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Jewish Center Suspect Charged with Murder; Bluefin-21 Helping in MH-370 Search; Joe Biden Gives Speech in Boston; Problems Facing Bluefin-21.

Aired April 15, 2014 - 13:30   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: As you know this guy, George, he is a former leader of the Ku Klux Klan, a white supremacist group among other things. Investigators say it was a hate crime when he opened fire at these two Kansas City area Jewish centers but the three people he wound up killing were all Christians, not Jewish. Would this affect whether or not officials formally file federal hate crime charges?

GEORGE HOWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: As this was described yesterday by the officials, by the police department, I believe, they said it was because of his intent to hurt people, to harm people, to kill people, that he had a problem with -- for lack of a better word -- that could constitute a hate crime. So we understand from what police said yesterday that they believe it should be prosecuted or gone after as a hate crime.

You heard all of the evidence, as we were gathering the news, as we first got here, and we heard from these witnesses who said, you know, he would go to people and ask them if they were Jewish. Also you heard what he uttered in the back of that police car, something that I certainly won't utter. But you saw the evidence there. Police believe it should be charged as a hate crime. As you mentioned, these prosecutors, they have the option to apply federal hate crimes charges to this case. We could see it later down the road.

At this point, they're still going through all the evidence, all the information, before making that determination.

BLITZER: All right, George, thank you. George Howell on the scene for us outside of Kansas City.

We're heading into day 40 of the search for Malaysia Airline flight 370.

Brian Todd is joining us now with the latest on that underwater vehicle helping in the search, called the Bluefin-21.

Brian, you've spoken to the operators of the Bluefin-21. Is it actually back in the Indian Ocean right now?

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, I got an e-mail about three hours ago from an official at Phoenix International. As you mentioned, they own and they operate the Bluefin-21. This official said three hours ago that the AUV, the autonomous underwater vehicle, was back in the water. We're trying to get clarification as to what that means. Is it back towards the same depth it was yesterday? Is it closer to the surface? We're not sure. We're trying to get some clarified information on that.

The mission was aborted automatically by the Bluefin itself yesterday. Aborted because it started to go deeper than it was programmed to go. According to officials with the U.S. Navy and Phoenix International, the company which owns and operates this Bluefin, it was programmed to go between 4,200 and 4,400 meters down. That's between about 13,700 and 14,000 feet but the water in that area was deeper than expected. It's about 14,700 feet. Once the Bluefin tried to follow the bottom to that depth, its safety mechanisms kicked in and automatically sent it back to the surface. An official with Phoenix International told me it did what it was supposed to do and he said that first mission, while it was shorter than intended was, quote, "a very good first dive." He said they were able to collect two lines of side-scan sonar data, each about four miles long and a mile wide. He said the data looked good but it did not detect any wreckage -- Wolf?

BLITZER: All right, Brian Todd, thanks very much.

I want to go back to Boston right now. It's one year exactly to the day when we had that terrible, terrible bombing in Boston, at the Boston Marathon. The vice president, Joe Biden, is speaking.

JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I've never, never, never witnessed a tribute like I've heard today. Jill and I --


BIDEN: Jill and I are honored to be asked back. And let me say to those, quote, "survivors." My god, you have survived and you have soared. It was worth it. I mean that sincerely. Just to hear each of you speak. You are truly, truly inspiring. I've never heard anything so beautiful, what all of you just said. I really mean that.


BIDEN: And you're dangerous, young man.


You are really good.


I'm serious. It's just absolutely remarkable.

Governor, Mayor Walsh, Mayor Menino, you always speak well.

Tommy, I can tell you one thing. There's not a single person in here whose heart you did not speak to. They understood every single word you said.


BIDEN: Every single word you said.


BIDEN: You've been my friend for a long time. The reason they heard it, your heart is as big as this city. It's an honor to be with you.


BIDEN: And Tom, Boston Athletic Association, what a -- first of all, thank you for having Jill and me. But what an incredible job you've done in the one organization.

