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STATE OF THE UNION
50 Dead, 53 Injured in Worst Mass Shooting in U.S. History; Florida Governor to Comment on Mass Shooting in Orlando Overnight. Aired 11a-12p ET
Aired June 12, 2016 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[11:00:06] EVAN PEREZ, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): That's right. He was a U.S.-born citizen of the United States. His family is not -- they're not U.S. citizens. He was born in the United States, and that might be one reason for the confusion earlier, Jake.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: And the FBI is gathering right now outside the home of the dead terrorist.
PEREZ: That's right. They are now looking -- they're inside the house trying to see if there's any weapons or perhaps explosives. That's one of the things they have to do to secure first of all the place, and then they're going to start digging into his background.
At this point, Jake, as the FBI noted earlier in the previous press conference, there are indications that they have to believe that this was somewhat related to radical Islam. We don't know more about what exactly that is, what evidence they've turned up, but they pretty quickly seem to have decided that this is the avenue where they're going to pursue this investigation.
Now, we don't know -- I just talked to some officials who say still at this point, they don't know whether he did this in the name of ISIS or some other organization or whether he just had personal animus against gay people. That's something they're looking into, obviously.
But the fact he's dead makes this a little tougher. They're going to have to go through his computer, look through his online postings. They're going to talk to his friends and family to see if he's expressed any animus or any intent.
There were no threats known to this club or to any other gay clubs either in Orlando or anywhere else during this weekend. But now obviously in reaction to that, they're going to see a lot more security at these clubs.
TAPPER: Evan Perez, thanks so much. Keep calling in as you get more information.
I want to bring in now, Congressman Devin Nunes, Republican of California, and he's the chairman of the House Select Committee on Intelligence.
Congressman, thanks so much for joining us.
REP. DEVIN NUNES (R-CA), INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN (via telephone): Thanks, Jake. Thanks for having me on.
TAPPER: So we've heard from the FBI special agent in charge that there are suggestions that the killer, Omar Saddiqui Mateen, subscribed to radical Islam. Do you know anything more about that? What more can you tell us about this horrific incident, the worst mass shooting, the deadliest one in American history?
NUNES: Well, as we always have to say in these investigations, we need to let the FBI do their -- conduct their investigation.
But I will say, everything I'm seeing now points to some type of radical Islam. This is very, very similar to the attack on the nightclub in the concert hall in Paris. That's why it's critical right at this juncture for the FBI and other law enforcement to quickly track down all possible leads to see if this individual is connected to any other terrorist nodes around the United States or elsewhere.
TAPPER: When you say it' like the shooting at the Bataclan theater in Paris last November. That's because of the proximity of people in a confined area of space, how easy it would be to, for a deranged individual, to kill as many of them as possible?
NUNES: That's right. I was just over there and had a tour by the local law enforcement. It's dark. It's loud. As I think I've seen on the news this morning from a couple of the witnesses, at first they didn't know. They just thought it was part of the music. Then it's hard once you're in a nightclub or a concert or something like that, there's only so many exits. It's just an easy place to quickly take on soft targets in a short amount of time.
TAPPER: Congressman, a lot of people watching right now probably want to know, is there any chatter out there, any suggestion that this is more than one attack, that there might be others planned?
You're the chairman of the House Select Committee on Intelligence. What are you being told?
NUNES: Well, as I've been saying for over a year now, we're at the highest terrorist threat level since 9/11. There's a reason I'm saying that. It's because we're continuing to see growing radicalization over the Internet.
We're continuing to see Americans and other Westerners go into the Middle East and fight with ISIS or al Qaeda. So, all of those lead me to make this -- these types of statements I've been making for many months now.
Also, if you look at -- we're at a very high threat level in Europe right now because of the European cup championships that are going on in France, because as I think most people know, many of the fighters have come from France and Germany and Brussels, the westerners, the Europeans that went in and fought for ISIS and came back out.
Like I said, I'm not jumping to any conclusions. I want to make that clear. But I think we need to know that just from my experience, this looks like radical Islam.
[11:05:03] TAPPER: And, Congressman, you know, one of the things that is obvious in this horrific attack is that the victims were at an LGBT nightclub. They were all presumably gay, lesbian, transgender, bisexual. And this is gay pride week. Or gay pride month, I should say.
