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New York Terror Attack Suspect Charged With Federal Terrorism Crimes; Details About Sayfullo Saipov's Plan And Attack; President Demands End To Diversity Visa Lottery; High-Profile Sex Abuse Scandal Widening. Aired 1-2a ET
Aired November 2, 2017 - 01:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[01:00:00] ISHA SESAY, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone, you're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. Ahead for us, inspired by ISIS; how the New York truck attack suspect had a trove of ISIS images and videos found on his cell phones.
JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: Two attacks just weeks apart bring two very different reactions from the U.S. president. Accusations of hypocrisy as politics swirl around a national tragedy.
SESAY: And Hollywood scandals; Warner brothers and Brett Ratner sever ties after a slew of sexual harassment claims against the filmmaker. We'll talk with Victims' Rights Lawyer Gloria Allred.
VAUSE: Hello, everybody, thank you for being with us. I'm John Vause.
SESAY: And I'm Isha Sesay. This is NEWSROOM L.A. Well, President Trump has just gone on the record about what should happen to the suspect in the New York terror attack: he should get the death penalty. The president tweeted his thoughts a short time ago in caps as you see there, at the bottom. Just one in series of increasingly harsh and controversial reactions to the attack, including this: "The United States will be immediately implementing much tougher extreme vetting procedures. The safety of our citizens comes first."
VAUSE: We also have a new photo of the suspect taken on the day of the attack. And just hours before police say Sayfullo used a rental pick-up truck to kill eight people on New York bike path. He's now being charged with federal crimes including material support of a terrorist organization -- that would be ISIS.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOON KIM, UNITED STATES ATTORNEY FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK: We have developed evidence establishing that Saipov committed this attack in support of ISIS. That evidence is laid out in the complaint, but it includes the following: a note that was recovered just outside the truck that read in part, "no god, but god, and Mohammed is his prophet", and Islamic supplication, "it will endure," a phrase commonly used to refer to ISIS.
Also, a search of cell phones found in a bag that he was carrying. A search conducted pursuant to court-authorized wiretaps, revealed thousands of ISIS-related images and 90 videos -- about 90 videos depicting among other things, ISIS fighters killing prisoners by running over them with a tank, beheading them, and shooting them in the face.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Prosecutors allege Sayfullo spent two months planning the attack.
SESAY: Meanwhile, Mr. Trump's out fires response, he's getting a lot of attention and criticism. He's called U.S. Justice System a joke and suggested that Saipov be detained at Guantanamo Bay. But both of those comments have since been overshadowed by his newest suggestion: the death penalty. Our reporters are covering every angle of this story and we're learning even more about Sayfullo Saipov, his planning, and the attack.
VAUSE: Here's CNN's Miguel Marquez reporting from New York.
MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Now, authorities say, Saipov came up with this plan to attack the United States about a year ago but he settled on this precise plan about two months ago. He also consumed tons of propaganda online in the form of ISIS videos and photographs. But for as long as it took him to plan, as soon as he was ready to carry it out, took about an hour.
Agents searching the Patterson, New Jersey home of Sayfullo Saipov. Search warrants were served at several locations as authorities begin to dig into the 29-year-old Uzbek's life.
JOHN MILLER, DEPUTY POLICE COMMISSIONER, NEW YORK: Based on the investigation overnight, it appears that Mr. Saipov had been planning this for a number of weeks. He did this in the name of ISIS.
MARQUEZ: In the rented Home Depot truck turned into an instrument of terror. Authorities found knives along with a note.
MILLER: The notes were handwritten in Arabic. They had symbols and words. But the gist of the note was that the Islamic State would endure forever.
MARQUEZ: Neighbors say Saipov was seen driving a rented Home Depot truck for weeks and never appeared to be doing any work, just driving.
CARLOS BAUTISTA, NEIGHBOR OF SAYFULLO SAIPOV: First time I saw him was three weeks ago and I guess he constantly rented the same model truck out.
MARQUEZ: The federal charging document says he rented the vehicle to practice making turns. It says, he chose Halloween because he believed more people would be on the street. He was inspired by ISIS Leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. For all the planning, the attack didn't take long. Authorities say he rented the truck at a Home Depot in Passaic, New Jersey at 2:06 p.m., he crossed into Manhattan at 2:43 via the George Washington Bridge. 21 minutes later, at 3:04 p.m., he entered into the bicycle path and started his killing spree. Four minutes later, dozens of 911 calls flooded into police dispatch.
[01:05:19] MILLER: He appears to have followed almost exactly to a tee -- the instructions that ISIS has put out on its social media channels before with instructions to their followers on how to carry out such an attack.
MARQUEZ: Accounts from neighbors of Saipov vary. Some say, he was polite, unconfrontational, and even at times a peacemaker. An acquaintance in Ohio saying he was a nervous man, even aggressive, but saw no signs of radicalization.
Now, authorities also say that Mr. Saipov was not on any terror watch list. He was also not the focus of any NYPD or FBI investigation. But he may have been associated with those who were under investigation by either NYPD and/or the FBI. Back to you.
VAUSE: Miguel, thank you for that. With us now, CNN National Security Analyst Nada Bakos, and Brian Levin, the Director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism. Nada, first to you, we've got a lot more details now coming to light about Saipov, and, you know, how he practiced this attack. He carried it out for two months. He'd been on Web sites with the ISIS-related material. He had thousands of photographs of violent imagery, 90 videos as well. Is there a way to back channel and to find out where those images came from to find out who may have recruited him or how he may have been radicalized?
