Return to Transcripts main page

CNN Live Event/Special

CNN International: New Zealand Massacre Suspect Due In Court Soon; Police: Suspect Left Behind Hate Filled Manifesto; Trump Offers Assistance, Condolences To New Zealand; Police: 49 Dead In Attacks On New Zealand Mosques. Aired 4-5p ET

Aired March 15, 2019 - 16:00   ET



HALA GORANI, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, and welcome to our breaking news coverage of the terrorist attack in New Zealand. I'm Hala Gorani.

It is now the morning after what is being called one of darkest days in New Zealand's history. But the nightmare will never be over for dozens of families whose loved ones were massacred as they worship.

Here's the very latest on the mass shootings, two mosques in Christchurch. The suspected gunman is due in court soon today to face murder charges. Authorities say he killed 49 people and he wounded dozens more during Friday prayer, some of them very badly. Two other suspects are in custody as well. We don't know their alleged role at this point.

And as we mentioned, this was the worst mass killing ever in New Zealand and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said it was clearly "a terrorist attack". We're waiting to hear from her as well. We're also waiting to hear from the U.S. President Donald Trump who did tweet out his condolences, though he did not use the term terrorist attack. We'll see what he has to say when reporters ask him questions a little bit later this day.

Now authorities say the gunman is not from New Zealand, that he is Australian. Living many in New Zealand wondering why he chose to target their peaceful country. The mayor of Christchurch spoke to reporters a short time ago.


LIANNE DALZIEL, MAYOR OF CHRISTCHURCH, NEW ZEALAND: This sort of extremism is not something that we've seen here. But he is not from here. He came here. He came here with hate in his heart and intention to kill in his mind. So he did not develop his hatred here. He came here to perform this act of terrorism.


GORANI: All right. There are so many horrific details about this attack. It's hard to begin to know where to begin to be honest. Authorities say the gunman live streamed this massacre on social media that he left behind a manifestos viewing anti-immigrant and anti- Muslim hate. With the very latest, here's Clarissa Ward.


CLARISSA WARD, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Bloodied and shaken, these are among the survivors of terror attacks at two mosques that appear to have been planned for years. Forty nine people lay dead as New Zealand's Prime Minster addressed the gunman directly.

DALZIEL: You may have chosen us but we utterly reject and condemn you.

WARD: According to authorities, the suspected terrorist is a 28-year old white Australian man now in custody and charge with murder. He allegedly entered the Masjid t Al-Nur mosque in Christchurch around 1:40 p.m. Friday just as prayers began.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was hearing the shooting of the shooting of the shooting. It went on about six minutes or more.

WARD: The killer used a body camera to live stream video to Facebook as he fired and reloaded. Those in his sights trying to escape and protect each other.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The first time I went, one girl is sitting out just beside a wall and what he did was he told me, no, no, and then I went back again. And next thing the guy came and shoot this guy who told me look at that.

WARD: Forty one victims are now confirmed dead at the first mosque, at the second mosque, seven more people were gunned down during services and one other died at the hospital. The dual atrocities have shocked New Zealand which prides itself on acceptance.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're such a small community. We're so kind and loving, so I just don't understand why someone would hurt us like this and in such a way -- just like an animal.

WARD: The gunman is now in custody and charged with murder while two others have been arrested on suspicion of possessing firearms. None were previously known to authorities.

DALZIEL: These are people who I would describe as having extremist views.


GORANI: All right. Let's go to Washington. The U.S. President is speaking about the attacks in New Zealand.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: These sacred places of worship were turned into scenes of evil killing. You've all been seeing what went on. It's a horrible, horrible thing. I told the Prime Minister that the United States is with them all the way, 100 percent. Whatever they need, we will be there. New Zealand has been a great friend and partner for many years. Our relationship has never been better. And what they're going through is absolutely terrible. [16:00:05] So, our hearts are with them, and whatever we can do.

We're grateful to be joined today by the Vice President. Thank you very much, Mike, for being here, members of my Cabinet, devoted public servants and Angel parents, very important people to me and to a lot of other people. I want to thank you all for being here. Thank you so much for being here. We appreciate it. Thank you. You've gone through a lot.

As we take action to restore national sovereignty and defend this nation from criminal cartels, human traffickers, and drug smugglers, crime of all kinds coming through our border and --


GORANI: The U.S. President there, calling the attacks, the terrorist attacks in New Zealand a horrible, horrible thing. I believe he did not use the word terrorism. What they need, we will be there, he said, about New Zealand. What they're going through is absolutely terrible. This was a vetoing of legislation, by the way. This is the first veto of the Trump presidency, vetoing legislation, striking down his national emergency declaration that he has used in order to get funds to build his wall, his border wall on the US's southern border.

