The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 12/3/2015
Show: THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW
Date: December 3, 2015
Guest: Jack Dolan, Scriven King
LT. MIKE MADDEN, FIRST POLICE OFFICER ON SCENE: It seemed a little
surreal. But yet I did the job I was supposed to do. My job is to go in
there, and people don`t call the police because they`re having a great day.
They call because there`s tragedy going on and this was tragedy that I`ve
never experienced in my career. And that I don`t think most officers do.
And so, we had to deal with it and bring them to safety and bring some kind
of calm to the chaos that was going on. So just knowing, though, that
yeah, we resolved that situation quickly but there`s so much tragedy left
behind. There are so many families as we go into these holiday season that
are now going to have to deal with the tragedy that were left behind by the
senseless acts of violence. That`s a little tough to deal with.
REPORTER: You talked about the panic that you saw in people`s faces. How
did you deal with them? What do you say to them? How do you calm them
down when you yourself are going through this chaotic situation?
MADDEN: You know, you have to be clear in your orders. The initial 50
people did not want to come to us. They were fearful. And they were in
the back hallway area. And that actually heightened my concern and my fear
that potentially the suspects were in that hallway holding them hostage and
waiting for us to enter into the hallway. We had to tell them several
times come to us, come to us. And ultimately they did.
And once that first person took the motions forward, it opened the
floodgates and everybody wanted to come and get away from that as quickly
as possible. We can`t panic in those situations. These people have dealt
with enough. The last thing they need to see is their police officers
REPORTER: Was it silent in there? Or did you hear screams? Can you talk
a little bit about this, (INAUDIBLE) people you`re taking in?
MADDEN: It was extremely loud. The fire alarms were going off. There
were people who were obviously injured and obviously in great amounts of
pain. That was evidence in the moans and the wails we were hearing in the
room. It was very loud in the room. And we also had fire sprinklers going
off inside the room. That was adding to the chaos.
REPORTER: And immediately trying to offer information about the shooters
or did you get a sense to realize what had just happened?
MADDEN: My primary goal was to find out how many and where they were. And
I was asking individuals, but again, panic was obvious and apparent. So we
weren`t getting a lot of information in regards to that.
REPORTER: Did you find the – did your team find the bomb?
MADDEN: No. Our team did not find any of the explosive devices. Those
were found later.
REPORTER: The room that there was a holiday party, were there decorations,
food, tables, chairs?
MADDEN: That sums it up. Yes, it was. It`s a fairly large meeting room.
And I noticed upon entry that there`s a Christmas tree in there. All of
the tables were decorated for a Christmas party. And it just – it just
seemed so senseless that here`s people going into their holiday festivities
and now we were dealing with that.
REPORTER: You talked about the training that you have. But how do you
stay calm? Do you take deep breaths going in there? Did you think about
it? Did you feel the adrenaline going through your system?
MADDEN: Yes, I`m sure I did. But you can`t let your emotions override
your judgment, and you need to do the job that we`re supposed to do. It`s
what we`re trained to do.
REPORTER: What has it been like over the last day and a half? (INAUDIBLE)
but you, yourself, and the other responding officers.
MADDEN: You know, I`ve tried to make a point of those officers that I knew
were some of the initial guys in with us, which there were many officers
who did extraordinary jobs yesterday for our department and also for all of
the agencies who responded so quickly. It was just – it was truly
overwhelming to see all the agencies that got here and got here in a hurry
to provide us assistance because just like I said, I was sensing that this
was a true event. They had the same sense. And they got here and nobody
People knew what their job was, and their job was to try to bring some calm
to chaos. So it`s one of those things. You k now, we – I`ve gone around.
I`ve tried to contact our officers. I tried to assess how they`re doing.
Talk a little bit about it. And in doing that maybe that`s helping me a
little bit as well. So, I think we`ll all work through it together.
REPORTER: There`s a video showing the incredible courage of an officer
who`s helping people trying to get out saying I will take a bullet before
you do, I`m sure of it. Was that you? And if not, who was that? And can
MADDEN: No, I`d like to think I was that cool. But no. Unfortunately,
I don`t know that that officer has been officially identified as of yet,
but I`m told he`s one of Sheriff McMahon`s folks. But again, I haven`t had
REPORTER: What was your reaction when you saw that?
MADDEN: I`m sorry?
REPORTER: What was your reaction when you saw that video?
MADDEN: I saw that everywhere yesterday. That was what was happening
everywhere during this event.
