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FBI Investigating Shooting As Act Of Terrorism; Suspects Altered Semi-Automatic Guns; Police Chief: No Argument Before Shooting. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired December 4, 2015 - 21:00   ET



ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks for joining us, 6:00 P.M. here in San Bernardino. Tonight investigating the killing of 14 people as an act of terrorism, that and our first look at the female half of the husband and wife terror team that carried out the attack. The picture originally obtained by ABC news at just about the same time the massacre got underway, the wife put up a Facebook post pledging allegiance to ISIS.

Now, we learned this earlier today and we have been learning more ever since. Our justice correspondent Pamela Brown joins us now with the very latest here at the top of the hour. So what are you learning tonight?

PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, clearly Anderson a lot has changed since 24 hours ago when we spoke because new evidence has come to light leading officials to believe that this was an act of terrorism. This new evidence includes this Facebook post by the wife pledging alliance to al-Baghdadi, the leader of ISIS during the time right before the shooting. Also, officials are getting more evidence taken from those electronics retrieved from the house, human sources and also people that they have been interviewing.

So with this new information that has come to light, they are learning more toward terrorism but I will say, Anderson and we heard it today from Director Cohen with the FBI, there was still a lot of question marks and a lot of the evidence isn't adding up and partly it's the workplace dispute, the angle of things, what actually happened there, and there are some other things that are a little nebulous in terms of terrorist connection at this point.

We're hearing there is no direct tie to a terrorist group. The question will be now, were they influenced, inspired by a group like ISIS? That's what they're looking at and looking at whether this was a couple self-radicalized.

COOPER: And Gary Tuchman talking just a short time ago, the chief of police who says that they've interviewed all the people that they have had access to, none of them exempt for one person has said that there was a dispute or knew anything about a dispute. One person said there had been a dispute and the two people I talked to were there an hour ahead said they had not heard anything about a dispute or certainly seen a dispute in the hour they were there prior to the attack. So that's initially what led to kind of the workplace angle but it still leaves over the possibility that there some sort of longer term grudge which is why he may have targeted this particular place even though it's an act of terror.

BROWN: Absolutely, and is the prevailing theory right now among officials I've been speaking with, that there was something more deeply seeded, something more long-term, perhaps some religious issues he have with someone else there. That is what they are focussing on now more than something that just happened the day of that sparked, some even hearing that clearly this was premeditated, there was planning going into this. But still this has...

COOPER: And if it wasn't this target, it would have been another target.

BROWN: Right, exactly. In fact, another theory that they are trying to figure out is did they plan on attacking another target and then switch gears and attack the workplace? I will say that has thrown investigators for a loop the fact that he attacked his workplace and, you know, normally a terrorist attack is toward a more symbolic government entity or, you know, a place like, you know, a restaurant, a mall. But the fact he targeted this place of work is really such a mystery at this stage.

COOPER: Interesting, all right, Pamela Brown, thanks for the reporting. Take you deeper now into how investigators are determining the extent of any wider connections this couple may have had especially two ISIS as well as the woman's precise role in all these.

Joining us is former FBI Assistant Director Chris Swecker, also Georgia State University's Mia Bloom, author of "Bombshell: The Many Faces of Women Terrorist", and with us as well is Bob Baer, CNN senior intelligence and security analyst and former CIA officer.

Mia, we now know that this man's wife pledge allegiance to ISIS. Do you believe she actually may have been a driving force behind this attack? What makes you think that?

MIA BLOOM, AUTHOR OF BOMBSHELL: THE MANY FACES OF WOMEN TERRORIST: Well, we've seen like the case with Hayat Boumeddiene after Charlie Hebdo, that she was the more radical of the two when Amed Coulibaly took hostages at the kosher market. And so, we have a template of women who are in the Jihadi movement that they are the spark for radicalization but I think the timeline is significant.

Everyone says that it's only within the last two years that he became a little bit more religious, began to grow a beard and in fact from what I've heard he stopped going to the mosque a few weeks ago. And so this seeming radicalization is consistent with the time period that he has been with Ms. Malik.

COOPER: Chris, the FBI is now saying this is being investigated as an act of terror. Does that change how law enforcement go about their job on this? Because I mean from the earliest hours the FBI was involved, they were talking about signs of possible terrorism, you and I talked about that two nights ago?


CHRIS SWECKER, FORMER FBI ASSISTANT DIRECTOR: Well, with the exception of the FBI taking the lead from the San Bernardino Police Department, it does change things particularly as I suspect, this is opened as an international terrorism investigation. That is a whole different set of investigative techniques that invokes FISA, that invokes certain components of the Patriot Act, so it's an intelligence investigation if it is in fact opened as an international terrorist investigation. It's very different from a domestic terrorist investigation and that makes a big difference with the FBI.

