Skip to main content

tv   The Last Word With Lawrence O Donnell  MSNBC  June 3, 2017 5:00pm-6:01pm PDT

5:00 pm
though they've already done that. >> nbc's matt bradley at the closest position that you can get right now to london bridge where there was a terrorist incident. those are the words coming from the metropolitan police. if you're just joining us here on msnbc, we're in rolling coverage right now of a breaking news incident in london. downtown london at the famous london bridge as you see in the lower right-hand part of your screen, the map. not too far away also, borough market, there are two locations that metropolitan police are looking at right now. what we just learned in the last ten minutes, they are now calling the two incident areas and that which happened at london bridge and borough market as terrorist incidents. they are also telling us, metropolitan police, here at nbc news, that firearms related to that, number one, that a car number two is related to it, and number three, that knives also
5:01 pm
associated with what they're again calling terrorist incidents. for the louisiana two hours we did not hear that word "terror," we did not hear that word "terrorism," very careful because of what that might mean based on using such terminology. and then the prime minister, theresa may, within the last 15 minutes, saying that it's potentially an act of terrorism. that all happening in terms of the numbers of those associated with this, the suspects. we have no confirmed information in terms of whether it was a man or a woman, whether it was one, two, three, four, or five individuals who are now suspects in these incidents. we only understand it is now being considered, at least in terms of confirmed reports, that this is a terrorist -- these are both considered terrorist incidents and that we have these items that are associated with this. that is what we know at the top of the hour. it is 8:00 p.m. in new york
5:02 pm
where we are at. it is 1:00 a.m. in london, england, where this incident is happening at this moment. terrorism analyst malcolm nance, msnbc contributor, is with us. so malcolm, since the last time you and i spoke, not too long ago, maybe 15, 20 minutes ago, we have major developments and that is now the use here of terrorist incidents as how to describe what has happened. you heard the items i was enumerating that were used, that have been confirmed so far. but we don't have any information about suspects, what they might be doing in terms of suspect or suspects. >> you're absolutely right. and it's good that it came from the office of the prime minister, that they're treating it as a potential act of terrorism, which means they've got intelligence that we certainly don't have. we do have little pieces of the picture. but this giant jigsaw is hard to
5:03 pm
comprehend. we know that a vehicle was going down london bridge and zig-zagging. that is indicative of someone who is either deliberately or with some impairment striking pedestrians. what happened at the end of that bridge is critical. and i think we heard joe, the student from king's college in london, give an eyewitness account that there were shots, multiple shots, fired. that's a pretty populated area down there, borough. if you've been to london bridge there's a place called the london bridge experience. and that's where you would have possibly afos, armed firearmed officers. that's london's officers who are allowed to carry firearms and are put into high-pedestrian places, high-value places. certainly after the westminster bridge attack, it would be viable that somebody was there. if someone fled that scene and headed towards borough market, which is only a few blocks away,
5:04 pm
then that makes a lot more sense that a police officer engaged that individual with a firearm. we don't know anything after that. whether people were attacked with knives, whether they got the person that they were engaging with firearms. but the prime minister of england does. if they say it's potential terrorism, then these little facts as we start to get them will really start to fill out the story. >> do they shift gears here, malcolm? now that we're using -- now it's being called terrorist incidents. it's a different gear that they're in once they have come, they've triangulated all the data as they carefully have been doing, as you've described as well as jim cavenaugh has described. now they've hit this point of now calling these terrorist incidents. do they hit a different gear? >> i think that for the initial response, i'm sure it was pretty much in the proper gear. what's going to happen after
5:05 pm
this is going to depend on the intelligence, like jim cavenaugh said. the first thing we do is go through their pockets. i've done that with suicide bomber repains. you go through and you try to get any information you can on that individual. the registration of the vehicle. any pocket litter. things that are on that person. you know, the knife, the weapons. if there's firearms, anything. you run that down as fast as possible. that's when the detectives of scotland yard and the so-19, special operations force of the metropolitan police, that's when they will really kick it into gear. then what they're going to do is, like jim said, they're going to scrub this against the entire national terrorism investigation data base. because they may have actually seen an indication but hadn't pulled the trigger on these individuals, or they may be watching other individuals who may be mobilizing because of this incident. and it's quite possible that
5:06 pm
this is tied to calls by other terrorist groups, isis in particular, for attacks during the holy month of ramadan, which has become a trademark of isis. it's an anathema to every muslim in the world but isis sees this as special mission period. if you tie this to the ariana grande concert, you have a continue wum of attacks that take place every three to four weeks. the british intelligence mi5 are going to be tearing this thing apart. you'll hear the next 24 hours numerous raids. they can't take any more chances that there's another team of people or an individual who may be ready to carry out this attack once he sees the enormous publicity that this is going to gain. >> given that this suspect could be listening and could be watching and is seeing now that this marker has been used, that these are now being called terrorist incidents by the