This is an important day, an important day for the survivors. But I think you Bostonians don't understand, it's an important day for the nation. It's an important day for America. And the families of Martin and Lingzi and Krystle and Officer Collier, this is, I know from some experience, this is a bitter, bittersweet moment for all of you.

You know, those of you -- and many of you have gone through your own sorrows -- know that it the anniversary that is, quote, "celebrated and paid tribute," it brought every memory back in sharp relief that in a sense you almost would rather not have it happen. But, as I said to you when we talked in the back of the auditorium, thank you for your courage. Thank you for your courage because -- and I hope you take some solace again from the outpouring of love and affection and all the people of this great city and the country. But it's still difficult. It's -- I know that no memorial, no words, no acts can fully provide the solace that your hearts still yearn to acquire. But I hope it eases your grief a little bit.

As I said, it takes incredible courage for you to be here. I want you to know that you're an inspiration, without knowing it, to people all across this country who suffered tragedies. They'll see you. They'll hear you. They know of you. And the fact that you're here, I promise you, gives them hope that maybe, maybe, they can overcome what they're facing right now. It's the one thing I think you vastly underestimate about what you're doing for so many people in dealing with your own grief with such courage. You inspire them. And we owe you for just being back.

And to Patrick and Adrian Weiss, David, all the survivors here, elsewhere, you're living proof, you're living proof that America can never, never, never be defeated. You are the proof of that assertion. So much has been taken from you, but you never, never have given up. All the other survivors that are not here, not even those tough days when you're lying in the hospital bed, looking, staring at the ceiling saying, God, I don't know how I can do this anymore, I don't want to do this anymore, and wondering how much more can you take. But you've mustered the courage, you got up and you kept going. You've brought an awful lot of other people with you as you walked on, on that prosthetic leg. And you're here, you're undeterred and you're unyielding. That stubborn perseverance the mayor spoke of in the face of unfathomable challenge -- that's just an old-fashioned word of mine -- but that's just pure courage. That's just courage. My mom -- and they kid me, I talk a lot about my mom. But my mom was a really great old Irish lady. She had an expression. She told us from the time we were kids, to me, Joey, you're defined by your courage and you're redeemed by your loyalty. The four of you are the purest example of my mother's standard I have ever met. You're defined by your courage. And you're redeemed by your loyalty. You just didn't say, take care of yourselves, you reached back to help so many more people. And the loyalty that you've inspired in this great city. And even though I'm not a Boston fan, I love you guys, man.


What an incredible city. It really is. You are an incredible, incredible city. And I know politicians aren't supposed to say that, that you're not a Red Sox fan --


-- but from where I come from, if you root for the Red Sox, you got the living hell kicked out of you.


So there was good reason not to be a Red Sox fan.

You know, you have become the face of America's resolve, not unlike what happened in 9/11. You've become the face of America's resolve for the whole world to see.

You know, I travel around the world. I've traveled over 900,000 miles, just being vice president, around the world. People know all about you. They know who you are. They know your pride. They know your courage. They know your resolve. They know who you are. And you know what? That's why the twisted cowardly terrorists, who acted here and other places, do what they do. They try to instill fear. They try to instill fear so that we will jettison what we value the most and what the world most values about us -- an open society, our system of justice, our freedom of religion, our access to opportunity, the free flow of information, ideas and people across the country, the willingness and capacity to gather anywhere and any numbers and say what we believe. That's their objective. That's what they attempted to do and, directly, in Boston, is to make us afraid, not just Boston afraid, to make America afraid. So that maybe, maybe we begin to change our ways. That's the objective, the very soul of who we are. They figure if they instill enough fear, we will change. And it infuriates them that we refuse to bend, refuse to change, refuse to yield to fear.

You are Boston Strong. But America is strong. They're not unlike you. All around America, that's what makes us so proud of this city and this state, what makes me so proud to be an American, is that we have never, ever, ever yielded to fear. Never.

