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- 06/13/16--15:40: _News Wrap: Heavily ...
- 06/13/16--15:42: _Capitol Hill stalem...
- 06/13/16--15:45: _Finding the terror ...
- 06/13/16--15:50: _In Orlando mass sho...
- 06/13/16--16:09: _New rule aims to st...
- 06/14/16--09:05: _Column: After artis...
- 06/14/16--09:15: _360 Video: ‘You’ll ...
- 06/14/16--11:27: _Democratic Party’s ...
- 06/14/16--12:15: _Officials investiga...
- 06/14/16--12:53: _‘The guilt of being...
- 06/14/16--15:01: _‘Highly offensive:’...
- 06/14/16--15:15: _Remember them: The ...
- 06/14/16--15:20: _Reflecting on the C...
- 06/14/16--15:25: _Baltimore’s dolphin...
- 06/14/16--15:28: _Why can people on t...
- 06/14/16--15:30: _Inside Russian hack...
- 06/14/16--15:35: _It’s the weapon of ...
- 06/14/16--15:40: _How the U.S. is cou...
- 06/14/16--15:45: _News Wrap: Trump’s ...
- 06/14/16--15:50: _Did killer Orlando ...
- 06/13/16--15:45: Finding the terror needles in the domestic haystack
- 06/13/16--15:50: In Orlando mass shooting, a search for motive — and missed signals
- 06/14/16--11:27: Democratic Party’s computers breached by Russian hackers
- 06/14/16--15:20: Reflecting on the Charleston church massacre, one year later
- 06/14/16--15:25: Baltimore’s dolphins moving from concrete tanks to seaside sanctuary
- 06/14/16--15:28: Why can people on the terrorist watch list buy guns, and other FAQs
- 06/14/16--15:30: Inside Russian hacking of Democrats’ opposition research on Trump
- 06/14/16--15:35: It’s the weapon of choice for U.S. mass murderers: the AR-15
- 06/14/16--15:40: How the U.S. is countering the Islamic extremist propaganda machine
- 06/14/16--15:50: Did killer Orlando gunman Omar Mateen have secret gay life?
GWEN IFILL: Good evening. I’m Gwen Ifill.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And I’m Judy Woodruff.
GWEN IFILL: On the “NewsHour” tonight:
JAMES COMEY, Director, FBI: We hope that our fellow Americans will not let fear become disabling.
GWEN IFILL: A nation in mourning searches for answers. At least 49 innocent people are dead and 53 wounded in the worst mass shooting in modern American history — how a gay Orlando nightclub became a target for tragedy.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Here at this center, which is the hub of the LGBT community in Orlando, there is a mixture of sadness, and anger, and strength in the face of this horrendous act.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Also ahead: Presidential candidates weigh in with stark differences — how the murdering rampage in Florida will alter the campaign going forward.
GWEN IFILL: And we examine how Orlando is sparking a national debate on gun control and hate crimes.
JUDY WOODRUFF: All that on tonight’s “PBS NewsHour.”
GWEN IFILL: And in the day’s other news: An Indiana man is jailed in Santa Monica, California, after police arrested him Sunday, heavily armed and headed to a gay pride parade. James Howell will appear in court tomorrow. Police say he was carrying three assault rifles and chemicals used in explosives.
JUDY WOODRUFF: The U.S. Supreme Court rebuffed Puerto Rico today over its debt crisis. The court ruled federal law bars the commonwealth from restructuring part of the $70 billion it owes. Instead, it must wait for Congress to finish debt relief legislation.
The justices also refused to freeze federal curbs on power plant emissions of mercury. Twenty states wanted the rules delayed.
GWEN IFILL: In Iraq, the government says it’s investigating reports that Shiite militias have killed Sunni men escaping from Fallujah. The Shiites are supporting an Iraqi army offensive to retake the city from Islamic State fighters. Iraqi troops have been slowly advancing into Fallujah for three weeks now. Over the weekend, 4,000 civilians managed to escape.
JUDY WOODRUFF: The city of Marseille, France, was rocked by soccer violence over the weekend between Russian and English fans at the European Championship tournament. European soccer’s governing body warned both sides, but a court handed down prison terms for only one side.
Emma Murphy of Independent Television News reports from Marseille.
EMMA MURPHY: That they were organized, determined, and extremely violent was obvious to anyone who saw the violence in Marseille this weekend.
Now the French authorities have admitted a gang of 150 known Russian hooligans managed to get into the country, and indeed the stadium, to foment three days of brutality. Not one has been arrested.
Describing them as ultra-rapid, ultra-violent and extremely well-trained, Marseille’s prosecutor acknowledged some had been stopped at the airport, but the rest breached French security and are free to infiltrate other games.
“The hooligans from Russia traveled from other countries on trains and in cars,” he told me. “We would have known and arrested them had they come through the airport.”
The Russians were the most organized and violent, but it was the English fans who were in court today, six in all arrested for violence.
During the course of the weekend, 35 people were injured, four seriously. These scenes led to UEFA’s threat to throw both England and Russia out of the tournament. Today, England’s manager and captain, Wayne Rooney, appealed to fans for no repeat.
ROY HODGSON, Manager, English National Soccer Team: I’m appealing to you to stay out of trouble and try and make certain these threats that are being issued are never carried out.
WAYNE ROONEY, Captain, English National Soccer Team: I would like to ask the fans, please, if you don’t have a ticket, don’t travel. And for the fans with tickets, be safe, be sensible.
EMMA MURPHY: This city is now calm for the first time in three days. And with today’s sentences, it seems the French authorities are keen to send out a strong message to deter others from violent actions.
However, with no Russians in custody, that message is significantly weakened.
JUDY WOODRUFF: The French prosecutor says police are studying closed-circuit TV footage, and trying to track down the Russians involved in the violence.
GWEN IFILL: Microsoft made a surprise move today and announced it is buying the professional networking site LinkedIn. The price tag? More than $26 billion. It’s the largest acquisition in Microsoft’s history, and it gives the software giant access to LinkedIn’s 430 million members.
JUDY WOODRUFF: The sell-off that hit Wall Street late last week carried over to today. The Dow Jones industrial average lost nearly 133 points to close at 17732. The Nasdaq fell 46 points, and the S&P 500 dropped 17.
GWEN IFILL: The Broadway musical “Hamilton” and the Pittsburgh Penguins now have something in common: Both are big winners. Pittsburgh took the National Hockey League title last night, beating the San Jose Sharks in six games. It’s the fourth Stanley Cup in the franchise’s history.
And “Hamilton,” the hip-hop stage biography of former Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton, won 11 Tony Awards, including best musical. That’s one shy of the record.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Still to come on the “NewsHour”: Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump issue calls to action in response to the Orlando shooting; plus, a look at the prejudice the LGBT community still faces.
The post News Wrap: Heavily armed man busted en route to L.A. gay pride parade due in court appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And now we turn now to Capitol Hill and how lawmakers are responding to the attack in Orlando.
We begin with Senator Dianne Feinstein, a Democrat from California. She is the ranking member of the Intelligence Committee.
Senator Feinstein, welcome back to the “NewsHour.”
I don’t know if you have been able to hear the conversation we have just been having. But based on what you know, is it your sense that law enforcement intelligence agencies did everything they could to do something about this man, Omar Mateen, before this happened?
SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN (D), California: Well, first of all, Judy, I have great respect both for Mike Leiter and Ali Soufan. So, I very much agree with what they have had to say.
With respect of dealing with the classic lone wolf, we are, I think, seeing the real problem. And the one thing that came out of all of this that I thought was good is that the Islamic community, and particularly the religious part of that community, is beginning to stand up, take notice and say, no, this is not us, and say it over and over and over again.
And this last perpetrator that really did such a dastardly event by striking at a lesbian and gay community that has struggled for equality over so many years, and now to have them subject to this kind of terrible event is just really awful.
Having said that, I think that, as time goes on, we’re going to increasingly realize, as Ali spoke about, Ali Soufan spoke about, of how we get a countermessage out in a way that is effective.
I think law enforcement has responded. As far as I know, this country is responding with full resources. The FBI has sent an additional complement of men, of 80 men and women, into Florida. They have a big number already in Florida.
They are leading the investigation. Everybody is cooperating. And I think the investigation seems to be going very well. How you stop this doesn’t seem to be going very well. This is a man, nine years employed, good job, semi-law enforcement, wanted law enforcement, went to mosques, prayed, and somehow became so alienated.
Now, whether this is from social media, whether it’s from contact, or whether it’s really a displaced aggression, I don’t know. But this is a big problem. And we’re going to be stuck with it for a very long time, I believe.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Senator, I want to ask you about the fact that you are one of those in the Senate who is pushing this legislation to prevent individuals on a terror watch list from buying, obtaining a firearm or explosives.
Why do you think you may have some success with that now, when it’s been impossible to pass in the past?
SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN: Well, I think people are beginning to realize that the attorney general should have the ability to place people on the terrorist watch list and deny sale of weapons to them.
And this bill essentially gives the attorney general those regulations in law. In other words, she can move to take action. And that is what this bill does. I think it’s very, very important.
I think, on another subject, the AR-15, this is a military-style assault weapon, in its truest sense of the word, big bullets, terrible physical damage. Look at the death rate, and I think more of that will come out.
Not to take action — we tried after Sandy Hook. We failed. I tried after San Bernardino to get this no guns for terrorists through. We failed. This Congress has to realize that they need to step up and we need to protect people now.
And I think we have got a full component of law enforcement. I think we have got relatively good intelligence. As Director Comey told us, there is an investigation going on in every state.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Senator, two things.
If Omar Mateen — Omar Mateen, as you know, wasn’t on a watch list in the most recent past. So he wouldn’t have been prevented from buying a weapon. But, second of all, the argument that many of your Republican colleagues have made about this is that there is still the potential that people who are innocent are on a watch list, and they would be prevented from buying a gun.
SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN: Well, then you can petition and prove that you are innocent and get off of the watch list.
But, you know, if we want to prevent this — you know, this bill was drafted actually during the Bush administration when a man, a terrorist, went back to Syria, an American, and said to everybody, now exploit the loopholes in America’s laws, and you buy weapons.
Well, this is — we have got huge loopholes. And it’s wrong. And we have got to begin to close them one by one by one. The terrorist bill, no guns for terrorists, is the first step. Assault weapons is the second step. This man shouldn’t have been able — if he had been on the terrorist watch list, he wouldn’t have been able to buy that assault weapon. And I think that’s important.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Senator Dianne Feinstein, we thank you.
SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN: Thank you, Judy.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And now we get a Republican perspective now from Congressman Will Hurd of Texas. He’s on the House Committee on Homeland Security. He previously served as an undercover officer for the CIA in the Middle East and South Asia.
Congressman Hurd, thank you for being with us. I don’t know if you heard, but Senator Dianne Feinstein just said that it’s time for Congress to step up in the wake of this horrible incident in Orlando.
And, as you know, she and other senators are promoting legislation that would make it impossible for someone on a terror watch list to buy a weapon.
