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Five Dead, Eight Hurt in Ft. Lauderdale Airport Shooting; Intel Report: Russia Tried to Influence Election. Aired 4-4:30 ET

Aired January 6, 2017 - 16:00   ET



ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: That's right, breaking news, a mass shooting at a busy Florida airport, five people killed after a lone gunman opened fire at Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International, which we are told is now shut down.

Eight other people who were shot have been taken to the hospital. The Broward County sheriff says the shooter is in custody. He was not hurt. He was arrested by police without incident. He is now being questioned both by the FBI and local law enforcement.

I want to show you the scene inside that baggage claim. This is where the shooting took place. Witnesses we have spoken to describe panic here immediately after the shooting, as paramedics arrived urgently at the scene, people running for cover, screaming, confusion, fear, as you would expect.

According to multiple law enforcement officials, the shooter has been identified as Esteban Santiago. Law enforcement sources are also now telling us that the suspect had a gun checked in his baggage. After he retrieved his baggage, he took out that gun, and he started shooting.

Let's get right to CNN justice correspondent Evan Perez, who has the latest reporting.

So, Evan, tell us some of the details about how the suspect got this gun into the airport and when he started the shooting rampage.

EVAN PEREZ, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well this is one, Jim, that we don't normally see, right?

We normally expect that these types of shootings happen from people who are coming into the airport. In this case, we're told that law enforcement, at least the initial investigation, has shown that the suspect arrived on a flight, an Air Canada flight, arrived in that very terminal on a flight from Alaska earlier today, that he waited for his luggage along with the other passengers on that flight, that he retrieved his bags where he had checked firearms.

These are firearms that you can legally check with the airline. And he legally was able to do that. He went to a bathroom, retrieved the firearm, then came back out and started shooting. According to the initial investigations, it doesn't appear that he was targeting anyone in particular.

He appeared to be just shooting randomly. There was no rhyme or reason to the shooting. But it appears that a lot of the people who he would have shot and some of the people that were killed might have been some of the passengers that were on this flight. Again, he came on a flight, an Air Canada flight, we're told, that came from Alaska and landed earlier at Fort Lauderdale International Airport.

Again, this is a twist on something we have never seen before. Again, we have seen shootings at airports where people come from outside the airport with firearms. You don't normally see somebody coming from an aircraft that's gone through security, again, with secured luggage, and then emerging with a firearm.

This is something that is not what we have seen before. Again, this is still early in the investigation. There's still a lot of witnesses to be interviewed. There's surveillance camera footage to look at to see exactly how long this all took. We don't know everything about his movements. But, again, he appeared to arrive on this flight and then started shooting once he emerged from the bathroom.

SCIUTTO: Evan Perez, stay there. I know you will continue to speak to law enforcement sources here in Washington.

I want to go now to CNN's Boris Sanchez. He is live at Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport.

Boris, I know that just after the shooting, there was a great deal of confusion and fear at the airport. We saw pictures of people after the gunman was taken still running in fear. But now police are saying they're confident there was just a lone gunman here.

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Jim. We actually heard from the Broward County sheriff about 20 to 30 minutes ago and he told us that reports of a second shooter were unsubstantiated, that they were simply rumors.

We heard people screaming and running shortly after we saw a group of about six armed and heavily armed uniformed officers running across from terminal two. This is terminal two. This is where the shooting happened. This is the second floor. The shooting happened on the lower level in baggage claim. And we saw the officers running across into these parking garages here.

And that's what really kicked off just panic here. There were people running in all directions from terminal two on to the runways, from terminal 1, down here to where we're standing now, and then on to the runways. It was sheer chaos. Things are much calmer now, but as the sheriff of Broward County said earlier, this is still a fluid situation.

Officers from just about every jurisdiction and the Southeastern part of Florida are here. There are helicopters in the air. There are tactical vehicles, as you just saw a moment ago, driving around. So, this is still an ongoing investigation.

As you said, and as you heard from Evan earlier, it appears that the shooter in this case arrived on an Air Canada flight. Terminal two is the Delta and Air Canada terminal. And then he apparently, sources say, went into the restroom, retrieved a weapon from his bag, and opened fire, killing at least five people.