REPORTER: Could you address the pride that you felt with the men and women
and the manner in which they acted in that scene yesterday, and can you
just address how you felt about those men and women that were under your
MADDEN: You know, we`ve taken a lot of hits lately. Some justified. Much
of it not justified. And it takes a toll. It takes a toll on all cops
because it`s hard being – it`s hard being labeled and hard being branded
as, you know, being rogue or, you know – and I guarantee you that no cop
comes into this job with the mindset oh, great, now I have ultimate power
to be corrupt and to violate people`s rights.
There are cops who go astray. But overwhelmingly, the vast majority of
officers, and when I say vast majority I`m talking 99.5 percent of the
officers go out and they do the job to protect the public, and yesterday
just reminded me of that. And it just solidified that again in my heart
and in my mindset. And for that I`m – for that I`m thankful.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`re going to take two more questions.
REPORTER: You were on patrol that day. What did you hear from the
residents – obviously this is sinking in with a lot of people in this
community. What have they told you?
MADDEN: You know, not just myself but every officer who I`m encountering
right now is getting the same kind of positive encouragement and support
because again, I think this – we can never underlie the tragedy that
befell the city and so many families yesterday. But there is support for
REPORTER: Was there a moment when you realized the threat you were facing
had a level of sophistication, that they had some level of training? And
just to follow up on that, did they leave anything behind in the way of a
manifesto or any notes?
MADDEN: It was pretty clear when we knew we had an active shooter and when
we saw the severity and the amount of carnage upon our initial entry that
this was – that this wasn`t just a rogue individual. There was something
more. So as far as us finding any kind of manifesto, no, sir. I don`t
have any information in regards to that.
JARROD BURGUAN, SAN BERNARDINO POLICE CHIEF: So, real quickly, Mike made
reference early on that this was hard to believe that this was happening in
his town. Mike was raised in this town, went to high school in this town,
spent the majority of his law enforcement career in this town. It`s
genuine when he says that, that he felt that this was his town being
So with that, thank you for being here, folks. We will be back in the
morning for another press conference. And I believe somebody from the
sheriff`s department might stand by to talk about the photos and get the
digital images. Thank you very much, folks.
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: We`re expecting that to be the last official
delivery of information this evening from local authorities and in fact
federal law enforcement authorities on scene in San Bernardino tonight.
I`m Rachel Maddow at MSNBC headquarters in New York. Thank you for being
with us tonight.
That was a briefing which is very different from the other briefings that
we`ve had from law enforcement. The first difference is it started with a
short but serious statement from the governor of California, governor of
California, Governor Jerry Brown, addressing reporters briefly saying we
will go as far as we have to, to make sure public safety is protected. We
also heard from the district attorney, who talked about working with
federal prosecutors as well.
We did get some new information from the San Bernardino County police
chief. But the – and I`ll talk about that in just one second.
The bulk of what we just heard, though, was a remarkable first-person
account from a San Bernardino police lieutenant named Mike Madden who was
the first police officer on scene. We`ve not previously had him made
available in terms of talking to the press. But he just told a remarkable
personal story about being literally the first responder to this event.
He`s a lieutenant in the San Bernardino Police Department.
He said one of his responsibilities at the department is that he oversees
dispatch. So he oversees the whole system of sending officers out to
potential crime scenes in that community. And he said because of his role
in overseeing dispatch, he could tell by ear, he could tell from the voices
and the tone that was being used by the people who were working in the
dispatch center that something very serious was under way. He was only
about a mile away from the scene when those calls came out.
Again, he said he just personally recognized that this was going to be a
big deal. He immediately went to the scene. He was the first one there.
And then he just gave this remarkable recounting of the decision-making
process that he alone had to go through, and then he and the other officers
that arrived soon after he did in terms of honestly having to walk around
and choose to not help people who were hurt and who were calling out for
help and who needed help. But they were trained. He`s actually cited the
Columbine incident specifically. He said they were trained after that
incident that what you need to do is not attend to the victims there. You
need to find the threat and stop the threat.
He said they believed at that time when they entered the scene that there
were still according to reports between one and three shooters still
inside. He said he had heard reports that there had been assailants who
had potentially left the scene in a black SUV, they had heard those
responses but he didn`t know especially because there might have been
multiple assailants if some people who were still inside who were the bad
actors, the people who had caused this event.
He said knowing that they had to walk past people who were hurt, people who
were wounded in order to try to clear the scene, in order to try to find
out if the shooters were still there.
