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tv   Meet the Press  NBC  December 7, 2015 1:40am-2:40am CST

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this is the time the time for harmony let love be the song that everybody sings fill the air with joyful noise ring the bells and raise your voice let there be peace on earth let there bepeace on earth for more than a decade, detectives tried to untangle the mystery of 24-year-old heidi bernadzikowski's brutal murder. on the morning of his own murder trial, alexander bennett
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opportunistic plot. he was really a cash-for-hire hitman. >> all right, alex, you all right? >> reporter: bennett agreed to a deal. tell the truth to investigators, and avoid the possibility of getting sentenced to life in prison. interviewed by detective childs, bennett laid out the bone-chilling details of heidi's murder. >> grant was discussing about receiving money to kill somebody. >> reporter: according to bennett, he and lewis had been brainstorming ways to raise seed money for a nightclub. so lewis placed a coded message online, advertising discreet housecleaning services. prosecutor garrett glennon. >> by discreet housecleaning, grant lewis apparently meant and hoped that someone out there on the internet would understand that to mean that they were hitmen. >> reporter: bennett says a client did respond to the ad and
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>> i know from the client, from the person, you know, emphasized to grant and grant emphasized to myself, that it needs to look like an accident. >> reporter: bennett's role was the muscle, to do the actual hit. lewis, the middle man, communicated with the client and organized everything. in late march 2000, bennett arrived in baltimore from denver. he says he waited for the signal to act. in the meantime, he scoped out his victim, breaking into heidi's home by tampering with the cks, then posing as that neighborhood watch volunteer who so scared heidi. >> i do remember her answering the door. >> reporter: did you go to the door to talk to her more than once? >> it was just that one time. >> just the one time? >> reporter: on april 20th, bennett says he heard through lewis that the plan was a go. after getting into heidi's house, he hid behind the front door.
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to get her, and like, still make it look like an accident, like, may be snap her neck or something to make it look like she fell down the stairs or something. >> reporter: heidi walked in through the door, and bennett says he pounced. >> when she came in, she saw me, panicked, i panicked and rushed at her at the front and, you know, tried to muffle her scream. i was making sure if she was alive. i didn't know. that's when i had the knife. and to make sure, had cut her throat. >> reporter: then, bennett said, he wiped the place down. and to throw forensics off, he ransacked the bedroom and used heidi's lipstick to make that number one on the living room wall. after that, bennett says, he
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>> that's it. >> reporter: poor heidi's dead. >> heidi's dead. >> reporter: detective childs pressed, who was the client? he showed bennett a photo array of six suspects. assistant state attorney matt breault. >> he immediately separates four photographs and says, it's definitely not these four, and he's left with two. and he takes a couple of moments and stares at them. and eventually, he says, yes, this is him. i remember him. >> this one. i recognize him as the boyfriend. >> reporter: bennett picked out stephen cooke. heidi's boyfriend was arrested for first-degree murder. >> deep in our hearts, we all had a feeling that he had something to do with it. >> reporter: stephen's trial began this june. he pleaded not guilty. glennon and breault had the task
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stephen was capable of orchestrating a cold murder-for- hire. their case would ry heavily on the word of one man, the killer himself, alexand bennett. you reallyad to beeve is y beett? >> absutel >> repter:our se w going to re and falln th? he was gog to be e st witns againsstephen coe. >> rorter: bnett told rors the same story he told investigators, how he killed heidi. video cameras weren't permitted, but bennett's testimony was audiotaped. he decided to confess, he says, because of his faith and for heidi's family. >> i wanted to be a human being. i wanted to give a family some type of peace. i wanted to have faith enough and to grow up into a man and to accept and take responsibility for what i did. >> reporter: but the question still remained, if stephen cooke had planned heidi's murder, why had he done it? according to stephen, they were in love and planning to marry. but some of heidi's friends testified that she was so
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e was preping to lve. >>he had asked a friend of hers for a small loan for an easy storage facility in an effort to move out. >> reporter: and the real reason for the murder, the prosecutor told the jury, was pure and simple greed -- $700,000. two months before heidi's death, stephen and heidi had taken out hefty life insurance policies on each other. i wonder why an hourly employee at a hardware chain is buying -- >> you should. >> reporter: -- almost a million dollars worth of coverage? >> as we explained to the jury, they had one car between them, which was hers, a red civic. they are not married. they didn't have any children. and they really didn't have many belongings. there really wasn't anything to insure. >> reporter: so once they buy the policy, it's tick tock? >> correct. >> reporter: heidi had no idea time was running out for her. no idea what was going to happen when her boyfriend dropped her home that night. but, according to investigators, stephen knew there was a hired
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>> he set the wheels in motion. >> reporter: driving her home to her death. >> he knew what was in that house. he knew what he was doing. doesn't get any worse than that. >> reporter: but the defense would have an answer for those insurance policies and everything else. and the person to explain it all to the jury would be stephen cooke himself. coming up -- the defense.