5:07 pm
metropolitan police, does that mean that metropolitan police are closer? do they have any concern about communicating about signaling what they might be thinking or what they might be doing? a change in language is part of that potential signalling? >> well, i think that the change in language, you know, is almost a postscript. you know, we've been at this for about three hours. they've had their information in the first 10, 15 minutes. probably wanted to seal it down. and now they've got a lead on the information as it's coming out. so they could be already kicking down doors. shaking up people. intensifying their surveillance on individuals. and preparing armed teams around the city or around the country to start rolling people up. to start getting the advance on anyone who could possibly have any potential to want to do this. but don't forget, this may be a
5:08 pm
relatively small unit incident where you have individuals, one, two, a maximum of three, who may have done this on their own. thought it up, conceptualized it, took the weapons or took the vehicle, and just did it. and we saw that in -- you see that in israel with what we call vehicle as weapons systems attacks. or suicide individual weapons attacks. where you take a kitchen knife, you get in your own car, you drive it into a group of soldiers, and you take your knife out and you start killing people or hurting people, until you are killed. and you cannot predict that unless you have already had surveillance on that individual and he gave you some idea that they were going to carry out that type of attack. very, very difficult counterterrorism here. >> very difficult counterterrorism. gruesome strategy. but the reality, as you're always so well versed in
5:09 pm
describing to us, malcolm. i'll bring in lucy kafanov who has been with us as well. lucy, we have the metropolitan police about 15 minutes ago calling this a terrorist incident. you and i were talking, it was the prime minister saying it was a potential act of terrorism. >> that's right, the prime minister indicating this would be treated as a potential act of terrorism. now the authorities, the british police in london, saying this is, in fact, being declared terrorist incidents. both the attack at london bridge which appeared to be the sort of hit and run with that white van and the stabbings at nearby borough market as we discussed just a few moments ago, the vauxhall incident is no longer part of those two major terrorist incidents. i do want to give you some color, though. it does appear that police are still trying to evacuate that area even though this attack took place about two hours ago. there's still obviously a lot people there. it appears they're using lifeboats, life rafts, on the
5:10 pm
thames river, to get some of the injured civilians and other civilians out of that area. it looks like they want to get as many people out of there as possible so that they can continue on with their investigation. we don't know where this investigation is at. is there a suspect that they're searching for? has that suspect been, or suspects, been detained, killed? we simply don't know. there's no information coming out about that. if they are continuing to evacuate those areas and to clear those areas, that's a pretty good sign that there is something still ongoing. not just the investigation, but basically trying to get to the bottom of this. how exactly this unfolded. and what kind of, more importantly perhaps what kind of potential threat still exists to the public here in london. so that is the latest we have for you, richard. we're going to get more facts on the ground. nbc news did learn from speaking to some of the police here that this incident, this terrorist
5:11 pm
attack, if you will, involved both a car, firearms as well, and the knife stabbings. not clear exactly how that played out and in what order, the firearms, that's something that we're learning from one of our reporters on the ground there. this is obviously a complex incident, one that is still very much being handled by the authorities, richard. >> lucy, i want to go to some more witness sound, an interview that happened earlier, so we can get a sense because of so many questions about how and when did this happen, who was involved. let's play a little bit of that. >> somebody arrived at the opening, they'd been cycling through london, i think they'd come over london bridge. and he was really freak the out. he said, there's somebody like randomly stabbing people. and he was really freak the out.
5:12 pm
and i just thought, right, i'm going to try and get home. but i guess i got kind of pushed -- there was a lot of roads cordoned off by the police. so i had to run back of guy's hospital and i found myself in an alleyway, unbeknownst to me, neighbor in the center of things. >> two police firing, free shots. >> did you see -- >> there's a crushed van. it looks like that's obviously where a van hit. >> malcolm nance, more detail coming from eye witness, those who were there. the accuracy, that's always in question. but from what they said, were you able to glean anything? >> well, you know, there's a gap in the information. and we heard that earlier with joe's testimony about the difference between when the critical incident, the van's crashing onto the bridge, and
5:13 pm
when there was gunfire. and there is always a possibility that they had one weapon with just eight rounds. it's hard to get a gun in england that is not a shotgun. or a hunting rifle. it's very hard. whereas it makes a vehicle and a knife way easier as we saw in the westminster incident. but the response of the armed police chasing someone certainly towards borough market would definitely give us that information, give us the shooting that people seem to have taken into account. and when you're in a crisis like this, and i've been through a lot of these, you know, you sort of lose a sense of time. and if you're not really trained and honed to keep your mind focused on the critical incident first, and you know, the subsequent chain of events, it's a little hard. because the thing that catches your eye is always the loud noise, right?
