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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 29th, 2013
05:54 PM ET

Radicalization of Boston bombing suspect

Earlier in life, Boston Marathon terror suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev boxed, dabbled in piano, and hung out at bars. But then, at some point four or five years ago, his interests dramatically shifted.

"It was about 2008, 2009 when these women say they saw Tamerlan begin to change," said NPR's Laura Sullivan, who spoke to former roommates of his wife, Katharine Russell. "He stopped drinking, he stopped smoking, and he, at that point, said to Katherine Russell that she also had to become a Muslim."

Tsarnaev was becoming increasingly strict in his Muslim beliefs. His uncle has accused a mysterious man - "Misha" - of brainwashing him, starting in 2009.

A U.S. government official tells CNN that the FBI has interviewed "Misha." We now know his full name is Mikhail Allack-Vierdov, and he lives in Rhode Island. Christian Caryl, of The New York Review of Books, tracked down "Misha," and he adamantly denied any involvement in Tsarnaev's radicalization.

"He was very, very, very intent on explaining that he had nothing to do with any kind of radicalization," said Caryl. "What he told me was, 'I was not his teacher. If I had been his teacher, I would have made sure that he knew that doing something like this was wrong.'"
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national lead

April 29th, 2013
05:45 PM ET

Former Attorney General: FBI is too delicate about Islamic terrorism

Former Attorney General Michael Mukasey says there is no way the Boston Marathon bombing suspects acted alone.  Mukasey said that the FBI is too delicate about Islamic terrorism.

"The FBI for years has been purging its training materials of any reference to Islamist terrorism," said Mukasey. "It's also been taking instruction on that, and on sensitivity, from organizations that are themselves Muslim Brotherhood affiliates."
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national lead

April 29th, 2013
05:20 PM ET

Former CIA operative: Boston bombing suspects did not act alone

A growing sentiment among Republican lawmakers is that the Boston Marathon bombing suspects did not act alone. They made the rounds on the Sunday talk shows, saying they believe Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev are part of a bigger terrorist plot. They believe the brothers had foreign help with training, or that a radical group may have pitched in to help finance the attack.

The circuitry of the bombs carry a certain signature that will help investigators uncover how the plot came together, said CNN contributor and former CIA operative Robert Baer.

Multiple reports indicate "the police are looking at this as a sophisticated device, which does not precisely follow the internet plans that are in "Inspire" magazine," said Baer, referring to al Qaeda's affiliate in Yemen's online English language magazine. "If that's the case, there's a master bomber out there."

The question is whether the mastermind is overseas, like in Dagestan, or in the United States.

"If he's in the United States, there's a chance he could strike again," said Baer. "I'm waiting for an FBI agent to step forward ... and tell me just how sophisticated this thing was."
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national lead

April 26th, 2013
06:46 PM ET

Boston carjacking victim was 'just trying to live'

One man, who asks to be called only by his English nickname, Danny, endured 90 minutes of horror when he was carjacked and held captive by the Boston bombing suspects. He first told his story to The Boston Globe.

Danny's bold escape helped put police on the suspects' trail. He is still incredibly shaken by the whole ordeal, but reached out to one of his former professors for advice.

"He wanted his story to be out there,"said Northeastern University criminology professor James Fox. Fox has been advising Danny through the ordeal.

Danny had pulled over to check a text message, when a sedan pulled up behind him.
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politics lead

April 26th, 2013
06:22 PM ET

Congress quickly acts to preserve short lines at airports, then leave town

Thousands of air traffic controllers will head back to work soon. On Friday, the House voted for a bill ending the furloughs that went into effect Sunday, and subsequently caused some 3,000 flight delays.

The bill gives the FAA permission to move money from another part of its budget to fund the controllers, some wiggle room in the forced federal spending cuts. President Obama is expected to sign it late Friday.

The FAA says the furloughs should be reversed fairly quickly. Right now, as many as 1,500 air traffic controllers are furloughed per day. But the transportation secretary can quickly move money into the account that funds their salaries.

Though it passed the Senate and House overwhelmingly, and very fast, not all Democrats are pleased.

Walking the halls of the house today, you heard a lot of House Democrats cursing under their breath, and their frustration was aimed at fellow Democrats at the White House and in the Senate who agreed to fix furloughs that delay air travelers, without trying to extract concessions from Republicans in areas where forced spending cuts are hurting the least fortunate, like children on Head Start programs.

"I have a hard time going back home to the Mayo Clinic, and for them saying, 'Why is cancer research money not restored when you give FAA money?' And I think that's a fair question to ask," said Rep. Tim Walz, D-Minnesota.

Cancer research, and lots of other people hurt by forced spending cuts, may not have a voice because they are not frequent travelers.

"It's out of sight, out of mind. But if you're on a plane, so you're irritated by this, all of a sudden we need to make an adjustment to it," said Walz.

Other Democrats said helping air travelers, and doing it in such a bipartisan way, is politically pragmatic, something they had to get off their plate to avoid getting distracted from issues they want to talk about.

It perhaps is no accident that of all the effects of forced spending cuts, flight delays affect congressmen personally more than anything else. As soon as House members approved this measure that would change the law to make sure flights are not delayed because of spending cuts they put into effect, they all raced to the airports to go home for the weekend.

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