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THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER
FIFA President Stepping Down Amid Scandal; New Bomb Scares; Boston Police Shoot, Kill Man Under Terror Surveillance; Interview with Senator Lindsey Graham. Aired 4-4:30p ET
Aired June 2, 2015 - 16:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[16:00:10] JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Has a police shooting in Boston blown open a homegrown terrorist cell?
I'm Jake Tapper. This is THE LEAD.
Breaking news in our national lead today. Police were watching him for a long time. Then, this morning, he came at them with a knife. Now we're finding out that the man shot and killed by a police officer and an FBI agent may have been radicalized by ISIS. Were there others?
Also in national news, breaking today, new bomb threats made against U.S. planes in the air over the U.S. packed with passengers coming the day after we found out that airport screeners really stink at stopping dangerous things from getting through the scanners, now the TSA making a change that may be as cosmetic as the security itself.
And the sports lead, he has been depicted as everyone from a mafia overlord to "The Simpsons"' Mr. Burns, to the emperor from "Star Wars," but this afternoon, FIFA's president, the man at the top of a crumbling pyramid of alleged soccer corruption, as own-goaled himself out of the game.
Good afternoon, everyone. I'm Jake Tapper. Welcome to THE LEAD.
Breaking news in our national lead today, law enforcement officials saying a man fatally gunned down by Boston police and the FBI this morning was part of a larger network of suspected Islamic extremists radicalized by ISIS in the United States and under investigation by the Joint Terrorism Task Force.
Boston's police commissioner just minutes ago said that law enforcement has video showing Usaama Rahim waving a military-style knife at officers and refusing their orders to put the knife down.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAM EVANS, BOSTON POLICE COMMISSIONER: Clearly, in these circumstances, both the FBI and Boston police did everything they could possibly do to get this individual to drop his knife. And, at some point, unfortunately, we had to take his life.
(END VIDEO CLIP) TAPPER: Rahim's brother, however, an imam, is singing a much different tune, saying on Twitter -- quote -- "Pray more my younger brother, Usaama Rahim, shot three times in his back by Boston police, then dying, his last words, I can't breathe."
Let's get right to CNN's Elise Labott, who is live in Boston.
Elise, what more do we know specifically about this confrontation this morning between members of law enforcement and Usaama Rahim?
ELISE LABOTT, CNN FOREIGN AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jake, the police commissioner said that basically they didn't know that Usaama Rahim was armed. As you said, they were monitoring him, 24-hour surveillance as part of this Joint Terrorism Task Force.
And they -- but they did want to question him. They thought that something could be imminent. So, when they went to question him, the officers were not showing their weapons. They did not think that he was armed. And that's when Usaama Rahim whipped out his weapon, whipped out this eight-inch military knife -- they showed a picture of this very big knife -- and started brandishing it against officers.
At first, the officers retreated, but then they felt that they were in danger and they shot him, and they say in the abdomen and the torso. Now, law enforcement officials tell CNN's Evan Perez and Shimon Prokupecz that this gentleman, Usaama Rahim, was actually being monitored because he was part of a group that could be radicalized, part of the ISIS sympathizers.
Now, there was a lot of activity on social media lately making threats against police. They didn't necessarily think today was the day that he might be planning something. But they thought something could be imminent. He was out in public and they decided to stop him. And that's when this ensued.
But the police commissioner said today, Jake, they were surprised by what happened. They did not expect to arrest him and certainly did not expect to shoot him.
TAPPER: Elise Labott in Boston, thank you so much.
Let's bring in CNN's chief security national correspondent, Jim Sciutto. Also joining me, Shawn Henry. He's a former FBI executive assistant director and president of the intelligence firm CrowdStrike. Also with us, CNN national security analyst Juliette Kayyem.
Jim, you have been working the phones all day since this happened. What have you learned?
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: The big here is, how serious a threat that this was, right?
I think we have to be a little careful about what we call a network. It was more than one person who was in touch with each other, one, but also with some of these radical Web sites. And that could be enough. And we have seen that before. It doesn't take a lot to turn someone -- or you don't have to see a lot from a potential suspect for them to go from someone who goes through the sites to someone who buys a knife or a gun and shoots or stabs or attacks police officers.
The key here to was, they had been watching him for a couple of years and he took a change in his language just in the last couple of weeks in terms of threatening police officers. So, that's when they thought it went from just being one of the many hundreds of people in the U.S. who go to these sites to being someone who might take action.
They didn't necessarily believe he was going to take action today. They thought he might be moving closer. It's just that when they encountered him, he wouldn't put his knife down. And they ended up shooting him. This is a good example of the kind of challenge that they have now, distinguishing between the real threats and the ones who may not be a threat.