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alexander bennett, the admitted killer on the stand, had spilled out a gruesome account of the plot to murder heidi. stephen cooke, he testified, had hired him via the internet to kill his girlfriend. the motive?
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insurance payout, 700,000 bucks. but stephen's defense attorneys conceded nothing. they thought the prosecution had a weak case overall and one big problem in particular, its star witness, alexander bennett. >> bennett obviously had something to gain by changing his story. >> our old friend, quid pro quo. >> plea deal. >> reporter: tara lacompte and breon johnson were stephen's defense attorneys. they said, before the colorado man's so-called confession, bennett faced life in prison without the chance for parole. but once he cut a deal with the state to testify, he could look forward one day to walking free. so he's singing for his supper here? >> i couldn't have said it better myself, exactly. the less time he would spend in jail for his own deeds. >> reporter: the defense argued another glaring hole in the prosecution's case was the lack of any physical evidence tying stephen to the crime. the computer in the house that stephen and heidi shared was never taken in as evidence. it's a digital crime at heart. >> not in this case. >> not in this case. >> what happened? >> heidi and steve did have a
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that was never seized by the police. >> reporter: so to this day we have no idea what that hard drive on the home computer would've shown? >> no. >> so your guy is being charged with a contract killing, but nobody can produce the contract? >> no. >> reporter: not only did investigators not have any computer records, they didn't have a record of bennett's plane ticket, phone records, credit card receipts, eyewitnesses who saw bennett and cooke together. not even the murder weapon. stephen sister's kim. >> all you have is a confessed murderer's words. that's all. there's not one piece of evidence in this whole entire trial that points to stephen, other than the confessed murderer and these detectives with, oh, their beliefs. >> reporter: and when it came to motive, they turned the case on its head. the defense version -- this isn't about stephen searching for a contract killer online, but rather heidi look for love on a dating website and finding alexander bennett, who surprised
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>> we thought that he met her online, came here to be with her and she rejected him and he killed her. it made sense to us. it made sense with the forensics. it made sense with the physical evidence. >> reporter: to back up its theory, the defense pointed to this police photo of heidi's keys and bag. if, as bennett testified, he'd jumped her when she walked in the door, how did her door keys and makeup bag end up tidily on the kitchen table in another room? >> so the bag on the kitchen's table's not a trivial thing for you? >> no. i think she made it to the kitchen. i don't think he attacked her at the front door. >> make sure she was dead and -- >> reporter: and if prosecutors thought bennett was the foundation of their case, the defense felt it had its own star witness, stephen cooke. he would take the stand. >> the bottom line is, by this time, we had come to the conclusion that it's bennett versus cooke. it's who you believe. >> for a second, i just looked at her like what in the world is
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finding heidi, the love of his life, slumped on their living room floor that night. >> and then i just held her in my arms and was rocking her and crying, just calling her name and all. >> reporter: stephen testified the couple were planning on a future together. and he was surprised when others said that they were finished. >> mr. cooke, you keep saying that you and heidi were going to get married. but we've heard from other individuals that she was thinking about leaving you. >> i've never heard anything like that until now. >> reporter: they were also planning for kids. and that was the reason he wanted a big insurance policy on himself. >> we were going to start a family. we were going to have children. and i wanted to make sure that there was enough money for heidi in case i died. >> reporter: he added, it was heidi who wanted insurance for herself. he never pushed her to get it. >> heidi then asked me if it was all right if she could get $700,000 worth of life insurance. and i said, fine. >> reporter: the defense added there was proof heidi was actively nudging along the life
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she'd faxed over some final documents just days before her death. it's a fact of the case, even heidi's own brothers, harold and frank, can't quite account for. there's persuasive stories that she was going to leave him. and yet, there's also pretty compelling evidence that she was trying to get this insurance policy up and running. i mean, she's active in getting -- >> that's the -- >> -- the insurance going. >> yeah. >> yeah, i -- >> that's the biggest mystery to date. >> that's one of the things we don't fully understand. >> reporter: as for the murder, stephen flatly denied ever meeting alexander bennett, and said he had nothing to do with heidi's death. >> now steve, you've heard through testimony that you arranged for heidi's murder via the internet. did you do that? >> not at all. not at all. i didn't -- i didn't have anything at all to do with heidi's murder. >> why are you testifying? >> i'm testifying because i want my family and friends and i want heidi's family and friends to -- to know the truth. and for 15 years, they haven't heard the truth.
