Return to Transcripts main page


41 Killed, 239 Injured In Istanbul Suicide Attack; Ataturk Airport Reopens Hours After Siege; Turkish Prime Minister Says There Are Signs ISIS Is Behind Attack; Police Release Records From Pulse Shooting. Aired 12:30-1p ET

Aired June 29, 2016 - 12:30   ET


LARRY KOBILINSKY, JOHN JAY COLLEGE OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE: This is physical evidence that will help us understand what happened, how it happened. It might need to the source. Everybody wants to know was the bomber one of those three suicide bombers? The person who made the bomb, was he in there? Was it somebody else, is this -- just the tip of the ice burg. Are there other people that aided and abandon these people.

[12:30:21] ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Because there's a lot of crime fighting that can be done by processing something like this.


BANFIELD: Really, really, the devils is in the details.

KOBILINSKY: The right way and not in five hours. I've never seen such a massive crime scene looked at for five hours. It is just impossible. And you're going to compromise. You're going to contaminate evidence. You're not going to get the critical evidence you're looking for. There's something else going on. They should not have turned this open to the public.

BANFIELD: So Anthony, if I could bring you in to the idea of these multiple sites of crime. That we have to map up just a short time ago that showed in this preliminary stage of the investigation where some of these bomb blasts went off. You can see at least two places. Then, it's thought that there's a parking structure as well. Certainly, bodies were found at the parking structure. And I wondered if you could use your expertise to try to help me walk through the commando style training that these three may or may not have had. They may have just gotten lucky and gone scatter shot or there may have been something to the strategy of getting the most kills they could. Does it -- does any of these give you insight when you see this map?

ANTHONY MAY, RETIRED ATF OFFICER: Well, Ashleigh, what were seeing in the trend from Paris to Brussels, now the Istanbul is that this squad type attack tactic where they come out with guns blazing to breach the layers of defense at an airport. In a particular case, at the Istanbul airport, there is an outside layer of security but they used their tactics probably even that initial explosion in the garage that created diversions so these other attackers can get inside the airport themselves. And from your map, it shows that, you know, one went off on the ground floor, the other went off on a first floor. Looks like they're trying to make their way towards the departure terminals where there's more people to basically attack.

Now, what's interesting about these attacks is that I don't believe the bombs were their primary means of destruction in this case. They went in with weapons, with long guns to kill as many people as they could. The explosive vests they were wearing were probably secondary to take themselves out and hopefully whoever they can get near or police capture them. This is a tactic that is evolving as we have seen from Paris to Brussels and now Istanbul that we need to be aware off and we need to be under defense for.

And the only type of defense for this is surveillance. You've got to be able to detect these guys coming. Now, in this particular case in Istanbul, they came out guns blazing. Even surveillance wouldn't have given any early warning to prevent this.

BANFIELD: Yeah, and even one of those security forces was to gun at least one of them down before he could shoot anymore and murder any more people.

I have to leave it there. But Tony May, thank you, Larry Kobilinsky, thank you as well for your expertise. We're going to continue to watch this story when more detail come in, we'll certainly going to pass them on.

But 239 people, let's not forget about those people they had to go to the hospital. Many of them will never be the same. Some, terribly injured. Some slightly injured. All of them because three bombs went off and bullets were flying

[12:33:39] We're going to take you to the exact spot where one of those bombs went off and show you just how far one bomb's destruction can reach.


BANFIELD: I want to update you now on the deadliest terror attack in Turkey so far this year. And yes, I said so far this year, because there have been eight terror attacks. But still, no claim of responsibility for last night's rampage at the Ataturk Airport in Istanbul.

Authority say, 41 innocent people killed, 239 others hurt when three gunmen opened fire and set off their suicide vests in two separate areas of the terminal and outside in a parking lot the chose of targets and the apparent coordination among the attackers led many to point straight at ISIS. But, still, no confirmation of that.

Just moments ago, we heard President Obama tell reporters in Canada where he is visiting that he spoke by phone today with Turkey's president and also discussed ways to fight the group he calls ISIL.