Congressman Hurd, are you able to hear me?
REP. WILL HURD (R), Texas: Yes. Yes. Yes, Judy.
Listen, nobody is supporting putting weapons in the hands of terrorists. But the reality is, it’s unfortunate when an event like what happened in Orlando, both sides of the political aisle retreat to some of the same tired talking points.
The bill that the good senator from California was talking about wouldn’t have prevented what happened in Orlando. It wouldn’t have prevented what happened in San Bernardino. The reality is, on a no-fly list — if you are on a no-fly list now and you try to buy a weapon, that information goes to the FBI, and the FBI has influence on whether that sale is able to go through or not.
The reality is, is what we need to be focused on here is focusing on taking the fight to the doorsteps of terrorists, whether it’s ISIS, al-Qaida, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Boko Haram. We need to take the fight to them.
And we also need to make sure that we are countering that ideology . The two gentlemen earlier were talking about this. What makes ISIS so dangerous is its ability to inspire people, even if they are 6,000 miles away and they have never met them.
We are a country that has the most creative minds, the best brands. We should be all working together to counter this ideology. And the third thing we need to be doing is making sure that we have national intelligence information in the hands of local law enforcement. We see what happened in Orlando and San Bernardino, that it was local law enforcement that has to respond to these kind of activities.
And when I started in the CIA, it was before 9/11. And have I seen how intelligence-sharing has improved significantly from that time to now. The next step is making sure we’re getting the right information in the hands of local law enforcement.
JUDY WOODRUFF: But, Congressman, why wouldn’t it be another important tool in the hands of law enforcement to be able to say if someone’s on a watch list, if they are being investigated for something they did or are suspected of doing, that they should at least during that period not be allowed to buy a weapon or explosives?
REP. WILL HURD: Well…
JUDY WOODRUFF: Why is that objectionable?
REP. WILL HURD: Again, the failsafe is there if you are on the no-fly list. If are you are on the no-fly, the FBI is reviewing that information.
The reality is, is a weapon is just a tool. Whether you use a long gun, a handgun or explosives, these are tools in the hands of a terrorist. And if you are that deranged that you are willing to kill 49 innocent people and take your own life, then are you going to get that tool however you can in order to do your deed.
And I think the important thing that we need to be focusing on is what I just said. Take the fight to them and make sure that we’re countering that ideology. And that is where — there is not going to be any one piece of legislation that prevents another Orlando from happening.
It is going to be a lot of work. This is something that has been going on and that the House has been looking at for the last 15 months. I sat on a task force that looked at four and five years going into Iraq and Syria. And we have had nine pieces of legislation that tightens up loopholes in our visa process to make sure that we are still allowing commerce and people to move back and forth, but it’s making sure that we’re having all the tools and information in the hands of people that are issuing the visas.
So, this is a long-term fight.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Congressman, is there any additional restriction on the ability of individuals who are being investigated, who may have committed a crime or maybe thinking about a terrorist act, who have been proven in some way, or who law enforcement has a reason to be concerned about, is there any additional restriction that you would be willing to go along with in order to strengthen the hands of law enforcement in this country, where, as you say, there is a worry that people may be committing an act in sympathy with ISIS or another terror group?
REP. WILL HURD: Well, the reality is, there has been a lot of focus on the Orlando killer and how they were interviewed three times by the FBI.
The FBI had a 10-month investigation. They ran undercover officers against him. And they found out he wasn’t connected in any form or fashion. It’s not breaking the law to be interviewed by the FBI. The FBI has a difficult task. And this lone wolf scenario is one of the hardest things for law enforcement to fight against.
And that’s why we need to make sure we’re doing everything we can to get information in their hands. So, you know, this is the time that we should be working together, across the aisle on making sure that we’re focused on the real issue.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Congressman Will Hurd, we thank you very much.
REP. WILL HURD: Thank you.
The post Capitol Hill stalemate on gun control back in spotlight after Orlando shooting appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And some perspective now on how intelligence and law enforcement agencies try to find and stop people like the Orlando killer.
We turn to two men with extensive experience in counterterrorism operations and investigations. Michael Leiter was the director the National Counterterrorism center from 2007 to 2011, during both the George W. Bush and Obama administrations. And Ali Soufan was a supervisory special agent with the FBI, where he worked on both domestic and international terrorism investigations. He now runs a security and intelligence consulting business.
And we welcome both of you to the program.
Michael Leiter, to you first. Based on everything you know, how do you assess the job that the FBI and other government agencies did in looking into what they heard about Omar Mateen?
MICHAEL LEITER, Former Director, National Counterterrorism Center: Well, let’s start with the premise that this is a very hard job.
As Jim Comey said today, they not only have to find needles in a haystack. They have to predict which pieces of the hay will eventually become needles. I think what Director Comey said was that they did a fair amount of information of this individual in 2014, to include running operatives against him, doing surveillance, doing electronic surveillance.
And all of that led them to conclude that this wasn’t a threat. And that really suggests to me that if there had been almost anything there at the time, other than hearsay, they would have continued the investigation. So clearly they didn’t predict this one right. I think it’s still too early to know whether at the time they should have done more.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Ali Soufan, in looking at what the FBI did, we heard Director Comey they did a 10-month investigation. What would that have involved?
ALI SOUFAN, Former FBI Terrorism Investigator: Well, I think we heard from Director Comey that they put someone undercover, they put a source on the individual, they probably investigated his criminal record.
They did probably a thorough investigation to see if he is connected to any ongoing investigation or any individuals who are suspected terrorists or are part of any investigation. They probably checked his digital footprint. They saw if he has contact with suspicious entities or terrorist entities.
They probably looked into his phone record. And at the time, the assessment was that he is not connected. And by law, the FBI has to close that investigation. If they can’t articulate that that investigation, there is probably a reasonable suspicion or probable cause to have the investigation going, then they could have had a full investigation.
But at the time, it seems that there was no indication whatsoever that that individual was involved or connected to suspected entities.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Michael Leiter, how much harder is it to find something on someone when they don’t seem to have a single allegiance? At the end, Omar Mateen talked about ISIS, but, earlier, his co-workers had said he talked about al-Qaida.
He mentioned the al-Nusra. He befriended a man who had gone off to fight for the al-Nusra Front. How much more difficult does that make it?
MICHAEL LEITER: It makes it much harder.
We used to say the U.S. is a melting pot for a lot of reasons, including in the terrorist minds. Allegiances and dalliances that would never occur overseas because of the purity to allegiance to Hezbollah vs. ISIS would never occur, but here in the U.S., when you have a confused and clearly deranged individual, searching out almost anything, almost any ideology, any group that gives them a feeling of worth and ultimately justifies these horrendous acts of violence.
So it makes it that much harder, because you don’t have a clear path to follow. There isn’t — they aren’t fitting the mold that we often expect to see with other terrorist groups and individuals overseas.
JUDY WOODRUFF: So, Ali Soufan, should there be a rethinking of these watch lists and what it takes to be on one or be taken off of one?
ALI SOUFAN: Well, I think if he is a subject of an initial investigation, he is going to be on a watch list.
And if that investigation is closed, he will be removed off the watch list. I think Michael is right in what he mentioned. We’re talking about an individual, in this case, for example, who seems to be so confused.
One day, he claims to be a member of Hezbollah, which is a Shiite organization. Another day, his family is connected to al-Qaida. And then he praised just before he was killed an individual who was a suicide bomber for al-Nusra, an entity that is not in good terms with ISIS.
And then he gave his regards and admiration for the Boston bombers, two individuals who have nothing to do with ISIS. ISIS in this case appeared to have no idea about what this guy did. They didn’t control his operation. They don’t appear to be directing that operation.
And even their alleged claim of responsibility was based on circular media, was based on what they are gathering of U.S. media regarding that operation. So now we have a case of an individual who went to do his crime and at the last second he said, oh, by the way, I am ISIS.
And now we look at it not as a hate crime, but we’re looking at it as a terrorist — rightly so, as a terrorist massacre.
JUDY WOODRUFF: So, Michael Leiter, what does that say for future efforts on the part of investigators? Because we keep hearing that there are hundreds, maybe even thousands of young people around this country, mostly young men, who may be sympathetic, may hear something in ISIS or another of these groups that they are interested in. What does it say about future efforts to ferret these people out before they do something?
MICHAEL LEITER: Judy, you and I have sat here after San Bernardino, after Paris. This is an incredibly hard fight.
And we really revolutionized how we did counterterrorism post-9/11. And we have gotten so much better at working against complex plots overseas. But I think we’re approaching the point where we have to seriously consider how we revolutionize counterterrorism now to optimize our ability to find these.
And it would require huge changes. It would require a lowering of the bar to do surveillance in certain operations. That is out canning against the grain of the post-Snowden era. It would require a huge increase in resources, both for the FBI and state and local law enforcement. And it might also require diminishing the ability to obtain firearms.
These are all big choices. And as tragic as this is, it still isn’t clear to me that we have the political will to go down that path.
JUDY WOODRUFF: How do you see that, Ali Soufan? What does it take to make the efforts of law enforcement more successful at finding these people before they act?
ALI SOUFAN: Well, I think, first of all, I agree with what Michael said.
But, since 9/11, we have been very successful tactically in combating the threat. Unfortunately, when it comes to the ideology, we haven’t been that successful. We have been behind the eight-ball. We didn’t do much to counter the incubating factors that is leading into this. We haven’t been countering the ideology and countering the narrative as we should online.
And I think we need to develop some kind of 21st century policing model where we can include the community inside the pipe, that they feel that they are part of the solution, not part of the problem, not to say that specific communities around the nation haven’t been working very closely with law enforcement.
For example, most of the disruptions that took place in the last few years, significant number was based on tips from the community. But I think we need to develop a 21st century policing model that includes a way to, you know, promote the idea of, if you see something, say something, in specific communities around the United States.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Ali Soufan, Michael Leiter, we thank you both.
MICHAEL LEITER: Thank you.
ALI SOUFAN: Thank you.
The post Finding the terror needles in the domestic haystack appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
GWEN IFILL: Orlando, a city that evokes theme parks and good times, now also a blood-stained entry in American history, 49 people, plus the killer, slain at a gay nightclub. Sunday’s massacre led today to a search for motive and for missed signals.
William Brangham begins our coverage in Orlando.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: There was relative calm outside the Pulse nightclub this morning, a far remove from the chaos of 24 hours earlier. Amateur video captured the terror, gunshots shattering the party atmosphere inside the club.
The man firing the shots was 29-year-old Omar Mateen, ultimately killed by a SWAT team inside. Police said today they have no regrets about storming the club.
JOHN MINA, Chief, Orlando Police Department: Based on information we received from the suspect, and from the hostages, and people inside, we believed further loss of life was imminent. I made the decision to commence the rescue operation and do the explosive breach.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: During the attack, Mateen called 911 dispatchers and pledged loyalty to the Islamic State.
Today, ISIS radio released an audio statement calling him a soldier of the caliphate. And officials in Saudi Arabia confirmed he’d visited their country twice for pilgrimages.
