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Race to 2016; CIA Releases Ceclassified Documents Related to Saudi Arabia and 9/11; Police Briefing on Shootout in Dallas. Aired 9- 10a ET
Aired June 13, 2015 - 09:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[09:00:03] MICHAEL SMERCONISH, HOST: I'm Michael Smerconish. Welcome to the program.
We are thrilled to have yet another 2016 presidential contender joining us - Senator Lindsey Graham.
Senator, thank you so much for your time.
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC), 2016 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Thank you. I think I make it an even 40.
SMERCONISH: Senator, I'm eager to chat with you about Iraq, to talk about the future of the Affordable Care Act, to get into the status of your race. Can I tell you that in doing my own research in anticipation of your being here, I learned that to Google "Lindsey Graham" is to have to get through hundreds of links about your marital status before you get to any substance. Why in the world are people so damn fascinated by this?
GRAHAM: Well, I'm the first bachelor to run for president like forever and there's been one single president. I understand it. I'm different. There are a lot of people running for president and I'm the only single guy. Last time I checked at the White House, there was no sign that said, "Single people need not apply" and here I am. I'm running for president and I'd be a good president for single people, married people, short people, tall people. I'd protect us here at home, ready to go as commander-in-chief and try to solve problems. But that's just the way it is.
SMERCONISH: Pew Research there are more folks like you in growing numbers than those who aren't. In other words, the single among us is a - is a growing demographic. Do you believe though that your marital status is being used as a political weapon against you by some of your opponents?
GRAHAM: Oh, yes. I've been - I've been single all my life. When I was 21, my mom died. When I was 22, my dad died. I had a 13-year-old sister, wound up adopting her so she could get my benefits and therefore if something happened to me. We were knocked down, the first in the family to go to college. We all got stories.
SMERCONISH: I did not know this. I...
GRAHAM: No, that's OK. SMERCONISH: --watched - I watched the four or five-minute video at your website - the Lindsey Graham official website - and I didn't recognize, sir, that while you were at the University of South Carolina, you lost both your parents and therefore responsibility for caring for your sister largely fell to you. And I wonder if maybe that's the genesis of all of this that because you had that added responsibility of caring for her, your priorities weren't the same as other folks.
GRAHAM: Trying to explain why somebody's single or why they're divorced or why they're married, life is complicated. Here's what I have to offer. I think a well-grounded belief that we can't solve Americans problems unless Republicans, Democrats worked together and ready to be commander-in-chief on Day one. I did lose my parents at a young age. I was 22, my sister was 13 but my aunt and uncle helped raise my sister. I finished college - the first to finish college. Friends lent me money. We were flat-broke. So I know what it's like to be knocked down. And the one thing I can tell you - life is fragile. And most people are one car wreck away from needing somebody's help and I think this made me a better political leader. I think this made me a better person to know how fragile life is.
SMERCONISH: The front page of the Friday New York Times - which I'm holding in my hands - the headline "Obama looks at adding bases and troops in Iraq." It's a discussion of the administration now wanting to expand our footprint in Iraq and to add troops. Is there vindication in this for what Lindsey Graham has been saying?
GRAHAM: I'm not asking to be vindicated. No. What I'm asking is (inaudible) and destroy ISIL. The president's got the right goal. The policy won't work. The Anbar tribes are not going to Sunni. Anbar tribes are not going to switch against ISIL because we have 450 trainers. The surge did work. What happened in the surge is that the Anbar tribes broke away from Al Qaeda in Iraq. We had 9,000 marine and army troops in Anbar helping them fight Al Qaeda in Iraq - the predecessor to ISIL. So we need around 10,000 American forces to thicken the Iraqi security forces to rebuild their army. At the end of the say, we need special forces on the ground in Iraq and Syria killing the leaders of ISIL. We need to build up capacity of the Iraqi army to take the fight to ISIL in Ramadi and Mosul, couple of aviation battalions, and we need to take it to these guys. But if you don't get Syria right, Michael, you'll never fix Iraq. So it's a mistake to look at Iraq without looking at Syria.
SMERCONISH: I have to say though, you make me nervous as the father of three teenage sons, when Senator Lindsey Graham talks about the indefinite nature of this campaign. I heard you earlier this week put it in the context of post-World War II - Germany, Japan, and the Korean conflicts.
GRAHAM: Yes. Yes. It - I don't know how old your kids are. If they joined the military and I'm their commander-in-chief, I would do what I can to protect them but I can't promise them they won't have to go over there and confront the enemy 'cause I believe they will. Radical Islam in the form of ISIL is not just a threat to the region but it's a threat to our homeland and I worry a lot about foreign fighters going to help ISIL with western passports. It's just a matter of time we're hit back here at home until we put these guys in a box.