It's also been pointed out on the show that radical Islamists -- and again, we're still waiting for final confirmation on that from law enforcement and from counterterrorism officials, but it does seem to be suggesting that. They have hatred for a lot of groups, but we've seen a lot of horrific images from the Middle East of radical Islamists killing gays.
NUNES: Yes, I think that's accurate, Jake. If you look at this, clearly radical Islam wants to target the gay community. And this would be a prime location to do that. Similar to the attack in Paris where they attacked an American rock band. So the Islamists are not afraid to target many groups.
Clearly, the gay community is one they would like to target. That's why when you match up this soft target in Orlando with early indications that this individual had some radicalization in the past, it's easy to make that connection. As you said, we need to wait. We need to let t FBI do their investigation.
TAPPER: Congressman Devin Nunes, Republican of California, chairman of the House Select Committee on Intelligence -- thank you so much for calling in. Please let us know if you learn anything more you can share with us.
NUNES: Thank you, Jake.
TAPPER: Thank you so much.
Let's bring back our panel.
And, Art, it's a devastating day. It's very tough to talk about this in a clinical way, because it is the deadliest mass shooting in the history of this country. Worst than Newtown. Worst than Virginia Tech.
But one of the things you and I were talking about during the break is the fact that the weapons that the killer had were as described by law enforcement a handgun and an AR-15 type semiautomatic rifle.
ART RODERICK, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Right.
TAPPER: Fifty people dead, 5-0. Another 53 injured. Tell me, do you -- does this suggest a clip that had a lot of ammunition? What does it say to you?
RODERICK: Yes. I mean, I think we were both shocked when that number went from 20 to 50 and also the injured number went up quite a bit too. When you're talking an AR-15 type weapon, you're talking a .223-
caliber bullet. It's made to create a lot of tissue damage when it hits your body. In other words, it will hit you in the arm and travel up your arm bone and basically destroy all the tissue as it travels up. So, unfortunately, I think that number of 50 will probably go up some.
But it's a devastating bullet. It's made to use in war-type situations. It was developed specifically to create tissue damage. I think probably these injuries that you're seeing at the medical hospital are very devastating.
TAPPER: Fifty-three individuals in area hospitals, some of them grievously wounded. We should repeat what Senator Marco Rubio told us earlier. If you live in the central Florida area, especially if you're O-positive in terms of your blood type, if you want to donate blood, please go to the hospital. They're saying they need it. They need blood.
Juliette Kayyem, former assistant secretary, pardon me, of the Department of Homeland Security, your reaction to this devastating news about this attack.
JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, I think I'm reacting to it not as an expert but like everyone else. It's shocking as a mother. It is terrifying because this is a soft target, a fun target, a place where young people go. In that way, it's very similar to Paris.
Very interesting press conference. They clearly are walking back -- not walking back, but they want to be more strategic in whose name they're going to release and what we know about him.
So, it was good of Evan to clarify some things that were said. I do hope, and I will say this because the politics are behind this in the background. I don't want to get political about this, but I do hope that the president speaks to the nation. Whatever or whoever did this, this is the largest mass casualty event in U.S. history, 50 people. It is a shocking number, whatever the motivation is.
I think it's important that while the grief is real, so is the fear. People are very, very nervous right now. I think this is the time when, you know, a president needs to speak.
TAPPER: Phil Mudd, your reaction to the press conference.
PHIL MUDD, CNN COUNTERTERRORISM ANALYST: Look, think one of the things we need to focus on is the comparisons to other events and the comparison in particular to Bataclan.
[11:10:05] When you hear the press conference and the identification of name, my first reaction is this does not look like Bataclan. This does not look like Paris. When you look at Paris, you have a conspiracy of people who travel, they communicate, they live in the same places. That's a vulnerability for an intelligence professional to try to find those communications and look to those travel patterns, back to training facilities in Syria.
We do not see evidence so far of a conspiracy like that from Port St. Lucie, where this individual is from, over to Orlando. That from an intelligence optic is more difficult in some ways to stop because you got to figure out, how do we find people if they don't have communication patterns, if they don't have co-conspirators.