But, in Washington, FBI Director James Comey said there’s every reason to think Mateen acted on his own.
JAMES COMEY, Director, FBI: There are strong indications of radicalization by this killer and of potential inspiration by foreign terrorist organizations. So far, we see no indication that this was a plot directed from outside the United States, and we see no indication that he was part of any kind of network.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: The FBI had investigated Mateen on suspicions of terrorist sympathies, but the results were inconclusive, and Comey defended his agents’ work.
JAMES COMEY: Our investigation involved introducing confidential sources to him, recording conversations with him, following him, reviewing transactional records from his communications, and searching all government holdings for any possible connections, any possible derogatory information.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: As investigators now searched the gunman’s home in Fort Pierce, Florida, sharply differing images of him have emerged. His Afghan-born father apologized again today to the victims.
And in a Facebook video, speaking in Dari, he reflected on his son and the crime he committed.
SEDDIQUE MIR MATEEN, Father of Omar Mateen: My son Omar a good son and educated person. I don’t know what caused him to do it. I don’t know what happened. And I didn’t know he had hatred. The issue of homosexuality and punishment belongs to God. It doesn’t belong to a servant of Allah
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: But Mateen’s ex-wife painted a starkly different picture, saying he was abusive, mentally unstable and full of hate.
At the White House, President Obama spoke of his own concerns about such individuals.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: One of the biggest challenges we are going to have is this kind of propaganda and perversions of Islam that you see generated on the Internet, and the capacity for that to seep into the minds of troubled individuals.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Meanwhile, police said today they have identified nearly all of the victims, among them, accountants, baristas, hairdressers, people, mostly young, who’d been looking to unwind with a night of music and dancing.
With the city’s wounds still fresh, Orlando’s Mayor Buddy Dyer thanked the city for its response.
MAYOR BUDDY DYER, Orlando: We will not be defined by the act of a cowardly hater. We will be defined by how we respond, how we treat each other. And this community has already stepped up to do that.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: As the country awaits the latest developments in this investigation, a small army of volunteers here in Orlando have come to this community center to do what they can to help out.
They loaded food and water today at Orlando’s biggest LGBT community center, just minutes from the site of the rampage. Many said they came to lend a hand, but also just to be with others in mourning.
COREY LYONS, President, Impulse Group Orlando: It’s tragic. It’s tragic across the board. We saw the act of what one person can do, but in the same day within 12 hours, we saw the acts of what many can do together to really fight this incident and really try to come together.
CHRISTIE CRUZ, Volunteer: We’re all people, and it just hurts cause it’s black, white, gay, no matter what. It doesn’t matter,
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: It’s an attack on everybody.
CHRISTIE CRUZ: It’s just — yes, we’re all people, we’re all human, and we — it’s just — it’s hard to deal with. That’s the thing about the gay community, is, we all know somebody who knows somebody who knows somebody, because this is a close group, and we’re — it hurts us all.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: The shooting happened as Latin Night at the Pulse nightclub was winding down, and a majority of the victims identified so far are Hispanic.
Christian Castelan is Mexican-American and gay.
CHRISTIAN CASTELAN, Volunteer: I went out to dinner last night with my significant other and other friends, and just being closed to him, that is even scary, after what happened, because I was constantly just looking around. It just went from completely comfortable to just completely fearful in a matter of hours. And it just continues to become much more difficult than what it was yesterday.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: A vigil is being held later tonight for the victims of the shooting. It’s about less than a mile away from the nightclub where they lost their lives — Gwen.
GWEN IFILL: William, I just heard that young man said to say to you that they went from being comfortable to terrified so quickly. Is it fair to say that the community is still in a state of shock tonight?
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Absolutely. I mean, the sense here is that this, like so many other communities that have experienced this type of a tragedy, the sense of safety that they had has been snatched away from them.
And that’s something we heard not just from the gay community, but largely in that community here, all over Orlando.
GWEN IFILL: So, William, is there a special impact in the gay — if this was Latin night at a gay nightclub, a special impact in the gay and lesbian community?
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: It was, absolutely.
I mean, the Latino community, as we know, it’s largely a conservative community. And being gay in the Latino community is not as easy as it might be, say, in the white community. And a lot of people mentioned to me that there might be the possibility that people who were shot, people who might have been killed or wounded in this event might not have been out even to their own families.
And so now they are forced to have this conversation that maybe they weren’t ready to be having, that, oh, I was at this club when this happened.
It just raised one more level of a very, very uncomfortable conversation for them at a time of this awful tragedy going on here.
GWEN IFILL: And is there evidence now of heightened security around, in and around Orlando, but especially in that neighborhood?
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Absolutely. We spent a good deal of time today and yesterday at that community center.
And now even there every time they don’t let people stand outside, for fear of drive-by shootings. They are checking bags everywhere they go. How much of that lasts after this event dies down and people start to go on with their lives, we don’t know. But there is a very strong sense of security here everywhere.
GWEN IFILL: William, thank so much. We will hear from you again tomorrow night.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: All right, good night, Gwen.
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WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is trying to make it easier for students who have been misled or defrauded by their colleges to have their loans forgiven.
The Education Department says a rule proposed Monday would lay out a clear relief process for borrowers who believe they were lied to about job prospects after college or otherwise deceived in order to enroll in the school. It also aims to hold schools accused of fraud or at financial risk more accountable by requiring them to notify prospective and enrolled students, as well as set aside money that could help cover future claims against the school.
The proposal follows the collapse last year of Corinthian Colleges, one of the largest for-profit college companies.
“A college degree remains one of the best investments anyone can make in his or her future,” Education Secretary John B. King Jr. said on a call with reporters. “But that’s only true if it’s a meaningful degree that helps you land a better job, not if it’s a worthless piece of paper that’s an artifact of deception rather than proof of accomplishment.”
Undersecretary Ted Mitchell said the new regulations, expected to take effect in July 2017, “would replace a complicated uneven and burdensome standard that varies by state with a new robust federal standard that will allow easy use by students.”
The proposal would streamline debt relief for groups of students if they all experienced the same misconduct by a school, such as instances of wide misrepresentation — meaning they all wouldn’t have to file individual applications for loan forgiveness. The new provisions also would bar colleges from forbidding students from class-action lawsuits as part of enrollment agreements, something Corinthian had done.
The Debt Collective, a New York-based group that has lobbied to have the student loans of Corinthian students canceled, was cautious in its response.
“What the department released today amounts to little more than a loose statement of intention to do right by student debtors after decades of collaboration with corrupt for-profits,” spokeswoman Laura Hanna said in a statement.
The group is concerned the education secretary would have too much power in deciding relief to groups of borrowers.
A whistleblower raised concerns about Corinthian in early 2011, alleging that employees of the for-profit chain fabricated employers to make it appear as though unemployed graduates had secured good jobs in their careers of study. California’s attorney general filed a lawsuit in 2013, alleging rampant lies to students about job placement. Corinthian filed for bankruptcy protection last year, closing schools and leaving thousands of students with hefty debt and frustrated their efforts to earn degrees.
The Education Department continues to vet thousands of requests from Corinthian students for relief from their federal loans. So far, it has erased the debt for more than 8,800 former Corinthian students, totaling more than $132 million. But that’s only a small fraction of the estimated $3.6 billion in federal loans given to Corinthian students.
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When 27-year-old artist Antonio Ramos was shot and killed last fall while painting a mural under a highway overpass in West Oakland, the story of his death captured national and international headlines.
But very little was reported about Ramos, the self-taught artist whose passion for social justice and illustrating the stories of indigenous people was recognized by those who knew him best. (Ramos himself had roots in Mexico and in Puerto Rico’s Taíno tribe.)
I walked through the doors of Attitudinal Healing Connection (AHC) one week after the shooting. AHC has worked in West Oakland for more than 25 years and leads the Oakland Super Heroes Mural Project, an effort to transform six blighted underpasses into large-scale murals designed by local youth. Ramos was helping paint one of them when he was gunned down.
AHC co-founder Aeeshah Clottey greeted me with warm eyes, open arms, but also had words that stung me for their truth. “Where have you been? We’ve been trying to get media coverage of our efforts for decades. Now with blood in the streets, you’re here.”
Then she invited me to sit down.
I’ve called Oakland home for most of my adult life, and as a documentary filmmaker who has made films about anti-violence efforts in the Bay Area and as far away as Russia, words like these are important to hear. They cut to the heart of what many people at AHC and throughout Oakland are still feeling about this tragedy nine months later.
Within hours of the shooting, reports of yet another killing in Oakland dominated the news cycle. That Ramos died working on a mural about peace and non-violence was not lost on the press. Speculation about the circumstances leading up to the murder abounded. Did the subject matter in the mural provoke the violence? Was the crime an attempted robbery? Next to none of these explanations resonated with the artists working with Ramos that fateful morning, when an armed man took their friend’s life. The truth of their feelings were eclipsed by reports of his violent death and tired narratives of crime-ridden Oakland.
“In a situation that was just so senseless, there were news reports connecting what happened to Antonio with how gentrification isn’t making Oakland better,” AHC executive director Amana Harris told me. “As if gentrification is what it takes to make a city better. That’s the kind of narrow-mindedness we’re fighting against. We have to be looking at core issues for our people, ways to build better resiliency with our community members.”
For Harris, 44, art like the murals project is key to building healthy, resilient communities. The Oakland native has been bringing art classes to the city’s under-resourced schools for decades through AHC’s ArtEsteem program and Self as Superhero curriculum, which encourages students to re-envision themselves as superheroes improving their communities. West Oakland Middle School Students inspired the images Ramos was helping to create when he died.
Ramos’ name is back in the news again with developments in the criminal case, and with a lawsuit filed by his family against the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement — owners of the stolen firearm reportedly used in the shooting. Meanwhile, AHC has started up work on a fourth Oakland Super Heroes Mural with students at Hoover Elementary. It will be painted across the street from the wall where Ramos was killed. But that work has disappeared from the public’s eye.
When I began to capture the completion of the mural last fall in the aftermath of Ramos’ death, I didn’t know where my storytelling would lead. But I knew I wanted to tell a different story than I was seeing displayed in the media, one that better represented Ramos, Oakland, and the role art plays in empowering youth and making our communities stronger. I hope this video offers a glimpse of the creativity and courage, grace and forgiveness that is reflected not only in the life of Antonio Ramos, but in the lives of the artists, friends and family members who carry his spirit forward.
This report originally appeared on PBS member station KQED. Local Beat is an ongoing series on Art Beat that features arts and culture stories from PBS member stations around the nation.
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Use your cursor to explore all angles of the Orlando vigil in this 360-degree video. Video filmed and edited by Justin Scuiletti
Candles flickered and people embraced Monday night at a vigil to remember the victims of Sunday’s shooting rampage at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida.
Forty-nine people were killed. You can view their names here.
