Return to Transcripts main page
CNN RIGHT NOW
Manifesto Posted Online Ahead of Mosque Terror Attacks Shows Increase of Extreme Posts; NYT: Ethiopian Airlines Pilot Reported Trouble Shortly After Takeoff; North Korea Threatens to Suspend Nuclear Talks with U.S. Aired 1:30-2p ET
Aired March 15, 2019 - 13:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[13:30:00] J.M. BERGER, FELLOW, WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY PROGRAM ON EXTREMISM & AUTHOR: And when it's in the mainstream like this, it really lifts up the message that they're trying to put out.
ERICA HILL, CNN HOST: The other part of it -- and this is a large part of what you touched in your piece with the "The Atlantic" last month -- was talking about not only the rise of these manifestos, but the fact that they are more accessible. And social media plays a real role in that, the fact that we're learning this was reportedly, 17 minutes of this attack, streamed on Facebook Live. How much of the social media planning do you think now goes into these types of attacks to almost bolster these hateful manifestos?
BERGER: I mean, it's a default position for extremists at this point who want to put a message out. And while social media is a very important element of this, in terms of initially introducing this stuff into the ecosystem, the mainstream media, us, here, talking about this material, is a very important and, arguably, much more powerful way that this message gets out.
HILL: So you've likened, I know, in the piece, putting some of this, publishing manifestos, to showing a beheading video that was sent out by al Qaeda, likening both to pure propaganda. As you point out, this is something that we're having the discussion throughout the day here, right? And the news organizations around the world are, as to how much do you report, because you don't want to influence, but you need to inform. What is the role, though, of social media platforms? Because, to your point, there's a role there, too. So, do we need to be holding them more accountable?
BERGER: There's certainly a lot of will to hold social media platforms accountable for this material. And you know, as we go through this process, we solve one problem and two more come up. So, the use of live streaming, particularly the video that the shooter posted, is a particularly useful tool for terrorists and one that we've seen coming for a couple of years. And the video was up for about 17 minutes before it was taken down, and it's been redistributed somewhat on social media. There's a lag time. If something is new and hasn't been previously interdicted on the line. So you know, it's a complicated process. I think social media companies do need to continue putting efforts into this. And we see -- you know, you can see that all of them are trying to various degrees of effectiveness and various amounts of effort that they're putting into it. HILL: Why do you think there's this rise in manifestos?
BERGER: Well, they have a copycat follow-on effect. So, in this particular piece, the New Zealand terrorist cited previous manifestos by Anders Breivik, in Norway, and Dylann Roof, in the United States, and he's clearly emulating what he sees there. What's tricky with these kinds of documents is that they're not really confessional documents. So, for instance, this particular document is really full of things that the author thought were jokes or things that were meant to provoke news coverage in some way that don't necessarily reflect really what he thought or what he was trying to achieve. He was trying to get the maximum bang for his buck and get a lot of headlines going.
HILL: J.M. Berger, I appreciate your joining us. A tough topic. Good to have you with us with your insight today. Thank you.
BERGER: Thank you.
HILL: The president accused of trying to incite violence by warning that his supporters in the military and the police would be, quote, "tough."
Also, we're now learning the pilot's final actions just before the Boeing jet crash in Ethiopia, including a mysterious development about the speed of that plane.
[13:38:19] HILL: We are learning more about the tense last moments of Ethiopian Airlines flight 302. And according to the "New York Times," the pilot of that Boeing 737 MAX 8 requested, in a panicked voice, to return to the airport. This was just minutes after takeoff, when the plane started accelerating to abnormal speeds. On the flight recorder, the pilot was heard telling air traffic controllers, "Brake, brake, request back to home, request vector for landing." Once the call came in, controllers scrambled to divert two other flights approaching the airport.
Former FAA administrator, Michael Huerta, joins me now.
First, what do you think? What could have caused that abnormal speed, based on what we know?
MICHAEL HUERTA, FORMER FAA ADMINISTRATOR: Well, the investigation is still ongoing, and there's a lot to learn. But clearly, the pilot indicated that he was in trouble and was trying to get back and the controllers were working with him as quickly as possible to get it back on the ground safely. Unfortunately, and tragically, the aircraft did not return safely.
HILL: So, if you were involved in that investigation, though, right now, based on what we have learned, what would your main questions be?