Specifically, he talked about two I found very moving instances. One was
the difficulty of trying to persuade the survivors, the people who had just
gone through this gun massacre, trying to persuade them that it was same to
come to police officers, that they could leave the back hall or the other
areas of that building where they had hidden or they had ended up as
survivors from that scene. It was hard as police officers to persuade
people it was safe to come with them as officers in order to get it of
The other thing he described, though, was just the sensory experience of
being in there, the loudness of it. We had heard from law enforcement
earlier in the day that one of the things that complicated that as a scene
that need to be cleared and ultimately as a scene that needs to be
investigated was that the fire sprinklers went off. We don`t exactly know
why. The police chief had earlier speculated that it`s possible some
element of the sprinkler system had been hit by a bullet and maybe that set
But for whatever reason, as this officer described, again, Lieutenant Mike
Madden who was first on the scene, he said those fire alarms were going off
and the sprinklers were going off, and people were screaming in pain who
had been hurt. We now know 21 people had been hurt.
So, that was – it didn`t necessarily add to the bullet points of factual
information that we had about exactly what happened here and why it may
have happened, but that was the most remarkable first person account we`ve
heard from any law enforcement officer who`s been involved in this at all.
In terms of the new information we`ve just been given, and again, we don`t
expect a further briefing from law enforcement tonight, the San Bernardino
police chief who`s done so much of this briefing, Police Chief Jarrod
Burguan from San Bernardino, he gave some very specific new information
First, they did release some new pictures, pictures that were recovered
from the scene of the shootout we believe with officers. As you can see
there, some of the images they`re releasing to the public right now as we
speak are of weapons that were recovered at the scene. We believe those to
be the weapons used by the shooters at the Inland Regional Center. They
were recovered at that SUV, both long guns and handguns. You see extra
Also pictures of the vehicle in which those suspects engaged in this
incredibly intense shootout with police. We`ve been told that a lot of
ammunition was recovered at the scene. That obviously would be some of
that ammunition. So, they`re releasing those pictures. They were also
able to be specific about the event that was the site of the shooting. The
police chief saying just tonight that it was a department of public health
So, this was a San Bernardino County of public health event. And there had
been conflicting reports about whether this was some sort of meeting or
whether it was a banquet or whether it was a holiday party. We now know it
was a little bit of each. As the police chief described it, it was sort of
training in the morning that was transitioning to a holiday party in the
We also for the first time have some numbers in terms of the number of
people who may have been on scene. We`ve been told the room in which the
massacre happened held something like 200 or 250 people in terms of its
capacity. We hadn`t previously known how many people might have been in
that room. And by extension what proportion of those people were hurt or
wounded – hurt or killed.
We now know according to the police chief that there were 91 invited guests
at that event and they had some sort of sign-in sheet to check people in as
they arrived. 91 people were invited. They believe somewhere between 71
and 80 people were in the room when the shooting actually happened.
Of that number of people we now know a significant proportion were killed
or wounded. Again, if there were 80 people in that room and we`re talking
about 14 people killed and 21 people wounded, 35 people out of 80 being
shot is remarkable. In terms of the people who were killed and who were
wounded, we do also have some – we have names of the victims in terms of
those who were killed that we`ll be talking about a little later on
But we were also told for the first time tonight the proportion of them who
were county employees. There were 14 people killed in total. 12 of the 14
were San Bernardino county employees.
Of the people who were wounded, we know there were 21 people wounded, 18 of
the 21 people wounded were also San Bernardino County employees.
So, I mean, you think about this as a tragedy of national, potentially
international proportions, but it is also in one very specific way a very,
very devastating local event.
Joining us live from the scene now in San Bernardino is NBC News
correspondent Chris Jansing, who was at this press conference that just
wrapped up a few moments ago and who`s been on the scene all day.
Chris, thank you very much for being with us. I appreciate it.
CHRIS JANSING, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Happy to be here.
MADDOW: That summary that I just gave of what we learned from the press
conference tonight, is that basically it in terms of new information? Have
we learned anything tonight in this press conference and from other sources
tonight that is new?
JANSING: I think what we have heard here really, Rachel, and you hit on
it, is in addition to people who were killed and those who were wounded
there are a lot of victims here and some of them are the people who had to
go into that room and make those stuff decisions. This is something that
they will live with for the rest of their lives, as the families of the
victims will, as this entire community will. A phrase that he used that
really struck me was that his job was to try to bring calm to the chaos.
And he did in such a sort of calm way express what a horrifying scene it
was that immediately, when he went in there, he recognized that it was as
horrible as they thought it was, that immediately they realized that people
had died. And he described the other people as being in a case of pure
And you mentioned that so many police officers, but this one in particular
said after columbine we were trained for this. They tried to give you a
sense of even the smells and the sounds of what it`s like and nothing can
prepare you for this. And I was at Columbine. And since then I`ve been to
a lot of these, unfortunately, Charleston very recently and Aurora, and
And the stories from these first responders are remarkably the same, that
what they enter is a place of horror that is absolutely indescribable. The
decisions that they have to make are truly matters of life and death, and
just being able to convince people. And I`ve talked to so many people who
have been in that situation where they`re being told it`s OK now, you can
come out and you can just imagine the abject terror that they`re feeling in
a situation like this. So, for me, to hear something like that in a
situation like a press conference.
