tv The Rachel Maddow Show MSNBC May 22, 2017 6:00pm-7:01pm PDT
we are going to continue with tonight's brakes out of manchester, england. it's a beautiful city in the northwest of england when i lived in england for a while, i spent a lot of time in manchester. i'm very moved by this story tonight. as of right now our best information is that an explosion at a concert arena in manchester has killed 19 people, dozens more injured. a caution that will apply to everything this hour, but especially these details i'm about to give you now, is that these are early days. we will often look back at the initial reporting we get out of a major incident, particularly a major maybe terrorist incident, and we will find that initial reports were conflicting or did not bear out over time. so that caveat and that caution applies to everything we're learning in the aftermath of this incident.
we have the death toll at 19 and we've got this as a jaw dropping suspicion as to what happened. multiple u.s. officials briefed on the investigation say that uk authorities suspect that this explosion at this concert venue in manchester, england was detonated by a suicide bomber. now, again, we have no named sources for that, but we are told by multiple u.s. officials briefed on the investigation that that is the supposition at this point. london is five hours ahead of time the u.s. east coast. this happened between in 198430 p.m. and 10:45 p.m. local time. a big concert was just wrapping up, ariana grande is a 23-year-old american pop star. she's got an enormous following both here and abroad. her following skews very young. this is one of the largest indoor arenas in europe. it holds up to 21,000 people, and this venue tonight was
filled substantially with kids. in terms of her fan base, it's young teenagers. it's 11, 12, 13-year-olds, kids with their parents. people at the concert said they heard what sounded like an explosion at the end of the show as people were already starting to leave the venue. these blurry photos, you see pink balloons that were part of the show. you see lights up full. that is a venue that's letting out. one concert goer says the encore already finished, the lights were already on when the blast occurred. so the important part about that in terms of the experience of it is because the lights were on, whatever happened, they were clear this was not part of the concert. this couldn't have been part of the pyrotechnics for the show. the whole building shook
according to eyewitnesses. there was a massive bang. some of the concert goers meld a strong burning smell after the blast. there have been you hear numerous eyewitness reports of people lying on the ground, people bloodied. cell phone video captured by eyewitnesses showed people fleeing the scene, scrambling for the exists after this took place. this gives you some idea about the youthfulness of the crowd there. officials are noting the number of casualties reported, it's possible they may have not occurred from the explosion itself, they may have occurred from the rush out of the building which took place following the explosion. in terms of the actual location of the blast, british transplant police initially said the blast took place in the foyer, basically outside the arena. so initial reports were that the bomb was inside arena with those
thousands of people. it was then reported that it was in the ticket taking area, at the venue but not inside the main body of the venue where the most people would be concentrated. right now manchester arena is clarifying that the incident took place, quote, outside the venue in a public space. this is one of those situations which the reporting is crucial to this story has evolved over the last hour or two. initial reports saying it was in the venue. eyewitness reports now being rebutted by the venue itself saying whatever happened here wasn't inside manchester raerngs it was very nearby. a dash cam video emerged earlier that possibly shows the blast. it was captured by somebody who was waiting in a nearby parking lot for his sister and his girlfriend who had gone to the concert. he did not go to the skefrmt
he's in the car waiting for them, and this is the video from the dash cam that is mounted on his dashboard in his parked car. what you want to watch is a glow or flash on the lower left hand side of your screen. watch. [ explosion ] authorities just a short time ago said they were going to conduct a controlled explosion and what was word to be a second device. we have reporting from our reporter in london a few minutes ago. we have now been advised that that was a false alarm that whatever they just blew up or were going to blew up, they no longer believe that is a suspicious item. again, evolving information. but the headlines, of course,
are still unbelievably grim. 19 dead, roughly 50 injured. we have no identified casualties at this point, but given the crowd, it's fair to worry about the prospect that a lot of the people who may have found they must caught up in this tonight may be on the young side. again, multiple u.s. officials briefed on the investigation are telling us that authorities in the uk suspect this incident was conducted by a suicide bomber. that gives us hard questions to ask. joining us is chief justice correspondent pete wills. let us know what the latest is. >> sounds spot on to me. the controlled explosion turned out to be a pile of clothing we're told. the police say they got the call at 10:35 which is ten minutes according to the witnesses after the encore performance. so it was over. the people were starting to stream out.