And here's the good news. People in the region - we have to build up a small school house in a remote region, helping a young girl will do more to radical Islam than any bomb. But if your sons decide to join the military and I'm commander-in-chief, they'll be well-prepared but they've got to understand that some of us have to go over there and help others to contain this threat so it doesn't come here. And I'm in this thing to eradicate and destroy radical Islam. That's more than dropping bombs. That's building up others. And it's going to take a long time and I don't know how to explain it any other way.
SMERCONISH: Senator Graham, everybody knows there's an enormous Republican field right now all pursuing the nomination. If I'm not mistaken - if I'm not mistaken, it's only and Governor Perry who have military service on your resume. In your case, sir, you retired as a colonel in the air force after a three-decade-long career. Should that be a prerequisite? Do you think you have an edge and that Governor Perry has an edge over the remainder of the field because of your military service?
GRAHAM: I think it's made me a better senator, a better person. But no, I don't think it's a prerequisite to be commander-in-chief at all. Ronald Reagan was a great commander-in-chief. He never served in the military. It's what I've done, not the time - the position I held. I've engaged myself - I've immersed myself into Iraq and Afghanistan. Bush made mistakes. We didn't have a good plan when we took Saddam down. We shouldn't have disbanded the Iraqi army. My bad. I didn't understand it as well as I do today. And when we got it right, we shouldn't have pulled all of our troops out. And if we go down to a thousand troops in 2017 in Afghanistan rather than the 9,800 or 10,000 we need, it will fall apart. Here's what I offer - knowledge and background and experience, I think, unique to the field. Being a member of the military has been helpful in this regard. I've been part of a military unit for a long time that focuses on accomplishing the mission and watching each other's back, having each other's back, and my business is about stabbing each other in the back. So I think as commander-in-chief, having understood their life a bit will make me a better commander-in-chief. But no, it's not a prerequisite.
SMERCONISH: How far are you prepared to go to appease the talk radio warlords as you pursue the nomination?
GRAHAM: Oh, listen, they've got a job. They've got - they're entertaining people. They're not mad at me. I just - I can take it. Trust me. I can take it. If somebody says something bad about me on the radio, I can get right back up the next day. I think what I'm doing, somebody better do. We're not going to defeat radical Islam with all of us over here. If we don't have a whole of government approach, these guys are going to get stronger. If the Iranians get a nuclear capability, they'll use it. Every Sunni airborne a nuclear weapon to counter the Shia Persians. The world's in a pretty volatile place. How do you solve immigration just by border security alone unless you tell the Democrats what happens to 11 million? How do you do Simpson-Bowles when we have to flatten the tax code and they have to means test and age adjust together where we're asking (inaudible) people to work longer and people my income level to give less if you don't work together. I am willing to do that. I think it is an asset, not a liability, but we will see.
SMERCONISH: Let me ask you about something else perhaps you're willing to do. Within a month, we're going to get a major Supreme Court decision on the Affordable Care Act - something that may wipe out the subsidies in those states that did not set up their own exchange. Should the Republican Congress have a plan ready to go to protect the seven million Americans who right now are dependent upon those subsidies?
GRAHAM: Absolutely. I think I would want to definitely transition away from the Obamacare model which is basically destroying private health care insurance. But I'm not going to throw seven million people off the rolls. There needs to be a period of time where you transition. So yes, I think Republicans need to have a plan to make sure people don't lose their subsidy overnight and work with Democrats to create an alternative to Obamacare.
SMERCONISH: Final question for Lindsey Graham...
GRAHAM: I've been - I know what it's like to be underinsured. Trust me. It is no fun place to be.
SMERCONISH: Final question for Lindsey Graham. Thanks for being so gracious with your time. Jeb Bush is about to announce on Monday. Apparently, he's got a war chest of $100 million and yet, Republicans just continue to jump into this race. Can I take it that none of you - Lindsey Graham and the others - are intimidated either by his wallet or his name?
GRAHAM: Here's what I can say - anybody judging Jeb Bush and in June and his - the status of his campaign really don't know what they're talking about. Jeb's got to convince people in the early states he's ready to be president, that one Bush - one more Bush is not one too many. I think he would be a good nominee. I think he'd be a good president. And at the end of the day, he's going to have to explain to the American people why he should be president of the United States. Hillary Clinton - smart but I think she's the third term of Barack Obama. I think she represents the past. There's nothing new there. The reason 16 people are running for president on the Republican side is we think we can beat her.
SMERCONISH: Lindsey Graham, thank you for your time.
GRAHAM: Thank you.