And two other quick things that struck me. One, when they gave those
numbers, 14 victims but 12 of them were employees. And you know, there`s
been a story over the last 24 hours about how they realize when he left he
left his jacket behind. They knew him, and he knew them.
This wasn`t somebody walking into a place and just opening fire on
nameless, essentially faceless people. These were his co-workers. These
were people he knew. And he also said what struck him was that there were
Christmas decorations. There was a tree. There were decorations on the
And I can tell you that when I went to Newtown, when I passed the sign that
said Newtown, the first thing I noticed is houses decorated for Christmas.
And what came to mind at that moment was there are presents under trees
that children will never open.
And I think in this season I can see where this officer and the other first
responders who had to go into that room, the juxtaposition of the
celebratory nature of the decorations and the horror of what happened there
was intense and something that they`ll be dealing with obviously for a very
long time, Rachel.
MADDOW: Chris Jansing in San Bernardino – Chris, thank you very much for
that. I know it`s still a long night ahead reporting. Thank you, Chris.
I appreciate it.
JANSING: Thank you.
MADDOW: I will say, you know, what Chris was just describing there, in
terms of hearing the same type of accounts from first responders, what
people talk about in situations like this, whether or not the shooting is
ongoing when they don`t know if the shooting is ongoing, the decisions they
have to make to walk past people who are hurt and who want help, we heard
that just recently in Paris. You may remember that remarkable interview
that Lester Holt did with the SWAT team captain, the commando French police
captain who was wearing a ski mask when he was talking to him.
And even that veteran of many elite commando-style raids talking about how
devastating it was for him to have to step over people who were hurt and
needed help and were asking for help. And you could potentially help them.
But more than that, you had to stop the event from being an ongoing event.
More than that, you had to find the shooter and stop them.
It`s an American – it`s an aspect of American law enforcement as this
lieutenant said tonight. Since Columbine, they train that way. But they
train that way with these elite forces around the globe too because that`s
the way they have to do it.
And it has a human toll on police just like it does – just like it would
on anyone. So, we`re getting an important I think picture of that tonight.
But we`re also still getting new information including on this – I don`t
want to say all-important but this incredibly important question of motive.
And about the links of these suspects in this shooting, the suspects who
have died, who have been found in that SUV, the links between them and
other people in the world who may have inspired this, other people in the
world who may have been involved in purchasing any of these weapons.
A lot on the investigation side of this is still very, very important stuff
that we`ve mostly still got questions about and we`ve got the latest on
that investigation with NBC`s Pete Williams right after this.
Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MADDEN: I`ll tell you that it was something d that although we trained for
it it`s something you`re never actually prepared for. When we got the call
– I oversee dispatch. It`s one of my functions and responsibilities with
the police department.
And I know my dispatchers. I know the tone of their voice. I know the
severity of calls as they`re going out. And I could hear it in our
dispatcher`s voice, that this was actually happening, this was a real
event, and it was the event that we have an active shooter and we have an
active shooter going on in our city.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. JERRY BROWN (D), CALIFORNIA: When it comes to people who engaged in
these kind of vicious brutal acts, we`ll spare nothing in bringing them to
justice and protecting the people along the way. So I don`t know what this
means going forward, but I think we have to be on our guard. We can`t take
anything for granted.
And I just want to assure my fellow citizens here in California that we`re
going to go just as far as we have to, to make sure that public safety is
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: California Governor Jerry Brown speaking just moments ago, saying
we`re going to go as far as we have to, to make sure public safety is
protected, saying we will spare nothing in terms of bringing them to
We don`t know what he means by that. I`m not sure what he means by that.
At this point, what we`re getting is statements of resolve. We`re not
getting statements about what`s next.
But what we know about the investigation into this crime is next here on
this show with NBC`s Pete Williams.
Stay with us.
MADDOW: So, at this hour, we still have an incomplete picture of the
suspects and their motives. In terms of what we do know, we know they have
at least four guns, we know they had a ton of ammunition both on them when
they were killed and also inside a residence in Redlands, California, that
investigators are still combing through.
At the scene of the shooting in San Bernardino yesterday morning and at
that same residence, we also know they had assembled numerous pipe bombs,
although we don`t know much about the sort of quality and character of
those bombs, we just know there were 12 of them at that house and one of
them that appears to be three pipe bombs strung together in some way that
did not explode at the site of the shooting.
We also know the suspects had traveled internationally fairly recently.
There are also now indications that at least one of the suspects may have
been radicalized in some way.