so the apparent plot here was to wait as people came out, and a sufficient number gathered outside, then to set off the bomb. the reason they say they suspect it's a suicide bomber is from forensic evidence, they they believe the bomb was carried in a backpack and nothing more than that. it's a preliminary hypothesis based on their initial assessment at the scene. they believe the bomber was standing near the box office. as you had sarksd outside the vooun. this would be as i understand it on the other side. we saw that map just a moment ago, on the other side of the concert hall where the big strain station is right there in manchester, victoria station. basically you can walk out of the train station and walk over to manchester arena. if those witness reports are true, then the bomber would have
been on the opposite side of the arena from the train station. that's the initial assessment in the box office area. the reports say many of the injuries that were apparently from the explosion, people reported shrapnel. we don't know whether that's from just simply the bomb itself. unfortunately so many of these suicide bombs follow the same plan, and they put things in the bombs designed to be slop nel, nails, screws, ball bearings. that would be consistent with a bomb. the other thing to point out here, rachel, and it's unknown what significance it has, but whenever something like this happens, people check back to dates on historic dates to see if anything happened on this date. on may 22nd, 2013 the british
police noticed is when the knife attack happened on a british soldier, lee rig by in southeast london. that was may 22nd, 2013. whether that has anything to do with this or not, of course, n n one has clue. >> are we clear that it was a single explosion and a single device? you said what they had worried might be a second device was a pile of clothes and it's been deemed not to have been a threat. are they clear this is over now? >> well, as far as we know, they haven't found any other devices. but you raise a good point because so many of the witnesses say they heard more than one explosion. but as far as we know, there's been only one focus point, only one point where they believe an explosive device was set off. so while people have reported hearing all kinds of things different sounds, we know of only one report of a place where
a bomb went off. >> nbc news chief justice correspondent pete williams. >> the question rises if anything is going to be done in the u.s. because we've seen this happen before. folks at homeland security tonight say they don't have any plans to put out bulletins to local law enforcement at this point and you can well understand that. local police chiefs understand the news too. they see it on the internet. they don't need the department of homeland security to tell them what's already known. if there's some thought there's any threat in the u.s. and there's no indication of that at this point. the only place we know of where the police have done anything differently is in new york. they have such a large police force that is so atuned to the terror threat, that whatever anything like this happens anywhere in the world, as
striktdly a precaution with no indication that there's a threat, they deploy extra police. they have extra police out tonight in times square. they say they've got extra police at the exits and entrances at yankee stadium where there's a game tonight. braufr broadway is dark on monday nights. >> invalue to have you here would you say tonight. joining us from london is chief foreign correspondent. what can be expected here in terms of a potential responsibility for this? >> well, we are waiting to hear a statement from the british police. it could happen very soon, maybe in the next 20, 30 minutes. as you mention, this is a concert that attracts a lot of young people. parents bringing their teens or
younger than that. because this concert was letting out when this ploegs took place, a lot of people got separated. and there were reports initially, police and venue organizers were telling parents that if they got separated from their children to meet up at a local hotel, at a local holiday inn. there's one witness account saying among the debris, among the shrapnel, he saw nuts and bolts, and that would be very typical of something that a suicide bomber would stuff into a device in order to create more shrapnel. still, the death toll is one bomb, u.s. officials saying they believe it was a suicide bomb. it's being treated as a terrorist incident here. there have been ongoing checks to see if there were secondary devices. so far no secondary device was
found. the most suspicious package was this package of abandoned clothing. it's being treated as an event that's over but they're not entirely sure of that because this is right in the heart of manchester. 21,000 capacity arena. ariana grande was on a european tour. she was on her way to london next. it's right in the heart of manchester. there's this train station nearby. there's a lot of potential secondary targets, train disruption in the area has been reported. this is of great concern. there's nothing anyone else in the country's talking about >> why not in terms of your experience with these matters having reported on them all over the world, is it surprising you to to hear that they are suspecting a suicide bomber? we don't have confirming
information, but rather than a backpack bomb being left andrew bench or something, they're saying this might have been person wearing a suicide bomb. does that surprise you at all for england? >> it would have surprised me, frankly, a few years ago. you would have thought the kind of attacker you would find in a place like the uk or in a place like western europe would be the kind of attacker who's inspired by an extremist cause but doesn't want to necessarily give up his or her life for it. but it's no longer the case. now you're talking about people, and if this is in fact terrorism and the uk police are treating it as if until proven otherwise, it's not the case anymore that you have people who are just inspired enough to build a bomb and leave it by the road side like you saw happened in chelsea in manhattan not that long ago.