SMERCONISH: Coming up, parking tickets, student loans, and mortgage payments. Marco Rubio's financial struggles exposed. His critics say if he can't manage his own house, how's he going to do it in the White House?
Plus, a former news anchor says he was fired after using the "N" word during a staff meeting. He's now suing his former employer and claims there's a double standard. I'll tell you all the details.
The CIA releasing a trove of top secret documents about a potential Saudi role in the events of September 11. I'll tell you what the documents reveal and what they don't.
SMERCONISH: On Friday in the 5 o'clock hour, Eastern Time, there was a document dump by the CIA. Many of us were excited that at long last, we'd see the 28 pages, the 20 pages from a Congressional investigation into the events of September 11 that allegedly concern Saudi involvement - potential Saudi involvement - in the events of September 11. Instead, this is what we got - blank pages.
Here to provide some perspective is Michael Scheuer. He ran the Bin Laden unit, the Alec Station, at the CIA.
Michael, I'm awfully disappointed at what was released on Friday afternoon.
MICHAEL SCHEUER, FORMER HEAD OF CIA'S SEARCH FOR OSAMA BIN LADEN: It does look rather foolish, Michael. It's just a couple of paragraphs that say, "Hey, we don't know what the Saudis were doing. The FBI has all that information and they didn't give it to us. So you should go talk to them."
It's almost as if there's a story going to break and the agency wanted to deflect attention to the FBI rather than itself.
SMERCONISH: Your job was to hunt Bin Laden. Your job was to run the Alec Station at the CIA before the events of September 11. Talk to me about the Saudis as allies or maybe not as allies in that era and the dates leading up to September 11.
SCHEUER: Well, we set up our unit, Michael, in December of 1995 and the - one of the first things we did early in the new year in '96 was to ask the Saudis for simple things - Osama bin Laden's birth certificate, medical records, passport, banking records. Let's say we asked for them on 15 January 1996. When I resigned from the agency in November of 2004, the Saudis had not provided any of that information. And what made it worse was we repeated the request over and over again. And John Brennan - who was at the time in charge of the Saudi peninsula - sent us a message that said, "Don't send me any more messages. These requests offend the Saudis." So the Saudis were zero help, Michael. Absolutely zero help.
SMERCONISH: Bob Graham was the former governor of Florida, former United States senator from Florida. He was the chair of the senate intel committee at the time of the events of September 11. He's been leading the campaign to get these 28 pages with which he's very familiar released. It's attracted support across party lines. Dr. Ron Paul, Rand Paul have both climbed on board in this campaign. The president - I know - in multiple occasions has promised 9/11 victim family members that they will see the pages - the 28 pages - but it hasn't happened and this is not them. I mean, of the 30 or so pages that I now have in front of me, there's a paragraph or two and it really doesn't tell us much of anything.
SCHEUER: It does not, Michael. It is - it is not helpful at all. Michael, I think the context of the thing people should keep in mind is that Osama bin Laden was the poster child for the success of the Saudi educational system. The Saudis have involved in supporting Islamist fighters in Africa, in Bosnia, everywhere around the world. Really, the problems we face today find their birthplace in Saudi Arabia. And because of our close relationship as a nation, because of our oil relationship, because of personal relationships between the Bushes and the Saudis and other people and the Saudis, there is an intense desire within this government to protect Saudi Arabia - just as there is with Israel. Both of them. And it's not fair to the American people. I don't know what they're hiding. I never saw the end report. But there's no reason to hide it. Americans should know who their enemies are.
SMERCONISH: Well, what we do know for sure is that Bin Laden, a Saudi, and that - I forget the number, was it 14 or 15 of the 19 were all Saudi nationals.
SCHEUER: Yes. And the greatest number of people who have come to attack us in Iraq, for example, have been Saudis.
SMERCONISH: And the question that gets raised is whether Saudi Arabia - in a bid to maintain peace and stability at home - has made some type of a deal with the Wahhabists in their midst to try and keep the terror or something that takes place outside of Saudi Arabia. I mean, is it that really it in simplistic terms?
SCHEUER: It's not very simple at all, Michael. It's very correct. The Al-Sauds govern on the basis of a deal that religious issues are left with the Wahhabi community, with the Salafi community within Saudi Arabia. Part of that is that the Saudi government in its foreign policy and intelligence activities provide support for Salafis and Wahhabis fighting overseas against all kinds of enemies, not just Americans but Serbians and Kenyans and a lot of other people, sir.
SMERCONISH: Michael, I think we have the right to know what the Congressional committee learned about Saudi Arabia and this, my friend, is not it.
