And I think it was his brother, by the way, who was questioned by the-- by the FBI…

GREGORY: Yes, forgive me, correct.

GOV. PATRICK: …a couple of years ago. The whole host-- a whole host of questions, David, that-- that you have, that I have, more to the point that the FBI and the ATF and other law enforcement agencies have and will pursue. I think it’s important for us to give them the space to do this methodically because frankly it’s been that approach, giving them that-- that space so that they could build the case from facts up rather than start from broad theories and try to fill in the blanks that has gotten us as far as-- as we have come as quickly as we have come. So, I want to continue to respect that approach.

GREGORY: I want to ask you one-- one thing about how this developed as, in this case, Dzhokhar, the younger brother, surviving suspect, emerged as a real suspect. Some of his reactions to the bombing, you have indicated, kind of cryptically was revealing to you. Can you elaborate on that?

GOV. PATRICK: Well, right after the-- the Monday events, he was back on the campus of the University of Massachusetts in Dartmouth down in the south coast region. There is-- there is evidence of-- of some, frankly, kind of normal student behavior in those-- in those ensuing days which, when you consider the enormity of what he was responsible for, certainly, you know, raises a lot of questions in my mind and, as I say, more to the point in law in the minds of law enforcement as well. Those are the kinds of leads that still have to be pursued and run to ground.

GREGORY: Is there anything on the videotape that maybe the public hasn’t seen about his reaction that was particularly telling that moved the investigation along?

GOV. PATRICK: Well, the-- the videotape is not something I’ve seen. It’s been described to me in my briefings, but it does seem to-- to be pretty clear that-- that this suspect took the backpack off, put it down, did not react when the first explosion went off, and-- and then moved away from the backpack in time for the second explosion. So pretty-- pretty clear about his-- his involvement and pretty chilling, frankly, as it was described to me.

GREGORY: Governor, as a former Justice Department official, do you have a view of whether he should be part of the criminal justice system, as someone who’s tried in court or should he be treated as a terrorist, as an enemy combatant? As you know, that debate, I think, is only beginning now here in Washington.

GOV. PATRICK: Well, that’s-- that’s the Attorney General’s call, and I have to respect it. He is a-- he is an American citizen. He is responsible for a crime here in America. But I-- I trust the Attorney General to make that-- to make that call and make it wisely. I will say that from my experience in the Justice Department nearly 20 years ago now, one of the things that was most striking and most gratifying about the experience these-- these last few days is how well coordinated the law enforcement agencies were, the leadership of the FBI and the ATF through the Joint Terrorism Task Force, the collaboration of the state police, the transit police at the state level and-- and Boston PD and other local law enforcement was really seamless and that collaboration and cooperation, I think, had a lot to do with how effective this investigation has been to this point.

GREGORY: Governor Patrick, before I let you go, I know it’s been difficult to find any time to really exhale and reflect on this. How has this changed things for America in terms of assessing the threat of terrorism, an era of a kind of new-- new normal that we face as a result of this?

GOV. PATRICK: Well, I think it’s really important, David, that civic rituals like the marathon, other large civic gatherings, go on that we not surrender our-- our occasions-- our public occasions to terror. And we can have vigilance without fear. There are some lessons that we’re going to have to learn and have learned painfully through this last experience that will have to be applied to future marathons but there will be future marathons. And I think they will be bigger and better than ever. And I think the other thing that has been so re-- so affirming in many respects out of this is how beautifully people have turned to each other rather than on each other. And so many acts of kindness and-- and grace shown to victims and to others in the course of this. This has been just a really beautiful thing to behold.

GREGORY: Governor Patrick, a lot to go through and to preside over this week. I thank you very much for your time this morning.

GOV. PATRICK: Thank you, David.

GREGORY: Joining me now NBC News justice correspondent, the man has been leading our coverage all week long, Pete Williams; Former Director of the National Counterterrorism Center and now an NBC national security analyst, Michael Leiter; Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee and a former FBI agent, Michigan Congressman Mike Rogers; Former Secretary of Homeland Security under President Bush, now chairman and co-founder of the Chertoff Group, Michael Chertoff. In just a few minutes we’ll be joined as well by the Assistant Majority Leader Dick Durbin. But I want to begin here with Pete and Mike Leiter on-- on the latest in terms of what we’re tracking. Pete Williams, a big question at this moment is, was there a foreign connection to terrorism? What do we know?

MR. PETE WILLIAMS (NBC News Justice Correspondent): Well, we don’t know the answer to that question. The big gap here is what was the older brother doing for six months in Russia last year. He leaves in January. He arrives in July. And the Russians have told the FBI that they were a little worried about him. But what was he doing during all those-- all that time in Russia? His father says he was visiting him, that he went to see his family, that went to renew his Russian passport while he was waiting to get American citizenship. He was here as a lawful permanent resident. But did he, you know, the thing I think that’s the biggest question for investigators now is, A, you know, why did he turn this way? But, B, where did he get his expertise in explosives? Where did he practice them? It seems really unlikely that these two bombs successfully were detonated without some practice runs. Where did he learn to do that? Where did he practice? Those are the big questions.