Don't compare this to Paris yet. I don't see it, Jake.
TAPPER: And, Art Roderick, that's one of the things actually that top national security officials have been worried about. Not that they're not worried about any terrorist attack, but the idea of a self- radicalized individual, a lone wolf who has taken on this poisonous theology and has decided to take it unto himself to commit this horrific act. That's almost more of a threat because they can't detect it necessarily. There's no chatter.
RODERICK: Exactly. It's a lot tougher.
And Phil is right. When you look at what happened in Paris, that was a lot of people involved in a conspiracy. They had a cell, an organized cell that went back to Brussels. And because of that, you're able to track a lot of that information through social media, through contacts, through interviews.
This sounds like a lone wolf situation at this particular time. So they are a lot tougher. As we have seen in the past here in the U.S., they're a lot tougher to get a handle on and to identify.
TAPPER: So, Juliette Kayyem, as a former assistant secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, one of the things right now, pardon me, one of the things right now that the Department of Homeland Security is doing, in addition to trying to make sure there are no other similar attacks planned by any similar type individuals, they want to make sure that there aren't any misguided attempts at revenge targeting innocents who had no connection to this at all.
KAYYEM: That's exactly right. There are going to be two lanes going on. They're coordinated.
There's the investigation, which will be led by the FBI and joint terrorism task forces. Right now, every single joint terrorism task force is activated. They are scrubbing their lists. They are figuring out who he is, a lone wolf, who he's been in contact with, his family members.
Then there's the second side, which is both the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI, which is we have multiple soft targets. We have baseball games today. We have lots of people getting together. There's now an increased threat level. We know that.
So, there will be a surging of resources to protect areas. I am sure you're going to hear from a lot of mayors today saying they're going to deploy more resources to ensure that people are safe and also to ensure that communities that may be targeted as a response to this incident are also safe. So, in some ways -- I don't mean to say this like it's perfect, but there is a lot of training and activity being done that has been done to assess what to do when something like this happens.
There's the investigation and then there is the "could something more happen, we need to protect U.S. citizens, and we need them to feel that they are safe."
TAPPER: And, Phil Mudd, about two years ago we all became experts in what meta data is after Edward Snowden's revelations. Right now that met data is likely, I'm guessing, being pulled for this individual, Omar Saddiqui Mateen. They're trying to find out who he was in contact with.
Explain what that process might be like.
MUDD: Well, Jake, just think about your every day life. When you're transferring money, paying checks via your online bank account, for example, when you're e-mailing, texting, Facebook messages. All this is digital. It allows you to figure out a spider web.
The spider web of a human activity in 2016 is digital. Who do you talk to? Where did you travel to? Where do you get money from? So, as soon as you get the identification of the name, you can go to phone companies, Internet service providers, and without putting people on the street, say does he have an immediate circle of people he talked to?
One of the most interesting questions below the radar, where did he travel to? As soon as I see a travel pattern, I start to say, was he trained by somebody or were there co-conspirators? So, all that stuff of metadata allows you to draw a picture of a spider web in a way you couldn't have done 15 or 20 years ago, before the advent of the digital age.
RODERICK: Yes, the interesting comment that was made earlier was that he worked for a security company in Ft. Pierce.
[11:15:00] Obviously there was some type of backgrounds done, whether it was just a regular criminal history check and a financial check, but there are some checks that have already been done on this particular individual. Even went so far as to say that security company provides security company for the federal government also.
So, it'll be interesting to see what records that company has on him right now.
TAPPER: All right. Everybody stay with us. We're going to stake a quick break.
When we come back, we're going to have a new interview with an eyewitness to the horrific attack in Orlando, the deadliest mass shooting in American history. Stay with us.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) TAPPER: Welcome back.
We're following this horrific breaking news. It's a staggering day. It's the worst mass shooting in the history of the United States, 50 people killed, 53 injured, some of them grievously, after an overnight terrorist attack on an LGBT nightclub. The nightclub is called Pulse. It's in Orlando, Florida.
Police shot and killed the gunman after a three-hour hostage standoff. He's been identified as Omar Saddiqui Mateen.
