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Report: Austin Serial Bomber Mark Conditt Is Dead; Facebook CEO Breaks Silence on Data Scandal; Nikolas Cruz's Brother Arrested at Parkland High School. Aired 3:30-4p ET
Aired March 21, 2018 - 15:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: The manhunt for a serial bomber in Austin, Texas is over. The killer is dead. But the potential danger to the community remains. That is because this bomber now identified as 23- year-old Mark Conditt may have planted more devices before police tracked them down.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHIEF BRIAN MANLEY, AUSTIN POLICE: We don't know where the suspect has spent his last 24 hours and therefore we still need to remain vigilant to ensure that no other packages or devices have been left through the community.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: Investigators say Conditt built the bombs in all six incidents and a law enforcement source tells CNN that all the explosives were pipe bombs made with batteries, smokeless powder and materials easily available at a hardware store. What's not quite clear is if this guy acted alone. Right now, police are questioning his roommates. Let me show you these pictures though. Look closely you will see these are FedEx surveillance store images obtained by our affiliate KABB-WOAI. Police believe they show the moment when Conditt dropped off two packages just this past Sunday evening.
We're told it was this video that was the final piece to tie him to the attacks. His family just issued a statement that reads, in part, as follows. Right now, our prayers are for those families that have lost loved ones, those impacted in any way and for the soul of our Mark. We are grieving and in shock. Please respect our privacy as we deal with this terrible, terrible knowledge and try to support each other through this terrible time.
I am joined now by a former ATF special agent in charge, Sam Rabadi. So, Sam thank you so much for being with me and perfect timing that we have you. We just got this information in that I just mentioned. Pipe bombs with batteries, smokeless powder, constructed by materials that could be found at your average hardware and sporting goods store. What does that tell you?
SAM RABADI, FORMER ATF SPECIAL AGENT IN CHARGE: Unfortunately, I have been involved in a number of these types of bombing investigations in the past, it's kind of the sad truth that in many instances these are, whether it's the chemical components that are used or hardware components, like actual pipe fittings and other types of materials are readily available to be purchased from a hardware store and, in addition, the knowledge that you need to construct these devices are readily available on the internet.
[15:35:00] BALDWIN: What about the other detail we have from this law enforcement source telling us that some of these devices had distinctive shrapnel inside, some had mouse trap switches and others had clothespin switches with distinctive springs that made them identifiable even after the blast. How can that help authorities figure out whether or not there are others out there?
RABADI: Well, there are going to be a number of things that they'll be doing post what occurred earlier this morning with the individual's death. There going to be going to be a number of records that they're going to be pouring through and they are going to be looking at his computers, hopefully that's something that they're able to recover, looking at the cell phone, the vehicle itself, where it may have been. They're going to try to piece together the last 24 to 36 hours to see -- track his whereabouts and where he may have been. Unfortunately, they have to go on the theory that there may possibly be other potential packages out there. They've got to try to eliminate that as quickly as possible.
BALDWIN: What do you make, Sam, of just the fact that he appeared to have changed -- he changed up his tactics when you look at these five or six different devices. One was a tripwire. Others separately went off on people's porches. FedEx facility. Maybe that was on accident. Do you read anything into that?
RABADI: Yes. You know, I've been thinking a lot about that over the last couple of days. You know, it could be a situation of him basically trying to cover his tracks, trying to construct a device that's a little different, each of the devices. Obviously, investigators were able to piece together similarities with the devices. Or it could also be just experimentation. You know, just trying to construct a device that was a little different than the previous one. I believe, from what I understand each of those devices was a little bit different. The main thing being the pipe bombs are in there but more how the device was activated.
BALDWIN: We know they're investigating, of course, people in the community want the answer to the question why, they want a motive. Sam Rabadi, thank you for your insight on that.
Coming up next, eight additional state troopers will report to duty at Stoneman Douglas high school tomorrow as threats of violence still plague the school. We are live in Parkland this afternoon where hundreds of students stayed home today out of fear.
