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Interview With Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson; Lone Wolves: New Face Of Terror In America?; Anderson Cooper's Special Tribute To Attack Victims; Former New York City Mayor On Orlando Terror Attack. Aired 8:30-9a ET
Aired June 14, 2016 - 08:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JEH JOHNSON, HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: -- overseas. This is the environment we're in. It is important for the American people to know that the president and I, law enforcement, national security, this is our number one priority. Protecting the American public. Protecting the homeland is our number one priority.
Because of the environment we're in, the prospect of home grown, home born-bound extremists, this requires a whole of government effort and it requires a role for the public to play too. Public awareness, public vigilance.
If you see something, say something, is more than a slogan. It requires building bridges to American-Muslim communities so that we can help them, help us in our homeland security public safety efforts.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Now, on that layer of analysis, Secretary, as you know, we've been reporting this story hard and we keep hearing that there may be more charges. The frightening aspect of that is, does that mean there are more gunmen? Does that mean that this is an extended sense of some kind of cell, or is this about what you're referring to there, people who may have known something, been aware of this man's instability or deranged plans?
JOHNSON: Chris, it is still very early in the investigation. The attack was barely 48 hours or more ago. It was, you know, some 50 plus hours since the attack. We're still early in the investigation. But at this point it looks as if the gunman acted alone. That he was terrorist inspired.
He was not directed from a terrorist organization overseas. But the FBI is aggressively, vigorously investigating this right now with a number of agents on the ground there in Orlando.
CUOMO: The FBI has gotten some stink on them in the early analysis here that wow, they had at least two bites at this guy, and yet he was able to get a weapon. Can you please explain to the audience the reality that the FBI is not allowed to flag a purchase by a man like this, even though they had a case that they closed, even though he was on their radar in different ways, because of the law? Will you explain that please?
JOHNSON: Chris, the FBI is very good at what it does in its counterterrorism efforts. There are hundreds if not thousands of open investigations suspected terrorists, suspected terrorist plotting, and while an investigation is pending, the FBI will be very aggressive in interviewing the suspect.
Learning everything we can about the individual, possibly sending in informants, undercovers to talk to the suspect, and as Director Comey said yesterday, based upon what we knew at the time, the investigation was closed.
While an investigation is open, there are a number of law enforcement national security, homeland security agencies that are aware of it. We do a much better job now of connecting the dots than we did just a few years ago.
But in any one time, there are hundreds if not thousands of open investigations, and the FBI does a very, very good job of detecting and blocking terrorist plots to our homeland.
CUOMO: Now, sources within the FBI responding to these allegations and questions, they've directed me two different ways they said one, talk to your friends who push for better civil liberties protection and remember there is a cost to that. They don't want us to keep investigations open.
They don't want us to keep people on lists indefinitely, even if it is a guy like this that we've had multiple occasion to talk. And then talk to your second amendment friends, because they will only allow a background check to be on the basis of a conviction or of an adjudication of mental illness. Do you agree with that notion?
JOHNSON: I'll say two things, Chris. One, when you're dealing with homegrown extremists, the so-called lone wolf or lone actor, it is the case that almost always, somebody close to that person saw the signs. Somebody close to that person was aware of a gun purchase.
Saw suspicious behavior, which is why our efforts to build bridges to various communities around this country are so important. Why if you see something, say something is more than a slogan.
On the gun control issue, I've been reluctant to plunge into this issue. I have enough contentious difficult issues to deal with right now. I think we have to face the fact that meaningful, responsible gun control is a matter of homeland security. It is a matter of public safety.
It is also a matter of homeland security, given the tragic events in Orlando, where you are given what happened in San Bernardino last year, the American public and the Congress have to face the fact that we need to address meaningful, responsible gun control to make it more difficult for a terrorist to get his hands on a gun.
CUOMO: It literally does seem as though the FBI hand its hands tied in this situation because of some of that legal reckoning right now. Secretary, we know you have lot of important work. We do know it's early in the investigation. There may be more people charged. We will stay on the lookout and thank you for joining us.
[08:35:08] JOHNSON: Thank you.
CUOMO: All right, now one of the reasons, the most important reason that we care about these questions is because of all that was lost here in Orlando. You have seen the faces, and we'll continue to show them to you.
