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Minnesota A.G. To Lead Prosecution Of Officer In Wright Killing; Matt Gaetz's Ex-Girlfriend To Cooperate With Feds; Biden Dodges Questions On Navy Footage Of UFO Sightings. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired May 21, 2021 - 21:00   ET



CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: You know, there is more to the stories that you face this week than you get from the coverage. We sometimes miss what matters most because we're so drawn to what matters next.

Why do we keep seeing videos of Black men dying in ways that are not met with the same urgency, by the police or the state, as the videos seem to warrant? What answer do we come to quickly? Compliance versus color. But we're missing what matters most.

It's Friday night. Let's just take a moment. I have no big breaking news to dump on your head. Let's take a moment and see what we have failed to see, even though it's just as obvious as the video itself.

What matters most in the litany of the dead, Daunte, Andrew, now, Ronald, the videos have to come with a warning. "You may not be able to watch this." But we are actually blind to what we need to see.

The problem is not just being Black in America. The problem is also about where you are, when you are Black, in America.

Lost in the next, next, next impulse of the media, and the outrage, and pain cycles, of parents, devastated and re-traumatized, as loved ones are judged out of political convenience, is the reality that this all happens because of the presence and absence of rules that make systems in places that guarantee the outcomes we all say we hate.

"Prove it!" OK. Louisiana, Greene's situation, there's new video. We're showing it to you. But it was hidden for years. Why? "Racism!" Go deeper. The rules allowed the cops to conspire to lie. "Yes, like you said, a race." No, it's not that simple.

And it doesn't have to be that simple. Because you won't change it by just saying they're racist. All we get when you say that is people say "No, they're not. You don't like cops!" We can do better. And it's right there in front of us.

They told the family, Greene died in a car accident. So, why couldn't the family find out they were lying? Because they used a perverse law to keep the video hidden, and said they were investigating. For two years!

Now, things are suddenly moving very quickly in this Louisiana case, why? The tape was leaked to the media, just like with George Floyd. Just within the last three hours, State Police finally released all the video. I wonder why! A Friday night document dump, how obvious!

And now they say, "Making big changes! Racial sensitivity training! No more choking! More transparency!" In other words, what are they doing? They are changing the system of rules, because it's not about one cop, one night, one choice, one sense of prejudice.

It is systemic injustice, and we have allowed that phrase to become a political buzzword. It isn't. It is a reality. Systemic inequality creates these outcomes. And when it is exposed, people run.

But we keep missing the opportunity to change what we must and why, because our outrage rightly starts here.


GREENE: (cries out).

TROOPER: Yes, yes, that (BLEEP) hurts, doesn't it?

GREENE (screams): OK! Oh, Lord Jesus. Oh Lord!

TROOPER: All you was doing was speeding a little bit and run a red light.

GREENE: I'm sorry, I'm sorry, sir, I'm sorry (moaning).

OTHER TROOPER: Quit (BLEEP) pushing against me, you understand that?


CUOMO: They're hurting him. It makes you uncontrollably almost angry. How can they be so nonchalant, when he is in such distress?


You know they know this isn't worth it. You hear the cop say in that nonchalance that is reminiscent of Chauvin with George Floyd. "All you did was run a red light" whatever he says.

And we're outraged. But it can't end there, because this is not just about who did what this night to this man. It was just the beginning of why Ronald Greene was denied justice. It doesn't end with the police.

And the reason the police are the way they are, when they do things wrong, is because they have gotten there, as a sequence of choices, and decisions, and rules, and lapses.

CNN got ahold of the autopsy this afternoon. Cause of death, "Cocaine induced agitated delirium complicated by motor vehicle collision, physical struggle, inflicted head injury, and restraint."

Laceration of Greene's head were "Inconsistent with motor vehicle collision injury." What does that mean? They came from somewhere else. "Most consistent with multiple impact sites from a blunt object. No

written incident report was provided, despite requests. No detailed information regarding the motor vehicle collision. No emergency services medical records were provided."

The system allowed it to end there, because those are the rules and the lapses in rules. The system is not set up to safeguard against what happened. So, the autopsy was ignored. And that is to blame as well, because the system is set up that way. And this is not some hyper-PC-out-there idea about "The man." This is the reality.

Next step, Greene's family says "We want a special prosecutor. Mr. Attorney General, do that." "Can't!" Here comes the system again! Why? The law in North Carolina says unless the local D.A. recuses himself - Louisiana, not North Carolina, although it's happening there, too, I'll get to it.