[16:05:01] It's a tough call for them. And in this case, they used deadly force. But he did a lot of things to make them very nervous.
Before I turn to our analysts, let's bring in CNN justice reporter Evan Perez, who has also been working the phones.
Evan, what are you learning about this incident today?
EVAN PEREZ, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jake, what's at work here is a new way or certainly a more heightened awareness by law enforcement since the terrorist attack in Garland, Texas, in May.
That's the attack against a Mohammed drawing contest, cartoon contest. If you recall, two ISIS-inspired gunmen tried to attack that event and they were shot and killed by police. What I'm told by law enforcement what was happening today, Jake, was they simply wanted to talk to this guy to see what was at work with some of the recent threats that they thought he was making and some of the people that he was associated with.
They weren't ready to arrest him. They just simply wanted to talk to him, which is a tactic that they use to try to see what is up with these people. This is what happened at the scene and they did not expect it to go down this way.
TAPPER: Let's bring in Shawn Henry now.
Shawn, you heard from Jim Sciutto and Evan Perez this man was under surveillance, Usaama Rahim, because of the language, because of the Web sites he was visiting. They wanted to go talk to him. Talk to us about, as a former member of the FBI, what kind of -- what does that conversation go like? Do FBI agents come in aggressively, guns a blazing, put somebody like that on the defensive, where he might run, or is it by the book, more calm and more of a conversation?
SHAWN HENRY, FORMER EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT FBI DIRECTOR: You know, Jake, with a situation like this, where the FBI says that Rahim was under surveillance for 24 hours, it appears to me that this was somebody who they had obvious concerns about.
When you're under 24-hour surveillance, there's legitimate concern. And you're trying to determine whether somebody moves from pure rhetoric and they're talking on the Internet or they might be speaking to colleagues or friends, and when they become operational.
In a situation like this, it appears that while he's under surveillance, that the FBI and the JTTF may have gone to stop and talk to him, because they were afraid of some action he may have been taking. I would have expected if they wanted to talk to him that typically they might go to his house in the evening while they know he's in a confined environment.
For him to be stopped on the street to me indicates that perhaps something may have changed. Maybe they saw something while he was under surveillance. In any event, the FBI is not going to go into a situation like this guns a blazing. They want to talk to the suspect. They want to determine or ascertain what his actions are, what his motivations are. And they're going to do that when they believe that there is a threat to the general public. That appears to be what happened here.
TAPPER: Juliette, the feds believe he was radicalized by ISIS, they say. He's in a major American city. We know two other people could be involved. Is this the kind of threat that is a most a top priority for counterterrorism forces right now, two or three people possibly...
JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Yes, that's exactly right.
KAYYEM: The idea that one guy becomes radicalized or operationalized is sort of their biggest fear because it's very challenging. We simply don't have the resources to follow everyone.
What I will say, in picking up on what Shawn said, a Joint Terrorism Task Force for New England, for example, has a couple hundred open investigations. And there's just lots of randomness going on.
To do a 24/7 surveillance on someone requires a sufficient sort of evidence that something has gone wrong with the suspect, that they are incredibly nervous, because you just simply don't approach someone like that in the open unless you are very, very nervous or you have enough evidence to suggest that the investigation can go forward.
So, this wasn't an average JTTF investigation of some guy online. They put their resources behind an investigation of him. And that's why I think that this case, as it unfolds and as others are arrested or surveyed, friends of him, others he may have been in a line with, that we will learn more that -- of the evidence that justified the investigation.
Now, whether it justified the killing is a totally different question and we have to separate those in our mind.
TAPPER: All right. Juliette Kayyem, Jim Sciutto, Evan Perez, Shawn henry, thank you so much.
We're going to stay with the story in the next block. But there's another breaking news story this hour, a military screw-up with potential lethal consequences.
An Army lab FedExed live samples of anthrax across the country and we just learned minutes ago that one of those shipments may have landed on the mail desk of the Pentagon.
Let's get right to CNN's Barbara Starr, who broke the story.
Barbara, is there concern that anyone may have been exposed? The mail desk seems like a fairly open place.
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, right now, the problem, Jake, is the Pentagon isn't sure what it's dealing with here at the Pentagon or at about 30 sites across the country.
What we now know is the Pentagon did receive a shipment of what was supposed to be dead anthrax for calibrating some of the chem-bio sensors in the building. It was all very routine. But they have now learned that this is part of the overall shipment that came out of an Army facility that has now tested live for anthrax when it was supposed to be dead, not dangerous anthrax.
[16:10:21] So, now the concern is that the shipment that came to the Pentagon was live and now they are looking at more than 30 shipments around the country. They say that there is no threat to public health. But in the same breath, Pentagon officials will also tell you the big problem right now, they do not know what they're dealing with. They don't know how many of these shipments that went around the country may actually be live anthrax -- Jake.
