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tv   Yasmin Vossoughian Reports  MSNBC  January 15, 2022 1:00pm-2:00pm PST

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at welcome back, everybody. it is the top of the hour. i'm yasmin vossoughian. i want to get right to breaking news that we're following out of the state of texas. officials in the town of colleyville, a suburb of fort worth, have confirmed the agency there is conducting s.w.a.t. operations outside of a synagogue. those are the live pictures you're seeing right now outside that synagogue.
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the fort worth "star-telegram" reporting authorities are negotiating with a man who has taken people hostage. we're learning the service was being livestreamed on facebook. the recording is continuing to capture muffled audio of what sounds like talks between police and the suspect. we're hearing from the colleyville police sergeant, darren nelson, that negotiators have, in fact, made contact with somebody inside of the synagogue who they believe is a suspect. we have heard reports of this hostage taker being armed, although those reports have not yet been confirmed. the man could be heard having a one-sided conversation in what appeared to be a phone call during a livestream of the reform jewish synagogue's shabbat service. the live stream cut off around 3:00 p.m. eastern standard time. by the way, this is a congregation that was established in 1999, the beth israel congregation, and again, in colleyville, texas, just a
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suburb of dallas-fort worth. i spoke to a local reporter about the situation on the ground outside the synagogue. >> it's pretty difficult right now to get any details and i think it's important to note right now no one has confirmed whether or not the suspect inside has a gun. we've also seen reports that he was threatening people inside with a bomb. that hasn't been confirmed either, but yes, like you said, really the information that we have been able to gather so far is from that live stream where the audio was muffled but we were hearing, you know, certain sentences, like, there's going to be two bodies coming out of here, me and my sister. we did hear that he was trying to get police not to come inside and basically just alluding to the fact that that would not end well if they were to enter the building. but that's really all that we've been able to pick up so far. >> do we know how long this
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service was being livestreamed to, connected with authorities, how they came to learn this hostage situation was undergoing? >> yes, yeah, that's how everybody was alerted. we started to see word about it on social media and the last time that we, as reporters, were able to speak with police about 45 minutes ago, they said that they were also, of course, aware that it was being livestreamed and they were in communication with someone inside trying to cut that off. about 2:00 p.m., it was turned off, but like you said, yeah, it seems to be back up and running, just muffled and kind of static-y. it goes in and out. we're not sure who's running it. >> talk to me about the area there. does it seem like there are a lot of congregants inside the synagogue right now? is it a full parking lot? is this a synagogue that has undergone threats before? has been a target at all in the past? >> as far as we know, at this moment, there's not a history of threats at this synagogue.
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it's extremely hard to get details at the moment because they're not letting us anywhere near. we're all stationed in a parking lot at a catholic church across the street but we can see there's armored vehicles, there's a lot of cop cars, ambulances, all sorts of personnel. we're hoping to meet up with police pretty soon here at a staging area at a nearby middle school, but they are keeping everybody incredibly far away, even when you try to get near the crossroads over here where the synagogue is across the street, police have been ushering us away to the back end of this parking lot. >> how far are you away from the synagogue, then? are you on the other end of the parking lot at this point? >> yeah, we're a couple blocks away at this point. so, it's been a lot easier to look at aerial footage and live streams from up ahead from some local television outlets, but yeah, they're keeping us pretty far away. >> do you know if this synagogue has any security in place, in general, on a normal day? >> we do not, know, but we have
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not heard there was any form of security inside with whoever may be indoors at the moment. >> and you talked about possibly getting an update from local police. are they holding a press conference or just giving a kind of press update, press avail in a little bit? >> yeah, just a press update in a little bit. the last time that we spoke with them, they wouldn't even confirm yet if this could be classified even as a hostage situation, and they said they would have an update within the hour, so hopefully we can get a little bit more clarification. of course, there are a lot of assumptions as to what this is online, but we're hoping to get confirmed from authorities about what they're seeing right now. >> all right. that was jamie landers from dallas news jumping on with us as we appreciate it from the parking lot outside that synagogue that is currently in a hostage situation, ongoing hostage situation there. we are also hearing from a white house official telling nbc news, reported by my colleague, josh lederman, that the white house
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is closely monitoring the potential hostage situation there and referring all questions about the incident for the moment to the fbi and law enforcement as well. want to bring in cedric alexander once again, a law enforcement analyst for nbc. we appreciate you sticking with us. we haven't learned a lot since you and i last spoke, but this is certainly a precarious situation, to say the least. you've got armed police vehicles outside of this synagogue in colleyville. you have got law enforcement as well. you have an ongoing hostage situation. we don't know how many people are actually inside the synagogue. there are unconfirmed reports of the suspect being armed. we don't know what he is armed with, but of course, again, want to reiterate those are unconfirmed reports. and no indication as of yet of a motive. how do you see this thing, at this moment, playing out, especially when it comes to the role of hostage negotiators? >> well, yes, one thing is for