Watch more remembrances held around the country in support of the Orlando community:
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WASHINGTON — Sophisticated hackers linked to Russian intelligence services broke into the Democratic National Committee’s computer networks and gained access to confidential emails, chats and opposition research on presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump, people familiar with the breach said Tuesday.
The firm, CrowdStrike Inc., said the DNC asked it to investigate a suspected breach of its systems, which began as early as last summer. CrowdStrike said it quickly found traces of two of the best adversaries in the hacking arena, both tied to the Russian government.
The newly revealed attacks join a host of high-profile digital breaches affecting current and past White House hopefuls, underscoring vulnerabilities in digital networks that increasingly hold sensitive data about political candidates, their opponents and their donors.
DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz called the incident serious and said the committee moved quickly to “kick out the intruders and secure our network.” The DNC said donor, financial and personal information did not appear to have been accessed by the hackers.
But an individual knowledgeable of the breach said at least one year’s worth of detailed chats, emails and opposition research on Trump were stolen. That kind of research, a staple of political campaigns, often contains detailed information — sometimes factual and sometimes specious — about a candidate’s personal and professional history.
The individual, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the person was not authorized to discuss the breach, said DNC officials first learned about the hack in late April when its technology staff discovered malware on its computers.
CrowdStrike reported Tuesday that one group of hackers was able to execute computer code remotely on systems running Microsoft Windows. Another was capable of recording keystrokes.
Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said last month that U.S. officials have seen indications of foreign hackers spying on the presidential candidates. He said the U.S. intelligence community expects more cyber threats against the campaigns.
Foreign hacking was rampant during the 2008 presidential election, and President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney were targets of Chinese cyberattacks in the 2012 campaign. In 2008, Obama and Republican nominee Sen. John McCain were also targeted.
CrowdStrike said one of the hacking groups identified in the DNC attack, dubbed Cozy Bear, had previously infiltrated unclassified networks at the White House, the State Department and the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Another group detected, called Fancy Bear, had targeted private and public sector networks around the world since the mid-2000s. The two groups involved in the DNC hacking had penetrated the system separately, CrowdStrike said.
Dmitri Alperovitch, CrowdStrike’s co-founder and chief technology officer, said the hackers specifically targeted the DNC’s research department and obtained opposition documents prepared about Trump. He said the firm is confident the DNC’s network has eliminated the threat.
But, Alperovitch said, “the Russians’ interest in the political campaign will not stop at this incident. We fully expect that they will try to get back in.”
A representative from the Russian Embassy in Washington did not immediately return phone calls and emails seeking comment Tuesday.
The incident was first reported Tuesday by The Washington Post.
“It should come as no surprise to anyone that political parties are high-profile targets for foreign intelligence gathering,” said Democratic Rep. Jim Langevin of Rhode Island, who co-founded the House’s cybersecurity panel. “Nonetheless, it is disconcerting that two independent operations were able to penetrate the DNC, one of which was able to stay embedded for nearly a year.”
Cybersecurity experts have previously told The Associated Press that neither Trump’s nor Hillary Clinton’s campaign networks are secure enough to stop attacks. Clinton’s use of a private email server while secretary of state raised questions of how well her personal system was protected from intrusions; her campaign has said there’s no evidence it was breached.
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Investigators are looking into reports that the wife of 29-year-old Orlando gunman Omar Mateen had advanced knowledge of the mass shooting at a Florida gay nightclub that left 49 people dead, the Associated Press reported.
Several media outlets have reported, citing law enforcement officials on condition of anonymity, that Mateen and his wife, 30-year-old Noor, previously drove to the Pulse nightclub at least once. Investigators are currently trying to confirm these reports.
An official told the AP that the FBI will try to glean any data from Mateen’s phone to see if he had visited the nightclub before. Another official told ABC News that the wife said she tried to talk Mateen out of going through with the Sunday’s massacre, the deadliest in modern U.S. history.
Following the attack, details surrounding the gunman’s background began to emerge. His ex-wife, Sitora Yusufiy, described an abusive marriage to Mateen. Yusufiy told The New York Times that Mateen became verbally and physically abusive and was mentally unstable.
A regular at Pulse told the Los Angeles Times that he interacted with Mateen over the course of a year on the gay dating app Jack’d. Another witness told MSNBC that he recognized Mateen from the gay dating app Grindr.
The Orlando Sentinel reported on Monday that at least four witnesses had seen Mateen before at the nightclub. However, Pulse’s owner told Reuters today that he had no knowledge that Mateen was a regular customer.
Mateen called 911 dispatchers during the attack and pledged loyalty to the Islamic State group. FBI director James Comey said the agency had previously investigated Mateen on suspicions of terrorist connections, but the case remained inconclusive.
“There are strong indications of radicalization by this killer and of potential inspiration by foreign terrorist organizations,” Comey said Monday. “So far, we see no indication that this was a plot directed from outside the United States, and we see no indication that he was part of any kind of network.”
Earlier today, President Barack Obama said Mateen appeared to have been an angry, disturbed, unstable young man who became radicalized.”
“These lone actors or small cells of terrorists are very hard to detect and very hard to prevent,” the president said Tuesday. “But across our government at every level, federal, state and local, military and civilian, we are doing everything in our power to stop these kinds of attacks.”
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Patience Carter said she and her friends ended up at the Pulse nightclub because of a Google map suggestion to visit the popular gay destination.
Traveling from Philadelphia, Carter, 20, and her friends arrived at the nightclub shortly after midnight. This was Carter’s first time in Florida, first time in Orlando and first time at Pulse.
“It was the most beautiful bonding experience any three girls can have on their first night out on vacation,” Carter said at a news conference at Florida Hospital Orlando on Tuesday.
Carter described how moments after she and her friends planned to leave the club Sunday night, the gunshots began. Carter said one of her friends was killed and another severely injured when suspected gunman Omar Mateen opened fire inside the club early Sunday. The massacre left 49 dead and dozens injured.
Carter, who suffered a gunshot wound to her leg, said the gunman specifically told his victims that his motivation for the shooting was because he wanted America to stop bombing his country. Mateen was born in New York and his parents were born in Afghanistan.
Patience Carter read a poem during a news conference at Florida Hospital Orlando on Tuesday, saying “the guilt of being alive is heavy.” Video by PBS NewsHour
Although President Barack Obama didn’t identify the shooter on Monday, he said investigators were looking into how an “angry, disturbed, unstable young man” became radicalized.
FBI officials had said Mateen called 911 dispatchers and pledged loyalty to the Islamic State group before the attack. Carter said she witnessed Mateen pledging allegiance to ISIS that night.
Prior to her recounting the details of Sunday night, Carter read a statement, saying “the guilt of being alive is heavy.”
“As the world mourns the victims killed and viciously slain, I feel guilty about screaming about my legs and pain because I can feel nothing,” Carter tearfully said. “Like the other 49 who weren’t so lucky to feel this pain of mine.”
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WASHINGTON — Dismayed Republicans scrambled for cover Tuesday from Donald Trump’s inflammatory response to the Orlando massacre, while President Barack Obama and Democrat Hillary Clinton delivered fiery denunciations that underscored the potential peril for the GOP.
Republican hopes are fading for a new, “more presidential” Trump as the party’s divisions around him grow ever more acute.
Clinton, campaigning in Pittsburgh, said, “We don’t need conspiracy theories and pathological self-congratulations. We need leadership and concrete plans because we are facing a brutal enemy.”
In Washington, Obama said of Muslim-Americans: “Are we going to start subjecting them to special surveillance? Are we going to discriminate against them because of their faith?” After meeting with counterterrorism officials, a stern-faced Obama said: “We heard these suggestions during the course of this campaign. Do Republican officials actually agree with this? Because that’s not the America we want.”
Several of Trump’s fellow Republicans clearly did not agree with him. They were nearly as unsparing as the Democrats in their criticism of his boundary-pushing response Monday to the killing of 49 patrons at a gay club in Orlando, Florida, by an American-born Muslim who pledged loyalty to the Islamic State group.
Among other things, Trump suggested moderate Muslims and perhaps even Obama himself might sympathize with radical elements and expanded his call for a temporary ban on Muslim immigration to the U.S.
“Mr. Trump seems to be suggesting that the president is one of them, I find that highly offensive, I find that whole line of reasoning way off-base,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina. “Mr. Trump’s reaction to declare war on the faith is the worst possible solution.”
GOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois said Trump’s comments could be used to radicalize uneducated Muslims.
“I guess I appreciate Mr. Trump’s fieriness in talking about it, and strength, but you don’t do it by alienating the very people we need and those are moderate Muslims,” said Kinzinger. “To use religion as a test, to say we’re going to discriminate against all Muslims, is so counterproductive it really almost doesn’t deserve being talked about.”
House Republicans said they would meet with Trump on July 7.
The lawmakers’ reactions underscored an atmosphere of anxiety and unease among Republicans on Capitol Hill, who hoped to see Trump moderate his impulses in the weeks since clinching the nomination. The presidency and control of Congress are at stake in November.
Instead the opposite has occurred as the billionaire businessman has stoked one controversy after another and shows no sign of slowing down.
One senior Senate Republican, Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, went so far as to suggest Trump might not end up as the party’s nominee after all.
“We do not have a nominee until after the convention,” Alexander asserted in response to a question. Reminded that Trump is the presumptive GOP nominee, Alexander retorted: “That’s what you say.”
Other congressional Republicans claimed, improbably, not to have heard what Trump said. “I just don’t know what he was talking about, I frankly don’t know what you’re talking about. I hadn’t heard it,” said Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, in response to a question about Trump’s suggestions about Obama.
As he has in the past, House Speaker Paul Ryan denounced Trump’s call for an immigration ban for Muslims, saying: “I do not think a Muslim ban is in our country’s interest. I do not think it is reflective of our principles not just as a party, but as a country. And I think the smarter way to go in all respects is to have a security test and not a religious test.”
Ryan, who endorsed Trump only recently after a lengthy delay as he grappled with the implications of the celebrity businessman’s candidacy, ignored shouted questions about whether he stood by his support. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters he would not be commenting Tuesday about Trump.
“I continue to be discouraged by the direction of the campaign and comments that are made,” said Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee, Republican chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee. Monday’s Trump address was not “the type of speech that one would give that wants to lead this country through difficult times.”
For many Republicans the prospect of continually facing questions about Trump was plainly wearing thin.
“I’m just not going to comment on more of his statements. It’s going to be five months of it,” said Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming.
Said Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina: “What Trump does or says, every time he says something doesn’t mean I have to have an answer for it.”
Associated Press writers Mary Clare Jalonick, Lisa Lerer and Richard Lardner contributed to this report.
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JUDY WOODRUFF: Finally tonight, we take a moment to remember the 49 people whose lives were tragically cut short Sunday morning in Orlando, Florida. Here now are their names and faces.
GWEN IFILL: I’m Gwen Ifill.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And I’m Judy Woodruff.
For all of us at the “PBS NewsHour,” thank you, and good night.
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GWEN IFILL: Next, we revisit the city of Charleston, South Carolina, which suffered through its own mass shooting one year ago this week.