In Louisiana, unless he recuses himself, you'd have to show an actual conflict of interest. Just working with the Sheriff, just working with the local cops that are involved, it's not enough.

Now interestingly, the District Attorney in Louisiana is Black. "Well, then I guess it can't be racist, right?" Says who? This is about a system. Do you believe that when you have officers of color, the problem goes away?

The D.A. invited the Department of Justice to investigate, not the state. Why not? Is it because he knows? It's very hard for the Feds to have a case. They'd have to show a pattern or a specific racist intent. The state can make a case the same way the locals can. So, why let in the DOJ but not the state?

Minnesota, OK? Daunte Wright. Cop says "Oh, I thought it was a Taser. And it was a gun." OK. First, we get past the compliance versus color, right, "If he'd only not tried to run!" All right.

Now the videos come, standard warning. But remember, I know it's hard to watch. If you don't watch, and open your eyes, to what it is, beyond this one moment, we're never going to stop seeing these.

So, remember this.


KIM POTTER, FORMER POLICE OFFICER: I'll tase you. Taser! Taser! Taser!


POTTER: Oh my (BLEEP)! I just shot him.


CUOMO: "She didn't mean it. It was an accident." And?

Now, Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, who made the move, at the Governor's direction, because the locals there said, "We think the public have lost confidence in us," so, the Governor got involved, brought in Ellison, the A.G.

He will lead now, the manslaughter prosecution of Kim Potter, for Wright's death, as he did, in putting the team together, to deal with Derek Chauvin in Floyd - in the murder of George Floyd.

The Hennepin County prosecutor knew well enough to ask for the state to step in. But they didn't have to!

So, here's the question. Why doesn't the system provide that there is always an outside prosecutor when policing is at issue? Why is it that the system? Why is this system created to insulate the local prosecutorial instrument from any kind of scrutiny?

In the George Floyd murder, again, the Governor had to step in, and appoint the A.G., after local lawmakers said "Constituents lost confidence." What if they hadn't?


The initial report from the cops there was what? "Oh, it was, you know, it was about drugs, you know, some medical emergency. That's why George Floyd died." And what did the local prosecutor want to do? Crickets!

Why can't a Governor always do that? "Oh, you can't take control from the locals. Locals have to have control." The Right only calls for that, when they like the outcomes. When they don't like it, you get the "Fraud-its."

Look, not every state allows for the upgrade to a special prosecutor. Why not? North Carolina, the law is set up to work against shining light on secrets.

Andrew Brown Jr.'s death, what the hell was going on there? They come in like SEAL Team Six against this local drug dealer?

There's all - there's a witness, who comes on this show. She saw them shooting at him, as he's going away. The D.A. clears them, clears all of them, says "Oh, no, no, he was coming at him. It's clear in the video," shows us video that doesn't even come close to making that case.

Now what happens? Why? This system says two things in North Carolina. It says, one, he's the last word, the District Attorney. The system is even more obvious in overcoming.

The main reason, for body cameras, what's the main reason? So that the rest of us can see it, so that officers don't get framed, and people don't get blamed, for doing things, just because cops say they did.

14 shots, as he tries to drive away from deputies in a botched drug raid, two shot him, he got killed by a bullet in the back of the head. The D.A. is the final word. He says "This video shows nothing bad happened."

And there's a law on the books that the expectation of privacy of the officers mean you can't see the body camera footage unless someone puts in a court order.

The police have an expectation of privacy from the body camera footage? It is the obvious. They have an expectation of no privacy. That's the point. That's the system. That's the system.

The D.A.'s explanation denies anything that was witnessed or seen on tape. And he's got this trump card because of the system. He is the final word.

The Governor says, "Gee, I wish they put out the videos. I really think it'd be better, if there's a special prosecutor." He's got no power compared to a local D.A.?

The State A.G. made the offer. D.A. passed. He says "I'm the one accountable to the community." Attorneys General aren't accountable, governors?

Brown's family wants the DOJ to step in. These cases are very hard. These 1983 actions, you have to show a pattern of racist judgments that they did this to Brown because he was Black and they can prove it. It's very, very hard.

The only thing that is simple to understand is this. Location! Location! Location! It's not just for real estate. It's the reality for Black people in America. And I'm not saying it's perfect anywhere.