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certain, is this. that we don't know very much at this point. but you can be assured that police is going to continue to maintain their presence and the status in which they're operating right now, and as they learn more, hopefully at some point they're able to share it with us. we until then, it's just kind of wait and see, and i think anything we do at this point may be somewhat speculative, considering the fact, as your other guest has indicated, we're not really sure this is the hostage situation, but based on what we do know, that's limited information. it certainly can be characterized as that. but i think as time goes on throughout the rest of the afternoon and evening, depending on what time zone you're in, in the country, we're going to learn more about this and -- but it's just a matter of kind of waiting this out until we're able to get a better
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understanding from local police authorities, and i can assure you, having been a chief myself, that when they come and report what it is they have at this point, they have to be very, very careful in terms of what they report, how they report it, when they report it, because you also have to keep in mind that inside of that synagogue is outside information that can be -- that can be obtained also. >> in this day and time, cedric, is there increased security, increased surveillance on institutions like synagogues, like churches, like mosques in local communities like this one by law enforcement because we have seen an uptick in domestic terrorism, a focus on religious institutions? >> certainly within the last 15, 20 years, you will find many churches and synagogues across
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the country have availed themselves to much of the latest technology. for an example, having cameras, internal and external, to their buildings. and all this is going to be part of an ongoing investigation once this incident comes to its resolve. but yes, the technology is there. certainly, many of our churches and synagogues across this country, we're all aware of the past threats and incidents that have occurred and it certainly has created another level of awareness within the law enforcement community, certainly has. and you will find that men and women across the country train for this, hoping that we never have to utilize these skills, but they train for it. so, as we go throughout the rest of this afternoon, it's important that we keep these people in our hearts and minds that this comes to a very
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peaceful resolve. >> is there often a direct line, a coordination at all, of security at a synagogue like this one and law enforcement, i.e., if an incident occurs, they have a direct like line to law enforcement because of the heightened nature of what they do and the security threat that is posed often to religious institutions? >> well, typically, in many communities across the country, a local police have a relationship with many of the clergy, synagogues, churches, et cetera, across the country. that's part of building those relationships. and knowing your community and knowing different locations inside of your respective communities across the country. that they have these relationships. and may at times have even discussed what some possibilities may happen to be from some previous incidents that may have occurred. so, yes, there is an
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enlightenment between police and synagogues and churches where they hopefully communicating with each other about a variety of things and when these unfortunate type of incidents occur, oftentimes they're not meeting each other for the first time. but it just depends on the community, and certainly the size of the community as well. >> cedric alexander, msnbc law enforcement analyst, for now, thank you, cedric, but i ask of you to stick around, of course, as we are following this developing story. if you're just joining us, want to bring you up to date and we got some local reporters who are on the grounds outside that synagogue that we're going to talk to in a moment. authorities reportedly negotiating with a man who has allegedly taken some people hostage. we don't know how many people at a synagogue in colleyville, texas, just a suburb of dallas-fort worth. we are learning a service was being livestreamed on facebook. the recording is continuing to
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capture some sort of muffled audio of what sounds like talks between police and the suspect. we are hearing unconfirmed reports of the fact that the suspect is, in fact, armed but again, we have not confirmed those reports. want to bring in jessica and james hartley, reporters with the fort worth "star-telegram" who are together in a seek there. so, jessica, i'll go to you first, and just kind of give me an update on anything you guys know on the scene there. >> yeah, so, we arrived to the scene probably an hour or two ago, and the way we learned about it was actually through twitter. the police department was tweeting that there was a situation going on in colleyville and that they were telling residents to stay away from the scene. they were making sure no one was around it and that kind of thing, and so we came out to the scene, and here, police aren't really saying much. we were just watching the livestream as well and we were trying to see if we could hear anything, but other than that, police are mostly just keeping
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residents away from the area, just telling any reporter anything they hear or any updates, they'll let us know, but nothing so far. >> i spoke to another local reporter, jessica, who was heading over to another location to get an update from police. is that still happening? have you heard of anything like that happening? >> we haven't heard any updates right now, but i see the police actually outside -- they're speaking to a few of the tv reporters, so hopefully we can get an update soon. >> what do you know about, jessica, this synagogue? >> honestly, i'm new to the area, so i'm not too familiar with it, but we are here speaking with one of the residents, and it seemed like a great synagogue. they do the service every week, i believe, and so that's what we know so far. >> james, i want to bring you into the conversation as you're in the background there. also reporting on the developing situation there. do you know anything further about this synagogue, any security in place at this synagogue, in this area, and what this town is like, what this area is like, the people that live in that area?