5:14 pm
the gunfire. that could have been five, ten minutes after the critical incident, we just don't know. >> with westminster being an unfortunate parallel, is this in the, if you will, isis guide book? is this in the terrorism attack guide book? >> oh, yes. this has been -- you know, this has been in the pantheon of terrorist tactics for decades. what we're seeing now, certainly with isis, and to a lesser extent with al qaeda, al qaeda was the first one to actually publish this in a manual to use a vehicle what we call vehicle as weapon system. and that's where you just take your car and run over people. armed edged weapons attacks -- knife attacks -- were popularized by al qaeda also. however, the place where we saw these happening all the time was israel. there were over 50 attacks like this in israel with palestinians just using, as we said, suicide
5:15 pm
individual weapons. pick up a knife and attack. then using a vehicle to crash into individuals. we saw 48 of those before the first attack in nice that killed almost 90 people. so what we're seeing is that everyone watches each other. and they see what's effective. they see what tools can be had at hand. and, you know, they also have this doctrine, certainly in isis, that you go to perform these attacks, they expect you to die. and when you are outgunned, outclassed, as we saw in westminster, you might be able to gt off and murder an individual, as we saw unfortunately with the police officer. but you are going to be -- to succumb to the armed officers at some point. so isis is certainly just recently put out on their telegraph channel to get a gun, get a knife, get a vehicle. then carry out attacks during ramadan. but this could be any number of groups or even individuals who are just inspired by that
5:16 pm
cult-like ideology to just go out and perform these attacks. we're going to have to see just whether these guys called in oaths love till and all the other hallmarks you see from isis. >> again, for those who remember the unfortunate westminster attack, that incident only happening, oh, about three months ago. march 22nd. there very close to, again, the palace of westminster. not too far away from where we're talking about. close to the british parliament. driving a car into pedestrians right there on westminster bridge. 50 people injured. four of them were killed. four people killed in addition to that. and that was that, again, unfortunate application, the horror of the use of a car as a weapon to kill individuals that we've been talking about and
5:17 pm
alluding to in our discussion. this part of, as malcolm was describing, part of those best practices for terrorists. quickly here for you, malcolm, when they use the word "terrorist incident," they get to the point they bring in the word, what's the mix of information they need? as you're part of that discussion with them, as you have been part of that discussion in the past, okay, yes, this is potentially a terrorist incident, or yes, this is a terrorist incident? >> right. you know, first off, we go by the definition of terrorism, which is an incident of violence or threat of violence of a political nature, designed to influence an audience beyond the immediate victims. you apply that. this vehicle, was it deliberately put into the crowd? yes. was it an edp, extremely disturbed person or emotionally disturbed person? or was it an individual who was of sound mind and wanted to do
5:18 pm
it for another purpose so that it would be broadcast internationally? that's the first thing they're going to do. intent of the person who was driving the vehicle. i mean, there's incidents of alcohol, we've seen medical emergencies where vehicles leave the road. but if this person was zig-zagging up and down the sidewalk, based on the dbc witness that sounds deliberate. second, what does the individual do after the crash is over? does he just stand there? do we see, like in the lee rigby execution where these terrorists executed a british soldier in the middle of london, they stood there and told everyone they were terrorists, they beheaded this individual, and were waiting to die when the armed police came in. is that what this person did? did he carry out an edged weapon attack? did he carry out a knife attack? or did he attempt to flee? or just continue to create crime
5:19 pm
scenes along the edge? that's how we generally get this categorized in a way from criminality, from emotionally disturbed persons, and then of course the intent of anything they may have said, anything that's in their phone, any messages they may have transmitted. then once we have that, then we'll probably wait a little bit before we call it terrorism. but all the indicators have to be there. >> and we had to, if you will, wait two hours and no doubt it was because of the judicious nature of getting to the point that you've just described here, malcolm. that the metropolitan police as well as the national government were coming together to determine what had actually happened this late saturday evening there in london. and then finally getting that confirmation that it was a terrorist incident, two of them they're saying at least, in london, about 20 minutes ago is when we got that, if you will, confirmation that indeed these were terrorist incidents.
5:20 pm
and then, malcolm, that unfortunate question that we've all had to ask once we hear the word terrorism or terror. lone wolf? or organize in the organized? >> right. there's virtually -- until you run down and new scotland yard gets an identity of that individual, the first thing that's going to happen is they're going to storm his house. and that is just policy. you need to do that to figure out, does this individual have a bomb factory in his house? does this individual have a cell that is on standby? did he abandon everything in his life, as we saw with the san bernardino attackers, to where no one knew what they were doing. that is also isis policy, to isolate yourself away from your family so that they won't know that you've become a terrorist. all of these things are key indicators as we're trying to build the intelligence picture around the attacker. was he emotionally disturbed and
5:21 pm
then chose terrorism as his basis of action? or did he have other individuals? how many people did the police shoot tonight? if they shot any. how many were apprehended? did they talk? we find that terrorists, especially isis members and al qaeda, rather chatty once they're captured. because they brag. they want to show that they are these soldiers of god implementing their cultic version what was they think god wants. and they technically want to die, almost suicide by cop. so for the most part, you know, we will have to see what the met and new scotland yard will get out of them. but for the british to come in two hours, they're pretty sure that they're got definitive intelligence that this is an act of terrorism. >> very careful right to the detail, getting all the sources confirmed, and of course then declaring these are terrorist incidents, which also means then that those in the press like
5:22 pm
ourselves will have questions. those more importantly londoners and brits all across the country want to know more. because if it's an act of terrorism, two incidents at least, they'll want to know, okay, what is next? what exactly happened? so we could, although we've had no reporting as of yet that would indicate it, we may get a statement or some sort of addressing to the press corps, if you will, in london of what has happened. we've not heard that yet but there are so many questions such as, is it one person or many individuals? is it a lone wolf attack or is it organized? and all we've been able to lean on, if you will, as you were alluding to here, malcolm, are witness accounts of what they saw in the location, of the number of people that were involved. i'll give you more information that we're just learning here, malcolm. and this is from nbc's social media distribution editor there in london, fiona day.