Let's right now bring in Naseem Miller. She's a medical reporter from "The Orlando Sentinel," who just left the Orlando regional medical center where victims and their families were gathering, had been transported.
Naseem, tell us about the scene at the hospital.
NASEEM MILLER, THE ORLANDO SENTINEL (via telephone): Well, clearly everybody is sad.
[11:20:03] It's very calm. People are quiet, supportive. Everybody is sort of keeping to themselves.
Earlier today, there were a few people who were discharged with minor injuries, including one who had a very superficial gunshot wound. But they were very emotional, a lot of crying. And they eventually left the scene.
Now, there are a lot of extended family members and friends who are hanging out and really desperately waiting for information to come in to understand. The hospital, ORCM, is on lockdown, meaning they are not really letting anybody in, as far as family members of other patients, and they're only accepting very extreme cases of trauma. And they're only letting in very close families of shooting victims.
I'm being told they're held in a room. But not much information is being given. They're just filling out paperwork and waiting.
TAPPER: And one of the things we've been talking about is the weaponry used by the terrorist would cause massive wounds. So, in addition to the 50 killed in the worst, deadliest shooting in American history, the 53 wounded, some of them might be in touch-and-go situations.
Have you spoke within any medical authorities about the condition of people who have been rushed to the hospital?
MILLER: No, the hospital -- I can imagine because I did cover remotely the Boston marathon shooting. They're still pretty tied up to be talking to media at this point. But we're expecting them to maybe later in the day or tomorrow provide more details as to how terrible the injuries are.
TAPPER: And what else can you tell us about this horrific situation? Orlando obviously a first-class American city, but it sounded as though the trauma centers were really being stretched thin.
MILLER: I have not gotten a sense of that as far as being stretched thin. At least they haven't said anything yet. I have contacts at our other main hospital system here. They have not indicated anything. They said if family members have names, they can call the hospital and check if their family member is at that hospital.
You know, people cannot believe it. At the same time, some people, it's making them a little bit more worried for the safety for their family members. I was talking to one family who was saying, you know, their brother who was shot was visiting from New York, and they still go out at night, stay home.
Florida has usually been known for something like. I guess they had a sense they wanted them to stay home, and unfortunately he was among the victims.
TAPPER: That's awful. Naseem, thank you so much. We appreciate it.
Just to reiterate, the call in the Orlando area is for O-negative, O- positive and AB donors to donate as soon as possible. You can find a donation center by going to oneblood.org or calling 1-888-9-DONATE. Again, that's oneblood.org or calling 1-888-9-DONATE. That's for people who are O-negative, O-positive, and AB blood types to help those who have been victims of this horrific shooting.
Joining us now via Skype is a witness to the Orlando nightclub shooting, Luis Burbano.
Luis, thank you so much for joining us at this difficult time.
Tell us what you saw.
LUIS BURBANO, WITNESS: We were in the club. It was me and my best friend went out. Last minute, we decided to go out. We were at the bar that was at the entrance to the club. It was a smaller bar next to the main dance floor.
And around 1:45 we start making our way back to the main bar that we originally started at, the smaller one, and hung out there, 2:00 we started changing out, cashing out our check, signed the paper. The deejay was playing a typical set that incorporated what we thought was gunshots as part of the music. Four shots, bop, bop, bop, bop.
But for some reason, it was different. No one put two and two together until the fifth and sixth. Between 10 and 20, that's when everything really started getting real. Then we all at that point did a domino effect, all to the floor, everybody, at least at that part of the club. I can't speak for the main floor or anything else. At least what I saw in our section of the bar, it was just a quick drop, hit the floor, hit the ground.
TAPPER: And how did you get out? How quickly did you get out of the club?
[11:25:00] BURBANO: A minute and a half. Seemed like ten, seemed like 20. By the time they got to 20 to 30 rounds, we were already trying to exit a small exit way side stage that was for employee access only. It was very, very narrow.
Once we get to this little alleyway, there were about 20 or 30 people trying to push themselves through a small cabinet looking door. Then there was a huge gaping hole in the fence that literally looked like people just punched it and kicked it down in order to get out because they realized that wasn't working.
All in all, probably a minute and a half, two minutes just to exit the building. But we were still on premises, dealing with casualties that we decided to stay by and help out.
