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NYC Attacker Followed Online ISIS Instructions; Kiev Warned About Russian Cyber Attacks. Aired 2-2:30p ET
Aired November 1, 2017 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN HOST: Tonight, the Uzbek truck attacker in New York followed simple instructions posted by ISIS online. "He was planning
it for weeks" says the NYPD which has him in custody. Former FBI interrogator Ali Soufan joins me on the threat from Uzbekistan and its
ALI SOUFAN, FORMER FBI INTERROGATOR: The former Soviet Republic region is basically the number one region in providing foreign fighters for ISIS.
AMANPOUR: Five of these friends from Argentina are among the dead and the country's foreign minister joins us live. Also, Facebook now says that
even more users were exposed to Russian meddling just as Ukraine says that, "we tried to warn you". A top Ukrainian government official joins us.
Good evening, everyone and welcome to the program. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London. It was meant to be a celebration. A group of friends from
Argentina visiting New York for the 30th university of their high school graduation. Before getting on the plane the men posed for this photo. All
were wearing the same shirt that says libre or free.
But their trip ended in tragedy when a 29 year old man turned a truck into a weapon and plowed into crowds of people on a popular bike lane along New
York's Hudson River. Five of those men were killed.
A young Belgium woman, Anne-Laure Decadt is also confirmed dead. Her two infant sons have lost their mother. The other two deaths we're just
learning were American men, one 32 years old and the only 23. Now, after running from the truck the suspect was shot by a policeman but he survived.
Originally from Uzbekistan, he's been in the United States since 2010. U.S. President Donald Trump immediately vowed to take a hard line on
America's visa programs.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're going to immediately work with Congress on the diversity lottery program on terminating it,
getting rid of it. We want people that are going to keep our country safe. We don't want lotteries. Where the wrong people are in the lottery and
guess what? Who are the suckers that get those people?
AMANPOUR: Now, police will at least be able to interrogate the suspect because they took him in alive. Ali Soufan made his name as an FBI agent
interrogating Al Qaeda suspects after 9/11. And, I've been asking him for his gut reaction to what happened so close to Ground Zero and was it just a
matter of time before this kind of vehicle attack reached American shores.
SOUFAN: It seems to me it's inspired by ISIS, it's not directed by the organization. However I would like to know more. Especially about his
relationships with people back in his home country of Uzbekistan. This is not the first time we see Uzbeks even driving trucks and killing people.
Just back in 2017, earlier this year actually, in April we had a similar attack in Sweden that was conducted also by an Uzbeck. At the beginning of
2017 we had an attack in Istanbul at a club during a New Year's celebration was also conducted by an Uzbek. One of the attackers at the Istanbul
airport in 2016 was also conducted by and Uzbek.
So, there's some kind of relationship happening between some Uzbek militants and between the Islamic State. I would like to know if this guy
is just inspired and he, you know, out of thin air decided to go from the radicalization phase to the mobilization phase or was he also connected to
others that put him on that path in the first place.
AMANPOUR: Well, they say that they found a handwritten note and he said he was inspired and did it in the name IS. This is what Miller said about how
to build out their investigation of what you're talking about.
JOHN MILLER, NYPD DEPUTY COMMISSIONER: What we are looking for is how has he touched the subjects of other investigations, what is his connectivity
to those people and we're building out in concentric circles to try and document that. But it appears he will have - he have some connectivity to
individuals who were the subjects of investigation though he himself was not.
AMANPOUR: So, there's the distinction. He wasn't under investigation. He wasn't on the radar but maybe he was connected to those who were.
SOUFAN: And that's extremely important, why was he connected to some people who are or who are subject to FINRA investigation? Did we miss
something early on that did not make him the subject of an investigation? I think investigators will be going through a lot of these issues through
the interrogation and also in the process of interrogating him, and also when they are collecting data and information and intelligence both
domestically and internationally.
AMANPOUR: Why Uzbekistan? Why the central Asian Republics?
SOUFAN: Well you know since the war in Syria we have seen a lot of radicalization in central Asia, more than usual. And if you look at the
numbers of foreign fighters, especially coming from the former Soviet Republics, they are considered the number one region that exporting Jihads
to the conflict zone in Iraq and Syria.
We put our numbers last week I think the numbers from the former Soviet Republics were about 8,717 people and from Russia itself about 3,417 and I
think the Kremlin doubted our numbers and some members of the Duma questioned the reason that we're putting these numbers out, indicating that
there is some sort of an American conspiracy.
