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THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER
Shooters' Home Filled With Bombs And Bullets; Sources: Male Shooter May Have Been Radicalized; Obama: Legislators Need To Address Mass Shootings; ER Doctor Trades Scalpel For Guns As Swat Volunteer. Aired 4:30-5p ET
Aired December 3, 2015 - 16:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
EVAN PEREZ, CNN JUSTICE REPORTER: Appears to have been legal. The improvised explosive device that they left behind at the first scene at the first shooting was a rudimentary device. It was not a very sophisticated device.
The question is, was this from one of those recipes that are readily available on the internet published by ISIS and by al Qaeda and other groups? That is something the FBI is studying right at this moment because they're not sure which recipe this is following.
They certainly do believe though that this was not a very sophisticated device. But it does show some kind of know-how. And that's what urgently they're trying to figure out where the black powder came from for the device that didn't go off really. And how did it come up with this recipe to make this device.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: And what's the next step for investigators?
PEREZ: Well, one of the things they're doing is they're tracking down everybody who may have had contact with these people for the last few months. Any indications of that radicalization, again, this is a suspicion that they have. It's not confirmed. But it is something that they're working onto try to make sure they understand more fully the more recent past of these two people.
TAPPER: Evan Perez, thank you so much for your reporting. Appreciate it. Joining me now is Dr. Chris Mohandie, forensic psychologist. Dr. Mohandie, thanks so much for being here. What does it tell you that Farook targeted his co-workers?
DR. KRIS MOHANDIE, FORENSIC PSYCHOLOGIST: The fact that he targeted his co-workers particularly the regional center which is not a high value target to a terrorist group particularly, to me speaks to more of a personal agenda.
I believe that there's a strong likelihood that the most significant issue here is going to be a personal grievance. Now, on top of that there's certainly going to be an ideology. So I agree with the hybrid issue in this case will be likely.
TAPPER: And another thing that's odd about this case as you and I were just discussing during the commercial break is the fact that his wife was involved. We haven't really seen much of that in the past. MOHANDIE: We don't see too many pairings in these kinds of cases, particularly where you have workplace grievance, even this hybridization that we've talked about. However, we have seen this in younger people who will have these pairings.
You get likeminded individuals who are mutually reinforcing each other's dysfunctional ideas, their grandiose thinking, their need for notoriety, you know, whatever the case may be, their sense of needing to get even.
And if you get two like-minded individuals who happen to be in a relationship married, what ends up happening is that secret becomes a very powerful bond. It becomes a closed system.
And they're off and running because it becomes part of who they are, what they're going to become, and the organizing basis of their relationship. So it's not unheard of. It is rarer. And unfortunately it becomes a toxic pairing as we've seen in this tragic case.
TAPPER: But another thing that's so odd about it, Kris, is the fact they obviously had just started a family and had a 6-month-old daughter. And then they drop the daughter off with somebody, what might that mean in your office as a clinical forensic psychologist.
MOHANDIE: Well, to me the fact that they had a 6-month-old child that they dropped off before going to do this very organized violent act suggests that that was the final stage of their preparations. That they were going to abandon their child in order to fulfill this, you know, mission or whatever you want to call it.
That their selfish desire to inflict pain and suffering upon the world and on these innocent victims trumped the natural tendency to want to protect one's child, to see that child grow up. It's horrific.
And it speaks to their selfishness, their cowardly nature because there are so many people in this world that suffer difficulties at work and in other circumstances who weather those storms in order to be the parents that they are.
And it just speaks to how committed they were to other things besides the more important mission of raising one's child. So to me that represented the final stages of preparation, the abandonment of that child. They knew exactly what they were going to do and it was the final step in that commitment process.
TAPPER: And, Kris, I have to say, I think a lot of people, a lot of us watching the press conference in which members of the family spoke and said they can't imagine this and they had no idea and they can't even believe that their relative would do such a thing. How legitimate do you find that? I think a lot of people who watch that think, come on, you must have known something.
MOHANDIE: Well, there may have been concealing of their intentions. But certainly as time passes we will probably learn about leakage, the signs that they may not have had normal motivations, that there may have been more going on.
[16:35:12]And the natural tendency among any family, I think, is to engage in some level of denial about the issues that are troubling them. And I think the tendency to kind of circle the wagons in this situation is powerful just straight off, you know, kind of a family tendency.
I think there's often a lot of denial. But at the same time these people, the offenders, were doing a significant amount of concealing of their true intentions as they embarked on planning the stockpiling of ammunition and trying to figure out what their end game was going to be.
TAPPER: All right, Dr. Kris Mohandie, thank you as always. Sources have been telling CNN that the male shooter appears to have been radicalized. We know he traveled overseas to Saudi Arabia, to Pakistan. Is that relevant?