GREGORY: And we look at the pictures of these suspects and some biographical information that we have, Dzhokhar, who is a surviving suspect here. Tsarnaev-- he is the one who is now in custodies in the hospital. Tamerlan, older brother born in Kyrgyzstan comes in 2002. He becomes a U.S. citizen, 9/11/2012. He was a wrestler. He was enrolled at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth, had a scholarship, so many friends coming out of the-- the (Unintelligible) talking so positively about him. Tamerlan, who was his older brother, is the one who does that travel. He comes later than his younger brother. He was married, had a three-year-old daughter. Had a domestic violence incident. He dropped out of community college. He was a competitive boxer. People speaking very positively about him. But, Chairman Mike Rogers, now we have more information about some evidence of him sort of dropping out of society, as it were, information after he comes back from foreign travel, postings on his YouTube account and other social media indicating that he’d had exposure to jihadist elements whether that’s connected to Chechnya and the struggles there against Russia or-- or otherwise. What do you know this morning and what do you want to know?

REP. MIKE ROGERS (R-MI, Chairman, Intelligence Committee, Former FBI Agent): Yeah, well, it’s important to understand why, in fact, the FBI interviewed him in the first place. So they had information from a foreign intelligence service that they were concerned about his possible radicalization. And so they went from there, the FBI did their due diligence, and did a very thorough job about trying to run that to ground and then asks some more help from that intelligence service to try to get further clarification and, unfortunately, that intelligence service stopped cooperating. So what happens is that case gets closed down. He, we believe, may have actually traveled on an alias to get back to his home country and that seven months-- six and a half months or so becomes extremely important. So you know he had some radicalization before he left. You know that he didn’t probably travel on his own name or some variation of his own name. And when he comes back, he has a renewed interest in that radicalization belief process, so he’s very devout. We know he was very religious, devout, and very active in the Boston Islamic society and a devout attender of-- of prayers and mosque on Fridays. So you see something happening, and you can see it happening after that travel. And so that six and a half months becomes incredibly important. And it would lead one to believe that that’s probably where he got that final radicalization to push him to commit acts of violence and where he may have received training on what we ultimately saw last Monday.

GREGORY: As I-- as I get Mike Leiter and Mike Chertoff into this, we heard from their uncle yesterday on the TODAY program and he talked about a change that he noticed in Tamerlan once he returned from that travel. Let me play a portion of that.

(Videotape, Yesterday TODAY Show)

MR. RUSLAN TSARNI (Uncle of Suspected Boston Marathon Bombing): I saw how-- what happened the last time I spoke with Tamerlan in 2009, and I was shocked when I heard his words, his phrases. When he start talking oh, I mean, every other word he starts sticking in the words of God. Devotion. It wasn’t devotion. It was something, as it’s called being radicalized.

(End videotape)

GREGORY: Important to you, Mike Leiter?

MR. MICHAEL LEITER (Former Director, National Counterterrorism Center/NBC News National Security Analyst): I think very important. A lot of people think this is an atypical story involving people who have lived here for a long time, very stable and then become radicalized and regrettably it isn’t. In the Times Square bombing we had a case where someone had lived here for 13 years, had an MBA, had worked for an American company, and then tried to bomb Times Square. The challenge here, David, is that there are lots and lots of people who go through these crises and become more radicalized but very, very few of them actually become mobilized and become terrorists and that’s an incredibly hard piece for the FBI and others.

GREGORY: And you’re speaking, Mike Chertoff to one of the big elements here this morning and that is did the FBI miss something? They were on him, Tamerlan, that is. They talked to him. They tracked his digital footprint. Chairman Rogers talking about him then traveling on an alias, which I had not heard before. So the red flag is up and then they closed the books on him because after they took a look at him, they determined there’s no threat here.

MR. MICHAEL CHERTOFF (Secretary of Homeland Security, 2005-2009/Co-Founder & Chair, The Chertoff Group): I think-- I think that is going to be a big question, David, and I go further than that and say if they had an indication of interest by a foreign service and a connection to an overseas group in Chechnya or in the North Caucasus, you would have wanted to have our foreign intelligence capabilities focused on him. So I think as-- as they look back over this episode, they’re going to want to make sure that a ball wasn’t dropped either domestically or overseas.

GREGORY: Mike Leiter, you concerned about that?

MR. LEITER: It’s not clear to me that the reporting to the FBI actually said he was associated with a terrorist group. That he might have been radicalized but that’s really very different and might raise a-- if not maybe yellow flag but I don’t think a red flag to the FBI.

