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NYC Truck Attack Leaves Eight People Dead. Aired 12-1a ET

Aired November 1, 2017 - 00:00   ET




UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): This is CNN breaking news.

JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Hello, everybody. Thank you for joining us. I'm John Vause, live in Los Angeles, where it has just turned 9 o'clock here on the U.S. West Coast.

ISHA SESAY, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): And I'm Isha Sesay. We begin with the breaking news out of New York, where a man drove this rental truck through a crowded bike path in Lower Manhattan, killing at least 8 people and wounding about a dozen others. The suspect then crashed the truck into a school bus when he exited his vehicle he was carrying imitation weapons, a pellet gun and a paintball gun and a police officer shot him in the abdomen.

VAUSE: Law enforcement sources believe he acted alone but (INAUDIBLE) pickup truck he claimed to have carried out this attack in the name of ISIS. He has been identified Sayfullo Saipov. Sources he's 29, came to the U.S. in 2010 from Uzbekistan.

Witnesses say he yelled, "Allahu Akbar," an Arabic phrase which roughly translates to "God is great." So far he is currently in police custody after surgery for his wounds. Authorities have spoken to him but it's not known what he said anything.

Here is how one eyewitness described the start of the deadly attack.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It happened out of nowhere. I was walking on the street, it was a normal day and just out of nowhere i see people running and screaming and just multiple gunshots, one after another.


SESAY: Absolutely terrifying and the NYPD gave the go-ahead for the city's annual Halloween parade despite the attack.

VAUSE: That decision echoed Mayor Bill de Blasio who attended the parade himself (INAUDIBLE) resilience in the face of this terror attack.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BILL DE BLASIO, MAYOR OF NEW YORK: We know that this action was intended to break our spirit but we also know New Yorkers are strong, New Yorkers are resilient and our spirit will never be moved by an act of violence, an act meant to intimidate us.


SESAY: Brynn Gingras joins us now from New York.

Brynn, good to have you with us. New Yorkers proudly defiant in the face of this terror attack, people still going out and attending that Halloween parade. Give us a sense of the mood there in the city and amongst the crowd, the people you have been speaking to.

BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I think there is a mix. A lot of people in disbelief that this actually happened, people coming to terms with the fact that the largest terror attack to happen in New York City since 9/11.

But also there is the sense of resilience. You we mentioned this Halloween parade, that's a big deal. I've covered New York City news for many, many years and that parade attracts thousands of people.

So the fact that it didn't get canceled for one, just hours after the attack occurred, and also that still thousands of people attended it. In the spirit of the holiday, that's a big deal for this city.

So that does speak to how many New Yorkers are probably feeling about all this. But I mean certainly there is a lot of sorrow as well. You know eight people were killed along a bike path here in New York City.

I mean the West Side Highway, which really the block from where we are that stretches all along the West Side of Manhattan and it's very busy, whether it be people commuting to and from work, whether it be people just riding their bikes for pleasure or people running and exercising.

I mean, it is a pretty busy bike path so it's a place that -- you know we always hear about the barriers that policeman put up all around the city in those major areas like Times Square, St. Patrick's Cathedral. But a bike path isn't exactly something that you can prevent something like this from happening.

It'll be interesting to see what police do in the wake of this. So the fact that it happened there, it's alarming certainly to people here in the city.

SESAY: No doubt, people just going about, trying to have a nice day out, you know, and an event this way. Brynn Gingras joining us there from New York, Brynn, appreciate it. Thank you.

VAUSE: Let's get to our panel now. CNN law enforcement contributor and retired FBI special agent, Steve Moore; and retired FBI special agent Maureen O'Connell and Bobby Chacon.

(INAUDIBLE) recent address was Paterson, New Jersey, the (INAUDIBLE) Home Depot in New Jersey. (INAUDIBLE) at some point. And just up to 3:00 pm local time that's when he --


VAUSE: -- turned this vehicle into a weapon. This is how one witness described the scene.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's in the bike lane, clearly in the bike lane. And I see when I go down, I see two gentlemen lying right there in the bike lane with tire marks across their body. And you could tell that they're not here no more.