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for something i didn't do. i didn't kill heidi. >> reporter: both sides rested. which argument would jurors believe? which man would they choose? the state and its key witness, alexander bennett, the acknowledged murderer? or stephen cooke, the man with a good job, middle-class lifestyle and father of a 7-year-old son? the jury was out, but stephen cooke's sister knew the verdict she wanted to hear. >> he's not guilty. they're -- they're going to say, not guilty. they're going to say, not guilty. >> reporter: but after a day and a half of deliberations, that wasn't the jury verdict. >> guilty or not guilty? >> we find him guilty. >> reporter: stephen cooke was found guilty of first-degree murder, hiring a long-distance killer to murder his girlfriend. >> i felt like i lost my breath. i just was in shock. i just could not believe that's what they've said. i remember screaming, oh, no. >> thank you, lord.
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and also sadness because we still don't have heidi. >> reporter: grant lewis, the denver middle man was sentenced to life in prison. both alexander bennett and cooke faces life without the chance of parole. and remember the butcher terry gilliam? a police have totally cleared him of any involvement. and in fact offered him an apology. >> it's not everything, but it does -- it's a start. it does mean something. >> reporter: as for heidi's family, their days are all about the kids and grandchildren. and parents who believe devoutly in a hereafter, always remember, of course, heidi. >> did you talk to heidi? >> oh, yes. i did. >> what did you tell her?
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finally got the answers we've been praying for. and justice will be served. >> that's all for now. i'm lesser to holt, thanks to joining us.joining us. this sunday morning, the terror attacks in san bernardino. did the killers get help? why did no one see this coming? and can we prevent these kinds of attacks from happening here in the united states? we'll get the latest on the investigation from the very top. attorney attorney general loretta lynch joins us. plus, the role of islam, are we dealing with a perversion of the religion or a strain of it? also, the error attacks and the campaign. do these help donald trump pull away from the pack. >> every time there's a tragedy
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joining me are rich lowry of the "national review," amy walter of the cook political report. elisabeth bumiller of the "new york times," and charles ogletree ogletree. welcome to "meet the press." good sunday morning, president obama will address a nervous company tonight from the oval office on the terror threat and what the administration plans to do to keep us safe. the terror attacks in san bernardino were the worst in the united states since 9/11 and they have both unnerved a country already jittery about terrorism and it's transformed the presidential race. there's so many unanswered questions. where syed farook and after thend his wife radicalized? how could no one know about their weapons?