But I'm saying systemic inequality is not a political phrase. It's not a synonym for liberal fixes, or socialism, or any other BS you have in your head. It is an organized set of principles that are often codified or intentionally left absent and silent that all comes together to ensure unequal outcomes.

Now, let's take this supposition to the better minds, Anthony Barksdale, and Elliot Williams.

I'm going to take a break.

Look, I took my time tonight. It's Friday night. But you needed to see what it really is, because the videos overpower us. I get that it should get you here, right in your heart, right in your gut. Now, let's use our heads.

Right after this, let's get after it.









CUOMO: How real is systemic inequality? And how much does it matter in changing the outcomes?

Anthony Barksdale. Elliot Williams.

Elliot Williams worked at the federal level as a prosecutor. Bark worked in policing his entire adult life, was the Acting Commissioner in Baltimore.

Systemic inequality, is that just a media phrase, Bark? Or does it have real bite, in terms of helping us understand how it's not as simple as just Black and White, literally and figuratively?


Chris, Elliott, we're seeing it over and over again. And there's just no denying it. And we have those who are lost in cognitive bias, ignorance, or whatever you want to call it. And we have to shake them out of it, because the profession of policing is in danger.

CUOMO: I had a guy come up to me, on my personal time, Elliot. And he said "Stop making it just about race."

I said "Well, it keeps happening to Black guys."


He goes, "It happens to a lot of people." He says, "Change the rules. Change the outcomes."

I said, "Like what? How do you change the rule? Don't be racist."

He says "No. If somebody polices badly, and you don't report it, you're in as much trouble as that guy is. Change the rule.

Change the tactical training. Change how they assess these situations. Change the transparency rules on bodycam. Change the duty that you must inform. Change that there must be review.

Change that there must be special prosecutors, when it's an issue of policing, in the same locality. Change the rules, and you will change the outcomes, because you will put a price, even on racist tendencies that people won't want to play."

And the guy made a great point. He said "I was a cop for 35 years," or whatever he was, different levels. He said, "Even if you're a racist, you will not act that way, if it's going to be your ass." And I thought it was very interesting.

How does that ring true to you, Elliot? ELLIOT WILLIAMS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR, FORMER DEPUTY ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL: Sure, look, Chris, at the beginning of the segment, you had said that "The system is broken. We got to fix the system." The problem is that the systems are broken.

There are 50 states, 3,006 counties, in America. And each of them has their own system of number one, disciplining officers, who step out of line, number two, rewarding people, number three, just the basic laws, as they exist.

And a quirk in our system, in the United States, is that the federal government can't dictate standards on most things that make it - people would think that "Well, just tell them to put body cameras out."

Now the federal government can provide incentives to counties and towns, and give them funding, if they do. But the simple fact is a lot of this has to happen at the local level.

Now, the "George Floyd Justice in Policing Act" that Congress is considering, right now, is exactly the kind of thing that would provide some incentives, on some of these things, like providing funding to jurisdictions that set up independent prosecutors, to investigate allegations of misconduct.

But blame Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and George Washington, for the fact that the federal government can't just swoop in all the time, and fix inequalities, as they exist at the state and local level.

CUOMO: Here's what I want to do. I love you guys. But I don't want to exhaust time and opportunity. I'm going to give you your weekend. Bark, and Williams, thank you very much.

I want to bring in a professor, and I want to put more meat on these bones, OK?

"So, you're saying it's not? I thought you always say that race is involved."

Race is involved. Race is real. And it is real as a problem and a premise for problems in so many different manifestations. But it is not everything. And you have to address other things, and see it as part of a complex, to get to the systemic changes that you must do.

Next guest, Ivy League professor says progressives must reevaluate how they discuss inequality, to get on a real productive path to change. How so? Next.








CUOMO: I'm open to a lot of criticisms. You have to be, in this business. But one that's not fair is the idea that I'll show you the videos of beatings. And I always want the next one, so I can keep shocking you, interviewing. It's not true.

I want to change the reality. I want you to push for a change, because you're so outraged, and you realize we can do better, so that I don't have to show you videos like that, ever again. How?

Well, our next guest says, and he's been studying this a long time, "If you want it to stop, you have to stop limiting your idea of the problem to just race." Now, that sounds counterintuitive to a lot of people. Adolph Reed Jr. says hear him out, Professor Emeritus, at the University of Pennsylvania.

Professor, thank you for joining me.