Not of the man who murdered them, but of the 49 lives taken from us. CNN's Anderson Cooper paid special tribute to the victims on his show last night. It's getting a lot of reaction, and for good reason he joins us next.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: We are focusing on the victims this morning, the 49 innocent people, who were killed inside that gay nightclub behind us. Last night, Anderson Cooper began his program with a special tribute, reciting the names and telling a little detail of each of the victims' stories. It was a very emotional segment. Here is just a part.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST, "AC360": There are more than a list of names. There are people who loved and were loved. There are people that had families and friends and dreams. The truth is, we don't know much about some of them. We want you to hear their names in a little bit about who they were.
Edward Sotomayor, Jr. He worked at a travel agency that catered to the gay community. His family said he was witty, charming, and that he always left things better than he found them. He was 34 years old.
[08:40:08]Akyra Monet Murray, she recently graduated from high school, was planning to go to Mercyhurst University and play basketball. She was just 18.
Christopher Joseph Sanfeliz worked at a bank, said to be one of the most positive guy around. He was just 24 years old. Luis Daniel Conde was a makeup artist, co-owned a salon with his partner. He was 39.
Juan P. Rivera Velasquez. He was the partner to Orliz (ph). He was 37. Antonio Devon Brown was a captain in the -- excuse me. He was a captain in the U.S. Army Reserve and a graduate of Florida A&M. He was 29.
Alejandro Barrios Martinez was 21. Joel Rayon Paniagua was 32. Jean Nieves Rodriguez was 27. We don't have pictures of these people. Yilmary Rodriguez Sullivan was 24 and Paul Terrell Henry was 41 years old. We think it is important that you hear their names.
CAMEROTA: We want to talk more about this now, and Anderson joins us live. Anderson, great to see you. I watched that happen last night, your segment live as it was happening. From the very first name, you were choked up, what was happening?
COOPER: I think it is obviously an incredibly emotional time for everybody here, really. You know, I mean, all of us have spent the last, you know, yesterday talking to people who have lost loved ones, who were inside, whose lives were nearly snuffed out.
And I don't know, I just think we put far too much focus on the killers in these situations. We all remember the names of the shooters from Aurora and Columbine, and, you know, Sandy Hook.
And you know, we often don't remember the names of Martin Richard, from the Boston bombing, Craig McDonald from Newton, and you know, Dave Sanders from Columbine. I don't know why we remember the names of these killers, and we often forget the names of the people who lost their lives.
CUOMO: It is an ongoing debate within the industry who you give attention to and how. There are some firsts that we're dealing with. You've seen a ton of these instances, right, you've traveled the country well over a dozen of them now at this count.
We've never seen the LGBT population targeted this way. We've never seen a concentration of Latinos. This was Latin night there, presumably, this murderer knew that. And what do you think that is meaning right now in terms of how this is regarded, and what it means to people?
COOPER: Yes, you know, first of all, this isn't the first time. There is an unsolved case in New Orleans, gay club was bombed, I think in the 1970s, no one was ever found.
CUOMO: This many lost their lives.
COOPER: Gay people are targeted an awful lot, as all of us have covered. Look, I don't think we should forget that this was a gay nightclub. This was a particular target. You know, I don't know how much this guy really knew about yes, he called in saying he supported ISIS. He also earlier talked about Al-Nusra Front, which is --
COOPER: All these organizations, so he is clearly not the sharpest tool in the shed and certainly not well informed, even in the world of radical jihad. But, you know, I don't -- it was interesting. When I was overseas when this happened, I flew back and in the Arab media, the Gulf media, they don't mention it was a gay nightclub that was attacked. They mentioned that this occurred, but they don't mention it was a gay club.
CUOMO: We have a lot of people who aren't mentioning it either. We were noticing that this morning.
COOPER: I find it interesting that all these politicians are coming forward talking about the gay community, embracing the gay community, many of these politicians who are doing so, I've never heard them embrace or talk about gays, other than they say they shouldn't be able to be married.
I find it interesting that suddenly we're seeing folks pop up on television talking about the, you know, protecting gay people, when I've never heard them say that before.
