NYC Terror Attack Transcript 10/31/17 The Beat with Ari Melber
Show: THE BEAT WITH ARI MELBER
Date: October 31, 2017
Guest: Frank Figliuzzi, Michael Balboni, Jim Cavanaugh
BILL BRATTON, FORMER NEW YORK CITY POLICE COMMISSIONER: With that
community, still many issues are concerned. Some of that has certainly
increased with the issues over the last several years on the efforts of
Those are unresolved dilemmas at the moment and some of the tension between
the federal government, the local police, the so-called sanctuary city
issues. Those are still very contemporary and have not yet been resolved.
CHUCK TODD, MSNBC HOST, “MTP DAILY”: All right. Bill Bratton, former
police commissioner of New York City and, of course, Los Angeles, as he
mentioned, among other things. Commissioner Bratton, thanks for coming on.
That`s all I have for tonight. Ari Melber, though, is going to pick up our
coverage of this breaking news story happening in New York City. Ari, it`s
ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST, THE BEAT: Thank you, Chuck. And our coverage of
this deadly attack in New York City does continue right now. A cowardly
act of terror against innocent people. That, according to New York City`s
mayor, warning the city to stay alert.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL DE BLASIO, MAYOR OF NEW YORK CITY: And I want to ask all New Yorkers
to be vigilant. We ask all New Yorkers to live by the idea, if you see
something, say something. Tell an officer immediately if you see anything
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: That from a security briefing that finished just moments ago. The
first lady is also in New York, tweeting out her support, saying “My heart
breaks for NYC today. Thoughts and prayers as we monitor the situation.”
Here`s what we know at this moment. A man driving a Home Depot truck on to
a bike and pedestrian path went on to apparently murder eight people this
afternoon and injure another 15.
The latest details from the NYPD.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAMES O`NEILL, NYPD COMMISSIONER: 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 transported to a
local hospital. A paintball gun and a pellet gun were recovered at the
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: And on this video, you can actually see the suspect moving through
the street, apparently with one of those guns, essentially fake guns. This
was in broad daylight. The video appears to match what law enforcement
have described, a youngish male, either late 20s or early 30s, with a
Middle Eastern appearance.
NYPD now has the suspect in custody. Senior law enforcement officials
telling NBC News this was believed to be an intentional act and is now
being investigated tonight by the NYPD as a possible terrorist incident. I
repeat, the NYPD tonight, this Halloween evening, after this harrowing
event, with eight dead, is investigating this as a terrorist incident.
Eyewitnesses were shaken immediately this afternoon over an attack
occurring, we should note, just blocks from the World Trade Center.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Guy got out with a biker jacket and a stripe, started
shooting up the place.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When I got out, I saw two gentlemen laying right there
in the bike lane with tire marks across their body. You could tell that
they`re not here no more.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How many gunshots did you hear?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Over five. It was very fast. It was one after
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: This is an unfolding terror investigation at this hour. I`m Ari
Melber, live in our newsroom in New York.
And I want to bring in now Jim Cavanaugh, the retired ATF special agent in
charge and Frank Figliuzzi, a former assistant director for
counterintelligence at the FBI.
Jim, this is a sad and tough day for New York. Walk us through what you
made of the briefing we heard from authorities, what we know at this hour
and whether, as we always ask in a situation like this, whether people have
reason to be afraid?
From what you`re hearing and what we`re learning, this appears to be a
closed incident in New York.
JIM CAVANAUGH, RETIRED ATF SPECIAL AGENT IN CHARGE: Well, people have
reason to be alert, Ari. That`s what I would say. I think it seems like
it is a closed incident. As the hours tick by, things get safer when we
don`t have a quick follow-on attack. But it pays to be alert all the time
and into the evening. Some other actor could be inspired.
I think what we got out of the news conference is the police are pretty
sure. They are on a terrorist lead here. The behavior, the long crime
scene, 7 to 14 blocks in a pedestrian area, the rental truck, the crash
into the school bus, coming out with the BB guns or paintball guns, the
yelling Allahu Akbar, all this is consistent with other terrorist attacks
around the world.
MELBER: Jim, let`s take two of those pieces of evidence that you raise
here as people digest this incident. Not what people want to be hearing
about, obviously, on a Halloween evening, a time of celebration typically
around the country for families and certainly in New York City.
We`re looking at some of these overhead scenes, 6:04 pm. Eight dead, 15
injured. Two of the deaths were pronounced dead at the hospital, according
And you`re citing two pieces of evidence. One, those types of pellet guns,
as you mentioned, on the scene. And two, accounts now from law enforcement
and witnesses of the yelling of Allahu Akbar. Walk us through both of
those pieces of evidence.
CAVANAUGH: Well, we`ve seen terrorists around the world use fake guns,
real guns, but we`ve seen them use hoax bombs as well. We`ve seen these
This guy was clearly suicidal, Ari. He knew he would be confronted by the
police eventually if he is mowing everybody down. He knows he`s holding
handguns. He knows what police officers will do in a situation like that.
They`ll shoot him.
So, is he an inspired actor on the Internet? I think that`s very likely.
We don`t know.
Is he a one-off guy? Not a directed attack by a real direct connection to
ISIS or Al Qaeda? More likely, it`s an inspired attack. He`s a mad dog -
lone mad dog doing this attack.
So, I think they`re on their game here. They`re going to get his
computers. They`ll be searching his apartment. And they`ll be
interviewing him. And they`ll be singing like he`s on a Broadway play
because he`s trying to tell them why he did this and give all his reasons.
And that`s why he`s yelling in the street, his reasons for his mass murder.
MELBER: Right. So, you`re speaking to not only the potential motive, but
also what we know about this suspect. Limited at this hour because of the
way he spoke out.
I have Frank with me and Jim with me. But I want to ask you to stay with
me because we now have unfolding here in what is a breaking news scenario.
Ron Allen on the phone who is actually very close to the scene in lower
Ron, where are you and what do you know?
RON ALLEN, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: I`m just at the end of the bike path
just two blocks from the World Trade Center. I`m actually in the middle of
a crowd of students from Stuyvesant High School.
