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CNN "The Situation Room" - Transcript - Boston Marathon Bombing


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BLITZER: Phil Black in Moscow, thanks very much. Joining us now is Republican congressman, Dana Rohrbacher of California. He's just back from leading a congressional delegation to Moscow, trying to gain some more insight about that Boston terror attack. And I know, congressman, you met with Russian intelligence officials. First of all, give us your reaction to what we just heard in Phil Black's report about this phone conversation between Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and his mother in Dagestan.

REP. DANA ROHRABACHER (R), CALIFORNIA: Well, it certainly confirms for us that we're dealing with a radical Islamic terrorist situation. These people are obviously fanatics, Muslim fanatics. And the fact that, uh, that she wants her son to be strong and has to bring up the Koran in a situation where three Americans are dead and hundreds of innocent people whose lives have been shattered by her -- by what her son is accused of doing, the fact that she would talk about the Koran shows you just how fanatical a family these two terrorist young men came from.

BLITZER: But did you get any evidence from Russian intelligence or other sources that they were part of some sort of organized terror operation?

Or were they acting individually, maybe inspired by some sort of a fundamentalist thought, if you will?

ROHRABACHER: Uh, I think it's more the latter. But let us just note that we have -- there is much a threat of radical Islamic terrorism coming from young people like this as there is coming from al Qaeda or some Saudi-financed terrorist network some place.

The fact is, this is a threat to all of our lives, our families and our children. In Russia, what we were there to do was to point out and to learn from them how they are coping with this and trying to find out how we can expand the arena of cooperation between Russia and the United States in dealing with the radical Islamic terrorist threat which is taking the lives of both of our people.

BLITZER: Based on your conversations with Russian intelligence officials, you and your Congressional delegation, was there anything that could have been done, that should have been done, that could have prevented this terror attack in Boston?

ROHRABACHER: Not within the context of our sta -- of our relationship today. But it's clear that we need to change the relationship to expand the -- the areas of cooperation between Russian and American officials.

For example, when these people -- when this family immigrated into the United States and other families that are immigrating to the United States now from that region, we don't have an input to -- from the Russian government to suggest whether or not these are radical -- people associated the radical Islam or not.

That would be something very useful to us, considering that know now that su -- that radical Muslims don't have to be part of a terrorist network. They may take it upon themselves to start killing people in the West, as we saw in the Boston Marathon.

BLITZER: But, you know, Congressman, the Russians did alert the FBI to Tamerlan Tsarnaev.


BLITZER: They said he did have some extremist connections.

ROHRABACHER: That's right.

BLITZER: The FBI checked it out and they gave him a clean bill of health.

ROHRABACHER: Well, that's -- that should suggest to us that -- I don't think the FBI dropped the ball. I think that what that reflected was the fact that the FBI and Russian intelligence don't have the level of cooperation they need and do not have the interaction that they need to deal with a threat that takes the lives of Russians by the hundreds, as well as Americans, as we saw from 9/11 in the past.

BLITZER: A quick question on your delegation. You had other members of Congress with you, but you also had the actor, Steven Seagal...

ROHRABACHER: Yes, we did.

BLITZER: -- on your trip.

What was his role?

ROHRABACHER: Well, Steven Seagal, because he's a black belt and a very well respected actor -- and I might let you know that I've known Steven Seagal for a long time. He's a personal friend. And he knew we were going to Russia. And because of his black belt in karate and things, he has gotten to know many of the leaders of Russia, including Putin, and was able to use that influence to make sure that we got to talk to the very top people so that we could try to find ways of expanding our areas of cooperation.

You know, sometimes actors can actually go out and rather than just act, they can actually do good things. I worked for one. His name was Ronald Reagan.

BLITZER: Are you suggesting Steven -- Steven Seagal might have a little political ambition, like Ronald Reagan had?

ROHRABACHER: I don't think that he has political ambition, but he has an ambition to try to do something good for his country. And he has taken it upon himself, this, the I -- you know, this challenge of radical Islamic terrorism that is taking the lives of innocent people. he, for example, helped us get down to Beslan, the school where hundreds of young children were murdered by Chechen radical Islamic terrorists. And we saw that and we met with the local people there. And Steven did a good job in introducing us to people and showing us the things that will help us understand the challenge of radical Islamic insurgencies that the Russians are having to deal with.

BLITZER: I know he's very popular in Russia, Steven Seagal, including, as you point out, with the Russian leadership.

So what I hear you saying is Steven Seagal could open up doors that United States Congressmen, like you and some of your colleagues, couldn't necessarily open up during your visit to Russia?

ROHRABACHER: Well, let me put it this way. We usually have to rely on the State Department, and, quite frankly, we should be having our own contacts as well as with the State Department wants us to meet, because we shouldn't just have to rely on the bureaucracy to inform us on everything.

And Seagal opened some doors and we got to meet top people and we had dialogue with these people, not just diatribe, which as we've had in the past, great dialogue.

BLITZER: Dana Rohrabacher is the congressman from California.

Welcome back.

Thanks very much for joining us.



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