5:23 pm
she interviewed an individual there on the ground. and this is what we learned from gerald vals. he said that there were three help all in -- three men all in their 30s. he says he's in shock, not surprising wailsed on what joe dillon, a student there, was telling us earlier too. this eyewitness also saying that pint glasses and chairs were thrown at the attackers. and it's not clear which pub that this eyewitness was in. although it appears that he was in the restaurant that local reports and witnesses say the attackers entered to attack people. okay, so that's what we're hearing now first from an eyewitness reporting to an nbc news reporter. gerald also saying to our social
5:24 pm
media distribution editor, my mate's been stabbed, they're stabbed, they're stabbing everyone." he was quoting a victim that was saying that. so not confirmed by nbc news, this is what we're hearing from one of the eyewitnesses telling an nbc news employee. so there's so many difficulties here. as you know, malcolm. you're searching for confirmed details as well, as much as law enforcement officials there on the ground are. but that's another piece of information that we're getting. because again, we've been trying to understand the number of suspects related to this. we don't know if they're still at large or on the run, whether any have been captured at the moment. all we've leaed the last 25, 30 minutes now is that they're calling this a terrorist incident. there you go, malcolm. a little bit more data. >> yeah. and that's good data.
5:25 pm
that is a solid eyewitness reckoning. you have -- and it makes sense within the pantheon of how some terrorist groups, particularly isis and isis followers, what they would do. you attack on a saturday night, you attack partygoers, people who are in their pubs drinking alcohol. as we know, isis abhors alcohol, they view people who are -- westerners drinking alcohol as essentially a sin punishable by death. to come in in a three-man team after crashing that vehicle jives with some of the things we heard very early on. but coming in and doing a multi-person armed edged weapon attack in a pub, that's organized. and they probably -- i can understand people using improvised implements to ward them off. and then they probably ran off and moved on to another
5:26 pm
location. and did what we call a rolling crime scene. where they were doing incident after incident. and that would explain why one of the armed police officers engaged multiple times. and i think that's what we're going to find out here is that at some point, these individuals were either apprehended, killed, or wounded or may even have got away. and we'll determine that. the british are excellent at keeping things close to their chest. in order to, again, make sure that other people who may be waiting in the wings, who may have been support personnel to come pick them up, or as we call it who these guys may go back to a known location for what we say rearm, restrike, where they just go home, lay low, and then the next night they come out and do it again. the police themselves, and certainly we've already seen indications that the sas liaison
5:27 pm
teams have already arrived in london. and they are going to take this very seriously. so we don't know if the incident's over. it may in fact actually have just died down or we may have a very quiet massive manhunt going on. >> yeah, where we are in the arc of this incident. we're reaching the bottom of the hour. for those just joining us, we are now hearing from metropolitan police within the last 30 minutes, two incidents declared terrorism in london. there by london bridge and borough market. we do not have any information as of yet in terms of the number of suspects that may or may not be at large. we do also have information coming from the metropolitan police that involved in these at least two terrorist incidents that firearms, number two a car, and three, knifes were involved.
5:28 pm
they will have a cobra meeting, theresa may the prime minister, that has also been announced that the equivalent of a gathering of the situation room there at the white house, that type of meeting will be happening within hours as well we are hearing. that is the latest at the bottom of hour, if you're just joining us. it's been about 3 1/2 hours. the time line starting around the 10:00 p.m. hour locally in london, england. joining me now is nbc news' global editor of digital content. this is a space that you've covered before, cal perry. he will help colead our coverage going forward this evening. and cal, what are you watching in terms of what is happening so far? >> well, i'll start by echoing what malcolm nance has said. first and foremost jumping out is this gun, firearm. this is not the united states, the united kingdom, it's incredibly difficult to get your
5:29 pm
hands on a firearm. that may have taken some coordination. there might be potentially, this is what police are going to be looking at, potentially a cell or group of people behind the facilitation of what we now know was an initial terrorist attack on london bridge. i should also say that one of the things that is of concern to all security forces around the world is what we call a secondary attack. that is the way that all security forces will react. in other words, somebody took this van, they rammed people on the bridge, the concern immediately, that metropolitan police would have had, is to clear the area. because as we know, unfortunately, there is a picture of that van, unfortunately what we know now in the united kingdom in the past few weeks is somebody is making bombs. so that is of major concern in the metropolitan police. we now know there is a second scene that is developing. we've talked about it. that is that market area. i want to make it clear to our viewers here in the united states that when we think of a market here in the u.s., we think of an outdoor market. this is an enclosed market with very narrow hallways and streets. you see there borough market
5:30 pm
just south of london bridge. that is the second scene that metropolitan police are going to be unpacking. overhanging all of this, the holy month of ramadan for muslims around the world. a time at which we know isis and al qaeda have called for increased attacks around the world. that is something that needs to be factored into this as the prime minister as you said heads into that cobra meeting, certainly this broader context is something that they're going to be looking at. police will be methodically going through these crime scenes, they will be looking at cctv footage. they will also be talking to eyewitnesss. take a listen, we have an eyewitness sound, this is a security officer at the scene. >> yeah, so people running, screaming. somebody was injured. i see people with some blood. it's been like the worst day of my life, honestly. when you see these kind of things on tv, sit in front of the tv. but when actually you see people, you hear people screaming -- it's a different
5:31 pm
thing, it's scary. >> that is one of the things that authorities doctoring to be dealing with. we heard malcolm nance talk about how witness statements can often be wrong. a witness statement from a security officer is going to be key as we move forward. the other thing is heavily trafficked pedestrian areas. london bridge on a saturday night would have been packed. so would borough market have been packed. authorities around the world, in this country and the uk, are always concerned with what they call soft targets. i want to bring in our evan coleman. he's one of our security analysts. he can talk more to this. evan, when i talk about heavily trafficked pedestrian areas and soft targets, what does that mean? >> well, i mean, look. isis is not the first group to come up with the idea of going after these targets. al qaeda, aqap has put out guides, there have been a number of different groups that have homed in on the idea of using vehicles to go after pedestrians, on streets, to go