GREGORY: Chairman Rogers, you’ve been-- you’ve been an FBI agent. You’re now chair of the Intelligence Committee-- Committee. Was something missed here?

REP. ROGERS: Well, we looked at and talked about what exactly the FBI did. And it’s important to note that that case was closed prior to his travel.


REP. ROGERS: So I don’t think they missed anything. If you look at their digital footprint, and they did; if they went through all their database checks and they did, and you did the-- the thorough interviews that you would expect them to do in a case like this, they did. And at some point they asked is there more clarifying information and never received that clarifying information. At some point they have nothing. And so you-- you can’t ask them to do something with nothing. I think they prudently said, well, there’s we-- nothing to see here at this point. Now, remember, he then left and traveled and came back. Now that’s a different place. They had no further information indicating that until, of course, after the event itself.

GREGORY: And it’s important to point out…

REP. ROGERS: Now, if you review all that, that’s important to do, but I think they were very prudent and very thorough by-- by my review of what happened prior to his travel.

GREGORY: Pete Williams, it’s important to underscore what was underscored to me by intelligence officials, the federal officials in the last couple of days. We’re talking about what they call American persons. The younger brother is a citizen, the older brother was a legal permanent resident. There are limits to what federal law enforcement intelligence can do with American citizens in terms of tracking them, which leads to this other point. Which is Dzhokhar, now hospitalized, survived. He’s an American citizen. Naturalized 9-- 9/11 of last year. Should he be given Miranda Rights? Should he be treated as an enemy combatant? That debate has started. Tell me the facts, first, of what they’ll do.

MR. WILLIAMS: Well, this-- this administration has made a policy decision here. First, that’s-- that’s number one. Secondly, he cannot be tried as an enemy combatant in a military tribunal because that law was changed by the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 that says you can’t do that to an American citizen. What some advocates, and Republicans, are saying such as Lindsey Graham are-- don’t-- we-- we understand he’s-- they say, we understand he’s going to be tried in civilian court but start the questioning, treat him as an enemy combatant under the law of war. Question him by intelligence people. Get all the intel you can. Then turn him over to the civilian authorities. That’s-- that’s what they advocate. That’s not going to happen, the administration has decided. He’ll be questioned first by this special group that’s been set up in the last couple of years in terror cases, called the High-Value Detainee Interrogation Group, FBI, CIA, DOD. They will question him without giving him his Miranda warning. They don’t have a long time to do that, probably no more than maybe a day or so. Then he’ll be given his Miranda warning and we’ll see if he continues to talk. In other terrorism cases, surprisingly, these people do keep talking.

GREGORY: Mike Rogers, chairman, do you have a view about how he should be treated in the criminal justice system or should he be an enemy combatant?

REP. ROGERS: Well, he’s a citizen of the United States. I think that-- that brings all of the protections of the U.S. Constitution. Under the Public Safety Exception, however, I do believe that the FBI has a period of time to try to determine what threats are there today. We don’t know if there’s other devices. We don’t know if there’s other people. And I think Mirandizing him up front would be a horrible idea. Now, it’s my understanding that that’s not going to happen. I’ve had good conversations with the FBI. They are going to do their due diligence on the public safety portion. Here is where the problem is. They’re getting pressure from outside groups to actually do-- to do the Mirandizing, which is why we ought to let the FBI do their work. They can do an intelligence based investigation leading up. And remember, Mirandizing is just about making sure that any of that information that they get prior to that Mirandizing that that-- that the-- the subject might give them can’t be used in court. I think I-- I could make this case without a confession from this guy. There is a period of time we don’t need his confession upfront. We need the information that he has to make sure that America is safe. Now, if we let the FBI do that the way I think they want to do it, that would be the right solution here and the right-- it would be prudent for the safety of-- of Bostonians and around the rest of the country. There’s a lot we need to understand about if this was a lone wolf sent back or were there others sent back? That-- that much we just don’t know yet.

GREGORY: Can I pull this conversation out a little bit to talk about, as I framed at the beginning, did this change something? Does it change how we think about securing America? Mike Chertoff, former secretary of Homeland Security, we go through the realities. I’ve talked to you over the years. This is something that people in your line of work have been expecting for a long time after 9/11 and look at what our recent history shows us. We’ve prepared this graphically about plots that have not succeeded or somehow been thwarted. You go back to the so-called Shoe Bomber in December of 2001, Richard Reid. And then you had Nazi planning to attack subways before he’s arrested back in September of ‘09. You have the Christmas Day bomber, so-called, tries to blow up a flight but he wasn’t able to light the bomb. Then you have a successful plot by Shahzad in Times Square except the bomb doesn’t go off. Everything else worked, the bomb didn’t go off. So, obviously it was not successful. We know from authorities in New York they’ve helped to foil 16 plots against this city. The face of terror has changed in some ways and this plot-- this attack in Boston represents that.