VAUSE: So, Maureen, what is notable is that he decided to head south on the bike path. Had he gone north, it was a lot busier. There were a lot more people there. He could have targeted the Halloween parade that was held just a few hours ago. Obviously a much more target-rich environment, if you like. You put all this together, does it indicate a lack of planning and maybe a lack of preparation or maybe that he'd only just made this decision fairly recently to carry out this attack?

MAUREEN O'CONNELL, FORMER FBI SPECIAL AGENT: No, I think the attack was planned by him and I think that when he got the truck, he just could've possibly made the decision to attack at that point. His plan may have been to hit the Halloween parade all along.

But once you make that decision and you're invested in that decision, often times they sort of jump the gun.

SESAY: Steve, I want to stay with the issue of the truck because we've seen these trucks used as weapons before, we've seen it many times in Europe (INAUDIBLE) seeing it here in the United States.

Tell me what it says to you that he would choose this method to launch an attack.

STEVE MOORE, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT CORRESPONDENT: It tells me that he's pretty orthodox. He's right down the line in the ISIS teachings, in their magazines, in the publications they come out with. It's always the same thing. It goes back to the original publications a couple years back.

If you don't have a gun, you have a car; if you don't have a car, you have a knife. So he was following right down the line. And I think while he did plan this attack, I think his -- what shows here is that he didn't have real good training. He wasn't one of these people in the camps who would know to check whether south or north was the better target environment.

VAUSE: A paintball gun and a pellet gun to boot.

MOORE: Yes, that's just -- that'll just get you shot faster.

VAUSE: This attack happened on what is called the busiest bike path in America. Here is some more detail now from Tom Foreman about how and where the attack took place.


TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The path is paved and easily wide enough to accommodate a vehicle. So there would be very little to slow him down. And considering how many people you typically see out here on a nice afternoon, it's rather remarkable more were not injured and how far he made it.

In any event, down in this area it's not clear if he was trying to hold off of this road and get back into traffic or escape into the city. But somehow there was a big collision right here with a bus. And when that happened his vehicle was disabled.

He got out; he had this pellet gun, he had this paint gun, according to police. He was waving them around, moving through the street. And then a very short distance away, that's where he was shot by the police.


VAUSE: (INAUDIBLE) He drove down this bike path for about a mile. Was it just good luck that those police officers were there and able to stop him?

And what you make of this pellet gun and this paint ball gun that he had?

BOBBY CHACON, FORMER FBI SPECIAL AGENT: Well, it shows me a bit of lack of planning, the execution phase. I think New York is a very well secured city and I think there are police officers a lot around downtown area. I know that area well and so it doesn't surprise me that there were police there.

Because there are a lot of police on the streets there nowadays. New York has some 39,000 officers. The pellet gun is -- shows me that maybe he was acting alone and he was a little disorganized.

We saw in the London bridge attack, where they crashed their vehicle and they got out and they have knives and they were running from restaurant to restaurant to do an maximum amount of damage until they were killed, this guy got out of the vehicle. He didn't seem to know what to do. He was wandering around, back and forth, going back, recovering his traces, retracing his steps.

He didn't have a real good plan about what to do once he got out of that vehicle as opposed to, say, the London bridge attackers; when they got out, they went on this massive, violent knife attacks until they were stopped.

So it shows a little bit of a lack of planning on his part of the execution phase.

SESAY: Maureen, to bring you in, as we talk about planning and acting alone or where was he getting his orders from, there was the note that you know about. There was a note written in English, found in and around the vicinity of the truck, in which he claimed he was doing this in the name of ISIS.

Again, from what we see in terms of the pellet gun, the paint ball gun, the direction he took, does it seem to you to be ISIS-directed or ISIS-inspired?