COOPER: And Bob, I mean they've got to look at this from all angles, possible domestic connections and international connections as well.

BOB BAER, CNN SENIOR INTELLIGENCE SECURITY ANALYST: I think there may have been a network here. There is certain possibility with the phones but more than that is who was this woman and how did she grow up, what mosque did she go, who was she in contact with in Punjab and Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.

I'm very suspicious about the Saudi angle, he's going to mecca, who did he see there? Did somebody give him fatwa or give him the wife? I mean she may have been planted. It looks like this is not a normal way to find a, you know, a spouse going to Saudi Arabia. They're going to be looking at that and it depends on how corporative the Saudis are. They may know something. It depends if they tell us or not.

COOPER: And also Pakistan as well.

BAER: And Pakistan, the night I'm suspicious of them too.

COOPER: Yeah. The size of this couple's arsenal, I mean when you look at how this attack unfolded, how it all ended for them in that SUV, Mia, you believe they had plans for something much bigger, that this conference center was not their only target and I guess the question is was it their original target as well?

BLOOM: You know, I just get a sense that first of all, it could be a hybrid. It could have elements both of a terrorist attack that was planned to be much larger and this is where I agree with Bob, there may be remaining individuals who were going to perpetrate the attack with them.

There were allegations from their neighbors that people have been coming and going to the house but I think also for me this wouldn't have been the first primary target because had he intended to shoot up the party, he would have brought the guns with him when he first went. He wouldn't have gone to the party, left, and returned.

The fact is also, this is not a good target. This isn't going to resonate. You know, you got a bunch of kids, disabled kids, you've got people of various backgrounds including a Muslim. This is not a kind of target that's going to resonate and get ISIS a lot of support, so that's why I don't think that this was the original target.

COOPER: Chris, if in fact these two were self-radicalized that they didn't necessarily have direct connections with the larger ISIS, a bigger network overseas, the fact that they had people coming and going into that house, I mean you're suspicious that somebody must have seen something that you can't have all these pipe bombs, all this equipment, all these guns and ammunition and visitors to the home not notice something.

SWECKER: That's exactly what I believe. I mean when you look at the inventory from the search warrant, I mean it's a virtual bomb factory and 7,000 rounds of ammunition if you include the ammunition that was found in the car, all of that was build up over time, all that equipment, all the remote toy equipment that the small toy cars that have remote devices on them, that one of the IEDs that the facility had such a device attached to it, that -- you can't miss all that.

So I see this as leading to some other indictments of some aiders and abetters locally but as I said earlier, with the bank records they are going to be chasing down, I noticed bank receipts in the inventory. They're going to be chasing that down, all the media, all the communications, several cell phones in there, SIM cards. I hope they got the SIM card as a crash phones in the garbage can. I think this is going to take us where we all suspect it's going to go at this point next into the international arena.


SWECKER: And I'm also very suspicious of the internet recruitment part of this where he met her on the internet. That really raised my -- got my attention when I first saw that.

COOPER: Chris Swecker appreciate you being on, Mia Bloom as well. Bob is going to stick around for us. We got to take a quick break. There is a lot more ahead though over the course of this hour, more on the female terrorist and her possible role in the plot. We'll dig deeper into how law enforcement is working that angle with people in the mosque where she once worshipped and was married in actually knew about her.

Later, Dr. Sanjay Gupta talks to a single first responder with a vital double role. He is a SWAT team member and a doctor.



COOPER: Well, breaking news tonight, the first look at the female half of this husband and wife terror team that acquired an arsenal built bombs and carried out the deadliest mass killing this country has seen since Sandy Hook.

Now, as we mentioned at the top she posted on Facebook just about the same time as the killings pledging allegiance to ISIS. CNN's Kyung Lah has been digging into the past of this woman who was a mystery even of those she worshiped with. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KYUNG LAH, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Investigators are honing in on Tashfeen Malik the wife and second shooter in the San Bernardino attack that claimed the lives of 14 people. Three U.S. officials familiar with the investigation say as a massacre was happening Malik posted on Facebook a pledge religion to ISIS leader Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi.

She is a woman few members of the Islamic center in riverside remember. That's the mosque Syed Rizwan Farook attended and celebrated his marriage to his wife last year.

The service was in this room?


LAH: And so the women and -- were up there?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah, upstairs. Right, right. Up there.

LAH: Women are separated from the men on this mosque so even Mustafa Kuko, the director of the Islamic center never met Malik. She is a mystery to many here including those who knew her best. According to attorneys for the Farook family Syed's brother never saw her face.