The school very close to the scene of the attack. And they`re all leaving
the school now. They were hunkered down and they were there on hold. But
they`ve all been streaming out of the school and walking down across West
Street, wearing Halloween costumes and so forth. And it`s quite a scene
We`ve also seen a lot of parents with their kids coming into this
neighborhood. West Street is something of an urban highway and the bike
path lines it. But it`s also a residential neighborhood. There`s a lot of
apartment buildings, condominiums here. So, a lot of families live in this
area, which is why, of course, there is a bike path here because it`s a
recreation area that is heavily used, especially - even during the middle
of the day. It`s around 3 o`clock or so when all of this started
But at this point, there are still a number of ambulances here. We saw the
last of the injured taken away about an hour or so ago. The police have
the area still sealed off. There doesn`t seem to be any sense of alarm or
concern from the authorities, as if they are trying to find something or
find anyone. Things have really taken a dial down over the last hour or
But I think people are trying to get their heads around what`s happened
MELBER: Yes. Ron, speak to that point because we are looking here at live
images from the scene. We`re seeing the authorities, NYPD and other plain
clothes police and authorities in suits. And some of this is also file
But a lot of what we`ve been looking at, Ron, are scenes that look under
control and we were showing our viewers a briefing from authorities that
very clearly made the point that, while it is good to be “alert,” the
governor of New York is encouraging people in this city to continue on as
So, while this is a harrowing attack with eight dead, what the mayor
described as innocent deaths, your view of matching on the ground that
you`re not seeing anything like an open crisis on the ground?
ALLEN: This is New York City, Ari. You live here and this is what you
live with every day. The threat of this and people get on with it. And
that`s what the message was from the mayor and the governor.
If you see something, say something. It sounds so cliche, but it is so
important. And that`s what people are doing. There are Halloween parties
all over the city tonight. Big gathering, kids in the streets. My
daughter is out there with her classmates.
And so, parents are concerned, but they`re going to get on with it. I`m
sure there are some people who will hunker down and stay at home, but the
streets here are alive. People are getting on with their lives. And the
authorities have roped off the area, cordoned off the area where they`re
doing an investigation.
But in some areas, traffic is moving back along and people are getting on
with it. And I think also people are still trying to digest this a little
Remember, when this started to unfold some time ago, it seemed like a much
more innocent thing. But the idea that there has been a terrorist attack
in this city where eight people have been killed and many more injured, and
the numbers may increase, as always is a possibility in these situations, I
think that`s stunning to a lot of people.
It is something you need to get your head around. And so, I think there`s
going to be a lot of caution tonight. There`s going to be a lot of concern
tonight. But New Yorkers are determined to get on with it. And that`s
what I think we`re going to do here.
MELBER: Ron Allen reporting live from lower Manhattan with that view on
the ground. Thank you. And I think we`ll be relying on your reporting
here he on MSNBC as we continue to track this event.
I turn now to NBC`s Pete Williams, a journalist who has been through many
of these crises and tracked the federal law enforcement response. Pete,
what can you tell us tonight?
Well, a couple of things. First of all, have to be said about the
investigative work that`s going on right now. Number one, authorities
believe they know who this is. They have a driver`s license that was on
the man who was shot when he was taken into the hospital.
They believe that the driver`s license that they have is - matches the
person that you see here in this video that is believed to be the person
who drove the car - the truck down the bike path and fired the shots from
his BB gun.
They say he is a 29-year-old man. We believe he has been living - or lived
at one point in Tampa, Florida. The driver`s license is Tampa, Florida.
We believe that he entered the US in 2010 as an Uzbek national and is here
as a lawful, permanent resident. Has a green card.
We frankly have heard several different versions of his name with different
spellings. So, until we`re absolutely 100 percent certain of which is the
right spelling, we`re going to hold off on saying the name until we`re
We think we have a good idea. But the point is, the federal authorities
and the New York authorities think they have a good idea.
So, what will happen now? Number one, he rented this truck. So, that`s a
very big investigative lead. They`ll be going back to the Home Depot where
he rented the truck, looking at the forms that he filled out, questioning
the people who were there when he filled out the forms.
Secondly, it`s very hard to travel anywhere in America without leaving a
trail. So, they will now try to trace his steps. And I mean that
metaphorically. His movements leading up to the moment of the attack.
They will build a reverse time line here.
And they have a lot of things they can look at. They can look at
surveillance camera footage in New York City. They can look at
surveillance cameras on all the bridges and tunnels that lead into
Manhattan. They can look at credit card receipts, toll receipts, motels,
that sort of thing to try to trace his movements leading into New York
City. So that`s, if you will, starting on the Manhattan end and going
On the other end, if that turns out to be Tampa or if he was living at
another address in another state, they will try to then work forward from
those places. They`ll trace his movements from there. They`ll talk to
friends and family. They`ll trace his social media. They`ll look at
people he was talking on.
And then, of course, one of the big differences between this and some of
the other recent attacks that we`ve been through is, he survived the
attack. So, authorities will try to question him and very often
surprisingly, even in terror attacks, people involved in these situations
do end up talking.
So, a big question, of course, is why. Was he self-radicalized? But the
more pressing question is, is there somebody out there? Did someone help
them with this? Did someone suggest this to him? Did someone give him
money? Did someone drive him into town?
All those questions, they are going to try to answer. And it is simply too
soon to know the answer to any of those questions tonight.
But the point is here, there`s a very rich line of investigation to follow
from many different directions that will involve NYPD on the local end,
with the help of the FBI on the other end.
MELBER: And, Pete, when you see authorities refer to this as a terror
investigation, coupled with the reporting you just shared with us, walk us
through what that means and how they got to that point and whether we
should infer that means this ultimately is likely to be deemed, at least in
the eye of the federal authorities, a US terror attack here in New York
WILLIAMS: Well, as a practical manner, it seems like journalists and
politicians are always more interested in that label than law enforcement
I mean, they`ve got their tasks. They`ll go at it. The FBI will help out.
They`ll share this jointly with NYPD. So, I don`t think there`s going to
be any jurisdictional battle here about who takes the lead.
As to why it is a terror attack, what you heard the police commissioner say
is exactly what we`ve been told for two simple reasons.
It follows the pattern of recent terror attacks. It`s what terror groups
have asked people to do. And secondly, many witnesses have said that when
the man jumped out of the truck, he yelled out Allahu Akbar, God is great
in Arabic, and that`s also - but it`s simply those two things.
Until they get any information from him or any information from the
searches of his social media and his home, there is no way to corroborate
that. So, it`s just what you see is what they see as well. And that`s why
they have to assume that this is it.
And it seems pretty obvious at this point that`s probably what it`s going
to turn out to be, but they can`t say for certain until they run it down.
MELBER: Right. NBC`s Pete Williams, thank you very much for sharing the
latest with us. Incredibly helpful on a difficult night in New York City.