Nine people were gunned down inside e-mail Emanuel AME Church, including its pastor, the Reverend Clementa Pinckney. Alleged white supremacist Dylann Roof was charged on multiple counts, including murder and hate crimes. He could face the death penalty.
This past winter, the Reverend Betty Deas Clark took over as Emanuel’s pastor.
Jeffrey Brown spoke with her recently, before this week’s shootings. She traveled to Orlando yesterday to support families there and to speak out in favor of gun control.
JEFFREY BROWN: Rev. Dr. Clark, thank you for letting us come visit.
REV. BETTY DEAS CLARK, Emanuel AME Church: Thank you for coming.
JEFFREY BROWN: Let me ask you, one year later, how is your congregation faring?
REV. BETTY DEAS CLARK: Well, I would like to think that they’re processing, but yet still grieving. It’s a process that may take years, but it’s good to see signs of them being able to smile, to laugh again.
JEFFREY BROWN: Right away, of course, there were expressions of forgiveness to an extent that I think amazed many in the nation and around the world.
Is that still the sense that is there, the forgiveness, or are there other emotions involved as well?
REV. BETTY DEAS CLARK: Well, there are an array of emotions. But forgiveness is more than an emotion. It is a choice. And so while we confess forgiveness, we yet still have feelings of many different degrees, and that’s OK.
JEFFREY BROWN: Anger?
REV. BETTY DEAS CLARK: It’s OK to be angry. It’s OK. It’s OK to be tearful. It’s OK to sometimes want to pull away from the world and just be by yourself. It’s OK, because the road and the path for grieving, it’s different for every individual.
JEFFREY BROWN: As a pastor, I wonder, do you think, how could this happen, where is God, where was God at this moment?
REV. BETTY DEAS CLARK: Well, my first response was just as they were in Bible study on that Wednesday night, so was I. And so I guess my first line of questioning was, why them? And then it was to say, it could have been me.
But to say where was God, I never asked that question, simply because I truly believe that God is omniscient. In other words, he’s everywhere at the same time. And I believe, that if God allowed it, he had a reason for doing so.
JEFFREY BROWN: This congregation and you yourself have spoken out about gun control issues in the aftermath, correct?
REV. BETTY DEAS CLARK: Correct.
JEFFREY BROWN: And what would you like to see happen?
REV. BETTY DEAS CLARK: Well, I would like to see situations such as the case with Dylann Roof and not having a proper complete background check, I would like to see that come to an end.
I would like to see that loop closed, because it has already shown us how dangerous it actually is, and can be again, until we do something positive and permanently about it.
JEFFREY BROWN: Dylann Roof himself now faces the death penalty. Do you yourself have feelings about that?
REV. BETTY DEAS CLARK: I never considered myself neither judge nor jury.
But what I see is a young man who — someone once asked me, if I were to meet him, if he were to ask to have an audience with me, what would I say. I would tell him Jesus loves him. I would tell him that there is life beyond June 17. And that’s what I would say.
I had the opportunity a couple of weeks ago to meet his aunt. She came to me, and she was a little timid, probably wondering, what would I say and how would I react? And I saw that she was crying. And I reached out to her to give her a hug, and she stepped back, and she said, “Well let me tell you this first.” She said, “I’m Dylann Roof’s aunt.”
I said, “But you still need a hug. Can I hug you?” And she said yes.
JEFFREY BROWN: And then you talked?
REV. BETTY DEAS CLARK: And then we talked, and then we prayed. We did.
JEFFREY BROWN: I asked you at the beginning how your congregation is doing a year later.
What about the city, the culture, all that that provoked about race relations in this country? Where do you see things?
REV. BETTY DEAS CLARK: Well, while it may have provoked the need to deal with race relations, it also brought to surface how loving, how caring and how united this city really is, because, in the aftermath of June 17, the community joined together, walked together, prayed together, worshiped together.
And so, while we do have a way to go, we have come a long way.
JEFFREY BROWN: You feel that?
REV. BETTY DEAS CLARK: I honestly do.
JEFFREY BROWN: All right, Rev. Dr. Betty Clark, thank you so much.
REV. BETTY DEAS CLARK: Thank you.
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JUDY WOODRUFF: Next: our weekly science segment.
There’s a sea change coming to one of the country’s most popular aquariums. As many have grown concerned about keeping dolphins in captivity, Baltimore’s National Aquarium today announced that it will move its pod of dolphins to the first sanctuary for these mammals in the world.
The decision to end the dolphin exhibit comes after SeaWorld and Ringling Brothers have announced their own changes.
Science correspondent Miles O’Brien broke the story for our Leading Edge series.
MAN: This is Chesapeake.
MILES O’BRIEN: Oh, it’s Chesapeake. Hi, Chesapeake. Hey.
It’s time for a quick physical exam, and Chesapeake, the bottlenose dolphin, appears to be doing fine. She is one of eight dolphins held by the National Aquarium in Baltimore.
MAN: We’re going to take a look in her mouth. And they have teeth and they grab each other and they break teeth.
MILES O’BRIEN: She doesn’t need the orthodontist. They’re nice and straight.
Born into captivity 24 years ago, she has always lived indoors, in a concrete tank, a sterile, artificial world that bears no resemblance to the natural environment where dolphins belong. But it appears she and the rest of this pod are destined for a sea change.
JOHN RACANELLI, CEO, National Aquarium: We’re announcing today that we are moving our dolphins to a sanctuary, a seaside natural seawater sanctuary by the end of the year 2020.
MILES O’BRIEN: John Racanelli is CEO of the National Aquarium, and he’s announcing something that has never been done before. The aquarium plans to build a large outdoor Marine mammal sanctuary in Florida or the Caribbean, a seaside pen carved from nature.
JOHN RACANELLI: This is a million-and-a-half gallons. This, we’d be looking at tens of millions, maybe hundreds of millions of gallons of water, seawater, not manufactured saltwater, as we do here.
MILES O’BRIEN: The decision comes amid a rising tide of opposition to dolphinariums all over the world.
Heather Morris is a frequent protester at the Inner Harbor in Baltimore.
HEATHER MORRIS, Animal Rights Activist: I think that is a crucial step in them pioneering a path to what is the right thing for us to do with these animals now, to get them back into an environment that is like their natural habitat. There is no OK scenario for them to be in captivity.
MILES O’BRIEN: And yet the National Aquarium is alone in taking this bold, expensive step. There are about 30 other dolphinariums just in the U.S.
NARRATOR: Leaping three feet out of water and through a small hoop is only one of the accomplishments of Flippy the pride of the studios at Marineland Florida.
MILES O’BRIEN: Humans have been capturing and training dolphins for entertainment for about 80 years. Over time, the shows got more elaborate, even garish, the crowds larger, and the venues added the dolphins’ cetacean cousins, orcas, to the marquees.
A multibillion-dollar business evolved that forces wild animals and their progeny to perform for humans in exchange for food. They are trained to do circus tricks, give thrill rides, and be docile with customers in glorified petting zoos, often called a dolphin experience.
Looking at their permanent smile, it is easy to misconstrue what this experience is really like for them.
RIC O’BARRY, Founder, Dolphin Project: It’s really the dolphin smile that has created this multibillion-dollar industry, and it’s literally an optical illusion.
MILES O’BRIEN: Ric O’Barry was once the highest paid dolphin trainer in the world. He began capturing, training and breeding dolphins at the Miami Seaquarium in the 1960s. He eventually became the head trainer for a TV series that launched the cetacean show business to a new level.
WOMEN (singing): They call him Flipper, Flipper, Flipper, faster than lightning.
MILES O’BRIEN: “Flipper” aired on NBC from 1964 until 1967. Flipper was actually five female dolphins. The pressure to perform and the stress of captivity took its toll on the dolphins’ health. One of them became despondent.
RIC O’BARRY: Flipper died in my arms of suicide. Yes, I know that’s a very strong word to use for an animal, but it’s the only animal that is not an automatic air breather. Every breath they take is a conscious effort.
Think about that for a second. Every breath is a conscious effort, which means they can end their life any time they want to if it becomes too difficult, too stressful, by simply not taking the next breath.
MILES O’BRIEN: By 1970, O’Barry had a complete change of heart. Ever since, he has tirelessly traveled the world crusading to shut down the shows, and end the era of captivity.
RIC O’BARRY: We have to admit we made a mistake.
MILES O’BRIEN: We found him at The Hague, testifying before the Dutch Parliament, which is pondering the fate of a controversial dolphinarium.
RIC O’BARRY: It’s been a failed experiment. It’s time to admit that. And we’re going to do the best we can. And it’s going to phase it out. It’s going to take many years to phase it out.
MILES O’BRIEN: His long campaign picked up a lot of steam in 2009 with the release of the Academy Award-winning documentary “The Cove.” The film reveals the brutal reality of the annual corral of wild dolphins in Taiji, Japan. Fishermen there identify the more desirable dolphins, separate them from their families, and sell them to dolphin shows for big money. The rest of the animals are slaughtered and sold as meat.
MAN: They only get $600 for a dead dolphin, but they can get more than $150,000 for a live show dolphin.
MILES O’BRIEN: While the Taiji capture and slaughter has not ended, O’Barry believes it is just a matter of time before the dolphin shows will, and sanctuaries are built.
RIC O’BARRY: When I first started doing this work trying to educate the public, I was coming from a place of guilt. Yes, there is no question about that. People thought I was crazy. Dolphin captivity issue? What are you talking about? That’s not a problem. Well, today, it’s a mainstream issue. And so I see a lot of change. I’m encouraged. I’m very encouraged.
JOHN RACANELLI: Baby boomers grew up on “Flipper,” and millennials grew up on “Free Willy.” So attitudes are changing. And that is certainly a factor. It’s something we pay close attention to.
MILES O’BRIEN: So are the researchers who make it their mission to seek out these fascinating, intelligent mammals in the wild. Marine mammalogist Denise Herzing is founder and research director of the Wild Dolphin Project in Jupiter, Florida.
DENISE HERZING, Founder, The Wild Dolphin Project: It’s definitely time we looked at creating dolphin retirement centers. We have done it for other species. We have done it for chimps, elephants, giraffes. You name it, we have done it. Dolphins are hard. It’s a different environment, in a big sea pen. It’s expensive. But we owe it to them, I think.
MILES O’BRIEN: For more than 30 years, she and her team have studied wild spotted dolphins that live in shallow water off the Bahamas, hoping to understand their behavior and the depths of their intellect.
Over the years, they have built a catalog of 300 dolphins. In a typical field season, they will carefully track, observe and record video of about 100 individuals. Herzing is focused on dolphin communication. What might the whistles and clicks mean?
How smart are they?
DENISE HERZING: Very smart. They problem-solve. They can think in the abstract and recognize that. They have very good comprehension and cognitive skills, so they can understand artificial languages that are presented to them. They understand word order, word meaning.
MILES O’BRIEN: Smart and adaptive as they are, captive dolphins will need a lot of help moving from indoor confinement to a sanctuary, even one that is cordoned off and human-tended.