SCHEUER: That's not it, sir. And the American people don't have any idea really what the 9/11 commission was told by agency officers under oath and with supporting documents because the archive in the 9/11 commission was never released and the 9/11 commission report itself is just a whitewash of what went on.
SMERCONISH: Michael Scheuer. Thank you as always.
SCHEUER: A pleasure, sir.
SMERCONISH: Coming up, Donald Trump says he has a big announcement to make and with a planned stop in Iowa, could he really be entering the presidential race? Plus, Marco Rubio under the microscope. His financial struggles and traffic violations revealed in an investigative report by the New York Times. Did the newspaper go too far? The piece has already become late night fodder.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Since 1997, the couple has amassed 17 citations. Most of those tickets - 13 in all - were given to Jeanette Rubio.
JON STEWART: Oh! Marco Rubio got four tickets in 17 years.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN HOST: Good morning. We are minutes away from a news conference on this morning's violent attack against Dallas police department headquarters.
CHRISTI PAUL, CNN HOST: Yes, good morning, everyone. I'm Christi Paul.
BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. We've been following this story all morning.
Let's start with a - we have pictures of the van and an active standoff here.
You see in the center of your screen a blue van described to be armored and around it, there are police cars - Dallas police cars. They describe the person inside as potentially armed and dangerous. Here's the latest video and to CNN into the newsroom of the attack. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Come on, guys. Guys.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Holy (inaudible).
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL (VOICEOVER): OK. So here with the moment, you see that black van as it smashes into the police car. This is obviously somebody on a roof. And listen, you hear all that gun shots that are going off? Then that black van's going to take off and you're going to see all of these police cars just in a line start the chase. This happened about 1:30 this morning, 1:30 Eastern Time. As many as four suspects, we're told, armed with automatic weapons and explosives opened fire on the police department. There are windows that are shattered, bullets piercing squad cars but officers did act very quickly. They fired back. They forced whomever was inside that van to take off which is the point where you're picking it up here with the - with the video you see. And of course, now, we're in standoff mode.
BLACKWELL: This is the start of the chase. They chased that van, cornered it in that parking lot you saw - it's near the interstate - about 14 minutes later. At which point, SWAT was called in to begin negotiations. And the standoff continues at this hour. One of the suspects in that van tells officers that his name is James Boulware and that he's angry because they took away his child - as described by the chief, David Brown - and labeled him as a terrorist.
PAUL: Suspicious bags were also found back at police headquarters. This is a two-fold investigation. We know that pipe bombs were inside of one of those bags. The bag blew up when an explosive robot or a robot that actually attempted to move that bag and it blew up. Two of them were also deemed as trash. Another one was detonated by the EOD and it seems that everything has been clear at the police station. Now, they're just processing these two scenes - one at the police station now as they collect all of the evidence, the other at the scene of the standoff.
BLACKWELL: All right. Let's bring in CNN law enforcement analyst Cedric Alexander who is with us. We also have with us CNN law enforcement analyst and former FBI assistant director Tom Fuentes.
Tom, I want to start with you with what we're getting from the Dallas police department Twitter page. They now say that Dallas SWAT is utilizing the robot to examine the suspect's vehicle. They're still concerned about explosives and they follow that up with whether or not the suspect is injured or deceased, concerns continues to be the threat of explosives. Two devices were found. This van has been in this position for six or seven hours now - close to eight hours. That's a credible concern that maybe James Boulware - if that is James Boulware - is deceased because he told officers that he'd been injured.
TOM FUENTES, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Right. That's the problem, Victor, is they don't know for sure what his status is inside. They can't walk up and knock on the door because he might be alive and well and start shooting at them. So - and as you mentioned, the possibility that he used explosives to rig booby traps so that when they do open the doors and try to get in that vehicle, it explodes. So the use of the robot will give them at least an advantage there. He can shoot and kill the robot but it won't be a Dallas police officer.
BLACKWELL: We've learned also from the police department that evacuees who were cleared out after the initial standoff there in front of the headquarters of the department have been allowed back into their homes across from the headquarters after a search for additional explosives. So this "all clear" situation as it relates to the building - the headquarters - is now expanding to a larger area. It seems to be now confined to just that parking lot or do you get a different read? FUENTES: No, I think that's exactly right. And I think that the police know that oftentimes, witness statements about how many people are firing weapons or how many gunshots are heard sometimes can be inaccurate so the idea that there were still gunmen on the loose in that area or in going into apartments in that area had to be a concern. But once they've had a chance to really search the area, search the apartments, they're doing the best they can to get that done quickly so that people can return.
[09:30:00] They have been out of their homes since basically shortly after midnight their time and now, you know, it's morning. So, yes, the people I'm sure are very pleased to get safely back into their homes.