I can`t be more specific about that but joining us now is NBC News justice
correspondent Pete Williams, who`s been following this investigation very
Pete, what can you tell us about the investigation, particularly into
radical ties from one or both of these suspects?
PETE WILLIAMS, NBC NEWS JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Right. Well, law
enforcement officials are not saying at this point whether either of these
two people were, quote/unquote, “radicalized”. What they do know is Syed
Farook was in touch by electronic means, by the cell phone, by telephone,
by social media, with people who had radical jihadist views, both in the
U.S. and overseas.
Some of these people had gone on and off the list of people that the FBI
and local law enforcement had been keeping an eye on over the years. In
some cases it was sort of a glancing kind of conversation. In some cases
it may have been more extensive.
But did that indicate a – just seeking out like-minded individuals, or was
that something that moved them toward a more radical philosophy? They have
no idea of that yet. So, if he was radicalized, if this was radical
jihadism brought to the U.S., where did that come from? They don`t know
the answer to that.
They don`t know whether it was through the Internet, as some people have
become radicalized. They don`t know whether it was on foreign travel.
He`d been to Saudi Arabia twice. He`d been to Pakistan at least once.
They just don`t know.
That is one of the main reasons why they`re not saying whether this was an
act of terrorism or some kind of – something else.
MADDOW: Should we expect those people he was in contact with are now going
to be questioned, are going to be contacted in some way, be brought into
the investigation by U.S. authorities?
WILLIAMS: You certainly should. And some of them already have been. In
some cases, the FBI has determined that nothing much happened there. But
that`s one of the lines of inquiry.
Another is the electronic devices themselves. Did they find things that
were downloaded on the Internet? For example, if you think about the
Boston marathon bombing investigation, officials made much of the fact that
the Tsarnaev brothers had downloaded copies of the al Qaeda magazine
“Inspire”. They believe that`s where they got the instructions to build
Now, you mentioned the remote-controlled device that was three pipe bombs
taped together that the police say was left in the conference room that was
attacked. They say that had a remote-controlled detonator made from parts
of a model car. And the remote controller in the car also was that same
kind of model car remote control. The recipe to build that is very similar
to what the Tsarnaev brothers used for their remote detonator from an issue
of the al Qaeda magazine “Inspire”.
So, did Syed Farook get his recipe for that from “Inspire”? That`s a
possibility they`re looking at. Was there some place to find those same
instructions that wasn`t in a jihadist kind of a circuit? They`re looking
at that as well.
MADDOW: In terms of cell phones and computers and anything else that was
obtained here, I`m thinking particularly from that house in Redlands if
that was in fact where they were residing or at least where they were
working, do we know anything in terms of the timing, when that stuff will
be turned around, how quickly the FBI works on stuff like that?
WILLIAMS: Well, it can happen very fast. Except we`ve been told that they
intentionally tried to damage some of these things. They were damaging
hard drives, smashing cell phones. So, it`s going to slow that process
Now, they`ve shipped a lot of that material back. They`ve got airplanes
that are taking material every day, sometimes twice a day, from San
Bernardino to the FBI lab here in suburban Washington where they have some
experience at looking at damaged computer parts to see if they can recover
It doesn`t always work, but sometimes it can be successful. Someone thinks
they`ve rendered their hard drive inoperable. Well, they can figure out
ways to recover some of the data. It`s not easy. And the main thing is it
takes a lot more time.
So to answer your question, it`s going to take longer.
MADDOW: NBC News justice correspondent Pete Williams – totally
indispensable, as usual, in situations like this. Pete, thank you very
WILLIAMS: OK. You bet.
MADDOW: We`re going to have more on the mass shooting in San Bernardino,
what else is going on in the world, straight ahead. Stay with us.
MADDOW: At this hour, there are multiple vigils for the victims in
yesterday`s shooting that are just getting under way in San Bernardino.
You`re looking at live pictures from what is expected to be the largest
vigil of the night. This is a stadium in San Bernardino called San Manuel
Stadium. That vigil tonight, it`s a stadium that holds about 4,000 people.
You can see it`s filling up quickly.
That vigil tonight is being hosted by the city itself. That`s in addition
to a number of other smaller vigils and memorials under way at local
churches, as well as a nearby mosque. All in honor of the 14 people killed
and the 21 people hurt in yesterday`s attack.
One of the new pieces of information we`ve received tonight is the names of
all 14 people who were killed in this attack. Those names have now all
been released by the county coroner.
Larry Daniel Kaufman. He apparently ran the coffee shop at the Inland
Regional Center, which is where the attack happened.
Damian Meins, he was an employee of the San Bernardino County of
Sierra Clayborn, she`d been working with the county and Environmental
Health Department since 2013.