In Baltimore, the man in charge of the transition is veterinarian and chief science officer Brent Whitaker. He’s been here since the first dolphins arrived in 1990.
BRENT WHITAKER, Chief Science Officer, National Aquarium: These animals have been born in pools without fish, without rocks, without seaweed, without natural sunlight, without thunderstorms, without hurricanes, without all sorts of things that other natural dolphins have already experienced from growing up with.
They don’t know that. They are going to have to learn those things, and we’re going to have to help them learn the best we can, but we’re not dolphins. So, there is a challenge there.
MILES O’BRIEN: And if all goes as planned, by 2020, parents and children will no longer be able to see the dolphins here in the flesh. Will future generations be missing out on a teachable moment?
DENISE HERZING: I really wonder, what are you really teaching your kids? Are you teaching your kids it’s OK to confine an animal, to capture an animal for human viewing?
JOHN RACANELLI: I think we will be able to ensure that people still get a chance to tune into the lives of these dolphins in a way that still inspires them, yet not have to have them here in Baltimore. Maybe dolphin Skype is in our future.
MILES O’BRIEN: And maybe then, when people dial up the dolphins for a virtual visit in their more natural habitat, their smile will be more than an illusion.
Miles O’Brien, the “PBS NewsHour,” Baltimore.
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WASHINGTON — Omar Mateen, investigated twice by the FBI, was on the government’s terrorist watch list for 10 months before being removed. Yet even had he remained on that listing, it wouldn’t have stopped him from buying the firearms he used in Sunday’s Orlando shooting rampage.
Senate Democrats are hoping to use that little-known fact and the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history to pressure Republicans to take what could be a politically painful election-year vote to curb gun sales.
The FBI investigations, in 2013 and 2014, closed with no charges against Mateen, 29. Yet the day after the attack by the American-born Muslim left 49 people dead and more than 50 others wounded in a gay nightclub, President Barack Obama and FBI director James Comey said he was probably inspired by foreign terrorist groups. Mateen died in a gunfight with a SWAT team.
A look at the intersection between the terrorist list, guns and the Orlando bloodbath:
Q: What is the terrorist watch list?
A: The FBI’s Terrorist Screening Center, created in 2003 following the 9/11 attacks on the U.S., maintains the terrorist watch list, a database of people known or suspected of being involved in terrorist activities. Federal agencies used to keep nearly a dozen separate listings but shared them only occasionally.
The list had around 800,000 names on it in 2014, according to testimony the Center’s director, Christopher Piehota, gave that September to a House subcommittee. The no-fly list, a subset of the broader terrorist listing, has around 64,000 people on it, Piehota said.
Q: That’s a lot of people.
A: It is. But the FBI notes that only about 2 percent of them are U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents allowed to buy guns. The rest are foreigners, many of whom are not permitted to purchase firearms here.
Q: Why can people on the terrorist watch list buy guns?
A: That’s the law. Being on a terrorist watch list is not “in and of itself a disqualifying factor” for people purchasing firearms and explosives, according to a 2013 report by the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service.
People purchasing guns from federally licensed firearms dealers must undergo background checks, and they can be denied if they fall into any of 10 categories. These include convicted felons or drug abusers, people found by courts to have certain mental problems and immigrants in the U.S. illegally.
The FBI is notified when someone on a list applies to purchase a gun, often resulting in increased surveillance of a suspect. But being a suspected or known terrorist is not one such category.
People don’t need background checks to buy guns from unlicensed sellers, such as from some who offer firearms at gun shows or online. It’s unclear exactly how many guns are sold that way.
The FBI also conducts background checks on people applying for licenses to ship or receive explosives.
Q: Are there many sales to people on the terrorist watch list?
A: Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., chief sponsor of legislation that Democrats are pushing following Orlando, got numbers in March from the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office, Congress’ investigative arm.
GAO said from February 2004, when the background check system began monitoring the terror watch list, through 2015, 2,477 names of would-be gun and explosives buyers were on the watch list. Nearly all were for gun purchases.
Of those, 91 percent, or 2,265, of the transactions were permitted.
For comparison, the FBI and states conducted more than 23 million background checks last year for gun purchases, the most ever.
Q: What would Feinstein’s bill do?
A: It would let the attorney general deny firearms and explosives to people known or suspected of being involved in terrorist activities. It’s not necessarily based on the government’s terrorist list.
The Senate rejected it last December by a near party-line vote, and barring an unexpected compromise the same fate likely awaits it.
“Life and death, that’s the reason,” Feinstein said Tuesday about why the outcome might be different with a fresh vote. “How much do we want to go through?”
Last year’s vote occurred a day after an extremist couple killed 14 people in San Bernardino, Calif. Nearly all Republicans opposed Feinstein’s proposal, saying owning guns is a constitutional right and noting that some people have been erroneously suspected as terrorists.
That same day, senators derailed a proposal by Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, that was opposed by most Democrats and would have let the government delay firearms sales to suspected terrorists for up to 72 hours. The transaction could be halted permanently if officials could persuade a judge to do so.
Democrats said clever lawyers could easily delay court action for 72 hours, rendering Cornyn’s proposal toothless.
Cornyn told reporters that Democrats seem “more interested in opportunistically using this tragedy to advance their agenda” than addressing guns.
Along with many Republicans, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has focused his response to Orlando on the need to beef up defense, intelligence and law enforcement efforts against extremist groups like the Islamic State.
Associated Press writer Alicia A. Caldwell in Washington contributed to this report.
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GWEN IFILL: But, first: The Democratic National Committee said today Russian government hackers have penetrated its computer network. Breaches by two separate groups allowed hackers to access e-mails, internal chats, and opposition research Democrats have compiled on presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump.
Hackers may have had access for a year. The Washington Post reported that computer networks for Hillary Clinton and Trump were also targeted.
We get some insight on how this happened and why from Dmitri Alperovitch. He is the co- founder of CrowdStrike, the intelligence company that investigated the breach for the DNC. And Sasha Issenberg, a contributor for Bloomberg Politics and author of the book “The Victory Lab: The Secret Science of Winning Campaigns.”
Dmitri Alperovitch, how significant an intrusion was this into the Democratic Party’s file?
DMITRI ALPEROVITCH, Crowdstrike: This was a pretty scary intrusion.
And, in fact, there were two intrusions in place here. Two separate Russian government-affiliated actors, we believe, that are part of the intelligence services of Russia infiltrated the network first in the summer of last year and were able to get access of the communications service at the DNC, essentially giving them the ability to monitor the e-mail traffic that was going through their servers, and a completely separate actor that penetrated that network in April of this year and went straight for the research department of the Democratic National Committee, specifically looking for the opposition files on the Republican presidential candidate, Donald Trump.
GWEN IFILL: How did the DNC find out? How were they alerted to this intrusion, and how were you?
DMITRI ALPEROVITCH: Well, in early May, they discovered that there was something off on the network that was highly suspicious. And they called us in.
GWEN IFILL: Their internal I.T. people?
DMITRI ALPEROVITCH: Their internal I.T. people determined that something may be off. They didn’t yet know if it was a breach. They asked us to come in and evaluate.
And, within 24 hours, we were able to ascertain with our software deployed on all their machines there was in fact two breaches from two separate Russian intelligence services that were inside that network.
GWEN IFILL: Sasha Issenberg, you wrote a book about how dependent campaigns have become on data and the things needed to support that amount of data, specifically about the 2008 Obama campaign. So, in this case, what kinds of things exist in this — in these records?
SASHA ISSENBERG, Contributor, Bloomberg Politics: Yes, you know, parties at this point are largely hubs of information.
They gather intelligence on the electorate, on — data on individual voters that they use the make tactical decisions, and then they’re kind of a permanent research operation, especially at times like this, where there are open primaries within a party, and you don’t know who the nominee is going to be.
And the DNC basically says to the Clinton campaign or Sanders or O’Malley campaigns, we will spend the year building resources for you that we can hand to you when you’re the nominee. In this case, a dossier on Donald Trump, probably the DNC has more information in its files on its servers than any other organization that has been researching Donald Trump for an hour — for a year — pardon me — and not just Trump, but his circle, his advisers, his staffers.
And so a foreign intelligence organization that wants to understand who those people are, the relationships they have, potential points of leverage or influence would probably find that the DNC has more of it sitting around than anyone else.
GWEN IFILL: Now, Sasha, it should be said that Clinton’s campaign says that they were not compromised, which doesn’t mean that information that they, as you point out, have on file with the DNC wasn’t compromised, but we’re not talking about financial or donor records here, are we?
SASHA ISSENBERG: From what we quarter from the reports — and, as Dmitri says, it seems like there was a goal to go to the opposition research department.
Somebody like Hillary Clinton, who has been in public life for a while, you have to imagine that foreign intelligence gathering operations have tried to gather information on her, so that they can try to game out how she thinks and how she approaches things and who her contacts are.
Donald Trump is sort of new to the world as a political figure. And so for foreign governments that want to assess risk, geopolitical decision-making or potentially understand how to get at him, you imagine that the DNC just has that information available. A lot of this is stuff that is in the public domain, stuff from court filings from…
GWEN IFILL: But it’s all in one place.
SASHA ISSENBERG: It’s all in one place and they have done a lot of the legwork for you.
GWEN IFILL: Mr. Alperovitch, why do we think Russia is behind this?
DMITRI ALPEROVITCH: Well, we actually believe that it’s not just Russia, but two specific intelligence agencies within Russia.
One is the military intelligence agency called the GRU, and the other possibly the FSB, which is the successor to the Soviet KGB. It’s actually interesting, because we saw no collaboration whatsoever between those two threat actors.
GWEN IFILL: One hand didn’t know what the other was doing?
DMITRI ALPEROVITCH: Not only did they not know what they were doing. They were actually doing some of the same things repeatedly, not knowing that someone already had that information that they were after.
And this is actually not unusual for Russia. They have a very aggressive competition between their intelligence agencies. They’re always trying to one-up one another, to look better in front of Putin, to get more budget, more power.
GWEN IFILL: But how — what use is this kind of information, especially if a lot of it is in the public record anyhow? What use is it to foreign governments like Russia?
DMITRI ALPEROVITCH: Well, one, they really want to understand what is Donald Trump thinking. No one knows really. He doesn’t have a long history in politics. He said some complimentary things of Putin. Is that something that he’s going to continue if he’s president following that policy?
But the other thing is that is interesting is they probably didn’t know what they would find. They didn’t know that all this information was public. In the Russian — in Russia, you have political parties engaged in all kinds of nefarious activity. And they may just assume that in America it works the exact same way.
GWEN IFILL: And what do you do to stop it from happening again?
DMITRI ALPEROVITCH: Well, this weekend, we actually did a complete remediation of that network. We cleaned it up. We kicked out both adversaries simultaneously.
So as of this week, that network is now clean, and DNC actually asked us to monitor it with our software going forward, because we are pretty certain that the Russians are going to try to regain access to that network. Their interest in the political system of the United States certainly is not going to go away.