5:32 pm
after a concert hall this kind of thing. but if you're looking at what groups have particularly focused in on these kind of soft targets in recent months, it's definitely isis that pops up. in november of 2016, isis actually put out an english language guide to its followers in western countries and it called specifically for vehicle attacks on pedestrian-congested streets and it actually said using a vehicle is one of the most comprehensive methods of attack, it is one of the safest and easiest weapons. i think this is also what distinguishes this from what we saw in manchester just a few days ago, really. manchester you saw somebody who used an expressive device that clearly required some degree of expertise to build it. if you look at that kind of an attack, it's very difficult to believe the manchester attack was carried out by a lone wolf or by somebody that might just have been inspired by isis or a group like isis. in this case, we really can't tell. yes, there is potentially a firearm. but the fact that an ordinary
5:33 pm
vehicle was used, an ordinary knives used, there's nothing to tell us whether or not this was the work of an organized terrorist group like isis, or whether this simply is followers. again, it's something specifically that these groups have called on. if you are looking for one group in particular that obviously stands out with this particular method recently, these kind of targets, i mean, it does tend to be isis that comes up most prominently. >> what should we be looking for now as we watch these live pictures coming in? that's a bit of tape on the left-hand side of your screen. again that map on the right-hand side of your screen where we know these two incidents have taken place. what should we be looking for now as an indication as to whether or not this was an isolated attack and it's over, or whether or not metropolitan police are concerned that there is an ongoing situation unfolding in london? >> well, number one, we haven't had a claim of responsibility yet. i think everyone's waiting to see whether or not isis or another group will issue a claim of credit that will help us kind of narrow it down, whether there
5:34 pm
is the potential it's an organized terrorist attack. the next thing is the nationality of the suspects involved and their backgrounds. so apparently there are three people that london police are looking for. are these uk nationals? are they from another country? have they been under surveillance before by london police? unfortunately as we have seen a number of these incidents, almost every single person that ends up being implicated was under surveillance by law enforcement for ties to terrorist groups or criminal behavior, criminal acts. obviously that will help us figure out -- did they travel, did this person travel, did these people travel to libya, to syria, to turkey? yemen? places where there's the potentially they might have received training or instructions from a terrorist group. and look, i mean, obviously also we're going to have to take a look at their online communications. because a number of the people that have been involved in these type of acts have not traveled to foreign countries, they have not received specialized training, however, they were
5:35 pm
using their computers and social media to contact individuals in foreign countries who are recruiters or spokes men for terrorist groups like isis. in some cases isis has actually used the internet to issue orders to these individuals to carry out attacks. sometimes not just indirectly in the case of a magazine or something like that. but specific direct instructions to individuals living in the u.s. and the uk to carry out terrorist attacks in their own backyards. these are questions we're going to have to look at. again, the absence of explosives here, the absence of something that definitively shows training and expertise, it's impossible to know right now whether or not this is an organized terrorist group, these are lone wolves, or this is something in between. individuals who were inspired by a terrorist group and may or may not have any direct contact with that group. >> there is such a fine line here, evan. i kn i know that you live in this world and it's a terrifying place. what does it mean when somebody is known to authorities? we saw after that horrific
5:36 pm
bombing in that concert hall, as you said almost a few days ago in the uk. we found out later the suspect had traveled to libya and he was known to authorities. what does that mean and do you expect it's possible they were watching the individual or individuals who are behind tonight's attack and somehow the attack was still carried out? because i know, i just returned from united kingdom, i was there shortly after that bombing. the question on people's minds in london, how could somebody be known to authorities and still carry out an attack? >> i think that's the problem. simply being known to authorities, being known for what? for having had contact with someone who might have been in syria? somebody who might have once on or twice been on a social networking forum put up by members of isis, supporters of isis? someone who actually traveled to a foreign country? i think that's what distinguishes this. there's so many of these folks, particularly in the uk, that are under surveillance or have been under surveillance. it's basically impossible for
5:37 pm
law enforcement, for the police and intelligence services, to keep tabs on everyone at once. and from what we're hearing right now, it does not sound like law enforcement or intelligence agencies were expecting this. even in the wake of what happened in manchester just a few days ago, it does not sound like anyone that was under surveillance gave any clue this was going to happen. but if you're asking whether or not individuals associated with this will likely turn up to have been on the radar of law enforcement previously, it's very likely. again, just looking at the numbers. just looking at the incidents that occur. it's very rare for someone to pop up out of the blue. most of the people that are involved in this kind of activity at one point or another have come up on the radar. the problem is that that isn't necessarily enough to be looking at someone 24 hours a day or locking them in a cell just because someone says, i like isis. unfortunately that's not enough to really take action. and so is it likely that at one point or another they came up on the radar? yes. but nothing that anyone cawas
5:38 pm
doing apparently was definitive enough to december this was going to happen this evening. >> let me say the u.s. embassy in the united kingdom has put out a message to u.s. citizens, they say, review your personal security plans, remain aware of your surroundings, especially in crowds or at large events. >> cal, thank you so much. evan, you're still with us. the question i've got, something you monitor very often, that's the chatter that might be out there in the digisphere. was there any indication based on your consistent monitoring over the years before this happened and on that note after this incident has happened? >> well, look, obviously since the incident has kind of hit the newswaves and we've seen the beginnings of reaction, there have been echoes of support from folks in isis-related online channels.