TAPPER: We're so glad that you got out. Did you happen to see the shooter?
BURBANO: No. Not at all, actually. We at first heard the gunshots, and when we realized it was actual real life, we hit the ground and started to realize that it's getting closer and louder and louder. There was about a ten-second break where we didn't hear any more bullets going off.
That's when we made a jet for the door. Like I was telling someone else before, I didn't even want to look back. I didn't want to look at them. That would be the last memory I have. That's not something I want to remember. We just ran out, we jetted and tried saving ourselves and saving as many people as we can to get out of there.
TAPPER: Did all of your friends make it out?
BURBANO: I went originally with my best friend. Yes, he was with me the entire time. I dragged him to the ground because the shock and awe factor kicked in.
People were screaming. We didn't scream. We were trying to recollect our thoughts. We haven't even slept at all. We literally just got back from the police station.
He made it out. There were faces we had seen all the time, mutual friends, but we were in the zone at that point, just enjoying the night. We don't remember seeing many people.
Some people trickled into the police station to make their report. Others we did hear, mutual friends did not make it. One succumbed to back wounds. The other was shot, dragged out. One of our long-time bartender friends was in a small fitting room with about ten other people hiding in there, just waiting for a miracle, waiting for someone to come in and rescue them.
TAPPER: So horrible. Luis, when you were outside, and you were helping other people who had escaped, tell us what that scene was like.
BURBANO: We had jetted out. I went through the hole. I lost my friend at that point in time. I saw this kid collapse in front of me. He collapsed pretty much right next to the building. I said, what are you doing, what are you doing, get up, let's get up.
I grabbed him, not realizing that his forearm was split in two. Then I realized he had a gash on his side as well. I quickly took off my main shirt and did a -- what is it called, a syringe, I guess, tourniquet on him, and kept him occupied, got to know him.
He was visiting from Jacksonville. He was just here for the weekend, just to hang out there. Young, early 20s. And then before I knew it, this guy was pacing, looking for a family member back and forth, and he had a bullet sticking out. The bullet, I kid you not, was this big. Half in his leg, half sticking out.
And then I took off my other shirt and did a tourniquet really quick on him as well. So I had them both by my side until the paramedics came. And once they took them off, about 10, 15 minutes later, then we were told to quickly evacuate and move further down the street, as far as we could.
TAPPER: Well, that was very heroic, Luis. I'm very, very sorry that you through. It sounds like a horrific, horrific experience. Thank you for sharing it with us today.
BURBANO: Thank you.
TAPPER: God bless you and best of luck to you.
We are standing by, waiting for a press conference from the governor of Florida, Rick Scott. We're going to take a quick break. We're going to continue covering the worst stories ever reported, 50 killed, 53 wounded, the deadliest mass shooting in the history of this country.
Stay with us.
TAPPER: Welcome back to this horrific breaking news story. We're standing by for a news conference from the governor of Florida, Republican Rick Scott, as we continue covering this awful story, 50 people killed, 53 wounded, some grievously, in an overnight mass shooting at an Orlando, Florida, nightclub, one that caters to an LGBT clientele.
This now ranks as the deadliest mass shooting in the history of this country.
Let's go to CNN correspondent Boris Sanchez, who's in Orlando.
Boris, tell us the latest.
BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, hey, Jake.
We actually just heard from Representative Alan Grayson, who told us a few moments ago, he confirmed that cleanup crews are now inside of the club, beginning the very difficult task of cleaning up what you can imagine is just a horrific mess.
Right now, crews are working to process the remains and begin the very difficult task of identifying them, so they can provide information to the families of those affected. Officials have been asking for patience in this process because of the scope of this investigation and the nature of it.
Obviously, we're dealing with terrorism here. It's going to be a long time before some families get answers. And that can be excruciating, as we saw with the crowds outside of the Orlando Regional Medical Center this morning that were fighting with doctors essentially to get information about their loved ones.
I can also tell you that there was a van outside of the venue that officials believe belonged to the suspect. That is being cleared right now as we speak. Obviously, with officials telling that he had some kind of device on him, there was concern that perhaps there was some kind of IED, an improvised explosive device, in that van.