CUOMO: Now, to be clear, and I've seen how some people review your theoretical explanations, you're not saying that "Race doesn't matter."

REED JR.: Right, no, no, no.

CUOMO: Race matters. But you're saying it is a shortcut to just stop there, and make it literally about Black and White? You say "We're missing the root causes that will get us to a better place." What are we missing?

REED JR.: Well, I think what we're missing is kind of tied up directly with the point that you make about systemic inequality, right?

I mean, the function of police, in a highly unequal society is, comes down largely to protecting property, from those who don't have it, and might be a danger to it. And of course, that's not all they do. They do a lot more.

And to be clear, I'd like to hear an answer on the other side of the line, if I call 9-1-1. So, I mean, that's not the problem in a mass complex society, especially one like ours, like you need to have a police function, well, first of all.

But the fact is that, on the raised question, and I think the location point you're making earlier is a quite important one too that one of the things that race is, and always has been, like in this society, is a shorthand. It's a way to provide like a quick and a visible cue for who

supposedly naturally belongs on the bottom, and who doesn't, right?

I can remember a half century ago, after the Civil Rights Movement, when police officers, around the country, were routinely sent to community colleges, to take race relations courses, or like African American studies courses, and I've been thinking about that a lot again, lately, to try to change the mindset.


But the problem - but then, around the same time, levels of inequality, in the society, as a whole, began to increase sharply and steadily, over the next half century. And then lo and behold, police forces moved to a different kind of stress policing, as it used to be called, all right, the SWAT squads, stakeout squads.

And so - and I think the problem - and yes, there are obviously sharp on racial disparities that that didn't just fall off a turnip truck. But the problem is that police impose stress on, and control, particularly in populations that have been designated for stress and control, like in ZIP codes, in particular.

I would recommend to you, and to the listeners, a great article by Christian Parenti, called "The Surprising Geography of Police Killings: Back-of-the-Napkin Calculations on Race, Region, and Violence" that is published in online journal called

Because what Parenti finds is that in some regions, and some zip codes, actually Whites are killed by police at a higher relative rates than Blacks. Obviously, in many others, the pattern is reversed. But it's--

CUOMO: Why would it be reversed, though, Professor, just so people understand?

REED JR.: Well - I'm sorry.

CUOMO: Because this argument always gets mired into relativism.

REED JR.: Right.

CUOMO: "Black people commit more crime," yes, but not as a percentage of population. "Well, but it's a lot of Black-on-Black crime also."

How much of this is about if you had to pick one thing, to leave this audience with, as an idea tonight, about where we have to focus, to think about how to get to a better place, what is it?

REED JR.: It's that Blacks are killed, disproportionately. Hispanics are killed, disproportionately. Poor people are killed disproportionately, of whatever race. And the other point is that disparities are significant.

But every year, the plurality, of people killed by police, are, in fact White. And that leads to the strategic takeaway, right, that the only way to get at this, I could use that as a guide to problem is, is to drill down to the underlying causes. But the other piece of that is it's a democracy. So, we need to build, I mean, majorities.

And if it's a problem, like many, many others, for instance, like an absence of access to health care, that Black people may experience or may suffer from, at relatively higher rates, that doesn't mean that there aren't many, many more non-Black people, who have the same problem.

And the only way we're going to change these entrenched systemic inequalities is through building the kind of broad-based political alliance that can bring pressure on the lawmakers, and the rest of the political system to change.

CUOMO: We're missing a big "And." Color, yes, but color, and class. And the smartest--

REED JR.: You said it.

CUOMO: --political move by the Right has been to split White poor people--

REED JR.: Right.

CUOMO: --away from Black or Brown poor people, to see them as an enemy.

REED JR.: Right.

CUOMO: When if you were to put them all together, at the end of the day, while color has unique disadvantages, and unique things that must be approached, if you gave that entire group, what Black and Brown people are asking for, you would have the biggest political base, and the biggest remedy--

REED JR.: Right.

CUOMO: --for so much of what errs us. I know. I've been reading your stuff. Professor Adolph Reed?

REED JR.: Oh, yes.

CUOMO: Thank you very much. The conversation must continue. Thank you for starting it with us tonight.

REED JR.: All right, thank you very much.

CUOMO: "Color and," absolutely color, we have racist issues that are ingrained that we must deal with. But, when you look at color and class, that's the biggest block, that can change, this country.