[15:40:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
BALDWIN: Here is the breaking news. We've been talking about Cambridge Analytica and these 50 million Facebook users whose information was basically stolen, harvested is the word, that news outlets keep reporting in order to be used with Cambridge Analytica, not known to these 50 million users. And so, a lot of people have been asking where is Mark Zuckerberg, the head of Facebook, on all of this?
He has posted something to Facebook. So, we are going to analyze this. Let me warn you, it's long. Let me read this. From Mark Zuckerberg from Menlo Park, California. I want to share an update under Cambridge analytical situation including the steps we've already taken and our next steps to address this important issue. We have a responsibility to protect your data and if we can't, then we don't deserve to serve you.
I have been working to understand exactly what happened and how to make sure this doesn't happen again. The good news is that the most important actions to prevent this from happening again today, we have already taken years ago. But we also made mistakes. There's more to do and we need to step up and do it.
Here is a timeline of the events. In 2007 we launched the Facebook platform with the vision that more apps should be social. Your calendar should be able to show your friend's birthdays, your maps should show where your friends live, and your address book should show their pictures. To do this we enabled people to log into apps, share who their friends were and some information about them.
In 2013, a Cambridge Analytica -- rather Cambridge university researcher Alexander Kogan created a personality quiz app. It was installed by around 300,000 people who shared their data as well as some of their friends' data. Given the way our platform worked at the time this meant Kogan was able to access tens of millions of their friends' data.
In 2014 to prevent abusive apps we announced that we were changing the entire platform to dramatically limit the data apps could access. Most importantly apps like Kogan's could no longer ask for data about a person's friends unless their friends had also authorized the app. We also required developers to get approval from us before they could request any sensitive data from people. These actions would prevent any app like Kogan's from being able to access so much data today.
In 2015 we learned from journalists at "The Guardian" that Kogan had shared data from his app, here is the key part, with Cambridge Analytica. It is against our policies for developers to share data without people's consent, so we immediately banned Kogan's app from our platform and demanded that Kogan and Cambridge Analytica formally certify that they had deleted all improperly acquired data. They provided these certifications.
Last week we learned from "The Guardian," "The New York Times" and Channel 4 that Cambridge Analytica may not have deleted the data as they had certified. We immediately banned them from using any of our services. Cambridge Analytica claims they have already deleted the data and has agreed to a forensic audit by a firm we hired to confirm this.
[15:45:00] We're also working with regulators as they investigate what happened. This was a breach of trust between Kogan, Cambridge Analytica and Facebook. But it was also a breach of trust between Facebook and people who share their data with us and expect us to protect it. We need to fix that.
In this case we already took most important steps a few years ago in 2014 to prevent bad actors from accessing people's information in this way. But there's more we need to do. I'll outline those steps here.
First, we will investigate all apps that had access to large amounts of information before we changed our platform to dramatically reduce data access in 2014, and we will conduct a full audit of any app with suspicious activity. We will ban any developer from our platform that does not agree to a thorough audit. And we will fine developers that misused personally identifiable information, we will ban them and tell everyone affected by those apps. That includes people whose data Kogan misused here as well.
Second, we will restrict developers' data access even further to prevent other kinds of abuse. For example, we will remove developers' access to your data if you haven't used their app in three months. We will reduce the data you give in an app when you sign in, to only your name, profile photo and e-mail address. We'll require the developers to not only get approval but also sign a contract in order to ask anyone for access to their posts or other private data and we'll have more changes in share in the next few days.
Third, we want to make sure you understand which apps you've allowed to access your data. In the next month we will show everyone a tool at the top of your news feed with the apps that you've used and an easy way to revoke those apps' permissions to your data. We already have a tool to do this in your privacy settings and now we'll put this tool at the top of your news feed to make sure everyone sees it.
All right, so, a couple more graphs go on, but I think you get the point, he's basically saying, uh, we made some mistakes, we need to fix them, and it sounds like you know, Brian Stelter and Dylan Byers that he is acknowledging when he goes back to the Cambridge Analytica piece, and he thought they had the certifications from Cambridge Analytica, that the data that had been retrieved from these personality quizzes had been zapped, deleted.