instead you are finding people who are incredibly motivated, willing to give up their own lives and willing to die for their extremist cause. so no, it would have surprised me two years ago, five years ago, but not anymore. >> richard engle, thank you tonight. appreciate it. i want to bring into the conversation now with an za ra at the. thank you for joining us particularly on short notice as we're following this breaking news tonight. appreciate you being here. >> thank you rachel, i appreciate being on. >> i wonder if you could talk to us about what u.s. officials -- how much they'll know about what's happening in the uk. this is obviously happening in one of our greatest allies if not our greatest ally in the world. they have incredibly capable police force and intelligence service, and they work very closely with u.s. officials. you served as deputy national security adviser. can you walk us what's going on
on the u.s. side of this. >> absolutely, rachel. you've laid the grande work for this, the ties between the u.s. and uk are incredibly tight. information sharing is deep, it's constant, and it's very open. u.s. officials will be not only trying to learn what's happening on the ground, but trying to look through no doubt other clues or threat information that they may have had in the run-up to this attack, trying to support british authorities in whatever they're trying to pursue but also getting a feedback loop so that u.s. authorities can check their databases and threads and be as supportive as possible. i was in the white house on 7/7 back in 2015. you're trying to as supportive as possible to british authorities but you're also trying to see threat threads that may gave you sense of whether this is part of grander
plot, whether or not new information gives you more clues as to what happened. any information that can be fed back to the british to try to prevent further attacks, and the british are not only going to be doing forensics, they'll be looking for clues for further suspicious activity and maybe even support networks they will need to arrest and disrupt. u.s. authorities are trying to do everything possible to be supportive through the fbi, cia, the department of homeland security, through the state department. but at this point there's a lot of fog of war, and u.s. authorities are likely trying to figure out just as much as the british authorities are as to what exactly happened. >> a couple times you used the phrase ".net threads" that the u.s. officials will be going through them to see if they can not only figure out what might have happened but figure out whether it might be connected to something else if this is god forbid part of some larger part.
what exactly does that mean, threat threads? >> every day information comes to the intelligence community, law enforcement community, state department. they're looking at a matrix in essence of serious threats, some are more serious than others. some deserve more attention than others. but you start and stop every day by looking at those threats and understanding what's happening to deal with those threats, to understand whether or not they're real, to understand how information's being developed around those threats, and ultimately to disrupt those that turn out to be serious and tangible threats. and so what i was suggesting with threat threads is you have these thres you're monitoring all the time, and there m be some that in light of an attack like this look to be more serious, certainly look to be more relevant than before the
attack. so on that may be what counterterrorism officials may be doing as we speak to make sure we haven't missed something, that there isn't some bit of information that might prove relevant to british authorities as they try to deal with the aftermath of this attack. >> i can imagine obviously just approaching this from a layman's perspective. pop concerts where there might have been specific to manchester or otherwise specific to what happened here looking for anything that might link to this that might not have seen before this happened, may become of new relevance now we've seen what happened. can i ask you one other part of this that was mentioned by pete williams at the top of the hour. i had not thought to look for this and i'm glad he brought this to us. looking at potential
anniversaries. unfortunately one of the things we learned with our international experience of terrorist attacks over the last 15 years is that they are more frequently than you think tied to anniversaries, and i tell you, may or may not be a coincidence, but may 22nd, 2013 was that horrific attack on the streets of london where a british soldier named lee rig by was attacked for no reason at all, beheaded in the street by two men who then ranted to cameras and passers by until they were arrested saying they killed him for their own political views, for their radical islamic views. do you think that that's something relevant as a thread likely to be a coincidence until proven otherwise? >> rachel, it's a great question. i tend to believe it tends to be a coincidence until proven otherwise. operatives taking advantage of the opportunity they have before
them. they'll skmoouf per trait the attack when the stunt there when they think they can succeed. if we're talking about isis or al qaeda or radicalized individual part of group or movement who looked to the symbolism and psychological impact of their attack, and it doesn't gown noticed that there are these anniversaries. you're absolutely right, the lee rig bicase was a horrific event, part of which was caught on video, and that's what made it so horrific. but it's a harbinger of these of any kind attacks, they used a car, they had knives, they attacked a soldier on the streets, and in some ways it was a harbinger of these attacks you've begun to see in europe over the last few years. pete is absolutely right. he's one of the great reporters and correspondents in this space. he's right to raise that issue. i would just wait to see what we