MOHAMMAD NAZIH ABUERSHAID, FAROOK FAMILY ATTORNEY: Men did not interact with her and the brothers did not actually ever see her face. They have never seen her face because she did wear burqa.

LAH: The couple first met like many today, on the web. Farook had joined dating websites. He came across to Malik, a Pakistani citizen. He turned to Kuko for marital advice.

MUSTAFA KUKO, DIRECTOR, ISLAMIC CENTER OF RIVERSIDE: He said, "Damn, I feel comfortable with this person and I believe she is a good woman. She is a descent woman. She is a religious woman."

LAH: Kuko's says Farook flew to Saudi Arabia to meet Malik for the first time in October 2013 during the Hajj Pilgrimage. DHS sources tell CNN Malik's father lived in Saudi Arabia so she often visited over the years from Pakistan. He went again to Saudi Arabia in June 2014.

[21:15:00] Documents show she entered the U.S. a month later. Their marriage certificate filed to Riverside Country says they were legally married in August of that year. Members of the mosque first met Malik at their wedding ceremony held here.

Abdul Aziz Ahmed, Farook's friend was among the 300 who attended the wedding.

ABDUL AZIZ AHMED, FRIEND: When she come here also she -- he looks good, was looking good.

LAH: And then he disappeared? AHMED: They disappeared, yeah.

LAH: After coming to this mosque every day for two years, Farook stopped.

AHMED: How can this happen? A guy who is very good, no -- he doesn't have any problem with anybody, you don't hear him talking about those madmen like those crazy terrorists, he never talk about those kind of people.

LAH: Did the marriage change him?

AHMED: I expect -- I suspect. I suspect there is something wrong.

LAH: Farook's co-worker Christian Wadiki (ph) tells CBS news he's certain the marriage changed Farook.

UNIDETIFIED MALE: Do you believe that he was radicalized?

CHRISTIAN LADIKI, FAROOK'S FRIEND: Yes, by the wife. I think he married a terrorist.

UNIDETIFIED MALE: He married a terrorist?


LAH: Most puzzling say friends, Farook would be a good father and would have wanted to live a life with a family.

AHMED: I don't understand. How can a woman just to leave her baby like this and go do some crap like this?


COOPER: Well, Kyung joins us now. What's the latest on how the shooter's family is now responding?

LAH: Well, they did had that news conference with the attorney and those a bit defensive in tone. The attorney saying where's the proof, where is the tie that this is definitively terrorism.

He did admit though that the family didn't know the new wife all that well that they rarely saw her face. His brothers never saw her face. She chose not to drive and they were a traditional family and say they just didn't know her. That's something we kept hearing throughout the day.

COOPER: Kyung Lah, appreciate it your reporting. Thank you.

Throughout the day this whole notion is puzzling and certainly more than just a little bit chilling. A couple with a 6 month old daughter with plenty to live for and plenty to lose getting themselves on to a path that would lead them to kill and die.

Safe to say does not fit the traditional pattern and that likely made it easier for them to plan their act of terror under the radar. Back with us now here is Bob Baer, also joining us tonight is Jim Bueermann, former police chief of Redlands, California, where the killers lived. He was on the program last night. Jim, good to have you on again.

What do you make of -- I mean, what we have learned over the last 24 hours? I mean, the FBI now saying this is being investigated as an act of terror. Jim, what are the pieces you most want to kind of zero in on?

JIM BUEERMANN, PRESIDENT POLICE FOUNDATION: Well, I think local law enforcement needs to know what their role will be in this. Obviously, the counterterrorism people are doing their thing but what we saw here was this massive rapid deployment not only to the point of attack but also to the region. So I think that local police leaders are going to want to hone that to kind of...

COOPER: You also said that -- I mean, local police around the country need to look at how they are -- their relations with Muslim communities, their -- that the flow of information and they need to make sure that there are open channels of communication.

BUEERMANN: Absolutely. I think the current conversation this nation is having about police reform and community engagement, building trust and confidence between communities and the police that they serve is critically important in this because it's going to be somebody from the Muslim community who has trust and faith in the police who sees something suspicious that's going to notify the police department.

COOPER: And says this guy left the mosque, he was devote here, you noticed some changes, you know, I don't want to raise any red flags but he might want to take a look at this. Something like that is critical.

BUEERMANN: Yeah and they're not going to that if they don't have any faith in the police, right if they don't have a trusting relationship with them.

COOPER: It does seem Colonel Bob that, I mean, somebody must have known something. I mean, some -- somebody who visited that apartment must have had suspicions.

BAER: Anderson, it's not only the apartment, in fact, they probably never used the garage and there's also a question of her behavior because she was behaving like a Wahhabi as we call, I mean very pure identical and that is a flag for all Muslim.

COOPER: Which was not her original branch of Islam according to everything I've read.