We are going leave that for now. And I want to bring in Anthony Lemieux, who is the director of the Global Studies Institute at Georgia State University. He's live in Atlanta.

What do you make of what we've seen in New Zealand? We, according to the mayor of Christchurch, this is an Australian who traveled to Christchurch to commit these acts of terror.

ANTHONY LEMIEUX, GLOBAL STUDIES INSTITUTE: I think that's, you know, of course as the investigation unfolds we'll know more, but, you know, in the manifesto, you know, some of the things that were laid there was that motivation to go somewhere to really, you know, cause a level of harm and to show that this is something that could indeed happen anywhere. That was one of the things we saw in those writings.

GORANI: Yes. And what do you make of the fact that two other suspects, I know it's early on and we don't have details, but two other people are still detained. I mean, there have to be some concerns now that this was a very well-organized attack that maybe more than one person was involved.

LEMIEUX: Well, and I think that will remain to be seen of course with the investigation, but, you know, certainly the preparation, the planning, the fact that all of those, you know, names and dates and events were written on, you know, the long guns and the casing, you know, the shell -- the clips and other things that, you know, suggest a level of plan from this explosives or incendiary that are, you know, being reported.

It also talks -- you know, it also allows us to then think about, you know, not only the sort of online aspects of, you know, this actor's trajectory into this violence but also the fact that, you know, if they're indeed were these other relationships that, you know, terrorism and radicalization has the sort of online. But also it's important sort of offline in network component that we may see as some investigation unfolds.

GORANI: Right. I was speaking to an analyst before who said what the white supremacists and ISIS have in common is that usually these are groups of people who feel this affected victimize, who feel that they need to engage in some sort of civilizational battle because they're under assault. Do you agree in this case, that they should -- they have a lot in common?

LEMIEUX: There are --

GORANI: The extremist -- Islamic extremists and then these white supremacists?

LEMIEUX: In many key ways, in fact, yes, there is that sort of very clear comparison. And I would say that a lot of the stuff that we've seen in, you know, the writings, I mean, you know, again, you've got to take it with the grain of salt is clearly written to evoke a response so you don't want to give extra airtime to these things. But, it did hit, you know, on the white supremacists mantra. It talked about replacement, which is a big theme birth rates. A lot of these things that are really, you know, pretty well trodden areas for these sorts of actors.

GORANI: Well, in the United States for instance, all extremists that's -- I believe all or almost all, have been by white supremacist groups.

LEMIEUX: Huge number. In fact, we just -- you know, my research team, we just did a series of studies and published the paper recently led by my colleague, Aaron Carnes, at Alabama. And, you know, where we look at media covered a terrorist attacks between 2006 and '15 and not only were, you know, the vast majority of acts committed by right- wing extremist, but the majority in news coverage. In fact, if an act was perpetrated by a Muslin, it got 350 percent -- 357 percent more coverage. All other things being controlled for. So we do see that very differential type of coverage and the kind of perception and then the kind of dialogue and rhetoric that goes with that. And that's important.

GORANI: How do you explain that that the media coverage is so much more when it's a Muslim committing an act of terror versus a white person?

LEMIEUX: Well, I think there's a number of factors at play. You know, one is, you know, really there's a function of what we see and what we identify and would label as terrorism. And, you know, and then that is something that then gets amplified in the news cycle.

[16:10:01] And so, you know, and we've documented that relationship. We've actually, you know, looked at the data over a 10-year period, 136 attacks here in the U.S. And, you know, that is no longer a matter of speculation. I mean this is something that we have now seen and documented. And then when we see things like this attack in New Zealand as horrific as it is, we are indeed seeing people call this terrorism and shine a light on it that not, you know, into not sort of treated as something else, call it something else, and let it kind of fall out of that sort of that consideration.

GORANI: Anthony Lemieux, thank you so much of the -- of Georgia State University. Thanks for joining us. Really appreciate your time.

LEMIEUX: Thank you for having me.

GORANI: U.S. President Donald Trump says he offered to help New Zealand in anyway possible when he spoke by phone with the Prime Minister Ardern. Mr. Trump talked about the massacre just moments ago as the White House, a reminder of what he said.

We'll get to that sound once we have it.

Now, we were discussing the fact -- yes, thank you -- we were discussing the fact that this suspect left a long hate-filled manifesto posted online just before the mosque shooting began. Let's get more from our justice correspondent Jessica Schneider. She's live with us in Washington.