find in terms of who this actually was, whether or not he was tied to a known network and whether or not there was some sort of inspiration from that 2013 attack. but i wouldn't jump to conclusions at this point. >> with an za rather, thea. god to have you here with us tonight. thank you for being here. >> thank you, rachel, be i appreciate it. >> we have one new piece of video from the scene in manchester. it's short. it's only about 12 seconds. i'm advised it's not in its own right graphic in the sense that it is not bloody, but it does show people in distress trying to get out of this venue upon this explosion happening. this is about 12 seconds of video we've just got this in. [ screaming ] >> oh, my god! [ screaming ] >> you see the young people in
the crowd. you can hear it from the tone of the young women from the girls who are shouting here. you see people jumping to try to essentially get around the cue of people. you get the sense of panic in that room. mindful of the prospect that we've got a death toll of 19 tonight. we do not know if those 19 deaths were caused all of them by the explosion. it is possible. and looking at some of this tape, it seems very possible that some of the deaths and injuries may have been caused by the panic and the rush of people to get out of this venue. we don't yet know that either way. but obviously a lot of parents there with their kids, a lot of kids there on their own with worried parents now trying to find them. it's about five hours ahead of the u.s. east coast, the time
dirs in london. it's after 2:00 a.m. in manchester now. people trying to find each other is going to be a big part of now until the dawn hours in england. i want to bring in now to this conversation malcolm nance, terrorism analyst and a great help to us on nights like this. thank you for being with us tonight. i appreciate your time. >> glad i could help out. >> malcolm, we obviously know what we know about this, which is not much. i always expect that what we think we know will change, but we know enough to know this is terrible. we have dozens reported injured. we know the venue was filled with a lot of 11, 12, 13, 14-year-old girls and young people. that was basically the target audience for an ariana grande show. we're also told that the working hypothesis is suicide bomber. can you tell us what we should
be looking at in terms of trying to nail down what really happened here, and if there's other attacks like this that this reminds you of. >> it certainly reminds me of over attacks, if it turns out to be a suicide bomber at a large venue. one is the the bataclan incident in france where two suicide bombers attacked the stadium of france during a major game which much even the french president. one suicide bomber went up to a security checkpoint and his job was to get the crowd to stampede and move to another exit that was closer to the north side of the stadium near a giant home depot type store where the second bomber was waiting, and then that would create a cross stampede. but it didn't happen. the first bomber blew up, and
everyone in the stadium remained call them they went down onto the pitch, and the second bomber panicked and blew himself up. now, first things first. it is very, very clear when there is an actual suicide bombing, and i don't think this is this has been mentioned. it's a little graphic. i've been around numerous suicide bombings. there's one thing we look for in a post-incident attack of this type if it is an explosive bombing using a human guided weapon which what we call suicide bombers. we look for the bomber and what remains of the bomber. you can always tell that it's very different injuries from all of the immediate victims because the bomber tends to separate into multiple pieces and usually the torso, head, and arms go in four different directions based on whether he was carrying a belt or whether he's carrying a
backpack. that is what we call the da item. that is the point of origin of the bombing. from that point we can figure out based on the blast injuries, the victims, whether this was a suicide bombing or not. unfortunately, british police obviously found that the casualty with the most extensive injuries was probably a suicide bomber based on the blast effect of moving those body parts at the various different directions. >> malcolm, i know you've written extensively and you have extensive experience professionally in fighting against al qaeda and isis. if this is a suicide bombing, if this is a suicide bomber using a backpack in a public area adjacent to this venue tonight, which is the best data we have right now, is any of that a hall mark of anything? is that a generic enough mo that
it doesn't tell you much about what might have been the group that directed or inspired this or the type of ideology that might have motivated the bomber or is that a generic attack plan? >> i'm not sure if we should embrace the phrase generic. unfortunately, it is. it's becoming a university methodology. in england, we can put our fingers on every attack that still been carried out with an explosive device that was a suicide bombing in england. this one, and then you pretty much have to jump all the way back to the 77 bombings back in 2015. sorry i almost confused it with the madrid bombing that occurred