Obama is up north for a summit with North American leaders. We also learned a short time ago that authorities have questioned and released the taxi driver who apparently brought those terrorist toss the airport.

CNN's Senior International Correspondent, Nima Elbagir is there. And she wants to show us from the site exactly how this unfolded.

NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The first destination was back there at the pick up and drop off point. The force of the blast ripped apart the tarmac.

Authorities have now shielded that. They are barricading that from public view. But the blast traveled, you can see, all the way back here, where it ripped open the glass walls of the arrivals floor, ripping the ceiling tiles out. And this is what was reigning down on the heads of those terrified passengers attempting to flee for their lives. And on the ground around our feet are still shards of glass from that impact.

[12:40:12] Through the doors where you can see now passengers lining up to catch their flights, this is where passengers yesterday ran out screaming, tracking bloody footprints as they attempted to save themselves and those they loved.

Turkey has been reeling for months now from a series of terror attacks. And that is why they're working so hard to try and put this airport back together to try and return to some semblance of normality and as the Turkish president and prime minister said when they addressed their nation, not allow those who would seek to disrupt, who would seek to terrify to win.

Nima Elbagir, CNN, Istanbul.

BANFIELD: It is just remarkable to me that Nima is right there among passengers entering and getting ready to fly off. And again we are not yet 24 hours since that attack happened.

Three bombers, three explosions, set at different times, different locations and intelligence officials say this screams ISIS. But how do they know that? And could it be the work of anyone else?

We're going to examine the clues next.


[12:45:40] BANFIELD: Just moments ago, the president of United States, addressed the tragic attack at Istanbul's Airport where 41 people were murdered by terrorist. We also spoke with the Turkish president and they discussed ways to defeat ISIS in Iraq and Syria. And while there's no immediate claim of responsibility by ISIS or anyone else to that matter, several officials says this certainly bear the hallmarks of what ISIS has as an M.O.

Joining us to discuss is CNN Contributor, Michael Weiss. Michael, one of the early reports that the CNN was able to get from a senior Turkish government source was it there were strong indications that these three murders appeared to be foreign. Let me couch that by saying they have only recovered the lower half of these three killers that had suicide vest that they detonated. But why would that be something that would be said so soon into this investigation that some how we could determine that these were foreigners?

MICHAEL WEISS, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: The Turkish government likes sort of put itself out there above its skis sometimes when it comes to terrorist attack.

Often they blame the Kurds and the PKK when they're not only evidence has been compiled in the forensic, you know, investigation is not included to say that they're foreign as opposed to Turks suggest that have been infiltrated, right. There's a very large and very prominent ISIS network operating inside Turkey. Many of them are Turkish nationals, right. I mean that border has been deceive, there have been Turkish fighters caught on the battlefield in Syria.

BANFIELD: But they're not in control of large swaths ...

WEISS: Right. Now, I mean to this point of how do we know they're foreign. Well, maybe it's not that they identified body parts and said, right that is a certain shade of hue in the Middle East found in the Saudi Arabia. Perhaps they were speaking Arabic in the taxi. They took the airport. Perhaps they were speaking French or German or another language.


WEISS: Exactly, a lot of Turks do feel Arabic, though. But so that's not this positive. But I don't know, I mean it could be any number of reasons that they're saying this.

BANFIELD: So the other question I have for you is that I think a lot of Americans look at these attacks and they hear conflicting messages about just how successful the war against, A, terror and, B, ISIS has been.

I'm going to play two different quick bits of sound from two very important Americans. One is the CIA director who address the congress just last week. And one is the secretary of state who also made comments about our security and the efforts and abilities and the degradation of ISIS.

So first, CIA Director, John Brennan and then after that, Secretary of State, John Kerry, have a listen.


JOHN BRENNAN, CIA DIRECTOR: Unfortunately, despite all of our progress against ISIL on the battle field and the financial realm, our efforts have not reduced the group's terrorism capability and global reach.