MR. CHERTOFF: Well, I think we have said for years that we knew that as we elevated our security at the airports and the-- the obvious major high consequence targets, there would be a move towards what we call softer targets. Targets that are harder to protect, maybe fewer people but where you can still kill and maim a lot of people. Now we’ve seen a lot of efforts. We know that al Qaeda and similar ideological groups try to find Americans or westerners who are capable of moving in our society without being detected. And it was only a matter of time that one of these days when a plot like this would be successful. I don’t think it calls for a radical change in our strategy. I think we’ve built a strategy anticipating this. Resilience is a big part of this and we saw that work very well in Boston. There will be, I think and I hope a review of everything that’s gone on to see whether, in fact, there was something that we should have done differently. But I don’t think, again, it’s a fundamental shift in strategy.

GREGORY: I want to bring in Senator Dick Durbin, the Assistant Majority Leader from Illinois. Of course, he joins us this morning. And Senator, as you think about the political impact of this, the impact of policy and debate on securing the country, the minority leader of the Senate, Mitch McConnell, said the other day that we have, because of the work of our military and our law enforcement officials, fallen into a place of complacency. Do you agree?

SEN. DICK DURBIN (D-IL, Assistant Majority Leader): Not at all. Not at all. And it’s-- listen I spoke to the FBI director yesterday, Bob Mueller. And he talked about the extraordinary efforts by our intelligence agencies and law enforcement in the capture of these two individuals. Think about it. Less than a week ago this tragedy occurred and how quickly they mobilized and worked effectively to find these two people. And let me also add this, I understand those of us in political life should comment. That’s our responsibility on policy questions, larger policy questions. When it comes down to the basic decisions as to how to go forward to investigate this case and prepare it for trial, remember this, since 9/11, we have had hundreds, literally hundreds of terrorism cases successfully prosecuted through our court system. A handful, six cases have gone through military convict-- commissions. So I can understand where President Bush and President Obama have given to the Department of Justice the authority to move forward with the type of process that we have going on today.

GREGORY: Do you have questions about the FBI’s tracking of the older suspect here who is now dead and whether something was missed?

SEN. DURBIN: Of course I do. And I think we should ask those questions. That’s our responsibility. But I listened to Mike Rogers and I thought he laid it out as a former FBI agent himself as to what we were faced with when we were asked these hard questions. We’ve got to make sure as well, let me add David, that we give to the intelligence and law enforcement agencies, federal, state, and local, the resources they need to keep America safe. We live in a dangerous world. We live also in a free and open society, which we value very much. In order to keep Americans safe at the marathon, at every other public event, we need to invest the resources that are necessary for law enforcement.

GREGORY: Is that a call in fact for re-examination of whether additional resources are needed to-- to look at homegrown terror and the potential for smaller boar attacks that can only be deterred by the strength of law enforcement and engaged citizenry?

SEN. DURBIN: It is. But let me add one other element. Let me bring it up to date with the agenda of the Senate. I’ll return tomorrow for the Senate Judiciary Committee’s second hearing on the new immigration reform bill. Let me put it in context. There are four specific provisions in this immigration reform bill that will make America safer. We are going to have a stronger border with Mexico. We are going to have 11 million people come forward and have an opportunity to register with our government, out of the shadows. We’re going to have verification of employment in the work place. And we’re finally going to have a system where we can track visa holders who visit the United States to make sure that they leave when they’re supposed to. So this is part of the ongoing conversation about a safer America and the immigration reform bill moves us closer.

GREGORY: Do you fear an impact similar to what we saw after 9/11 that derailed immigration reform. Already, you’ve heard Senator Grassley talk about, you know, loopholes in the immigration system, whether, you know, leniencies of student visas. Are there going to be concerns here related to the Boston attacks that you think impact the immigration debate?

SEN. DURBIN: I’ll just put it on the line. I’ve been involved with the eight senators who have put this bill together, Democrats and Republicans. The worst thing we can do is nothing. If we do nothing, leaving 11 million people in the shadows, not making our border safer, not having the information that comes from employment and these visa holders, we will be less safe in America. Immigration reform will make us safer. And I hope that those who are critical of it will just come forward and say what their idea is. We’ve come up with a sound plan to keep this country safe.

GREGORY: And-- and your response to Senator Graham and McCain and Ayotte and others, who say treat him as an enemy combatant, I want to make sure I nail you down on that point, you-- you oppose that.

SEN. DURBIN: You bet. Well, let me just tell you, history tells us that we’re doing the right thing. Hundreds-- literally hundreds of terrorists, those accused of terrorism, have been successfully prosecuted and imprisoned in the United States using the same process that’s being used in this case in Boston. The handful, Liz Cheney and others, who are calling for military commissions, have to explain to us why in-- since 9/11 only six times have we used military commissions. I think we are approaching this in the right way following the law as we should. We are gathering the evidence, and I think at the end, the right decision is being made to pursue this.