at the same time. these attacks were few and far between. we've seen knife attacks, eve seen vehicle attacks. we have seen many bombing plots that were disrupted by britain's premier special operations organization over there and their mi5 intelligence group. but the very fact that this bomber chose an explosive device, or this terrorist chose an explosive device, that tells me they have a level of dedication, logistics training that is different from all the previous attacks. in europe you can almost expect that because we've seen those attacks come across. we also know european terrorists members of isis and al qaeda have cross pollinated with british terrorists who were suspected of being part of those organizations. but this one actually occurred,
which means that everything came into play, bringing together a terrorist correctly, it could have been a one-man correctly, or a five-man correctly. we don't know. putting a bomb into an actual working device. based on the number of victors even if it's a crowd in a dense area like that, if the bomb is weak, you're going to have a lot of injuries. you're not going to have a lot of deaths. you usually have one or two deaths. if the bomb is very strong and professionally done, that's where you get casualties like this where you have a lot of immediate victims around the have had bomber. >> malcolm nance, i appreciate you being with us tonight. thank you for helping us out. >> yes, indeed. >> let me tell you, we've got a statement from theresa may. she calls it an aappalling
terrorist attack these are early days and we are still trying to figure out exactly what has happened here. right now we're told that the death toll is 19. that dozens, probably 50 people are injured. but i'm happy to say we can go now to manchester itself. joining us now by phone is he linen pid. she's a guardian reporter on the ground in manchester tonight. thank you for joining us. i appreciate your time. >> that's okay. >> can you tell us if we know anything further about the basics of this attack? the assumption we're working from here are a single supposition, possibly a suicide bomber with an explosive device in a backpack. beyond that we don't know what we should be reporting. >> i want to say i don't want to add to further speculation. there's a lot of unsubstan shaded rumors going around. i'm standing right now outside
manchester infirmary. there's an emergency department dedicated to children. it's a good four hours after the incident, and we're still getting ambulances arriving. so there are children new england injured. we know there's at least 50 people injured and 19 is the death toll. that's the last update an hour or so ago. >> while you've been there, you've been seeing a steady stream of ambulances arriving with patients? >> yeah. and people obviously coming to try and find their loved ones. i just spoke to a 17 year old girl who was at the concert with her best friend and their grand dad, a 64-year-old man. he had been schappe roaning them to the concert.
he was just waiting by the merchandise stand which is kind of in a tunnel almost underneath and by one of the exits. it seemed he was near where the blast happened, and i heard a massive blast and he realized he was bleeding and parts of his cheek has been severed. there's lots of people coming by understandably too shocked and not wanting to speak to journalists which i can absolutely understand. >> he linen, from that description you just gave us which is harrowing, i should say, does that tell you anything -- being familiar with that area and with that venue, does that seem to jive with what place have described or the venue has described as their belief the explosive device was actually not inside the venue, that it may have been in public space outside and adjacent to? does that make sense?
>> yeah. more ambulances are about to go past so you're going to hear ambulances. they might mask what i'm saying. hold on. [ sirens ] another ambulance going to the children's casualty ward. yeah, it just seems if you're standing on the stage, it was stage right. everybody agrees on that and it seems to have been perhaps underneath the seats in the connecting tunnel that gets you out into the station. this arena is attached to a bunch of railway stations. and that's how you exit. i've spoken to quite a few very young, very shocked people wandering around.
ariana grande had only -- the concert just finished. she did her encore. she went off strangers and then bang. big explosion. suddenly a lot of smoke and a lot of terrified young people. >> i'll ask you one last question. have there bee more recent concerns, more concerns recently than usual of uptick of concern in the northwest of england in recent weeks and months? >> another ambulance has just arrived. no, not really, not specifically in manchester. i'm sure you're in america you're aware of the westminster
attack. it was always a question of when really living in a big city. but an ariana grande concert, it's very -- sorry, more ambulances are arriving. >> he linen pid, guardian newspaper reporter on the ground in manchester tonight right outside the manchester royal inmidtermi infirmary. [ no audio ] -- authorities in the uk now telling nbc news that the forensic evidence at the scene indicates that was a suicide attack, brief aside on that.
we were just speaking to malcolm nance about that, someone in his work in the military and intelligence has been physically on scene at more than one suicide bombing. one of the things he was describing to us is that when there is a suicide bomber, more often than not, the forensic detailing of the scene will also include telltale danger to the bomber's body that is different than the type of carnage he's able to inflict on others, and it's a graphic consequence of the physics of wearing a bill of indictment we're told forensic evidence at the scene indicates that was a suicide attack. in addition a senior law enforcement official briefed on the british investigation says they believe they have tentatively identified the bomber. that said, law enforcement officials not providing any additional information on the identity of the bomber, but this is u.s. officials telling nbc news this.
