NYC Terror Attack Transcript 10/31/17 Hardball with Chris Matthews
Date: October 31, 2017
Guest: Jerry Nadler; Bill Bratton, Tara Maller, Darrin Porcher
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in New York.
Authorities are calling the events that unfolded in this city today an act
of terror. Eight people are confirmed dead after a man intentionally drove
a truck on to a bike path in lower Manhattan. Law enforcement officials
say that truck collided with the school bus at the intersection of West
Street in Chamber Street. And according to WNBC, the suspect yelled Allah
Akbar before he was shot by police.
NBC news has now identified the suspect is Sayfullo Saipov, a 29-year-old
from Uzbekistan, the former Soviet Republic. Police tell NBC he entered
the United States in 2010 and that he is currently in custody at Belleview
A video posted to Snapchat purports to show the suspect after he exited the
vehicle. However that individual has not been confirmed as Saipov.
Within hours, the incident was determined to be an act of terror.
Here is New York mayor, Bill de Blasio followed by police commissioner
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO (D), NEW YORK: Let me be clear that based on the
information we have at this moment, this was an act of terror. And a
particularly cowardly act of terror, aimed at innocent civilians, aimed at
people going about their lives who have no idea what was about to hit them.
JAMES O`NEIL, NEW YORK POLICE COMMISSIONER: At 3:05 p.m., a male driving a
rented home depot pick-up truck entered the west side highway bicycle path
at Hudson Street began driving southbound striking a number of pedestrians
and bicyclist along the route. At Chamber Street, the truck collided with
the school bus injuring two adults and two children.
After the collision, the driver of the truck, a 29-year-old male, exited
the vehicle, brandishing two handguns. A uniformed police officer cited
the first precinct, confronted the subject and shot him in the abdomen.
The subject was wounded and transferred to a local hospital. A paint ball
gun and a pellet gun were covered at the scene.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: President Trump who was briefed by his chief of staff from the
inside waited on tweeted during that press briefing to say in NYC, it looks
like another attack by a very sick and deranged person. Law enforcement is
following this closely. Not in the USA.
Anyway, he later tweeted, we must not allow ISIS to return or enter our
country after defeating them in the Middle East and elsewhere. Enough.
I`m joined now by the former New York City police commissioner Bill
Bratton. Tom Winter, an investigative reporter with NBC News, and Jeffrey
Ringle, a former FBI special agent from the bureau`s New York field office.
Gentlemen, in this order, what is your first telling information you could
give us about this, having watch this for the last several hours? Bill
BILL BRATTON, FORMER NEW YORK CITY POLICE COMMISSIONER: Well, we don`t
know at this time whether this individual was enabled, was inspired or
directed, still don`t know and that will be part of the investigation going
forward. In any event, he conducted a successful terrorist attack, took
eight lives and injured many others. And within a few hundred yards of the
world trade center event of 2001, the most significant terrorist attack in
New York since 2001.
MATTHEWS: What do we make of the fact that it was right near the world
trade center? Was this some statement this guy is making, this terrorist?
TOM WINTER, NBC NEWS INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER: Well, right now we don`t
know, Chris. There has been nothing that has been suggested that his
eventual location or target was the world trade center. I think we saw by
his actions when he got out of the car where there was speaking just
briefly before we got on air, the commissioner and myself. It didn`t
appear that he had it planned and it didn`t appear that he knew what he was
going to do once it ended.
I know that area quite well, where he crashed that truck is kind of a
natural break point in that pedestrian and bike pathway. So it would make
sense that that might be a point where he would eventually crash or be
destructed there. Right now, it`s just too early to say whether or not one
world trade was his eventual target. We have heard nothing to that –.
MATTHEWS: Why did he bring out these weak weapons? They weren`t really
weapons. Was that the draw fired that he want to be shot? What other
reason we have for bringing out a paint gun in this situation?
WINTER: Well, one of the things that could have been the case is that it
may have been difficult for him to get a gun period. So in lieu of that,
he may have just gone out and try to find the next best thing that he
could. The second thing could have been, yes. Maybe he wanted to commit
suicide and that`s something police will obviously be looking at.
MATTHEWS: Jeffrey Ringle, let`s talk about the potential here. It looks
like an act of terror, this guy comes from a world which is angry with us,
and we are not surprised. This is the world we live in, of course. But
what do we know about the international implications of somebody behind
him, somebody listened to him on social media? How do we connect this to a
[19:05:13] JEFFREY RINGLE, FORMER FBI SPECIAL AGENT FROM THE BUREAU`S NEW
YORK FIELD OFFICE: Well, the investigation right now is only four hours
old. And that`s what the investigation is going to show. We know that he
first came into the country via Florida so the JTTF, the NYPD are all going
to be scouring the database. They are going to be looking at any former
travel. They are going to look at the social media. They are going to look
at phone connectivity. They are going to look into the databases to try to
determine who this guy was, who he has in contact with and maybe what
motivated him or what radicalized him?
MATTHEWS: We can - do we know whether he is in condition to be
interrogated? Chief, do we know?
BRATTON: Well, we don`t know at this time. But the first report was he
was shot in the buttock. The next report was that he was shot in the
stomach. So there always preliminary. So as to his condition, that, I
don`t have information on.
MATTHEWS: Do we know if there`s any initial interrogation? Because
stomach wounds can be obviously horrible and painful, but they don`t stop
you from being able to talk, I don`t think.
WINTER: One thing, Chris, I think that we need to remember since this is a
terrorism investigation, it is quite possible that he is going to be
interviewed without his Miranda warning by the FBI and they have a high
value group that talks to people when they are in this condition.
MATTHEWS: What is the threshold for that decision that withhold the
WINTER: Essentially at this point, to say that is there an ongoing threat
to public safety and they did this in Boston with Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. So
the FBI was able to go in and say no Miranda warning. We need to know, is
there another of you out there that you know of? Is there something else
in the works? So that is something we need to keep that in mind. It maybe
a little bit too soon to know which way that is going but that is –.
MATTHEWS: So this is minutes to midnight sort of standard? Then you are
allowed to do it if you are facing more danger?