PAUL: Yes, you know, Victor mentioned it and it's true when you think about it, this has been going on for eight hours. So not only are the folks who have been evacuated probably pretty exhausted and frustrated perhaps, but I think about the mentality of the police at this point -- the mentality of that suspect who has been in that van for that long as well. As the hours tick by, good or bad for police?
FUENTES: Well, in situations where a person is holding a hostage, the longer it goes, usually the better, because a bonding occurs between the hostage taker and the victims. But in the case like this where you have essentially the equivalent of a barricaded subject, and, you know, we don't believe there's any people inside that vehicle that are innocent. We don't have a family home, or children are inside, or other people, or an apartment building where neighboring apartments could be in the fact that this is contained to that van, is just the question now of how long do they wait.
Now, in many situations, over a long period of time, you know, you might want to use infrared equipment to look for a heat signature inside that vehicle, but unfortunately, it's been too soon to be having that effective. So, they're going to have to wait and see for an appropriate amount of time.
BLACKWELL: All right. So, what you're seeing there on your screen are the preparations for a news conference in Dallas. We are hoping to hear, expecting to hear from Chief David Brown. That was scheduled to start about 90 seconds ago. So, I'm sure it will happen pretty soon.
I will have to cut you off, Cedric, if we start to hear and see the chief. But I want to come to you. This is a difficult balance here, Cedric, I'd imagine in telling the public what you know and keeping some of it -- I guess we've got the chief, we'll come to you afterward.
Here's Chief David Brown.
CHIEF DAVID BROWN, DALLAS POLICE DEPARTMENT: Last we spoke earlier this morning, we were treating two scenes as active scenes for the critical incident involving suspects -- one suspect shooting at police headquarters. Then being chased to a location in Wilmer-Hutchins. Since that time we want to update you on what has transpired since then.
At 4:30 a.m., our bomb robot picked up a bag, a suspicious package, at our Jack Evans police headquarters on 1400 South Lamar. This bag contained pipe bombs. And as the robot picked up the bag, the bag exploded, detonated.
At 4:35 a.m., at the location in Wilmer-Hutchins where the suspect's van is parked, our SWAT snipers shot out the engine block of the suspect vehicle with our .50 caliber sniper rifle disabling the van.
At 4:38 a.m., a suspicious briefcase was reported in the dumpster in our northeast police substation. We dispatched bomb techs to this location and this package was cleared and was not a bomb.
Between 4:45 and 5:00 a.m., we began calling additional bomb tech resources from the FBI here in Dallas and our ATF partners here in Dallas. And we called state resource bomb techs for additional bomb technicians to report to this area.
At 5:07 a.m., our SWAT snipers shot at the suspect in Wilmer-Hutchins through the front windshield -- excuse me, through the front windshield of the van striking the suspect.
Since that time, we have sent the bomb tech robot that has a camera to try and confirm whether the suspect is deceased.
Because the suspect during negotiations expressed that the van he was traveling in was rigged with explosives, our officers are not approaching that vehicle but instead our bomb technicians are deploying the robot and plan to detonate specific areas around the van to ensure that it's not rigged to explode.
[09:35:26] So, we have a planned detonation occurring at that van in Wilmer-Hutchins with firebomb techs.
The FBI has been called in to assist us in this very complex investigation. And they will relieve DPD resources as necessary. DPD is also coordinating with Mesquite bomb squads at the last known address of the suspect.
We also are responding to a caller who called in to WFAA, disguising their voice and claiming to have a bomb. Our detectives at WFAA headquarters are trying to figure out ways to track that phone call.
All of our seven patrol stations have been searched and they have been cleared of any suspicious packages at this time. Police headquarters is now transitioning to a crime scene. And we are partnering with crime scene techs from our staffing and we're reaching out to help for other crime scenes in the area to help us collect evidence, shell casings, some of the bomb detonation materials. There's video images that are both online with cameras in the area that we are trying to retrieve video images from and then will begin to talk to witnesses. And so, there's a very complex crime scene at police headquarters.
And soon after the robot clears the van and we're able to identify the deceased, what we believe is the deceased, inside the van, crime scene techs will then transition to Wilmer-Hutchins to collect evidence. Just looking at and listening to our officers who were responding to the gunshots at headquarters and gunshots at them at Hutchins, some officers say we are very lucky.
I believe we are very blessed that officers survived this ordeal. There are bullet holes in squad cars where officers were sitting. There are bullet holes in the front lobby where our staff was sitting. And one staff member just walked away to a get Coke, if they had stayed there during the ordeal, they would have been shot, we believe and killed based on the bullets.