O'CONNELL: I would say definitely ISIS inspired and will have the jury still out as to whether or not it was ISIS directed. That accident with the bus may have been just that, an accident. He possibly could have had a totally different plan that didn't pan out for him.

But we're about two years --


O'CONNELL: -- from the "Inspire" magazine release that talked about this exact type of attack and we're right down the street from where 9/11 happened. So a lot of --

SESAY: Do you think it's a coincidence?

O'CONNELL: -- no.



O'CONNELL: No, I just think he's in that area; it's two years after the "Inspire" magazine came out, talking about these identical types of attacks. So I think it's a proximity thing. But I always tend to believe that a lot of the decisions that they make when they're once immersed in this ideological mindset have meaning to them.

VAUSE: Clearly "Inspire" was directed by ISIS; that is part of the investigation right now. (INAUDIBLE) the fact that this guy's (INAUDIBLE) Uzbekistan. He came to the United States in 2010. Obviously his history and his connection there will be a big focus for the investigation.

But there is a challenge here, listen to CNN's Bob Baer, who is a former CIA operative.


BOB BAER, CNN INTELLIGENCE AND SECURITY ANALYST: The Uzbek community in this country and in Uzbekistan, especially the fundamentalists, are one of the most insular communities in the world. They are very hostile to the West. I used to work there in the '90s. It's a nightmare for an intelligence service. It's going to be a nightmare for the FBI to try to get to the bottom of this Uzbek community. And that's just a fact.


VAUSE: Steve, a nightmare for the FBI it will be. And how will they deal with that? MOORE: I've been kind of banging this drum for years now. I think that while we have the standard terrorist group in the -- in the Arab Peninsula, I think we are really underestimating Uzbekistan, and the .Chechens.

The Chechens did the Bataclan school, killed hundreds of children. There is a ruthlessness in their terrorists. I'm not talking about their culture necessarily but there their terrorists are ruthless in the extreme. And I agree with Bob. There is an insular nature to part of their -- the extremist culture.

And for the Bureau to get in that is not going to --


VAUSE: But how do they do that?

How do they correct that?

MOORE: You keep trying.


MOORE: I'm saying that we have tried to get into different cultures with different amounts of success; it took us decades to get even into the Mob but we got there.

SESAY: So, Bobby, to come back to you on that point, getting into the Uzbek community there in Uzbekistan, to Bob Baer's point, incredibly difficult, insular closeness. Clearly same thing has to be here in the United States. Correct? They have to try and get into his circle as it was here in the U.S.

CHACON: In some way we're already there. There were five I think Uzbeki men that were arrested in Brooklyn in 2015 planning a terrorist attack. We know we worked with the authorities in Stockholm in April of this year. There was a very similar attack to the one today and was an Uzbeki man, used a vehicle to attack and I think he killed five people in Stockholm.

So I think we've seen, I think we have a body of knowledge that we're building and it's tough to get in. But these young men are leaving Uzbekistan because they're under a terrible dictatorship there that's really dictated how and when they can -- when they can practice their religion.

So they are actually escaping Uzbekistan. And the dictator that is there who actually was friendly to us in between 2001-2005 when they allowed us to use airbases there for the war in Afghanistan.

So you know it's a -- it's a very fluid situation but these young men are actually fleeing from Uzbekistan, fleeing from that dictator because he's not allowing them to practice their religion in the way they want to do it.

VAUSE: You want to come in? (CROSSTALK)

MOORE: I agree with Bobby, they're fleeing but the type of people who are fleeing are sometimes the people who want to practice an extremist type of religion that they can't do here. So Bobby's absolutely right. But there's also the problem of the type of religious activities they want to engage in here.


O'CONNELL: Well, like any good investigation, it will take a multipronged approach and I agree with Bobby and Steve. This multipronged approach is going to take a look at all kinds of different facets, including all the social media, any type of recordings on the phones and all these things take a lot of time and a lot of effort and a lot of dedication, with the resources to match.

