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Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's Instagram Account; Hillary Clinton Leads in Early Presidential Polls; Dagestan Reacts to Boston Bombing, Tsarnaev Brothers; Superstorm Sandy Hit 6 Months Ago

Aired April 29, 2013 - 13:30   ET



WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back. I'm Wolf Blitzer reporting. We're continuing our special coverage of the Boston bombings and the investigation.

We're getting some new information coming in right now. Apparently, there's no evidence that the suspects tested the deadly pressure- cooker bombs that were used in the bombings in the United States. The older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, had received we're told training in bomb making -- if he had received formal training, it could have come while he was overseas. A source tells CNN neither testing nor training has been eliminated as a possibility. The source is cautioning. The source says the two-day search of a landfill in New Bedford for a computer laptop ended without success. The FBI was following leads when the bombing suspect, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, and others when his laptop was thrown into a dumpster and picked up for disposal at a landfill. The official added the laptop may be a crucial part of the investigation. They haven't found it yet.

We're also learning more about the bombing suspect, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, through a deleted Instagram account.

Laurie Segall has this CNN exclusive.


LAURIE SEGALL, CNN MONEY TECH CORRESPONDENT: A deleted account that sources say belonged to Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. Unlike the rest of the digital life, it's not gotten much attention. Close friends say Dzhokhar used the name Jmaister, but he was removed before the April 15th bombing. But a digital trail still shows images what he liked in the past.

Several include references to Chechnya, marked with dozens of hash tags. One shows a Chechen warlord that masterminded terrorist attacks against Russia but was killed in 2006. Several show Dzhokhar interacting with other users. An expert on Chechnya say they show an understanding of Chechnya and its struggle for independence from Russia. The close friends tell "CNN Money," from what they saw, he used Instagram for social purposes.

So how were we able to resurrect them? Here's how it works. SAM ALTMAN, PROGRAMMER/TECH ENTREPRENEUR: So we are looking at a photo from Instagram on a site of Stratagram. And this is the copy as it exists on the web today. And we can see that these 19 users liked it, and we can see there's six comments on the photos. And here's the hash tags.

However, we can go back in time, thanks to the Google web cache. Here's detail from the same photo. And see the same six comments as today and a list of users that liked the photo, most of which are already on there. And there's been new ones, who liked it as well. But there's one that liked it in the April 10th version of the page, Jmaister1, that is now, you can see, on the current version.

SEGALL: Law enforcement experts, like Juliette Kayyim, say that the deleted account is likely to get a close look from investigators.

JULIETTE KAYYIM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: If I were an investigator right now, obviously, the platform he deleted matters the most. Were there clues embedded in the combination of images to tell us something Dzhokhar was thinking? Some of those pictures are very benign. Some of them, standing alone, don't mean anything.

SEGALL: Digital footprints continue to get bigger as more and more people are willing to put their lives online.


BLITZER: Laurie, we heard all about that twitter account. Why haven't we heard at least until now much about this Instagram account?

SEGALL: It's a great question, Wolf. You look at his twitter account, it was public. He now has 100,000 followers. But in short the Instagram account was deleted ahead of the bombings. Beyond that we called up a lot of Dzhokhar's friends and many of them said we know him, we would know, but we were able to confirm with a couple friends this was in fact his account and they said it was his account but he did delete it -- Wolf?

BLITZER: Laurie Segall doing good work for us.

Thank you very much.

FBI investigators are back at the family home of the widow of the bombing suspect, Tamerlan Tsarnaev. Authorities are trying to determine what 24-year-old Catherine Russell knew about the plot allegedly master mined by her husband. She says she knew nothing. Her attorneys are also at her parents' home in North Kingston, Rhode Island. The family has issued a statement through her attorney's office saying she is "doing everything she can to assist with the investigation and that she and her family are shocked and devastated."

Other news we're following including some political news. The next presidential election is more than three years away, but Hillary Clinton already topping the list in one brand new poll. And she hasn't even said if she's going to run. One big question is this: Will this stop others from jumping into the race? (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Welcome back. We're continuing our special coverage of the Boston bombings. We're going to have much more coming up shortly, but there's other news we're watching, including some news in the world of politics. It's never too early to start talking about the next presidential race. We're more than three years away from the first in the nation New Hampshire primary. Right now though, Hillary Clinton is the clear favorite on the Democratic side. And the latest WMUR Granite State poll of likely Democratic voters 61 percent say they'll support Hillary Clinton in 2016, 7 percent prefer Vice President Joe Biden, 22 percent say they are undecided.

Let's bring in our chief political analyst, Gloria Borger.