I turn now to California Congressman Eric Swalwell who serves on the house
intelligence committee. Congressman, we`re seeing this. Our reporting
showing what US and New York authorities have been saying that this looks
like terrorism in New York City. Your response.
REP. ERIC SWALWELL (D), CALIFORNIA: Good evening, Ari. We`re all New
Yorkers today. We`ve been with New York before. We`re with them tonight,
and especially the families who lost loved ones today.
It looks like terrorism, Ari. You look at - it looks like some planning
went into this. The direction that this driver drove in the wrong
direction in a bicycle-rich area.
It`s also Halloween. And I don`t think you can discount that if you look
at prior attacks. That`s relevant. Bastille Day was a similar method of
attack in France. And, of course, this method was used in London and
Barcelona and even at Ohio State University.
MELBER: Congressman, you think it is not a coincidence potentially that
this happens on Halloween night in New York City?
SWALWELL: Well, it`s something that needs to be run down. There`s a
Halloween Parade in Greenwich Village tonight, not too far away from that
area. And sometimes, American holidays, or holidays across the globe, are
used as days to launch attacks because more people are out.
MELBER: In that spirit, Congressman, I want to read to you something just
coming into our newsroom as we`re report on this attack in New York City
today. Eight dead. Suspect in custody.
And the New York City Halloween Parade will “go on as planned”.
MELBER: This is from the New York City mayor`s office. Your response to
SWALWELL: Good. We`re not going to be scared, whether it`s in New York
City or any other corner of America. We`ve been attacked before. We`ve
honored the dead, but we are resilient. And I don`t think this is going to
MELBER: And, congressman, your view then of where this all heads? This
looks to be, if it does land as a terror incident, the highest body count
terror incident in the United States in all of 2017.
As other reporters have pointed out, there is the question about how you
prevent anything? And we`ve had reports in New York about how people here
don`t live as if you can get the threat down to zero.
And speak, if you will, based on this early setting about what Pete
Williams was reporting that this looks to be a legal foreign national,
which is something, of course, the authorities look at when they`re trying
to figure out motive and the trail.
SWALWELL: If this was indeed a terrorist attack, it just demonstrates
again that this method of attack, using a vehicle, a truck, is going to
continue to be a threat for all of us.
In law enforcement, we have to give them every resource to understand if
individuals are planning or plotting, but it`s also neighbors who may see
something unusual who really need to alert to that and pass it along to law
enforcement. That may be the greatest intervention opportunity that we
MELBER: Congressman Swalwell on House Intelligence Committee, digesting
and reacting to this and echoing, I think, what we`ve heard from other
authorities and leaders here in New York that people will go on tonight as
we still process the horrific attack. Thank you for joining our breaking
SWALWELL: My pleasure.
MELBER: If you`re just joining us, it is 6:18 pm on the East Coast. Eight
dead in this attack and over a dozen injured.
NBC`s Pete Williams was part of our breaking coverage just moments ago
before Congressman Swalwell was speaking to us. And he was talking about
leads that NBC reporters have been chasing down together and trying to
figure out who this suspect is that`s in custody and where this goes from
He mentioned that there wasn`t quite, just within about five minutes ago,
confirmable information. We now have breaking news coming out of our world
headquarters here in New York.
NBC`s Tom Winter also working the case. Tom, what is the latest?
TOM WINTER, NBC NEWS INVESTIGATIONS REPORTER: So, Ari, we feel pretty
comfortable right now from law enforcement sources in identifying the
suspect of this terrorist attack. It is Sayfullo Saipov. Again, that`s
He was born in February of 1988. He is identified as an Uzbekistan
national. He came into the United States in 2010. And that`s the
information that`s coming off of an identification that was found on him at
the scene and police feel confident that they`ve matched that to the person
himself who carried out this terrorist attack in New York City today,
Right now, they are working down leads as far as any sort of contacts that
he may have had. Does this individual have any sort of contacts tied to,
say, a terrorism list somewhere? Any prior contact with law enforcement?
So, that`s where the investigation stands literally right now.
In addition to that, they`re trying to track down where this truck may have
been rented from. They, obviously, have the license plate of the truck.
But where that license plate is from, and we`re aware of that information,
is not necessarily where the truck was rented from. It`s kind of a
So, think of it this way, when you go on vacation and you rent a rental car
from Hertz or Avis, you may rent a rental car in Massachusetts, but it`s
got a license plate from Louisiana.
Certainly now, they are going to try to track down and work with Home
Depot, we`ve already got the statement from that they are cooperating in
this investigation, try to find out where that truck was rented from, to
try to start to build the chronology here.
The immediate chronology, this attack, according to Commissioner James
O`Neill, happened at 3:05 today in New York City. Where that attack
occurred and where it ended up, they`ve got enough cameras there. They
have tremendous angles of the immediate moments leading up to the attack
and following it.
From here now, they`ll start to use license plate readers. They`ll start
to look at all the various camera systems that are part of the lower
Manhattan intelligence initiative that the NYPD has, the domain system, to
try to track back, OK, if this truck wasn`t from New York City, when did it
come in, where did it come in from, and start to go back in time to track
when this person initiated this attack especially and where they`re coming
So, that`s the latest that we know from the investigation, from people that
have been directly briefed on it, from myself and from my colleague
Jonathan Dienst. And that`s where we`re at right now.
MELBER: Fresh reporting here coming into our newsroom, as mentioned, from
Tom Winter and Jonathan Dienst.
I want to you stay with me because you`re basically reporting out the who.
And to some degree, the where. At least with the trail here.
And I want to bring back into our conversation Frank Figliuzzi, a former
counterintelligence senior official with the FBI. Because, Frank, some of
those clues that Tom is reporting out go to the why. Walk us through, in
your experience doing FBI and intel, what happens now?
So, first, two quick comments. New York City is the best positioned city
in America to deal with something like this, largely because they`re the
most targeted city in America.
Secondly, while in most cases like this, early information is often wrong
information, it`s clearly appearing that we have a treasure trove already
of intelligence to follow because we have a subject in custody.
So, here`s what`s going to go on behind the scenes. It`s going on right
now. There`s a joint operations center that`s already been formed, well-
rehearsed. FBI, ATF, Marshals, NYPD, all hands on deck. They`ve rehearsed
But behind the scenes, that address on that driver`s license is already
likely under surveillance by an FBI team in Florida or wherever else that
address is coming back to, all known addresses.
They`re writing a search warrant. It is probably already signed by a
magistrate. FBI SWAT teams are already suiting up for a tactical entry
into his known or believed residences, wherever they are in the country.