we've been briefed by uk authorities, the indications are for this alleged suicidebomber, but that's as far we can go right now. i want to bring into the conversation a "new york times" correspondent who focuses on al qaeda and isis. thank you for coming in. >> my pleasure. >> it is obviously early for us to be getting indirect correct details of this, let alone any understanding who may have caused this. is there anything you're able to see or report on in terrorist circles online? >> the obvious question is this the islamic state or al qaeda? neither group at this point has claimed this attack. what we know from past attacks it takes them several hours, sometimes up to a day to claim them. if the reporting is correct and indeed this was a suicide bomber, and he is now dead, and he happens to be from one of these two groups, we will expect a claim of responsibility. we've seen in the past that when
the attacker's still at large, isis will not claim it. the speculation around that is they don't want to complicate that person's investigation. but if the reporting is correct and this person is now dead, then that clears the path for that. one question that i have is what is the type of explosive that was used? al qaeda used a variety of explosives in the types of attacks they've done in europe isis by contrast has been rather predictable. they use something called, ttat. investigators should know quickly just by testing the residue of the material that is left at the scene whether it is a per rocks side based explosive. if that is the case, in my mind, it raises the probability that it is isis because in so many attacks, this is the type of
signature they've left including at the paris attacks, including the vev yay attack and the brussels bombing. >> you're saying isis basically always uses taptp. >> in europe. >> is it true other groups don't use that? >> al qaeda has university it, but they're much more varied. they use something all day htmd. these ack nims don't mean much to the viewers, but it would suggest different compounds and different ways of making them. isis seems to have a kpoet for this because we've seen, theatp being used over and over again in western europe and there's a good reason for that, which is that tie acetone per rocks side is made from acetone and per rocks side. >> both easily obtainable things. after the attacks we've seen in europe, have there been any efforts to try to prevent people
or at least alert whenever people buy those things in sufficient quantities? >> that's the problem. you don't need norms quantities of them. and these are things -- acetone is used in things we use in our homes. per rock side is used to make blond. but that is why it's ideal for use in europe because it doesn't set off the trip wires that other types of explosive would. >> are you sing anything in terms of cheering? gratifications. >> yes, enormous celebrations, disgusting to wash. they've created a hashtag #manchester. they're reposting the past threats and posters they've made targeting england. when the paris attack happened, there was a video that was released by the attackers that showed them in iraq and syria
plume bly carrying out beheadings and other atrocities. the next was the united kingdom. that was in november in 2015 and, of course, nothing happened after that. that is the puzzling thing about isis and the united kingdom a very large number of fighters are from the uk. jihadi john was british. but we've seen far less attacks in britain than we've seen, for example, in belgium and france. even though the numbers of fighters are roughly similar. >> it was noted earlier, i should tell you we are expecting a news conference from manchester police in a moment. there is an anniversary here in terms of british attacks, that the lee rig by attack this unbelievable graphic attack on a
british soldier who was beheaded in the middle of a street on camera, that was may 22nd, 2013. obviously we don't know if that's significant. might be a coincidence. did that strike you as a relevant factor to look at in terms of ascertaining what happened? >> that's a universal way in terms of the terror group we know as isis at least. in 2013 isis had not yet declared its caliphate, for example. at that point al qaeda was really the big dog on the scene. so at this point counterterrorism officials that i speak to say isis has a greater capability of carrying out these attacks than al qaeda. charl charlie hebdo was isis. >> what direction does it effect its ability to project force in europe outside its bounds of
territory that it controls? >> the narrative we've harder out of washington and capitals in europe as isis' caliphate is shrinking and coming under pressure that they're going to wash out. that sound like it makes sense, unfortunately the data doesn't back it up because the first attempted attacks in europe were by fighters who left iraq and syria long before air strikes began. there have been so many foiled attacks before then, and in the very declaration of the caliphate, the spokesman of isis spoke about targeting the rest. so in my opinion these two objectivities, holding ground, governing a territory and haight the west, are twin goals of the islamic state and i don't believe there's a relationship between the pressure they're facing now and attempts to strike out. >> "new york times" correspondent who focuses on al
qaeda and isis. no claims of responsibility here. police are treating this as a terrorist incident. the working hypothesis is it was a suicide bomber. no claims of responsibility yet, but lots of celebrating as you said online and the chat rooms where that would happen. appreciate you being here. i want to bring in now to the coverings law enforcement expert jim cavanaugh who has among his many years of experience in law enforcement a lot of time working with explosives and working with extremist at the atf. thanks for being with us tonight. appreciate it. >>ness that, rachel. >> what are the other types of attacks that are in this category that you would put in this same column in terms of the m.o. that we saw here with this attack in manchester? is this like anything else? >> well, you know there are a lot of suicides by bomb. i've worked a number of those.