So this manifestos from white supremacist and in this case with the suspect still but it reminds us of the types of documents and rants that people like Anders Breivik, who killed 77, I believe, people in Norway a few years ago, have done as well. What does this manifesto tell us?

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: And, Hala, the gunman in this manifesto actually referenced Anders Breivik as well as Dylann Roof who did the Charleston church shooting back in 2015. And this manifesto really spelled out the gunman's motivation and it detailed the logistic and the planning behind these tacks -- attacks. So this was an 87-page explanation that was posted online minutes before this mass shooting and it was filled with those anti-immigrant and anti- Muslim messages.

The author identified himself as a 28-year old from Australia who said he had been thinking about this attack for two years and had been plotting this attack specifically in Christchurch for the past three months. And there's a word he used repeatedly throughout this manifesto and it's the word "revenge." He said that he wanted revenge against the immigrants. He called invaders of Europeans countries. He wanted to intimate immigrants.

And he also said that he used guns in this attack to see further discord and divide right here in the United States when it comes to the Second Amendment. And, Hala, there was one mentioned in fact of President Trump where the gunman described him in his words as a symbol of white identity. Of course we saw the President expressing his sympathy, offering condolences just few minutes ago but this was the first mass shooting in New Zealand since 1990 and the a gunman notably in this manifesto said that he chose New Zealand as really, Hala, a way to show that in his words nowhere in the world is safe. So this is a sprawling manifesto, 87 pages and much of it very chilling. Hala.

GORANI: Indeed. Thanks very much, Jessica Schneider.

With more on that angle, journalist Blis Savidge is outside the courthouse in Christchurch and joins us now live. We expect an appearance by this suspect, Bliss?

BLIS SAVIDGE, JOURNALIST: Yes. So right now we're standing outside of the district court in Christchurch. As you can see, there's a lot of commotion going on right now. It's little after 9:00 a.m. in the morning. The court scheduled appearance was supposed to be 9:00 a.m. The doors have not opened yet. Everybody still kind of waiting, not exactly sure what's going to happen, not exactly sure if we're going to see the suspect walking in or if he's already in the building. Gathered around here, though, there's journalists from all over the world. There's members of the public as well as a some men here who claimed that their father was one of the victims in this attack.

So, we're hearing all these terrible stories here but you also see a lot of local support from people. They're also hearing a lot of helicopters above and people driving by the courthouse, talking, yelling things that maybe aren't so nice. So there's a lot going on but we expect that the courthouse should be opening any minute now.

GORANI: OK. Once we get developments there from that courthouse in Christchurch, especially in terms of an appearance by this suspect, we'll get back to you. Blis Savidge reporting from New Zealand live. Thanks very much.

Still to come. Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube all scrambling to remove that gruesome video and hateful rhetoric in the wake of the New Zealand mosque attack. How social media played a role and what's being done to counter it? We'll be right back.


[16:19:01] GORANI: Let's recap the worst mass shooting in New Zealand history. The suspected gunman is due in court anytime in Christchurch now to face murder charges. He's been identified as a 28-year old Australian. Authorities say he massacred 49 people at two mosques in Christchurch during Friday prayers. He knew exactly where he was going. He apparently knew exactly at what time he would do the most damage right when people were praying, midday.

Prime Minster Jacinda Ardern is expected to speak to reporters soon. Earlier this is what she said, she said this was clearly a terrorist attack.


ARDERN: For those of you who are watching at home tonight and questioning how this could have happened here, we, New Zealand, we were not a target because we are a safe harbor for those who hate. We were not chosen for this act of violence because we condone racism, because we are an enclave for extremism. We were chosen for the very fact that we are none of these things.


GORANI: Facebook appears to have been part of this suspected attacker's plan. He used the platform to stream the carnage live. He was wearing a body camera. This is all very well thought out, it seems. The social media giant now is under scrutiny for how it helped to spread the hate and violent images. But Facebook is insisting that it removed the video and account as soon as it was notified by police and is continuing to try to remove contents as it becomes aware of it.

Our Donnie O'Sullivan joins me now from New York with more. It's kind of like whack-a-mole though, isn't it? Because if you alter this video in anyway or if user organization decides to air it, then it's very hard for Facebook to find every single last corner of its platform where people can still find this video, right?

DONIE O'SULLIVAN, CNN REPORTER: Yes, Hala. I mean I think there's two major problems here and challenges for Facebook. The first one you mentioned that it actually took the police to find this video before Facebook seemed to have found this. This is after two years of intense scrutiny on Facebook about what it's doing on this information and hate speech and everything like that.