So that process is still ongoing. Officials told us they might clear this street and let us get closer to the venue, which is about three blocks away, but it appears that, with the situation still getting a closer look, that will take some time.
One of the things that we have heard from witnesses again and again -- and it really -- it really shakes you to your core -- this was supposed to be a fun night of dancing at a club. It was Latin night. People were socializing and having drinks.
At no point did they expect that this would turn into the worst shooting in American history, as you said, Jake.
So I asked Representative Grayson, you know, how does this community move forward? And he said that really it was about helping the victims and lending a hand to those who need it. He said the best way people can do that right now is by donating blood.
There's a massive need for blood. There's more than 50 people in the hospital right now in varying degrees of health. They will certainly need help moving forward. So, he hopes to see the community come forward and donate in that regard.
Obviously, Jake, it's going to be a long time before the city of Orlando can say it's fully healed from this horrifying event.
So, just to reiterate, as we have been saying, Boris, the authorities, the medical authorities have said there is an urgent need in the Orlando area for O-negative, O-positive, and AB plasma blood donors.
And you can find out the best place to donate by going to oneblood.org or calling 888-9-DONATE. That's oneblood.org or 888-9-DONATE. Boris, there also, of course, was this horrific shoot-out over
multiple hours between the terrorist and police, more than 100 officers on site. How are they doing? Were any of them wounded or killed?
SANCHEZ: Well, we don't know it happened, but we know that, at one point, an officer was struck by a bullet. Fortunately, though, he's OK. He had this Kevlar helmet. And it affected his vision at one point, but it appears that he's fine.
You can imagine, though, the psychological toll of all this. The courage that it takes to go into a situation like this is -- you know -- it's hard to put into words. But it's not just that. It's also now the cleanup and having to deal with so much loss and to move forward in the face of terror.
TAPPER: All right. Boris Sanchez, thank you so much. Appreciate it.
We're still awaiting a press conference from the governor of Florida, Rick Scott, about the deadliest mass shooting in American history taking place today, this morning in Orlando.
We will bring that to you live. Stay with us.
TAPPER: Welcome back to CNN's live coverage of this breaking news story, the deadliest mass shooting in American history.
We're right now we're awaiting a news conference by Florida Governor Rick Scott.
To recap what we know, there was a mass shooting at an Orlando, Florida, LGBT nightclub. It left 50 people dead, 53 injured, some of them grievously. Law enforcement sources have identified the gunman as Omar Saddiqui Mateen.
Let's find out more about the shooting.
Let's talk to California Congressman Adam Schiff. He's the top Democrat on the House Select Committee on Intelligence.
Congressman Schiff, thanks for joining us.
What can you tell us about possible ties that this individual may have had to any specific ideology? The FBI special agent in charge earlier today said that there were suggestions he was of the Islamic -- a radical Islamic ideology.
REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D), CALIFORNIA: Well, Jake, what I have heard from the Department of Homeland Security this morning is that, according to local police, he made a pledge of allegiance to ISIL, was heard praying in a foreign language. And I don't know if this was at some point during the course of the
shooting, but that's what I'm hearing obviously secondhand, coming ultimately from local police. We know the shooting is during Ramadan. The target is often a target of ISIS, the LGBT community.
We have seen horrific reports over the last couple years of gruesome killings of gay and LGBT people in Syria and Iraq, thrown off the top of buildings. So, the similarities to the Bataclan, they are all highly indicative of an ISIL-inspired attack. Whether this was ISIL- directed, you know, we don't.
Obviously, the intelligence community, particularly NCTC, is combing through our intelligence holdings right now to determine whether there was any indication of any command-and-control from Raqqa. Still, early to form any of these conclusions, but these are some of the early pieces of evidence that we're hearing and learning about.
Of course, Jake, you know better than anyone else often the information you get at the very early stage of an investigation turns out to be, at least in part, erroneous. So, I think we all have to let the FBI do its job and wait to see the full evidence that comes forward.
TAPPER: Yes, good cautionary note. I have been saying this throughout the coverage this morning, is that often law enforcement sources get information, they share it with the public, and yet the information turns out to not prove accurate, and they take it back.
We are just trying to bring as much information as we can from reliable authorities, reliable sources.