RINGLE: I just want to throw in here that when a situation like this
arises, there is what they call a clean team and a dirty team. I mean, the
dirty team is going to be the Intel team. They cannot use any statements
that the subject may have said in a court of law. This is only for
intelligence gathering purposes to determine if there is a larger network
out there, if there is a larger threat.
MATTHEWS: When was that wall put up? Was that the Jimmy Gorilla club?
What was that? When was that –?
RINGLE: I know we have had situations like this since 2001 when we have
been dealing with terrorists all over the world. I just want to point out
too that after the dirty team talks to him, a clean team that has no
connectivity with the dirty team, then goes in, reads the Miranda rights
and only what is presented at that time is what can be used in court.
MATTHEWS: So the triage term, the most important thing, is the threat
RINGLE: Correct. And only to discover if there is a threat ongoing. And
that information stays on the Intel side. It cannot be use?
MATTHEWS: Never? They one that never used.
RINGLE: Never used.
WINTER: They want to have the ability to go and talk to him without fear
of what he says being used at trial so that they can turn around and say,
hey, commissioner, he told us there`s three other people that are in the
Bronx that may have something that`s going on and you might want to check
that out. But as we saw and I covered the Boston marathon bombing trial
from gavel to gavel in that courtroom, information that was presented pre-
Miranda warning we never heard any of it. It would never see in any court
filings. So that is an important clarification.
MATTHEWS: Is that an (INAUDIBLE), Mr. Commissioner, that you think works?
Do people really, in a situation like this, the guy is seriously wounded,
maybe a death story, he may think, is he more likely to talk if you don`t
BRATTON: It is going to be a very – this might be an individual who wants
to talk. And that want to brag about what he is doing. But currently, the
effort here is to really determine are there others out there, is this part
of a larger plot? That`s what allows the ability to interview absent the
Miranda warning. So there is no (INAUDIBLE) formula here. It is really up
to the individual.
MATTHEWS: Jeffrey, does this look like a conspiracy or one person
operating sort of desperately?
RINGLE: My initial take one person operating desperately, but the
investigation is going to show who may have assisted, who may have
radicalized who may have motivated. So, you know, from what I see from the
news, it looks like one person.
MATTHEWS: Anyway, governor Cuomo, a governor of New York, of course
reminded viewers that this isn`t New York`s first brush with terrorists.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. ANDREW CUOMO, NEW YORK: New York is an international symbol of
freedom and democracy. That is what we are and we are proud of it. That
also makes us a target for those people who oppose to concepts. And we
have lived with this before. We have felt the pain before. We feel the
pain today. But we go forward together and we go forward stronger than
ever. We are not going to let them win.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Mr. Commissioner, I`m wondering about the hitting of the school
bus. That`s awful, you know. There are kids on that bus and you target it
and you ram it? What do you make of that?
[19:10:06] BRATTON: Well, he had just gone almost a close a mile. Speed
up was at 50 miles an hour and killed eight people and injured well over
dozen more. Ramming into a school bus I don`t think was anything that
would have phased him at all, if anything that may have been a conscious
decision on his part to inflict even more casualties.
MATTHEWS: Well, I think the American people in the world are going to hear
about it somebody hitting a school bus with a truck. That is how they are
going to remember and New York. I think the governor is right. It will be
a civil to the world. This is so near the world trade center, the most
infamous act of terrorism in the modern times. They are going say there is
WINTER: Well, I mean, I think when you look at it and I don`t know how
many times you have said it while you were a commissioner. New York is a
target. And while other cities in the United States have faced terrorist
attacks, and awful terrorist attacks, New York as you just said experienced
the worst one ever in U.S. history.
So I think when you look at this, you look at this there is always a
symbolism, any time you see inspire magazines, various jihadist postings,
New York is always in there. And one step or another. The posting about
ramming your vehicle into somebody include images of New York. It`s
something we see a lot.
MATTHEWS: As we know, we are here right now at 30 Rockefeller Center.
This is the media capital, the cultural capital, the financial capital of
the world. It just is.
Anyway, joining us right now is New York - U.S. New York congressman Jerry
Nadler who represents his districts includes this area.
Congressman, I hate that viewing tonight but we do. What do you know about
the neighborhood? What do you think about the reaction to this? What do
you have to give us?
REP. JERRY NADLER (D), NEW YORK: Well, I know the neighborhood quite well.
It`s in my district. My district office is just a few blocks away, and
Stuyvesant high school which I graduated from is across the street.
This is a terrible incident obviously and our hearts go out to the victims.
I`m very, very grateful to the NYPD, to the New York Police Department for
the swift this, their reaction to put a stop to this and to prevent further
Obviously, we are following the investigation closely and we will see where
it leads. I don`t want to speculate too much. But as to whether this had
anything to do with the world trade center, which is nearby, but is on the
other side of a major highway and a few blocks down, I don`t know. But he
was clearly motivated to kill as many people as possible. It`s lucky he
couldn`t get real guns which leads me to suspect that he wasn`t dealing
with other people, because a group would have probably been able to get
MATTHEWS: What do you make of the fact, I mean the world trade center
horror was most horrible because it was a bunch of people going to work in
the morning, it was regular people. It wasn`t a military compound or a
strategic target. It was just a lot of people going to work early in the
morning. All kinds of ethnic backgrounds.
This bike path seems to be the ultimate soft target, Congressman. You are
going after people who are totally vulnerable. They are riding bikes.
They are not armed. They have nothing to hide. They have no way to
protect themselves. They are in the way of a speeding target - I`m sorry,
a speeding weapon. What do you make of the message that this perpetrator
meant to deliver?
NADLER: Well, the perpetrator and others, you know, we have had people in
busses and trucks mow down people in Europe and France and Israel, and
other places. We haven`t had it in New York before, thank God. But they
are trying to communicate that everybody`s vulnerable.
Now, this perpetrator apparently didn`t really know what he was doing,
because if he had turned north instead of south, he would have had a much
busier, much more populated bike path and there would have been more
victims. But thank God he didn`t - he doesn`t seem to have known what he
MATTHEWS: Thank you so much, Congressman Jerry Nadler, represents the west
side of New York.