VAUSE: A lot to get to wit this attack. There is more (INAUDIBLE). There's a political angle. There's the --


VAUSE: -- all of which we will get to. But for now, Steve and Maureen and also Bobby there in Palm Springs, thank you.

SESAY: Thank you, appreciate it.

We are learning more about the victims of this attack. Argentina's administrative external affairs concerns that five Argentine --


SESAY: -- nationals were killed.

VAUSE: They were part of a group of friends from (INAUDIBLE) Argentina celebrating the 30th anniversary of their school graduation. (INAUDIBLE) friends was wounded, currently in hospital but is expected to recover.

SESAY: The militant foreign affairs minister says a Belgian national was also killed in the attack. We are still waiting for information about the other two who sadly lost their lives.

Taking a quick break here. Next on NEWSROOM L.A., President Trump says it's time to step up the America's extreme vetting program and there's no time to be politically correct in the wake of the New York City attack. Our political panel will weigh in on all of this after the break.




VAUSE: Welcome back, everybody. The U.S. president was quick call out the New York attacker on Twitter. He described him as a very sick and deranged person.

SESAY: He also tweeted, "I just ordered Homeland Security to step up our already extreme vetting program. Being politically correct is fine but not for this."

That tweet of course came just hours after a man drove a truck into a crowded bike lane in Manhattan, killing at least eight people.

VAUSE: For more now on the politics of all of this, political commentator, Mo Kelly is with us. Also California Republican national committee Shawn Steel and political analyst, Peter Matthews.

Thank you all --

SESAY: Welcome.

VAUSE: -- welcome.

OK, Mo, is the president right?

Will an increase in extreme vetting of immigrants help prevent another attack like this one, given that the guy carried this out had actually been in the country for seven years?

MO KELLY, RADIO HOST: We don't have very intellectually honest conversations. If you want to have a travel ban preventing terrorists from potentially come in the country, we should also include France, we should also includes Spain, we should also include the United Kingdom.

That's where these terrorist attacks are happening. In this case, this person seems to be from Uzbekistan. These aren't even countries or locations which are on this supposed watchlist or travel ban list.

We can't stop people from doing evil just because we may want to have more extreme vetting. It doesn't stop the evil in people's hearts.

SESAY: Shawn, I want you to consider this tweet put out by Susan Hennessey (ph). She was attending the office of General Counsel of the National Security Agency. She commented this way in response to President Trump's position about extreme vetting being set up.

"Nearly 600 Americans were shot earlier this month and Trump advocated that we do absolutely nothing in response."

In other words, (INAUDIBLE) in Las Vegas. The president was silent in terms of what steps should be taken. And then here we are instantaneously, the president saying let's step up extreme vetting.

SHAWN STEEL, REPUBLICAN: This is such utter nonsense on so many levels and Susan Hennessey, we know -- she's really not very important in this conversation.

We have a worldwide struggle that's going to around while our children and our grandchildren are going to be fighting it. That's a certain jihadist sect of the Islamic religion, which may be 10 percent but we're still talking about millions and millions of very angry people. [00:20:00]

STEELE: And were talking about extreme vetting. It was Obama's diversity program -- that's literally what it was called -- that brought in this particular terrorist to New York from -- in New York, killing eight Americans, eight families will never be the same. Plus the carnage that was left. And this is happening again. And it's going to continue to happen worldwide.

This is the focus we need to talk about, this woman talking about 600 murders, we're talking probably about Chicago, Obama's hometown, where they had restricted gun control in the country and has the highest murder rate.

So that's -- there's this cognitive dissonance. It doesn't make any sense.

VAUSE: (INAUDIBLE) I don't think Chicago has the toughest gun laws in the country, for a start.


STEELE: -- certainly does among the worst.

VAUSE: OK, well, let's bring Peter in this.

Peter, there's obviously the politics here of how you go about dealing with terrorism, how to make the country safe. But at the same time you, if you single out one group in particular, which is what Shawn is talking about, which is what the president also seems to be talking about, often that can exacerbate what is already a bad situation.