Now, speaking of big, big moves in the Matt Gaetz scandal. "It's all anonymous. Nobody's - they have nobody on me. They got one guy, who's just trying to save himself." Not anymore!

CNN learning Gaetz's ex-girlfriend will cooperate with federal investigators, looking into alleged sex trafficking by the Republican congressman.

We got a Legal Eagle, who knows all the players, and also knows what does it mean, when someone decides to talk to the Feds? She's not charged! Next.









CUOMO: The Feds have secured a critical witness in the investigation of Matt Gaetz, the Congressman's ex-girlfriend. She is a former Capitol Hill staffer, who ties - with ties that go back to 2017 with Gaetz.

So what does this mean? Well, one so much for "It's all anonymous! It's all anonymous!" if your ex-girlfriend's anonymous, you got bigger problems. Also, the idea that "It's all Deep State! It's Deep State!" again, it's your girlfriend, you got bigger problems.

And the idea that deals keep popping up, and we expect to see more, and they're not even talking to Gaetz, when it comes to federal investigations that can be your biggest problem.

For somebody who has some perspective on this, Mark O'Mara, knows both sides of the aisle, obviously famous defense, also knows prosecution.

You do not want to be the person the Feds are not talking to, why?

MARK O'MARA, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY, CIVIL RIGHTS ATTORNEY: Well, you don't want to be the last one in because they are putting together their case.


If you think about it, what we know so far is we have Greenberg, him and in and of himself cannot do anything. He's still like the bare bones. He's got a lot of baggage that he carries with him, with his felonies and whatnot. So, they start looking to the outside, and they start looking at corroboration (ph) witnesses, and forensic evidence.

But when you get an ex-girlfriend of the person who they seem to be now targeting, I sort of liken it Chris to, jigsaw puzzle. There's a bunch of pieces on the ground. We don't know the piece or the picture yet. But now what we know is that Matt Gaetz's face is one of those pieces because that's exactly why they're talking to the ex- girlfriend.

CUOMO: All right, so the first blow-off is "Jilted lover! She's angry!" Wouldn't that be something that the Feds would very much take into consideration before reaching out and having any secondary conversations?

O'MARA: Well, yes, but again, they're not done. I know the prosecutors. They are doing this very methodically.

So what we have is Greenberg, big, big fish, so to speak. But yes, we're going to have the girlfriend. We're going to have other people who come in, because they're not going to just go with two witnesses, because you're right, Greenberg is assailable, and even the ex- girlfriend, jilted, has a battle to wage.

But when they bring in the rest of the evidence, the other witnesses, the forensic evidence, the banking statements, whatever it might be, that's what they're going to put together, to make sure that when they get in front of a jury, that they're not going to have concerns with the validity of their overall case.

CUOMO: Now, to be clear, I'm not saying she is a jilted lover, or anything like that. I'm just saying--

O'MARA: Yes.

CUOMO: --the way you deflect. Now?

O'MARA: Oh, we're going to hear that though.

CUOMO: Right. Now, the big question is this. Why would she do this? Does this mean that they were going to charge her, and she's just trying to save herself? How do we have to perceive, and what would they be charging her for?

O'MARA: Well, prosecutors use a lot of tools. This - that "You're a citizen. We have you under oath. You better tell us the truth, because if you don't tell us the truth, it's perjury." That's always there. There's also the "You got this money here. We looked at this. Your tax returns don't match up to your salary."

There are those subtle threats of prosecution. We don't know where they're doing it, when, but they have a lot of tools in their tool bag to say to a witness, who they want to talk to, "You better talk to us. And you better tell us the truth."

So, whether it's fully voluntary, or just with fear, of some other government intrusion into their life, she's going to probably come in, and tell them everything they want to hear, as long as it's the truth.

CUOMO: Now, the key here is, what is your understanding about how she fits in? That this isn't someone who was just dating him, and had eyes on an odd lifestyle, but she was part of the lifestyle that involves some type of combination of money, travel, and intimacy.

O'MARA: Right. She's somewhat circumstantial, potentially right? But she's going to be able to give a lifestyle history of who Matt Gaetz is, which is, "I was here. I was in the Bahamas. I was there. I know he did this. I knew about this girl," whatever it might be.

Again, it's one witness in an overall scheme or plan that the government is putting together. And she fits in, in a number of those different pieces to the puzzle probably. We just don't know what they are yet. But presumably, Roger Handberg and his team, who are prosecuting this, do know exactly where she fits.