Gentlemen, I guess we have to ask as professionals, what`s the next step
here? If it is just an act of a desperate, you know, we have been through
this all our lives in modern times. Loners Lee Harvey Oswald, loners,
misfits, people that just have an unhappy existence and a lash out and they
want to go down in a blaze of noise and harm, top of the world ma, you
know, kill a bunch of people as they kill themselves. It smacks of that
except in this case, it has the terrorist over overlay of somebody yelling
BRATTON: Well, it is a new reality. And it`s the world that we are living
in and we will continue to live in. The concern of the breakup of ISIS and
Syria in the Middle East. I mean, little people returning battle hog and
back to their countries, coupled with the inspired individuals who have
that they are going to continue to be able to inspire up and able. It is
the world that we live in. The good news is that we learn from each of
these. And we get better at it. We prevent a lot of them. And some of
them we are not able to. This is one of those unfortunate ones we were not
able to prevent.
MATTHEWS: Well, thank you Bill Bratton. As always, sir, I have great
respect for you, sir. And Tom Winter, thanks you. I just met this guy.
And Jeffrey Ringle, thank you, sir.
For the FBI, the whole background that we need for this as we go on this
Let`s bring in NBC News correspondent Gadi Schwartz. He is along the route
of the annual New York City Halloween parade in lower Manhattan. Well,
this is ghastly but it is real – Gadi.
[19:15:21] GADI SCHWARTZ, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, absolutely. And we
are seeing a lot of the security upgrades. In fact, let me show you what
I`m talking about down here. You can see the world trade center, you see
how close we are to that attack earlier today. It was just a little ways
away from there. And this route, basically goes down here, stretches for
about a mile down here. And you see this parade is still lined with
people. The parade hasn`t started yet, but we are talking about thousands
and thousands of people on both sides of this parade.
This thing is sometimes is attended by as many as two million people. And
what we have seen is we have officers that all along these barricades and
there are officers that are in plain clothes. There are also officers that
are on rooftops. A lot of people that we have talk to around here say that
they know what happened earlier today. That it was a tragic incident what
happened, but there are still people out here that say they don`t want
terrorism to win. They are going to come out here. They are going to
continue to live their lives and they are going to celebrate Halloween.
Back to you.
MATTHEWS: Yes. Gadi, I want to stay with you, Gadi. Because it seems to
be one of the things about New York, my kids have lived up there. New York
has come back from 9/11 in a way that nobody would have thought. It`s a
better, bigger, more safer in many ways, more optimistic New York than it
was before 9/11. And people really do get out of the street. And the
street crimes is better than it was, lower. People are really filling the
streets which is the best way to reduce crime. Do you sense that tonight,
crowd talking to people that they still have that up spirit?
SCHWARTZ: Absolutely. And that`s what they said. They said this is New
York. We are going to continue on. And in fact a lot of people that we
talked to, they are here with their families. So in this crowd, there are
kids here with their parents who have had to explain to them what happened.
But one thing that is making everybody feel a lot better, check this out.
There are officers right here lining this whole entire street. That
stretches all the way down. We have seen officers that have come back by
on horseback. And every time they do, people in the crowd are saying
hello. They are giving them cheers. And so, this is one of those days
where you start to see New Yorkers come together right away. Back to you.
MATTHEWS: You know, about New York, I`m up for New York today. And I have
to tell you the weather is spectacular. It feels that New York is at its
best in November. It`s the very time of year that I love this city the
most. It`s crisp weather. It`s happiness leading towards from Halloween
to thanksgiving to Christmas. It`s a time of year where you really have
cheer and a sense of home, getting home with our families. And this
terrorist has disrupted it but you say he isn`t going to stop anything?
SCHWARTZ: No, absolutely not. And we are still seeing smiles on family`s
faces. We are still seeing kids that are very excited about this parade.
This parade should be starting in just a little bit. But like you said the
weather is perfect. It is a little bit chilly, but just nice enough that
everybody is bundled up. People are wearing some very interesting
costumes. So it`s going to be a very colorful night and a very fun time
for some of the families that are out here.
MATTHEWS: Hey, Gadi, thank you so much for bringing us to the people out
there in New York City right now. Gadi Schwartz.
Well, today`s attack fits a recent pattern of terrorist using their
vehicles as weapons.
Let`s bring MSNBC terrorism analyst, Malcom Nance and also former CIA
analyst Tara Maller (ph).
Unfortunately, I know two of you - both of you quite well because this
stuff happens now.
Malcolm, I want you, then Tara, to talk about the use of the weapon have to
get around, our transportation vehicles as weapons of mass, not mass, but
big destruction. Your thoughts?
MALCOM NANCE, MSNBC TERRORISM ANALYST: Well, you know, people think that
this is a relatively new tactic and in fact it isn`t. It`s been used in
Israel well over 50 times. And that over the two years, we have seen this
spate after attacks in Nice, in Germany, at the Christmas market, London,
two attacks which also culminated with, you know, weapons attacks. And
then, of course, the one that took place in Barcelona which was very, very
similar to the one that took place today.
This is a devolution from ISIS and Al-Qaeda terrorism from 9/11 style,
highly organized attacks, Paris style attacks, down to inspiring the
individual to either grab a knife or get in their vehicle and just go out
and carry out an individual act of terrorism.
MATTHEWS: Malcolm, you don`t even need a manual to get in your car and
look for bike path. I mean, that is the frightening aspect of this. Eight
people dead now, many injured because somebody simply had the will to do
something. You can call it cowardly, which it is. But it is simply
requires the human soul to go that direction and say I`m going to do this
rather than drive a car down a street with nobody on it. I`m going to
drive over people. And have the intestinal evil to be able to keep driving
after you hit the first person. That requires some real evil, but your
NANCE: Well, you`re absolutely right. It is evil.
And what it is, is, you`re seeing a physical manifestation of a cult
ideology. And what you`re seeing is not Islam whatsoever. None of is this
is condoned, including the sacrificing and getting yourself killed at the
end of a terrorist attack. None of that is Islamic. It`s anti-Islamic.
And what you`re seeing is, these people have created a belief system in
which mass murder, as we saw on 9/11, and as we have seen all throughout
the Middle East – they kill more Muslims than anyone else – where mass
murder is their act of worship.
And that`s just cultism. And there`s virtually no way to stop it once it
gets in the mind of one individual, unless he enunciates it or communicates
MATTHEWS: Well, we just have received a photo of the suspect.