PETER MATTHEWS, CYPRESS COLLEGE: Well, yes, of course. (INAUDIBLE) figures that they're singled out, they're going to react in a negative way. And I think it's a much broader base question. It has to do with our connections and our foreign policies as well as what can we do about security right here in the country.

And for that we should not single out one group. We should do this more strict vetting would help a little bit but as Mo mentioned, this guy was from Uzbekistan, which is not even on the watch list. It is not even on the prevention of immigrant list. So it's really -- you can't get quick answers just like that because of this extreme, horrible condition what happened.

And as you mentioned, 600 people were killed in Las Vegas and not much was mentioned about how to stop that, how to reduce the chance of that happening through this -- some automatic weapons.


VAUSE: (INAUDIBLE) people being shot --

(CROSSTALK) SESAY: -- shot earlier this month --


VAUSE: But the point is that there's a lot of gun violence.

SESAY: (INAUDIBLE) gun violence and in the context of Vegas, which was one example, the president did not come out in the fact of that mass casualty --

STEELE: I thought he said quite a bit. He actually showed up --


STEELE: -- the president made a very firm statement about that. He showed up. He was there --


SESAY: And what was his proposition for how to stop it from happening again?

STEELE: I don't know if we have a prescription about how to stop all things all the time but when you have a foreigner that comes to this country, who hates America --


STEELE: --- huge difference if he's a jihadist --


STEELE: -- huge difference if he's male between the ages of 18 and 35 --


STEELE: -- it's not Swedish women that are grandmothers. That's not the ones that have to be strip searched at airports. It's a pretty obvious situation. You're stuck in the politically correct --


KELLY: -- more than eight . And I'm not trying to trivialize that eight people died. But --


STEELE: -- all the deaths that have been taking place year after year, the hundreds of thousands of African Christians that have been murdered over the last 10 years in Africa alone.


SESAY: Agreed. But you also know that more Muslims have been killed -- (CROSSTALK)

STEELE: -- more damage to Muslims, Christians and Jews. Let's keep that in mind. And the greatest number of victims are Muslims. We need to see three things in this country, Muslims stepping up the moderate Muslims, working closely with the government and de Blasio took the police out of the mosque.

We need to have -- we need to have good agents, good people inside the mosques --

KELLY: -- in the United States in the past five years.

VAUSE: Do you know how many Americans have died since 9/11 by homegrown radicals?

STEELE: Several hundred.

VAUSE: 45.

Add eight on today, you're up to 53.

And that's a fact.

STEELE: And by the way, is that insignificant?


STEELE: Does it make it feel better when you want to go to New York City?

Are you feeling good about going out tonight?

VAUSE: Compare to the 10,000 people who were murdered by guns in this country it's a much lower number but --

STEELE: Let's talk about gun violence. That's a great discussion because you are going to lose on that one.


Peter, I want to bring you in because we need to talk about the president's initial response to these two events, the mass shooting event in Vegas, biggest massacre in modern American history and then this event in New York.

The president's initial response on Twitter was this, "In New York City, looks like another attack by a very sick and deranged person. Law enforcement is following this closely. Not in the USA."

That last part seem to be kind of a call for tougher immigration laws or and he went on to say, more extreme vetting, if you like.

Compare that to his initial response to the mass shooting in Vegas early this month, "My warmest condolences and sympathies to the victims and families of the terrible Las Vegas shooting, God bless you."

(INAUDIBLE) the president (INAUDIBLE) did send out his condolences --

SESAY: 30 minutes after --


VAUSE: -- to those who lost their lives in New York.

Explain the difference here if you can in the tone and the substance of the president's message.

MATTHEWS: The difference is the one person was --


MATTHEWS: -- a foreigner. who came to this country and the other one was native-born, a white American guy and the difference between Mr. Trump seems to treat people based on ethnicity, based on background. And he's got to top that. He's got to understand there's America for everyone. Even when he talks about gun control, he's got to be more strict about what should be done.

