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TODAY   |  April 23, 2013

Boston bombing suspect could face death penalty

NBC’s Pete Williams outlines the charges against Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and the types of questions authorities are asking him now that he is able to communicate, as well as a foiled bomb plot on a train in Canada.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> correspondent pete williams is in washington with new details on the investigation. good morning. unlawfully using and conspiring to use a weapons of mass destruction , resulting in death and malicious destruction of property. anything surprised you with what he has been charged with and hasn't?

>> no, this is fully what we expected, a charge that could carry the death penalty in the federal system . massachusetts doesn't have the death penalty in the state system. he's he not charged with killing the campus policeman but that's not a federal crime there's no jurisdiction for the federal government . they could possibly include it in a later indictment or perhaps the state could bring charges.

>> so this suspect is gravely injured. he's in a hospital bed and he's answering questions like did we act alone, were we affiliated with any larger terror group he says no to that question. do the authorities think his answers are credible?

>> well they don't know. this is one thing they have to check out but he says they were not in touch with any overseas groups, came up with the plan on their own, motivated by islamic religious fervor and he says they got their instructions on how to make their bombs from the internet, from "inspire" published by al qaeda and it has twice included articles on how to build bombs using pressure cookers which is how the devices in boston were made, offering a design very similar to the way that their bombs were built.

>> there's another story we're following in cooperation with u.s. officials canadian law enforcement officials have foiled a plot to blow up a passenger train . what can you tell me about that?

>> a passenger train from new york to ontario, it would be on canada's version of amtrak and they say they got onto it last fall when they got a tip from the canadian muslim community and authorities have been watching these two men closely since then. the plot was inspired by al qaeda in iran, which they say was providing "direction and guidance." according to officials in the u.s. and canada this plot never got to the stage of acquiring explosives but even so, these officials say the two men had both the intent and the capability of following through with it, matt.

>> frightening possibility. pete williams in washington, as always thank you