i remember one a few years ago where a man blew himself up in a land rover outside the oppositery land hotel in nashville which is the second largest hotel in america and everybody thought it was terrorism but it was suicide by bill of indictment what we have to remember here, and that is not uncommon. people do kill themselves with bombs. there was a guy outside a oklahoma stadium in 2005 that looked like it m he been suicide with a bomb you'd say stadium full opeople of the so it does happen. but here, rachel, like you were talking with the authorities reporter, this is more a homicide suicide. the bomber's waiting for the crowd. the interesting point i think, of course, the timing and the targeting, i don't think he penetrated the security from what we know and pete's reported. he was likely right outside the venue. and he had to wait. i'd be surprised if he walked up
and instantly detonated the device. more than likely he had to wait a while. how long that is will be interesting to find out. five minutes? ten mints, was he loitering outside the box office quite a while? it could detect a future attack. this is similar to the paris attack where the two bombers were outside the venue and other attacks where the bombers were just before security, the belgian airport. before security with their bombs. so this guy here might have loitered there a while. and if so, security might have picked him up. a bomb sniffing dog, if you have a backpack full of explosives, hmtd, anything commercial or military grade a bomb dog will smell you across the parking lot if you have that thing full of
explosives. he's going to learn on you right away. that backpack's going to heavy because it's loaded with nails or nuts and bolts, ball bearings, it's very heavy. and i would venture to say lot of these casualties and fatalities are going to be in proximity to the bomber. there's going to be a lot of vicious wounds and fatality wounds right there. a nail bomb shrapnel bomb san anti-personnel bomb designed to kill people in proximity. >> jim, i'm going to ask dow hold on for just one second. we have an eyewitness on the phone who i want to bring into the conversation live. joining us now by phone from manchester, england is zack hannif. he was an eyewitnesses to the explosion at the concert. thank you for calling us tonight.
we appreciate your time. >> hi. zblaungs tell us where you were and what you saw. >> so i was at the ariana concert. we were sat on the right side of the stage, my and my friend. it was straight after she finished performing her last song, "dangerous woman." we had this huge bang after she left the stage. in the moment you don't think these things are going to happen to you, so you assume -- you don't assume much. we didn't assume anything. everyone started walking and suddenly because we could see the whole arena. we saw everyone on the bottom floor screaming, running, shouting trying to get out of the way as quickly as possible. we didn't know what to do. as soon as we got out of the arena into the lobby where the arena exits were, people were screaming, frantically crying trying to escape. there were people with blood down them and people that were
seriously injured. there was security everywhere. as soon as we got outside, the police cars flying by, ambulances, everything was going crazy and frantic. we didn't know what happened until people said the words bomb and explosion. that's when everyone got really shakien up. >> as you were leaving, you're painting picture that's very, very cleefrmt as you were leaving getting out from your seats and out of the venue and onto the streets, was it safe in terms of the way people were leaving there were people with blood down them we didn't tell wasn't like they were a lot or anything. it was scratches and marks. and i think because everyone was so frantic they would have been discovered. i heard on the new year's earlier there was a lady on the wheelchair that couldn't get out and she was seriously injured
because she couldn't move like everyone else out of the arena. so i recon a lot of the injuries came a lot from that. also in a state where you heard the word bomb and explosive, you can try to calm people down, but people will sprint and trample, human instincts to get out. >> in terms of the response from police emergency services, you said that there was a big presence in the streets instantly as soon as you got out of the venue. do you feel like they handled the situation in an orderly and appropriate way? do you feel the police response was appropriate? talk about to
about it. thank you. >> thank you so much. >> you see in the lower right corner of the screen there, you're starting to see people sort of wander into that frame. the reason that we've got that live -- or the reason -- there we go. the reason we have that image up there and we're keeping a camera on that, that is where we are expecting the british police,
the manchester police, which is the big police department. man chester is a good-sized city in the north of england. we're expecting a briefing from them any minute. you see the local time there, nearly 3:00 a.m. in manchester. again, this happened, the bomb, what we believe is a bomb that happened roughly at 10:35 p.m. local time. so this is a briefing we're expecting to be live from manchester pd. we'll go to that as soon as it starts. i want to bring in now to the conversation vikram dodd, for thank you very much for being with us. >> hello. >> we have very little reporting tonight in terms of what has happened and what believe has happened. we have a death toll of 19. we're told the injuries are in the dozens. possibly 50 people injured. we're told essentially the working hypothesis of investigators on the scene is that this was a suicide bomber who may have had the bomb in a backpack, and that the bomb seems to have gone off immediately outside the venue.