5:39 pm
but we have to be very cautious with that because they'll celebrate just about anything they think might even tangentially related to isis or isis activity. so i don't think that's definitive. in terms of was there anything beforehand? not really, no. there's been nothing the last few days that would have given any immediate inclination this was going to happen. there was obviously concern about attacks taking place in ramadan. but it wasn't clear if that was really going to happen, whether that was going to happen in the uk or other western country or somewhere else. we have had hints that isis was trying to push its operatives and supporters in western countries to carry out attacks like this in the last six to 12 months. particularly in the last basically six months. isis has put out a number of english language guides clearly aimed at individuals living in the u.s. and united kingdom urging them to carry out vehicle-borne attacks, suggesting using cars would be a more effective and more guaranteed success than trying
5:40 pm
to obtain explosives or firearms. and specifically obviously the guides focused on the use of trucks. again, looking at very particular soft targets, including pedestrian-clogged streets. that is still indirect information. you know, they also suggested other targets that they may or may not ever hit. so whether or not there's a direct connection, it's impossible to know. but it is important to note that in the last few months, if there was one terrorist group out there that you could single out for highlighting this and encouraging its supporters in the u.s. ask uk to carry out this kind of attack, it is isis. >> chatter is one of the things that you watch as you're gathering data on such incidents. evan, quickly, have you seen anything on the lead-up to what is happening tomorrow? there's got to be big concern there in manchester as ariana grande gets ready, at least that was the initial plan up until this incident, that she would hold another concert and then give all the proceeds to the
5:41 pm
families that either lost loved ones or were injured. we also have the election on june 8th. in terms of what you're hearing in the chattersphere, is there anything that would give concern to you? >> no. and look, i mean, these folks are probably very unlikely to go after this concert that's happening tomorrow because it's going to be extremely heavily guarded. that's exactly what they're not looking for. they're looking for soft targets, where there's nobody guarding them. and that means that they have -- they basically have an open field. you know, obviously the elections are something that they'd like to impact. they'd like to change the way the voters choose their leaders. and they'd like to impact policies, particularly i think in the middle east and iraq and syria, even yemen. but again, i think it's too early right now to say for sure what the exact idea is or whether or not there's further attacks coming up. but it's very difficult to try to guess what the next target
5:42 pm
is. i think they're going to go after things that are not protected, that are not guarded. that's the whole nature of what isis is trying to do right now which is communicate the message that, you're not safe, no matter where you are, no matter where you live, you're not safe. that's the message that they want to carry out with these kind of attacks. >> and it does not, however, change the way londoners live, the way brits live, despite these horrific incidents, not getting done what their or injectives are as you've just described. evan, thank you so much. evan coleman, nbc terrorism analyst, giving great perspective on how to see and how to understand what is happening at this hour, appreciate that. also just getting this in from the mayor of london. sidique khan, and i'll read a portion of it. the mayor of london saying this. "the metropolitan police are responding to the horrific terrorist attack at london bridge and borough market. my thoughts are with everyone affected and i'd like to thank
5:43 pm
the brave men and women of our emergency services who were first on the scene and will be working throughout the night. i am in close contact with the met commissioner and senior officers and am being kept updated on all developments. i'll be attending the government's emergency cobra meeting later this morning. london bridge station is closed and we are asking people to avoid the area. the situation is still unfolding and i would ask all londoners and visitors to our city to remain calm and vigilant. please report anything suspicious to police but only call 999 in an emergency. we don't yet know the full details but this was a deliberate and cowardly attack on innocent londoners and visitors to our city enjoying their saturday night. i condemn it in the strongest possible terms. there is no justification whatsoever for such barbaric acts. for further updates please follow the metropolitan police."
5:44 pm
that coming in from the mayor of london, sidique khan, just within the last bunch of minutes. and really encompassing and summarizing what has happened up to this hour in terms of the incidents themselves, as well as what they are going through on an operational level there in london. also an individual who's been watching those developments with us is nbc's matt bradley. he joins us live from the scene in london. and matt, the last time you and i spoke, they were moving the cordon farther away. and i'm not sure if they moved you again. but what is the situation there now? >> well, richard, we've been trying to move as close as we can to the incident. i'm standing in front of a bridge, it's not london bridge, it's southfork bridge, about two bridges down from london bridge. as you can see, it's blocked off, most of the bridges in downtown london have been blocked off by the police
5:45 pm
because of this overwhelming police response to this incident. remember, we're talking about two different incidents. and this means now that the metropolitan police have declared them terrorist incidents, at i mentioned earlier, the drag net is going to be expanding and police are going to be hunting for potential accomplices and anyone else who might have been involved. i just spoke, since we last talked, i spoke with an american man who said he actually lives above borough market. that was the site of the second incident that occurred. police are saying that at borough market, there was a stabbing at one of the restaurants. he said that this gentleman said when he walked out of his apartment, he tried to shoot photos of what was going on and the police grabbed his camera and made him move across the bridge to this side of the river. and he said that he saw the police with long guns, which is a very rare sight here in london where the police are famously unarmed. he said it looked as though they were hunting for someone that they couldn't actually find,
5:46 pm
training their guns around the area without actually knowing exactly where they were going or who they were looking for or what they were looking for. it seemed as though this perpetrator was still at large. we haven't heard from the metropolitan police whether they've caught anyone, any specks, any of the people who were involved. but it seems as though they're definitely going to be looking, just as they were after the manchester attack, for any accomplices or anyone who could be connected to this crime. as i mentioned, this attack, it's now being treated as a terrorist attack. it's going to remind a lot of londoners of an incident in march when a man named khalid massoud drove his car across westminster bridge, jumped up onto the sidewalk, and killed about four people on that bridge. he then got out of his car, approached the parliament building, and stabbed to death a police officer before he himself was shot dead. now that incident killed five people and then the attacker as well. now that's going to be -- this incident bears so many similarities to that. and a lot of londoners are going to see this as something of a copycat until more information is available.