NADA BAKOS, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST (via Skype): You know, right now investigators have a hold of, I think, at least two cell phones of his. That will be a treasure trove for them; they'll be able to identify where the jpegs came from, where the videos came from, whether he scraped them from online, whether they were sent to him. If the details are on the phone they should be able to find it. But they'll also be able to use information that he's giving them to verify -- information they're receiving from the phone in addition to any other contacts they're talking to now.
SESAY: And Brian, to you. As we understand it right now, the radicalization took place online with exposure to these images, these videos. And one would think this amount or this level of intensity, exposure to this level of intensity and depravity, that it would bring about a change in him, an outward sign of the change in him. I mean, wouldn't you expect that those around him would have picked up on what was happening?
BRIAN LEVIN, DIRECTOR, CENTER FOR THE STUDY OF HATE AND EXTREMISM: You know, yes. In about 30 percent to 40 percent of these cases, researchers have found there's something called leakage, either behavioral or oral clue, that there's some plan. Sometimes, folks, just become more withdrawn. That's what we saw with respect to the attack that we had in San Bernardino. But a lot of times what we're finding now is that more recently people are becoming radicalized in a much shorter time frame. It used to be a year or more, now it's in months. And that folks are becoming much more secretive in the manner that they become radicalized.
SESAY: Why is it taking less sometime?
LEVIN: I think a couple things. One, propaganda of the deed, if you will. People are seeing these kinds of attacks and want to outdo the last person. And we see this more broadly with respect to extremism. Look at Columbine. And we just saw, for instance, the Sandy Hook killer, kept records about different mass killers. And it's very similar with respect to groups like ISIS where this kind of celebritization of these terrible kinds of terror attacks are part of the propaganda. And what it says is, you don't even have to come here to be in the theater to get trained, you can do things on your own, here's why, here are the terrible things the west is doing, and here are the instrumentalities that you can do in your own community.
VAUSE: And that he may have been radicalized online and by himself, but we also have word that a second person is being questioned by police. They put out the wanted posters and 90 minutes later they managed to get a hold of this. So, another young man or 32-year-old man from Uzbekistan. Given that they were so keen, obviously, to get him by going public and 24 hours after the attack, how do you think he fits into all of this?
BAKOS: It's hard to tell at this point. It could just be somebody that he was a roommate with, somebody he had worked with. Law enforcement may have received information about him on the phone. It's hard to tell at this point who his other contacts were. But I do think one of the things the law enforcement is doing at this point is drawing those concentric circles around the suspect, trying to figure out who is closest to him, and then follow the chain of evidence from there, so they can figure out whether or not he had contacts overseas, if the radicalization truly did happen here in the United States as they had talked about. So, at this point, anybody they can talk to that knew this individual prior to the attack will actually help them fill in those pieces.
[01:10:26] SESAY: Brian, back to the issue of the radicalization, if this man came here seven years ago in 2010, by winning the lottery, right? He came here for a better life, he wants to be part of this culture; he was here for seven years. And then, he allegedly performs this act of mass killing. Why would someone who has taken that path to get here still be susceptible to the message from the likes of ISIS? I mean, he's come here for a better life. Why is he not immune to it, if you will? The kind of message that ISIS is putting out. Because he's been in America for seven years; he's been living here for seven years; he's made friends; he's in the community. Why?
LEVIN: Great question. And maybe what happened is his moving here did not meet his expectations. One of the things that we look at in the template that we have is there were three types of factors. One, the ideologically motivated -- can be religious, political or both. Two, someone who's psychologically dangerous. Three, personal benefit or revenge or some mix thereof. And what might have happened if he came here for a better life, might have been disappointed. Maybe he did not achieve what he hoped he would achieve. And at the same time, once someone opts out, they do not feel connected to the community that they thought they would be, then it's a lot easier for this radicalization process to take place.
VAUSE: There are some reports out there he had some financial difficulties as well. So, you know, maybe that's --
LEVIN: Personal setbacks. Absolutely.
VAUSE: And lastly to Nada, you know, we heard from Miguel Marquez reporting that Saipov was not on a terror watch list, despite going to these Web sites that contained ISIS-related materials, despite having all these images on his cell phone. Are you surprised that he was under the radar here?
BAKOS: I'm not surprised. Just visiting some of these Web sites isn't a crime, even the process of radicalization is not committing a crime. It's the time period from being radicalized of deciding to act on that -- to actually conduct an attack. There's -- thankfully, you know, the first amendment, we have freedom of speech and perceptions in the United States. But at the same time, individuals like him can easily go under the radar, especially if he wasn't connected to somebody overseas or other people that law enforcement was familiar with.
VAUSE: OK. Nada, good to see you. Thank you so much for being with us. And also, Brian, we appreciate your insights. Thanks for being here as well.
LEVIN: Thank you as always.
SESAY: Thank you. Well, we're learning more about the officer who shot the terror suspect. On Wednesday, the prosecutor explained how Ryan Nash's quick actions saved lives.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KIM: He was ultimately stopped by a brave Police Officer, Ryan Nash, who confronted him and shot him in the abdomen.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Ryan Nash says he's just doing his job and he actually praised his fellow officers.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RYAN NASH, POLICE OFFICER, NYPD: I appreciate the public recognition of the actions of myself and my fellow officers yesterday. Although I feel we were just doing our job like thousands of officers do every day, I understand the importance of yesterday's events and the role we played and I'm grateful for the recognition.