Just look what you've done over the past year to recover from the attack. You formed support groups. You established foundations. Colleges set up scholarships and local businesses have supported charity drives. Houses of worship have provided healing and comfort, and so much more. Your organizations like the One Fund have gone on above and beyond, to raise millions of dollars to help the families and the victims and the survivors and the city recover and rebuild. And you've taken greater pride in the community that stood by you, protected you. Pride in the world's greatest doctors, nurses, EMTs, National Guard, members of the National Guard, veterans, teachers. Of course, pride in the world's greatest police officers and firefighters, we mentioned repeatedly.


BIDEN: Last year, I had the great honor of asking to speak at a service for Officer Collier at MIT. When I arrived on that field on the campus, thousands of men and women in uniform stood in line as far as the eye could see. It was incredible. They showed up because they share a fundamental obligation to serve and an unbreakable sense of duty. It's not just what they do. It's who they are. It's who Sean Collier was, patrolling, protecting the campus and community he loved. It's also what Officer Dennis Simmons, who put his life on the line last year in a shootout to hunt down the killers. He suffered a severe head injury and ultimately he succumbed. It's also, as mentioned by the mayor, it's also what the firefighters, Michael Kennedy and Ed Walsh, recently, recently had to deal with when they responded, Engine 33 responded, and they're grieving families knew every single time they responded to an alarm something like this could happen. Yet, we know there's not a single moment, not a single moment of hardship that America has not been transformed by, made stronger by. We know this with certainty because it's the history of the journey of America. It's written not just in the brave men and women we've honored today in uniform, but it's anchored in the undaunting courage and uncommon resolve of ordinary Americans. That's the incredible thing about America. We teach our children this in schools that these are qualities engrained in our national character, stamped into our DNA. They animate our national identity. And they continue to define who we are.

Last year's marathon, the whole world witnessed ordinary citizens, ordinary citizens doing extraordinary things -- delivering blankets and water, doctors running through the finish line to the hospital to care for the wounded, residents and store owners opening their door to folks for shelter. What has become an iconic photograph is Carlos, Carlos in his cowboy hat, pushing Jeff Bauman --


BIDEN: -- off the scene after having broke both legs.


BIDEN: That photograph, that picture, is hanging on walls around the world. Carlos did what you Bostonians do and Americans do. Carlos ran to him rather than from him. A normal human instinct is to run from, not to. Wasn't a firefighter. Wasn't a trained medic. He wasn't a police officer. But yet, he instinctively, he ran to. That's what Bostonians do. That's what Bostonians did. That's what the whole world saw. That's what America does. And next Monday, on Patriots Day, when I'm told up to 36,000 people line up to start the marathon, you will send a resounding message around the world, not just to the rest of the world, but to the terrorists, that we will never yield. We will never cower.


BIDEN: America will never, ever, ever stand down.


BIDEN: We are Boston. We are America. We respond. We endure. We overcome. And we own the finish line.

God bless you all. And may God protect our troops.


BLITZER: The vice president of the United States, Joe Biden, speaking on this, the first anniversary of what happened at the Boston Marathon.

Let's not forget what happened. Two bombs exploded, 12 seconds apart, right near the marathon's finish line. The bombs contained B.B.-like pellets and nails. They were contained in pressure cookers hidden inside backpacks, two backpacks. Three people were killed in that bombing, Martin Richard, 8 years old; Krystle Campbell, 29 years old; Lingzi Lu, a graduate student at Boston University, originally from China. 264 people were injured.

If you'd like to help the victims of the Boston bombings, you can get information at

Up next, we'll bring you our expert panel to talk about the latest developments in the search for Malaysia Airline flight 370, including problems facing that underwater vehicle.


BLITZER: The operators of that Bluefin 21 underwater vehicle say it's back in the water as the search for Malaysia Airlines flight 370 moves into day 40. There's been no comment yet from the joint agency coordination center, the authority in Australia that provides information on the search.