BAER: Yeah, and if she was Saudi Arabia she picked this up not showing her face, you know, withdrawing that completely. That would have been a red flag in the mosque and I think from there, somebody should have flagged the FBI.

The FBI has got to be more intrusive, I hate to say that but they have to be give more authority to look into this because if we get a couple more of these shootings, people are going to demand some sort of protection and they should -- we should get ahead of this right now because as we've been talking about, there are more cells out there and we have to give the FBI more authority.

COOPER: And yet, I mean, one of ISIS' strategies in all of this in encouraging this sort of stuff is to promote an over reaction, to divide -- to build a wedge between, you know, mainstream Muslim populations in the United States and the rest of the American population.

BAER: Exactly. They want the United States to repress Muslims in order that they get more recruits.

COOPER: But I think that's what ISIS wants.

BAER: Exactly what ISIS wants.

[21:20:00] And that's why I think they attacked this center that they killed people they know because it is so awful and so terrible that it's terrified this country.

COOPER: Unless everybody looks over their shoulder and start...

BAER: And that's what they want.

COOPER: That's what they want. You agree with that Jim?

BUEERMANN: I absolutely, that they killed people they know because it is so awful and so terrible that it's terrified this country

COOPER: And makes everybody look over their shoulders...

And that's what they wanted. That's what they wanted. You agree with that Jim?

BUEERMANN: I absolutely do. And I think that's why this is so important that as fast as they can at least leaders across this country need to be meeting with the leaders from the Muslim community. And having these conversations about how we cannot allow that to occur, what Bob just said. We cannot allow ISIS to drive that wedge between us in this country and if we're not careful, that is going to happen.

COOPER: Because, I mean, you look at the millions of Muslims in America who have been well and simulated, law-abiding, you know, avoid this sort of thing but it's very easy to drive the wedge.

BUEERMANN: Anderson, I've read the Koran and this is not in Islam. I'm not defending Islam here but this is a cult. This is a death cult in Muslims and the United States, the police and the FBI have to come together and kill this thing.

COOPER: Bob Baer, Jim Bueermann, good to have you again.

Still ahead, the debate on guns taking center stages consequences to what happen here, Captain Mark Kelly and his wife former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords met with President Obama just hours ago about the issue. He joins me next.

We'll be right back.


COOPER: What happened here in San Bernardino is sparking calls for changes to gun laws. Last hour, we showed you how easy it is for someone to build a stock power weapons similar to the shooters here changing existing gun laws remains, obviously, contentious political issue.

Just this morning the senate failed to pass three gun related measures largely along party lines.

Meanwhile this afternoon, President Obama sat down with former Congressman Gabby Giffords who along with her husband of co-founded Americans for responsible solutions which is calling for expanded background checks to reduce gun violence in the U.S.

[21:25:06] Miss Giffords, as you may remember it was of course the victim of gun violence herself back in 2011 and her husband Captain Mark Kelly was also at that meeting. He joins me now.

Captain Kelly, thanks for being with us. The fact the FBI is now investigating this as a terrorist act with two shooters as opposed to something that fits the pattern of other mass shootings.

Does it change anything in your view and how you and Congresswoman Giffords approach all this?

MARK KELLY, U.S NAVY CAPTAIN: Well I don't think, one specific mass shooting changes our approach at all. I mean, they're all the -- they're a little bit different.

I think, the one thing that this highlights as does the shooting in Colorado Springs a week before and the one before that and before that, is that we have a serious gun violence issue. We have a lot of people that die every year, up to 33,000 people in this country die every year from gun violence.

And as you pointed out, Anderson, our lawmakers refused to do anything about it.

COOPER: To someone, you know, who says, well look, if somebody had been armed inside that room, maybe the end result would have been different, you say what?

KELLY: Well I served in the military for 25 years. And Anderson, I've been in combat, you know, I've flown airplanes in combat, I've been shot at a lot.

You know, the people that normally talk in those terms don't know a lot about what it feels like to be in that situation. And somebody who comes in with two individuals with high-power semiautomatic rifles is going to be, you know, somebody with a handgun is going to be no match for that kind of firepower.

You know, I would say, you know, there are probably situations where it could help. But in general, the solution is to try to make it difficult for people who are criminals, dangerously mentally ill, even terrorists to get guns in this country. Right now it is just too easy.

COOPER: You obviously, as we just said, you met with President Obama as did Congresswoman Giffords at the White House today.

What if anything, do you think can come out of that? What did the president say to you about the chances of actually getting something passed and signed into law?

KELLY: Well, we talked about what happened in the Senate in the last couple days. I mean, to have the opportunity for the United States Senate to, you know, vote to close this terror gap. I mean, we have a large number of people on the terrorist watch list. They currently have easy access to firearms here in the United States.