(END VIDEO CLIP) VAUSE: Well, officer Nash has been with the NYPD for just five years.
Well, coming up after the break, President Trump responds to Tuesday's terror attack in New York by tweeting his opinion about the suspect's guilt and the punishment he should receive.
SESAY: Plus, Director and Producer, Brett Ratner, is the latest Hollywood figure accused of sexual misconduct. Victims' Rights Attorney Gloria Allred joins us later in this hour to weigh in.
[01:16:15] VAUSE: Well, the U.S. president has had a busy day on Twitter, demanding stronger vetting for immigrants and blaming Democrats for being weak on immigration.
SESAY: And then, he tweeted this: "NYC terrorist is happy as he is to hang ISIS flag in a hospital room. He killed eight people, badly injured 12. Should get death penalty." For more on the president's reaction to the attack, here's CNN's Jim Acosta.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: New York City --
JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Less than one day after the terror attack in New York, President Trump described the U.S. Justice System, a cornerstone of American democracy, as a farce.
TRUMP: We also he to come up with punishment that's far quicker and far greater than the punishment these animals are getting right now. They'll go through court for years, at the end they'll be -- who knows what happens. We need quick justice and we need strong justice, much quicker and much stronger than we have right now. Because what we have right now us a joke and is a laughingstock, and no wonder so much of this stuff takes place.
ACOSTA: Questioned about that, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders asked the public to ignore the words coming out of the president's mouth.
Why did the president call the U.S. Justice System a joke and a laughingstock during his comments?
SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: That's not what he said.
ACOSTA: He said that the system of justice in this country -
SANDERS: He said the process has people calling us a joke and calling us a laughingstock.
ACOSTA: Noting the Manhattan attack suspect came to the U.S. from Uzbekistan, the president also called for swift changes to the nation's immigration laws.
TRUMP: So, we want to immediately work with Congress on the diversity lottery program on terminating it, getting rid of it. We want a merit-based program where people come into our country based on merit. And we want to get rid of chain migration. This man that came in, or whatever you want to call him, brought in with him other people. And he was a point -- he was the point of contact, the primary point of contact for -- and this is preliminary. 23 people that came in or potentially came in with him.
ACOSTA: Administration officials say the suspect in New York entered the country using that diversity lottery immigration system seven years ago. The president was seizing on the program earlier in the day, dubbing it on Twitter as a Chuck Schumer beauty: "I want merit- based." Mr. Trump neglected to mention the program was signed into law by President George H.W. Bush. And while Senator Schumer supported the program, he later tried to eliminate it, so says GOP Senator Jeff Flake, who tweeted: "Actually, the gang of eight including Senator Schumer did away with the diversity visa program as part of broader reforms. I know. I was there."
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY), SENATE DEMOCRATIC LEADER: The president ought to stop tweeting and start leading.
ACOSTA: Schumer said, the president would be better off emulating former President George W. Bush.
GEORGE W. BUSH, 43RD PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I can hear you. The rest of the world hears you. And the people --
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
BUSH: -- and the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
ACOSTA: Who rallied the U.S. shortly after the 9/11 attacks.
SCHUMER: New Yorkers and all of us compare President Bush right after 9/11, and President Trump right after this horrible terrorist attack. President Bush united us. He had us in the White House the next day, saying how can we work together. All President Trump does is take advantage, horrible advantage, of a tragedy and try to politicize and divide.
[01:20:07] ACOSTA: The president's swift demands for new laws after this week's attack in New York stand in contrast with his reaction after the mass shooting in Las Vegas, where he suggested the public wait to talk about gun control.
TRUMP: Look, we have a tragedy. We're going to do -- and what happened, in Las Vegas is in many ways a miracle. The police department has done such an incredible job. And we'll be talking about gun laws as time goes by.
ACOSTA: the president said he would consider sending the terror suspect in New York to the detention center at Guantanamo. He also speculated that the suspect's relatives may pose a national security threat. But like so many other assertions from the president, he did not offer any information to back that up. Jim Acosta, CNN, the White House.
VAUSE: Joining us now, Democratic Strategist Matthew Littman, and Republican Strategist Christopher Metzler. Thank you, guys. OK. Let's just pick up where Jim left off in his report. On sending the attacker to Gitmo, declaring him an enemy combatant and having him stand trial in a military court. Here's what Brigadier General John Baker, Chief Defense Counsel for the Military Commission, said recently about those military trials: "The military commissions in their current state are a farce. Instead of being a beacon for the rule of law, the Guantanamo Bay Military Commissions have been characterized by delay, government misconduct, and incompetence, and even more delay."
Christopher, should the president actually listen to his generals on issues like this even before he goes out and says he's supporting it or he's thinking about it or whatever he said today?
CHRISTOPHER METZLER, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Yes. So, one of the courses that I teach is the law of war. And so, first of all, the president does not have the authority to send someone to Gitmo. So, there's that. But, you know, facts are very --
VAUSE: Detailed. Detailed.
METZLER: Yes. But I think he does -- look, as it relates to Gitmo, I think that, in fact, the American Justice System is doing the job that it is supposed to do. So again, we get back to more pandering. And that's the issue here. Needs to -- he supposedly listens to the generals but only when they agree with him.