TAPPER: Barbara, is there any inclination at this stage of the investigation by the Pentagon as to what exactly went on that caused somebody in the U.S. military to take live anthrax and mail it through FedEx?
STARR: Well, they don't believe it's a deliberate act. They don't believe at this point it's terrorism.
The Army has been talking about it as human error. What appears to have happened is the standard procedure for irradiation of anthrax for some reason did not work.
TAPPER: That's an understatement. Barbara Starr at the Pentagon, thank you so much.
Make sure to tune in tonight for a "SITUATION ROOM" special report, "ISIS: What Should the U.S. Do Now?" That's tonight at 9:00 p.m. Eastern.
In his eyes, there has been never a time when the U.S. was so vulnerable to attack. And Senator Lindsey Graham says that reason, stopping enemies trying to kill us, is why he's running for president. We will get his reaction to the latest terrorist threat out of Boston. That's next.
TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.
A terror suspect being watched by the U.S. Joint Terrorism Task Force was shot and killed in broad daylight today. Boston's police commissioner says this man, Usaama Rahim, had been radicalized by ISIS and was waving a, quote, "military style knife" when police and federal agents opened fire.
Let's bring in South Carolina Republican and now presidential candidate, Senator Lindsey Graham, who said in his presidential kickoff speech he wants to be president to defeat the enemies trying to kill us.
Senator Graham, thanks so much for joining us.
You chaired the Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism. The feds are suggesting and we're waiting for a lot of information to come in, but they're suggesting this may have been a homegrown terrorist radicalized by ISIS.
Based on your knowledge of the general terrorist threat in the U.S., put this in context for us. Is this what the biggest threat is, the kind of lone wolves inspired by ISIS?
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, it's certainly a threat. The biggest threat for me is for a terrorist cell to come over here of highly trained people with a weapon of mass destruction, chemical, biological nuclear or dirty bomb. That'd be the worst case scenario.
But this presents a danger all of its own. This is why we need the Patriot Act reauthorized because lone wolf provisions are used by our intelligence and law enforcement community to follow people like this. And we need them up and running.
TAPPER: The substitute bill, the USA Freedom Act, just seconds ago passed the U.S. Senate. You would have voted for that, I presume, even though you said that you prefer the U.S. Patriot Act to have been renewed?
GRAHAM: The mega data provisions I don't like at all. Basically, you've undercut privacy now. All of the records will be in the hands of the phone company with hundreds of people available to look at the records versus 20 or 30 people in the government. So I think the mega data program has been undermined in terms of the U.S. freedom act and quite frankly we've told the enemy so much about it I'm not sure it works anymore.
But the lone wolf provisions, the other tools that the intelligence committee has, they will be reauthorized and that's a good thing. TAPPER: Senator Graham, you said in September that President Obama
needs to rise to the occasion before we all get killed back here at home. Do you think that the threat ISIS poses here in the U.S. right now is more serious in September when you said that? And if so, what does the government need to be doing that it is not doing?
GRAHAM: Well, they have a large footprint. They're rich. They're entrenched. We need to break them up, make them small, poor and on the run.
We need to disrupt their operations overseas. The stronger they are over there, the stronger over there, the more at risk we are here.
So, what we're doing in Iraq is obviously not working. We don't have a plan at all for Syria. So, if I were president I would send for trainers to Iraq to be able to up the Iraqi army's game to deal with Mosul, to deal with Ramadi. I'd ask the Arabs, I'd ask Turkey and Egypt to form an army, regional forces would be part of it, to go in on the ground and go after the caliphate inside of Syria.
If you don't deal with Syria, you'll never fix Iraq. And what I would tell the American people, Jake, is that ISIL threats over there are also threats to our homeland and you can't just disengage.
TAPPER: Secretary of State John Kerry told the summit of defense officials and diplomats meeting that ISIS quote, "is no more a state than I am a helicopter," end quote. Former counterterrorism czar Richard Clark was on the show not long ago and he said, you have to give it to ISIS, they've formed a caliphate. Obviously, Secretary Kerry disagrees.
What do you think?
GRAHAM: I think that terrorist organizations, not just in Syria and Iraq, hold more territory than ever. They have more weapons than ever, they have more men than ever, they have more capability, more means to strike the homeland than anytime since 9/11. And when Secretary Kerry says something like this, he seems to be disconnected from the threat.
[16:20:03] He's trying to marginalize the threat.
At the end of the day, ISIS is not ten feet tall. They will be defeated over time. But the strategy President Obama has deployed to degrade and defeat ISIL is not working. It will never work.