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>> we have heard that the synagogue has security that they sort of partner with -- that is based out of chicago. they use technological surveillance to keep an eye on things, and communicate with national authorities if there are threats, but we haven't really heard much else other than that about anything that might actually be in place inside the synagogue. >> james, how did this unfold for you? at what point did you guys get to the scene? how did you find out what was developing at that synagogue today? >> like jessica said, we found out about it initially through twitter. i got a call from my editor and headed out here to meet with her as -- just to sort of lend some support wherever it might be needed. >> and what more do we know about the suspect inside, james? have you heard anything? do you have any confirmed reports about this suspect being armed? i had heard some unconfirmed reports of this suspect being armed or the ongoing
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conversations that they're having with police and s.w.a.t. there. >> you know, we've heard a lot but not a lot that we have been able to confirm. a lot of what we're waiting for is local law enforcement to sort of give us some information that we can use to confirm these reports. with the live stream, it ended, what, maybe about an hour ago, maybe about an hour ago. there was no video of what was going on. it was like a slide from a powerpoint or something. and so, we haven't actually seen what's going on in there. we haven't had any confirmations about any sort of weapons that were taken inside. >> what do you mean, there was no video going on in the live stream? what was the live stream like? did you see it? >> so, there was a slide with information that went with the
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message that was being delivered to the congregation this morning. that remained on the screen after everything started. >> and in the top right corner, it was just a blank brown wall and so the only thing you were really getting from the live stream was audio at that point. >> and did you hear any of the audio over the live stream, jessica? >> yes. and in the audio, it sounded like the suspect was speaking on the phone with someone. and we're not sure who it was, but he just kept repeating the words, like, i'm going to die at the end of this. and he kept just repeating that over and over again, and some expletives but nothing that we can confirm who he was speaking to or how many people he was with or what he looked like, none of that. >> yeah, he also regularly called -- i'm sorry. he was regularly calling or demanding a call with his sister. we have not been able to confirm who that is.
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and we're working on trying to figure that out as well. >> so, this is actually some of the most information that we've gotten from this situation in that you heard in this audio, this individual, this suspect, you don't know who he was talking to, but he was saying he was going to die numerous times over the course of this audio and then demanding to speak with his sister. you have no idea, james or jessica, whoever wants to jump in here, as to who this individual is, the name of this individual or who his sister, in fact, might be? >> no, we don't know anything yet and nothing's confirmed. >> okay. >> yeah, we have some possible tips that we're following up on but nothing that we have been able to confirm. >> got it. have you guys ever seen anything like this happen in this area before? >> it was, i think, january of 2020, white settlement had a -- an instance where a gunman went into a church, planning to shoot
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people in there. there was a lot of armed security in that church, though, and there were, i believe, two people in the congregation were shot. >> but you don't necessarily know -- >> that is the last that i can recall happening, something like this in this area. >> but you don't necessarily know if there was armed security in this synagogue. you know that they have security when it comes to their technology and the access they have on a federal level but not necessarily armed security on location? >> right. right. we don't know anything about security at this location. the last -- the incidents in the town of white settlement, that was just the last instance of a person going into a religious institution and triggering this kind of police response. we don't really know anything about whether there are any weapons in the synagogue at all. we haven't been able to confirm that, and no information about security. >> got it.