GREGORY: All right. We’re going to leave it there. Senator Durbin, thank you very much. Michael Chertoff, Chairman Mike Rogers, thank you. Mike Leiter, thank you for your insight, and Pete Williams for all of your reporting this week, what you do better than anybody else. We appreciate it and appreciate you being here this morning.

Up next, as we get to know more about the suspects and some of the motivations behind the bombings this week, is there now a new sense of vulnerability to the country? A special discussion is coming up. Joining me NBC's Tom Brokaw; Wall Street Journal columnist, Peggy Noonan; and Bloomberg Views’ Jeffrey Goldberg, also of The Atlantic magazine. Plus, it was an emotional week for Boston and for the country as we were all on high alert and as we search for meaning in it all, we’ll get the first draft of history through the eyes of the one and only Doris Kearns Goodwin, herself a Bostonian, right after this.


GREGORY: Given the big events of the week, there was a lot of material out there you might have missed. We put together a list of some of my must reads and must see surrounding the Boston tragedy including a piece by David Remnick and the New Yorker called The Culprits with more of the back story on the two bombing suspects. You can find it on our PRESS Pass blog. And as always, you can follow me all weeklong on Twitter @davidgregory. By the way, here’s something not to miss this coming week. Tune in to NBC News Thursday as all five living former presidents gather for the dedication of the George W. Bush Library and Museum in Dallas, Texas. I’ll be down there reporting and on Thursday morning on TODAY, Matt Lauer will have an exclusive live interview with the former president and Mrs. Bush.

Coming up here after the break, our special edition of MEET THE PRESS continues with our roundtable, Tom Brokaw, Doris Kearns Goodwin, Peggy Noonan, and Jeffrey Goldberg, all after this short break.


(Excerpt from Boston Red Sox Game, Saturday)

GREGORY: In Boston, you stay calm, you carry on, and you go see the Red Sox and you sing Sweet Caroline. And Doris Kearns Goodwin is here. She was not at the game, but she would have been singing. I can tell you that. Joining me for our roundtable. We’ve also got Wall Street Journalist (sic)-- columnist, Peggy Noonan; columnist for Bloomberg View and writer for The Atlantic magazine, Jeffrey Goldberg; NBC’s Tom Brokaw; and the aforementioned presidential historian and Bostonian, Doris Kearns Goodwin. What a week and, you know, the headline of the “Nightmare’s End” on Saturday morning was fitting, wasn’t it?

MS. DORIS KEARNS GOODWIN (Presidential Historian): Well, what was so striking about the week is that Patriots’ Day is Boston’s holiday, my hometown. Nothing we love more than it because it combines history, which Boston loves, it’s the first shot heard around the world from my hometown of Concord. Then, you have got the baseball game at 11:00 AM. And all-- and it’s really the beginning of spring because it’s always too cold on ordinary opening day. Then, you have got the marathon which we’re so proud of and people from all over the world coming. And as Obama called them, the small stunted individuals chose that ritual, chose that place, chose that day for maximum killing and maximum coverage because they knew the ritual was so important. But then the minute it happens, that spirit resolves itself, not only what everybody said, that everybody ran towards the blast, that the doctors and the nurses are there. The people stayed in lockdown. I mean, they-- they were so pissy often on things and here they are, they are willing to do this good thing, and then finally when those guys got caught. We were in a bar the night they got caught and we were watching them when he finally comes out and-- and they got him. Everybody was just screaming, as thank God, we have got him alive, because they want the answer to the question, why? And then to see the final day back at Fenway, people not afraid to go out in massive numbers, singing Sweet Caroline, the Yankees sung it, too…


MS. KEARNS GOODWIN: …with their finest moments, but then they take off their jersey that say B on them, for Boston, not just Red Sox. And it’s one of those times, you know, it’s a weird thing, we belong to our families. We belong to our communities. But sometimes, you really realize you belong to your hometowns. I’m so proud of what Boston did this week.

GREGORY: Tom Brokaw, the images of people rushing to help in the immediate aftermath, only, I think, draws us into the emotion of this week, to the anxiety of this week. And I wonder as you have reflected on it, whether you think this has changed something, the nature of the attack. Has it rekindled a sense of vulnerability as we think about bringing our children to an event like this or keeping them safe in their schools after a mass shooting?