5:47 pm
but again, we're talking about a similar thing where a vehicle was weaponized, the perpetrator got out of the car, and stabbed people. but again, this is an evolving scenario. we don't know exactly what went on, whether these were two separate terror attacks, whether they were connected, and so we're going to have to wait and hear more from the metropolitan police. >> as they've been so careful traditionally, and of course looking at the information coming in so far before it even came out with calling these terrorist incidents. matt, what's -- if you could scene set us, if you can, the area that you're at, it could be quiet, but some of the video that we've been watching from earlier clearly showed a lot of action. i can see some police activity behind you. i understand the location you're at is not as close as you were before. >> that's right, richard. it's hard to parse out exactly what movement is related to the crime, what movement is related to trying to subdue people who are passing by and people who are just gawking at the scene. i mean, that's one of the major challenges of police here is not
5:48 pm
only just dealing with the attack itself, but also trying to begin the investigation. and then trying to control the scene. remember, as i mentioned to you earlier, this is downtown london on a saturday night. and while this side of the river is mostly offices and there's not that many people here on saturday nights, the other side is crowded and busy and very popular with bars, clubs, restaurants, a lot of people, a lot of drunk people walking around and really complicating the situation for police officers. and that was why really a lot of the resources here are being used just to control the scene. as you can see, blocking traffic in downtown london on a saturday night, that's no mean feat. they're doing to in order to cordon off the area, keep people from coming in, then begin the investigation and tracking down people who might have been involved. all of this is going to start here and it bears a lot of resemblance not only to the khalid massoud incident in march, two or three weeks ago there was an incident in manchester. 22 people were killed when a
5:49 pm
suicide bomber detonated himself outside an ariana grande concert. this city, this country is on war footing and the rapid, overwhelming response that happened in the city of london goes to show the tenterhooks london and londoners are hanging on waiting for the next foot to drop with regards to terrorism. >> and that last attack you were mentioning there at westminster, a recent attack i should say, happening in under two minutes. again, we don't necessarily understand the full length of this attack. but so quickly, so much horrific -- so many horrific events can happen in a short amount of time. matt bradley on scene for us as close as we can get there to london bridge. and cal perry, the interesting thing or the summary point that matt is bringing up that we don't want to hear is the war footing. you heard matt say that. he said the city's on war footing just based on the incidents that he described within the year 2017, cal.
5:50 pm
>> and there's a growing frustration, i can tell you firsthand having just been in the uk, there's a growing frustration and a feeling that regardless of the security measures that you put in place, you're fighting terrorism. and terrorism and it's an incredibly difficult thing to stop. you heard talking how if a man or woman is willing to trade their life to kill other people is something that can be done fairly easily especially in london a saturday night and matt bradley doing a tremendous job painting a picture how crowded these areas are. this is a city not used to, for one thing, firearms to gunfire. i'll play for you now, richard, video we just got in here that's going to be the key here, the audio. take a listen. >> get back! [ inaudible ]. >> no. >> go, go! >> an attack?
5:51 pm
>> you heard there in the distance, as you saw the camera pan down to the individual's feet that was gunfire in the distance, in downtown london on a saturday night. we do not know who was firing those shots. we do know metropolitan police confirmed two things. one, they fired their weapons on a suspect. two, one of the suspects had a gun. we do not know where that gunfire was coming from but will continue to troll through the video and share as we get it. of course, none of this happens in a vacuum. we van unfolding political situation going on in the united states kingdom, that country is headed for elections and here in this country, continued issues with president trump and his tweets. joined by kelly o'donnell, brewing and growing online. something i saw in my car as i raced over here and raised eyebrows here in the united states and around the world.