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a harbinger of future terror attacks? we'll get to those question with the head of the justice department, loretta lynch. we begin with pete williams who has been covering from the start and the director of the national counterterrorism center under both presidents bush and obama. what caused the fbi to label this a terrorism incident. >> there's a huge supply of weapons and bombs they have built. they built their bombs using instructions that are available from jihadist web sites including al qaeda's online magazine inspire. they modified their assault rifles trying to make them into automatic weapons using instructions available on these online jihadist sites. there's her facebook posts pledging support for isis. there's sort of trade craft things. they attempted to destroy their electronic media, smash their cell phones knowing the fbi
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then he had contact with people at that the fbi has been watching. >> let me follow up that. he had contact with the fbi which leads to a question the attorney general has to answer which is -- how much was he on the fbi's radar screen? >> not contact with the fbi but contact with people that the fbi was watching from time to time. people that came up on the counterterrorism radar. they don't know the nature of the contact. they have in essence phone records, social media records. they say he didn't have a lot of contacts with them and one of the things the fbi looks at in analyzing these things is what's the frequency of the contact? are they reaching out to the same networks over and over again they'll say did we miss something but at the time no red flags were raised. >> worst terrorist attack on u.s. soil since 9/11 and no
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how scare i have that? >> it's scary because it fits the isis play book perfectly. isis may try to direct but what it's trying to do is inspire so these are inspired attacks, small, isolated groups where they are, where they live that understand the culture and understand in part how to terrorize those communities. >> so what would you need resource wise? if you had every -- is there enough resources you can have, the fbi could have, that could stop syed farook and his wife from doing this? >> this is a multifaceted plan and you don't have enough resources. off huge american population, a small, small, small subset that is radicalized and an even smaller subset that takes action and you can't cover everyone who has some contact with someone bad. you need is offense oversea, defense at home with intelligence and law enforcement and really deep engagement with these communities. >> even if they had the resources there are legal limits here. the fbi can't listen to everybody it wants to. there has to be a predicate that
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monitoring. >> we just changed the bulk data collection of the nsa. how much would that -- is that, do you think, impacting this investigation? >> i don't think bulk data collection was an enormous factor because generally that deals with overseas calls to the united states. but what bulk data collection did was make the process more efficient so there were no silver bullets there but when you do have really tapped out resources to cover so many investigations it can help you move through and discard some faster. so in that regard it may have played not a major role but some supportive role. >> michael leiter, pete williams, thank you both. in what may be a preview of what the president will say tonight, president obama did address the investigation and terrorism in his weekly address this, of course, aired yesterday. >> it's entirely possible that these two attackers were radicalized to commit this act of terror and it would underscore a threat we've been focused on for years, the danger of people succumbing to violent extremist ideologies.
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groups are encouraging people around the world and in our country to commit terrible acts of violence. often times as lone wolf actors. >> for the latest on the investigation, i'm joined by the attorney general, loretta lynch. madam attorney general, welcome to "meet the press." >> good morning. >> we are four days since the attack. what can you tell us about the state of the investigation and what we know now? >> this investigation is ongoing, it's wide ranging, very complex. certainly as you know, we're four days away from the horrific attacks. immediately the fbi began working with our state and local counterparts with whom we have an excellent relationship. this is an fbi investigation now because of the indications that we do have of radicalization. this is a terrorism investigation at this point in time but we continue to work closely with our state and local counterparts, also atf, marshalls are on the ground. we're focusing on the victims of this horrific attack. four days, over 300 interviews. several locations searched. a lot of information being processed, being analyzed and being gathered.
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so what i would say to people is that this investigation as it has already been stated is a marathon, not a sprint, but it is one of great concern to the american people and so we're committed to keeping people informed. >> can you say definitively they were both radicalized. >> i can't say definitively right now what led either of these two people to pick up guns and become murderers. i can say that is the focus of our investigation. we're looking at everything we can find out about these two killers' lives, how they grew up, where they grew up, how they met. all of those things will provide us guidance. >> just from what we can read in media reports, syed farook was one type of person before he met his wife and somebody else after. is your focus on the investigation primarily through her when it comes to the radicalization issue? >> our focus on the investigation is wide ranging and we can't limit it to one point in time. we are trying to learn everything we can about both of these individuals. >> what have you learned about her time in saudi arabia?