GWEN IFILL: And, Sasha, what do campaigns do as they become more and more dependent on this kind of electronic web of information to protect themselves?
SASHA ISSENBERG: Well, you know, we saw a different type of data breach at the DNC six months ago, when a Bernie Sanders staffer was found to have been able to access information that the Clinton campaign had developed on individual voters.
You know, that type of tactical information, you imagine, is not of much use to foreign governments. And I suspect that foreign governments will find that a lot of the information that they would get through an opposition research department isn’t particularly strategically valuable.
And the goal of opposition research ultimately is to get this stuff into the public eye. And so if the DNC thought that it was revealing about Donald Trump, they would probably be similarly angling to get it out into the public. This is not information that’s designed to be kept under wraps for too long if it’s tasty.
GWEN IFILL: And the RNC should be worried as well, I imagine.
Sasha — Sasha Issenberg of Bloomberg Politics and author of “The Victory Lab,” and Dmitri Alperovitch of CrowdStrike, thank you both very much.
DMITRI ALPEROVITCH: Thank you.
SASHA ISSENBERG: Thanks, Gwen.
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GWEN IFILL: The weapon used in the Orlando shootings is at once one of the most popular and most reviled weapons in America, the AR-15, the civilian version of the U.S. military’s standard issue rifle.
John Yang has a closer look.
JOHN YANG: The NRA says it’s America’s most popular rifle, used legally and safely by millions of people. A lawyer for victims’ families says it’s the gold standard for mass murder of innocent civilians.
The AR-15 has been used in some of the nation’s worst mass shootings, at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, an Oregon community college, and now an Orlando gay club.
To learn more about the rifle, its popularity among gun enthusiasts and its place in American culture, we went to a Northern Virginia gun range to speak with former Deputy Assistant Defense Secretary Phillip Carter, himself a gun owner, who knows the AR-15 well from his service as an Army officer.
Why is this weapon so popular?
PHILLIP CARTER, Former Defense Department Official: So, the AR-15 is America’s rifle because it’s what America’s military carries.
It’s modeled on the M-16 that’s been carried by America’s Army and America’s Marine Corps and the rest of our services since Vietnam. Today, roughly 20,000 troops carry a similar rifle in Iraq and Afghanistan, and even those who don’t serve feel that they’re part of that effort when they carry the AR-15.
JOHN YANG: I have read that the recoil is a bit gentler than some other rifles.
PHILIP CARTER: So, the recoil on the M-16 or the AR-15 is designed to be light, so that you can keep it on target and continue to shoot bullet after bullet after bullet. It’s by design.
There’s a massive spring here in the stock that absorbs quite a bit of the recoil. There’s also, by design, a gas system that takes a lot of the gas from the firing of each bullet, and it evaporates it, so that when each bullet is fired, that gas and that recoil isn’t coming back on the shoulder each time, but it’s actually in the rifle in a more constructive manner.
JOHN YANG: And that feature would also allow a shooter to keep steady.
PHILIP CARTER: It’s a military rifle. It’s designed to deliver masses of bullets to a very specific target over time. This is a weapon designed to kill in mass quantities. It’s a military weapon.
JOHN YANG: So this is essentially a civilian version, you said, of the M-4 or the M-16.
PHILIP CARTER: Yes. This is very much like a civilian version of a Humvee or a civilian version of some other type of military gear. There are some modifications to this that have been made to make it a civilian variant.
What’s different on the civilian versions is, it only allows semiautomatic fire. So you flip this to fire, and it allows you to shoot one shot at a time. The military versions would allow you to switch to semiautomatic and then, once more, either for three-round bursts or for fully automatic, if you’re shooting an older variant of the M-16.
JOHN YANG: Fully automatic, meaning?
PHILIP CARTER: You squeeze the trigger, and the weapon keeps firing until the magazine runs dry. Your ability to put bullets down-range with this weapon is limited mostly by your ability to reload it.
And the magazine for this rifle looks like this. This is a 30-round magazine that carries 30 bullets of the 5.56-millimeter variety. And it goes into the magazine well right here. It’s very easy to reload. It’s very easy to get more ammunition in there and continue to shoot at your target.
The ammunition for the M-16 or the AR-15 is a 5.56-millimeter bullet. It’s a very small and very fast bullet that does a lot of tissue damage when it hits a person. So just the tip here is the bullet. It’s roughly the size of your pinkie tip. But it’s propelled forward by a massive cartridge of powder that shoots this at a very high velocity, creating a bullet that can punch through targets, whether they’re human or otherwise, with a great deal of lethality and power.
The other thing about this bullet is, because it’s so small and moves so fast, it tends to tumble or become volatile when it hits a person, and so it tends to create a very wound and very difficult-to-treat wounds. Again, it’s a military weapon. It’s not designed for hunting, where you might want to preserve the meat so that you can eat it. It’s designed to wound or kill soldiers in combat.
JOHN YANG: There are hundreds of companies in the United States that make verges of the AR-15. The NRA says the weapon can be used not only for hunting, but for sports shooting and self-defense.
For the “PBS NewsHour,” I’m John Yang.
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GWEN IFILL: How much do words matter? Donald Trump has regularly criticized President Obama and Hillary Clinton for not using the term radical Islam to define the threat of terrorism.
But Mr. Obama, in extensive remarks delivered at the Treasury Department today, struck back, saying the presumptive Republican nominee’s plan to ban Muslims from the U.S., and the language he uses to make his point, is dangerous.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: There is no magic to the phrase radical Islam. It is a political talking point. It is not a strategy.
And the reason I am careful about how I describe this threat has nothing to do with political correctness and everything to do with actually defeating extremism.
Groups like ISIL and al-Qaida want to make this war a war between Islam and America, or between Islam and the West. If we fall into the trap of painting all Muslims as a broad brush, and imply that we are at war with the entire religion, then we are doing the terrorists’ work for them.
But we are now seeing how dangerous this kind of mind-set and this kind of thinking can be. We are starting to see where this kind of rhetoric and loose talk and sloppiness about who exactly we are fighting, where this can lead us.
We now have proposals from the presumptive Republican nominee for president of the United States to bar all Muslims from emigrating into America. We hear language that singles out immigrants and suggests entire religious communities are complacent in violence.
Where does this stop? The Orlando killer, one of the San Bernardino killers, the Fort Hood killer, they were all U.S. citizens. Are we going to start treating all Muslim-Americans differently? Are we going to start subjecting them to special surveillance? Are we going to start discriminating against them because of their faith?
We have heard these suggestions during the course of this campaign. Do Republican officials actually agree with this?
We have gone through moments in our history before when we acted out of fear, and we came to regret it. We have seen our government mistreat our fellow citizens, and it has been a shameful part of our history.
This is a country founded on basic freedoms, including freedom of religion. We don’t have religious tests here. Our founders, our Constitution, our Bill of Rights are clear about that.
And if we ever abandon those values, we wouldn’t only make it a lot easier to radicalize people here and around the world, but we would have betrayed the very things we are trying to protect, the pluralism and the openness, our rule of law, our civil liberties, the very things that make this country great, the very things that make us exceptional.
And then the terrorists would have won. And we cannot let that happen. I will not let that happen.
JUDY WOODRUFF: That was President Obama speaking today.
Omar Mateen didn’t come to the U.S. from another country to carry out the attack in Orlando. He was born and raised here. Authorities are trying to understand whether and how he adopted radical ideas before he turned to unspeakable violence.
The Obama administration says that stopping the radicalization of young people who live in the United States is a national security priority.
“NewsHour” producer P.J. Tobia has the story of one part of that effort.
NARRATOR: America, you claim to have the greatest army history has known.
P.J. TOBIA: This is a call to arms by the so-called Islamic State, aimed squarely at young, disillusioned American Muslims.
NARRATOR: Liars, fornicators, corporations, and for the freedoms of sodomites.
P.J. TOBIA: This is the U.S. government’s digital counterpoint to ISIS’ call for recruits. It’s the FBI’s Don’t Be a Puppet Web site, an online role-playing exercise.
In a kind of choose your own adventure experience, users walk through the steps of extremism and the evolution into a violent radical.
YAAMA FUJIKURA, Japanese American: When a rock comes through your window and you’re eating supper, you better have a plan.
P.J. TOBIA: And this is the government’s offline strategy, a program where the elderly, like this 89-year old Japanese-American woman, share their own stories of discrimination with Muslim teens, hoping to prevent their anger from festering into violence.
YAAMA FUJIKURA: And this business of becoming terribly bitter and terribly unkind to others is not the way out.
MAN: There are some people here who have been through some pretty messy things.
P.J. TOBIA: It is all part of the Obama administration’s efforts of countering violent extremism, or CVE. Opponents argue it’s a way for the government to spy on Muslims. Advocates say it’s a way for American Muslims to work with law enforcement, identifying and preventing radicalization before attacks happen.
Mehreen Farooq runs a federally funded CVE initiative in Montgomery County, Maryland. It’s the program that pairs Muslim teens with the elderly
MEHREEN FAROOQ, CVE Initiative: We have brought together various NGOs, different faith community leaders, educators, counterterrorism experts, gang prevention experts, to understand, what are the resources that we have here and what can we do to build community resilience and to prevent violent extremism?
P.J. TOBIA: One issue has been getting young men to participate, but there are strategies for reaching them as well.
“MUHAMMED”: They’re genuinely good kids and everything, but they may be a little lost in life.
P.J. TOBIA: This man is a member of a large Muslim community in the mid-Atlantic region. We will call him Muhammed. We have concealed his identity and altered his voice, at his request.
Muhammed isn’t part of any government program, but he seeks out young Muslim men, usually in their early to mid-20s, who have explored the dark message of Islamic extremism.
“MUHAMMED”: My goal is to take them away from that and let them know that that’s just a bunch of fantasy.
P.J. TOBIA: Teens who think the deck is stacked against them are an easy target.
“MUHAMMED”: They really want to be married or they really want to have sex, but the only way to have sex is to be married, and the only way to get married is to have a career. And the only way to have a career is to go to college or go get some kind of a skill. For them, that looks like an awfully tall mountain to climb.
P.J. TOBIA: ISIS propaganda, on the other hand, offers immediate gratification through jihad.
“MUHAMMED”: You need to be coming over to Syria or Somalia. There’s free sex slaves and wives and all of this utopia. That resonates to them because now they see a path to having a proper family.
P.J. TOBIA: Muhammed introduces these young men to male role models in the Muslim community.
RIZWAN JAKA, All Dulles Area Muslim Society: South Asian food that will go to South Asian households.
P.J. TOBIA: Rizwan Jaka argues for working closely with the government. He’s the board president at the All Dulles Area Muslim Society in suburban Virginia.
The society doesn’t receive federal CVE funds, but partners with a local FBI field office and Department of Homeland Security. It also sponsors Boy and Girl Scout programs.
RIZWAN JAKA: If you see someone that is going to do harm to our country or you hear about it, we absolutely must tell law enforcement. That is our Islamic duty.