5:52 pm
kelly, take it from there. >> reporter: well, here at the white house, we've been trying to get a sense of what the president's thinking is and what kinds of information are coming in to him and what senior advisers tell me, not long after these initial reports became known, the national security team briefed president trump that was led by h.r. mcmaster, his national security adviser and then we were told to expect as developments warranted he would be gishen additional information through the evening. one of the notable things in the trump white house, which likes to do things differently, there has been no formal written statement on white house letterhead, if you will. instead the president turned to his twitter feed, we know is his preferred mode of communication and in the time this london incident has been unfolding he has sent three tweets. the most recent one is a message of support for the people of london and the united kingdom. whatever the united states can do to help out in london an the uk, will be there. then the trademark, all caps, we
5:53 pm
are with you. god bless. but earlier, the president had used his twitter feed to make a very pointed political statement. we need to be smart. vigilant and tough. we need the courts to give us back our rights. we need the travel ban as an extra level of safety. the president has always linked his failed attempt to get an immigration travel ban, a 90-day freeze on visas from mostly muslim countries, six identified, as a way to protect the united states, he has argued, by limiting the immigration from countries where there is known terrorism as a way to try to improve vetting, try to get a handle on things. that was one of the earliest moves from the trump white house right after he took office, but that executive order hit speed bump after speed bump, in the courts tied up and now they are seeking help of the supreme court to consider this case, the legality of such a move. controversial as it is. the president in the wake of learning about the london
5:54 pm
incidents before it was officially proclaimed terrorism by the prime minister, as she has said they are investigating it about a terrorist incident, the president reverted to his policy point of view that he thinks an immigration travel ban is a tool that the united states should consider. he also retweeted a published report, his sort of first impulse, that talked about the incident in london, but that was unverified information. so the president got official information from the national security apparatus here at the white house and then put out a published report that has not been verified. now, separately, the vice president was traveling today. he was in iowa, and he has his own team with him. he was also notified, and then i'm told by senior officials that the president and vice president spoke by phone, mr. pence on air force two, his aircraft, while the president has been here at the white house at home. so what comes next? we have not seen any senior administration officials here on
5:55 pm
the property this evening. we expect that there may be a next step tomorrow, if they evaluate there's a point where the president needs to make an on-camera statement. so far, no guidance that that is imminent. of course, the situation room here at the white house operates around the clock, and there are staffers who are stationed there, able to see not only american television and how we're broadcasting this but pull in feeds from london and any appropriate source around the world, and then, of course, all of the secure and secret channels of communication and access to information can bring all of that through to the situation room to be a resource for the president and the administration, but one of the tools they have, simply able to watch all coverage happening, especially in the united kingdom, where there is so much access to different camera angles and so forth. all of that meant to provide additional information. the relationship between the united states and the united kingdom hit a bit of a rough patch just in the last few weeks after the manchester incident
5:56 pm
also determined to be a terrorist attack. there was a sharing of intelligence about materiels found at the scene there. bombmaking materiels and a great distress on the part of the officials in britain, because apparently u.s. law enforcement released some of that information without getting clearance from intelligence partners in britain to do so. that was a rift. the president happened to be overseas last week and he was able to meet in person with theresa may, the prime minister, to talk about this. she had for her own political purposes made it clear she was going to bring that up to president trump and say that sharing needed to be much more careful. so all of this comes at a time when the president's mission in his overseas trip was the america first policy and a strong statement on terrorism, at a time when a close partner like britain had its first incident and now a second, with some tensions between the u.s. and britain, and at the same time, both theresa may and president trump have said they are on the same page, working
5:57 pm
together, and the president has made it a point to say there is absolute support for the people of london at this time, but curious that he used twitter and made both political and statements of support tonight. back to you. >> and not unusual in the usual way, kelly o'donnell, on the white house lawn. 9:00 p.m. on a saturday night. richard, as we approach the top of the hour, the state department is condemning this attack on their twitter feed saying the u.s. providing ready to provide all assistance should we become aware of any affected u.s. citizens and put #london, #londonbridge. one of the other things we're keeping our eye on as we approach the top of the hour, any press conferences that may be taking place in london. none scheduled so far, richard. >> one of the points you so well make there, cal, once they move to the desfinition of this bein two terrorist incident, at least, questions from not only the press but londoners as well as those across the country
5:58 pm
wanting to know, okay, this is terrorism. but what is next? potentially we could get an announcement that they will be coming to the cameras. as you said, we have not heard anything from the metropolitan police or the prime minister's office, for instance, in terms of will they be making any announcement. potentially that could come after the cobra meeting we understand will be happening this meeting there in london, as it hits 2:00 a.m., and it is the top of the hour. for those just joining us, breaking coverage. two tarper incidents, at the metropolitan police described them, london bridge and borough market, the two locations there in central london. associated with these incidents, firearms, a car, and knives. we do not know the number of injuries. we do not know if there were fatalities. we do not know if there are one
5:59 pm
or more suspects as of yet. that has not been confirmed by nbc news. we have not heard that from metropolitan police. we have not heard that from national leadership, the prime minister's office as an example there. however, we continue to watch what has been an active scene, and just to give you a sense of that, these are the pictures you see on the left-hand side from about two hours ago. then i want to take you to the pictures that are live right now, and when you look at where we're at in terms of the live pictures and locations close to this, a much different sense of the energy. and potentially that could mean that they are closer or have completed operations that get them closer to the answers to the questions that i just brought up. in terms that we know less than we do know more at this moment and all that we are getting, it is that these are terrorist incidents confirmed by the
6:00 pm
metropolitan police and in london bridge and borough market and then eyewitness accounts we have heard from on-site in terms of what has happened over the last three hours. this incident reportedly happening about 3:10 minutes ago, the beginnings of it. from what they've been able to report. and as we get to -- excuse me, let me correct myself. about four hours ago in terms of when officers were responding to incidents of a vehicle that collided with pedestrians on london bridge. that's about four hours ago. then what happened after that, they're saying that there were stabbings in borough market, and, again, you can see on your screen where that is, and then armed officers responding to shots that were fired. so that's basically all the information that they have given us officially. coming from the metropolitan

46 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on