Eight others were rushed to the hospital. There's no word yet on a motive. We understand that the shooter was put into custody without incident. He's being questioned, as you said, by local and federal investigators.

One interesting point to note, especially because we saw so many officers go into these parking garages, I asked the Broward County sheriff if, perhaps, they had identified a vehicle here at the Fort Lauderdale Airport that might belong to the shooter. He told me that at the time we were speaking to him he did not have a vehicle that belonged to the shooter that they were able to identify.

Again, this is a very delicate situation. Still, there are hundreds of people that are stranded.

I believe we actually have one here now.

Sir, nice to meet you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nice to meet you.

SANCHEZ: You said you heard gunshots.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. Yes. We were in the United terminal. I assume it was terminal one. OK? The initial shooting in terminal 2. So, we thought, OK, we're safe.

We're waiting there. We had a flight at 7:00. And while we're standing there, I heard bam, bam, bam, bam, you know, four heavy-duty shots. Everybody scattered. We ran outside. My wife and daughters took shelter under some sort of awning thing here. My son just took off.

I went out behind a taxi and a woman and a baby came up and hid there too. And then I went back into terminal one to look for them and it was empty. Not a soul. Not a soul was in there, just luggage and shoes and things like that.

So, then we came back out and then we -- and I found them through texting and got reunited. But, no, there was four shots and they were inside there.

SANCHEZ: And your family is still stranded here? You guys still trying to get out of here?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, we're still -- going to Chicago, came back from a cruise. Had a layover. Again, that's why it's at the United terminal. Everybody kept saying, oh, what terminal? It's right there, United. And whatever that is, that's where we were and that's where those shots were.

SANCHEZ: Despite that report you just heard, Jim, what we have heard from the Broward County sheriff is that that actually wasn't gunshots is what the sheriff is saying. So, there's some conflicting reports here.

But just as this gentleman said, there are still people, families that are stranded here with really nowhere to go. Five people killed. Eight in the hospital right now because of a shooting in terminal two, the Delta and Air Canada terminal in the baggage claim area here at Fort Lauderdale Airport -- Jim.

SCIUTTO: Well, in the moments after an event like this confusing for all involved.

But there you go then, shots fired, whether an airport, a school, city streets, such a familiar story here.

I want to go now to another eyewitness. He is Ryan Ward. Right now, he is just outside the Fort Lauderdale Airport.

Ryan, tell us what you saw as the shots were being fired.

RYAN WARD, WITNESS: Well, I didn't -- I didn't hear the initial shots. I heard the commotion.

I was actually -- I just had back surgery, so I was in a wheelchair, and just had gotten through security. So I saw the commotion and heard the people. I thought maybe just a fight or something had broken out at security.

So, I actually -- I was at the first gate that the wheelchair stopped at and got a call from my mom saying, what's going on? And I had no idea. I just heard the screaming. And not five minutes later, people came running down the hall screaming gun, gunman was coming.

So, everybody, you know, ran and luggage flying, purses flying, and I can't move very fast because of my surgery, so I got up and started hobbling. And all the restaurants were closing their cages and getting people into hiding places. And there was a woman frozen kind of in the middle of the hallway and her child made it into the gate, so I took her into a corridor right on top of her.

And we were stuck in that corridor about the last 45 minutes or so, and then escorted out with guys with long guns and moved us away from the glass. So it does sound like maybe it was an unsubstantiated second threat. But people certainly weren't acting like it.

SCIUTTO: Ryan, it must have been horribly frightening for you, particularly you're injured. Were people coming to your aid? What was the response from law enforcement and others inside the airport as this was happening?

WARD: You know, a lot of confusion at first, because people were aware that something has happened adjacent to us.

But once everybody started running and it happened, I have to say that the JetBlue personnel, which is what I was flying, were great. And the cops that came in initially, the Broward County Sheriff local guys, they were great.

I mean, since I was kind of stuck in a corridor with a woman who was frozen in fear, they just kind of guarded us on either side and stood there, and then, like I said, finally escorted us out once some guys with long guns came in. And they were Homeland Security guys, FBI, and now escorted us outside and kept us away from the windows.