P.J. TOBIA: Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson visited the society’s mosque twice last year. This year, the organization received a community leadership award from the FBI. Last night, members took part in an interfaith vigil for those killed in the Orlando attacks.
RIZWAN JAKA: We bring the FBI here for town hall meetings and speaking to the community during prayer services, engaging together for a better society.
P.J. TOBIA: Parents have brought troubled youth who have broken no laws, but shown an interest in ideology of the Islamic State, to the society’s imam, Mohamed Magid.
RIZWAN JAKA: Imam Magid actually talks with them, especially when they ask about ISIS, because there’s this twisted idealism that people have of ISIS, these few individuals, and he challenges them. Imam Magid says look, I know, where in the Koran does it say you can burn someone alive?
P.J. TOBIA: The push for CVE comes straight from the top.
In 2011, President Obama released his first CVE strategy. Last year, the White House hosted an international summit with representatives from more than 100 nations and dozens of American Muslim groups. The Department of Homeland Security’s CVE Task Force provides oversight for the entire government’s strategy in this area. The president is asking for more than $96 million for these programs in 2017.
JEH JOHNSON, Secretary of Homeland Security: This is as critical as any other homeland security mission that we have going right now.
P.J. TOBIA: Secretary Johnson has spoken widely about the role of America’s Muslims in stopping terrorist attacks. “NewsHour” co-anchor Judy Woodruff discussed it with him last week.
JEH JOHNSON: The global terrorist threat has evolved to include, not just terrorist-directed attacks, but terrorist-inspired attacks by homegrown, home-born violent extremists. In this environment, it’s critical that we dedicate ourselves to CVE.
P.J. TOBIA: Johnson describes the initiatives as a way to connect with minority communities.
JEH JOHNSON: To build bridges, send the message let us help you in your efforts to counter violent extremism in your community if you see someone going in the wrong direction.
P.J. TOBIA: Some argue the approach is too soft, ignoring what they see as the real problem, Islamic terrorism.
Meanwhile, some Muslim groups and civil libertarians say that countering violent extremism programs turns teachers and imams into spies, and innocent Muslims into suspects.
DALIA MOGAHED, Institute for Social Policy and Understanding: Stigmatizing people doesn’t make us safer. It actually alienates young people and can make them more susceptible, more vulnerable to the propaganda of extremists.
P.J. TOBIA: Dalia Mogahed researches American Muslims and is the co-author of “Who Speaks for Islam?”
DALIA MOGAHED: Its premise is that a community is predisposed to violence. For no other reason than because of their faith, they are essentially a pool of suspects and are engaged on that premise. There is a securitization of the relationship between the U.S. government and Muslims.
P.J. TOBIA: She thinks that this securitization can have ripple effects within the community.
DALIA MOGAHED: When you get to a situation where educators or mental health professionals are being asked to act as informants, you are going to create an environment where people aren’t trusting their teachers.
JEH JOHNSON: It’s not at all throwing a net of suspicion on these groups. I totally agree that we shouldn’t do that, but if they see somebody traveling in the wrong direction, contact law enforcement, contact a community leader, say something to somebody.
P.J. TOBIA: Meanwhile, some Muslim parents fear that if a child suddenly developed has an interest in the so-called Islamic State, reporting that interest could lead directly to a jail cell.
JEH JOHNSON: Parents should encourage someone who is upset about something, who finds a certain appeal, to channel that interest and energy into a more positive, peaceful direction. There are many different ways to counter violent extremism beyond just contacting law enforcement.
P.J. TOBIA: Many of those ways hope to build trust in Muslim communities that feel under the microscope.
For the “PBS NewsHour,” I’m P.J. Tobia.
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JUDY WOODRUFF: Good evening. I’m Judy Woodruff.
GWEN IFILL: And I’m Gwen Ifill.
On the “NewsHour” tonight: More details trickle out about the Orlando massacre and the shooter. We get the latest from our team on the ground.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Also ahead this Tuesday: It was used in Sandy Hook, San Bernardino, Aurora ,and now Orlando. The AR-15-style weapon is becoming a favorite among mass shooters. A look at America’s most controversial rifle.
GWEN IFILL: And with a rise in homegrown terror attacks, what the White House and local programs are doing to fight violent extremism in America.
RIZWAN JAKA, All Dulles Area Muslim Society: If you see someone that is going to do harm to our country or you hear about it, we absolutely must tell law enforcement. That is our Islamic duty.
JUDY WOODRUFF: All that and more on tonight’s “PBS NewsHour.”
GWEN IFILL: In the day’s other news: President Obama rebuked Donald Trump for his renewed call to ban Muslim immigrants. In a sharply worded speech, the president dismissed such appeals as not the America we want. The Republican nominee-to-be fired back in an e-mail to reporters, saying of the president: “He continues to prioritize our enemy over our allies, and, for that matter, the American people.”
We will listen to some of the president’s speech after the news summary.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Donald Trump took a new broadside from his presumptive November opponent as well. In Pittsburgh, Hillary Clinton accused him of falsely claiming that she would curb gun rights or let in a flood of new refugees.
HILLARY CLINTON (D), Democratic Presidential Nominee: These are demonstrably lies. But he feels compelled to tell them because he has to distract us from the fact he has nothing substantive to say for himself.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
JUDY WOODRUFF: The Republican Party’s national chair, Reince Priebus, defended Trump against comments by both the president and Hillary Clinton. He said their policies wouldn’t prevent terror attacks, but instead take away Americans’ gun rights.
But the top elected Republican, House Speaker Paul Ryan, put some distance between himself and Trump on the issue of keeping Muslims out.
REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), Speaker of the House: I do not think a Muslim ban is in our country’s interest. I do not think it is reflective of our principles, not just as a party, but as a country. And I think the smarter way to go in all respects is to have a security test and not a religious test.
JUDY WOODRUFF: All of this came as Donald Trump turned 70 years old today. If elected, he would be the oldest person to assume the office of the presidency.
GWEN IFILL: In France, police carried out a series of raids after an attacker killed two police officials overnight at their home outside Paris.
The killer, Larossi Abballa, claimed to — claimed allegiance, that is, to the Islamic State. He was shot dead by police after a three-hour stand-off. A prosecutor said Abballa had a list of other targets, including public officials and journalists.
JUDY WOODRUFF: French police also detained 43 Russian soccer fans suspected of attacking English supporters at the Euro 2016 soccer tournament. Reinforcements deployed across Northern France, ahead of upcoming matches. And the European Soccer Federation warned Russia faces expulsion, if there’s more violence.
PEDRO PINTO, Union of European Football Association: We have reaffirmed our desire to work directly with the security forces, with the police forces here in France to make sure that the security and safety of all participants is of the utmost priority.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Adding to the trouble: Labor protests in Paris once again turned violent, as demonstrators battled police; 20 officers and six protesters were injured.
GWEN IFILL: Back in this country, the Senate defied a presidential veto threat and overwhelmingly passed a defense policy bill. It authorizes $602 billion in military spending, but it also bars the Guantanamo Bay prison from closing, and it blocks any new base closings.
Similar provisions are also contained in a House bill, but the White House has warned the president will not accept them.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Wall Street fell for a fourth day over worries about interest rates and Britain’s vote on the European Union. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 57 points to close near 17675. The Nasdaq gave up five points, and the S&P 500 slipped three.
Still to come on the “NewsHour”: new efforts to counter violent extremism before an attack; a look at the gun used in the Orlando and San Bernardino shootings; Russian hackers steal Democrats’ research on Donald Trump; and much more.
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JUDY WOODRUFF: The search for answers in Orlando is taking authorities down new avenues tonight. Emerging accounts today raised more questions about the man who shot 49 people to death before people shot and killed him.
William Brangham reports from Orlando.
QUESTION: When you saw his picture, what went through your mind?
JIM VAN HORN: We just went, oh, like, yes, that makes sense. There, that’s Omar.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: It’s a new wrinkle into the investigation into Orlando shooter Omar Mateen. Some of the patrons of the Pulse nightclub are now saying Mateen was a frequent visitor.
JIM VAN HORN: He used to come in the bar about — on the weekends. Sometimes, he would be there. Sometimes, he would miss a couple of weeks and then be in again. He was a regular.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: This afternoon, the nightclub’s owner said through a spokeswoman that the reports are — quote — “untrue and totally ridiculous.”
But the Associated Press reported the FBI is investigating those claims, as well as others that Mateen may have used a dating app for gay men.
KEVIN WEST: The last contact was like three months ago. And as soon as I saw the picture on the news, I quickly noticed the person’s face.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: These allegations come as something of a departure from what was previously said about the attacker. Mateen’s father has said his son became upset months ago after seeing two men kissing in Miami, but, otherwise, never seemed homophobic.
Investigators are also talking to the gunman’s wife. NBC News reports she told federal agents that she tried to dissuade her husband from carrying out the attack. She also said she was with him when he bought ammunition and a holster, and once drove him to the club because he wanted to scope it out.
Meanwhile, some of those who escaped with their lives spoke today at Orlando Medical Center.
ANGEL COLON, Shooting Victim: I hear him, and he’s shooting everyone that’s already dead on the floor, making sure they’re dead. I look over, and he shoots the girl next to me. And I’m just there laying down. I’m thinking, I’m next. I’m dead.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Angel Colon was shot several times. Fighting back tears, he described his rescue by police.
ANGEL COLON: I don’t feel pain, but I just feel all this blood on me from myself, from my other people. And he just drops me off across the street, and I look over and there’s just bodies everywhere. We’re all in pain.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: All this as the FBI continues to scour the scene of the shooting. Lines of agents and officers worked through the club’s grounds this morning, laying down markers and identifying potential clues.
As the investigation here in Orlando ends its third day, there’s been a flurry of activity in Washington. President Obama and members of the U.S. House were briefed by top national security officials. Today, the president called again for cracking down on assault-style weapons, and barring those on a terror watch list from buying guns.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Otherwise, despite extraordinary efforts across our government, by local law enforcement, by our intelligence agencies, by our military, despite all the sacrifices that folks make, these kinds of events are going to keep on happening.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: After the session with the president, FBI Director James Comey also briefed members of the House on the investigation, behind closed doors.
And around the country, thousands of Americans are responding in their own ways, with tributes and vigils in a number of cities last night. In New York, supporters gathered in front of the historic Stonewall Inn, where the modern gay rights movement began. And back in Orlando, thousands met in the city’s downtown. There, they lit candles and read aloud the names of the 49 killed.
Dew Sizemore, who lost six of his friends to the shooting, said the ceremonies gave him a small sliver of comfort.
DEW SIZEMORE: And I feel like I can leave here and start to heal. And it’s the beginning, the beginning of a long road ahead of us, but hopefully tonight will help a lot of people. It helped me.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: The president is planning on coming here to Orlando Thursday, where he will likely meet with family members and victims of the shooting.
For the “PBS NewsHour,” I’m William Brangham in Orlando, Florida.
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