You can't be having semi automatic weapons be made into automatic weapons with the bump stocks, which is something has to be regulated much more and no one's talking about that, at least the leaders on the right wing of the spectrum, is not talking about it. It's time to get real about this and to not just blame one group or the other but talk about overall policy.

Let me say something else. When we invaded Iraq, that caused a lot more violence against the United States and its troops around the world. and including terrorist acts. That act of going into Iraq with no weapons of mass destruction, no provocation, against a country who's never attacked us, was a total fiasco and that should be looked at. And we should stop doing things like that without looking in long-range terms.

And that will also help American situation in the world.


STEELE: Oddly enough, that's exactly what Donald Trump campaigned on. He opposed the war in Iraq and turns out to have been one of the greatest geopolitical misgivings of the United States, of Bush hung his presidency on it. It was a disaster, it was a really poor policy. We should have Saddam Hussein continue to terrorize his own people and bother Iran and Iran could have terrorized his people. We shouldn't have gone in, you're right,

VAUSE: But what about what's happening in New York? I want to bring Mo in on this because just to clarify Shawn's point, what I think Shawn is trying to get at is that there needs to be a sensibility about how we go about immigration in this country, how you look at people in this country and there is a -- there is a profile of people who in Shawn's view -- and I think has been proved by the numbers and all the rest of it -- who wear -- who are more prone to violence and others. And that should be taken into account.

KELLY: I don't disagree with that but there's also an issue of proportionality. If someone should kill 55 people, then let's look at that profile as well. We can't talk about everyone like Dylann Roof, who killed nine people and say that that is of lesser importance than this person who killed eight people today.

If it's about saving Americans and all these people are Americans I would hope that you would agree with me --


STEELE: Actually, I do.

KELLY: And if we switch the attackers and this attacker today was actually the perpetrator in Las Vegas, I have a feeling, a sneaking suspicion, that your commentary would be slightly different today. And it shouldn't be.

STEELE: Actually is not at all. The key is --


STEELE: -- the key is this, when you politically correct you can't even make any judgments or profiles whatsoever, that's irrational. We pretty much know what a terrorist, a jihadist is going to be, what it will look like, how they can act. We can make some very smart decisions. The Israelis do a good job without profiling in a racial sense by looking at the behavior of people.

VAUSE: We are out of time.

SESAY: We're going to have to pick this up.

I'm interested in your sense of someone who comes here, who's been here for seven years...

VAUSE: A life lost by a terror attack is no more valuable than a life killed, a life lost in a mass shooting --


VAUSE: Shawn and Mo, as well as Peter, thank you all for being with us. It was a good discussion.

We'll have more of our break news after the break, the deadly terrorist attack in New York since 9/11. Plus we'll look back at other terror attacks (INAUDIBLE) cars (INAUDIBLE) weapons.




(MUSIC PLAYING) SESAY: Hello, everyone. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. I'm Isha Sesay.

VAUSE: And I'm John Vause. More of our breaking news this hour. The suspect in the deadliest terror attack in New York since 9/11 is believed to have left a note behind, claiming to have acted in the name of ISIS. At least eight people were killed after a driver plowed a truck down a crowded bike path before crashing into a school bus in the World Trade Center.

SESAY: A warning: what we're about to show you, these images, you may find graphic. Our Gary Tuchman looks back at other attacks which have used vehicles as weapons.


GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Bastille Day in France: just last year, a fireworks display had just ended in Nice. A terrorist, a Tunisian national, driving his rented truck, strikes and kills 86 people as he plows through pedestrians at a high speed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I had a choice to either jump to my right or jump to my left because the truck was swerving. So I had to make a decision which way to jump. I decided to jump to my left and thank God I did because, if I didn't, I would have been dead.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): More than 400 people were hurt in the 2016 attack. The terrorist was shot and killed. Nice was the deadliest of recent vehicle terror attacks. But there have been many more.