And my biggest fear is that a Western passport holder who's going to join ISIS will come back here, highly trained, to wreak havoc on the United States like they did in Paris. It's only a matter of time if we don't put them on the run.
TAPPER: What do you say to skeptics to say you're trying to fear- monger your way to the GOP nomination, that however vile ISIS terrorist are, the reality is that heart disease, smoking, speeding cost many more American lives that ISIS is capable of killing? What's your response? GRAHAM: That heart disease and smoking is something you can change if
you choose to. ISIS is not going to change unless something makes them. They represent a threat to our way of life. They're religious fanatics. They're religious Nazis. They're crucifying people in the Mideast. They're trying to purify their own religion.
They would destroy Israel if they could. If they had a weapon of mass destruction, they would use it. They cannot be accommodated, appeased or compromised with. They have to be contained and eventually destroyed.
So, the threats from smoking are real. At the end of the day, you have a chance to stop smoking. The only way you can stop ISIL is for somebody to go over there and partnership in the region and kill these guys.
TAPPER: If this issue is so important to you and Rand Paul is so opposite and contrary to your viewpoint as you've made it clear, if it came down to Rand Paul versus Hillary Clinton who is for a Democrat rather hawkish, why would you go with Rand Paul? It seems like Hillary Clinton and you are much more closely aligned on this issue that is so important to you?
GRAHAM: Well, I would note for the nominee in my party because they have been able to prove to fellow Republicans that their view of the world is right. That's not a dilemma I'm going to face. But Rand Paul and I actually agree on a lot of domestic issues like saving Social Security and Medicare. But on foreign policy, we're worlds apart.
If he did get the nomination, I think she would be able to tear him apart because his view of foreign policy is one step from behind leading from behind. At the end of the day, the average American sees radical Islam as a threat, much greater than the NSA.
TAPPER: Senator Lindsey Graham, thank you so much. Good luck to you. We'll see you out there on the campaign trail.
GRAHAM: Thank you.
TAPPER: Coming up next, he just won reelection four days ago, but today, the president of FIFA shocked everyone by announcing he is stepping down. Does the resignation have anything to do with allegations of a $10 million bribe?
Plus, the TSA making a change at the top after an undercover investigation showed that 90 percent of the mock bombs made it through those airport checkpoints. Is a change of leadership going to be enough?
TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.
Some breaking news in our sports lead today. FIFA president Sepp Blatter is resigning his post just four days after being reelected to a fifth term as the head of soccer's international governing body. Blatter was not implicated in last week's bribery and corruption scandal but he remains under investigation by U.S. law enforcement.
And allegations of rampant corruption under his tenure did not go away with last week's arrest. Blatter said stepping aside was, quote, "the best thing for the organization."
Joining me now by phone is CNN sports analyst Christine Brennan.
Christine, thanks for joining us.
This is stunning news. He was just reelected five days ago. Something must have forced his hand.
CHRISTINE BRENNAN, CNN SPORTS ANALYST (via telephone): Absolutely, Jake. It is stunning news. This is the man with the ultimate power in sports and really throughout culture in the world in the sense of power of soccer and what it means to so many nations. And, obviously, 209 members of FIFA.
So, it is shocking. And what it leads us I think to all to wonder about is what has happened in the last four days. Several news organizations now reporting he's under investigation in the tournament continuing probe, U.S. Justice Department, FBI, makes a lot of sense, they heat was on, the pressure is on. I believe he knew.
I mean, it just defies logic that he would not have known as a 17-year president of FIFA. He would not have known about this culture of corruption that was going on underneath him.
So, I think we're going to find out, Jake, that he knew all about it. He may have been the ring leader of all of this. We don't know that at this point. But that's what this is pointing to today.
TAPPER: And "The New York Times" reporting that Blatter's top lieutenant transferred $10 million that was allegedly part of a bribe for South Africa to secure the 2010 World Cup. Looking at the arrests of all of these top FIFA executives, except for Blatter, it seems as though possibly these arrests are causing some of the canaries to begin singing.
BRENNAN: That would be the story line, wouldn't it? That what would happen is whoever gets to the authorities first and says, OK, I'll talk. I'll talk would probably get the more lenient treatment moving forward.
I think we cannot overstate, Jake, the importance of this U.S. investigation. Attorney General Loretta Lynch leading it, FBI is involved, Justice Department.
This has shaken the sport to its core, the ultimate irony, a sport that doesn't care that much about soccer, the United States is the one leading the charge here.
TAPPER: Christine Brennan, thank you so much. Always great having you on. BRENNAN: Thanks, Jake.
TAPPER: In our national lead today, a string of bomb threats against passenger planes just one day after that undercover investigation released showing that 95 percent of mock bombs got through TSA check points. So, what is law enforcement doing to protect you, to protect travelers?