And, Congressman, having been briefed by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the Department of Homeland Security, what can you tell us about the suicide contraption that this individual -- early reports said he was wearing one.
SCHIFF: Well, Jake, what I have heard is that, in fact, he did not have a suicide vest on, that he had a military-style assault weapon, a handgun.
There was some other device, but it doesn't appear to have been an explosive vest of any kind. So, that early report may have, in fact, been erroneous. But that's just what I'm hearing at this point.
TAPPER: And, obviously, you noted that Islamic -- radical Islamic extremists target the LGBT community quite often.
And this month is Pride Month, as designated by President Obama. And I think it's Pride Week specifically in Los Angeles, where you are. That must be of extreme concern for individuals if they're planning any sort of parades or celebrations.
SCHIFF: It is. And, in fact, here in Los Angeles, where we have a very large and
vibrant LGBT community, we have a pride parade later this morning, which I'm sure will be a very somber occasion. I'm going to be going to the sheriff's station before that parade.
I'm sure that there are going to be added security precautions in light of the shooting, but what a terrible tragedy just any way you look at it, this horrific loss of life in yet again another American city.
And, tragically, we know that, quite far from our shores in Europe, they're very much on guard for much of the same. And they have a far greater risk than we do, but our hearts are certainly going out to those that are impacted and to the entire LGBT community.
TAPPER: And, Congressman, just one last question for you. A lot of people watching this morning are going to feel afraid. They're going to feel insecure in their own communities.
What's your message to them in terms of the best intelligence available? Is there any information about any other attacks or any other group that this individual may have specifically been in contact with, and not just inspired by?
SCHIFF: Jake, we're looking very hard to see exactly that. Is there any indication of any other plot out there, any other shooters involved?
And, at this point, we don't know the answer. I know that's hard for people, even in the best of circumstances, and I think we have the best intelligence agencies and personnel in the world. If someone is self-inspired, self-radicalized -- then again, we don't know for sure that that's the case here -- but it's very difficult to determine, very difficult to be proactive, unless people see something about that person and say something.
Obviously, in the days ahead, we're going to learn a lot more about this shooter and try to determine, were there any signs we missed? Was there anything in our intelligence holdings? Did people in his family or in the community see things they should have said?
But, at this point, we don't have indications of a broader plot. And, again, the only thing I can say, though, to temper that, Jake, is, we are still looking to see whether we had any kind of advance notice that this plot may have been in the works. And the simple answer is, we're looking. We may not have.
And as good as our agencies are, they're simply not able to stop a motivated, self-radicalized person who keeps the details of their plotting to themselves.
TAPPER: Congressman Adam Schiff, top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, thank you so much for joining us.
And our best wishes to you and the members of the LGBT community. And I hope it is a successful, if not somber, event, pride parade today in Los Angeles.
SCHIFF: Thanks, Jake.
TAPPER: We want to show you the lines of individuals forming in Orlando right now waiting to give blood. As we have been noting the whole program, there is a need for O-negative, O-positive, and AB blood type donors.
You can find the best place for you to give blood by going to oneblood.org or dialing 888-9-DONATE.
Here are some of the hearty Floridians who have shown up for the task at hand. And kudos to them.
We're going to take a very quick break. We will be right back with this horrific story.
TAPPER: Welcome back.
This is Senator Bill Nelson of Florida speaking to reporters. Let's listen in.
(JOINED IN PROGRESS)
SEN. BILL NELSON (D), FLORIDA: I have checked with intelligence staff, and they do believe that there is some connection to ISIS. But I might say, that is not official.
I asked the FBI what I should convey. And because of the nature of this shooting, they have asked me to ask anybody that knows anything about the shooter, especially in the Fort Pierce-St. Lucie County area, to please come forth with the information.
This appears to be, unfortunately, since it's the largest issue of mass shooting, an act of terrorism. But the facts, we can't say that totally yet.
We are certainly having our share of violence. In two successive nights, we have had killings, the singer performing live at the plaza shot down two nights, and then this horrific act.
So, what is happening to our country? We are going to have to dig down deep and ask ourselves who we are as a people. We have got to think of ourselves as the common denominator of Americans, not a hyphenated American or off on some cause. And that's what we have got to explore deep inside at this point.