HUERTA: My main questions would be, what exactly was going on in the cockpit and what exactly the pilots were experiencing. This information will become available once the black boxes are read. But there has been a lot of data analysis that's taken place over the last few days about what the flight profile has been for the aircraft and what information was available as they were making the determination of what was actually going on, on that flight.
HILL: In terms of information that was available, there's been a lot of talk about why the U.S. was the last major country to ground this particular aircraft.
HILL: Based on what we do know, do you think the U.S. was too late here?
[13:40:11] HUERTA: Well, the FAA is a data-driven organization, and what they're really looking for is to determine where there are patterns. Now, I wasn't in the room and did not have access to the data that they had, but I'm a big believer that more communication is better than less. And I think it would have been helpful if there had been more communication about what the agency did know and how they were using that to base their decision that the aircraft could continue to fly.
HILL: Do you think there's a chance that the FAA and the United States somehow knew less than other countries who made that decision long before?
HUERTA: You know, I can't really speak to what other countries relied on. In a situation like this, the most important thing to do is to try to gather factual information, and based on that factual information, to make a decision. It's also important, though, to share that information broadly. One thing about aviation is that no one competes on safety, and the industry has a long history of widely sharing information from country to country, between industry and government. And I think it is important that the industry continue to communicate that information back and forth so you don't have this situation of people acting in different ways. We're always far better if we are broadly sharing information from one country to the next and ensuring that we're working off of the same set of facts.
HILL: And that transparency, obviously, good for the public as well, just in terms of their own emotions as they take to the skies.
Does the president -- do the president's ties with Boeing concern you at all?
HUERTA: Well, I really don't believe that the professionals at the FAA would be swayed by politics. The people that I worked with are consummate professionals. And they are the kinds of people that will focus on the data, and where does that take us. And so, I think that having open communication between government and industry is appropriate and necessary because, if you have that kind of a collaborative relationship, what you ensure is that everyone is freely sharing information. But the FAA clearly understands that its role is to be the regulator. And they care about one thing, and one thing only, and that is to ensure that the system is safe. HILL: Just to pin you down on that, then, you are not concerned about
the president's close ties to Boeing? Is that what I'm hearing?
HUERTA: Well, I think that -- clearly, there's a collaborative relationship between the industry and the FAA as the regulator. And that is not a bad thing, because what that sets up is a trust relationship, where information can be shared. And when information is shared, what that does is ensures that everyone has more data and can continue to assess the system to ensure that it's safe. I don't think that the professionals at the FAA would be persuaded by undue political pressure. I think that what they would want to look at is, what does the data tell us and how can we ensure that that is guiding our decision-making. Keeping that communication going is extremely important. And I don't think you want to change that. Now, you can have a valid argument of whether that collaboration is being properly applied in this instance. And again, I wasn't in the room, but I do believe that the professionals that I know at the FAA would really look at this in the context of what's the right thing to do for aviation safety.
HILL: Michael Huerta, appreciate your insight today. Thanks for being with us.
HUERTA: Thank you.
HILL: North Korea suddenly threatening to end nuclear talks with the U.S. We'll take a closer look at why.
[13:44:07] Plus, more on the terror attacks in New Zealand. We are getting the first reaction from Muslim Congresswoman Ilhan Omar. We have her words, next.
HILL: We are getting reaction to the deadly mosque attacks in New Zealand from one of only two female Muslim members of Congress. Congresswoman Ilhan Omar telling our Jessica Dean this just moments ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ILHAN OMAR, (D), MINNESOTA: Love Trumps hate. And so, we just have to make sure that we are resilient, loving, and that we are creating an environment that recognizes all of our worth.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HILL: She wanted to say Muslims should continue to worship, because, if they stop, hate will win. Congressman Omar came under fire recently for remarks that were considered anti-Semitic.
With two summits in the books, it looks like the United States may be back at square one when it comes to North Korea. North Korea's deputy foreign minister saying the country may suspend further denuclearization talks after what they called a failure at the Hanoi summit last month. Here's how Secretary of State Mike Pompeo reacted this morning.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE: I saw the remark that she made. She left open the possibility that negotiations would continue, for sure. It's the administration's desire that we continue to have conversations around this. As the president said when he was in Hanoi, the offer that they made simply didn't rise to the level that was acceptable, given what they were asking for in exchange for that. With respect to what was said last night about Chairman Kim potentially considering ending the moratorium, I can say only this, in Hanoi, on multiple occasions, he spoke directly to the president and made a commitment that he would not resume nuclear testing, nor would he resume missile testing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[13:50:16] HILL: Let's bring in Samantha Vinograd, former senior advisor to the national security advisor under President Obama, and April Ryan, White House correspondent for American Urban Radio Networks.