Could he have been radicalized during those trips, or was it more likely he adopted a twisted ideology just sitting in his living room in front of his laptop?
We'll talk to the author of a new study who has looked at this very question of radicalization. That's next.
TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper. Continuing with our National Lead, fewer than 24 hours after that husband and wife rampaged through a San Bernardino Conference Center killing 14 innocent people, wounding at least 21, the deadliest mass shooting incident in this country since Sandy Hook, President Obama addressed the horror.
He did not seem overcome with grief as he did after Newtown, or visibly angry, as he did after that gunman in Oregon murdered ten people. Instead the president today seemed almost dejected, frustrated that he was again addressing another mass shooting in America.
CNN senior Washington correspondent, Joe Johns, was in the oval office when President Obama addressed the California massacre not long ago. Joe, how did the president seem to you in the room?
JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Jake, I think you could say the president was tentative and muted, tentative in talking about the investigation because his top advisers had been tentative in what they were able to tell him.
Muted perhaps in talking about policy, the issue of gun control because his aides said he's frustrated. He's had to do this so many times over the course of his entire administration.
JOHNS (voice-over): President Obama ordered flags at half-staff in honor of the San Bernardino victims in a statement in the oval office surrounded by his national security team, trying to be reassuring, but full of uncertainty after briefings from his attorney general and FBI director.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: At this stage we do not yet know why this terrible event occurred.
JOHNS: And that's the key question, still unanswered. What was the motive?
PRESIDENT OBAMA: It is possible that this was terrorist related, but we don't know. It's also possible that this was workplace related.
JOHNS: And then again with reports that dead suspect Sayed Farook was radicalized and in touch with overseas terror contacts, the administration like law enforcement is still holding out the possibility that other factors were in play.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: There may be mixed motives involved in this, which makes the investigation more complicated. But rest assured that we will get to the bottom of this.
JOHNS: But even with that, caution from across the administration against a rush to judgment.
JOSH EARNEST, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: He was specifically had in mind that people should not jump to conclusions. That he's not going to jump to conclusions, investigators are not going to jump to conclusions.
JOHNS: Turning to policy, Mr. Obama was back to pressing Congress on gun laws on what he's called the most frustrating domestic policy fight of his presidency.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: So many Americans sometimes feel as if there's nothing we can do about it. It's going to be important for all of us including our legislatures to see what we can do.
JOHNS: It was the 16th time during his two terms in office that the president was in front of the cameras speaking about the use of firearms and violent crimes.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: The majority of those who died today were children, beautiful little kids between the ages of 5 and 10 years old.
We are confronting yet another mass shooting and today it happened on a military installation.
Somehow this has become routine. The reporting is routine. My response here at this podium ends up being routine.
JOHNS: The White House is considering executive actions to put in place what it calls some limited common sense gun protections, but so far no word on details or the timetable for that. (END VIDEOTAPE)
JOHNS: And a predictable back and forth in the White House briefing room today over measures the White House says would keep more guns off the streets and whether they would have made any difference in San Bernardino. These are hypotheticals that have been discussed here in the briefing room before -- Jake.
TAPPER: Joe Johns at the White House. Thanks. Sources are now telling CNN that the male shooter had apparently been radicalized at some point. It's unclear when he became a zealot or by whom he was inspired, but how could a seemingly ordinary American becomes a warped devotee of extremist terrorist ideologies?
Let's talk about this all with an expert on radicalization Dr. Lorenzo Vidino, director of George Washington University's Program on Extremism.
Dr. Vidino, thank you for joining us. You just did a massive study on ISIS and radicalized Americans. From what we know about the suspects now, and obviously we're still learning by the minutes, is there anything in their profiles, anything that jumps out at all, any risk factors?
[16:45:12] DR. LORENZO VIDINO, DIRECTOR, GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY, PROGRAM ON EXTREMISM: Well, we know apparently that he was in contact with other individuals who are investigated suspected of terrorist, that's always somewhat of an indication. We've been talking about travel patterns.
I'm not certain that's a necessary -- we don't have ISIS sympathizers in America, there's no such thing as a common profile. We have teenage girls. We have 40-year-old men. We have people born into the Muslim faith, we have converts, 40 percent of them are converts.
TAPPER: Forty percent are converts?
VIDINO: Forty percent. And they also come from all ethnic groups, white, African-American, Latinos, Jewish, it's a very diverse bunch. So there's no such thing as a common profile. It is not uncommon to be well integrated, adjusted, having a good job as apparently the suspect had.
TAPPER: That's not uncommon.
VIDINO: Not at all.
TAPPER: Because President Obama and others have talked about poverty and disenfranchisement, joblessness as a root cause of terrorism, but that doesn't necessarily square with what you're finding with these radicalized individuals.