Nicholas Thalasinos, he was a county health inspector.
Michael Wetzel worked as a supervising environmental health specialist with
Bennetta Bet-Badal, she was a county health inspector.
Robert Adams was an environmental health specialist with the county.
The other victims, their names we have are Shannon Johnson, Aurora Godoy,
Isaac Amanios, Harry Bowman, Yvette Velasco, Tin Nguyen, Juan Espinoza.
Fourteen people killed in this attack altogether, 21 wounded. And as we
have just learned this hour, of the 14 people killed, 12 of them, 12 of the
14 were employees of the county of San Bernardino. Of the 21 people who
were wounded, 18 of them were county employees as well.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MADDEN: As I was looking and seeing all of the activity and trying to
assess what was happening, I was informed that that was the location where
this was happening and I was asking for officers to respond as quickly as
possible because we had every belief at that time we had people still
actively being shot inside of the building. My goal was to assemble an
entry team and enter into the building to engage the active shooter.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: San Bernardino Police Lieutenant Mike Madden, who was the first
officer on scene, who gave a remarkable first-person account tonight of
having been the first law enforcement officer on scene, what he encountered
when he got inside the scene of that mass shooting yesterday.
Joining us now is Jack Dolan. He`s an investigative reporter for “The L.A.
Times.” He`s been among other things look into the backgrounds of the two
suspects and trying to answer some of the unknown knowns here.
Jack Dolan, thank you very much for being with us.
JACK DOLAN, LOS ANGELES TIMES INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER: Good evening.
MADDOW: One of the things I wanted to ask about specifically was the guns.
We`re told that there were four guns recovered from the two suspects who
were deceased in the SUV. They believe they were all purchased legally and
they said two of the guns were purchased by one of the named suspects who`s
Are we any closer to knowing who the other legal furrier was of the other
guns and how those guns might have made it to these suspects?
DOLAN: No, not so far tonight. But the primary shooter, alleged shooter,
Syed Farook, there was nothing in his background that would have prevented
him from buying a gun legally. You know, he had a really, really mundane
record here in southern California. So nothing would have stopped him.
And then his wife, Tashfeen – I mean, she`s such a recent arrival that
public records usually don`t turn up anything on somebody like that. We
have as much access to them as frankly the people doing criminal background
checks in California. And there would be nothing in either of their
backgrounds that we can see that would have prevented it.
MADDOW: And so, I mean, that doesn`t necessarily mean that they were
trying to evade a background check system that they would have passed
anyway. I mean, it`s possible they had a private sale of some kind because
they found guns they wanted cheaply for sale somewhere else.
In terms of figuring out whether or not there is ties to terrorism, ties to
radical extremists of some kind, do you have any sense of what direction
the investigation is going or if there`s anything that`s known about them
from the local community and either of their backgrounds that`s been a real
red flag so far?
DOLAN: Well, what we know from federal officials is that, you know, Syed
Farook made two trips overseas, to Saudi Arabia in the last couple of
years. One was to go to the Hajj in Mecca, and other was just last year to
go pick up the woman he`d met online and that he planned to marry. So,
there`s nothing in that inherently that`s a red flag.
But certainly last night when my colleague and I, Steven Caesar, were
reaching out to employees of the San Bernardino Health Department, trying
to find anybody who might have witnessed it, we happened upon people who
were not only sitting at the table with him at that party where the
shooting occurred but they were also – one was his cubicle mate. Another
sat like four feet away.
And they were telling us – well, he`s Muslim, but he`s not devout, he`s
not evangelical. He doesn`t proselytize. But he did, by the way, make a
trip to Saudi Arabia to pick up, you know, a woman he`d never met and bring
her back as his wife.
And the fact that she was a part of this shooting – I mean, women just are
not – you don`t want to be sexist, but women are not generally part of
DOLAN: So you can certainly see why the FBI is looking into her
MADDOW: Jack Dolan, investigative reporter for “The L.A. Times” – thank
you for your time tonight, and thanks for your reporting. We`ve all been
following it very closely. Thanks, Jack.
MADDOW: All right. We`ve got more ahead on this and other matters. Stay
MADDOW: November 2009, U.S. Army Major Nidal Hasan opened fire at Fort
Hood in Texas. He killed 13 people and wounded 32 others. But then two
years after that, two years after that very high-profile attack, you might
remember there was another plot against Ft. Hood by another U.S. soldier.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: Law enforcement officials say an army private who wanted out of
the service because he`s a Muslim plotted this attack, saying he wanted to,
quote, “get even with the military for the fighting in Iraq and
Investigators say his targets were fellow soldiers at the army sprawling
Ft. Hood. Texas police revealed today that they arrested Private First
Class Nasser Jason Abdo yesterday at a motel near Fort Hood. In his room,
ATF agents found enough explosives to make at least two time bombs. The
police chief called Abdo very dangerous.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: So, in that case, this was the summer of 2011, the would-be
attacker of Fort Hood planned on setting off bombs at restaurants near that
Army base that were popular with soldiers. He aroused suspicion by paying
cash for a large amount of gunpowder and ammunition at a local gun store.