MR. TOM BROKAW (NBC News): Well, I don’t think any of us are anymore insulated for this kind of violence because it plays on television, 24/7. My wife and I were getting ready for dinner on Friday night when they-- when they finally began to find him and capture him and I said, well, this is the reality show that we’re going to be living with for a long time. We went through it recently under different circumstances in Newtown with the mass shooting of the youngsters there. I remember so vividly Oklahoma City and how that bound us together. But there are a couple of things to remember here, David, I think for all of us. With the death of Osama bin Laden, Islamic rage did not go away. In fact, in some ways it’s more dangerous. This is a perfect example. You can’t get intel on the lone operator. So, there’s a lot that we still need to know about what motivated them obviously. He’s a Chechen, but their beef is with Russia, not with us. But he’s also a Muslim. And the fact is that that Islamic rage is still out there. We saw it in Times Square. We were very, very fortunate under those circumstances. So there has to be more vigilance obviously. But what Boston also told us, we have added 30 million surveillance cameras to this country. We have more than doubled our private security budget in this country to now almost 50 billion dollars. And the saying is, if you see something, say something. But the-- the other part of that, of course, is, if you do something, someone will see you doing something. And that’s-- at once a relief, but it also makes me a little uncomfortable. There is no privacy left in our society.

GREGORY: Jeffrey Goldberg, you have chronicled how societies react to terrorism, particularly in Israel, and in all your reporting in the Middle East. There’s a lot to what Tom says about Islamic rage, about how society has changed and how this potentially changes us.

MR. JEFFREY GOLDBERG (Columnist, Bloomberg View/Writer, The Atlantic): Well, you know, yeah. They-- the slogan is see something, say something. But I think that’s honored theoretically by most people in train stations or-- or at ball games or at marathons. I think we’re moving into the new era, actually. And the-- I-- I call the era of the suspicious package which is from now on, and we’re going to see this over and over again, when you do see something at the next marathon, somebody leaves a gym bag, it’s going to cause a response that didn’t happen before. And I think Tom is exactly right. We’re moving also into the area of CCTV--closed circuit TV. You know, you-- in London today, you really can’t walk down the street in London without being filmed by someone, by the police or private security. We are-- we are moving definitively in that direction and that should cause discomfort and these things don’t, of course, stop events from happening necessarily. You can’t be 100 percent vigilant on every package, every bag that’s left on the street, so we are moving into a new phase. The other thing is, though, is that this is really the most successful terror attack since 9/11. It’s been 12 years between these two attacks. So it’s important not to overstate how dangerous this-- this moment is.


MS. PEGGY NOONAN (Columnist, Wall Street Journal): Oh, lots of thoughts. I was in Penn Station yesterday and there was a heightened sense of watchfulness. There were a lot of police, some military fellows in camouflage, lots of dogs, few dogs barking. So there was a heightened sense of anxiety. It is also true we’re not only in the era of closed circuit TV, we’re in the era of everybody has a cell phone that is taping everything else. That was part of-- of this. But to Doris’ point, in a funny way, these things remind places. We always say community. I say town. It reminds towns and cities that they are real, they are a place, they’re full of people who care about each other and engaged with each other. They’re an entity and they act together. There’s something really valuable about that.

GREGORY: But it’s interesting, Kevin Cullen, the columnist for The Boston Globe. He wrote something and at the end of it he said, this loss of innocence really boils down to a feeling that will never be totally safe in the city again. And-- and there’s a sense, I think, Doris, people are still shocked at some level that it could happen to them where they live, and in some ways you thought we’ve moved past that after 9/11 but not until it happens to you.

MS. KEARNS GOODWIN: I suppose that’s true. I mean, we empathized so much with New York when it happened to New York but yet it was in Boston and now it’s Boston and others are empathizing with us. But I’m not sure I agree that we’ll never feel safe again. I mean, look at the numbers of people that poured into Fenway. Again, another potential target, just two days after, you know, they just had caught the character the day before and they were-- they were just exulting in being together. They were singing USA. So I think Peggy’s right. There-- the other side of this, it brings out the best in us, even as these terrible guys bring out the worst in themselves. And that has to be understood and it has to be used and we have to figure out how to use this. Together we can undo most things that happen if we work together.

MS. NOONAN: (Unintelligible). When I first heard about what had happened in Boston, I was in Europe in a different time zone, my first thought-- I was told bombs. And my first thought, I’m-- I’m, I guess, embarrassed to say is radiological dirty bomb, trouble. I have to tell you, there was a certain relief in finding out it was a crude jerk bomb. Do you know what I mean? That it-- for a long time we’ve been waiting for something more terrible than this in a way for all the troubles the you outlined earlier in the show, all the incidents, we have also been lucky and not just lucky but on the case. That’s good.

MR. GOLDBERG: To come back to something Doris said, the-- the fascinating thing is-- is-- is in the Israeli example, for instance, I prefer the word defiance to resilience. I find defiance is one step-- one step above. And-- and-- and I’ll never forget this. I was in Jerusalem about 10 years ago. There was a suicide bombing in a café one evening. Seven people killed. The next day I went back to cover the aftermath of the scene, the cafe was open and not only was it open, it was filled with people who were defiantly drinking coffee because they were saying you can try to kill me, but I will still go to my cafe and drink coffee. And I tend to think that the most important thing Boston could do is finish the marathon. I think…

MS. NOONAN: And they will.