CAMEROTA: Maybe this is a catalyst.
COOPER: Yes, or maybe they want to be on TV or whatever it may be.
CAMEROTA: Back to the list, and reading it, it is so powerful about hearing these small details about people's lives. Just, that's a really important moment because you captured them somehow. Knowing somebody who was described as witty and charming.
COOPER: But I wish we knew more. That's one of the sad things. It take obviously a family members grieving, and so we only know what people tell us. And so -- but I what I think we've all found in these situations is people want their stories told. They want their loved ones known and remembered.
CUOMO: And not remembered for being the victim --
COOPER: Right, of course.
CUOMO: -- of this terrible people who take their lives.
[08:45:05]COOPER: And look, you know, I was talking to a friend of Andy Cohen, last night. Something he said struck to me. He said we knew all these boys, all these men and women who were killed. We don't know them personally.
If you are a gay man or woman in America, I mean, that could have been any one of us. We've all been to clubs like this, and club like that hold a special place for many of the gay community.
It is a place where you're safe, you can embrace somebody of the same sex without the fear of making fun of you, attacking you. You can dance with someone with the same sex. You don't see that.
I think that the fact that his father said that one of the things that upset him was seeing two gay guys kiss on the street. You know what, think about how rare it is to see that in America. I think there is a lot of gay people who feel like that's going to change. And that has to change.
And you know, people need to -- if equality truly exists, then we should be able to hold hands and kiss on the streets just like everybody else.
CAMEROTA: Anderson, thanks so much for sharing all your thoughts on this. Really appreciate it.
All right, up next, someone who knows about pushing through tragedy, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani will be here on the way forward in Orlando.
CUOMO: Why did it happen? Why were these people targeted? What does it mean? Are we safe? These are all the big questions swirling around what happened here in Orlando. To call it the deadliest shooting in American history is just the headline. There's so much more.
So let's check in with America's mayor. That's how Rudy Giuliani was known after 9/11, another time in this country's history, as you know, Mr. Mayor, where we really needed to come together. So thank you for joining us, once again.
RUDY GIULIANI, FMR. NEW YORK CITY MAYOR: Thank you.
CUOMO: What does it mean to you? You heard our discussion with Anderson --
GIULIANI: I did.
CUOMO: -- that we just had in the context of the Senate Majority Leader putting out a one page statement yesterday about this event. Never says the word "gay". To you as a New Yorker, and as someone who understands the complexity of this country --
CUOMO: -- what is your message to people about recognizing that gay people were targeted here? And that that's something that needs be said?
GIULIANI: Well, it needs to be said and it's outrageous that gay people were targeted. I signed, I think, the first or second partnership bill in the history of this country. I'm I guess -- I'm one of the few Americans in favor of -- one of the few American Republicans in favor of gay marriage. I'm about to conduct one in a week or so.
The reality is that that is part of the story. But it's also part of the story that this was an Islamic extremist inspired murder. It would be like saying, Chris, that there was a mafia murder, and then another murder two blocks away. And we wouldn't say the word mafia murder because Italian-Americans would get upset. The reality is that this is a kind --
GIULIANI: This if of a kind with the attack in San Bernardino. This is similar to attack in Brussels. This is similar to the attack in Paris. It is inspired by a specific strategy of ISIS to do killings during Ramadan. You would have to be a fool not to see that. And the idea that --
CUOMO: Right -- GILUIANI: -- that the man didn't know his religion is incorrect. He attended the mosque apparently three days a week. So he was an informed Muslim. He was not an uninformed secular Muslim.
CUOMO: Well, all right, Mayor, you're making a lot of points so let's unpack them. First of all, I just want to be clear to the audience. We're not doing tit for tat here. Calling this gay and using that word, not running away from it because of some sense of identity politics is wrong, and you agree with that.
GIULIANI: I do.
CUOMO: In terms of saying radical Islamic terror, I want to make that point, because it's a separate one. I just didn't want to confuse the two. This guy is an open question in terms of what he knew about terror.
CUOMO: He talked about competing groups, but you used an analogy. Let me reverse it on you. If every time the mafia made a killing or a murder, they said, well, those Italians, you know, there's something about them in the mob, there's something about the Giuliani, the Cuomo. How would you have felt? You would've been disgusted. It's one of the things that motivated you as a prosecutors to distinguish the mafia from the rest of the Italians. That is the same point, is it not --
GIULIANI: No! No, it's not.