A U.S. government source tells us at NBC News that this photo is of
Saipov`s truck driver`s license. Well, there he is, the suspect picked up
at the scene of the crime after being shot by police.
Tara, I guess the question is, as always, motive, and we – perhaps we
think, because he said he a prayer, “Allahu akbar,” that he has perhaps a
terrorist intent, that it has something to do with his notion of his
But the idea of his pulling out those two nonlethal weapons, to me, does
suggest it fits the pattern of these people who are committing suicide in
the act. They want to be shot.
TARA MALLER, NEW AMERICA FOUNDATION: Well, we don`t know the specifics on
this individual, on his particular motivation, but it does have the
hallmarks of ISIS-inspired-like attack.
Again, too early to say. We will have more information in the next 24 to
48 hours. But look at what we do know. We do know that ISIS has been
losing ground and they have been calling for these types of attacks. We do
know that, when you look at their propaganda and you look at their
messaging, they`re calling on individuals to use vehicles to carry out
attacks, these low-grade, low-sophistication weaponry, things that don`t
And they`re willing to claim these individuals as one of their own.
MALLER: That`s a shift from previous terrorist tactics.
And then we also know that you have seen basically the proliferation of
their messaging on online platforms. I was just on the Hill today about
this hearing about Russian interference on these platforms, but also
extremist and terrorist content.
So, this is not surprising, unfortunately. This is the trend that we have
been seeing, as they lose ground, as they start spreading their message
online around the globe, and as they start calling on disgruntled
individuals who might have their own problems as well, but to grasp on to
Again, we don`t know the specifics of this case, but if it – it looks like
a lot of the cases we have seen that Malcolm mentioned previously. So I
wouldn`t be surprised to know that it was ISIS-inspired, perhaps with no
direct links back to ISIS, but perhaps something somewhere triggered this
And he was exposed to content that may have radicalized him in some way,
along with other factors that may have driven this. Again, too early to
say, but it wouldn`t surprise me, given the information and the fact that
the NYPD came out rather early to use the word terrorism, something that
they don`t always do right away, if they`re looking into potential other
MATTHEWS: Well, Malcolm, early in our formal educations, we were taught
sort of the notion of dramatic justice, that, somehow, for every great
crime, there must be some great criminal mind.
There must be Othello, and there must be Iago, who went after Othello.
There must be Moriarty, professor Moriarty, who goes after Sherlock Holmes,
or the Cavendish gang to go after the Lone Ranger. We`re taught it must be
somebody equal to the horror.
Is that your experience? Because we have been just through this Kennedy
examination of those documents. And I wonder whether when we say cowardly
act by a loner, a loser, a misfit, if that`s not more the case.
NANCE: I think there are two dimensions to this.
I have been in the house of Osama bin Laden in Jalalabad. I have seen the
power of how he corrupted Islam and got an entire multiple generations to
follow what he believed. ISIS is just the fifth generation of that corrupt
But then when you get down to the street level, you have these former petty
criminals, these guys who are really sort of losers in their own society.
And even Christians, we have seen Catholics in Canada who converted to –
quote, unquote – “Islam” and then carried out acts of terror.
You see them do this, and what you really see is a person who either has a
mental defect or who has some loss and vacuum in their world, and they
decide ISIS or al Qaeda ideology and those acts will validate them once and
for all in their life.
MATTHEWS: Yes. Wow.
Well, let`s bring in NBC News White House correspondent Kristen Welker.
Kristen, what do we know from the White House?
KRISTEN WELKER, NBC NEWS WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Chris, I can
tell you that White House officials continue to monitor the ongoing
developments out of New York.
The president has been briefed by his chief of staff. And we just got our
first full statement from the president, Chris, so let me read you a part
of that statement.
He says: “Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims of today`s
terrorist attack in New York City and their families. My administration
will provide its full support to the New York City Police Department,
including through a joint investigation with the Federal Bureau of
So, President Trump coming out, referring to this as a terrorist attack,
also, Chris, in earlier tweets talking about the need to make sure that
ISIS does not come here to the United States.
Of course, this is a familiar talking point that we have heard from this
president. They go all the way back to his days on the campaign trail.
The first lady is in New York right now. She tweeted out thoughts and
prayers to the victims and their families as well.
This is something that obviously hits particularly close to home. This is
happening about four miles away from where Trump Tower is. It`s also
happening, Chris, at a moment that the president is preparing to go on what
will likely be his most consequential foreign trip to date.
He`s going to be making a five-nation tour to Asia. So, clearly, this is
an unexpected, unwelcome development ahead of that trip. But I can tell
you that they are monitoring the situation very closely. Obviously,
getting tough on terror has been one of the president`s key promises.
I would be very surprised if we didn`t hear from him on camera in some
capacity at some point tomorrow about this, Chris.
MATTHEWS: I don`t want to put you on the spot, but the president said in a
statement recently that there was some connection between this act of
terror in New York City today, late today, and the demise of the
territorial reach, territory of ISIS over in the Middle East in Iraq and
Is there any known connection between ISIS and this act of terror at this
WELKER: That`s an important point, Chris. I don`t believe that that
connection has been made.
I do think that the fight against ISIS is something that this president
talks about regularly. He talks about the fact that the military is
diminishing, in his words, ISIS around the globe. That`s obviously
something that may be up for debate in various regions.
But this is something he clearly talks about on a very regular basis. This
has been a central piece of his foreign policy. Having said that, I do
think it`s important to underscore, at this point in time, there doesn`t
seem to be or there hasn`t yet been a connection between ISIS, or at least
Now, obviously, as we begin to learn more, that will be one of the key
questions at the forefront. But, Chris, bottom line, I think that the
president will continue to make the case that this is one of those moments
that underscores the need to tighten the borders – this is obviously
something that he talks about quite frequently – and to get tougher on
MATTHEWS: Thank you so much, Kristen Welker, for being on our program
NBC News` Ron Allen joins us now from the scene in Lower Manhattan.
Ron, thank you for joining us tonight at that scene of horror in Southern
RON ALLEN, NBC CORRESPONDENT: Indeed, Chris.