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jessica and james both with the fort worth "star-telegram." guys, thank you for jumping on with us. please stay in touch if you get any more information because we're going to be staying on the story. thank you for now on your great work and reporting on this. i just -- we are also hearing from the white house and our colleague, josh lederman reporting this, the white house is monitoring the situation, the potential hostage situation in colleyville, texas, and referring all of the questions about the incident to the fbi and to law enforcement as well. with that, i want to bring in dana nessel, who is the attorney general of michigan. dana, thanks for sticking with us through this. you and i were supposed to talk about something completely different. we were supposed to talk about voting rights in this country, which are under attack right now. but instead, we have had to pivot because of this breaking news situation and in fact, we are lucky enough to find out that you established the first domestic terrorism unit in your state and testified to congress about the importance of and the
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issue of addressing domestic terrorism in this country and in your state of michigan as well. again, we don't know what's happening here. we haven't learned a lot. we did just learn from those two great reporters on the ground there that they heard audio of an individual saying he's going to die at the end of this and he was asking to speak with his sister. we do know this is an ongoing hostage situation. the white house is monitoring as well. this has been elevated to a federal level. as you watch this thing unfold, what are your biggest concerns? >> well, my biggest concern, hearing that it's at a synagogue, is that this is someone who's intent on committing hate crimes and an act of domestic terrorism and it's not just a random person who wandered into a synagogue. now, we don't know that for certain, but we have seen an incredible rise in rhetoric that is anti-semitic being trafficked all around the country, and in the case of michigan, that is why i established the first hate
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crimes and domestic terrorism unit anywhere in the state, one of the first in the country, because we were seeing an exponential rise in hate crimes and an exponential rise in the formation and the membership of these extremist organizations, many of which are white supremacy organizations and they traffic in hatred against jews and other minorities. and it's a -- a considerable issue. when i took office, i met with the white house, and i told them that one of my biggest concerns about my state was these escalating threats against these communities and especially the jewish community in the state of michigan and frankly all around the united states. so, if it does turn out that that is the motivating factor here, it would hardly be a surprise. >> let me ask you this, and talking about this domestic terrorism unit that you established in michigan. what, in fact, does a unit like that do in addressing situations like this one, if, in fact, we find that this has something to do with domestic terrorism
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and/or preventing a situation like this. >> well, we have investigated and also prosecuted organizations, members of organizations that are, you know, groups like, for instance, the base is one of them. where we have ongoing prosecutions as we speak and we've actually gotten some convictions involving some rather novel types of charges that really have not been explored before. such as training with firearms for the purpose of civil unrest. now, the thing about michigan is, we're uniquely situated because we actually have very good domestic terrorism laws on the books, unlike the federal authorities, and most people don't know this, but the united states of america does not have laws that are specific to prosecute domestic terrorism. now, we have a lot of laws to prosecute foreign terrorists, but not domestic terrorists and that's one of the areas where we need much improvement so that we can sort of cut this stuff off
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ahead and we can really make sure that we are properly monitoring these groups, investigating these groups when they are training for the purpose of injuring people. and a lot of these folks, of course, are lone wolves. they become self-radicalized online, and then they have an endless supply available to them of, you know, assault weapons, of multiple types of magazines that are, you know -- involve an enormous amount of ammunition, and one person alone, of course, as we know, can do a tremendous amount of damage, but you know, that's why we have to make sure that we're doing everything we can to tackle this issue. >> do you think that we have come to a dangerous point in this country in which we have normalized having security, for instance, armed security at places like synagogues, a church, a mosque? places that are meant for someone to worship, places that
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are meant for calm, places that are meant for love and instead now oftentimes when you walk through the doors of religious institutions, you are met with armed security because of the uptick in domestic violence. have we normalized that? >> well, i think it's a necessary evil. i mean, if we are going to hear the kind of angry rhetoric that is racist or anti-semitic in nature, that we hear, frankly, from many of our nation's leaders, and if we're going to create, you know, such easy access to very dangerous firearms, then yeah, for religious organizations that want to meet in-person, i think unfortunately, that's what you're going to see. and i know that many of the temples and mosques, we have a very large muslim population here in michigan. we have very large jewish population, and most of the mosques and temples that you see here in the state, they do have armed security. now, normally, you'd see more of
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a security presence maybe on the high holidays or on special islamic holidays and not necessarily just, you know, any random day of the week, but you do see that, and that's normally what you see. you'll see patrol cars outside of those temples and mosques, especially for this particular reason, unfortunately. >> dana nessel, michigan attorney general, we appreciate you pivoting for us. thank you so much for lending your voice to this conversation. as we are continuing to follow breaking news. before we go to break, just want to update folks. authorities are reportedly negotiating with a man who has allegedly taken people hostage inside of the synagogue you're seeing on your screens. right now, in the town of colleyville, which is a suburb of dallas-fort worth. the service was being livestreamed on facebook, the audio sounding like talks between the police and the suspect. we heard from two local reporters who overheard this
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suspect, this individual saying they were going to die at the end of this, saying they wanted to speak to their sister. there are also unconfirmed reports that the suspect is currently armed, although, yet again, we have not confirmed those reports. i will also just mention to folks that today, saturday, would likely have been shabbat services as well in that synagogue so the likelihood that there are a number of people inside that synagogue is fairly high, but of course, we do not know how many people are inside that synagogue and currently being held hostage by this suspect. we are continuing to follow the situation there as it develops. we'll bring you all the details as well. we'll take a quick break. u all as well. as well. we'll take a quick breake. [szasz] we take care of ourselves constantly; it's important. we walk three to five times a week, a couple miles at a time. - we've both been taking prevagen for a little more than 11 years now. after about 30 days of taking it, we noticed clarity that we didn't notice before.