And this is not a bill that President Obama put forth. I mean, this came from George W. Bush that we really should make it difficult for terrorists to get firearms when they get here to the United States and that bill failed.

You know, so we talked about this, we talked about the victims and the shootings and how this has become a regular event. And the sad thing is, that Congress has not acted on this serious issue.

COOPER: It does seem that for those, you know, there are many people who want some form of greater background checks, but is this an issue people vote on and until it is, will there be real change?

KELLY: Well, there is certainly a group of people that are enthusiastic gun rights supporters that take this on as their only issue. So they only vote on this issue.

And that is certainly a problem. You know, we've signed up and mobilized the million people and we're trying to make them single issue voters as well. Because besides the money that the gun lobby has to influence members of Congress, you know, the enthusiasm of the person voting for these congressmen and congresswomen is an issue as well.

So we've got to, you know, we've got to compel, you know, our citizens out here to really care about this issue. They do and polling shows they do.

You know, when you look at that terror gap, the bill that was voted on just the other day, 82 percent of gun owners, I'm not talking about Americans, 82 percent of gun owners support closing that terror gap.

COOPER: And yet, you know, even after Sandy Hook, about the horror of Sandy Hook and now this is the worst incident of mass shooting since Sandy Hook, nothing changed.

KELLY: Well, you know, as an organization, Americans for responsible solutions, we're having and getting a lot of positive change in a lot of different States. We've helped pass expanded background checks in a number of different States. We've help pass domestic violence, legislation. We were part of the team of people that did that ballot initiative on background checks in the State of Washington.

So, at the state level, there has been a lot of positive results with new legislation to keep people in their community safer.

Hopefully at some point, members of Congress will see that this is something the people want and it will bring down the death rate from gun violence and it is something they should do.


COOPER: Captain Kelly, I appreciate you being on tonight. Thank you.

Still ahead, a visa program used by the female attacker to enter the United States is coming under scrutiny.

We'll take a look at that next.


COOPER: We're learning more about the woman that had carry out this week's deadly attack including how was she was able to come here to San Bernardino. It turns out her paths and U.S. was lawful through someone called -- through something called a fiancee visa to process that includes background checks and face-to-face meetings with immigration official.

Now of course, in the wake of this tragedy, questions are being raised about whether enough is being done to screen applicants. Tom Foreman is in D.C. with more on that, Tom?

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Anderson. If you're an American that wants to marry someone from overseas, this is what you need, you need this K-1 or fiancee visa and it starts with paperwork, nine pages of explanations followed by six pages that you have to fill out.

So what does the government want to know on these pages? First of all, they want to know the American who wants to marry the immigrant is a U.S. citizen. They want to know they're going marry within 90 days and they need evidence of a relationship, they need to know these people have physically been together at least sometime in the past two years so it's not seem or a mail order bride or human trafficking or outright fraud issue.

The immigrant who was coming in will then have to supply a valid passport, a birth certificate, a divorce or death certificate for any previous spouse, police certificate to show that wherever they lived, they weren't some sort of criminal out there, medical records showing that they're not bringing a communicative disease and evidence of employment or income basically to show that this couple can pay its bills.

[21:35:03] If they get through all that, then they can pay this $340 filing fee that will go through fingerprinting, biometrics and then the state department will do background checks on this immigrant where they came from, who they know, all sorts of things to make sure the information that's been presented is accurate and that they're not trying to fool anyone.

And after all of that, then it comes to what you mentioned a face-to- face interview where government officials will grill this immigrant for all sorts of details about their relationship and who they know. And looking any inconsistencies, anything that shows that this person is not who they claim they are and that the relationships not what they claim will be.

This process, Anderson, will take about a year, maybe more, maybe less, depending on the specifics of the case and the case load. That's pretty fast compared to some other visas but look at the number of these that are actually being used out there because immigration advocates talk about this. And look, there aren't really that many in a country of 230 million people.

Back in 2004 you look at the numbers there. Then you move down here though and this may be what they scrutinize, Anderson, this spike here in 2014. They're almost 44,000 but still, the people who look at immigration closely say, this is not an easy process to get through, specifically, because they don't want people gaming the system and getting in, in some irresponsible or illegal fashion. Anderson?

COOPER: All right. Tom, thanks. I want to bring in senior contributor, Michael Weiss, the author of "ISIS: Inside the Army of Terror". Also Lorenzo Vidino, that do you know he's the director of the program on extremism at George Washington University. He's also the co-author of the new report, "ISIS in America". It's fascinating, it takes an in-depth look at known supporters of ISIS living here in the United States.