But you know, Christiane, we got those numbers from President Putin himself who basically in a statement to the northern fleet at an event back in
February he mentioned that there is 9,000 from the former Soviet Republics and 4,000 from Russia. And also from official statements by the Russian
government, by the FSSB, by the GRU and by the Ministry of Interior of Russia where are the Deputy Director of Intelligence and counter violent
extremism went on the record by saying that he believes that there is around 4,000 from Russia. So there is a big problem over there and I think
we need to work all together to counter that because ISIS is an enemy for everyone.
AMANPOUR: Everybody hoped that Mosul, Raqqa defeating them in their caliphate on the ground would make us safer. What does your group say
SOUFAN: Well defeating them on the ground is important and we've seen Mosul fell as you mentioned, we've seen the so-called caliphate and its
capital lose territory and the capital fall and the hand of U.S. allied groups, but unfortunately I believe that the message that the -- the idea
of ISIS, the brand of ISIS will definitely outlast the demise of the so- called caliphate.
AMANPOUR: President Trump immediately tweeted that we've got to stop these people coming in, ISIS mustn't come in. Well it's not a foreign fighter
who's come in; it's somebody who was there for many years who had a green card. Uzbekistan is not even on the president's travel ban list.
SOUFAN: You know when terrorists groups do terrorists attacks; the act itself is only part of it. What they hope for is a reaction, a reaction
that can divide the society, a reaction that can factor in a lot of the social problems that happens in a particular area. And I think the
president needs to be careful not to feed into the message of groups like ISIS.
You know, Christiane, what we're fighting today is not a regular terrorist group, what we're fighting is a message. The most potent weapon for ISIS
is not a bomb or a gun or a knife or even a truck, it is a message. Messages are bullet-proof and messages cannot be stopped by a visa or by
doing some extreme vetting. These things cannot stop a message from coming to a country.
AMANPOUR: Ali Soufan, formerly of the FBI now the Soufan Group thank you so much indeed.
SOUFAN: Thank you, Christiane.
AMANPOUR: And we want to remind you again of 31 year old Ann-Laure Decadt, she's the Belgian mother of two young sons, she was a wife to a husband who
offered this tragic tribute. He said "She was a fantastic wife and the most beautiful mom to our two sons who were 3-month old and 3-years old.
The loss is unbearable."
AMANPOUR: Welcome back to the program. Facebook under fire, for the second day, big tech companies are being grilled by U.S. senators about
whether they provided Russia with a platform to meddle in the U.S. election.
Yesterday we heard a staggering statistic, Facebook admitted as many as 126 million Americans may have seen ads posted by pro Kremlin trolls. That's
more than half of all voters. Today, the social media giant upped that number to 150 million. Now, Ukraine says that it tried to warn Facebook
about similar Russian activities more than two years ago, but to little avail.
Dmytro Shymkiv Is the Deputy Head of the presidential administration of Ukraine and is joining me now from the capitol Kiev. Mr. Shymkiv, welcome
to the program. Can you tell me how clear to you think you were to Facebook? What did they say when you told them about your own experience?
DMYTRO SHYMKIV IS THE DEPUTY HEAD OF THE PRESIDENTIAL ADMINISTRATION, UKRAINE: Well, the President raised the question back in the May of 2015
on the Facebook asking Mark Zuckerberg to open an office in Ukraine, the Facebook reached back to us in June. And 16th of June, I had a meeting
with two representative of the Facebook.
We raised three main issues. First is that the blockage of accounts and posts of Ukrainian citizens when you bring in please who are on the
Facebook writing in Ukrainian or Russian due to Facebook policies. We raised this one, they promised to review the policy so that Russian
original people who coming from Russia are not censoring the messages from Ukrainians.
The second questions that I brought is their rise or fake news and the quantity of accounts that are distributing this fake news. Unfortunately
we're getting the message that we are open platform, we do not provide censorship outside the principals that are described on the Facebook of
And of course third one was about opening the Facebook office in Ukraine which is not viable from advertising perspective.
AMANPOUR: So you asked them to open an office to be able to deal with these issues, right?
SHYMKIV: Yes, yes that was actually the intention and the first person who raised this question on the Facebook for the town hall meeting of the Mark
Zuckerberg was actually President of Ukraine.