If it is Florida, that`s where they`re staging.
FBI bomb techs are going to deploy forward to those locations because of
the risk that they`re boobytrapped. So, this is a carefully orchestrated
plan that`s going on right now.
MELBER: Tom, do you want to speak to that and how that matches what
authorities are doing?
WINTER: Well, it syncs up perfectly with what authorities are doing. As
Frank said, we have some mutual friends in common. This is a well-
rehearsed and a well put together operation.
The FBI unfortunately, because of the amount of terrorism that we`ve had in
this country, this has become a well-oiled operation. So, you have the
investigation on the ground. They`ve got to try to figure out where did he
get this pellet or BB gun that he had? They are, obviously, working on the
truck, as I just mentioned.
And then on top of that, they are going to try to look and figure out
exactly where he was immediately before this. Is there another location
that they need to look? Is there evidence that that location that they
need to look into?
And then, to Frank`s point, at his house in Florida, they`ve got to search
that house. There is a concern for federal agent safety. Is there some
sort of explosive device or something there that they need to look at or
look into, just to make sure there`s nothing that`s going to harm them?
And then, they need to start to gather evidence.
And these days, as we well know from these investigations, it is about the
electronics. Did he search for something on his computer? Was he self-
radicalized? What type of literature was he looking at? What type of
publications online was he looking at? And what`s on his cell phone assume
that they may have recovered one at the scene? If not, what was his recent
The ability to gather this information and download it and research it is
something that is part of the FBI`s CART team. So, that`s their computer
analysis team that`s going to look at this and immediately start to develop
an electronic profile of the person who did this attack today.
MELBER: You talk about a profile. Frank, you have an individual that is
from somewhere else and then is now here in New York today, killing people,
likely legally murdering them, if the suspect information checks out.
And, obviously, as we still as a city process that and mourn those deaths,
there`s always the question of, did this person, from a law enforcement
perspective, come here to do this or did they just happen to be from
somewhere else, like so many people in our country and like so many
American citizens, and then later turn along the line turn to crime or
terror as some people do?
I`m not asking to you diagnose the answer with this individual at this
early hour, but walk us through how authorities pursue those avenues and
why that can or cannot matter.
FIGLIUZZI: So, this is where the FBI`s joint terrorism task forces come
in. Remember, the FBI is both a law enforcement agency and an intelligence
agency. So, they are right now on the phone on secure phones, to Ft.
Mead, Maryland and NSA headquarters and Langley, Virginia, and CIA
headquarters, and they`re asking to scrub all files, all electronic
Has this guy ever come across the radar screen before? The FBI and NYPD
are checking their internal indices? Have we ever interviewed this guy?
Has there ever been a complaint?
The other interesting thing is, has he ever been under surveillance? One
of the worst-case scenarios that we discussed frequently when I was
assistant director was the worst nightmare for a surveillance agent, to be
covering a possible subject and watch them play something out.
What happens? Do we have lethal force authority? These two officers who
took this guy out are heroes tonight. What I`d like to know more about is,
was this a coincidence that they were in the right place at the right time
or was there something more to this?
MELBER: Frank, thank you as always. I`d like to come back to you later in
the hour, if you can hang with us. Same for Tom Winter.
I want to bring now in Evan Kohlmann, a senior partner at Flashpoint, which
tracks terrorist groups. He`s also an NBC terrorism analyst and thus
someone that many of our viewers are familiar with on sad nights like this
as we look at what should be a celebratory night and what for, hopefully,
most of America still will be.
But, Evan, we look up at you and we figure, OK, something bad has happened.
In this case, eight killed, over 12 injured, and authorities digging in on
what our reporters have been talking about, what looks to be a terror
investigation. Walk us through what we need to know.
EVAN KOHLMANN, NBC TERRORISM ANALYST AND SENIOR PARTNER, FLASHPOINT: Well,
look, so far there haven`t been any claims of credit or responsibility from
ISIS or anybody else really. Nothing credible.
And if you look at the facts so far, what we know what happened here,
there`s very good reason to believe that, if this is ISIS inspired, that`s
probably the extent of it.
Number one, ISIS just put out a whole magazine just a few months ago where
they talked about how easy it is to get firearms in the United States and
how anyone looking to carry out a terrorist attack should get themselves a
whole bunch of firearms.
This individual failed at that. The most that he was able to procure was a
pellet gun and a paint gun, which by ISIS standards is not very successful.
I mean, this is a group that was boasting how easy it is to get real
firearms in the United States.
Number two, if you know where this attack took place, I happen to know this
very well. I use this path very frequently. The portion of the exercise
path that was selected here is among the least populated areas of this
If this individual had instead of going south, had gone north, there would
be dozens and dozens of people killed and wounded at this point.
So, if this was a terrorist attack, it possibly was, why was it so poorly
planned if this was ISIS? Why was this person so poorly equipped if this
was ISIS? Rather than using a vehicle like was used in Nice, which was a
massive truck, this was really just a glorified pickup truck.
MELBER: Well, let`s pause on the analysis you`re doing. And you`re citing
something that former Commissioner Bratton and other law enforcement
experts have been speaking about during our coverage on NBC, that this may
echo or overlap with a type of vehicle based murder or terror attack that
we`ve seen in Europe.
But you`re making a distinction, that while it overlaps with that, it
doesn`t appear nearly as effective as some of those attacks?
KOHLMANN: It was very poorly planned. Look, honestly, carrying out a
vehicle attack is not something that you have to have a PhD to do. Being a
murderer does not require a PhD.
But if you compare this to other attacks that have taken place in London
and Nice and elsewhere, this does not appear to have been well planned.
Now, we don`t know for certain.
And it`s fair to say, if this individual is really from the west coast of
Florida, there have been individuals from this area that traveled over to
Syria to join groups like ISIS. And we don`t necessarily know where all
these folks are. Very specifically, this area.
However, if this was ISIS planned, this reflects very poor
conceptualization by the group. If this is really them, they really are on
their last legs because as much as this is terrible and awful and what we
can see is the most graphically successful terrorist attack in the US this
year, again, if you look at the area that this took place in – and not to
mention the fact that there`s Halloween Parade tonight here in New York
City with hundreds, maybe thousands of people on the streets. This guy
went off – chose a bike path that was half populated in the middle of the
day when there was nobody there. Now it is close to the World Trade Center
but not really. I mean, this is five, six blocks away from the World Trade
Center. It`s across a four-lane highway and a major divider. So it`s not
really next to the World Trade Center either.