The gun store owner called police. Police ended up tailing the guy to a
hotel room where he was staying, and that was fortuitous.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: Officers tracked the young soldier to this nearby hotel. In his
room, all of that ammo, a pistol, the components to make two bombs, and a
backpack with jihadi literature, including an article from the al Qaeda
online magazine “Inspire”. Its title, “how to make a bomb in your
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: The attack in that case was foiled by police. That was July of
2011. Then, just a few months later, a story with a similar theme,
although this time the target was New York City.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: Police say if Pimentel had been able to build and place the
bombs this tape of an NYPD test shows damage he could have caused.
At a Sunday night news conference New York City officials showed a mockup
of the devices. Some ingredients bought at local stores with the help of
an NYPD informant. And police say Pimentel was following bomb-making
instructions straight out of al Qaeda`s “Inspire” magazine.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Again, instructions straight out of al Qaeda`s magazine. The
criminal complaint in that case, November 2011, laid out step by step just
how closely that would-be bomber in New York City followed the instructions
in the al Qaeda magazine.
That New York City bus in 2011 was not a guy plotting a shooting spree. It
was a guy plotting to use pipe bombs to wreak havoc in the city.
Then two years later, in April 2013 it was the Boston marathon bombing.
And that attack was mostly remembered for the pressure cooker bombs that
were planted during the finish line of that marathon. Those two bombs did
explode. They killed three people. They injured close to 300 people.
But the Boston marathon attack also involved more bombs, homemade pipe
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: Jurors saw firsthand the type of explosives that were used.
State police bomb technician Robert McCarthy told the jury, robots were
used to use three devices found in Watertown that did not detonate. They
included an elbow-shaped pipe bomb filled with powder and BBs. He told the
jury, “I always call it an improvised grenade. The elbow shape means when
it`s tossed it won`t roll away.”
The prosecutor walked the now inert device over to the jury for a closer
look. They also saw a straight pipe bomb and a Tupperware device found
behind the driver`s wheel in the stolen Mercedes SUV. It was filled with
two to three pounds of power, topped by Green Hobby fuse wire.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Turns out the Boston bombers, they, too, were following specific
instructions on how to build those bombs. Investigators recovered files
from the Tsarnaev brothers that included the same al Qaeda magazine article
that detailed step by step instructions with pictures about how to make a
pipe bomb at home.
Look at this, the image on the left is a picture from the al Qaeda magazine
from their instruction sheet. The image on the right is the pipe bomb that
actually was built by the Tsarnaev brothers and recovered at the scene of
their confiscated in the confrontation with the police in Watertown. They
followed those al Qaeda magazine how-to instructions pretty well, or at
least that`s what it looks like.
And the truth is we do not know whether this latest incident in San
Bernardino with this couple had anything to do with al Qaeda`s magazine.
That`s something we don`t know at all, but we can tie that magazine and its
step by step pictorial instructions to a bunch of different U.S. terrorist
attacks and attempted terrorist attacks.
And in this case, we know that this couple had more than just an armory
worth of ammunition and at least four guns. We know that they had more
than a dozen pipe bombs, 12 at a home in Redlands that`s tied to the couple
who committed the shoot, and one device they parentally left at the center
where the shooting happened, even though it didn`t detonate.
Police say that one, as Pete Williams described earlier, it was essentially
three pipe bombs strapped together with some detonator or some other sort
of device that appears to have come out of a remote control car. At this
point, we do not yet know exactly how these bombs were constructed, what
sort of explosives were used, whether they were even fully functioning.
“Inspire” magazine is not the only place where you can learn to make a pipe
bomb. You can find manuals all over the internet on how to make bombs like
these and other bombs as well.
But will the specific construction of these devices that they`ve got now,
13 of them at least, will that tell us anything about whether these folks
were trained, whether they had help? Or even where they got their
instructions on how to do this.
The existence of the bombs tells us this isn`t just another mass shooting.
What are the forensics on the bombs themselves going to tell us about the
shooters and where they came from and why this happened?
Joining us now is a Scriven King. He`s an explosive ordnance expert. He
served in the Air Force. He`s now a national security professional with
the terror asymmetric project on strategy, tactics and radical ideology
better known as Tapestry.