And I think a lot of New Yorkers are still trying to digest what has
happened. But from my vantage point, people are trying to just get on with
it. There are some Halloween trick-or-treaters over there going into the
And we are just about, oh, maybe just a few blocks from West Street back
there, where the attack happened. As you know, New York is a very dense
place, and there are businesses here. There`s a residential area here.
We also now know that there were two elementary schools and a high school
that were essentially on lockdown for quite a while, while all this was
going on, because it was unclear what the target was, so a lot of kids, a
lot of young people in the area.
About an hour ago, I saw a lot of the kids coming out of the high school
walking right past the crime scene, essentially, past the attack scene,
some of them dressed in Halloween costumes, and getting on with it.
We know that around the city tonight, there are numerous Halloween
gatherings. There`s a big one in Greenwich Village not far from here.
There are smaller neighborhood gatherings all around town.
And so I`m sure that the police are being extra vigilant. We heard a
report earlier that the mayor was going out to inspect one location where
the police were, trying to make sure that the biggest block party, the
biggest Halloween party of the city, the one in the Village, was safe.
And the police will tell you here that, you know, this is one of the safest
cities in the world, and that they do everything possible to prevent this.
And one of the big questions is going to be who the individual was who
carried out this attack, what can the authorities know and learn about him,
because intelligence-gathering is one of the most important tools that the
police have in trying to stop these things before they happen.
But here, again, the city is alive again. People are getting back to what
they have been doing, as the investigation continues as to how this
happened, why it happened.
And, as a New Yorker, I can tell you that, sometimes, when these things
happens, you think it`s a small wonder that this doesn`t happen more often,
but there are so many crowds, so many places that are prone, that could be
attacked in New York City, but it doesn`t happen, of course, that often –
MATTHEWS: Thank you so much. Great reporting from Ron Allen down at the
Coming up, we`re going to have much more on this breaking news from the –
about the terror attack that unfolded this afternoon in New York City.
And we will be right back.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to our continuing coverage of the terror attack in
New York City this afternoon.
Let`s get the latest on the investigation from NBC News justice
correspondent Pete Williams. He joins us now from Washington.
Pete, what do we know at this point, these hours after the horror?
PETE WILLIAMS, NBC NEWS JUSTICE CHIEF CORRESPONDENT: Well, a couple of
First of all, we believe that authorities are now preparing to interview
this man, Sayfullo Saipov, who`s in the hospital in New York.
Now, you`re looking at a picture of him from his truck driving license. He
had a truck driving business. He was a driver, a licensed truck driver,
lived for a time in Ohio, lived in Florida, took mail at an address in
Paterson, New Jersey, we believe.
He`s in the hospital now. And he was wounded by the police. So, you see
him on the ground there after he was stopped by the police, wounded by the
police, after he had rammed people with his pickup truck that he rented
earlier and also fired a pellet gun at people as well.
This is the night shot of the scene, as investigators continue their
activity. But you saw that that – the battered pickup truck there.
So, our understanding is they`re preparing to interview him under a
procedure that they have used a couple of times before, in 2009 with the
underwear bomber, Abdulmutallab, and then again with the – after the
capture of the Tsarnaev – Dzhokhar Tsarnaev up in Boston.
And they will interview them without giving them a Miranda warning under
what the courts have established as the public safety exception to Miranda.
Rather than giving him the Miranda warning, telling him he has a right to a
lawyer, and anything that he says can be used against him, they will simply
go in and question him.
And the courts have approved this procedure because of what`s called the
public safety exception when there`s a question about anyone else being out
there, a continuing danger to the public. That`s a big question here.
Was anybody else helping him? And so we think they`re going to do that
Now, what we know, he`s 29 years old. He`s a lawful permanent resident,
or, if you like, a green card holder from Uzbekistan who came to the U.S.
several years ago. We`re told by a number of federal and state officials
that his name is Sayfullo Saipov.
He was carrying a driver`s license with an address in Tampa, Florida.
Authorities have gone to that address. They`re also going to his Ohio
address as well.
Court records show he had some minor brushes in the law a couple of years
ago in Pennsylvania involving his driving, and back then gave an address in
Paterson, but we think he was actually living in Ohio.
So, now investigators are working on several fronts. They`re trying to
trace his movements into New York. When and where did he rent the truck?
They obviously know that, because they have the truck rental record, which
is an important lead. They`re talking to family and friends, and, of
course, he himself, who is in the hospital recovering from the wounds.
So, a big question is, was he in touch with terror groups directly, was he
simply inspired? No way to know that yet. And, Chris, the only reason
that authorities are calling this a terror attack is what is obvious, the
fact that he used a method of attack that`s been used by other terror
groups and that has been encouraged as a method of terror attack by ISIS,
al Qaeda and others, and, secondly, that he jumped out and said Allahu
But anything beyond that, we don`t know of yet. We don`t know what he`s
going to say in the interrogation. We don`t know if authorities have
learned anything yet from his social media. It seems pretty early for
that. That takes a lot of time to go back through his communications.
But that will be a big question. What was he looking at on social media?
Where were his Internet searches? Was he looking at ISIS propaganda? Was
he aware of these other attacks? It seems likely that he was.
But until they know that, they can`t say for certain. So the reason
they`re calling this a terror attack is for the obvious reasons that you
and everybody else can see.
MATTHEWS: Do you see any evidence here so far of any conspiracy or larger
enterprise that led to this today?
Everybody that we have talked to tonight doesn`t see any indication of
that. All we can tell you is what they know. It`s early. They have no
sign that anybody else was involved with this, based on their – on the
very early work. But it`s now, what, four hours since this happened, a
little over four hours.
So it`s still very, very early, but no sign of that yet.
MATTHEWS: As an Uzbeki, why would he have an animus towards the United
States? Do we know if it has anything to do with geopolitics over in the
former Soviet Union, like those Chechens who created the horror at the
WILLIAMS: Way too soon to answer that question, a good question.
He was earning a living here in the United States, earning a living as a
truck driver. Seems to have been integrated into society. We have talked
to one person who says he was a friend of his, saw no sign of this, didn`t
hear him spouting radical propaganda, seemed to be a friendly person.
So that`s a just a complete cipher at this point.
MATTHEWS: Thanks so much, as always, Pete Williams, our justice
correspondent, down in Washington.