SESAY: I think it's worth putting up on screen, a graphic that we've made that kind of sums up the difference in terms of the rhetoric between the president, what he said regarding Vegas and what he said regarding New York. I mean, if you take look at that, when it happened October 1st in Vegas, it took him, you know, a day or two before he came out on October 3rd, and he said, you know, U.S. will be talking about gun laws as time goes by. October 4th, on gun legislation, not going to talk about it, that day. October 5th, on bump stocks we'll be looking into that. You know, temperance, wait, let's see. And then, look at the response to New York: I just ordered Homeland Security to step up our already extreme vetting program. Chain migration must end now. And then Guantanamo and then death penalty. Matt?
MATTHEW LITTMAN, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, there's a reason -- there is another reason why he says the things he said after Vegas and after New York City. First of all, if you want to do anything about gun laws, it's difficult, right? And so, it's easy for him to come out and say we're going to do something about immigration law that he may not even be able to do. Gun laws would require actual legislating. And Donald Trump hasn't been able to get anything through Congress -- that's too difficult for him. He also doesn't want to offend what's left of his base by talking about any form of gun control. And in that case, how many people were shot in Vegas? I think --
LITTMAN: Shot in Vegas.
VAUSE: Oh, shot it was 600.
SESAY: Yes, 600.
LITTMAN: 600 people. And there were no ideas after Vegas. I think that was a month ago today. There are no ideas after Vegas.
VAUSE: The bump-stock legislation which turns a semi-automatic into an automatic is stalled in Congress. It's gone. So, to your point.
LITTMAN: Yes. No. So, I mean, after Vegas, nothing. Hundreds of people shot. This event happens, Donald Trump immediately comes out with what sounds simple to him but things that he'll never be able to do probably anyway.
VAUSE: The president also had some very strong words for the person accused of carrying out this attack.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: My administration is coordinating closely between federal and local officials to investigate the attack and to further investigate this animal, who did the attacking.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: In the past, Trump has referred to members of his part a gang as animals but nothing close to that to describe the Vegas shooter or the White Nationalists in Charlottesville back in August, in particular, the one who use a car to kill a protester. Christopher, again, it seems pretty obvious, but, you know, what's going on here? I mean, because it's starting to become incredibly obvious where the president stands, right?
METZLER: Well, I mean, what the president is doing, in this case, is back to Lee Atwater politics. This is the politics of race. It is the politics of other. It is all of those kinds of politics. It didn't work for the Republican Party before, and it's not going to work for the party now. But in his mind and from his standpoint, that is the way to get his base to support him, because at the end of the day a lot of the base who supports him, at some point is going to say, OK, wait a minute, I have lost health care, I don't have all these jobs that are supposed to come back. So, at this point, he wants to make sure that he has this base that whatever he does will support him and turn against Congress so that what ends up happening is you have -- it doesn't translate. Everyone's -- you know, his base is going to blame Congress; they're not going to blame him. So, it's very convenient for him to do it. [01:25:41] SESAY: Yes. But the longer-term repercussions of even
floating the idea of sending someone to Gitmo are dangerous. You know, if indeed your intention is to win this war against, you know, these groups.
METZLER: Absolutely. I mean, going to Gitmo does really nothing. I mean, the American courts are perfectly set up to be able to handle this. But to say --
LITTMAN: Not according to Donald Trump. He says the American Justice System is a joke, right?
LITTMAN: And then Sarah Sanders, you showed the clip, comes out and says that what he said he didn't say. That happens right afterward.
VAUSE: What were the words going on here, because you got Donald Trump's budget as well. I want to get to this because The Washington Post reported back in March: "The New York City Police Department says that President Trump's proposed budget which includes sweeping cuts across the government would gut critical efforts to fight terrorism in the nation's largest city. Police say the funding cuts would hit everything from intelligence analysis to active shooter training." So, you know, Matt, it's not just what he's saying which is fanciful, he can't get it through Congress, whatever. You know this is a butcher which is about to be passed.
LITTMAN: Well, this is an important point. I'm not sure that the tax cuts that the president wants to do are going to get passed. But if they do get passed, at some point those are really corporate tax cuts. This is a tax plan written by a couple people from Goldman Sachs on the back of a napkin in a restaurant -- literally, that's what happened. And so, for these people to get their tax cuts and the budget deficit then ballooning, other parts of the government are going to get cut. Everything else is going to get cut because most of the government's money goes to defend Social Security and Medicare, and everything else gets slashed. Including money from our local police forces that are supposed to fight terrorism.
VAUSE: And it's not just New York; it's across the country.
SESAY: No, indeed. And very quickly, Ryan Greer, a Counterterror Expert, you know, said this to CNN, he said that this administration has a narrow foot -- had to focus on a narrow set of threats. So, again, they're cutting, and they're cutting money that should go to domestic terrorism to fighting that but the president doesn't want to talk about that.
LITTMAN: Well, the FBI has said that domestic terrorism is a bigger problem right now than terrorism coming from outside the United States.
SESAY: But that money is getting cut too.