MR. GOLDBERG: I just want to-- just-- just run it next week and just keep going. You have to keep…

MS. NOONAN: That’s what Bostons do.

MS. KEARNS GOODWIN: You know, one of the favorite things from The Blitz is when-- when-- when Britain was being bombed and the stores were all shattered and then they put signs in the window saying, come right in. More open than usual. That’s what you need.

MR. BROKAW: That’s the best you can do at all.


MR. BROKAW: But I think that there’s something else that goes beyond the event that we’ve all been riveted by in the last week. We have to work a lot harder as a motivation here. What prompts a young man to come to this country and still feel alienated from it, to go back to Russia and do whatever he did and I don’t think we’ve examined that enough? I mean, there was 24/7 coverage on television, a lot of newspaper print and so on, but we have got to look at the roots of all of this because it exist across the whole subcontinent, and the-- and the Islamic world around the world. And I think we also have to examine the use of drones that the United States is involved and-- and there are a lot of civilians who are innocently killed in a drone attack in Pakistan, in Afghanistan, and in Iraq. And I can tell you having spent a lot of time over there, young people will come up to me on the streets and say we love America. If you harm one hair on the-- on the head of my sister, I will fight you forever and there is this enormous rage against what they see in that part of the world as a presumptuousness of the United States.

GREGORY: And the-- and the portal is so clear, as it-- to act on that rage or to build on it, to further educate it, right Jeff?

MR. GOLDBERG: Right-- right, I mean, here’s the thing alienation of-- of young males is not a new phenomenon. Young males are disaffected, alienated and-- and sometimes violent. What you have on the internet in particular is a brightly lit pathway to an answer.

GREGORY: Exactly.

MR. GOLDBERG: Not only an answer, but a recipe for a response. And-- and so this is the question when you talk about what’s going on in the Muslim world and we have to remember of course that the primary victims of Jihadism are-- are other Muslims, Muslims who don’t agree with-- with the more Jihadist elements, and so we have to ask ourselves and Muslim world has to ask ourselves-- ask themselves, you know, what are we doing to provide counter programming even on the internet? And-- and this is not something that the U.S. can fix or the-- the West can fix. It has to come from within Islam.

GREGORY: Let me get a break in here. I want to also talk about how we process this politically. What’s going to happen in this town as a response to all this, the president’s role. More with our roundtable, right after this.


(Videotape, Thursday)

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: The world will return to this great American city to run harder than ever and to cheer even louder for the 118th Boston Marathon.

(End videotape)

GREGORY: The president speaking at the memorial service in Boston so movingly this week. Tom Brokaw, Washington is going to step up here. The president is going to be speaking to the country about terrorism, about securing the country. Questions about interrogating the suspect, whether he should be an enemy combatant or not, how we track homegrown terror and, indeed, even our-- our debates over guns and immigration potentially affected. What do you see?

MR. BROKAW: Well, what I see is an opportunity for the American citizens to get involved in trying to do something about the culture of violence that has become such a large part of our lives, whether it’s guns or whether this kind of an attack or whatever it is we are living with it. We’re living with the violent video games, for example, that we see. I do think that this is an opportunity for this country to step forward and say I want to be part of that debate and I think that the president could help ignite that in a meaningful way and pull the country together however you decide your voice ought to be heard in that debate. This is the time for us to have that debate. Here we are in the 21st century, the most advanced nation in the world, and as I said earlier this week, we have third-world vulnerabilities almost everywhere we go. Our kids are growing up in a way that none of us could have ever have anticipated around this table when we were younger about what kind of a card they have to wear to get into school, the cameras that look at everything that they’re doing. The fear that they may go into a classroom and get shot up by somebody or a movie theatre. That’s outrageous for an advanced country like the United States without having some kind of a national dialogue about it and putting it at the head of the agenda in my judgment.

GREGORY: And-- and yet this week as-- as this was going on, as the investigation was going on, the Senate defeats a background check bill for-- for guns. So we-- we are confronting this violence but still very divided about how we react to it and try to solve it.

MS. NOONAN: Yeah, I think the essential problem is that Americans at this point don’t trust their government so much to do the right thing. They are skeptical of all bills on things that they care about to-- to lower the conversation a little bit, get it down to-- to mere politics, I guess. I think there is a problem when you’ve got 90 percent of the American people wanting something like background checks and a president who is just re-elected and riding a wave, can’t make anything move that way. I think there is a problem there, and I think he is having, as somebody said, a problem with the levers of power.