Sam, let me start with you on North Korea here.
What is the impact of all of this playing out so publicly?
SAMANTHA VINOGRAD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR: It is somewhat ironic that the North Koreans do seem to be emulating President Trump to a certain respect. The president has issued threats and try to publicly negotiate with North Koreans on nuclear issues, which is not something, in my experience under two presidents, that is recommended. Negotiations should happen behind closed doors so that you don't escalate tensions and so you don't box yourself into a corner. What is clear to me, Erica, is that while President Trump has discounted the analysis from his Intelligence Community about Kim Jong-Un, Kim Jong-Un is relying on a profile of President Trump that he's using to inform his team's talking points. The press conference late last night by the North Koreans played to Trump's vanity. It mentioned political forces here in the United States. And it tried to sideline President Trump from his own team. It's clear that Kim Jong-Un has studied Donald Trump as a negotiator and as president, and that is likely what's driving this public threat and this public display of disaffection in this case.
HILL: It'll be interesting to see how all this plays out.
We have a lot to get to today. It's almost like a lightning round, which I know you two understand.
April, as we look at what is happening in New Zealand, the aftermath of these horrific attacks, 49 people killed as we know, dozens in the hospital at this hour, the president offered his sympathies in a tweet, the White House put out a statement. The president stopped short of condemning this as a terror attack, despite the fact that Mercedes Schlapp said he did. What are the chances you think that we will hear from the president at 3:30 more on this and he could perhaps denounce this hate and talk more about terror attacks?
APRIL RYAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, let me say this. What I've heard, Erica, from my sources, is that this White House is very concerned about this topic, particularly as the president's name was named -- the president was named in the manifesto by the killer. But the White House is trying to find the words and the right words. They don't want this to be another Charlottesville where, you know, it took five or six tries for them to get it right. He needs to come out with a firm punch and say it and say it succinctly and clearly and he condemns and there's no room or tolerance for it.
Now, I'm going to say this. This White House is trying to figure this out, but they have had people tell them already, a while ago, you know, when the president first came in, to stop the rhetoric because it is permeating in this nation from these -- these beautiful grounds and gates in this nation and now overseas. And I remember the Congressional Black Caucus met with the president about matters of what he says out of his mouth and how crazy people take this and he had to stop it. They called for him to stop then, if you remember, that conversation. We will see what the president has to say, if, indeed he will say this later on today. The hope is, is that he will condemn it and call it out and go further with that and maybe just totally change how he's dealing with things. That's a hope.
HILL: Sam, you were shaking your head at the beginning of that answer from April. And you told me briefly in the break before that, in terms of counterterrorism policy 101, it's actually very simple and you are not seeing it in action.
VINOGRAD: President Trump has given white supremacy a cutout when it comes to international terrorist threats and domestic terrorist threats. The first step in devoting resources and countering this problem is clearly articulating what it is. I worked on counterterrorism policy under two presidents. In those situation-room meetings, unless you admit who the adversary is, the president is not at liberty to speak with his team about what resources can be appropriated to deal with this problem. The president isn't just me, he's not just you, he's not April. He is unique in the respect that he has the power, as president of the United States, to identify a threat and then to appropriate resources to match it. His words are one thing, but what he's also going to do in terms of those resources and not using words that incite violence are perhaps more important.
HILL: How much of that was the focus of the conversations that you were having with some of your sources, April, that it is broader than this and the larger impact in terms of what can they be done after the language?
RYAN: What is sad we haven't heard about resources. It was more about the words. What will he say? We're waiting with baited breath to hear what the president has to say because he's gotten it wrong for so long as president, and even when he was Candidate Trump. But the problem is, is that if he says something without condemnation, a firm condemnation where there's no wiggle room, you know, people would question it. And once again, it leads people to wonder if he -- you know, will he support white supremacy? Is he a white nationalist? And is he a racist? All of those questions. He's got to come out and call it out. And if he adds resources to help New Zealand, that would be an A-plus-plus for this president.
[13:55:28] HILL: April Ryan, Samantha Vinograd, always good to talk with you both. Thank you.
New details on this attack, including the white-supremacist manifesto that appeared on social media.