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Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

On the Next Episode of The Lead

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national lead

April 25th, 2013
07:04 PM ET

Former FBI agent posed as Chechen, looking to be radicalized online

Former FBI agent E.J. Hilbert spent 18 months online pretending to be a Chechen teenager living in California.

Hilbert said he originally worked on cyber crime, identifying international hackers. After 9/11, he was moved to counterterrorism.

His task?

"To ingratiate myself with various different radical elements online," said Hilbert. His focus was an individual named Adam Gadahn, an American al Qaeda who was eventually charged with treason.
FULL POST

national lead

April 25th, 2013
07:03 PM ET

Former chief of staff says Bush is a great man, just not a great portrait artist

Americans are looking back at the George W. Bush administration on dedication day for his presidential library Thursday. From hanging chads, to tax cuts, to the dark turn of 9/11, and Afghanistan, Iraq and Hurricane Katrina, everything is on display.

All five living past and present presidents were in attendance. Former President Bill Clinton gave memorable, humorous remarks, teasing Bush about his paintings.

"Your mother showed me some of your landscapes and animal paintings and I thought they were great. Really great. I seriously considering calling you and asking you to do a portrait of me, until I saw the results of your sister's hacked e-mails," said Clinton, drawing hearty laughter from George W. Bush. "Those bathroom sketches are wonderful, but at my age, I think I should keep my suit."

"President Clinton spoke the truth," said Andrew Card, former George W. Bush White House chief of staff. Card said Bush's landscapes and animal paintings are phenomenal, "but I understand the portrait he painted of his dad wasn't very good."

"Probably President Bush should not think of himself as a portrait artist," said Card, with a laugh.
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national lead

April 25th, 2013
06:02 PM ET

Chilling story of cabbie who drove the Boston terror suspects

It was the day before the Boston Marathon, and Jim Duggan's morning was off to a slow start. He was the only cab hanging around a train station, and was about to pull away and grab a cup coffee, when he spotted two guys in his rear view mirror. One of them wore a white baseball cap, his curly hair sticking out. The other wore a black cap.

"On my mother's soul, those kids were in my cab," said Duggan. "Those kids" would be Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the Boston Marathon bombing suspects.
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world lead

April 25th, 2013
06:00 PM ET

McCain 'disappointed' with administration’s response to news Syria using chemical weapons

The United States has evidence that chemical weapons have been used in Syria, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Thursday.

"The U.S. intelligence community assesses with some degree of varying confidence that the Syrian regime has used chemical weapons on a small scale in Syria, specifically the chemical agent sarin," Hagel said.

When asked if the intelligence crosses the "red line" President Obama said in the past could trigger a U.S. military response in Syria, Hagel said it is too soon to say.

A White House official told reporters on background that because the Obama administration takes the red line so seriously, they need to gather more evidence to make a determination that the Assad regime crossed it before they can decide their next move. The official also said they are keeping Congress in the loop on developments in Syria.

Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, said he is disappointed, but not surprised that the administration needs to gather more evidence.

"The president has not wanted to engage in Syria in any way, any meaningful for a couple years, while 70,000 to 80,000 people have been slaughtered," said McCain.
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national lead

April 25th, 2013
05:54 PM ET

Congressman doubts suspected marathon bombers acted alone

Rep. Peter King has his doubts the two young men accused of bombing the Boston Marathon last week launched their attack without some help.

“I just find it very hard to believe that two individuals such as this could have obtained the weapons, the explosives, put it all together, arranged this on their own,” the New York Republican said Thursday on CNN’s “The Lead with Jake Tapper.” “I believe that there were other people involved domestically, either as active conspirators or as facilitators who knew what was going on and said nothing and looked the other way.”

And King, who sits on the Select Intelligence and Homeland Security committees, is in a position to know what leads investigators are pursuing: he and other members of Congress were briefed on the investigation Tuesday.

What he heard made him uneasy.

“I just think that the investigation was not as thorough as it should have been,” he said, saying the questioning of suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev prior to reading him his Miranda rights left unanswered several important public safety questions.

“We don't know who all was involved. We don't know what the full plot encompassed,” he said. “And we don't know if there are other explosives that are still around. All of that, I think, may have well have been found out if the interrogation had gone forward, instead of being cut so short, so prematurely short.”
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