And we've been told by Mark Zuckerberg, by the leadership of Facebook that they've invested millions in artificial intelligence, that they are hiring thousands of content moderators across the world, yet, when there was this 17 minutes live stream of a massacre posted on the platform, they weren't able to find it, it was the police.

The second problem then is that once they did remove that original version, as you mentioned, folks are uploading and re-uploading versions of the video. Facebook has put out a new statement in the past hour that they have developed a database where they're putting in all different types of copies wherever they have been altered or not of the video that they've removed from the platform --


O'SULLIVAN: -- which they are hoping will help them find other copies of this that are floating around.

GORANI: Now, well, just a few hours ago, it wasn't so difficult for one of my colleagues and I to find the version of that video. I don't recommend anyone watch it, believe me. But how many -- do we know how long this live stream went on before it was taken down?

O'SULLIVAN: Yes. We think it was about -- and we think the stream itself lasted about 17 minutes. It's unclear, you know, whether Facebook was able to cut that stream or if they removed the video some time later. But I mean, you know, in terms of this was an extremely graphic video, it showed murder, it showed, you know, repeated gunshots, and you start of begin to wonder if Facebook can find material like this on their platform, what can they find?

GORANI: And do we know how many people watched the live stream? O'SULLIVAN: We don't have those numbers but we -- I mean, we can see on many diversions as you mentioned there are still floating around. I mean, it's not just the Facebok problem either that's been going around. YouTube and Twitter both companies of which have been saying they've been working to take it down. But, you know, between all the versions of the videos that are up there, I mean it could be hundreds of thousands, it could be millions of views. It's difficult to say across all the platforms. But certainly this is a huge issue for the platforms to try and tackle --

GORANI: But did they --


GORANI: Yes. I was going to say, it's just unrealistic to expect these platforms with billions of users to police their content in this way. They just don't -- either they can't or they won't hire enough human beings to keep an eye on the platform because of the number of users simply, it just simply impossible.

O'SULLIVAN: I mean that's the fundamental question here, I think. And that's a question that I think lawmakers on both sides of the Atlantic are beginning to consider. I mean in one instance and on one side, you would think, well, you know, we want these platforms to be free and open so people can express themselves and, you know, communicate freely. But on the other side, you know, it's like, you know, if you've built this platform which you are monetizing, which you are making, you know, billions of dollars a year from, should you have a responsibility to please us and to what extent should you be pleasing us?

So I mean I think there's probably a -- they probably use a happy medium here somewhere but it doesn't seem like Facebook is hitting on it at the moment. And I mean some people actually might say, well, look, even if the video is up for 17 minutes, how should, you know, if there are billions of post on the platform, how would you expect Facebook to find it in that time? The police were able to find this. There were people on Twitter who were tweeting about it saying this is horrific. There were people commenting on the videos.

So lots of people were able to find the video but the folks who actually run the platform and are supposedly spending, you know, millions of dollars trying to find and remove this content weren't able.

GORANI: Because they have --

O'SULLIVAN: So there's a disconnection.

GORANI: Facebook has, has what, 30,000 monitors or something like that --

O'SULLIVAN: That's what they say. Yes. That's what they say.

GORANI: But I mean, again, how many people use Facebook?

[16:20:00] O'SULLIVAN: It's over 2 billion at this point. And, you know, you think about, you know, supposed there --

GORANI: I mean you don't have to be an expert to do the math there.

O'SULLIVAN: Yes. And that was for --



O'SULLIVAN: Yes. And that's why Zuckerberg, you know, have -- he told Congress about this time last year when he was made testify after the Cambridge-Analytica scandal. He said, you know, artificial intelligence is going to help us here. Artificial intelligence can spot when there is violence in the video, when there is blood in the video, if there was gunshots in the video, things like that. And so what they're -- the approach that they are trying to do is to combine human content moderation aided by artificial intelligence.

And so I think that's where they're trying to maybe, you know, cut down the amount of folks that they have to hire. But speaking to some experts in A.I. today, they said that the technology is just so far away from being able to --


O'SULLIVAN: -- really and deal with those nuisances.

GORANI: And also neither --


GORANI: These are companies that have -- that make a ton of cash. So it's just a question of where they prioritize their spending as well. So Donie O'Sullivan, thank you so much. Appreciate it.

Well world leaders are offering their condolences for the victims of the attack. Earlier today, the U.K. parliament rather empty, I have to stress after Brexit day yesterday, empty but it did hold the minute silence to honor those who were killed or injured. The London Mayor Sadiq Khan denounced the perpetrators of the crime.