LITTMAN: And that money is getting cut. METZLER: Yes. but I think -- so from the president's standpoint,
here's the issue. The issue is let's put all of these things up. Let's have all of this kind of confusion going on. That's not what we need to be paying attention to. What we need to be paying attention to is what he's actually doing when we're not looking. So, it's easier to pay attention to the tweets; it's easier to be able to do that. But then, at the end of the day what is he doing through executive orders, through agency regulations? Because I think what people are going to end up finding out is that a lot of what he's doing is not something that people were aware of, to begin with.
LITTMAN: You don't think that people signed on to the idea of making it easier for mentally handicapped people to get guns or to put, for example -- I know when I drink this water over here, I think there's not enough coal in that water. And how he's -- regulations that there could be more coal in the water. Well, I think that's great.
VAUSE: They say you should watch this administration like a silent movie.
VAUSE: OK. Matt and Christopher, thank you so much.
SESAY: Thank you. We so much appreciate it. Thank you.
LITTMAN: Take care.
[01:28:47] VAUSE: OK. Next here on NEWSROOM L.A., we've seen nearly a dozen vehicle attacks in the past three years, all hitting soft targets. How to make us all a little safer, in just a moment.
VAUSE: Welcome back, everybody. The terror suspect in New York is facing several terrorism charges tied to Tuesday's truck attack. Investigators have charged Sayfullo Saipov with providing material support to ISIS, and violence, and destruction of a motor vehicle.
SESAY: And Saipov didn't enter a plea when he appeared in court Wednesday. CNN Shimon Prokupecz has more on the evidence collected in this case so far.
SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: John and Isha, authorities released a document today, criminal complaint filed in federal court that listed all the different investigative findings. They have found two cell phones belonging to the suspect. On one of the phones they found 90 videos related to ISIS propaganda, videos that they believe he watched.
One of the videos showed a beheading. They also found on one of the phones some 3,800 ISIS propaganda images. Now authorities, based on their interviews with the suspect which they had spent some time with him at the hospital after the incident and they interviewed him, and he told them this for over a year. And then, the last two months, he decided to use a truck.
They also found that he researched using a truck, where he could purchase one. Also researching Halloween. And they believe he chose Halloween because he wanted the biggest impact, an attack that would kill the most people. Back to you.
SESAY: Shimon, thank you for that. Well, there's been an uptick in the number of attacks using weaponized vehicles. Ten such attacks had happened since 2014, with more than half this year alone. The common denominator here is that they all hit soft targets.
Now, when we say soft targets we're talking about places like streets or shopping centers that are relatively unprotected.
VAUSE: And the deadliest attack of all happened in the South of France last year where a truck barreled into a crowd that were out celebrating Bastille Day on Promenade in Nice. Eighty-six people were killed. Rob Ritter joins us now. He is a pedestrian safety expert.
Rob, thanks for coming in. There's always this Pavlovian response when there's an attack like this wherever it is around the world. You're -- we need greater security, you've got to put up barricades, put up bollards in the -- in -- where the attack happened. But it seems like it's kind of bando strategy, isn't it?
ROB RITTER, PEDESTRIAN SAFETY EXPERT: Oh, very much so. And the -- as you say, it's the Pavlovian response of, we need more security, we need more security. That isn't necessarily the case.
SESAY: Yes. Let's talk specifically about what happened in New York. You've taken a look at the route that this guy took. What do you see when you look at it in terms of the gaps to be exploited?
RITTER: Well, the interesting thing is if you look at it from the driver's windshield, when he pulls up to the top of the -- of the -- of the bikeway there's a yellow plastic reflector that says basically please don't come in here. And then he drives for a whole mile and sees nothing. And then at the end, there's another plastic reflector that says basically, "Please don't come in here."
There was no barrier from the time he got in until the time he got out. And that's just not good planning from a safety standpoint, much less a security standpoint.
VAUSE: Well, it's interesting because "The New York Times" has reported that about 10 years ago another pedestrian was killed on this bike path. He was a drunk driver. And it happened pretty much in the same location as Tuesday's attack.
And this is part of the recording, despite calls to improve safety on the path since that time recommended steps were not taken. In particular, bollards, metal poles that would block vehicles from accessing the path. They were not installed at most of the access points where cars can turn onto the path.
I guess the point here is terrorism maybe isn't preventable but you could prevent people from driving on that bike path.
RITTER: Well, I think that as you said, the Pavlovian response is more security. Really safety is very simple and safety is improving security. Whether you're going to perfectly secured or not, you're not necessarily defending the president on a bike path. You're just making sure people are safe.
VAUSE: Yes. So with that in mind, what are some of the measures you could be looking at?
[01:35:02] RITTER: Well, the simplest way to have done that would be to put some removable or retractable bollards or something at both ends. And you certainly don't want anybody to be able to go a whole mile for crying out loud, so you put in some sort of a barrier that a vehicle would have to stop and negotiate some form of removing a barrier or something like that. Because it's just crazy to think somebody could drive a whole mile and hit however many people there are in -- are in a mile.
So if you -- even if you broke that up into five sections there's no way he's going to get to all five sections.
SESAY: The question has to be when does it become too much when have you gone too far in the pursuit of safety?
RITTER: And I know, but, you know, I don't know about you. I drive a car. It seats five people. I have eight airbags. I have ten cup holders.
Why everybody needs two cup holders? I don't know. But at the end of the day the -- it's all about the safety. And I don't have a secure vehicle, I have a safe vehicle. And a bike path like that there's no reason to make it a completely secured site.