CUOMO: Here's the big question. If she knows because she saw, but wasn't part of it, that's a big problem for Gaetz. If she knows, because she was paid--

O'MARA: Right.

CUOMO: --and was part of it that gives some credibility space, for him to push back on her. We'll know soon enough.

Mark O'Mara, appreciate you.

O'MARA: Sure thing, Chris, be well.

CUOMO: Pieces in the puzzle! Pieces in the puzzle!

All right, what flies through the air at incredible speed, maneuvers in a way that defies aerodynamics? "UFO!" Not so fast!

I'm open. I want you to be open. But again, we're so tied to the "Next, next, next, and this is so cool, this narrative. What is it? Obama's talking about it." Well, is there an explanation?

I have an expert that you need to listen to, next.










PETER DOOCY, FOX NEWS WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: President Obama says that there is footage and records of objects in the skies, these unidentified aerial phenomenon. And he says, "We don't know exactly what they are."

What do you think that it is?

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I would ask him again. Thank you.



CUOMO: That question from the "Fox" guy mean, they would accept basically anything as an answer that's good for Trump on that network.

President Obama, he's raising the point that they don't know, right, because that is the "U" part of the Unidentified Flying Object. We should have a curiosity. And not because that means that you have to believe in aliens.

And I am open to whether it - I don't know what's out there, and what is it. I'm someone who's decided to believe in a higher power that has intelligence and can affect our lives. So, I'm open.

But we should go on the facts. President Biden doesn't want to touch it. Why not? Because he doesn't have any good answer, and he's got bigger problems. Congress is now awaiting an Intel report. Why? Because this is a real problem.

The unidentified aerial phenomena matters because you have an increasing number of objects that are getting into areas, where we don't want them. So, is there any reckoning to this other than scratching our heads, and asking these stupid questions?

An expert offering his own ideas, Mick West is the Author of "Escaping the Rabbit Hole." Now, he says, "You got to look at these things through the prism of science and practicality."

Welcome to PRIME TIME. It's good to see you.


CUOMO: The first one, let's do this episode-by-episode.

WEST: All right.

CUOMO: The triangle video, OK? This was recorded by personnel aboard the USS Russell, July 2019, off the coast of California.

The green flashing triangular shaped object with a night vision device from a navy ship, nothing can fly in that shape and that way. What the hell is it? What is there an explanation that we have ignored?

WEST: Well, the first thing you notice about it is that it's flashing. And the way it flashes is very like a plane flashing. And the next thing you notice about the video is that there seem to be other triangles, in the scene, as well. There's a couple of triangles at the end that it flies past.


And - but if you analyze the video, you can find that those triangles are actually stars, which means that there's something about the camera that's making these stars, which are normally little points of light, be triangle-shaped.

So, if that's happening to the stars, it's also happening to what's making the triangle. And if it's flashing like a plane, then the simplest explanation is that it is a plane.

And some camera lenses actually have a triangular aperture. And some night vision monoculars have that same type of triangular aperture.

And they, when you look at stars, and when you look at planes, through this type of night vision monocular, and it's a little bit out of focus, if you don't realize it is out of focus, then you are going to see exactly what you're seeing in this video.

And we've managed to replicate this. We've replicated this exact thing, with these flashing lights, from a plane going by, in these triangular stars, and have analyzed the speed of the thing moving across the scene. It's exactly the same as the planes would be--

CUOMO: You call it the--

WEST: --in that region at that altitude.

CUOMO: You call it the bokeh effect? B-O-K-E-H?

WEST: Yes. Bokeh is just simply the shape that an out-of-focus light will take when, when it's out of focus.

Now you see, sometimes, if you take a picture of a Christmas tree, the Christmas tree lights will look like little round circles.

But when you use a triangular lens, like this, a triangular aperture in your lens, like it's in some of these night vision monoculars, they come out as little triangles, just like we see in the video.

CUOMO: And the Military wouldn't be sophisticated enough to know about this potential issue?

WEST: Oh, I think the Military certainly is. But I think what's going on here is this perhaps this UAP Task Force that is leaking these things out, perhaps doesn't have a lot of people on board. And somehow they've become convinced that this was maybe at some point unidentified.

The thing is we don't have any context about this video. We know very little about what the provenance of it is, and what people are actually claiming about it, other than the people--

CUOMO: All right.

WEST: --the UFO promoters who have released it.