In August of this year, 13 people died about 100 hurt in Barcelona. A van plowed through a crowd of people in a popular tourist area.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I saw it plow into the merchants, pedestrians; I saw people flying over the vehicle, just flying all around the vehicle and it was just a really, really horrific scene of immediate carnage.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): Two suspects who were arrested but the driver gets away and has never been caught. ISIS claims responsibility for the attack.

In Berlin, Germany, six days before last Christmas, a tractor-trailer barrels into a Christmas market, killing 12 people. A manhunt ensues for the driver, who got away. Four days after the attack, the Tunisian man is shot and killed. ISIS later releases a video of the man, pledging allegiance to the terror group.

London has had three separate attacks this year, including two in June. Twelve people in total were killed in those attacks that took place along the Westminster Bridge, the London Bridge and outside a mosque.

There have been previous vehicle attacks in the United States, too. Back in 2006 at the University of North Carolina, nine people are hurt when a man drives an SUV into an area crowded with students. The driver, who was convicted of attempted murder, said it was retribution for Muslims being killed overseas.

Ten years later in 2016, 11 people were injured at Ohio State University when a student carried a car and knife attack.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We heard the chaos, shouts, screams, shots.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): An Ohio State campus police officer shot and killed the attacker, whom police believe was inspired by ISIS -- Gary Tuchman, CNN, Atlanta.


SESAY: Joining us now, Middle East expert, Lisa Daftari, the editor in chief of the "Foreign Desk," and former FBI special agent, Errol Southers (ph), director of homegrown violence extremism studies at the University of South Carolina.

Welcome to you both. Thank you for being with us.

Errol, to you first. So we have the name of the suspect in this attack, Sayfullo Saipov, 29 years old. He came to the U.S. from Uzbekistan seven years ago. Many, many questions but let me start with the very basic one: Why would someone who's been in this country for that length of time go down the path of radicalization?

ERROL SOUTHERS (PH), UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH CAROLINA: The first thing that would seem almost obvious is that there's something that happened. We call it a cognitive opening where he is more susceptible to violent action due to some agreement that this has occurred to him or his family or his social network.

So that is the first thing we would be looking at is as you just asked, why would a person's been for seven years, much like interestingly enough, two years shorter than the Tsarnaev brothers in Boston.

Why would you do now, after the person is been here working allegedly or assumedly and stable then act out in a place that he does not live, in a place that we are not quite sure how familiar he is, in such a violent way.

It just does not seem to make sense in the face of it but we would have to go back now in the investigation. That's what the investigation will do. We'll piece together his life from today. Working backwards to see what in fact, this happened, what it was, what he intended to accomplish with this and hopefully that he is acting alone.

VAUSE: Lisa, you know, I was reading that since 9/11 and Errol, you may be able to correct me on this (INAUDIBLE) but since the 9/11 attacks in New York, back in 2001, less than 100 Americans have been killed by someone who is self-radicalized. And (INAUDIBLE) 45 and maybe what happened on Tuesday will bring it up to 53.

I don't want to diminish the lives that have been lost (INAUDIBLE) at all but it does seem if nothing else to some degree the threat is being managed, right?

LISA DAFTARI, "THE FOREIGN DESK": Yes, and no. Yes when something like today happens, we think about all the different soft targets in every city; the children out tonight for Halloween, trick-or-treating and like you said one tragedy is too many.

But at the same time we don't hear about the foiled attacks which the lot -- law enforcement has been great at curbing. We will also hear about a lot of the account that are taken down daily on Twitter on different social media platforms which is really the place for radicalization.

When we talk about the terrorist who committed this act today. We talk about lone wolf, which is the term that we've taken out of our vocabulary and look at this, is it directed or inspired and in the cases that we're seeing they're all for the most part inspired.

And that is on social media and I think that for the most part a lot of this is being curbed but again, let us be proactive and not look at today and say, well, we can pat ourselves on the back and say this doesn't happen that often.