SADIQ KHAN, LONDON MAYOR: We feel the ripples of hatred, we feel the ripples of fear, and we feel and ripples of sorrow for our brothers and sisters in Christchurch. Let us be under no illusion, this was a terrorist attack on innocent men, women, and children, deliberately targeted because of the faith they belong to.


GORANI: Well, London is among several cities around the world stepping up security at mosques. We spoke to worshippers in East London.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's very sad. It's not nice thing, you know. It shouldn't be like that. We are all human beings. So, you know, Muslim, Christian, anybody, they respect their religion. So it's really horrible thing. It shouldn't happen like this.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The community feeling very emotional, very shocked, and a sense of fear to be honest with you because the fact is people are going to pray this Friday today but all still here. We're not giving up hope because the fact is know if someone that's really a terrorist to be honest with you, and why should we stop doing what we do and being who we are.


GORANI: And of course many of you will remember that in 2017, there was a van attack against worshippers at a mosque in Finsbury Park in London.

Just ahead on CNN, the Muslim world says, Islamaphobia is to blame for the Christchurch attack. Find out what Muslims want to see done in response.


ARDERN: A five-year old child has been transported today to Starship Hospital in Auckland. This is the only transport that has taken place. I am advised that the hospital is well-equipped and coping well. There are available beds and even acute seizures for those in need. Pathologists from throughout the country have made themselves available. And we have additional pathologists coming in from Australia.

Three people had been arrested in relation to this event. One Australian citizen will appear in court today charged with murder.

[16:30:03] This individual has travels around the world with sporadic periods of time spent in New Zealand. They were not a resident of Christchurch. In fact, they were currently based in Dunedin at this time of this event.

Inquiries are ongoing to establish whether the other two who were arrested were directly involved with this incident. The fourth person who was arrested, yesterday, was a member of the public who was in possession of a firearm, but with the intention of assisting police. They have since been released.

Police are working to build a picture of anyone who might be involved and all of their activities prior to this event. None of those apprehended had a criminal history either here, or in Australia. As I said last night, they were not on any watch lists either here, or in Australia.

I want to be very clear though that our intelligence community and police are focused on extremism of every kind. Given global indicators around far right extremism, our intelligence community has been stepping up their investigations in this area. The individual charged with murder had not come to the attention of the intelligence community nor the police for extremism.

I have asked our agencies this morning to work swiftly on assessing whether there was any activity on social media or otherwise that should have triggered a response. That work is already underway.

Today as the country grieves, we are seeking answers.

I want to speak specifically about the firearms used in this terrorist act. I'm advised that there were five guns used by the primary perpetrator. There were two semi-automatic weapons, and two shotguns. The offender was in possession of a gun licensed. I'm advised that this was acquired of November 2017. A lever action firearm was also found.

While work is being done as to the chain of events that led to both the holding of this gun license, and the possession of these weapons, I can tell you one thing right now. Our gun laws will change. There have been attempts to change our laws in 2005, 2012 and after an inquiry in 2017. Now is the time for change.

There are obviously questions being asked of how this person was able to enter the country and undertake this act of terror. I have instructed ODESC to report to Cabinet on Monday on this sequence of events with a view to strengthening our systems on a range of fronts including but not limited to, firearms, border controls, enhanced information sharing with Australia and any practical reinforcement of our watch list processes.

I want to come now to what people can expect over the course of the day and beyond. The safety of New Zealanders is our highest priority. New Zealand police remain on high alert. Christchurch residents are strongly urged to stay home if possible and stay safe. Please monitor the police website and social media for further information.

If you see something suspicious then call 111 immediately.

A number of events are being held across the country today and there will be an increased police presence. Police have additional patrols out on the streets of Christchurch to reassure the community.

They have flown in 45 additional police staff to Christchurch with a further 80 staff arriving today. The additional police staffing includes public safety teams, detectives, tactical specialists and intelligence support. Staff from other DHBs have offered support as required. There will be additional support provided in Christchurch for mental health and psychosocial needs.

If anyone needs to speak to someone or if they are feeling distressed in any way, I encourage you to call or text 1737. There are extra staff available.

[16:35:04] That number to call or text again is 1737 and that line is available to anyone with adopting directly involved in these incidents weather they are residents of Christchurch or not, anyone in New Zealand who is feeling any kind of distress. The police are aware of distressing material relating to this event being online and are reminding people it is an offense to distribute objectionable material.