AMANPOUR: Well I'm going to get to that in a second but I want to just step back a moment. This was your experience with Russian sort of
interference over the whole political situation in Ukraine premere et cetera. Is that right?
SHYMKIV: Yes, true. Over this - during 2014 and '15, we've seen a significant gross of the specific post in the fake news on Ukrainian media,
on the newspapers, different medias, magazines but also in the social media. And the social media being use is one of the strongest weapon to
spread the news.
We've seen different accounts that's been sharing. These accounts being highly upgraded in terms of quantity of users and those taking into account
the logging that Facebook was using. These post we've been both invisible. Besides two years ago there was no such notes on the posts which says
Today we see that during the last year after all these events I U.S. took place. Facebook start changing the significant needs policies so it's not
that easy now to open an account but two years - three years ago there was an enormous quantity of accounts which were fake, which were not the login
real users. We all know that - next to the St. Petersburg in the city (inaudible) it is a whole firm of trolls and bots who have been creating
accounts and posting fake news, and accelerating the spreading of the fake news.
This has all been known since 2011 because the majority of the media journalists who have been posting and writing about that.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN ANCHOR: Since 2011?
SHYMKIV: It talks about which was a confection of some people who use to work in this firm. There was a whole big investigation. I think I was
reading even in 2012, and there were articles about this 2011. In 2015 the Russian investigative journalist was writing about integration of Russian
social media with the Russian security service. Which been used for attacking or creating distortion within the Russian opposition.
And initially they started Russian Security Service been using this for internal purposes and then they start biding(ph) and extending this. Had
they used an Ukrainian media and Ukrainian social space. They used it on their social networks, but they also used it on the Facebook and the
Twitter to spread the fake news and the fake stories.
And of course later we've seen that - that highly octagon(ph) on Ukraine and other countries that this was scaled up in U.S.
AMANPOUR: Mr. Shymkiv, do you think that if Facebook had responded or even if the U.S. administration had listened to your concerns. I don't know
whether you gave the same concerns to the U.S. administration, that this whole wave of Russian meddling and fake news and trolls. As it's been
revealed to congress right now may have been averted?
SHYMKIV: The story of fake news in Ukraine being very-very broad and very public since the degradation of dignity. We continue to bring you the
story on the multiple levels across U.S., Europe, but very often we hear the response that everybody's going to have an opinion. Until actually the
stories which, were the real lives of people suffering. Like when the Russians shot down the MH70.
When there is significant quantity of the citizens across the globe, but primarily in Holland being killed. And still even under these
circumstances Russia was still spreading the fake news. This is just one of the examples.
A group of Ukrainian journalists created a portal called Stop Fake back in 2014. And one of their objectives that they always had is to prove the
stories that had been broadcasted or shared has a significant portion of lies to distort - to create an environment where people stop trusting the
news, stop trusting the media.
AMANPOUR: All right Dmytro Shymkiv, thank you so much indeed for joining us tonight. And the battle against fake news of the future has already begun.
Imagine teaching our young how to inoculate themselves against it. We go to school in Italy later in the program. Next we look to reach the
Argentine Foreign Minister Ingwe Izarez(ph) for reaction to the killing of five Argentinean nationals in Manhattan.
AMANPOUR: Welcome back to the program and let's return now to our top story and that is Tuesday's terror attack in New York City. As we
mentioned earlier, among the eight people killed by a man who drove a truck into a busy bike lane were five old friends from Argentina. They were in
the city to celebrate the 30th anniversary of their high school graduation.
Joining me now from Buenos Aires is the Argentine Foreign Minister, Jorge Faurie. Welcome to our program on this incredibly sad day for your country
and you have the world's sympathy and condolences. Tell us how your country people are reacting and a little bit more about the group of
friends who came to Manhattan.
JORGE FAURIE, ARGENTINA FOREIGN MINISTER: Thank you very much Christiane for being in touch with us. Indeed it is a terribly sad day for all
Argentineans because we are facing these deaths of young people, the word young entrepreneurs in the middle of their active lives. Their families
are, as you can assume, completely devastated.
They were in New York, because as you said, they were 30 years that they have finished their prep school and they have decided to have a moment of
friendship in New York. A place that they like it very much and unfortunately fate and the criminal art of this mad person in the name of
some kind of illusion has killed the five of them, and there is another very badly injured, and we have another four who, thanks to God, they were
not so harmed during the event.