Joining us right now is professor – doctor, professor – Darrin Porcher, a
former lieutenant here in the NYPD.
So, you have the academic background and the street background.
What do you sense here? What are you looking at here?
DARRIN PORCHER, FORMER NEW YORK POLICE LIEUTENANT: Well, this is a very
interesting dynamic, because this happened, I want to say, an eighth of a
mile away from the 1st Precinct, and I want to say roughly 100 to 200 yards
away from Stuyvesant High School.
So, you had an NYPD contingent in both places. That`s why we had such a
quick and swift response in this situation. I mean, it`s an arduous
process to investigate these types of terrorist attacks.
One of the things that we look at, the attack in Nice, and the same held
true with the attack in Barcelona. We had these vehicle attacks. So,
these were teachable moments in law enforcement.
And when we look to the translation of what happened in Times Square not
too long ago, where we had a vehicle that ran into the steel bollards, this
may be a watershed moment in how we fortify places like this bike trail
We live in a city of 8.5 million people. And we have a police department
of 30,000 members – 30,000 members is very difficult for them to police a
population of 8.5 million people.
However, it`s – we`re moving forward when we look at the technological
advances and the nuances in law enforcement to better protect citizens and
the city of New York.
MATTHEWS: Well, Darrin, professor, stick with us.
Let`s bring in now, Shawn Henry, he`s former FBI executive assistant
director and an MSNBC national security analyst.
Shawn, thanks for joining us.
Your sense of this, it looks like one of these suicidal attempts. I mean,
the guy had these two phony weapons to try to draw a fire, it looks to me,
and he didn`t intend to get away, he didn`t intend to escape, he had no
plan, he plowed into a school bus. It looks to me like a lot of these
crimes, there are people that are reaching their dead-end for whatever
reason they`re going to their dead-end.
SHAWN HENRY, MSNBC NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Yes, Chris, it does look
like, typical ISIS inspired attack that we`ve seen across multiple
countries in the last couple of years. We`ve seen dozens of these types of
attacks, low level, not a lot of resources required. Not a lot of time to
create a maximum impact and fear and uncertainty in the community and
So, it appears to be that at this point, but as many of the other analysts
have described, this is way too early, there will be a lot of
investigation. You`ve got the FBI now, in at least five separate locations
doing interviews, in coordination with the New York City police and other
law enforcement agencies, they`re in New York, in New Jersey and Ohio and
Florida. They`re certainly over in Uzbekistan, if this man traveled here
from that country back in 2010.
So, there`s an awful lot of collection that`s going on right now.
One thing to remember, I think, is there`s two simultaneous events going
on. You`ve got the people at the scene who are collecting information and
intelligence. They are looking to identify everything they can about this
man. The other agents and officers are looking at the potential that there
might be somebody else. I have heard many people say it`s a lone wolf.
But it certainly appears that way. But the stakes are too high to leave it
as such and law enforcement will be pursuing the potential that there may
be others involved. People who may have collaborated with him or at the
very at least knew about this type of attack, Chris.
MATTHEWS: You know, when I look at New York is it`s ability to be
resilient and proved itself as resilient for all these years since 9/11.
And I look at these crowds tonight, and maybe in a certain level, it could
be seen as callousness, but it`s also kind of a revival of spirit.
These people out there enjoying Halloween, which has become sort of a big
holiday in this country, kind of a time to sort of scare yourself in an
innocent, not really dangerous way, and enjoying just sort of – the thrill
of it all and the fun of it all. Laughing at death I guess, that`s what
Halloween is about.
This guy didn`t change New York, he didn`t accomplish any goal, he`s got a
bullet in his stomach or had one. He`s killed eight people and wounded 15
others, but what has he done? It seems – maybe this is too cosmic a
question, but so what?
Why is this have any sense – is anybody in the world going to give him a
good press? Is he going to get a good press back in Uzbekistan, the former
Soviet republic, is anybody going to cheer him tonight and put out some
sort of communique that he did something good? Do we have to wait for that
to see if there was any collaboration?
HENRY: It`s unfortunately, but he will get a lot of press. I mean, we`re
talking about this now of course to make sure that citizens are aware of
what`s going on. ISIS will take some of these or al Qaeda or any other
jihadi organization will take this type of event and they`ll use it for
recruiting. The Recruitment, particularly the online recruitment is about
manipulation. It`s about seduction, it`s about misinformation, and it`s
trying to appeal to the weak minded to get them to move forward on behalf
of the cause.
Unfortunately, the spirit of New York lives on. The terrorists, one of
their goals is to inspire fear, they`re not doing that in New York tonight.
The people of New York are stepping up and they`re going to make a
MATTHEWS: Shawn, it`s the ultimate soft target, a bunch of people, regular
people, getting some exercise on their bikes on a bike path. How does that
show courage to mow them down with a vehicle? How does that show any kind
of daring or resolve or anything with any value? How does that make a
statement to anybody I would think you`d have to be very desperate people
in the world to think that was a win what happened here?
HENRY: Those are the weak minded. Those are the weak minded. Those that
are being recruited into this cause, into this movement are weak minded.
They are people who are isolated, oftentimes dysfunctional, and those are
the ones that are receptive to this type of rhetoric and are being taken to
the cause, this is clearly an act of cowardice. There`s no courage
associated with this.
Innocent civilians enjoying a fall day and this guy goes out and kills them
callously and the citizens of New York are standing up, people around the
United States and quite frankly around the world are standing up against
these types of acts, Chris.
MATTHEWS: Is this like to be the kind of act that we create a copycat
situation, where some else would say, look, all it takes is get into a car,
it can be my own car, I could rent a car or truck, and I could do this. It
seems to have such a low threshold of mechanical skill required. It does
require to me, an almost sociopathic soul to be able to pound into people.
It`s one thing to hit somebody by accident and jam your brakes on and try
to help the person, when you mow over somebody and keep mowing over other
people, that takes a certain kind of constitution that is pretty
frightening and I hope to think fairly rare, that kind of person.