You're not going to keep, you know, members of Congress working there or anything. But just simple safety keeps drunks away. It keeps bad people away. No terrorist is going to hit a hardened target because then he can't proceed to do the next thing.
If you take care of safety you've probably taken care of the security.
VAUSE: You know, we keep hearing these calls from politicians including the New York Governor Andrew Cuomo saying everyone needs to return to their daily lives, just go about your business as usual. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOVERNOR ANDREW CUOMO (D), NEW YORK: We have hardened society from a policing point of view, protection, et cetera. I think it's defiance. I said all yesterday afternoon I'll see you at the parade, I'll see you at the parade, I'll see you at the parade.
You can't let them win. The only -- the only way forward is to defeat them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: You know, (INAUDIBLE) and, you know, it's good to actually return to normal as quickly as possible. But you do need to change your behavior. There's something called situational awareness which people should actually keep in mind right now, now that these car attacks are happening in Europe and now here in United States, right?
There are simple things that you can do to be aware of what's going on.
RITTER: Yes. Bear in mind it's difficult to do when vehicle's coming behind you at 40 miles an hour and you're oblivious to it. But, you know, you're at risk if you sit at a -- at a coffee shop with a -- at a table and chairs right on the sidewalk with the cars pulling up right in front of you.
Situational awareness is basic common sense. To ask tourists who maybe are not, you know, they're busy seeing New York for the first time, they're probably not going to be as situationally aware. That's why New York when did Times Square Plaza just took the awareness out of it, they just protected it completely.
So then when the car did come down the street and was stopped by those bollards it was -- no one had to react at all because they were separated and protected. On a bike path you want to be leisurely and do all the things you do on a bike path, but you need to be able to keep cars from coming behind you at 40 miles an hour or pickup trucks.
SESAY: And bear in mind, you know, we live in a world where there are numerous soft targets if you will, everywhere, what's the priority list? Because at the end of the day resources are fine knives.
RITTER: Well, of course, but that's why I say if we try to do everything in a secure fashion we'll run out of money very quickly. If we try to make things safer, we do much better as -- I mean, they could've protected bike path for about $8,000 on each end. And in the City of New York, $16,000 is not a major budget item.
VAUSE: Two thousand per victim.
RITTER: I'm sorry?
VAUSE: It's $2,000 per victim basically is what you're saying, so.
SESAY: Yes. Oh, we appreciate you, thank you, putting a lot in perspective and giving us lots to think about. Thank you.
RITTER: Nice to be with you guys again.
VAUSE: Thanks for coming in.
SESAY: Thank you. RITTER: Yes.
SESAY: All right. Quick break here, next on NEWSROOM L.A. it's only been a few weeks since sexual assault allegations against Harvey Weinstein exploded into public viewers. I should say, Weinstein.
And since then new allegations have been made against other powerful men and it's happening nearly every day. We'll discuss with victims' rights attorney Gloria Allred. Next.
[01:40:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
VAUSE: Well, sexual harassment scandals threatening to engulf the British parliament has now reached the highest levels of government. Defense Chief Michael Fallon has resigned amidst allegations of inappropriate behavior. Fallon was a key member of Theresa May's cabinet.
In a letter of resignation, he said his conduct in the past may have fallen short of high standards expected by the UK military. But he also said some accusations against him are in fact false. Early this week Fallon apologized for repeatedly touching a journalist's knee 15 years ago.
SESAY: Well, Director and Producer Brett Ratner whose films include the Oscar winner "The Revenant" is the latest Hollywood figure accused of sexual misconduct. The "Los Angeles Times" reports six women including actresses Olivia Munn and Natasha Henstridge accused Ratner of allegations ranging from sexual assault to harassment. He has denied the allegations.
And the floodgates really opened in Hollywood last month when more than 60 women came forward to say they were sexually harassed or assaulted by film producer Harvey Weinstein over a period of decades. He has denied any allegations of non-consensual sex. Other high- profile men from various walks of life have been publicly accused of sexual misconduct too since Weinstein's story unfolded.
Attorney Gloria Allred represents some of these accusers. She is a long-time victims' rights advocate. And I'm pleased to say she joins us in the studio now. Gloria, thank you. Thank you for being with us.
GLORIA ALLRED, VICTIMS' RIGHTS ATTORNEY: My pleasure.
SESAY: Let's start with the situation regarding Brett Ratner, the latest in this long line of powerful men to basically have the light shone on the -- what they allegedly had done. Someone like Asia Argento who has claimed that she was a victim at the hands of Harvey Weinstein, she put out a tweet a short time ago and she said in reference to Brett Ratner, "This article is what we've all been waiting for. @Brettratner, you have been bleep busted."
Are you surprised some people are calling this an open secret?
ALLRED: Well, all I'll say as a lawyer is that I'm generally aware of allegations against many rich powerful famous men in Hollywood and elsewhere before they become public. And I'm just talking in general.
SESAY: Sure, so sure.
ALLRED: So generally, I'm not surprised. And there are women speaking out. Of course, it's very dangerous for them and I want everybody to know them -- that. For example, Mr. Ratner has now filed a lawsuit against apparently the first woman who went on the internet and made allegations against him.
And so she will now, once she's served, have to defend against the lawsuit. And then there may be others -- other lawsuits coming against other women. That doesn't mean they won't prevail.