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of specific there is because we are working closely with our foreign counterparts to gather that information. it will be a long process, it will be an exhaustive process and we are trying to learn as much as we can about her life before they met, after they met, and, frankly, after she came here as well. what we are trying to focus on again is what motivated these two individuals. what led them not just to commit the act but to pick this particular place. >> what -- do you have any evidence that says that they were planning another attack and that this just happened to be what they decided to do? >> obviously we have concerns wherever we see people who have large stockpiles of weapons or appear to be in the process of accumulating weapons and ammunition. at this point, we do not have any evidence that they were part of either a larger group or cell or that they were planning anything else. that's at this time. what i will say is, again, we are continuing to run everything to ground we can about these two individuals. >> how cooperative has pakistan been in this investigation so far?
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any country except to say that we work well with a number of our foreign counterparts. >> is pakistan one of those countries? >> pakistan is one of those countries. >> that you work well with? >> i will say we often work with our local law enforcement counterparts not just here but overseas, through the intel sequence community, through our military connections, through our law enforcement connections and we're talking to a number of countries. >> have you learned more about her time in social media? there was a report in the "l.a. times" that perhaps she got radicalized, was interested in al nusra front and had started becoming more -- more fundamentalist in her believes, her own family said there was 2009 version of her and after that she became different. >> i think what you see with these comments from friends and family and the information coming out from social media is a small part of what we're doing, what the fbi is doing in gathering everything that we can find about her to build that larger picture. everything that you've mentioned is part of that picture. at this point, it's just too
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so what i would say is i would caution people not to try and define either of these two individuals right now because we don't want to foreclose either any avenues of investigation or any other issues or motivations. >> there have been reports that he had some contact with people that the fbi had under surveillance. what is the threshold to become under surveillance by the fbi? clearly syed farook didn't meet that threshold. should she? >> well, i don't want to use the blanket term that individuals are under surveillance with whom he had contact with. he did have a number of contacts with individuals that had come on the fbi's radar screen for a variety of reasons. so depending upon those reasons, those individuals may have been under review for a number of things and he was someone who had contact with them. we are running all of that to ground. we are also looking into what those connections were, if any, conversations if any. all of that is part of what
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>> is that making you rethink this idea that the threshold should be lowered? >> i think every case is different. every situation is different. people come on the fbi's radar screen for a variety of reasons and a variety of time. we run everything to ground, similar to what we've been telling people here. if you see something, say something. report your concerns to law enforcement. they will be looked at. they will be reviewed. sometimes they're nothing. sometimes they're something. sometime there is's a connection that years later may show up. all of this information is useful. right now i would caution people not to try and define these two individuals right now. we are learning all we can about them. >> both you and director comey have said see something say something. is there a line where you worry people will be overly suspicious? >> it as hard to characterize that. i think in this particular day in age people are understandably concerned. this horrific attack has people on edge and frightened. we lost so many victims and people were wounded. people are concerned and we understand that. our view is that if you have
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suspicion that someone that you either know or see on a regular basis is evidencing a change in behavior or discussion, threatening talk, threatening language. this is similar to workplace disputes as well in terms of what people can see. alert law enforcement rather than taking matters into your own hands. >> why do you think the mother, his mother who was, of course, who they left their six-month-old with, apparently didn't know they had a cache of weapons, didn't know they had a pipe bomb factory in their garage. >> i can't speak that fact of the investigation. obviously it's something we're looking at very, very closely and we appreciate everyone who's come forward with information about that. so i can't characterize the knowledge of any of the other witnesses in the case. what i will say is that this indicates the evolving nature of the threat that we are seeing. we have come from a time of the large-scale planned al
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encouragement of lone wolves. ft. hood, chattanooga, to encourage people to act on their own. >> we've been hearing this for sick years, that the threat has changed and it looks like we have no new ways to stop this threat. i mean, do we have to just accept the idea that this is the way we have to live now? accept the idea that a lone wolf inspired by an isis web site could just mow people down? >> i don't think we should ever accept the idea that someone can come along and take away our safety and freedom. we have to do everything we can to prevent that. and that is really a multifaceted approach. we've evolved a lot since 9/11 also in terms of law enforcement capabilities, intelligence capabilities, military, counterterrorism. we have been watching this threat evolve for some time. we are now at a point where because we, in fact, have been successful at stopping a number of plots the threat has evolved. we do see these lone wolf actors. we see these encouragements for troubled individuals to pick up