BRAIN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Right.
BALDWIN: It wasn't.
STELTER: Right. He's putting a lot of the blame on this shadowy consulting firm and their wrongdoing. However, this entire scandal has brought up the issue of Facebook not knowing what happens with our data that it has when it's spread out to these other companies. What we see Zuckerberg doing here is saying we're going to tighten up those controls, we're make sure that when you're across other websites using your Facebook identity we're not going to give as much away.
This is the first step he's taking, it's a long statement you're reading from Zuckerberg after four or five days of silence, now trying to come out and reassure users you can trust Facebook. I would call this a first step, not a second or third step. There is more to come here.
We can mention our colleague Laurie Segall is about to sit down with Zuckerberg in Menlo Park, a big interview on "AC 360." It's his only TV interview about this and honestly, Brooke, we've not heard from Zuckerberg in a while about any topic. It's rare to see him on television. I think it shows how seriously he's taking this, that he wants to sit down and talk more about it. This does leave a lot of questions still unanswered.
BALDWIN: Dylan, what do you think?
DYLAN BYERS, CNN SENIOR REPORTER: Just the sheer length of that statement alone, and all the different steps that Zuckerberg had to outline in terms of what they're going to do to try to protect user data highlights something, which I think is really important and is the key issue with this entire scandal. User data and the exploitation of user data selling that to third parties who can then use it for -- you know, to boost their own brands or their own political candidates, that is caked in to Facebook.
That is what Facebook does. What Mark Zuckerberg is trying to do now, amid all this public pressure, he is trying to limit how much that data can be exploited while still keeping Facebook intact. If you don't have data to sell to third parties -- this is the game Facebook is in. If you don't have data to sell to third parties, this is the game Facebook is in, if you don't have that, you don't have Facebook.
What's so sort of complicated and what makes that statement necessarily so long and so sort of convoluted is that he is trying to maintain a company that is always vulnerable and has been vulnerable from the beginning to the kind of exploitation we saw by Dr. Kogan and Cambridge Analytica. He can reduce outside parties' ability to access that data, try to come up with penalties for people who break rules but trying to prevent this from happening 100 percent is never going to be never going to be possible as long as Facebook is Facebook.
BALDWIN: But that's the thing. As a Facebook user, you go through the whole privacy, two-step verification.
[15:50:00] To think even I may not have taken this personality quiz but one of my friends may have taken it and, therefore, my information, vis-a-vis my friend might have harvested to then be part of the 50 million users who were stolen from essentially. What guarantee to your point, Dylan, can Facebook say to its millions of users, I promise we won't take your information anymore. Because your point, it's caked in as part of how Facebook works.
BYERS: It's caked in. Brooke, if users go back and look at everything that happened with Cambridge Analytica, the vast majority of what is so alarming to people happened above board and in accordance with Facebook policy. The only thing that was a violation of Facebook policy was the fact that it got passed along to Cambridge Analytica by one of the people who had access to this data.
The idea that Facebook, from Menlo Park, no matter how many people it hires, can control the spread of all this data, truly, I think that's impossible. Another thing I would point out, you know, there's a bigger question here that goes beyond the 2016 campaign, that goes beyond politics, beyond Cambridge Analytica about whether or not a company like Facebook should have access to all the data that it has.
Your average Facebook users would be surprised to learn that Facebook follows them around the internet. Very often they're collecting data on users when they're on a platform that is not owned by Facebook. You don't need to be on Facebook, Instagram or What'sApp to have Facebook collecting your data while you're traveling around the Internet.
I think is very alarming for people and so the question about Zuckerberg's statement is, yes, he has made a good effort. Like Brian said. He has thought about this. He has spent days ever since this scandal came to light, thinking about how to fix this issue. The question is, is it enough? Can it ever be enough had Facebook?