I want to touch briefly on activity today and the response that occurred yesterday, so just to recap. Police immediately secured the areas involved and ensured that people were kept safe, including schools and offices being locked down. Police made arrests swiftly and as I've see the man will appear in court this morning. Defense specialists quickly moved to assist police to make the improvised explosive devices safe.

I want to make special mention of those who are involved in both the parts of the operation involving disarming explosive devices but also undertaking the arrests themselves. Many of you may have seen the footage of the arrest and I can only describe it as an act of bravery on behalf of all New Zealanders and an act that showed very little regard for their own personal safety. I'm sure everyone in New Zealand wants to acknowledge the police but particularly the officer who made that critical arrest yesterday.

I also want to acknowledge ambulance staff who many will have seen acting swiftly under horrific conditions and all medical staff who continue to work with those who are injured.

NZ Defense Force at Burnham Camp, yesterday, were put on standby to assist police in Christchurch. Mosques around the country were provided with advice from police to help keep them secure and advised to remain closed. This advice continues as does the police presence at mosques around the country.

The national threat level was raised to high and that remains. This triggers a number of actions to help keep people safe, such as increased aviation and border security. A number of specialist family liaison staff were deployed. Close liaison has been established with the Muslim community and other key people in Christchurch.

Police and the wider government will be working with leaders and members of the Islamic community to provide assistance, reassurance and support. An 0800 number established to register missing persons, 0800 115019 and a website, Restoring Family Links.

MFAT are acting as a liaison point for foreign governments. Consular representation for any foreign nations involved has been provided. At this stage we involved -- I understand those involved include Pakistan, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh, Indonesia and Malaysia.

MFAT staff are dealing with offers of assistance, and of course receiving a significant number of condolence messages.

Deputy Commissioner Maori and Ethnic Services Wally Haumaha has traveled to Christchurch, alongside 15 additional ethnic liaison officers to support the community.

These specialists will work alongside local staff to support the families involved.

They are assisting to repatriate them with their loved ones in a way that is consistent with Muslim beliefs, while taking into account these particular circumstances and obligations to the coroner.

I want to finish by saying that while the nation grapples with a form of grief and anger that we have not experienced before, we are seeking answers.

After this media conference I will board a defense force plane and travel to Christchurch. I will have other political leaders with me including the Leader of the Opposition.

As is the entire nation, we are all unified in grieving together.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Prime Minister, specifically, what changes would you like to see to the gun laws?

ARDERN: Well obviously, as I've said that's a chain of events that we are currently analyzing but the mere effects when people of course hear that this individual acquired a gun license and acquired weapons of that range, then obviously I think people will be seeking change, and I'm committing to that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE) obtaining that gun license and returning to New Zealand. And the more we learn about this person the harder it is to understand why he wasn't known to our security services.

[16:40:09] ARDERN: Again, I reiterate that this individual was not on the radar of either Australian intelligence agencies or New Zealand intelligence agencies.

Yes, he traveled to a range of countries, sporadically been in and out of New Zealand for periods of time, but I've asked on Monday to in convene, again reconvene all those agencies who will be able to piece together the nature of that travel, the sequence of events in term of obtaining gun licenses and then shortly there after, the gun license was obtained in November 2017. The purchasing of weapons began in December 2017. So obviously a sequence and chain of events there that began some time ago but those are all issues that we are seeking answers around.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE) too focused on Islamic threats?

ARDERN: As I've said, that given the rise of extremist views by those who hold ideology that I can only describe as violent and extreme, our agencies here in New Zealand have stepped the work that was being done in that area. But again, that did not result in this individual being on any kind of watch list.


ARDERN: If you look at my comments at the time, I've always been concerned about that kind of rhetoric, but everyone should be. Rhetoric of racism, division, extremism, has no place not only in New Zealand but I would say in a society as a whole.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What message do you have for the community of those that might be angry and who might be thinking about retaliation?

ARDERN: I don't think that is in keeping with their values. I know that they have questions. Those are questions that we are directly asking agencies. We are all working together to get those answers as quickly as we can. And as I said in my opening statement, if there was any suggestion that these individuals should have been known to us, we are looking into that as we speak. Our duty was to keep everyone who is in New Zealand and calls New Zealand home safe. That has not occurred here, so questions must be answered.


ARDERN: That is my understanding.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That seems to be an incredibly high (INAUDIBLE) for specialize category. How is it he could get a license?

ARDERN: On my understanding is he held a category "a" gun license. And again, I preface this that my advice currently is that he, under that gun license, was able to legally acquire the guns he that held. That will give you an indication of why we need to change our gun laws.


ARDERN: That's certainly one of the issues that I'm looking at with an immediate effect. I've asked for advices today on all these questions.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Would you consider a buy back program?