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again, not sure which one they picked in this case despite the media accounts but we do see this. we have to evolve as well and we are. we are reviewing everything about this case but also past cases to see what are the common threads. and when we look back at the terrorism investigation since 9/11 -- and there have been numerous ones -- one of the things that does come to the fore, czech,huck, is that in a number of cases when we look back at these individuals, somebody noticed a change. >> we're hearing that from family members. everybody is saying that. how do you get people to talk about that before it happens? >> what we tell ppleeo is alert law enforcement. we are on alert 24/7 and everything that you report will be investigated. we do it in private. we do it covertly. this could be a problem, it could simply be your neighbor having a bad day, but better be safe than sorry. >> let me ask you about the nsa program that just ended, the bulk collection. is that a resource you wish you
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>> we understand the concerns that people have with not only protecting our values but our privacy interests as well. we think the usa freedom act was a good resolution of that. >> you still do? >> we're committed to working forward -- >> you don't want new reforms? more access? >> obviously if congress wants to talk about anything we're happy to provide information. we're committed to moving forward under the current act. that act does primarily deal with overseas individuals and contacts there but every tool is important, chuck, is what i would say. it's part of a piece here. >> when you and director comey after paris said there was no credible threat, do those words mean anything anymore considering the world we live in? >> i think we review the information we have. we try and tell people what we know at the time. in terms of the indices and what's on the radar screen, we do want people to know if, in fact, we learn of an incident
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if we learn of long-term planning focused on a particular industry or infrastructure. so we feel we have an obligation to let people know if we have information of a credible threat or not. these two individuals, self-radicalized, radicalized by others, that's what we want to learn so we can figure out how to prevent this again. >> what will we learn from the president tonight? what calls to action will he have for the country or congress? >> the president understands the country is very concerned about this issue and i think what you'll hear from him is a discussion about what government is doing to ensure our highest priority, the protection of the american people. i think he'll talk about the actions we've taken not just since 9/11 but since paris to help keep the american people and american interests safe. you may hear him call on congress to review measures and take action as well. but i think what you'll hear on the president say is to call on the american people to not give into fear. >> is this a time for a gun control conversation? >> we here in the middle of that conversation.
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when we have the incidents that we have seen, we're talking about this terrible san bernardino shooting now. a week ago we were talking about planned parenthood in colorado and there are dozens and dozens of families -- >> a gun problem or a violence problem in this country? >> i think we have a number of issues here and dealing inging with guns is one way to handle the issue. >> loretta lynch, thank you for coming in this morning. the terror attacks have reshaped the campaign and may have given another boost to donald trump. when we come back, two republican presidential candidates with two very different views on how to fight terror at home. as we go to break, it's important to get to know the 14 people who died in the san
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to something marco rubio said. we were still able to see phone records of a potential terrorist. you have to argue with chief counsel by the time you have access to the phone records and find out who they've been talking to before it was too late. you were on the forefront of trying to change this law. any second thoughts? >> you know, senator rubio were doing his job and in congress more, he might know the program continues. the paris tragedy, this tragedy happened while we were still doing bulk collection. all bulk collection. also in frances, they have a program a thousandfold more invasive collecting all of the data of all the french. yet they still weren't able to see this coming. so my question is, how much liberty do we want to give up for a false sense of security? the government has investigated our program of collecting through a generalized fashion everyone's phone records in the country, and they've found that no terrorist case has been
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>> what would you do if you were president tonight? president is going to address the nation. what would you say to the nation to make them feel safer? this idea of a lone wolf doesn't make me feel any safer? >> i think what we've had in the past is the government says, we need to collect the whole haystack, every american's privacy. what i'd like to do is make the haystack smaller i. think we have to be careful who comes here from the middle east. i've introduced legislation to say right now let's stop it. >> how is that not personal profiling? >> people who want to come to this country don't have constitutional rights. once they get here they go. coming here is not a constitutional right. we as of a nion have the ability and should decide who can come here. we don't know who is here right now. the woman that was ended up being married to this terrorist, i don't think she was properly vetted. i think she came here and i
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enough about her. and i think there's also some indication the papers she filed to come here were a lie to begin with. i don't think we're doing april adequate vetting process of those coming to our country. >> dow you think the visa program, any terrorists that have come here and committed acts from 9/11 to this woman, have come here on some form of visa. how in jeopardy is this program? >> here's the probable. we have 11 million said to be illegal in the country. many have oversay stayed their visa. there's students from the middle east. if 40% have overstayed their visa, do we need to know who they are? let's make the haystack smaller. let's say for a while until we can figure ho out who's coming and who's coming and who's overstayed their visa, let's have extra scrutiny.