Lorenzo, you've analyzed about 300 cases of people in America who've been identified as either recruits or supporters of ISIS. Is there a profile of someone who's susceptible to their propaganda?

LORENZO VIDINO, DIR. OF PROGRAM ON EXTREMISM, GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY: Absolutely not. It's an extremely diverse bunch. We have teenage girls, we have 40-year old men. We have converts, 40 percent of them are the people who are charged so far are converts. We have people born into the Muslim faith. We have all kinds of socioeconomic backgrounds. Most people are somewhat well integrated and we have some drifters, petty criminals. It's absolutely impossible to profile.

The majority of people have been indicted, charged or investigated in the States are U.S. citizens, are people who are born and raised in this country. So this would be somewhat different from the other cases.

COOPER: So, I mean, Michael, you said that this attack changes the game for ISIS in the U.S. How so? MICHAEL WEISS, AUTHOR, ISIS: INSIDE THE ARMY OF TERROR: Well, I mean, they always had two separate programs if you like to their foreign operations. One was to dispatch these sleeper cells or these operatives from the so-called caliphate to establish networks in Europe and North America. And then, those networks would radicalize and recruit and plot and perpetrate operations such as the one in Paris.

And then the other side of it is, I mean, I sort of glibly call this crowd sourcing jihad. You know, all of this at your prop, Anderson. All the propaganda, the literature that ISIS puts out, they have a monthly magazine, Dabiq, which they publish in multiple languages. They've got all these videos. The last -- in fact, the last ISIS video that I saw is one of the most startlingly impressive pieces of propaganda I had seen. And I study this for a living, to be honest.

And the goal here is simply to do essentially what has happened just now. Get people to become radicalized remotely without even making contact necessarily, with active ISIS agents. I mean, this is the thing. While ISIS goes to bed in Raqqa and Mosul, people are inviting their ideology and their rhetoric and are plotting these attacks.

So, in away, you know, it's sort of an invisible army of soldiers. And, you know, they don't have to all be lucky, they don't have to all be successful, you know, it's the old IRA rule. Law enforcement in the west, you have to be lucky all the time. We just have to be lucky once.

So ISIS is essentially throwing everything it has at us. And, you know, unfortunately, the law of statistics shows it's going to be successful every once in awhile.

COOPER: Lorenzo, I mean, based on your report if it's all over the map, you know, who is susceptible, how do you then police this? How do you then, you know, keep an eye out for this?

VIDINO: It's very difficult. Most of these people are active on social media, I mean, not all, but the vast majority are and seems that was the case also here. But of course, most of what their activities are protected by the first amendments. So the authorities can watch but a lot of -- there are limitations. Also, the numbers of people are ISIS sympathizers, are unprecedented.

The mobilization in the U.S., it's so big compared to the past. It's not as big as some western European countries like France or Belgium but it's much bigger with the numbers that Al-Qaeda mobilized of Americans. So the resources are starting to be stretched quite thin when it comes to the FBI, which can monitor a lot of these people for a long time but then understanding what individual will make the leap from just being a keyboard warrior just fantasizing about the caliphate and killing infidels to actually doing something is very difficult.

[21:40:15] There's also the fact that a lot of these conversations are moving more and more to encrypted spaces. The first contact might be made on Facebook, on Twitter, on Instagram but then they move to platforms like Wickr, like Snapchat that which are much more difficult to track. So the FBI is really playing catchup when it comes to manpower and technology here.

COOPER: Well, Michael, you know, there's such debate about refugees and the background checks and how accurate are they. I mean, you look at what Tom Foreman was reporting on, you know, the visa program, the nine pages. You fill out most of that seems to be to see whether the marriage itself is legitimate, there's a background check. But it does raise the question of how extensive really are these background checks if in fact it turns out that this woman was the one who was perhaps more radical or radicalized first.

WEISS: Right. Well, also we don't know, I mean, the process of radicalization, it's not like one day you wake up and you become a terrorist. You know, this happens over the course of months and years.

COOPER: Right.

WEISS: So frankly, I mean, it stands to reason this could well have happened during the -- what 25 years or so she spends in Saudi Arabia. But it can also have happened when she came to the United States. So, we don't yet have enough information.

With respect to the refugee question, I mean, we talked about this a lot. You know, to date, no Syrian refugee since ISIS really debuted has been accused of found guilty of committing any act of terrorism. And let's be honest, even if you don't have any humanitarian consideration whatsoever for the people of Syria, this is a war, this is going to be a long game. And we are going to need Syrians who understand ISIS or lived under their dreaded rule and to understand the country, and terrain, and sociology that is impelling this organization.

We're going to need them on our side. We're going to need them as intelligence operatives and we're also going to need them to have a good faith view of the United States.