Still see a lot of helicopters, lot of action, but it seems to be calming down, but they definitely are still riding by with -- on the trunks of cars with long guns out, so definitely not giving us the clear.

SCIUTTO: And in the midst of it, I'm told that you shielded a child?


SCIUTTO: During the chaos?

WARD: Actually, it was his mom. The child sat about 10 feet from her, and I handed it to -- the child to the Chili's manager that was closing -- or Chili's employee that was closing their gate quickly, so they could hide.

So, I handed her the child or him the child. And then I ran back over, and just pushed the mom into a corner and laid on top of her. I'm a big guy, so it was easy to cover her up. And she was just frozen.

SCIUTTO: Well, Ryan, I'm sorry you had the experience of this for anybody who went through this firsthand, but thank you for the help that you gave to others in need there. We appreciate it.


SCIUTTO: I want to bring in CNN national security analyst Juliette Kayyem. She's a former assistant secretary for homeland security. We also have CNN counterterrorism analyst Phil Mudd. He's a former CIA counterterror official, CNN law enforcement analyst Tom Fuentes. He's assistant FBI director. He's with me here in Washington.

Tom, a couple of things here I would like to run by you in light of your experience. One, if you want to find a place with a big police presence, it's, of course, America's airports today. But this shooter struck in one of the least protected areas, is it not, in baggage claim, outside the security perimeter.


Baggage claim area is open because people are arriving and they may have a lot of luggage checked in. Family members and others come to help them. So, they drive up or park in the garage, come into the airport, go to baggage claim, help them carry their stuff out.

So, yes, they don't go through magnetometers to get in. You can have a threat come into that area from outside the airport very easily or, if it's true in this case, if he had a gun in checked luggage, as soon as he gets his checked luggage, he can go hide in a bathroom, he can go out on the sidewalk and come back in and begin shooting, if that's what actually happened.

SCIUTTO: Juliette Kayyem, this is a situation, rare, that you have the shooter taken in custody unharmed. Eyewitnesses have said that after firing these shots, he, in effect, laid down on the ground and waited to be taken.

Police able to take him, they say, with no shots fired. How unusual is that, in your experience?

JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: It's very unusual for a pre-planned attack. Normally, if this was something that he flew across the country, at least from our understanding, you know, from Alaska to Florida, with a plan on doing this attack, you would think that his exit strategy was either to get out of the airport or to be killed.

So this is very rare. And so the other theory, talking to law enforcement agents right now that I'm hearing, the other theory is that something happened at the airport that triggered this, an altercation or something in baggage claim.

Those would be the only two theories, right, that something -- he didn't plan it, but he happened to have guns, or that the guns were, you know, sort of on the airplane and he planned to do this, because the rarity of getting someone who just sit downs and says, here, take me away, has to be explained somehow. And so those are the two theories of the case that investigators are looking at right now.

SCIUTTO: And the suspect being questioned now.

Phil Mudd, if I can draw on your experience, I'm told by officials that he had possible mental health issues, but, of course, it's early. The Department of Homeland Security telling us that there is no known motive at this time.

Tell us, if you can, the kinds of questions, the kinds of work investigators are doing now to figure out why he did this.

PHILIP MUDD, CNN COUNTERTERRORISM ANALYST: First of all, I wouldn't be asking the question why at the moment. The first question is who. Is there anybody else involved? Was there a co-conspirator?

If he's not mentally stable, my first questions would be, where are his friends, family, associates, and does he have, for example, social media accounts that might suggest he was communicating to somebody about an attack? After that, I might get into motive. Why did you do this? Was this just a random act of violence? I'm with Juliette. That you would bother to go across the country and buy a ticket to engage in a shooting incident at an airport against civilians whom you don't know, if you wanted to kill people, why wouldn't you do it at the point of origin?

There's a lot of unanswered questions. But the first one is, is there a single other person out there? That takes a little while, Jim, to figure that one out.

SCIUTTO: Tom, it is a way, though, to get a gun into an airport, is it not? You put it in your checked baggage. You legally check it, declare it, and when you pick it up, you have got a gun in an airport, although I suppose you could walk into the baggage area as well, because that's a place where, you know, there might be police around, but you don't have to walk through any metal detectors.