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world nept on sending people to destroy us. >> these folks accumulated quite the arsenal. is there anything you would support the amount of arsenal somebody could have in their garage. >> interestingly, they accumulated this arsenal in california, ten heavy day-day waiting period, everything obama has wanted california had and it didn't stop this. i think ultimately the rules you make for gun control people who are intent on killing themselves aren't too concerned about the rules. law-abiding citizens are. the other thing to realize is almost all the shootings including this one, happened in a government building where people are not allowed to defend themselves. while it's not the ultimate answer. the ultimate answer would be no violence. part of the answer is staying we need to allow people to defend theflselves. >> you'd like to get rid of the no carry rules. >> yes. >> i'll leave it there. let me go to senator lindsey graham.
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what do you want to hear from the president tonight? >> that he's going to change his strategy and come up with a regional army to go in and destroy the caliphate in raqqah, syria. that he is going to abandon what's not working. he's overwhelmed by radical islam in general he doesn't have a strategy to destroy isil. i just came back from iraq, my 36th trip. here what i can tell you. the paris attack was highly sophisticated, well planned, very clever, took months in the making, very much like 9/11, and there is a 9/11-style attack coming to america. and i can tell you who's planning it. the leaders of isil and they're in raqqah, syria. so for god's sake, mr. president, change your strategy, come up with a grond force to go in and destroy the caliphate before we get hit here at home. that would be my advice. >> senator, it seems you can militarily take care of an
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we haven't defeated the ideology. the ideology is as strong as ever. >> right. >> given what just happened in san bernardino. what is your plan to defeat the ideology, sir? >> well, you start with the leaders -- you take down the caliphate. i'm convinced that the caliphate the size of indiana, if it were destroyed, it would be harder for people -- >> we took down al qaeda, and this just rose up a new version of this, a new strain rose up. >> i can tell you this. of, that al qaeda has been placed on the run but not destroyed. isil is not the jv team. i cannot stress enough that there is a terrorist army in syria and iraq that wants to attack the homeland and we're not doing anything with about it. how do you defeat the ideology? build up others? you reject rand paul. this flirtation with isolation isolationalism is over. i'm advocating building up others, build a small
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help a young girl destroying the ideology more than a bomb, i am in -- i'm an internationalist. i want to help others not just kill terrorists. but i can tell you there's a sense of urgency that the president does not possess that there is a 9/11 in the making. i've just come back from iraq. it is a matter of time until we get hit by isil, not some lone wolf attack, but hardened terrorists are coming here to hit us hard if we don't hit them first. >> are there more resources you want to give the fbi? >> yes. >> and do you think if somebody like -- essentially the way law enforcement has described this, this farud maybe had liked a facebook page, the equivalent of that, when it came to people they were monitoring. should that have been enough for us to trigger surveillance into him and if that's the case, how much more resources do we need? >> number one, i would set aside
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devastate the fbi, cia and nsa. sequestration cuts are not only gutting the military. they're gutting the fbi. so if i were president, i would set the cuts aside. i would reinstate the nsa program as robust as possible within the constitutional limits. but more than anything else, if you get nothing else out of this interview, the source of the problem is in syria. raqqah is the headquarters of isil, which is a lethal terrorist organization now army. if you don't go after them over there, they're going to hit us over there, and there's no substitute for that in my view. >> is there any new regulation on the purchase of firearms by anybody on the no fly list or anything else that you would support? >> gun control is not part of a tragedy to defeat radical islam or take isil down. however, it is a problem back here at home. a million people have been adjudicated a danger of themselves to others at the state court level. i would pay to have those adjudications enrolled into the