MS. KEARNS GOODWIN: But maybe the problem is also the structure of the Senate. You know, at the turn of the 20th century when public sentiment wanted a lot of things done to deal with industrialization and the problem of the slums, the Senate was impossible to move because it was millionaires in there. They finally realized they have to have direct election of senators. They used to be elected by the state legislatures and they’re only susceptible to special interest. Maybe that’s the trouble now, that structural Senate given the 60 votes that are needed, given who they listen to, given the power of special interest, public sentiment cannot penetrate. And we’ve seen it now for the last decade. That’s what the dysfunction is about. It’s not just the Senate, it’s the Congress.

GREGORY: And David…

MS. NOONAN: Yeah. But Majority Leader Harry Reid followed the president? You know what I mean, something’s not working there.

MS. KEARNS GOODWIN: Well, clearly something is not working.

MR. BROKAW: But-- but…


MR. BROKAW: But in those states in which the senators voted against the background checks, it’s not even close to 90 percent in terms of wanting it. It’s probably down in single digits in Montana and Arkansas and Alaska and North Dakota, the states that block it as Democrats, so you have to take that into consideration.

MS. NOONAN: Yeah, but we got to pin like Newtown, 90 percent move it. Small, discrete parts of a bill, push it through, call it a victory, keep going.

MR. BROKAW: Well, kill the filibuster bill. I mean-- or change it.

MS. KEARNS GOODWIN: Kill it. Definitely. Definitely. They got to do that.

GREGORY: You know, I spoke to an educator this week who talked about how the anxiety level among parents that he encounters is just off the charts.


MR. BROKAW: Right.

GREGORY: And part of his point was, that has to be dialed back. People have to get right with the fact that you live in a society that protects freedoms to the point that it makes us more vulnerable in some ways…


GREGORY: …and that some things you just cannot prevent.

MR. GOLDBERG: Look, you now, I mean, I’ll go back to the central point. How many people have died in terror attacks in the last 12 years in America? 9/11 was anomalous in its size. But you know, we’ve-- and we’ve had-- we’ve had many attempts-- most of the attempts fail. Most of the terrorists are bad at terrorism. And even when they succeed, the casualty count is fairly minimal. I’m not downplaying the tragedy of Boston but, really, I mean, more to use the oft cited statistics, more children die in backyard swimming pool accidents than die in terrorism among other things in this country. And so, yes, I mean, there’s a certain point where we have to simply turn the TV off, God forbid, but you know, I mean, at a certain point you have to-- you have to go back to your regular programming in your life and not become obsessed and preoccupied with this.

GREGORY: Well-- and, Doris, what about-- but look, people feel terrorized, whether it was the sniper case in Washington, DC, in the-- in the area a couple years ago or a city like Boston, virtually shut down for a period of time. People, you know, told to stay in their homes. Is that a culture that’s moving toward resilience or defiance or locked in a state of siege?

MS. KEARNS GOODWIN: I guess, I’m just an optimist to say it’s still moving toward defiance and resilience. I mean, the fact that even as they were catching the second suspect, they were standing on the streets out there. They were in the line potentially of fire but people wanted to be there when it happened and they were applauding. I still think the desire to get back to normal is so distinct in us that you can put these things behind. You live with a low level of-- of insecurity, but life goes on. That’s what you do when people die. You know, Her Hemingway once said, “Everyone is broken by life but some people are stronger in the broken places.” So nations and cities get broken by life but they’re going to be stronger in the-- in the broken places.


MS. NOONAN: Can I say, we are part of the problem. When we are so hyper, wired, kids are walking by TVs, that for a four solid days had the reel of the explosion after the reel of the explosion, the yelling, the screaming, the what. We-- we are-- we are encouraging mass hysteria and then having thoughtful panels on mass hysteria. Do you know what I mean? We’ve to change a little of the way we do it.

MR. GOLDBERG: I-- I don’t think we’re encouraging mass hysteria. You know, there’s a continuum here. There is, you know, being prudent and then being terrorized, and there’s a big gap between those two. And we can-- we can do this in a way that’s not hysterical but-- but cognizant of what the reality is. But the other-- the other point is where-- and this is sort of a more hopeful point, is that, you know, after 9/11 we had no experience with this. So sometimes-- some of our reactions were correct reactions, some of our reactions were overreactions. And this gives us an opportunity on the drone issue, for instance, on-- on public security issues, on airport and CCTV to think about this in a more-- to-- to really be more thoughtful about this.

GREGORY: We’ve got to get a break in. We’ll come back in just a moment.


GREGORY: Thank you all very much. I think I speak for everybody when I say that this has been a particularly tough week, a terrible story, riveted the nation, events moved quickly. There is much more to learn about why this happened and more time is necessary, certainly to heal from it. We all learned what it means to be Boston strong. And we, again, remind ourselves how precious life is, particularly when it’s lost violently. Through it all, we can reflect on this powerful image from one of the victims, eight-year-old Martin Richard, who made this sign for class about a year ago. No more hurting people. Peace. That’s all for today. We’ll be back next week. If it’s Sunday, it’s MEET THE PRESS.