FUENTES: Right. Hundreds of people travel legitimately with their firearms to go hunting, on a hunting trip, or they're off-duty law enforcement or other military that may have weapons and check them in.

There's procedures each airline has, TSA has, for checking in a secure manner a firearm in your luggage, you know, making sure it has the right kind of lockbox and the ammunition. And you check it, and off you go.

[16:15:02] And then the next you -- the main issue is that firearm is not in the cabin. They're not in position to hijack the aircraft. Now, when the plane lands, they recover their luggage at baggage claim and then once again they're reunited with their firearm. So, yes, they could shoot on the front end of that through the detectors or before they go to the ticket counter and check it or on the back end when they recover it at the destination airport.

SCIUTTO: Juliette Kayyem, when we have -- and this is not the first time we've seen shootings or even terror attacks in that unsecured part of airports, remember, you look back at the Istanbul attack a number of months ago in that area and the check-in area, outside of the security corridor. Whenever that happens there's discussion, well, why don't authorities move that cordon out further, right?

Is that something that Homeland Security has considered at various times? And if so, why hasn't that step been taken?

KAYYEM: Well, it has been considered. But just to make it clear, so wherever you put the zone of security, there is going to be a zone of insecurity right next to it. So, you can move it out ten miles from the airport. Mile 10.01 is going to be insecurity.

And the other aspect to this is, we are a global economy, global aviation. If you put too much security on any of these airports, you will -- I mean, basically, you're going to impede the movement of people and things. Millions of people a day domestically fly and so, you're just constantly weighing the challenge of security and flow. What we do see -- and I just, you know, to sort of say this looks like

chaos. You know, look, sometimes, there's organized chaos. This looks exactly how you would want it to look from a homeland security and public safety perspective. Active shooter case you want people to flee. You don't want them to stay put. And then you have them shelter in place to ensure things are good.

It looks really bad, but this is the way you want it to work because you want to protect people. So, look, you're never going to make these airports perfectly secure. A lot of it has to do with weapons and the amount of weapons that are out there. And so, we shouldn't believe that if only we put the security, you know, further back everything would be OK. There's more we can do to protect these unsecured areas, but at some stage, you're going to have an insecure area.

SCIUTTO: Juliette, Tom, Phil, please stay there. We're continuing to follow this story and we will come right back to this breaking story.

But, first, we have more breaking news.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

SCIUTTO: As I said, we have more breaking news on a separate story. One we've been following for some time.

The government has just released the declassified intelligence report blaming Russia for cyber attacks during the 2016 presidential race. This has been a great deal of anticipation for this for some time. And I just want to draw your attention to a few headlines from this.

It says that Vladimir Putin aspired to help Donald Trump win the election. That, the judgment of the U.S. intelligence community.

I want to go right now to CNN's Pamela Brown who has the report.

And, Pamela, reading these pages here -- first of all, they make clear at the top, you know, that this is intelligence, it's classified, we can't lift the veil on everything, but we're going to in effect tell you as much as we can. That stood out to me. We assess that Putin and the Russian government aspired to help President-elect Donald Trump's election chances here.

What other headlines come out at you from this report?

PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, it talks about the range of motivations here and as you point out, this report does not mince words. It comes out and says, we believe Vladimir Putin meddle in the election process and tried to hurt Hillary Clinton and help Donald Trump. It listed a few reasons why.

One of which public -- Putin publicly pointed to the Panama papers disclosure and the Olympic doping scandals as ways that the United States was trying to undermine Russia. And so, in the view of the U.S. intelligence, Putin wanted to do this to get back at the United States. It says, he sought to use disclosures to discredit the image of the

United States and cast it as hypocritical and it talks about why he wanted to undermine Hillary Clinton, saying he most likely wanted to discredit Secretary Clinton because he has publicly blamed her since 2011 for inciting mass protests against his regime in late 2011 and early 2012 and because he holds a grudge for comments he almost certainly saw disparaging against him.

It talks about why the U.S. believes he tried to help Donald Trump. It says Moscow saw the election of President-elect Trump as a way to achieve an international counterterrorism coalition against the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant.

And it goes on to explain how the United States came to this conclusion. It says, "We assess with high confidence that Russian military intelligence, general staff main intelligence directorate, used the Guccifer 2.0 persona and as a way to release U.S. victim data.