HENRY: You know, this is right out of the jihadi playbook, because it is
low level, does not require a lot of training, the resources are readily at
hand, a truck, anybody can get their hand on it and because it is a soft
target, you have the ability to harm a multitude of people in a very short
period of time. So, we will continue to see these type of terrorist
We`ve got law enforcement and NYPD being one of the best police departments
in the world. They`ve come and set up barriers in many areas. They
certainly have down in Greenwich Village tonight, around the parade, a
barrier set up using vehicles and other sorts of impediments because they
are protecting and they have made the city safer. Unfortunately, unless we
have a complete shutdown of the city, we`re never going to have 100 percent
MATTHEWS: I`m with you on that and I said before, I think the purpose of
terrorism besides this hatred, and attempt to do harm to people is to
demoralize and force them to become more of a police state.
I want to go to Professor Porcher on this. You can`t stop somebody from
doing this unless you have a real 1984 police state that spots a driver
hitting people and starts shooting at them. I don`t know how you can stop
that, and that would be a hell of a police state to react that powerfully.
PORCHER: I think the focus is to connect with the imams, that a part of
the Islamic religion, introduce to them that we`re working together, this
is a symbiotic relationship between the police and the community and the
Islamic community. One thing that these people fear –
MATTHEWS: Do they pick up on some international broadcast of some kind,
somebody over Iraq or Afghanistan, sending out a message of hate and
encouraging terrorism? How would a local imam be able to handle that? Or
just spot it happening? I don`t know.
PORCHER: The one thing that people in the Islamic culture fear is going to
hell. They commit these acts, these atrocities based on an expectation of
being rewarded by Allah. We need people within the Islamic community to
get that message out that, look, you`re not going to meet Allah, and you`re
going to hell. That`s the one thing that these people fear.
MATTHEWS: Will an imam preach that in the United States, that kind of
PORCHER: We do have a strong component within the Islamic community that
diametrically opposed to acts of terrorism. Acts of terrorism are not part
of Islam. And there`s a very minute component of the Islamic community
that believes that. This is actually a cult following.
So, when you`re thinking (INAUDIBLE) groups like ISIS, et cetera, they`re
cults. They are not part of Islam. The greater part of the Islamic
community can assist us and it goes back to that symbiotic relationship
between police departments, communities and the Islamic communities to
banish these people and not give them a proper burial.
MATTHEWS: Well, let`s listen to some react – that`s a strong admonition.
Let`s look at some reaction from someone who`s actually on the scene today
when the attack unfolded.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When I`m leaving work, I`m walking down towards the
tower, and when I`m going to cross the street, I hear a loud commotion
coming from behind me. So when I go back across where I was crossing the
street from, I looked down and I see a truck going down towards Chambers
Street. And I`m saying, what`s going on? So, as I go down more, I see two
– he`s in the bike lane, clearly in the bike lane. And I see – when I go
down, I see two gentlemen laying right there in the bike lane with tire
marks across their body and you could tell that they`re not here no more.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Shawn, I guess this is an obvious question, but we have great
confidence in our country, that people come from all over the world, even
the Islamic world, whether it`s the former Soviet Union or the Middle East,
they become slowly but pretty steadily Americans by the time their kids are
raised here, they raised their kids and they have become pretty much
American in terms of just they speak with our accent, they pick up on the
same cultural statements and symbols. They like our world, they like the
country, and we like to think that they become American, and they
assimilate, to use an old term.
Is there a sense that that`s breaking down, that that pattern of
assimilation isn`t working? Or is it still working in the main? In the
HENRY: I don`t – I don`t think it`s breaking down. I have talked to
immigrants that have been here for 20 years and as recent as six months and
they talk about Thanksgiving being a favorite holiday of theirs because it
really is part of the American tradition, and something where people get
together. It`s a family type of event.
I go back to what the doctor said where there are these pockets. This is
not Islam. These are people who are susceptible to this type of rhetoric.
It`s a small minority of the Islamic population and there is an opportunity
for the communities to come together and try to identify people, reach out
to them, people who are subjected or suspect to this type of recruitment.
It`s not very different from the gangs, the street gangs that we see in a
lot of urban areas, the inner city. The same type of philosophy in terms
of outreach and policing that helps to stem those types of crimes, Chris.
MATTHEWS: Again back to the basics of street policing, is there any way to
prepare for somebody to pick a car, rent a car, own a car and start driving
down a pedestrian or a bike way and just start killing people and wounding
people, is there any way to stop it? It seems to me there isn`t. It`s
such a primitive method of warfare, of death, of terrorism. It`s at the
fingertips of anybody to be a killer that way.
HENRY: So, it starts with the intelligence on the forefront of this,
identifying the attacker before they get behind the wheel, before they pick
up a knife, before they grab a gun. That`s the intelligence policing that
is used by the joint terrorism task forces, the use of international
cooperation, the intelligence community.
But more importantly where we`ve got these self-radicalized individuals who
are doing this and of course we don`t know yet because this investigation
is still early on, but in some of the recent cases that we`ve seen,
somebody that did not have an external communication with a foreign entity
or an Islamic group or a jihadi group, rather, but those who are self-
radicalized online, looking for people who are closely connected. The
neighbors, co-workers, family members, parents that see something that`s
unusual, some unusual change in behavior, somebody who`s recently traveled
and come back and their demeanor has changed.
These are the forerunners, the indicators that help law enforcement, and if
those that are closest to those types of individuals come forward, it`s an
opportunity to stop these attacks in advance. But once somebody`s behind
the wheel of a car, you can`t stop that, Chris, not in this day and age in
a world where we live in a free society in the United States.
MATTHEWS: It is a free society. Thank you so much, Shawn Henry. We`re
talking about the death of 8 people down in southern Manhattan today late
afternoon. Fifteen are wounded or injured now in the hospital.
We`re also talking about the suspect now who`s Sayfullo Saipov, who is an
American. He`s lived here. He`s a green card holder. He`s been here
since 2010. He comes from what we used to call Uzbekistan, the former
republic of the Soviet Union.
Let`s bring in MSNBC law enforcement analyst and retired ATF special agent,
I`ve been waiting to hear from you, Jim. And thank you for coming on.
Is this a low level terrorist act, it has no significance beyond we live in
a free society and occasionally we get a bad person who wants to make some
sort of hideous statement?
JIM CAVANAUGH, MSNBC LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Yes, he`s a mad dog loser
and we`re always going to have these guys as you were discussing with Shawn
and that`s true. But Chris, I like to think that there`s complicated
things that we can do that our intelligence and law enforcement do, our
wire intercepts are countering extremism on the Internet, all those things
are complicated when we need to do better at them and we`re doing better.