i just wanted to check to see if those facts comport with what you've been able to report thus far, and if you can add anything to that? >> yeah, i think you're absolutely right. in terms of the initial theory, what they can see at the scene, they think a suicide theory. they'll be looking at a lot of other such as was there a network, why did the bomb cause so much carnage, so much loss of life. what is the construction of the bomb? can they run that against other bomb designs to give you any clue about who might have made it, what kind of group might be behind it. and a bigger issue, which will be relevant here, relevant to viewers over there and frankly everywhere that has any concern about terrorism is what does this tell us about how we protect public buildings and big spaces? this is thousands and thousands of people. britain is a country that is
very, very used to terrorism beyond the irish cause. from the jihadist cause. and we had gone through review after review about how do we keep people safe, especially in big crowded spaces. this is going to be a learning around the world about what happened and how do we minimize the chances of that happening again. >> vikram, we're told in our sources here is elaborate but specific, we're told by a junior u.s. law enforcement official who was briefed on the british investigation by british officials. and from that sourcing we have a reporting that they believe they have at least tentatively identified the bomber. they believe it's a suicide bomber. they found a body that they believe was the bomber's body, and they believe they may have a tentative identification who have it is. from what you know of the way uk authorities approach these things, and the type of investigation, the contours of an investigation like this, will
it help them substantially to get an identification? and should we expect that identification to be publicly released? >> this jurisdiction, the british jurisdiction are less open than the one you're used to in the united states. for instance, i was watching some uk media coverage, and them saying well, the americans are running ahead in terms of casualties and the suicide bomber line. so it's not impossible that you'll hear it from your intelligence officials first rather than us. the identification is key. they'll run the electronics on that person. first, though, they'll check the known, are they known in the database. there are thousands and thousands of people subjects of interest who mi-5 which is the new uk domestic security service and counterterrorism officials. they'll run that name. almost certainly it will be somewhere.
highly unlikely they won't have it somewhere at some stage since the modern age of terrorism began. and then they'll run associates, the electronics, social media. and that will be -- that's going to be a crucial, crucial part will be the id. there is going to be other things they need to bring into play whi is another bigger picture which is the analysis of this. given what happened in the westminster attack in march 22nd, given that we had two weeks after that two plots they think may have been pretty significant, which they disrupted. that's what they believe. obviously those people are considered innocent at this stage. is there something optic here in terms of the threat that the uk faces. is there some that the west faces. the uk generally which means attack highly likely for two and a half years now.
we haven't got a lot further to go in terms of prepared. there will be a review going on now that whether the threat level needs to go up. >> vikram dodd, the crime and terrorism reporter at the guardian newspaper. thank you for helping was this tonight. i really appreciate your time. >> no problem. good luck. >> here with me on seat is a "new york times" correspondent who works on al qaeda as her beat. what vikram was just saying about the id of this possible suspect. if they believe the suicide bomber, if they believe they've got his body, if they believe they've got an id, how do you -- how good a first step is a name in terms of tying this to any larger potential plot? >> a bigger first step is a name and that person's electronics. so if this person was working with al qaeda or isis, there is going to be an electronic chain. usually for isis it's on telegram, which is a messaging
app on their phone which has an encrypted feature. same with al qaeda. they have chat rooms. the very first thing officials will be doing is going through that person's channels on their burner phone, on their computer, their ipad and trying to see if there is a history. now what's happened as far as isis attackers, recent and again, we don't know this is isis. it has not been claimed by any group. but they've become increase leg good at using burner phones and erasing their history. for example, in san bernardino, even though isis claimed that attack, to this date i don't believe that officials have been able to recover the electronics that that person, that that couple used in the lead-up to that attack. so that key link is missing. we saw, for instance during the paris attacks that they were using burner phones. abdelhamid who was the leader of the attack and died a couple of days later, his body was found next to a stack of unopened
burner phones. >> wow. >> that's the trick. if depending on their sophistication, they would have taken steps to erase the history or else to use throwaway, throwaway phones in order to hide their trarks as cracks. >> yes. >> thank you for being with us tonight. i appreciate it. our msnbc coverage continues now. we'll be covering the latest from manchester, england, all night. i'll remind you that we are awaiting any minute now live briefing from the manchester police department, which of course is the lead agency on this tonight as we start to get more and more scraps of intelligence and information what may have happened here. but, again, the terrible bottom line here is we believe 19 people have died. my colleague brian williams picks up our coverage now. good evening, brian. >> good evening, rachel, and thank you. our colleague lawrence o'donnell is up in boston tonight at a family event. so we're going to devote this next hour to continuing coverage of this breaking story that