That's the information I have for you. I will share more with you as I get it.
QUESTION: Senator, based on what the intelligence staff told you, what made you think that there's a connection to ISIS? NELSON: I will get that information for you once I have confirmed it
But I'm just passing along to you the information that I have that from the credible sources, as well as directly. That information is not from the FBI. Let me make that distinction.
QUESTION: Where is that information from?
NELSON: That is from Intelligence Committee staff.
But the FBI information for Senator Feinstein and myself is directly from Mike Steinbach. He's the assistant director of the Counterterrorism Center in Washington.
TAPPER: That was Senator Bill Nelson, Democrat of Florida, talking about the latest information he has, which is, like you have heard from so many national security officials and experts this morning, very strongly suggestive of an individual -- we know his name, Omar Mateen, Omar Saddiqui Mateen, from Fort Pierce, Florida, who may have been inspired by radical Islam.
Senator Nelson just said and Congressman Adam Schiff earlier in the program told us that local law enforcement sources are suggesting that the individual, the terrorist in question, Mr. Mateen, has pledged allegiance to ISIS. Now, that doesn't necessarily mean that, first of all, that he was anything other than a lone wolf.
Second of all, as we have repeatedly said throughout this program and throughout our coverage this horrific breaking news story, often, a lot of times, law enforcement sources, public officials get information, they share it with the public because of the public's hunger and right to know what's going on. And the information is later proved false or retracted.
So, as of right now, we are telling you everything we can tell you, while also noting repeatedly that, a lot of times, early reports are not correct.
What we do know is horrific enough, which is that today is the day of the deadliest mass shooting in the history of the United States; 50 individuals at a nightclub in Orlando, Florida, Pulse, which caters to an LGBT clientele, were killed, killed by an individual, Omar Saddiqui Mateen, who had an AR-15-style semiautomatic rifle, as well as a handgun, and fired repeatedly in the nightclub, after entering the nightclub, and started -- and starting shooting at around 2:00 in the morning.
Hold on one second. Control room, what? Say that again?
So, Juliette Kayyem, we're going to bring you in right now, former national homeland security official, assistant secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, and Phil Mudd, formerly of the CIA and FBI.
Can you react to some of the information we have gotten this morning, Juliette Kayyem? When an individual like Adam Schiff, who is sober and responsible, says that he's hearing from local law enforcement that this individual may have pledged allegiance to ISIS, that is reason to take pause.
JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Absolutely.
And Adam Schiff is probably one of the best congressmen out there on these issues. So, here's what we should take from all of this. There appears to be no evidence yet of some directed attack, that at least what we're hearing from both government officials and then those who have been briefed by them is that this is your sort of lone wolf scenario, someone who is inspired.
That may mean little to most people, because there are 50 people dead, but it does impact law enforcement will treat this case in terms of who he was, how he got radicalized, was he in contact with anyone in the United States, anyone else, and basically his trajectory in terms of this horrible attack of terrorism.
The second issue that is of importance here -- and I have already heard from a bunch of mayors who are texting me -- is the extent to which local law enforcement essentially are our counterterrorism force right now.
I'm looking at these pictures on your screen as well. This is a tremendous shift obviously in the last 15 years, that these are just Florida police officers who are getting trained in mass casualty events, whether it's terrorism or not.
I will tell you, I left this morning, when I got a phone call from you guys, a mass casualty training scenario at our baseball stadium here, because this is what they're all training about. It's about resources, training and practice for those who are going to be on the front lines.
They may not be able to stop the next attack, but they certainly, as we have seen, can save a lot of lives.
TAPPER: It's an excellent point, Juliette, because I was just sitting here with Art Roderick, formerly of the U.S. Marshals, and we were talking about the scene as described by witnesses and the Kevlar helmet.
And as somebody who has covered the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan...
TAPPER: ... that is exactly what it is reminiscent of, war zones.
And we now have had these war zones. And we have had them in our cities and our country for quite some time, but now we're seeing them repeatedly. We're going to pause at the top of the hour and then continue with our
live coverage of this horrific event, the worst, deadliest mass shooting in the history of the country.