In fact as the pressure mounts on ISIL, we judge that it will intensify its global terror campaign to maintain its dominance of the global terrorism agenda. We judge that ISIL ...

JOHN KERRY, SECRETARY OF STATE: Daesh and others like it know that we have to get it right 24/7, 365. They have to get it right for 10 minutes or one hour. So it is a very different scale. And if you're desperate and if you know you're losing and you know you want to give up your life, then obviously you can do some harm.


BANFIELD: I guess the question Michael is which is it, are they desperate in losing, as John Kerry says, or are they in a situation where we have not reduced their terrorism capability and global reach?

WEISS: Well first, I can tell you John Brennan was chewed out by the White House for going off message for giving that testimony which was very unvarnished and very honest.

Secondly, look, this is an organization that has been around for 13 years. They have taken cities. They have taken terrain. They have not had a great track record of holding cities in terrain, right, back in the days about they almost subtle, so probably they're flushed out of Fallujah twice, they set a shop in Mosul, flashed out of Mosul. They did off more than they could chew.

BANFIELD: Guacamole.

WEISS: Yes, right.

BANFIELD: It's like Guacamole but that doesn't mean they're gone.

WEISS: Right, and they did off more than they could chew in June, 2014. They impressed themselves with how much that they -- territory they could take across the expense of Syria and Iraq. The caliphate has shrunk. Fifty percent of the territory in Iraq has been lost to the -- that 20 to 30 percent in Syria.

However, they are inaugurating a new phase in their operations. It's not necessarily a new strategy, they've always have the intention of conducting this international terror attacks.

From the standpoint of an America, most Americans don't care what happens in the Middle East as long as it stays there. It is becoming more dangerous for the west as ISIS loses ground in the Levant in Mesopotamia because they are putting this renewed emphasis on conducting more on operations abroad.

[12:50:11] One of the reasons I've been saying on air for the 24 hours, they might have wanted to hit Turkey. The head of the (inaudible) which is effectively CIA, their foreign intelligence branch, a guy called Abu Suleyman al-Faransi, al-Faransi means the Frenchman, he was born in France. He's a westerner who is running the foreign intel service of ISIS.

Allegedly, with his family was captured by the Turkish government while fleeing from Northern Syria through a town called Azaz, why was he fleeing? Because they're losing that area, it's called the Manbij Pocket, which is surrounded by pro-coalition forces.

Now this was captured by the Turks, ISIS would have every reason to want to strike Turkey as a sign, you got to release him or we need to get you before he flips or gives up crucial information.

BANFIELD: Yeah. It makes me think that as they lose real estate, they gain a cloud of ideology that's just sort of swarms the world and people are jumping on board for reasons that are really have, a hard time to understand for Americans.

Michael Weiss, thank you very much. We appreciate your insight. We're continuing to look into some of these developments, hopefully, proven and disproven as we get more information from our teams on the ground.

In one month, less than that even we had two major terror attacks, in Istanbul and in Orlando. The nightclub has not yet even been cleaned up. And we're still learning new details about the horrific events that happened inside those walls that night. You'll find out what they are next.


BANFIELD: The Pulse Nightclub in Orlando Florida is still closed even though the owner insists that the doors someday will open again in some form.

Earlier this month, a man with links to ISIS killed 49 people inside that club. The representative of the club now is telling CNN that a special biohazard cleanup team has actually made contact in present earlier this month. You will know that these were the images that were all across your screen after 49 people were gunned down in that club before the police were able to respond and kill him.

Today, we know a lot more about what happened that night thanks to a massive document dump by the Orlando officials, telephone logs and text messages and hundreds of detailed police records.

And CNN's Miguel Marquez has been looking through them all to package them up for you to see. Have a look.


MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Starting at 2:02 a.m., dispatchers began relaying a scene of horror. 2:02:57, shots fired. 2:03:35, still shooting, a half minute later multiple down.

The chaos, confusion and enormity of the Pulse massacre captured in real time, the shorthand notes 911 operator sent to officers descending on the club. 2:05:35, desk can hear shooting in the background. 2:08, someone screaming help and then this chilling description. My caller is no longer responding, just an open line with moaning.