Gloria, what do you read into these numbers beyond the obvious that Hillary Clinton is by far the overwhelming favorite this early in the process among Democrats?

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, it is early, as you point out. She is the presumptive nominee. She has the highest name recognition, of course.

But as you dig deeper into these numbers, Wolf, what jumps out at me is that when you look at her favorability ratings, she not only does very well with Democrats and independents, but if you look at the same numbers, she has a 57 percent favorability rating among Republicans.

Now, Joe Biden on the other hand, if you look into his numbers, only has a 30 percent favorability rating among Republicans. So I'd have to say that being secretary of state, staying away from the obvious sort of political budget, economic, fiscal crisis has really kind of served her well and she left at a very good time.

BLITZER: The fact she's obviously undecided, she hasn't made any announcement, not giving any indication, no hints whatsoever if she wants to be the first woman president of the United States, if she still has fire in her belly, if you will, does that freeze out a lot of the other Democratic potential candidates at least for now?

BORGER: Yes, I think it does. I think it places a complete freeze on the field. For example my sources tell me that if she were to say she did want to run, the Vice President Joe Biden would not get in the race.

The "New York Post" has a piece today saying the governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, has told people if Hillary Clinton were to get in the race he would also get out of the way. Which is why, Wolf, she needs to make this decision sooner rather than later in a way, to be fairer to her fellow Democrats, because they're going to hold back as long as they think she might get into it.

And her health is an issue. She'll be close to 70. If she were to consider this, she's got a staff in place. She's making some money right now giving speeches. But she does have to decide in the not- too-distant future. BLITZER: We'll see what happens.


BLITZER: She's clearly a favorite among the Democrats out there.

BORGER: She's been there before.

BLITZER: That's right. And then some relatively obscure junior Senator from Illinois shook things up, as we all know.

Thanks very much.


BLITZER: People in Dagestan, right now, they are very worried the Tsarnaev brothers may have had -- they're very worried about the alleged involvement in the Boston bombings. They're worried it will hurt business in Dagestan. That's in southern Russia. Coming up, we're taking a closer look at how this area of Russia right now is responding to the attacks.


BLITZER: An overnight raid is raising even more questions about whether the bombing suspect, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, had ties to extremists in Russia. Russian Special Forces carried out a raid in Dagestan that killed two jihadists, including a close associate of the group's former leader. Tamerlan Tsarnaev once posted a video of that leader on social media. It's not clear if their paths ever crossed, but some in Russia worry the Boston bombings will hurt their region's reputation.

Here's CNN's Nic Robertson.


NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Aspiring hopefuls slug it out. This day, only training. Tomorrow, well, just look at the photographs on the wall in this Dagestan gym.

The boxers there are cool this 16-year-old tells me. "I'd like to spar with them. Find out who is better. Learn from them."

For centuries, young men in Russia's troubled Caucasus have tested themselves this way.

(on camera): Alleged Boston bomber, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, excelled at this sport too, but the worry is here his legacy is not going to be boxing but bombing. And that can reflect badly on them and the region.

(voice-over): An 18-year-old regional champion competes at international level and fears the Tsarnaev's trip to the region last year may hurt them.

"I'd like Dagestan not to be associated with what happens," he says. "We go to competitions. And now we might face problems."

Their coach worries about America's reaction.

"What happened in Boston was horrible," he says. "But you can't make a judgment on a nation based on two people's actions. These kids all want to be in competition. I don't want any barriers to block their visas."

And it's not just the gym. Dagestan may once have been so far behind the Iron Curtain, but few in the West could find it on the map. But here, the reverse was never true.

(on camera): Here, anything Americana means cool.

This cafe got its name because the designer thought it would bring in more business, not because they're selling great traditional American food.

(voice-over): Like the cafe, there is new construction here. Outside investment is essential.

This worker tells me, "I just really hope that everyone will understand that it's quiet in the Caucasus and it's safe. You shouldn't judge because of these two people who did those explosions."

Even so, for some, life's daily grind means news of the Boston bombings has mostly passed them by.

This veteran bread seller tells me she's not heard of the Tsarnaevs and the attack. "People here are poor," she says. "There are no jobs, no production plants. Sometimes I give my bread away for free. All those people think about," she adds, "is just putting food on their table."

In the gym or on the streets, everyone here has got their eye on a better future and a prize they dream is within their grasp.

Nic Robertson, CNN, Dagestan, Russia.


BLITZER: While we continue to focus and discuss the Boston bombings, today is also an important day to remember. It's been six months since the Superstorm Sandy devastated much of the east coast. Where the shore stands right now, that's next.


BLITZER: This is our special coverage of the Boston bombings. We'll get back to that in a moment.