The truth is, is that it`s a very strange target for ISIS to pick or any
terrorist to pick. And everything about this so far, if it is terrorism,
says that this was some kind of homegrown attack that may or may not have
been inspired by propaganda on the internet. And it is true that there is
plenty of ISIS propaganda out there as well as al-Qaeda propaganda which is
translated into the Uzbek language. So it would have certainly been you
know, within this person`s grasp. There have been other people here of
Uzbek origin that have been prosecuted for trying to either join ISIS or
al-Qaeda, this is all true but nothing about this, nothing about this so
far says that this was the work of an organized terrorist group.
Everything suggests this was the work of a wannabe who had a very poor
conception about what exactly to do and simply was very unfortunately lucky
in this case in terms of what he was able to carry out.
ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: Well – and Evan, you make an interesting point
and a scary one, quite frankly, although we`re not here to scare. We have
been reporting that authorities are said this incident is considered close,
the suspect in custody. But you make the point that if you want to drive a
vehicle into a crowd, this Halloween Parade which is planned for later
tonight and is ongoing would obviously logically dictate be a much larger
crowd. What I want to do here for viewers is take a little bit of a reset.
Our rolling breaking coverage continues but it being 6:30 p.m. here on the
East Coast, what we are doing reporting live is eight people killed in this
attack in New York City this afternoon, over a dozen more injured.
Authorities have the suspect who NBC News is now identified and in custody,
believed to be an Uzbeki national who rented a vehicle from Home Depot and
drove it into this small crowd killing those eight people, entered the
United States authorities believe in 2010. They also have documentation of
him and our experts have been explaining exactly how they`ll be tracking
down those leads. To join me now for more reporting and analysis on all of
this is the former Counter Intelligence Officer, Malcolm Nance, Evan
Kohlmann stays with me whom I was just speaking with. Frank Figliuzzi from
the FBI, previous experience there in counter intel and Ron Allen who we
heard from earlier by phone is now live on camera on the scene. Ron, what
is the latest on the ground?
RON ALLEN, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Ari, I think people are still
digesting what has happened and in true New York mindset, just getting on
with it. Earlier, I was standing over close to the bike path and there was
a huge crowd of students coming out of Stuyvesant High School, the school
that was essentially on lockdown for a time very close to the attack. Many
of them were just in Halloween costumes and they were going off on their
evening of trick or treating and getting on with their lives. I think
that`s the mindset here. Whether this was an organized attack or this was
a lone wolf, whatever it was, I think the mindset in New York is that this
is – this happens in New York, it could it happen in New York and people
are not going to be cowed and or deterred by it.
Obviously, people are going to be vigilant. They`re going to – you know,
the old cliche of see something or say something. I also want to just
point out that the area where this attack happened, that bike path, for the
most part, it is very well protected from the sort of thing and that there
is a guardrail or a path or a barrier that lines much of the – much of the
route but there`s an opening at the intersection where a vehicle, perhaps
this one could have driven up and become a battering ram along the way.
But many of the streets of this part of Manhattan are – do have
barricades. They don`t have one here that I can show you but there is
protection from this sort of. Of course, you can`t do everything possible
to eliminate this kind of an incident.
But I think here in the streets tonight, people are out, people are in
costume. There are these huge gatherings everywhere, around town,
Halloween parties, many involving kids. I`ve talked on a number of people
here who we saw them coming after school and at around 3:00 or 3:30,
parents bringing their kids home from school. This is a commercial area,
it`s a tourist area, it`s also a residential area. New York, everything
happens in very small confined spaces so there`s a lot of life going on
here and people are just kind of getting on with it. These Halloween
parties will be gearing up as the hours descend on us. It`s 6:30 or so in
the East and it`s going to get later.
I know my daughter and a lot of her classmates are going to a party and
people are concerned but of course, they`re not going to be terribly –
they`re not going to freak out and get crazy about all this. I think
people are going to try and keep in perspective what`s happened, be very
concerned, very vigilant but of course just try to get on with and it and
of course try to know everything we can about what happened so to prepare,
to prevent the next one. And that`s where we are. Authorities are telling
people, be vigilant and get on with your lives. That`s what – that`s what
we see happening here on the streets of New York tonight. Ari?
MELBER: All right, Ron Allen on the ground there close to the scene, stay
with me. You`re echoing from what you`re seeing in your reporting and what
people are feeling, something we`ve been hearing from a lot of experts.
Malcolm Nance, I want to bring you back into this conversation because
earlier Evan Kohlmann was talking about why the evidence suggests this
would necessarily be a high level orchestrated foreign attack based on what
indicators we have. Other experts have said it`s also just very early
beyond the authentication of the individual to make any such leaps.
And in our reporting here as journalists, we`re reflecting that guidance.
That`s where we would stand – that`s where we stood as of a few minutes
ago but Malcolm, there is one government official that is not necessarily
displaying that same approach. Let me read to you the latest statement
from the President of the United States which says, “We must not allow ISIS
to return or enter our country after defeating them in the Middle East and
elsewhere. Enough!” That`s from moments ago in his second tweet that has
come in the last hour in apparent response to what is the unknown situation
in New York.
MALCOLM NANCE, MSNBC TERRORISM ANALYST: Well, not extraordinary and should
have been expected. But for the most part, you know, let me go back to
some of the analysis. Evan made a very good point and about the question
of organization and whether this was supported. We just don`t know whether
there`s a backstory or someone who may have given this individual
information. How do you even know about the west side highway bike path
unless you`ve driven there before? I`ve actually been right at that
intersection, Canal Street in that bike path. It appears to me that you
know, based on my initial analysis, he was following a GPS. But someone
could have told him, this is where you go.
There were hundreds of intersections down Canal that he could have gone
through and done the exact same thing. So that sort of lends some credence
to the fact that it was amateurishly planned or planned at a very low
level, you know, from someone who may have seen it or looked at Google
Earth and considered that a very heavily populated area. And as we all
know, further up that bike path, or a few blocks down towards the World
Trade Center, he would have gotten more people. So that being said, when
it comes to a terrorist individual or a cell, we have no idea when they are
planning to go. They have a no – a go-no go mindset that is very hard to
MELBER: So what you`re – what you`re saying in the most measured way
possible is that the best thing to do in this instance at this hour would
be to ignore the President`s apparent reference to suggest or tie this to
ISIS because we just don`t know.