[16:20:07] So, it says back in March that the military intelligence services stole these e-mails that we know were leaked from the DNC as well as John Podesta, the Clinton campaign chairman, and used this forum, the as well as WikiLeaks in order to have the effect that the United States says Russia wanted, which was to meddle in the process, undermine the Democratic process and help Donald Trump.

And it talked about the trolling operations, Jim, and it says it traced the likely financier of the so-called internet research agency, professional trolls, located in St. Petersburg, Russia, as a close Putin ally with ties to Russian intelligence. These are these troll operations that were apparently pushing out fake news.

You heard James Clapper say in that hearing yesterday that the Russians were responsible for pushing out fake news against Hillary Clinton and the report says that is continuing to happen this day and to expect more of this type of behavior from Russia in the future.

But it also makes the point, I think this is important to emphasize and you heard this in Donald Trump's statement, that there was no indication that the Russians compromised or got involved in vote tallying. It said, "While the Russian actors targeted multiple state or local electoral boards," as we have been reporting, Jim, "there's no indication that the Russians got in there and actually messed with the vote tallies" -- Jim.

SCIUTTO: Well, it's interesting that you make those points this was a comprehensive information operation. Not just the attacks on the DNC, et cetera, but also fake news, all intended it seems to sow doubt about the election.

The other thing that jumped out of me was they made the point that the targets included associated with both major U.S. political parties.

Pamela Brown, thanks very much.

I want to bring in now California Congressman Adam Schiff. He is the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee.

Congressman, thanks very much for joining us this afternoon.

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D), CALIFORNIA: You bet. Good to be with you.

SCIUTTO: So, you have the advantage, of course, of having seen the classified version of this report as well, but without delving into the classified, now that this is public, what do you find the most convincing evidence to back up the intelligence community's assessment here?

SCHIFF: Well, Jim, the evidence is really what comprises the classified version and unfortunately, I can't go into, obviously, paramount importance is protecting our sources and methods. I'm sure the Russians would like to know exactly how we know the contents of what's been released publicly.

But I will say I've been on the committee almost ten years. This is about as ironclad a case as I've seen on any major issue. I think the intelligence agencies really did great work here. I think those findings are well documented and supported and I hope their presentation today to Donald Trump will cause him to change his tune about this because I think the facts are really undeniable.

SCIUTTO: Now, Adam Schiff, we do have Donald Trump's statement, that followed his briefing earlier this afternoon, which we're told went for an hour meeting with top intelligence officials. In the statement, he doesn't say explicitly, yes, Russia hacked the election. He says while Russia, China and other countries, outside groups and people are consistently trying to break through, he goes on to say, there was absolutely no effect on the outcome of the election.

Seeing Donald Trump's response so far, in your view, is that sufficient?

SCHIFF: I'm glad you raised that statement. No, it isn't, because in fact, that statement is demonstrably false. The report did not go into whether this Russian action changed the outcome of the election. In other words, had the determinative impact on the election.

That's beyond the scope of what the intelligence agencies look at. But the fact that there was no evidence of tampering with machines, doesn't mean that it didn't influence the outcome of the election as Donald Trump has said in his statement. In fact, quite the contrary. The daily dumping of damaging material to Secretary Clinton was enormously consequential in terms of her campaign, was enormously beneficial to Donald Trump and to ignore that, or to say it didn't happen, I think is quite inaccurate. And all of this was, of course, enabled by the Russian cyber operations.

SCIUTTO: Let me ask you this, because you have been pushing for action on this for some time. The Obama administration has come under criticism from Republicans certainly, but also from Democrats, for not acting earlier, because it was a month before the election when the intelligence community as you know expressed publicly that they had confidence Russia was attempting to hack and influence the election with the particular target, particular focus on the Democratic Party.

Do you believe the Obama administration waited too long to act on this intelligence?

SCHIFF: I do believe they waited too long to act and this was point that Senator Feinstein and I made when we released our own statement about the Russian involvement in our elections even before the intelligence community did. But, nonetheless, that doesn't let either the Russians off the hook or anyone else.