VAUSE: I guess my point is and you just made it for me, it's being managed. (INAUDIBLE) the plots which are being foiled, is there a concern that there's (INAUDIBLE) these kinds of things or is that the path that we're on?

DAFTARI: Right because it's being managed because there hasn't been something like a 9/11-scale type attack. But that's not what they're after any longer. Al Qaeda and ISIS have made many, many public announcements.

They put in their magazines. I took it out today because I wanted to refer back to it. This was in June 2016, where there was an with actual postcards. It was nine different grids when they said the these are the different types of attacks that you could launch with everyday items.

Like a kitchen knife, like a car, you do not need -- and it's no longer retreat and plot that big, large attack that can be foiled like this. Because law enforcement is getting better at it again.

But again, the scary part is that these soft targets do exist and they're still soft. How do we harden these targets?

SESAY: And that's the question tonight.

Errol, to come back to you, let's talk about Uzbekistan starting point for this gentleman. Can you give us some insight into the community?

Can you give us some insight into the issue of extremism and radicalism and there, because our last guest was making the point that this is country that has had its issues and has extremist groups that are virulent.

SOUTHERS (PH): It is but we still have to remember that he has been here for seven years. We're assuming that he may have come here radicalized, which may or may not be true to Lisa's point. We're looking at now a case of do-it-yourself terrorism and people getting radicalized, people, unfortunately are getting radicalized here.

I do research and a number of communities in the United States and much to the chagrin of the intelligence community and the counter terrorism community was that although we do have the online component which enhances the message, what we're seeing in America now is peer- to-peer and face-to-face.

We're seeing on the ground people who were working for ISIS, who were recruiters, who are here pushing that message and then you can go home and sit and have 1,000 people like-minded, join you online and enhance your messaging.

So I think what we have to come to grips with are two things. These are homegrown people. I would argue that someone's been here for seven years like this individual and nine years like the Tsarnaev brothers, they're Americans.

And the other thing we have to come to grips with is that although we have an online component, these people are talking to each other. And one thing that people have to really embrace is the fact that it is happening in places that you would not expect.

It's happening in malls, it's happening in playgrounds and barbershops it's not happening in mosques.

SESAY: The notion that put eyes on the mosques and you're going to --


VAUSE: -- mosque it would seem because the mosque is the obvious place.

OK, Lisa and Errol, thank you.

SESAY: We appreciate it. Thank you.

SOUTHERS (PH): Thank you.

SESAY: Still to come here on NEWSROOM L.A., more on our breaking news, including the One World Trade Center tribute to the victims of the truck attack (INAUDIBLE).




SESAY: New York's governor wants the world to know his city won't let terrorists win. So he had the lights of One World Trade Center glow red, white and blue Tuesday night. It's a tribute to the eight people who lost their lives in the truck attack, which happened just blocks away from the site of the 9/11 terror attacks. VAUSE: And former U.S. President Barack Obama has expressed his sympathies and support for those affected by the New York terror attack.

SESAY: He tweeted this, "Michelle and I are thinking of the victims of today's attack in NYC and everyone who keeps us safe. New Yorkers are as tough as they come."

VAUSE: (INAUDIBLE) reaction around the world, including France's president, Emmanuel Macron. He tweeted this, "I convey my emotion and the solidarity of France for New York City and the U.S. Our fight for freedom unites us more than ever. #Manhattan"

And here in California, the Los Angeles Dodgers, held a moment of silence for the victims of the attack in New York.

Before game six of the World Series against the Houston Astros, the announcer asked fans to remember those lost in the senseless tragedy.

You've been watching CNN.

VAUSE: Just a quick note (INAUDIBLE).


VAUSE: It was a good game.


You've been watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. I'm Isha Sesay.

VAUSE: I'm John Vause. (INAUDIBLE) breaking news at the top of the hour but first, "WORLD SPORT" is next with Kate Riley after a break.