Looking at the front parts of headquarters there are bullets in -- there's a police helicopter inside as a museum piece, it's shot up. The second floor has bullet holes in it. The information desk has bullet holes throughout.
Just preliminary, we believe this suspect meant to kill officers and took time to discharge that weapon multiple times to accomplish their wanting to harm our officers. When the van rammed the squad car, that officially -- second, the movement by our officers in seconds saved their lives. If they had stood still and not shot in response, they wouldn't have survived.
We have been concerned with security measures at our police facility for some time. We have just increased over time to $300,000 to make sure we have enough staffing at the front desk.
[09:40:00] But this brings up a completely new perspective on what might need to happen to ensure that our police officers and passers- by, people coming to and from our police facilities to seek out help, get their reports.
We need to rethink and relook at security measures in all our police facilities as a result of that incident. And we'll be doing that in the coming days and weeks.
With that, I'll take questions.
Let's do it this way, you raise your hand and I'll get to all of you. I'm going to try to work my way from right to left if that's OK.
So -- you raise your hand, sir.
BROWN: As we mentioned initially at the first briefing, witnesses have told our officers that there might have been four suspects. What we believe to be true now is that this one suspect shot from different parts of the front of the headquarters. And witnesses may have seen different views of the same suspects shooting from various locations in front of headquarters.
So, again, we're still in the early beginnings of our investigation. But right now, that's our belief, that this was one suspect shooting from different angles, different positions. Making it appear from witness perspective depending on where they were standing, that it was multiple suspects.
REPORTER: Chief Brown, under the FBI or PD's radar for a while or --
BROWN: What we are learning now and just what we learned earlier is that there were three family violence cases against this suspect. And there apparently was some type of custody issue as a result of these family violence incidents involving this suspect.
We had no other indication of him -- this suspect threatening police officers or threatening police facilities, although there have been expressions of threats toward the judges in these family violence cases. And if you go online and look at his social media footprint, awfully concerning. But no indication that this would happen from looking back now, hindsight is 20/20, but looking back at it, we still don't see yet any indication that he was planning this type of assault on a police facility.
REPORTER: Do we know if he had a background in explosives or the military?
BROWN: We don't know that yet.
REPORTER: Did he leave any notes or any sort of indication or through the conversations that he had with your negotiators, any sort of indication about why he would have done this? And if you can talk about the reports that they were talking to the suspect, when did those conversations cease and was there indication to his level of injury from those conversations?
BROWN: This was an on again/off again negotiation. He would get angry during negotiation and just hang up and stop talking. He would rant for a while and not really have a conversation with us and rant during negotiations in Hutchins. And at some point, negotiations just ceases.
REPORTER: On his end, or --
BROWN: On his end.
So, we don't yet know motive. And, of course, as I mentioned earlier, we're not going to send our officers up to that van at this point until we are sure that it's not rigged with explosives and would explode upon sensitive touch, much like the bag at headquarters.
So, we are very, very cautious with the approach. And so, of course, we're going to get as much information as quickly as we can, but not at the expense of officers' safety.
REPORTER: Can you tell us more about the van that he used in this? Where did he get it from? And how difficult was it to get it to stop? BROWN: We don't yet know that. The van stopped on its own. And the
engine was continuing to run until our snipers took out the engine block, because we were concerned he might take off based on his agitation with us during negotiations.
So, we had to make a call to disable the van. The best way for us to do that was the shoot out of the engine block.
REPORTER: Can you confirm that this is the same man who was arrested in Paris, Texas, in 2011, I believe? Could be 2013? It could be.
BROWN: We have not confirmed the identity of this suspect. What we do know is it's a white male. And we've got a height/weight description. We're not approaching the van until our bomb techs ensure that it's not rigged with explosives.
[09:45:04] Yes, sir?
REPORTER: Regarding his claim that police accused him of terrorism, do we know now, is he referring to a charge of terroristic threatening that was related to a domestic violence call or do we know, has he been accused of actual terrorism?
BROWN: We have been, from the very beginning, coordinating with the FBI to ensure that if there were a terrorism nexus, we would get that information quickly. We have yet to confirm any of his rants of being accused of being a terrorist. He doesn't show to be in our databases on any terrorism watch list or anything like that.
So, it may have just been a rant. We are continuing to research his history and so in the coming hours we hope to finalize that he's not on there, but there could be something out there. As of right now, we don't have many nexus to terrorism with this individual.
REPORTER: Just to be clear, you are researching the identity of the name he gave and you have not confirmed that is correct.
BROWN: Yes. That that is him, that's correct.
I'm going to work my way back around again, OK. So, I'm going to start from the right and go right back around, OK? Yes, sir. You didn't ask one on the first round.