ARDERN: That's too early for me to say at this point. But again, as soon as New Zealanders hear that someone was legally able to acquire as I'm advised, those weapons and carry out this event that will raise enormous questions with our gun laws and that is why we will respond swiftly.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right, we are coming out of that press conference with the Prime Minster Jacinda Ardern. Just to recap.

GORANI: All right, and there you have it. This is the Prime Minister of New Zealand vowing to change gun laws in her country after she revealed that the suspected attacker in the mosque massacre, that terrorist attack in Christchurch on Friday, held a valid gun license acquired in November of 2017 and that it was her understanding that he use that had gun license to purchase the firearms that he used to kill 49 people and injure dozens of others, two semiautomatic weapons, two shotguns and another weapon.

She revealed that this suspect, who is due to appear in court charge with murder, traveled around the world, but that he was not from New Zealand, that he was Australian, and that he spent some time in New Zealand but that he was not a resident of Christchurch where the massacre took place.

She also revealed that two other people were arrested and are still detained. This is something that we learned few hours ago. She confirmed that and that inquiries are going on, ongoing, about whether or not these two additional arrests are in any way linked or directly involved to the terrorist attack in those two mosques in Christchurch.

[16:45:07] Of course we should not forget the victims. Forty-nine people killed, some still listed as missing on that ICRC. The Red Cross website trying to connect worried loved ones with the people that they haven't heard from yet. And that some of these people still missing, and the victims that Dave and I able to identify come really from all over the world, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Turkey, and Malaysia, and other places. So really an agonizing, agonizing time for the loved ones of the people who killed so senselessly.

We're going take a quick break. We'll be right back with more.


GORANI: U.S. President Trump just spoke moments ago and was asked about the horrific mosque attack in New Zealand. One suspect seems to have left behind a manifesto filled with hateful white nationalist rhetoric. He said he didn't view white nationalism to be a growing threat, though, when asked. Take a listen.


TRUMP: I don't really. I think it's a small group of people that have very, very serious problems. I guess if you look at what happened in New Zealand, perhaps that's the case. I don't know enough about it yet. They're just learning about the person and the people involved. But it's certainly a terrible thing, a terrible thing.


GORANI: The Southern Poverty Law Center based in the U.S. said the attacker had inscriptions on his weapons, slogans linked to white supremacy.

Joining me now live, CNN national security analyst, Samantha Vinograd and CNN law enforcement analyst, Josh Campbell.

So in a country like the United States, far-right extremism kills more people than Islamic extremism by far. Are law enforcement agencies and intelligence agencies not working as hard to identify some of these potential threats? Josh?



CAMPBELL: I think that this is obviously an issue that we're still grappling with here in the United States. And if you look at not only what investigators are doing on the ground as far as trying to assess their domain, the communities, determine what the individual threats are so that they can then allocate certain resources, there are also hurdles in place when it comes to the law itself. In United States, there's not a domestic terrorism law. If you are someone who commits an attack and you're someone inspired by foreign group such as al-Qaeda or ISIS, there are laws on the book that allow the United States to prosecute you to the fullest extent of the law, put you in jail for a very long time. That doesn't exist on the domestic terrorism front. So investigators often have to look for other violations.

And so my point is we're hamstrung from the beginning when we talk about what rules and laws that are in place. And so there's an entire conversation that we need to have. I believe that when it comes to law enforcement in order to protect the country, in order to insure public safety, we have to have the tools to do so.

GORANI: But I wonder -- I mean obviously we don't exactly know how much of this hateful rhetoric that he released in his manifesto was posted online before the massacre. But, Samantha, the Prime Minister of New Zealand did confirm that this man was not on any watch list, he's an Australian citizen. Not on a watch list in New Zealand or in Australia and that he legally purchased apparently two semiautomatic weapons, two shotguns and another, I believe, handgun.

[16:50:11] I do want -- they're going to really have to look back at how they miss this guy as a threat.

SAMANTHA VINOGRAD, CNN SECURITY ANALYST: They certainly are. And in sharp contrast to President Trump's remarks earlier which Josh's analyzed, where he minimized the threat from white supremacy and white nationalism, despite the fact that his government agencies have laid this out as a threat. The Prime Minister of New Zealand acted like a leader during this press conference. She reassured the public that she -- that the authorities were doing everything that they could, but she was also honest about where the system failed and then followed that up by saying that she was convening all of her team to try to look at where these gaps on a legislative front, on the intelligence front, on the law enforcement front to try to prevent --


VINOGRAD: -- this kind of attack from happening again. President Trump saying that white nationalism or white supremacy isn't a big deal and it's small groups of people in United States, actually has an impact in terms of resources that are drawn together to confront that problem. Prime Minister Ardern was making clear that this is a priority for her. The President's remarks shortly before she spoke are indicative of the fact that this is not a priority for him.