First, an update on another story we have been following, Superstorm Sandy. The storm ravaged the coast of New Jersey and New York, killing 72 people and destroying tens of thousands of homes and businesses. 87 others died after the storm, when power was knocked out to millions of people. Sandy's expected to rank as the second costliest tropical cyclone on record. The National Hurricane Center estimates Sandy caused $50 billion in damage, second only to Hurricane Katrina.

The New Jersey Governor Chris Christie estimates 39,000 New Jersey families are still homeless. 250 families are still displaced in New York. Many are renting and waiting for the money they need to rebuild their homes under much stricter building codes. Today, Governor Christie and the federal task force announced that an additional $1.83 billion has been approved to help people get back into their homes and businesses to rebuild.


CHRIS CHRISTIE, (R), GOVERNOR OF NEW JERSEY: We're not here to take a victory lap because we know that we haven't achieved victory yet, anywhere near it. We're here just to say, once again, to remind you, once again, we will not forget you.


BLITZER: Christie says every boardwalk that was destroyed at the Jersey shore will be rebuilt by Memorial Day. Businesses are reopening for the summer beach season and roads are back open.

Let's take a quick look at the markets right now. You can see the Dow Jones up about 117 points. This came after some good numbers on pending home sales earlier this morning. Looks like April will be the fifth-straight month of gains for the Dow. The NASDAQ also jumped today, hitting its highest level since way back in 2001.

Jason Collins has just become the first openly gay athlete in pro sports. Collins is with the Washington Wizards. He tells "Sports Illustrated," I'm a 34-year-old NBA center, I'm black, and I'm gay" -- a very revealing and candid interview in which he discusses coming out, first to his aunt. He says her acceptance made him feel comfortable in his own skin. He didn't tell his twin brother, Jerron, until last year. Says his twin was astounded. So much, he says for twin telepathy. The family is behind him and apparently so is the NBA. The commissioner, David Stern, issued a strong statement saying, and I'm quoting him now, "As Adam Silver, the deputy commissioner, and I said to Jason, we have known the Collins family since Jason and Jerron joined the NBA back in 2001, and they have been exemplary members of the NBA family. Jason has been a widely respected player and teammate throughout his career and we are proud he has assumed the leadership mantle on this very important issue."


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Two-thirds of students graduate with debt reaching new highs, averaging almost $27,000 in 2011. To keep your debt down, first decode the financial aid offer.

MARK KANTROWITZ, PUBLISHER, FINAID.ORG & FASTWEB.COM: It can sometimes be difficult to distinguish what's a grant and what's a loan. They may not even use the word "loan." UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Here it is, out of pocket.

ROMANS: Ask questions, and remember, you're not just paying for one year.

NICO TYNES, HARLEM EDUCATION ACTIVITIES FUND: It's not about that first year of college. It is ensuring you are accepting a financial aid package that has renewable money.

KANTROWITZ: About half all colleges practice what's called front- loading of grants. That means your grants, as a freshman, are going to be a more generous mix than your grants as a sophomore, junior, or senior.

ROMANS: If you're disappointed, don't be afraid to ask for more money.

TYNES: There are other things can be done. An award letter is not the end-all, be-all.

ROMANS: But watch your tone.

KANTROWITZ: Colleges aren't car dealerships where bluff and bluster get you a better deal. Provide documentation they weren't aware of about your financial situation.

ROMANS: A job loss, major medical expenses, private K-12 tuition for sibling, caring for a special needs child or elderly parent, can get you more financial aid. So make your case, like Erika. She is asking more since her mom supports her grandfather in Ecuador. One school has already responded.

ERIKA PARDO, HIGH SCHOOL SENIOR: They went up in Pell Grant, which is free money. They went up about a thousand dollars.

ROMANS: Christine Romans, CNN, New York.



BLITZER: The youngest victim in the Boston Marathon bombings, the 8- year-old, Martin Richard, was honored this weekend at little league baseball. Baseball's opening day in his hometown of Dorchester. Martin loved baseball, and would have been breaking out his glove alongside his teammates. A logo was placed in center field with Martin's name and uniform number, 8. Afterwards, firefighters took part in a parade and wore Jerseys with the number 8 in remembrance.

The Boston One Fund raised more than $27 million so far to help the victims of the terror attack. More than $9 million of that has come from public donations and more than $17 million from corporate donations. You can donate to the fund by going to One Fund Good idea.

You can also help those victims and their families by visiting impact your world at Go to

That's it for me. I'll be back 5:00 p.m. Eastern later today in "THE SITUATION ROOM."

Brooke Baldwin and Jake Tapper take it over from here.