[16:25:01] And it certainly doesn't mean that Democrats and Republicans shouldn't come together right now to develop all the countermeasures we need to confront this Russian covert influence operation in the United States and in Europe. And I think we need to develop stronger sanctions against Russia on what they did already if we're going to have any hope of deterring them in the future.

SCIUTTO: I think it's safe to say, looking at Donald Trump's statements so far it's not exactly a fulsome endorsement of the intelligence community's assessment and as you know, up until this morning, he was disparaging the intelligence and as you know as well, he's also called into question the capabilities of the U.S. intelligence community.

From your perspective, what do you -- what does the American public need to hear from president-elect Donald Trump now after those expressions of doubts?

SCHIFF: Well, what's really missing from the president-elect statements today is, not just he had a good meeting with intelligence officials, but that he has looked at the evidence, he looked at it now in detail, he knows the sources of that evidence, and he is convinced the Russians did this and there is going to be a price to pay for, that he applauds the measures President Obama took and we ought to do more and we're going to prevent Russia from ever interfering in our elections in this way again. He still hopes to have a different relationship with Russia, that's fine, but he cannot continue to deny what has taken place -- and that is I think what he ought to be saying to the American people.

SCIUTTO: Congressman Adam Schiff, thanks very much.

SCHIFF: Thanks, Jim.

SCIUTTO: I want to bring in now former California Congresswoman Jane Harman. She served on the House Intelligence Committee. She is now president of the Wilson Center.

Jane Harman, thanks very much for joining. First, I'd like your reaction. You know intelligence matters very well. In your experience, have you seen the intelligence community lift the veil to the extent it has on its assessment that Russia hacked the election?

JANE HARMAN, PRESIDENT, WILSON CENTER: I think this is unprecedented, and add to that, that yesterday, the Senate Armed Services Committee really on a unanimous basis, aligned itself with the intelligence community evidence that this was clearly a hack. It's not just a hack of this election in 2016, but it goes back a decade according to the portions of the report I've been able to read. That's three presidential elections.

And it also, let's add in France and Germany, as other targets of Russia. Most people think that where Vladimir Putin goes next is Angela Merkel to destabilize the last of the old generation of leadership in Europe.

So, with these tools, unfettered, Russia uses offensive cyber to basically, as I see it, undermine democracy in the world. It's very serious.

And I applaud Trump's statement. I heard Adam Schiff, who now holds the position I did for some years on the intelligence committee, but I applaud Donald Trump for moving in the right direction and hopefully he will move further.

Just one last comment, Jim, as we watch these events in Ft. Lauderdale unfold, it should remind all of us how important it is to have seamless, connected intelligence. Maybe we could not have found this particular person, but when you look at how this overlay of law enforcement and other response is coming together, lots of this has to do with the corrective actions we took in Congress after 9/11. We're much better prepared.

SCIUTTO: You make a good point there. Again we don't know the motivations of the shooter in Florida. But any means, it's too early. But that's essentially the intelligence community's job is to find intelligence, to prevent bad things before they happen.

I want to quote from Donald Trump's statement, the final graph here. He says that we need to aggressively combat and stop cyber attacks. I will appoint a team to give me a plan within 90 days of taking office.

If you were advising the president and his team, what steps would you advise them to take urgently? I know that many Republicans are calling for more severe sanctions than President Obama imposed. What would you recommend?

HARMAN: Well, a strong response against Russia, even stronger than President Obama's, is the first thing I would do. But you have to be careful. If we get into a tit for tat and we do something aggressive against Russia in the nature that they did against us, we're ratcheting up danger to us. So, I don't know that that's where we go.

Some of this could not -- doesn't have to be public. I do agree with Donald Trump that not every move needs to be advertised. So, that would be number one.

Number two, I would encourage everyone in America to use the strictest cyber hygiene. A lot of this could have been prevented at the DNC if they had had better hygiene. I know at the Wilson Center, a think tank, and let's understand that think tanks are also targets, we have very strict cyber hygiene now and we train our people on it. If they can prevent this stuff from coming in to the dotcom space and

we can do better in preventing it coming into the dotgov, that's government, and dotmail (ph) space, we're doing a better job of that, that's another defense that the Trump administration ought to roll out as fast as possible.