CUOMO: -- that you talk all of Islam. You talk about these perversions.
GIULIANI: No, notice I say radical Islamic Muslims. I know many Muslims who are very, very good Muslims, as I knew many Italians who are very good Italians. When I used the word mafia, I didn't mean all Italians. When I use the word radical Islamic extremists, I mean, people like this man who are radicalized. And, by the way, there is a connection --
CUOMO: But if you said radical Italian murders --
GIULIANI: Well, they call themselves the Islamic State, Chris. What am I going to call them?
CUOMO: They do, because they want the credit of owning a religion. They want that. Why would you give them what they want?
GIULIANI: I don't know why we're arguing over this. The Obama strategy of not mentioning a name obviously isn't working. We've had four attacks in the last year. That's outrageous. We've had four attacks. They're increasing. The fact is that the weaker you are, the harder they hit you. There is a connection between radical Muslim and attacking gays and lesbians. Radical Muslims --
CUOMO: No question. GIULIANI: -- believe that the death penalty is the correct punishment for gays and lesbians. And when Anderson before, who I thought had some beautiful remarks, talked about people, you know, having come -- people argue over gay marriage in the United States and things like that.
Well, look, we argue about gay marriage in the United States. There's nobody in the United States who argues for death for homosexuals in the United States. So this is a very, very different culture.
CUOMO: Yes, no, it's true.
GIULIANI: And we're at a very different level of civilization. And somebody should point out the superiority of our civilization to the barbarians that we're facing.
CUOMO: Oh, absolutely. And that's why we have these discussions. You know me well enough, Mr. Mayor, to know I have no argument with you.
GIULIANI: I know that, sure.
CUOMO: It's that I think that -- I think there's politics being played with this, with Donald Trump coming out and seeming to suggest that President Obama has some sympathy, some compromise personally that doesn't keep him from being tough, with all the troops, with taking out OBL.
[08:55:15]I mean, it doesn't seem like the right kind of rhetoric. I don't think if you were running, you would ever suggest anything like that about a commander in chief.
GIULIANI: I'm not sure I would or I wouldn't. I am very disturbed by the president's failure to use the word Islamic terrorism. I've been disturbed about it for years. I've said it on your show. I don't understand how Fort Hood was workplace violence.
And I do believe that the president's rhetoric has something to do with the fact that some of the people in San Bernardino didn't turn in the suspicious acts of terrorism that they saw in the days before the attack in San Bernardino.
And I was in San Bernardino about the time that it happened, so I'm not just saying this from the back of my head. The words -- the words that the president uses are important. And he
is creating a feeling, particularly among maybe more liberal members of society, you can't say Islamic terrorism. So now I'm a person, I see --
CUOMO: Well, that's not his rationale, as you know. You know that's not his rationale. You know it's not Secretary Clinton's either. She was on this show yesterday --
GIULIANI: Well, they both --
CUOMO: She said I'll call it extreme Islamism. That's what it is. But why would I want to give ISIS what it wants, which is credit (ph) for their faith? And why would I want to alienate the rest of the faith if it's not accurate? That's their rationale, whether you accept it.
GIULIANI: Well, I don't accept it because she only said it under pressure from Donald Trump. She hasn't said it for five years. Second, it's their policies that brought us to where we are today. We're in a much more dangerous situation than we were before Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton took over.
And I have a strong belief, after 35 years of dealing with Islamic terrorism of an extremist nature, that the more you are on defense, the more they're on defense. And the more you're on offense, the less they come after you.
CUOMO: Mr. Mayor, I understand the point, and I thank you for making it on NEW DAY.
GIULIANI: Thank you.
CUOMO: As always, it's always a pleasure to have you on. Be well. We need your voice right now.
GIULIANI: Thank you, sir.
CUOMO: We have a lot of breaking coverage of what's going on here in Orlando, those that were lost and what we know about the man who took them from this world. You have the "NEWSROOM" with Carol Costello and Erin Burnett right after the break. Stay with CNN.