NANCE: Well, you don`t know whether it`s ISIS. And let me tell you al-
Qaeda is pushing the exact same ideology. They are older, deeper and
longer in this game. However, we do know one thing that`s empirically you
know, supported. ISIS had one of the largest numbers of Uzbek populations
in the Salafi`s terrorism in South Asia and the Middle East, even in Syria.
But until we do get real hard intelligence on this individual, these are a
little preemptive. And you know, I know that`s going to be tied into
politics and immigration at some point, but you know, the guy has been here
since 2010. We saw the same problem that happened with the Tsarnaev
brothers in Boston. These people self-radicalized and it could have been
an American who was formerly Catholic two weeks ago just as easily as it
was a person from South Asia.
MELBER: Frank go ahead.
FRANK FIGLIUZZI, FORMER ASSISTANT DIRECTOR FOR COUNTERINTELLIGENCE, FBI:
Look, what people don`t know if the FBI has over 60 offices abroad and one
of those – one of those legal attache offices covers Uzbekistan so it`s
going to be a late day for those folks. And they`re waking up or hitting
the Uzbeki government offices, the family members need to be interviewed.
They`re going to pull files there. So this is an international
investigation at this point. The other thing is, what can we learn from
the lack of sophistication of this attack? It is unsophisticated and so
I`m going to – I`m going to go out on a limb here and say there`s going to
be a mix of mental health issues, and maybe some perceived motivation. But
this is not somebody who spent a great deal of time planning a
MELBER: I want you to stay with me. This has been an unfolding scene and
now we have some new sound coming in from a witness around that scene in
New York today. Let`s play that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Women and children running toward me. That`s when I
heard one of the girls yelling that (INAUDIBLE) there was a man with a gun.
And I turned around to get away but around 30 seconds to a minute later I
heard gunshots. And that`s when I got interested and I turned around to go
see what happened. And at that point, I saw a man lying on the ground who
appeared to have been shot. And right next to him, there was another man
who was being arrested. (INAUDIBLE) the man is on hands and right next to
him was the white pickup truck that Home Depot logo is on it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: That`s just some of the new sound we`ve been getting there from an
incident there in lower Manhattan that took the lives of eight innocent New
Yorkers, an act of terror according to the Mayor of New York in remarks to
(INAUDIBLE) still as we`ve stressed under investigation. I want to bring
in here on set Michael Balboni. When you talk about the unique threats
facing New York, you`re an individual that has been an expert on this and a
leader and a legislator leading the Homeland Security Committee I should
say in this state. What do you see here today?
MICHAEL BALBONI, FORMER NEW YORK HOMELAND SECURITY ADVISER: What is
fascinating from the early perspective, you`ve been rightfully stressing
the fact that it`s an ongoing investigation. You really shouldn`t jump to
any conclusions. But the things that jump out at me is how the New York
City Police Department is going to react to this. It is Halloween. This
was done around a school. The question becomes, what is the – what was
the targeting? Was this a random target? He rents the truck in Jersey and
then drives here? Just imagine what`s going through his mind. Is he just
looking for any type of gathering of individuals? Is he looking for a
school bus? Is he looking for a school? I think that a lot of things are
going to hinge upon. What one of your analysts said is, is there kind of a
mix of radicalization and mental health issues? But the real challenge now
is copycats. We`re taking –
MELBER: On mental health for you, what is the indicator or tip there that
this was done so oddly although it`s taken the lives of eight innocent New
Yorkers, again to paraphrase the Mayor, but at a security level which is
the analysis that you all do, and do sometimes in a cold way, it could have
taken a lot more lives.
BALBONI: Yes, but he had a paintball gun and a bb gun. So what does that
indicate? That he`s going to get out of the vehicle and do what?
MELBER: What does it indicate?
BALBONI: It indicates that he didn`t really have a plan. And maybe he
wanted to commit suicide from the Police officer shooting him, that he
wanted to –
MELBER: The theory of the case being that having a fake gun that looked
like a real gun would lead that?
BALBONI: Perhaps. I mean, again, this is all speculation but it leads to
a sense that this is not someone who has appeared to be the training of
someone who has been overseas and has military training. This is some
random act where he picked an intersection and has gone after individuals
in the easiest way possible. Now, we`ve seen that around the world. We`ve
it obviously in Nice, and Germany, and London. But one of the things that
we also going to take a look at is what kind of impact would this have
around the communities? This is still Halloween night. And as one of your
reporters talk about is you know, there`s lots of parties going on. So for
the NYPD, they have to do is they`ve got to lock down the city but yet
still let people enjoy the celebration. It`s an enormously tense moment
for them while they do the investigation and that`s why there`s such a
rapid pace on this investigation right now.
MELBER: Stay with me. Frank, on the Halloween point, how confident are
authorities when they say we`re going to continue if they had something
akin to much more specific intelligence or warnings, presumably they would
act on that in contrast to what they`ve said tonight.
FIGLIUZZI: Yes, so look, here`s what`s probably going on now to FBI
headquarters. They`re trying to make a decision on how to advise field
offices and Police Departments around the country on handling security for
Halloween night. And I would not be surprised if an adviser is going out
in conjunction with the Department of Homeland Security suggesting
increased vigilance and patrols tonight because the copycat factor, absence
any other intelligence that this is part of some larger event, just the
copycat factor alone is cause for concern.
MELBER: We`ve been mostly in our broadcast really focused on the who,
what, where, and when, and what we can glean out of this event in New York
City. I want to broaden our lens here as our continuing coverage goes on
and bring in NBC`s Hallie Jackson who`s live at the White House. Hallie, I
can tell you pouring into the newsroom right now are something that`s
become a bit of a sad ritual, the statements of solidarity appreciated as
they are but sad to see because you are talking about a global terror
threat. Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, new statement, London stands in
grief and solidarity “with the great city of New York tonight.”
A statement from a Leader from another city plagued by violence of a range
of kinds. Chicago Mayor Emanuel, we stand in solidarity with New York City
in the wake of this horrific attack. The prayers of every Chicagoan are
with the victims and the families in New York in this difficult day. The
leader of the minority party in the Senate in the town you`re in Chuck
Schumer, also new coming into our newsroom, thoughts with the victims and
their families. Of course, he`s also a New York Senator. As the
investigation unfolds, it`s critical that we learn what we can from this
incident. The scourge of terrorism he says, unfortunately still with us
and we must remain vigilant. What reporting do you have and what are you
hearing there from the lawn of the White House?