Mr. King, thanks for being here.
SCRIVEN KING, EXPLOSIVE ORDNANCE EXPERT: Thank you for having me.
MADDOW: Is it fair to think about bombs as having forensic signature that
allow you to trace them, at least if not to the bomb-maker then to the
person who gave instructions?
KING: Sure. It allows you an opportunity to look at certain things – the
construction can give you a clue as to the sophistication, if you`ve seen
this sort of device someplace else, how common it is to see this. For
instance, pipe bombs are extremely common throughout a number of
operations, not just limited 20 terrorists. They`re also known for other
MADDOW: So combining explosives, homemade explosives with gun fire is not
that uncommon in terms of mass shooting?
KING: It is not that uncommon. As recently as 2014, there was a shooting
in Las Vegas – or excuse me, there was a shooting fairly recently where
they also used pipe bombs.
There was also another use of pipe bombs in Columbine. We saw a number of
rudimentary devices there. We`ve seen them with the Boston bombings as we
saw previously. The reason they use them primarily is to draw in first
MADDOW: As essentially a secondary attack. So, they want to be able to
kill first responders after they`ve already committed the initial assault
that`s brought the first responders to the scene?
KING: That is correct.
MADDOW: You said pipe bombs are common. How dangerous is it to make them?
I mean, I`m struck by the fact that they apparently made 12. I don`t know
if they made 12 well. But they made 12 well enough not to kill themselves
while making them.
KING: The components that are used to make these rudimentary devices are
often very volatile. So often times there are more dead bomb makers than
victims at times. It`s not uncommon in certain locations to find a bomb-
maker without any fingers or missing limps. The components are extremely
We look at a compound as at TATP, which was an explosive used in Paris, or
look at gunpowder. I mean, if it`s not stacked correctly in the casing, if
you got a static charge for instance off your hands, they can be a source
of ignition for the explosive. So, it`s not uncommon.
MADDOW: The kind of instruction that is given in the al Qaeda magazine,
and again, we have no idea if that`s the kind of construction that was
found with these pipe bombs in San Bernardino, is that a generic enough
type of instruction, a generic enough template that it won`t tell us
anything about the sort of ideological inspiration for this attack if there
KING: Yes. Bomb making is a very simple – can be a very simple process.
If you`re talking about rudimentary devices, having a pipe bomb is not
necessarily indicative of belonging to a certain group, like it won`t tell
me if you`re a member of al Qaeda, and it won`t tell me if you`re a member
of ISIS. There will be other components that will help me in that process.
Certainly, the bomb certainly kind of will also help me along as well.
MADDOW: Forensically, among lots of other leads at this point, but at this
point we`ve got so many more questions than we do answers.
Scriven King, national security professional with Tapestry, thanks very
much for being here. Appreciate it.
KING: Thank you for having me.
MADDOW: We`ve got much more ahead. Stay with us.
MADDOW: So, if the San Bernardino attack had not happened, or frankly if
it had just been better explained by now, if we had fewer unanswered really
important big questions about it, if either of those things were true, the
ore major news story that the country would be riveted by right now is the
historic decision made by the Pentagon, the decision that all combat jobs
in the United States military will now be open to women.
The Armed Forces have been studying that prospect for three years now. It
became a very high-profile prospect when women graduated from Army Ranger
School for the first time in history earlier this year. A lot of people
said that could physically never happen. It happened.
But even with that, nobody had been sure if all combat jobs would be open
to women or just some. Now, we know as of today, it`s all of them. The
chiefs of the Army, the Navy, the Air Force and the Special Operations
Command had all agreed already that all of their combat jobs could be open
There was a hold-up, though. The Marine Corps did not agree. The
commandant requested exemptions to keep women out of some specific combat
We now know that Marines request for those exemptions has been denied. One
standard, all services, all jobs. All services will now open all jobs to
all service members depending on merit alone and not gender. That includes
Special Operations, that includes artillery, infantry, armor and all other
frontline combat positions.
The services have a very short time frame. They`ve got until January 1st,
which is the end of this month, right? January 1st to submit their plans
of how they are going to do this in terms of opening all jobs to women.
They have to have these changes implemented, the start of implementation
has to be April 1st.
So this is going to happen fast now. This has been debated for years.
This has been debated now for decades. But as of today, it`s done,
decision made and as of April 1st, it is going to be implemented.
Now, next question – the draft. All young American males have to register
with the selected service within 30 days of turning 18, that`s in case they
bring back the military draft.
Will all young American women have to start registering within 30 days of
their 18th birthday now, too? That is an open question. Not yet decided
but it will be soon. Everybody, freak out.
That does it for us. Now it`s time for “THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE
Good evening, Lawrence.
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