VIDINO: It's not a fact it can be excluded. We see for example in some cases in France, in Belgium, it's part of the problem. But absolutely that's not the end all and be all. Obviously we have plenty of people who are quite well integrated and quite well adjusted and still radicalized.
Remember the Times Square bomber, somebody working as a financial adviser lived in suburban Connecticut yet he was radicalized and planned an attack here.
We have plenty other cases, think about the Fort Hood case, a medical doctor yet killed 19 people. Poverty is one factor, but absolutely not the only one and we have plenty of well integrated people.
TAPPER: You talked about some of this travel abroad. He had made the pilgrimage to Mecca and traveled to Pakistan. Obviously millions of people every year make the Hajj, go to Pakistan, travel. Is that something that police should be looking into?
And I guess the real question is, is it more likely that either one of these individuals, either one of these killers was radicalized there in Saudi Arabia or Pakistan or is it more plausible that they were radicalized sitting at home in California in front of their laptop?
VIDINO: It's very difficult to say. Traveling to those countries is absolutely no indication per se. Together with other risk factors potentially. But we have millions of American Muslim who is travel to Mecca for pilgrimage, there's nothing wrong with that.
We cannot stigmatize the fact they travel there. Potentially something could have happened there of course. Statistically likelihood more likely radicalization took place here in front of a computer as you were saying.
VIDINO: What we normally would see is people radicalized here. Remember the Boston bombers talking about their Chechen roots and Chechen civil war there, these are kids radicalized in Boston. Not in Chechnya. We'll know more about the specific case of course and if there was radicalization where it took place.
But statistically I would say something more about here. Something could have happened in Pakistan, something could have happened in Saudi Arabia.
VIDINO: But not necessarily the case.
TAPPER: Just talking about the likelihood. Dr. Lorenzo Vidino, thank you so much. Appreciate it.
VIDINO: Thank you.
TAPPER: Coming up, minutes after the murderers sprayed San Bernardino with bullets, paramedics rushes right in to try to save whomever they could. So what was that like treating victims on the streets merely seconds after a slaughter? Our own Dr. Sanjay Gupta talks to one of the first responders.
That story next.
TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper. When gunshots rang out in San Bernardino, panic and chaos gripped the suburban town. While many were frozen in shock and disbelief, emergency responders rushed victims on stretchers to hospitals where doctors and nurses were on high alert treating at least 21 victims of the attack.
Our chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, is at Arrowhead Regional Medical Center, one of the local hospitals taking care of the victims at this hour. And, Sanjay, you spoke with one ER doctor who is also a volunteer SWAT member?
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Jake. He does both. And I'll tell you, it may sound unusual, but it's becoming more common. A new kind of doctor, a sort of necessary type of doctor as he explained it to me because they go in very early, Jake.
In this case he got there even before other members of the SWAT team to try and take care of patients at the scene. As you well know, Jake, it was an active scene, so they go in with both medical gear and as they call it tactical gear. Handgun handguns, assault rifles in case he needed to protect himself.
In addition to doing this work, taking care of patients at the scene, they spend time training SWAT members how to better protect themselves from a medical standpoint, how to make themselves safer.
I spent a fair amount of time with him today, Jake. Listen to how he described this one particular teaching point.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. MICHAEL NOOKS, ARROWHEAD REGIONAL MEDICAL CENTER: Even tactics are changing right now for law enforcement. We're going sideways and now we go to the front to expose less organ injuries better than --
GUPTA: So instead of --
NOOKS: If you go through sideway and a bullet comes through -- it goes through both lung and a heart and comes through the other side. Whereas we would go from the front you have a plate protects your heart and hits one of the lungs or the other can still be functional.
GUPTA: That's fascinating. You always see people approaching --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GUPTA: There's a sort of teaching point again there, Jake. Typically just the side profile's too vulnerable so he's going there and teaching them to wear certain kind of armor and actually have that be frontally facing. But just an example of what is happening now, this intersection between medicine and in this case the SWAT team in order to do the job they have to do.
[16:55:02]TAPPER: It's so tragic that that's the kind of teaching this doctor finds himself doing. Did he describe for you at all what it was like going into the chaotic scenes?
GUPTA: Yes. He did, Jake, quite a bit. As you might imagine just catastrophic the types of weapons this particular doctor was a doctor who is a veteran of the Iran-Iraq war. And he talked about the fact the same sort of munitions, the same caliber, the same velocity of bullets are the things he saw back in that war.
I don't know that I should describe more than that, but you understand what I'm saying here. They were patients who obviously were able to survive this, but these were very, very devastating injuries that he saw.
But again, by being there early, even during an active situation he was probably able to help save lives that otherwise would have been lost.
TAPPER: All right, a war zone in California. Dr. Sanjay Gupta, thank you so much.
Law enforcement is still of course trying to determine the specific and proven motive for this horrific attack. We're learning more about how at least one of the shooters was radicalized. That story next.