But there`s simple things we can do too. Should we really have long
pedestrian malls, pedestrian malls now, pedestrian malls that are
frequented by pedestrians and bicyclers that don`t have some obstruction to
stop this kind of an attack.
I mean, when you look down the views of the camera and you see that long
stretch, that`s only for pedestrian use. I mean, that can be defeated in
the future by some boulders, three boulders across that stretch every, you
know, few hundred feet, can keep a vehicle like that from even
accelerating. You get hang up on the boulders. Bollards are even better,
but they cost more money.
MATTHEWS: How about tiger teeth?
CAVANAUGH: Sure. There`s all kinds of things they can put out there.
When we say – we`re sort of self-defeating, we can`t do anything about it.
I don`t agree with that assessment. My assessment is we can always do
better. And we have looked at attacks on malls where pedestrians stroll in
Nice, in Brussels, in I think Sweden had one, the London Bridge, now we
have a New York – these are places where pedestrians stroll. Now, you
can`t do it on every city sidewalk, I totally agree with that, but often
there, you have lamp posts and you have trees and you have other
obstructions. And we saw the Times Square guy who was berserk, got hung up
on the bollards in Times Square.
So, those things can work. It takes a little bit of thinking. It might
take a few big boulders. But we shouldn`t sit here the next time some
truck runs down a 14-block pedestrian mall and say there`s nothing we can
do about it, because there is something we can do about it. We know what
can stop a vehicle, we know what will, and the city fathers and the
community leaders of their community got to look at their mall and say, no,
we`re going to make it so you can`t do that on our pedestrian mall.
So we can do simple things, we should, because this is a common attack
method. And we should look at that. But we`ve got to do the counter
extremism on the Internet and that`s what`s bringing a lot of this
MATHTEWS: Jim Cavanaugh, thank you for that knowledge.
Anyway, let`s listen now to one of the other eye witnesses to today`s
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I wasn`t nervous. I was just kind of anxious to get
out of the school and I thought it would end quickly because we weren`t
sure if it was a drill either. There kept being announcements saying we`re
still in shelter.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We weren`t sure what went on, but when the FBI, after
20 minutes, the FBI arrived and that`s when I think it started to dawn on
people that it wasn`t just a car accident, it was something more than a car
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Back to Shawn Henry.
Reaching the end of the hour, Shawn. Do you have any thoughts about this?
Is this – we`re going to hear more of these as we get older, it`s just a
fact. And the question is, is this something that – you know, Jim
Cavanaugh just said there are remedial steps we can take to prevent the
creation of spaces where criminals can do just about anything. What do you
HENRY: There certainly is more that we can do but it`s going to be done
with sacrifice. There`s a lot that could be done. We saw what happened in
Las Vegas, not tied to jihadi radicalism at this point but do you put metal
detectors in every single hotel, supermarket, delicatessen or pizza parlor.
If you want to raise the security, you`re going to have to somehow
compromise on civil liberties and privacy. We`ve already done that. We`ve
done that in airports and we`ve done elsewhere and Americans have agreed to
that. They`ve accepted it because they recognize what the risks is and
what the threats.
I think that we really need to turn to the community to help identify
people. Certainly from a physical perspective, there`s more that we can
do, but it`s always going to be a balance between civil liberties, privacy,
our freedoms and security. And Americans are going to have to make that
choice. And this will be a long-term decision process as we go forward.
There`s no short-term answer or it would have been solved. This one of
those issues, Chris, that I think we are going to be dealing with for many
years in the future.
MATTHEWS: Well, thank you, Shawn.
Let me get back to Jim Cavanaugh.
When I first came to Washington you could go to the capitol building of the
United States, the Senate, and the House of Representatives. You can walk
in the door, look for your member of Congress who represents you, meet the
receptionist, tell them you wanted to talk.
Now, they herd you into a visitor`s center underground. And you`re treated
like, well, something than less than you should be treated like. You used
to be able to drive past the White House, on Pennsylvania Avenue, and blow
your horn as loud as you wanted to blow it and say, Nixon, get out of
there. This was a really free country in terms of physical freedom. It`s
going away because of terrorism.
CAVANAUGH: Right. We had bombs at the U.S. Capitol. We had officers
killed at the U.S. Capitol. We had the attack by terrorists at the Blair
House when Truman was president, trying to kill Truman. After Oklahoma
City, Constitution Avenue was closed down because the threat of a vehicle
bomb was much greater.
CAVANAUGH: ATF even has a bomb-proof headquarters built subsequent to that
So, yes, it changes everything. We`ve got to change with it but that`s the
world we live in. We just got to work on it, do better, we got to work the
complicated and the simple, we got to do all those things to be able to
live the life we want.
MATTHEWS: Knowing information there. Thank you so much, Jim Cavanaugh,
for joining us and thank you, Shawn Henry.
Let`s bring in NBC News Kristen Dahlgren from Lower Manhattan.
KRISTEN DAHLGREN, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Hi there. And we`ve got the
crime scene trucks going in right now as you can see those flashing lights
headed down to where that vehicle remains. Also still seeing bicycles
strewn around the area and they`ll be looking, trying to figure out exactly
But we`re hearing from a lot of eye witnesses here about how that truck
drove up on the bike path, hitting pedestrians and cyclists along the way,
ultimately appearing to target a school bus and running into that. The
driver then getting out with those two what looked like guns at the time.
Now, we know paint ball guns, that they weren`t real. But still a very
active scene down here.
MATTHEWS: Thank you so much, Kristen Dahlgren for NBC.
And that`s HARDBALL for now. Later this evening, I`ll be joining Steven
Colbert as a guest on “The Late Show”.
Stay tuned to MSNBC for continuing coverage throughout the evening. My
colleague Chris Hayes is going to pick up right now on this situation as we
continue our coverage here on MSNBC for this night of terror in Manhattan,
which, of course, is always a target because it`s the center of the
universe in many ways in terms of finance, communications, culture, the
enemies of our country tend to look unfortunately first in New York.
And here he is, my colleague Chris Hayes who picks up our coverage.
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