Maybe they will. Maybe they won't. But they'll have to hire lawyers to defend them which can be very expensive and time-consuming. So all I can say is definitely consult a lawyer before you go on the internet and make allegations because even if what you're saying is true you may have to defend that in a court of law.
SESAY: And what is interesting in the Brett Ratner situation is how quickly it gained steam, how quickly the fallout, if you will, spread. I mean, obviously there was a public reaction and then there was a situation regarding his career in Warner Bros. So when CNN reached out to Warner Bros just after the "L.A. Times" story, this is what we got.
We just got a "We are aware of the allegations in "The L.A. Times" and are reviewing the situation." Hours later Brett Ratner comes out and says, "In light of the allegations being made I'm choosing to personally step away from all Warner Bros-related activities. I don't want to have any possible negative impact to the studio until these personal issues are resolved."
Has Hollywood finally gotten the message that when these things happen you've got to take them seriously, you've got to stand aside?
ALLRED: Well, allegations are spreading like wildfire and because many women feel empowered and they don't want to be silent anymore about what they believe. They have suffered as injustice is inflicted on them in their employment, which has really seriously financially damaged them. So, you know, they're saying their truth right now.
[01:45:02] SESAY: Yes.
ALLRED: But the men are also feeling very serious economic consequences from the allegations. I mean, now we see so many men, you know, the allegations against Kevin Spacey, allegations against Brett Ratner. I am literally flooded with Harvey Weinstein, I represent numerous clients, there will be lawsuits very soon.
And I'm receiving emails and calls from persons who alleged they are victims who are all over the world, in different countries.
SESAY: (INAUDIBLE) when you did an interview with one of the -- one of -- with the (INAUDIBLE) and at that point, you know, there were just 25 accuses and you said this is just the tip of the iceberg. ALLRED: It is.
SESAY: And now it's over 60. I mean, you have been doing this for a long time, but is there any part of you surprised, I mean, more than 60 calls still coming in?
ALLRED: Well, when you say more than 60, those are 60 who have gone in public. I'm talking about numerous women and I've got public with four at news conferences. But many more than that that I'm representing who have not go in public, many of whom don't wish to be public and will never be public because if we file a lawsuit we'll also file them Jane Does.
ALLRED: And so yes, there are many, many more than 60, I can assure you of that.
SESAY: This is the moment -- as we've just reference with Brett Ratner within hours stepping away from Warner Bros, this is the moment where people have to take stalk. You have obviously been waiting for this moment for a long time, what do you want to see come off it? What should be the legacy of this moment?
ALLRED: Justice. Justice for a person who can prove that they are victims and that's important. But I think that every woman who feels that she has been a victim of injustice, and by the way, some men are coming forward --
SESAY: As well.
ALLRED: -- as well, I'm not talking necessarily about Harvey Weinstein, alleging that they have been victims of powerful men in Hollywood as well. I would suggest that everyone make sure that you speak with an attorney, a sexual harassment attorney, a civil right attorney to make -- to know what your rights are so that you can judge whether you have a legal claim you can assert a lawsuit, whether you can have a confidential settlement, whether you should speak out on the internet even if it's too late for you to file a claim.
ALLRED: Get advice and then make it a foreign decision. But know that you can speak confidentially to an attorney and you don't have to worry about that becoming public.
SESAY: Before I let you go I got to ask you. I know you've talked about the Weinstein company setting up victims fund.
SESAY: You, of course, been having conversation with them, where is that?
ALLRED: I have not had a meeting with the board yet but there are some interesting developments and well -- SESAY: Are you going to share any of the developments to me?
ALLRED: I have no comment on what those developments are tonight but I can assure you that we are on the path to justice for victims and we are going to continue to be on that path until we're able to obtain that justice. We think that it's important that Mr. Weinstein is getting sexual addiction therapy or if he's left, if he's still in contact with his doctor. All that as well, all that is good.
Anybody who needs help should get it, but we're focused on the persons who can prove that they are victims. And a woman's word, by the way, is also evidence. They shouldn't say, "Well, I have no evidence."
Their word matters, and are going to continue to represent them and to seek justice for them and I'll make a guess that you're going to hear something soon.
SESAY: I'll make a guess I'll get you back on the show.
ALLRED: OK. Thank you.
SESAY: Gloria Allred, our pleasure. Thank you.
ALLRED: Thank you.
VAUSE: OK. Terror and tech has been the new frontier for recruiting and radicalizing. But when we come back, one entrepreneur said he can win over the potentially vulnerable young men with his own technique.
[01:50:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
SESAY: And we have some news just coming into us. Police are searching for a killer in Denver, Colorado after three people died in a shooting at a Walmart store. It happened in the town of Thornton late Wednesday. Police say the man walked into the store and began shooting.
Authorities say two male victims died at the scene and a woman who was wounded died later in hospital. Police tweeted photographs of a man in a vehicle they say are of interest in the shooting. We're going to update you on the story as we get more information coming into us.
And we're seeing how internet technology played a key role in the New York terror attack. The suspect Sayfullo Saipov had at least two cell phones that held thousands of ISIS images and about 90 videos depicting ISIS fighters. Saipov admitted to being inspired by the videos.
VAUSE: Well, the Paris attacks two years ago led police on a manhunt to Belgium. The spotlight fell on the town of Molenbeek. A local entrepreneur hated seeing it labeled Jihadi central. He said now he's offering this solution to young people, a different opportunity with technology. Sam Burke has the story.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) SAM BURKE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It was a night that's painfully hard to forget. Terror on the streets of Paris. A series of attacks across the city of lights. The most gruesome, the massacre at the Bataclan Theater when 90 people lost their lives.