COOPER: Michael Weiss, always good to have you and Lorenzo Vidino, appreciate it. Thank you very much.

Since that (ph), you're going to hear from one of the first people on the scene after the shooting, a doctor, who's also part of the SWAT team is trained to defend himself and others while treating the wounded at crime scenes. What he faced, on Wednesday.


COOPER: And the husband and wife terror team struck here on Wednesday.

[21:45:00] They fire between 65 and 75 rounds, as you know, killing 14 people. As horrible as that is, it could have been worse if not for the quick actions of first responders.

One of the first people on the scene was a doctor who's also part of a SWAT team trained to protect himself and others while treating the injured. Here's chief medical correspondent Dr . Sanjay Gupta with an exclusive report. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Before any other member of his SWAT team arrived on the scene of Wednesday's bloody massacre, Dr. Michael Neeki was already there just minutes after the shooting began.

MICHAEL NEEKI, SWAT TEAM MEMBER: From airway to quick stapling of the wound in the field to Israeli bandage which is compression dressing.

GUPTA: He's a new kind of first responder, a hybrid of healer and soldier, a doctor and a member of the SWAT team ready to defend as well as save lives.

NEEKI: A good guy should be able to defend himself and also help everybody else.

GUPTA: In order to do that, not only does he need to carry his medical equipment but he has to carry a gun as well -- a gun much like the one used by the shooters.

NEEKI: Well, you know, I don't want to get hurt. If somebody really have an intention like that yesterday where he was coming in and discriminately shooting everybody and I'm the first one that gets there as active shooter responds, I want to be able to defend myself and, you know, the civilians down there.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Shooters ready?



GUPTA: That's Dr. Neeki on the right. Today, just one day after the shooting, we followed Dr. Neeki to this training facility.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Shooters ready?



GUPTA: And this is another part of being a brand-new sort of doctor, going through training like this with other members of the SWAT team to try and make sure that he can defend himself in situations where he's taken care of other patients.

NEEKI: We are now going to this assault rifle injury type pattern which rips and shreds apart organs in your body, tissues in the body, vessels as they are going through. Even our tactics are changing right now for law enforcement. Whether going side way, now we go to the front to expose less organ injuries rather than, you know, it wasn't...

GUPTA: That's interesting. So instead of going like this...

NEEKI: ... so if you go to side way and a bullet comes through the axillary, it goes through both lung and the heart possibly comes to the other side. Whereas if we go from the front, now you have a plate that protects your heart and hits one other lung or the other, you can still be functional.

GUPTA: That's fascinating because you always see people approaching the lower profile.

Dr. Neeki grew up in Iran and served in the military there. So guns and combat aren't new to him but he never thought he'd have to use those skills in America.

Did you ever think that your experiences in the Middle East were going to be useful here in San Bernardino?

NEEKI: I never in a million years but now that I am here, I am, you know, this is one of my duties. I mean, when you signed -- it's a privilege to work here and it's a privilege to be part of this team to serve the community out there. It's the least I could do.


COOPER: First of all Sanjay, it's interesting. He's an immigrant himself that's why he's coming here and he's really - I mean it kind of pushing into a new kind of way of responding first.

GUPTA: This was an active situation.

COOPER: Right.

GUPTA: And so, you literally are running into a situation where previously doctors will be sort of put in a cold area until the area was secured. That takes too long.


GUPTA: I mean lives will get lost because people are waiting too long for care so he goes in. He got there before the other members of the SWAT team.

COOPER: And he get -- we get treating people faster than ever before.

GUPTA: Treating people right there on the scene, simple things like taking pressure off of lungs, stopping bleeding, things that save lives in the field. Just like in a war zone type situation. He's got his assault rifle, he's got his handgun because as you heard, he says he needs to be able to defend himself.

COOPER: Yeah, incredible, incredible story to see and amazing story to tell (ph).

GUPTA: And I should tell you as well, one of the victims that we've been talking about, a woman who was also an immigrant from Iran, he found out yesterday that he actually knew her, that she had died. You knew her.

COOPER: I interviewed her family last night.

GUPTA: Yeah, you interviewed her family. She has three children.


GUPTA: Same age as his children, they spent time together. When I told him about this, he literally started weeping and said to me he just wishes that he could have gotten there even sooner because of, you know, her and people like her.

COOPER: It's an incredible story, Sanjay, thank you .very much.

GUPTA: Thank you.

COOPER: Last hour, we read a letter that the family of Denise Peraza who was wounded in the attack asked us to share with you. They wanted us to read it to honor Shannon Johnson who they say saved Denise's life. I want to read part of the letter to you.

"I'll always remember his left arm wrapped around me holding me as close as possible next to him behind that chair. And amidst all the chaos I'll always remember him saying these three words, I got you."