GORANI: Well and this suspect lists a manifesto in which he said Trump is a symbol of renewed white identity in common purpose. What do you make of that, Josh?

CAMPBELL: So I think that there are two aspects to this investigation. There's what happened on the ground, there's investigators trying to unravel, there's plot, was it one person? Possibly multiple people that were involved. And so they're going through the scene again. They're going through the evidence to include this manifesto that you mentioned. That will be all part of rigorous analysis on the part of investigators to try to get through that again, determine that motive.

Now, the second piece is there's a larger conversation that we're having and that is what law enforcement officers do after every single one of these attacks, just trying to determine what motivated this person. What are the characteristics, what factors are driving this person to act the way they did? And if that is, this toxic political climate and that's obviously a national and international conversation that we all need to have.

But I think, you know, first, we'll have the investigators finish their work, really lay out a portrait, a picture of what happened and then that will move to that next phase. And if it turns out that this person is driven to violence by our current political climate, then, you know, we're going to have to have that conversation which we haven't had and we continue to see these attacks around the world.

GORANI: And it could be one of the many components because this person reportedly in this manifesto mentioned Dylann Roof. This is truly a global kind of hate infrastructure there, as someone called it, between going from the U.S. to Norway with Anders Breivik fam (ph) all the way to New Zealand where online people are getting radicalized, sharing information, and giving themselves inspiration to commit some of the most horrific act. How do you even start countering that because it's all happening on the internet?

VINOGRAD: Well, you start countering, for instance, by hoping or encouraging people in leadership positions not to use white nationalist tropes and white nationalist dog whistles that spread like wildfire on social media and other media platforms. That's an easier place to start. We unfortunately know far too well that white nationalism had no borders for decades.

My family was deeply impacted by the holocaust, which is where a lot of this rhetoric was born out of. The difference of course today is that there are no borders on the internet which allows this rhetoric to start spreading even faster. So what we can we do? We can start pointing out when people are using words that inspire and direct this kind of violence.


VINOGRAD: And there's a real question for the tech community of course as to whether they can be more proactive. Are there any other algorithms that they can use to try to monitor these digital footprints?

GORANI: But we have to leave it there, but this is too interesting to leave here. Josh, isn't that reactive, though? I mean don't you have to find the threat first instead of then having tech companies take down horrible content like that body cam video that apparently live streamed for 17 minutes today?

CAMPBELL: Yes, you know, we've been having this conversation here in the newsroom, you know, a very heated discussion. And, you know, if you look at these tech companies, these are people who knew every single thing about our lives. I mean they have algorithms that are in place essentially to sell us things, to target us with advertisement. And they know what we type, they know what we search and they use that to build this picture of us.

So I don't understand. And this has been, you know, the debate. How can they not use the same tools to then try to detect those who are online searching for hate or using these, you know, words that one would use in order to try to research or express this kind of vitriol? They have a lot of work to do. For the investigator's part, this is what makes us very tough when it comes to domestic terrorism type situation. Unlike in international terrorism, we have maybe foreign group. You have people that are communicating with others. That's a potential vector for intelligence communities to get up on these people and, you know, surveil them.

[16:55:00] It's much different when you're talking about these insular groups like domestic extremists because they often don't have that open network. And so it makes it so tough.

We heard the Prime Minister say this person wasn't known to law enforcement, that doesn't surprise me, because again, we're talking about these radical hatred groups that are domestic in nature. The bottom line it shows that the herculean task that law enforcement has, but again to your point, there are others out there that have work to do on the front end before something happens. And it includes these tech companies whose platforms are being use in certain ways to fuel a lot of these.

GORANI: Yes. I'll be interested to hear whether or not these two other arrests are connected directly because then it's not a lone wolf thing. Then it's actually a little mini cell. But that we don't yet and we'll wait to see what comes out of that.

Thanks so much, Josh Campbell and Samantha Vinograd.

CAMPBELL: Thank you.

GORANI: Quick break. We'll be right back.


GORANI: All right. Thanks for watching our special coverage. A reminder that the Prime Minister of New Zealand has vowed to change her country's gun laws after it was revealed that the man who is suspected of having committed the mosque terrorist massacre had a valid gun license and purchased five weapons including two semiautomatic rifles to commit the murders.

We'll be right back with more.