NBC "Meet the Press" - Transcript - Boston Marathon Attacks

Interview

By:  Deval Patrick
Date: April 21, 2013
Location: Washington, DC

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.