[12:55:17] MIGUEL LEIVA, ORLANDO SHOOTING SURVIVOR: People started running out panically and he just started killing people right there in the hallway. MARQUEZ: After 16 minutes, no more reports of gunfire in the log. But inside, the horror continues for hours. Dispatchers tell officers there may be two shooters and can't get the shooter's description or exact location from the callers. And this 2:26:49 subject in restroom whispering "Please help." At 2:40:12 caller advice shooter is in the restroom with the victim saying, he pledges to the Islamic state. At 2:51:47, victim sees subject with the bomb strapped to him.

All these as police are trying to get into the club and stop the shooter and help the wounded.

OMAR DELGADO, EATONVILLE POLICE: We're trying to go in while we got people coming out at us there's this chaos.

MARQUEZ: 4:12, victim with two gunshot wounds losing blood from leg and ribs. Three minutes later, 15 people in second mens bathroom near bar, nine in the dressing room.

LEIVA: So many people are choking on their own blood and people are just getting dehydrated and sweating and bleeding out.

MARQUEZ: Finally, three hours after it started, police get the upper hand. 5:02:12, SWAT breached. 5:14:58 shots fired, north bathroom. 5:15:53, subject down and, finally, 5:17:52, bad guy down strapped.


BANFIELD: And our special thanks to CNN's Miguel Marquez for that report. I want to talk with our law enforcement analyst, Cedric Alexander right now who is joining us live on the story.

So much uncertainty, so much chaos, the police records Cedric giving us some insight at into the real time communications. But what I'd like to understand from you, in your law enforcement background is coming upon a scene like that where there are a lot of dynamics playing out, people are bleeding to death instantly, people are possibly in the line of fire, police could be in the line of fire, what's the priority? Save the ones you can save. Take the bad guy out while others might die in the process. I'm really not sure how you prioritize in the heat of the war.

CEDRIC ALEXANDER, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Put yourself in this position for one moment, Ashleigh. You're in your radio car, you get the call, shots fired, you respond. You're receiving limited information. You reside, you go arrive to that scene within probably two, three minutes, maybe earlier. You know that there may be an officer that was on the scene working off duty. There's a lot of radio transmission. You get to the scene, you hear shots fired. You go in. Rather you go in with others. And I think this case in which Orlando did. You're walking into an environment which you know nothing about, the schematic layout. You have in there shots fired, smoke filled room, low lights, people running in and out and they're bloody, they're screaming, they're in pain. You don't know good guys from bad guys. It was had to be a chaotic scene.

You're trying to assess as much information as you can to protect the injured and wounded but also staying alert to the fact that you could get hurt yourself. The officers that responded that night to that location did an absolutely tremendous job. There is so much training that you can do, Ashleigh. And they do train under these types condition particularly in the environment we live in today.

But what's critically important here to remember is no matter how much you train, when that call is made under a live situation, the variables can change. They may not go the same way the exercise went. So but they have some familiarity with each other, how they're going to respond, how they're going to enter, how they're going to locate a target, neutralize that target. That had to be a horrific scene that night. But the heroism that was demonstrated by those officers at that scene should not be questioned because there is absolutely no textbook way in which you're going to arrive at that type of chaotic event, protect the lives of the innocent, protect the lives of other officers who may be on the scene and at the same time trying to identify a bad guy.

BANFIELD: Cedric Alexander, I really appreciate your insight. And hopefully at the lessons learned from this can help in the training as they go forward. Thank you so much. We appreciate it.

ALEXANDER: We all hope so. Thank you, Ashleigh.

BANFIELD: And just as a reminder to as well, one of the things that is unique about what's happening right now, is we're several weeks out from what happened in Orlando and there's a biohazard team on location right now actually working on the cleanup as those in Turkey now face the same reality. But seem to be doing it so incredibly quickly.

[13:00:07] We're going to continue to follow the story on CNN. Thanks so much for watching. Brianna Keilar is in for Wolf. And starts right now.