The manhunt led investigators to the Brussel suburb of Molenbeek between the tree-lined streets and low-rise apartments, three of the Paris attackers lived here.
IBRAHIM OUASSARI, MOLENBEEK ENTREPRENEUR: I never think these people of my area can do something like that. Never. So I start some reflection.
BURKE: Ibrahim Ouassari was born in Molenbeek to Moroccan parents. He knows how much of a struggle it is economically for young people in this area. So he decided to teach what he knows how to do best, coding. Opening a community center called MolenGeek.
There's just one requirement he looks for in applicants.
OUASSARI: We don't need people with a lot of skills. We need people want to share, want to be real part of this community. They want to learn, want to change something in their life.
BURKE: There's nothing old school about the lessons taught here. All the instruction is done in small groups and in one-on-one training. When Belgium's Vice Prime Minister heard about the program, he immediately asked Ibrahim to come to his office. A week after their meeting the Belgian government began supporting MolenGeek.
ALEXANDER DE CROO, BELGIUM VICE PRIME MINISTER: This is someone who has grown up himself in Molenbeek, who -- that's -- those young kids really look up to him and see him as an example, really as a role model.
BURKE: What are the measures of success for MolenGeek? How do you know that it's working? Is it working?
DE CROO: One of the measures is just to see how many people are part of that -- of that community. And we have seen that month after month more people are coming there.
BURKE: They've had to even turn down people who want to join the program.
DE CROO: Exactly. So that shows that there's definitely an attraction to what they're -- they are doing. We see that there's projects that are being brought outside as well and that are starting to try to be -- to be businesses.
BURKE: Has anybody gone on and created their own app, their own company?
OUASSARI: QuickLyric is an application downloaded more than half million times.
BURKE: And what do the app do?
OUASSARI: It give you the lyric of the music.
BURKE: Money hasn't just come in from the government. Big tech companies like Google had helped fund the school. A Samsung executive who's overseen that company's investment in MolenGeek, says what's key for them is to actually remain hands off.
LUKAS SCHMEINK, VICE PRESIDENT OF OPERATIONS, SAMSUNG: We enter this strongly from a corporate social responsibility perspective. And that perspective we stay loyal. And so -- otherwise, you're starting moving around and then -- and then it becomes blurry what you came to do here.
BURKE: Ibrahim was even asked to speak at the U.N. where he shared best practices for public-private partnerships. His biggest problem now isn't getting neighbors to finish the program. He faces the biggest hurdle any successful startup does.
OUASSARI: Scale up and to have more support because we have a lot of requests and --
BURKE: And there's so much demand.
OUASSARI: Yes, we have a -- so much demand.
BURKE: Now he's looking for ways to replicate his neighborhood coding school around the world. The only regret? That it couldn't have been done sooner. Samuel Burke, CNN, Molenbeek, Belgium.
VAUSE: And thank you for watching this hour of NEWSROOM L.A. we'll have a lot more news after a short break.
SESAY: Prepare to look at the victims of the New York City terror attack. Here's Anderson Cooper.
[01:55:01] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: It was a reunion of old friends who'd attended the same polytechnic high school in Argentina. They were celebrating their 30th reunion with a trip to New York City and a bike ride along the Hudson River. "That's it, champion," one of the men exclaims.
They're biking along the same path as Tuesday's tragedy, a few miles north of where the attack happened. The man believed to be filming this, Ariel Benvenuto, would survive. Five of his friends did not.
In this photo taken before they boarded their plane to America the Argentinean victims are pictured standing arm in arm with their classmates. "Libre" printed on their t-shirts Spanish for free. Hernan Ferruchi, Alejandro Padnucco, Ariel Erlij, Hernan Mendoza, and Diego Angelini were all killed. Nicholas Cleve was the only native New Yorker to have died in Tuesday's attack. According to social media accounts, he attended Elisabeth Irwin High School in lower Manhattan before heading to Skidmore College Upstate. He just graduated last year with a degree in computer science and just returned to New York City to start a job as a software engineer.
His life was just getting started. Nicholas Cleves was 23-year-old. Darren Drake was the other American killed in the attack. The 32- year-old project manager worked at 7 World Trade Center. He was on a bike ride in between meetings when he was hit by the truck, according to his father who described him as the perfect son.
JIMMY DRAKE, FATHER OF VICTIM: I'm not even angry. I'm not -- I'm not -- I'm not angry at all. I'm absolutely hurt.
COOPER: Drake was from nearby New Milford, New Jersey. He graduated from Rutgers in 2007 with a degree in political science, then went on for a master's in business administration from Fairleigh Dickinson University. He was well on his way to his second master's in science when he was killed.
Drake had also served as his local school board president. The superintendent of the district called his death senseless, saying "Darren was a good man with a soft touch and huge heart." The eighth and final victim was 31-year-old Belgian Ann-Laure Decadt.
In a statement, her husband called her a fantastic wife and the most beautiful mom to our two sons of three months and three years old. He said, "This loss is unbearable."
[02:05:11] VAUSE: This is CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. Our head this hour.
SESAY: Federal terrorism charges filed against Sayfullo Saipov --