Plus, the Belgium citizen and of course two Americans that were there. It's something in which we are sharing the sentiments of the families, of
all the Argentina's, but also the American people which has happened in a city as New York again a terrorist attach.
AMANPOUR: Mr. Foreign Minister, you are in touch with your counterparts in the United States Greg Philson. Are you helping with the investigation?
JORGE FAURIE: --Yes sir.
AMANPOUR: Has law enforcement contacted you? What can you tell us perhaps about the investigation, as far as you know?
JORGE FAURIE: Madam Amanpour, Rex Tillerson, Jeff Cole a few minutes ago, we exchanged the condolences that he conveyed in the name of the government
and the people of the United States. And he told me that you have already in custody the one who committed all this, all this, heinous act and they
are going to pursue to the extreme all this investigation so we we are in touch with the proper authorities to know which will be the illusion(ph)
and if there are some other people involved or not.
This (ph) somewhere in Europe the lonely walls, but nevertheless either lonely or in a group, we have a strong condonation of everything that is
sort of terrorist in the name of terror, Islam or whatever other ideology that they can call upon themselves.
AMANPOUR: You have seen it in La Paz in Argentina it felt that there has been terrorism that was traced back to that part of the world. I just want
to know what you think as a Foreign Minister in this grave situation, does President Trump's call for ending the lottery program or cracking down even
harder on immigrants and refugees, does that make sense to you? Remember Uzbekistan wasn't even on the travel ban.
FAURIE: I can not comment on which are the decisions of the American government concerning this travel process or the travel problem. What I
can tell you that, I think what is the United States after 2001. You have a lot an enormous amount of measures, when you go to New York you see a lot
prevention a lot of police being around in the in the city. And nevertheless, with all these measures taken you can not prevent an insane
doing what they are doing.
We have to face this as a common attach to everyone around the world and we have to join forces, not only to coordinate and to be prepared and prevent
it but not to fail in the sense as continue doing what we are doing we have still go to New York, it is a fantastic city. The President of Argentina
will be going for reasons with have to do with the representation of Argentina next week. We have to reaffirm of will of doing the things as we
believe them and not be blackmailed by this kind of people.
AMANPOUR: Foreign Minister Jorge Faurie thank you so much for joining us on this really tragic day for your country and for New York all of those who
have lost their life.
FOREIGN MINISTER, ARGENTINA, JORGE FAURIE: Thank you madam Amanpour, thank you I will convey these through the family.
AMANPOUR: Thank you
FAURIE: Thank you
AMANPOUR: And finally tonight imagine a Grassroots rebellion against fake news and the damage done to our society. Across eight thousand schools and
four million students in Italy a new curriculum is rolling out to protect eyes and ears and minds. We got a glimpse inside this Roman classroom.
(BEGIN VIDE CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's education Italian style not more math's or English but classes on how to tackle fake news for the most impressionable.
BOLDRINI: Shall the fake news Quail Joina ....
AMANPOUR: Laura Boldrini President of the Lower House of Parliament is spearheading the initiative.
BOLDRINI: It's a project aimed at peeving our students the tools, the tools to defend themselves from fake news. Fake News are like drops of
poison and we drink water, the infected water every day but we don't even realize that we are, you know, becoming ourselves infected by that poison.
AMANPOUR: The (inaudible) highlights the danger that fake news poses to society and democracy. And it aims to give students ten tips on how to
project themselves from the virus
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Actually I both get my news from your website, from your speaker like (inaudible), or Da Repulica but especially I take it from
the social network like Facebook and especially in this case its very important from (inaudible) to be able to (inaudible) the fake news
AMANPOUR: Like sharing only verified stories and not being afraid to fact check, cross check and double check every story they click on. If a story
sounds too good to be true it probably is. And none other then Facebook itself is working with the Ministry of Education.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:: If I'm thinking this information is a keeper (inaudible) simply because our objective is actually to make sure that
people have access to information that is relevant to them. We shouldn't be working on this alone it is very important that all stake holders that
are involved in the fight against fake news actually work together on it.
AMANPOUR: Italy joins a global fight that knows no boarders, Facebook and the big tech companies finally joining this fight. That is it for our
program tonight and remember you can listen to our forecast anytime, see us online at Amanpour.com and follow me on Facebook and twitter. Thanks for
watching and goodbye from London.