BALDWIN: Yes, Brian, what you think, I mean that's huge that Laurie is sitting down with Mark Zuckerberg tonight to hear from him. What are the key questions she has to ask?
STELTER: He rarely gives TV interviews or any interviews at all even though he is one of the most powerful men on the planet. It is important that he is doing this. There are obvious questions about data collection and Facebook's business model. How much it knew a couple years ago about Cambridge Analytica data set? Did it really know this data had been lying around and hadn't been deleted?
And then more broadly, we talk about the 2016 election. What the Cambridge Analytica company did with the Trump campaign to target voters. All campaigns do that. And all campaigns will. It is happening right now. So, I wonder if Zuckerberg has anything to share about mid terms, about future elections, what Facebook is doing. Not just on data but also on misinformation and fake news and Russian ads and all the issues we've heard about, about 2016. At the end of the day, Robert Mueller will get to the bottom of this Russian interference question. Whether it is possible Facebook or Cambridge Analytica data may have had a part. We know that Mueller asked for documents from Cambridge Analytica that happened months ago.
That's in the past. But all of us using Facebook today might be worried about the future.
BALDWIN: Brian Stelter, Dylan Byers, thank you so much. The programming note, Mark Zuckerberg will be sitting down for an exclusive interview on "AC 360" tonight 9 o'clock Eastern only here on CNN.
Moments ago, the President defending his congratulations call to Vladimir Putin as criticism pours in from members of his own party and his defense takes a massive dig at his predecessors.
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BALDWIN: Several security breaches at Stoneman Douglas high school where 17 teachers and students were murdered last month. This week two students were arrested after being caught with knives. A third arrested for posting a threatening message on social media. And then there is this, a sheriff's deputy suspended accused quote, appearing to sleep on duty in his car while parked outside the high school. Rosa Flores has been all over this for us, she is there live in Parkland.
Rosa, the governor is now offering extra security. Tell me about that.
ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, the governor here, very concerned about the safety and security of the students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school because of all the things that you already listed. What he's done is he has offered Florida Highway Patrol troopers to be here. Stationed at this school to make sure that students feel safe. So, eight troopers will report to Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school tomorrow and they will guard every entrance to the school to try to offer some of that safety and security, Brooke. We've talked to some of the students and they're just tired of not feeling safe at their school.
BALDWIN: Can you blame them? Not whatsoever. And then there's the bit about, Rosa, the shooter's brother was recently arrested for trespassing at that very same school. What was that about? And I understand the bail has been set at half a million?
FLORES: Half a million dollars. The judge not mincing words. She said that she was very concerned. The prosecution during bond court was very concerned, saying in an essence that Zachary Cruz, this is the younger brother of the shooter, could be following in the steps of his brother, and they listed a slew of concerns including conversations between brothers that allegedly happened inside the jail when one brother went to go visit the other.
[16:00:00] Talking about how popular Nikolas Cruz had become since the shooting. How was your name and his photograph were all over national media and how this could attract girls? How they could perhaps start a fan club four Nikolas Cruz.
And we also learned in open court that Zachary Cruz breached security three times at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school. The first two times he was told by a vice principal to stay away from the school. The third time he was arrested. In the incident report it said the deputy asked him what he was doing at the school and he said that he was reflecting and soaking in the shooting. Brooke?
BALDWIN: I know a lot of those students, despite what's happening there in Douglas, they're heading to Washington this weekend. We'll be there covering them in this March for Our Lives starting at noon on Saturday. Rosa, thank you so much for that. Before I let you go, just in, a source tells CNN that President Trump now supports the $1.3 trillion spending package to avoid a government shutdown. We're getting this after an 11th hour White House meeting to address the President's concerns today. Trump was reportedly unhappy about border wall funding and some
infrastructure projects, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan were able to, we understand, calm the president, allay any sort of concerns and everyone walked away supporting that spending bill. I'm Brooke Baldwin here in a very snowy New York City. Thanks for being with me. "THE LEAD" with Jake Tapper starts right now.