REPORTER: So, you haven't confirmed the name. How was the contact negotiated with this man on the van? Did he call the police? Did you call him? And if you called him, you'd have to have a number, and how did you get that number?
BROWN: Right, so initially he called 911, and left a long rant on our 911 tapes. And from that 911 call, we got a phone number, because we can get the numbers that's calling in to 911. And then our negotiators called that number and that began our negotiations at the scene in Hutchins.
REPORTER: Can you identify him by that number?
BROWN: No. We're going to have to get ID on his person, fingerprint, at this point. Yes, sir?
REPORTER: Was there a threat to the PD or --
BROWN: Yes, yes. The rant was about what we mentioned in the first briefing.
First of all, that we had police that caused him to lose custody of his child. Secondly, we accused him of being a terrorist and that he, as a result, was going to blow us up. And that was the extent of the threat. There was no mention of the gunshots toward the police facility or the attempt at killing an officer who had pulled up in front of him ramming the car during that rant. But that had already happened when he called 911.
So, again, he was just rambling quite a bit. You could tell quite a bit of anger.
REPORTER: Speaking of the officers, was anybody injured at all?
BROWN: No. That's been the saving grace of this. Where you see bullet holes where the officer was sitting in squad cars, you see bullet holes in the doors where officers were standing behind, but no officers injured. Just been a blessing.
BROWN: No civilians at all. If you are particular with this area, it's a nightclub or a bar right nearby, a hotel right nearby, people coming and going pretty much all night long most nights. And no one injured at this point other than the suspect.
REPORTER: On the detonation, keeping in mind he may have been going off in this rant, what was he saying he had? And in terms of the detonation, have you scheduled it yet and is there any concern for public safety of the people nearby or any need to potentially push back the perimeter and create some sort of evacuation before you detonate that van?
BROWN: Sure. We have done all of that. He expressed he had C-4 in the van. And so, that's been our biggest concern. We don't want to call his bluff. Particularly on what's happened in police headquarters with the pipe bomb that we knew. He expressed the pipe bomb was there as well at police headquarters, and how sensitive it was to touch to explode.
Yes, we have taken due care and caution with insuring proper distance before we do the planned detonation and no, we are not going to be able to release that information at this time. That's all based on the bomb techs, our plan to do it. And so that's within their purview, we don't dictate that nor are we going to try to micromanage that. Yes, Chris?
REPORTER: How did you make the decision for the snipers to finally fire on the suspect?
BROWN: This suspect had already shot at our facility, had rammed a car, shot at officers, two officers narrowly escaping, being shot by the suspect.
[09:50:11] Then the suspect fled in a vehicle, we chased him, once he stopped, he swung open a door and began shooting at officers again. Narrowly missing them again at Hutchins. We exchanged gunfire with him. And the car was still running.
So, the initial thoughts were, if we were negotiating with him, maybe he would give up peacefully. I think I mentioned that in an earlier briefing. But he quickly became agitated. It was on again/off again negotiation.
But when the negotiation was on, it became increasingly angry and threatening, such that we were not only concerned with our officers there, trying to contain this scene being shot by him, at a moment's notice and the nearby neighborhoods. Taking rounds, based on his violence. And so our, our SWAT team is very good, the best in the country.
And we depend on them to make the call to protect officers and citizens, and they made the call and I believe it's the right call to take the correct action to stop his violence.
REPORTER: A couple of follow-up questions. One on the 911 call that he made just to clarify, it was after the initial shooting and two, can you give us a sense of how advanced the armored vehicle is? The tires bulletproof? Just as best can you. Can you describe what y'all were dealing with in terms of the vehicle?
BROWN: Right. I'll put that out in the press release. I don't have that handy with me as far as the descriptive nature of the van. But that's very good information, we'll put that out, definitely.
REPORTER: Chief, I'm sorry, the 911 call, he made that immediately after the first shooting? And how long was that particular call?
BROWN: It was fairly long, four or five minutes, it's a long phone call when he's just talking. We're not engaging in the conversation with him. We're just asking, who is he, what is he talking about? It was very high-pitched anger toward the police department, to our police officers.
And so, he was very expressive of his intention on committing violence against our officers, against our facility. And he had planted packages to explode upon touch. One of our officers who were searching, we identify five different
packages, only one which was planted with pipe bombs and our officers really, that were doing the searching, just almost tripped over it. It was in the middle of the night. It was still dark. If he would have touched it, he wouldn't have survived.
So, another one of those things that happen, throughout this whole ordeal where there but for the grace, we barely survived the intent of this suspect.
REPORTER: OK, Chief, you talk about pipe bomb in one, was there anything found in the others, as a pipe bomb is relatively crude. C-4 is typically a weapons-grade military explosive. The Joint Terrorism Task Force we have, you have officers assigned. Are they here, is this guy on the radar?