CUOMO: Here's another one, the flying saucer. The Navy name--

WEST: The flying saucer.

CUOMO: --is "Gimbal," the UFO encounter, taken aboard a Navy fighter jet from the nuclear aircraft carrier USS Teddy Roosevelt, off the eastern seaboard, near the Florida coast.

Again, sophisticated people, pilots seeing this thing, they don't know what it is, it doesn't make sense to them, they don't even get the rate of speed.

WEST: Sure, they don't know immediately what it is. But I think perhaps the later, there, when they analyze it, they would figure out what it is, because what we're seeing is infrared footage. We're looking at heat sources, and it's inverted, so hot things appear black.

So, I think what we're looking at is the tail end of a jet plane. And that would appear as a big glare that would kind of obscure in the same way that this flashlight here when I pointed at the camera and turn it on, you get a big glare that obscures it.

And when there's something in front of that glare, like the front window of the camera, and that rotates, then that changes the orientation of the glare. And that's where you get that "It's rotating" thing.

It's just simply a glare that's rotating, because part of the camera has to rotate. And the way the camera is mounted on the plane actually makes it so you actually have to rotate at a certain position. And it's the same position that we see in the video.

So, I don't think there's anything going on there, beyond simply the glare of perhaps a distant plane or a drone.

CUOMO: But wouldn't a fighter pilot know that?

WEST: Well, it depends on how much experience they've had with this particular equipment, and whether they'd been in that exact same situation before, and everything lining up right.

We don't know really, again, we don't know any context. We don't know who the pilot was, or what he thought, or what he thought afterwards, or we don't know anything that the Military did, to analyze this.

CUOMO: All right, let's do one more. Do you want to do the "Tic Tac" or the "GoFast?"

WEST: Let's do "GoFast" because I think "GoFast" is the one that's very accessible to people. "GoFast" is this one that looks like it is--

CUOMO: 2015 UFO encounter, taken aboard a Navy fighter jet from the nuclear aircraft carrier USS Teddy Roosevelt, again, off the eastern seaboard, near the Florida coast.

WEST: Yes.

CUOMO: And going so fast that they have never seen anything that has that kind of technology.

WEST: It looks like it's going fast. And that's the thing. It's kind of an illusion. It looks like it's going fast because of the parallax effect. But on the screen, you can actually see the numbers.

CUOMO: What is the parallax effect?

WEST: Parallax means when you move one way, and something's halfway, between you and something else, it looks like it's moving relative to the other thing, like when you're looking out of - looking out of a train and you see things in a field, you look like that, you're kind of moving around them, that kind of effect.

But what's happening here is that they think that it's down by the ocean. So, it looks like it's moving really, really fast. But on the screen, we can see all the numbers we need to figure out where it is.

And all you need is 10th grade trigonometry. It's really, really, really simple. It's just like the sine of the angle multiplied by the range gives you the altitude. You can figure that out.

It's not very - it's not low. It's not fast. It's actually quite slow. It's actually moving something like 13 knots, or 14 knots, which is about wind speed at altitude. And it shows occult (ph) in the infrared video, which means it's probably just something like a balloon.

CUOMO: Now to be very clear, while you believe that science can explain, observation can explain, some misperception can explain these, are you open to the concerns of some of the Military and Intel people that there are things out there that they can't explain?


WEST: Absolutely, yes. And I think that's a very important thing that needs to be looked in, in a very serious manner.

If the pilots are reporting things that they can't identify, then yes, we need to figure out what's going wrong there. Is it something new? Or is it some failure of the system? Is it the failure of personnel or technology? Let's figure that out.

But these videos are not evidence of something amazing. They can all be explained.

CUOMO: Mick West, I appreciate this. In fact, it's the perfect segment for me, because I'm open.

If the Military, the Intel, they got questions about things, with potential technologies, they don't understand, we do need to hear what this report says. I want to have you back when we get the assessments from them, and see what squares with your understanding of having looked into these phenomena before. I appreciate it.

We'll be right back.

WEST: Thank you.








CUOMO: Man, you guys lighten up my social media!

Look, be open. If there Military people and Intelligence people have concerns about what's in the sky, look at it. Figure it out.

Is it about tactical advantage? Is it about innovation? Is it about how we surveil? Or is it about something else? That's fine. But don't get mad because a guy's got logical explanations for what are described as phenomena. That's called "Learning."

Thank you for watching. Have a great weekend.