Let's bring back our panel of experts, get their perspective. Peter Goelz is a CNN aviation analyst, from NTSB managing director; and Tom Fuentes is a CNN law enforcement analyst, former FBI assistant director.

How much of a setback, Peter, is it. It went down. It was programmed to go down deep enough so it automatically came back up with nothing useful apparently.

PETER GOELZ, CNN AVIATION ANALYST: I don't think that's surprising. This is the first day of the search. This is really a difficult operation. They're in uncharted waters. They don't know the depth. I don't think it was a huge setback. It's going to be a long haul. They're going to get it right.

BLITZER: Eventually, this Bluefin 21 can be programmed to go deeper because that's what it's made to do, right?

TOM FUENTES, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: I don't know. The way they talk, the people that make it, it could be lost if they go deeper. It may not be able to withstand much deeper. It's right at the threshold of how far it's supposed to go down --


BLITZER: As far as we know, is there anything better than the Bluefin-21?

FUENTES: We heard oceanographers towing a sled that could go deeper that is connected by cable to the ship above. Then they would be getting a real-time stream of data. Now they have to wait until it comes back up and download the data, because there's no communication while that's deployed below the surface.

BLITZER: That sounds like it could be a lot more lengthy than this Bluefin-21 operation.

GOELZ: It's harder to manipulate it, to move it. But that's their other option.

BLITZER: We heard the Malaysian transportation minister say today that, in his words, it's not important who gets control of the plane's black boxes. They just want to make sure the job is done. What does that say to you?

FUENTES: I think he's trying to downplay this concern that it won't go to the right people. I think he's just being kind of flippant about it, to say we'll take care of it. The right people will get the box. Stop asking about it. We're not going to do it. We're not going to open it up and break it and lose the data. We will give it to somebody who knows what they're doing. I think he's just tired of the questions.

BLITZER: Is that your understanding as well?

GOELZ: Yeah, I think he's just acknowledging the reality that the boxes will go probably to the Australians, maybe the United States.

BLITZER: Why would the Australians get it? It's a U.S.-made plane. The black boxes are made in the U.S. The NTSB has the most experience in dealing with this. Wouldn't the Australians say to the United States, you know what, we'll defer to you, you're the experts on this?

GOELZ: I think they'll take a look at the condition of the box. But the question is, do you want to take another two days to get the data down.

BLITZER: What's another two days? GOELZ: I know. But once they get the box, there's going to be enormous pressure to say, let's get a look at it, let's get the data downloaded safely.

BLITZER: My own sense is, if the Malaysians say to the Australians, you take a look at it. The wise thing for the Australians to do then would be to, you know what, let the United States take charge.

FUENTES: They might. They might do that.

BLITZER: Do you think they would is this.

FUENTES: I'm not sure. I think if they think they can handle it --


BLITZER: Or do it jointly?

FUENTES: Exactly. Have it in their lab in Australia, and just have the NTSB and maybe the French or the British experts all participate in how they download the data.

BLITZER: How much time do you think this is going to take? This could take weeks?

FUENTES: Months.

BLITZER: Months and months?

GOELZ: Months, yeah.

BLITZER: Air France took, what, two years?


BLITZER: And this after five days, spotted some wreckage in the Atlantic Ocean back in 2009 off the coast of Brazil. So this could go on and on and on. We all have to hope that this Bluefin-21, the other high-tech devices they have there, will work. There's no guarantee they will. Right?

GOELZ: It will work. The question is, is there anything there and how long will it take them to find it.

BLITZER: Thanks very much. We'll stay on top of this story, as we have obviously over these past, what, six weeks now.

That's it for me. Thanks very much for watching. I'll be back 5:00 p.m. Eastern for another special two-hour edition of "THE SITUATION ROOM."

NEWSROOM with Brooke Baldwin starts right after a quick break.