HALLIE JACKSON, MSNBC ANCHOR: So let me go through a couple of things
here, Ari. So number one, I think what has stood out for example in some
of the statements we`ve seen from the Capitol have been the phrasing of an
act of terror or linking this to terror. President Trump so far including
in a tweet just within the last maybe ten minutes or so has not explicitly
called this an act of terror but did seem to link this to ISIS. And I want
to read you what he said. He said we must not allow ISIS to return or
enter our country after defeating them in the Middle East and elsewhere.
Enough! This comes after a first tweet in which he said, NYC, looks like
another attack by a very sick and deranged person. Law enforcement is
following this closely, adding, not in the USA. In past –
MELBER: And Hallie –
JACKSON: Go ahead.
MELBER: Let`s just pause in the point although as an interviewer, I don`t
know if it`s exactly where you were going or not. But I want to make sure
we pause from the point that that alone is quite different from the way
most White Houses –
JACKSON: That`s exactly right.
MELBER: Go ahead.
JACKSON: No, no, you`re making the right point here, Ari, because
typically we would see a statement that is not quite as perhaps emphatic as
this one is. But let me just put it in the context of this administration.
This is similar to what the President has tweeted in the past including by
the way, about, for example, some of the attacks in London that you just
referenced of course from reading that statement from the London Mayor.
Now, in some of those incidents, specifically the two attacks in London,
the President has tried to link this to his travel ban which has raised
someday questions here in Washington. That is obviously not the case at
this point here tonight, Ari, but I think, and I appreciate you sort of
stopping and making that point here because while this is something, and I
would say the tone that we have seen from President Trump in the past, it
is not necessarily typical for previous administration.
That said, the President came out via his Press Secretary with the White
House releasing a statement early on saying he`s receiving multiple
briefings, sending thoughts and prayers to those affected by this. So
right now, that`s what`s happening at the West Wing. I`ve been told that
the President has been updated multiple times. Although we`re not sure
quite how many about what has been unfolding in New York City. And let me
just make this other point too here. First Lady Melania Trump is in New
York today. She had been there for previously scheduled meeting. Trump
Tower is about four miles from where this happened in Lower Manhattan at
this bike path here. And of course, while something like this is horrific
for any President, for this President, it does hit particularly close to
MELBER: And the last question I`ll ask is, what hangs in the backdrop? I
mean, today was another day that was incredibly unusual –
MELBER: – in the place you`re standing. A press briefing that seemed to
be almost, I would say, a sad self-parody of trying to change the subject
as the representative of the President held forth on whether slavery was
defensible or not in response to comments made by the Chief of Staff
assuming they want to talk about anything than the other law enforcement
challenge, the Russia investigation. This is the first day since the
indictments and the guilty plea all became public yesterday. Can you just
as a final thought before I let you go, Hallie, walk us through the day in
the life you`ve seen there –
JACKSON: The backdrop – yes.
MELBER: – and whether it – whether it feels any different or kind of
more stable now as they are reminded that there are so much responsibility
on a night like tonight?
JACKSON: Let me just sort of step back and say from a broad context point
of view when it comes to what this White House is dealing with this week
alone Ari, we`ll walk through that which is, number one, what you – it`s
referenced today which is not just comments creating controversy from the
Chief of Staff but sort of more notably, the indictment and the plea
agreement from the Special Counsel triggered by that Special Counsel
investigation. You`ve got by the way policy happening domestically with
the President and Republicans working to roll out this big tax cut plan,
what they hope to be their signature legislative achievement of the Fall.
Tomorrow, and then two days after that, you have the President leaving for
a critically important trip to Asia and we cannot sort of understate the
importance of that trip.
Multiple countries over the course of 12 days, this is going to be
significant on a foreign policy front. All of that is happening now as
this – what the New York City Mayor has called act of terror unfold in
Lower Manhattan. From a news perspective, of course, every day at this
White House is a busy one from that front, Ari. But I will say that time
and time again we`ve stood here and we`ve talked about terrible attacks.
Attacks that have taken lives similar to this here in the United States and
around the world.
MELBER: Hallie Jackson reporting from the White House, thank you very much
and we appreciate it. Our experts are staying with us and in moments I
believe, we`re going get a local reporter who has been also working the
story for us, Jonathan Dean who has an update on the suspect`s record. So
we are efforting to get that here within our hour. We`re not taking any
breaks. I want to bring back in Mike Balboni to our coverage. First of
all, do you have any thoughts about what Hallie was mentioning and what is
I think a struggle at times like this? You have – you have these deaths
in New York, you try to make sense of it, and you kind of have to do a
workaround and as I have been reporting, either kind of neglect or put to
the side a statement from the top of the federal government which at best
seems to overreach the ISIS reference beyond what our own sources are
saying the authorities have, which is they don`t – they don`t have that
kind of I.D. for this subject yet.
BALBONI: I think that a lot of people struggle with the concept of how
much information does the White House get immediately? And they have this
expectation that instantaneous, and it`s not. And one of the truisms of
any type of emergency scene is the first reports are usually wrong. It`s
just – talk to an emergency manager, any police officer, that`s what
they`ll tell you. So to talk from Washington D.C. about an incident that
happens, you`re ultimately going to have some missing information
MELBER: So you`re saying less from there tonight would be better?
BALBONI: I think it`s always good to have as many facts as you can before
coming out with something. But here`s the other thing. There`s certain
events that happens a lot that you just simply can`t explain. The
randomness of this, there was really – think about the victims` families.
How are they going to come to grips with the randomness of this? It`s the
statistical abnormality that you could be in place that has – in a city of
8 million people and this is what happens, and you`re on a beautiful sunny
MELBER: Well, you speak to that. That`s the humanity of this Malcolm.
You were mentioning being down there at the bike path, New York is the kind
of town where you hear about something like this that is this random and
this massive, and the calls and the texts are coming in because a lot of
people know a lot of people and anyone could be downtown near a bike path
in the afternoon.
NANCE: Yes, you`re absolutely right. As a matter of fact, I got almost a
real-time notice and photographs and people who were down there, there was
video out within minutes of that happening. There`s still media coming in
right now. But for the most part, looking back on the profile of the
individual, we now know is from west – you know, Western Florida. It
really strikes me that this person didn`t know New York City as we talked
about a little earlier. You know, there were – I mean he could have gone
to 42nd Street, he could have gone to other places, it`s almost as if
someone suggested this spot and he GPS his way over to that spot and then
took that strip of road, which is like La Rambla, you know, in Barcelona
and carried out that attack.