You say you know who he is. Just not naming him right now?
BROWN: No. We've as much as we have been able to give out all the information we know. And we try to add a caveat that we may be unable to determine or is preliminary, might change. So, initially, he told us a name. But we have yet to confirm. He could have just given out a name and that not be him.
So, we're not going to confirm that that's him until we're able to get into that van, and get some ID off of him, get his fingerprints and actually confirm through that evidence that that's who he is.
So, we're not holding back anything. You can criticize that both ways. But we would rather be more transparent with the public than withholding information from the public. That's --
REPORTER: How sure are you that there may be something else out there that you don't know of yet? And what are you doing in light of that possibility?
BROWN: We're doing some follow-up investigation. We're transitioning to from an active shooting bomb scene to an investigative crime scene where we'll come up with those answers to those questions.
[09:55:00] But we're in the transition of that happening. So, we can't -- know everything at this point. But when we find out more information, we will definitely release it to the public as soon as we find out that information.
Yes, sir? I think somebody --
REPORTER: Yes, you had mentioned this is an area that's open to civilians. This was relatively early for a Friday night. How close did we come to any civilians being caught in the crossfire? And is it clear that the suspect was specifically targeting officers? Or was he shooting wildly and could have very easily struck a civilian?
BROWN: He could have easily struck a civilian. But we think he was specifically targeting police officers. There's video of people who took online and put it online, people taking video and bullets whizzing by their head.
So, it was very helter-skelter for a long while. It was a long period of gunshots and changing magazines and more gunshots. So, it was a very active shooting scene when he was at police headquarters.
And he didn't care that officers, when officers confronted him. He shot at officers just as freely as he was able to. We believe, at least if our officers' accounts, that he initially started out shooting at officers with an assault weapon, transitioned to a shotgun. That's how determined this man was to hurt one of our officers.
BROWN: No, we believe at this point -- again, it's a preliminary and we're doing an investigation. But we want to give you information that we think we know now. We believe he shot first, then called 911.
REPORTER: Shot first at?
BROWN: Police headquarters.
REPORTER: At police headquarters?
REPORTER: And then called 911?
REPORTER: Shooting through the lobby.
BROWN: Yes, yes.
Chief, I was going to ask you, what type of weapon did he use?
BROWN: We don't know.
REPORTER: You don't know?
REPORTER: Rough estimate, how many rounds?
BROWN: We don't know, that's part of the investigative process. We've been transitioning to that. We hadn't picked up shell casings yet.
REPORTER: This is far from over.
REPORTER: How relieved are you that you're having this press conference (INAUDIBLE)
BROWN: This has been a very chilling moment. Particularly as you start transitioning to the investigative process and start looking at bullet holes in cars and bullet holes in lobby, information center where officers were sitting just seconds before this person shot. It raised the hair on the back of your neck pretty quickly. Just thinking what could have happened, his intent and how we dodged literally dodged bullets.
Thank goodness we're here talking about all officers are OK.
REPORTER: Do you have anybody else in custody and given the fact that he potentially sent five or more packages over a couple of locations. Is there any indication that he may have had, there are potentially other suspects out there that need to be brought in?
BROWN: At this point, we don't have that feeling. Again, this is still early. This is still eight, nine hours into this ordeal, we hope that that's the case and that there's nothing else out there.
But we can't close that loop at this point. We have to continue to do our due diligence in the investigative process. Particularly as we look at trajectory. Look at whether or not people were in elevated positions, or were they all shooting from all the shots coming from street level.
So we just are not at the point where we can rule out all of the potential for other people. Other things have happened. We just can talk about what we do know now. We got this one suspect in this van based on a robot viewing inside of the van in Hutchins.
REPORTER: And no one else is in custody?
BROWN: That's right. Nobody.
REPORTER: Had he made threats to judges? Have you all taken steps to --
BROWN: We have.
REPORTER: Make sure --
BROWN: Yes, we have.
REPORTER: What's -- in terms of security, what is (INAUDIBLE) budget trying to balance not looking too militaristic and security of the community. I know that was a challenge (INAUDIBLE)
BROWN: Right, that's way more reflective than I'm willing to be right now. I'm still concerned about the well-being of officers having gone through this ordeal. I'm still concerned with the investigative process, making sure that we close all the loopholes, all -- we run all the trap (ph), make sure there's nothing else out there that we haven't uncovered.
[10:00:00] So at some point soon we'll be in that conversation. But right now, it's not the right time. Thank you all so very much. We appreciate it. We'll update you as soon as we know more information, OK? Thanks.