Shannon Johnson did not survive the shooting. His girlfriend Mandy Pifer shared her memories of him with CNN's Dan Simon.


MANDY PIFER, VICTIM'S GIRLFRIEND: I'm going to miss him terribly. Everybody will.

DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's a broad question but tell us a little bit about Shannon?

PIFER: Shannon, Shannon Hilliard Johnson was covered in tattoos. He had a big bushy beard but he was a kitty cat.

[21:50:05] He was the kindest person anyone has ever met, made friends very easily. He was always great at sports. He loves people and animals, it's just everybody. He just loved people, he loved telling stories.

COOPER: Do you remember what he said about Syed?

PIFER: He likes Syed. He liked Syed. Syed's religion was very important to him. Everybody's religion that is very important with them. And Shannon just wanted everybody to know that every religion is important.

I knew he was there, that was his group. And you know what, this kind of thing happens often enough but he and I had discussions about what we would do in an event like this. And I was sorry because I am ducking and covering and he said, "No, screw that. I would charge. I would go after that gun." He was not afraid to die. And so, I knew if there was a gunman, Shannon went after, he wasn't hiding anywhere. And his brother knew it. Everybody had that feeling. He had an incredible soul. Yes, it's a loss for humanity. He gave out good vibes. So I hope through all of this and talking to you and other people that we can keep those good vibes going and then just reverberate on.

Sometimes it became uncomfortable how much love he was showing me, I wasn't totally used to it. But I got used to it and he let me know that he loved me very much and I let him know how much I loved him in the last few months together. And that's the first thing that went through my mind, how lucky I am to have that time with him. He said he wanted to spend the rest of his life with me and he did, he was a man of his word.


COOPER: A man of his word. Shannon Johnson was 45 years old when a 14 lives cuts short. Just ahead of what we are learning about some of the others, their lives, their dreams and what they've left behind.



COOPER: Well, in our last hour, we brought you the interviews of two survivors of Wednesday's attack. I spoke to them earlier today. They wanted to honor their colleagues and they described as an extremely closed knit group. They told me they were more than co-workers, they were friends who considered themselves family, a family that is obviously now shuttered but is vowing to get through it together. Day by day, we are learning more about the 14 lives that were cut short. Here's Randi Kaye.


RANDi KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Sierra Clayborn was just 27 when she died in San Bernardino. On Facebook, she had written, "I am dedicated to enjoying my new life that god so graciously gave me. So, I thank him all that I can and live life to the fullest. I love my life."

She was a Chemistry major who worked for the county since 2013. A friend posted on her page, calling her a bright star whom he could always count on for support.

Michael Raymond Wetzel is supervising Environmental Health Specialist leaves behind six children.

MICHAEL RAYMOND WETZEL: My name's Mike. This is our gingerbread curly hair, his in the nut cracker this week.

KAYE: A friend told the L.A Times, Wetzel loved the babies. He wants coached the team of five year old girls learning soccer for the first time.

In the chaos, after the shooting, his wife posted, "My husband was in the meeting where the shooting happened. I have not been able to get in touch with him. Please, please pray that he is OK."

Wetzel was 37.

This woman fled to America from Iran at 18 to escape Islamic extremism and the persecution of Christians following the Iranian revolution. After a stopped in New York City, Bennetta Betbadal, moved to California to get marry. She and her husband, a police officer have three children ages 10 to 15.

ARLEN, VICTIM'S HUSBAND: Everything she touched bloomed. Doing what she did with the county, there is not even one person that would say anything negative about her.

KAYE: 46 year old Bet-Badal, graduated with a degree in Chemistry before joining the county health department. On her fundraising page, loved ones wrote, "It is the ultimate irony that her life would be stolen by what appears to be the same type of extremism that she fled so many years ago."

At 52, Nicholas Thalasinos, was described as a very devout believer. His wife told reporters, they were Messianic Jews and then he became born again a couple of years ago. She told the L.A. Times, her husband was very outspoken against Islamic terrorism adding, "I'm sure that he went down fighting and protecting people."

31 year old Tin Nguyen was looking forward to getting married. The L.A Times reports Nguyen worked as a country help inspector. One cousin told the paper, "You cannot imagine how caring she is. She had such a big heart."

Just days before the shooting, she was reportedly trying on wedding dresses.

[22:00:01] Her mother telling reporters that they were planning a wedding and now they're having a funeral.

Randi Kaye, CNN Atlanta.


COOPER: There is so much pain here. We've met so many good people here enough good people to know that all those were hurting tonight will certainly be in good hands as they move forward and try to heal.

That does it for us tonight. CNN Tonight with Don Lemon starts now.