There were hundreds of other venues. He didn`t seem to know anything at
all about the Halloween parades, or Halloween for that matter even though
he`s been here. This one is going to get a lot of scrutiny the JTTF and
the FBI as to why he chose that spot. And as we like to say, the target is
the tactic, right? Whatever you`re going to choose to attack, you`ve got
to bring the right weapons system and you`ve got to bring the right tactics
to make it effective. And in this case, he – it`s almost as if it was
MELBER: Wow. Malcolm, stay with me. I turn now as promised to WNBC Chief
Investigative Reporter John Dean. Anyone who lives in New York, as many of
us do in this newsroom know John for his sourcing and for tracking down
some of these really tough stories. I know, you`ve been busy from looking
at a lot of your reporting and notes coming in over our (INAUDIBLE). Walk
us through what you know, and what I`m seeing brand new from you and Tom
Winter regarding prior interactions with law enforcement by the suspect.
JOHN DEAN, WNBC CHIEF INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER: First important to stress is
law enforcement and intelligence officials say this guy was not on the
radar screen when it came to terror, but he did – he worked as a truck
driver and had some traffic infractions in the past, but nothing that would
suggest as of now that he was going to carry out any sort of terror attack
here in New York. Again, Sayfullo Saipov, he`s an Uzbeki who came in 2010
into the U.S. He flew in through JFK and apparently won a Green Card
lottery and spent some time in Florida. There were three states now taking
a hard look at him, New York where the attack happened, New Jersey, Passaic
County which is about 20 to 30 minutes from here, where he apparently was
living, spending some time working there, and also Tampa, Florida because
he has that Tampa Driver`s License.
So they are looking into what warning signs, if there`s any electronic
media, anything that suggests he was inspired or he was in contact with
anyone that may have encouraged him to carry out this type of attack.
Again, witnesses told police he was screaming Allahu Akbar as he got out of
that Home Depot pick-up truck carrying two fake guns when he was shot by a
police officer who happened to be on duty right nearby. Shot in the
abdomen, he survived. So they will be questioning him at great length
about why he decided to carry out the attack. Intelligence officials and
the Governor telling us that this appears to be the work of a lone actor,
that there was no evidence of any broader threat or broth at this time.
But we know in New Jersey right now, police and FBI agents are going to
Home Depot locations and to addresses that they have for him in Passaic
County trying to track down what else they can learn about this suspect.
So again, no indication that he was plotting anything, at least he wasn`t
on the radar screen, but what they find in his apartment and how he was
able to pay for this truck that I guess is $19 for the first 75 minutes and
a few bucks extra every 15 minutes after that that he rented from Home
Depot and that he apparently drove it from New Jersey into New York and
targeted the bike path as well as a little school bus that was carrying
disabled children. And three disabled children were hurt when that pick-up
truck smashed into that school bus in what police say was a deliberate act,
not only running down the pedestrians, and the bikers on that bike path,
but targeting the kids on that school bus before emerging in that vehicle.
MELBER: The – your sources – your sources believe that aspect of this
attack was also deliberate?
DEAN: Yes, they believe that he deliberately drove that truck right at the
school bus when he saw it. That`s what we`re being told.
MELBER: Jonathan, I want to read to you from some of the reactions pouring
in. Again, this being a major event and a major terror event according to
authorities, an apparent terror attack is the language we`re seeing.
President Bill Clinton who of course has kept an office in New York and
whose spouse was a New York Senator posting New Yorkers see this attack for
what it is, an attempt to sow fear. We stand against terror as we grieve
for the victims and we thank the NYPD. He writes on the current
government`s side, the Acting Press Secretary at DHS notes that the acting
– excuse me – the acting – the acting Homeland Security Elaine Duke, I
should mention says this is an apparent act of terrorism that occurred this
evening in New York City. That`s the language there.
I want to thank Jonathan Dean for joining us and let him go continue to
work his sources. And Malcolm Nance, and excuse me, I should say Evan
Kohlmann, when you look at that in that language from the DHS, a little
more restrained, but I would say still based on covering these things, I
don`t know as much as you do, it seems pretty swift here, based on any of
the indicators they have that the Feds and New York authorities here using
this language, either calling it an act of terror or an apparent act of
terrorism, the very similar language from DHS. Evan?
KOHLMANN: Yes – no, look, it`s definitely terrorism. It sure looks like
he had ill intent. But do you really believe that this individual was so
sophisticated that he somehow evaded NSA surveillance, he somehow evaded
any detection of what he was doing and he traveled to a terrorist training
camp in Syria and then came back? No, obviously not. I mean, the target
that this guy went after, the means that he carried it out, everything here
suggests that this guy was in the too sharp. The fact that he killed and
hurts so many people was a very, very sad and tragic thing and
unfortunately, that`s part of you know, people carrying out terrorist
attacks in an urban area, it`s not that difficult to kill and hurt people.
But everything about this tells us that this individual was a lone wolf,
was deluded, probably didn`t have any contact will be a terrorist group.
Again, ISIS has told people living here in the U.S. that they – it`s very
easy to get guns, and this guy wasn`t even able to achieve that, something
that they said was extremely easy to do. He got – instead of getting a
big, big truck like what we`ve seen in Nice – again, he got glorified pick
up ride. This guy is a truck driver, he doesn`t know that? Everything
here tells you this is not someone who was trained in a terrorist training
camp, not someone who`s on a first name basis with Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
This is a wannabe at best.
MELBER: And thank you, Evan, for your reporting. Jim Cavanaugh, I`ll hand
the final word to you. Evan mentioning the odd situation with the lack of
actually lethal firearms, you, of course, worked at the agent of firearms,
JIM CAVANAUGH, RETIRED ATF SPECIAL AGENT: Well, I think Evan is very right
on every aspects as I think he usually is. He`s very deep in these guys
has and that`s a great intelligence assessment. What this guy could do
with the two bb guns, he still could carjack somebody, throw them out of
their car, take another car and run over more people. So you can`t
discount the fact that it was a bb gun or a paint gun. The NYPD patrol
officer that shot him, stopped him but he could have carjacked yet another
car and run over yet more people. I totally agree it`s likely a mad dog
lone inspired on the internet, actor, looser, coward.
MELBER: Jim Cavanaugh, thank you as well. Coward being a theme that we
heard from the governor of New York as well in that official briefing.
My thanks to all our reporters all over New York City, Washington and our
I`m Ari Melber signing off from our newsroom here in New York. But our
breaking news coverage on this story continues now on “HARDBALL” with Chris
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