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can detect people who are mentally ill before they buy a gun. >> but on the no fly list? >> i don't -- you've got 40% false positives. let's make it better. if you're on a no fly list, it has less false positives. count me in from that being in the background system. but this is not the issue with california. did she get radicalized before she came here? is this a terrorist arranged marriage? is this a breakthrough to penetrate the homeland? did they marry up a radicalized woman to someone in the country penetrating our system? that's what i want to know about california. >> that's the scariest part this potential story. >> yes, it is. >> lindsey graham, thank you, sir. >> thank you. coming up, one of the most divisive questions sfais fafacing up after san bernardino, are we dealing with a legitimate strain
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when we come back, we'll have a debate. does the terror threat we're
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welcome back. two currents of thought have emerged as a result of the san bernardino attacks. one is that we'll witness a wave of anti-muslim sentiment in the united states. the other involves the role of islam itself in the attacks. is the islamic extremism espoused by isis a warped distortion of islam or does it trap into a that i mean of islamic thought? i'm joined by the director of institute for islamic policy and understanding and the author of "standing alone, one woman's struggle for the soul of islam." let me start with this question for both of you, dahlia, is isis preaching a strain of islam? >> i would say that isis wants us to think so and i would think that's the real danger here is that what isis wants the
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the true muslims. that they are standing with true islam and everyone else, people like me, are the apostates and if we give into their narrative, we're doing their propaganda for them and i think we should really take that to heart and think long and hard about it. when dylann roof walked into a black church, he wanted to start a race war. we didn't let him do that because we didn't cast him as a representative of the white race. we didn't give into his narrative. we did the exact opposite and i think that we have to be careful not to give into the apocalyptic narrative of isis that wants to start a war between muslims and everybody else. >> everybody seems to agree with that. i know you've argued muslims need to take back their religion from isis. how? >> we absolutely do. we are doing it. on friday i stood with a group of brave and courageous muslims and we stood and we provided by a declaration to the world of reform.
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muslim reform movement and we are to opposing a very real interpretation of islam that espouses violence, social injustice, and political islam. and what we did is we walked through the gates of the islamic center of washington here in d.c. that's very much run by the government of saudi arabia and we posted our precepts on the door of that mosque because the problem is not simply in syria. the problem is sitting in the birthplace of islam in mecca, saudi arabia, where this interpretation of islam has gone out into the world over the last four decades, creating militancy groups from indonesia to now san bernardino, california, this vicious attack. we have to take back the faith and we have to take it back with a principle of peace, social justice, and human rights, women's rights and secularized governance. >> dalia, when americans find out, we're learning more about
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own family is saying, yeah, she became really religious and she changed. americans are going to see this as the more religious a muslim is the more likely they'll end up somehow fighting for isis 'cause. >> i can understand that. i think those are real fears. i think we have to keep a few things in mind, though, this particular couple we're learning more and more about them. first of all, they actually stopped going to the mosque about two years ago. another thing that many people aren't talking about is that they targeted the only muslim in the room and shot that woman four times. that was someone that used to go to their mosque. it's very hard to understand what inspired these people. but what we know broadly from research is that religiosity does not correlate with sympathy for terrorism. it's quite the opposite. the more religious someone is, the more often they go to the mosque, the more likely they are to reject attacks on civilians. >> i want to expand the conversation.
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charles ogletree, elizabeth bird flu mill-- bird flu miller from the "new york times." >> it seems tha this debate is irrelevant for outsiders, it's for muslims to decide whether it's a religion of peace or not and if enough of them do you cut off the oxygen to the radicals but at the moment the extremists have significant financial popular and theological backing in the middle east and that is an enduring phenomenon and one that will require a long ideological war to win. >> i'm sorry, i'm going to have to disagree with you. they simply do not have ideological, theological or popular support. this is a criminal organization that is funding their criminality with things like drug trade and selling oil. they do not have the ideological support that you're describing at all. in fact, it's quite the opposite. they've had a number of voices
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