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vehicles, fire vehicles, as well armored vehicles on scene there. authorities are negotiating with a man who has allegedly taken people hostage at this local synagogue. the service was, in fact, being livestreamed on facebook. the recording was continuing with muffled sounds, muffled audio, what sounded like negotiations happening ongoing between the hostage taker and possibly police, also just spoke to some local reporters who were on the scene as well trying to gain more information. they were telling me they had overheard this individual saying that they would be dying at the end of this, that they were going to die at the end of this, also asking, urging to speak with their sister. as of yet, we have no idea what this individual's motive is and/or whether or not the synagogue was, in fact, armed. we do know it's a saturday, which is shabbat services all throughout the day, so this very well may have been a packed synagogue, though we don't know the numbers of folks that were inside of those services, nor
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the number of people that are being held hostage at the moment, and of course we're going to bring you more information as we get it. want to bring in clint watts, msnbc national security analyst. you heard me talk through the facts we know about this case. we don't know a lot as this develops. we know authority there are fairly tight-lipped in the surrounding area. of course, it's a precarious situation as you well know because it's a hostage situation. what are you thinking right now? >> yeah, it's rather interesting. it seemed there are some live feeds or attempted live feeds that were coming out of there, and you can hear a little bit in terms of the hostage taker and what he was saying. it seems that there's something that he wants or is trying to achieve with this. this is different from other, what i would assume to be terrorist attacks and the notion that oftentimes, and unfortunately, you might remember other synagogues were attacked, namely in pittsburgh
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where you saw a mass shooting incident, very quick, very violent, and clearly the shooter was there to kill as many people as they could possibly kill. that's definitely not the case here. it's very different scenario. i think for law enforcement, they're probably trying to figure out what is the motive? what is this person trying to do? why did they go into a hostage standoff? what is it they're trying to achieve? ultimately, the goal is to determine the number of people in there and try and remove them as quickly as possible from that situation without putting him in harm's way. it looks like across the board, you had state and local, you know, there first, and from what i have read online, it looks like the fbi is also on the scene. so, if that's the case, they're going to go into standard hostage negotiations and try and end this as peacefully as possible. i am a little concerned, just based on some of the clips that i had seen, though, based on some of the comments that have already come up in this broadcast, that the hostage takers might be quite determined in this case. the other thing that i'm really
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curious about is why the synagogue? if it has some sort of meaning or significance. sometimes these locations are picked kind of at random, but if this person was there, trying to create a scene, trying to actually use some sort of negotiation to achieve some motive, it would be interesting to know why they chose this location. is it something that's familiar to them or is it something just sort of close to them that they choes, or is it tied to that actual objective that they're trying to achieve. >> as i was speaking to local reporters, two things that stood out to me was what they overheard in the live stream, it was, a, the suspect said, i'm going to die at the end of this, and it was b, asking to speak to his sister, this suspect. first and foremost, when you have a hostage negotiation going on and you have a suspect saying, i'm going to die at the end of this, what does that say to you, clint? >> yeah, definitely changes the calculus. i mean, that's not what you want
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to hear going into a situation like this, because it kind of changes your negotiation strategy. if they're saying they are going to die, and it's sort of an ultimatum, this is what the end will be, then it really puts pressure on the negotiators to get as many people out of that situation as quickly as possible, and it's sort of an ultimatum that the hostage taker is taking. i think it's also interesting that he wanted to talk to his sister. i also saw that in some of the content from the live stream videos and i think that's a little worrisome as well. we're waiting to get the details, but some of the discussion that's going online right now, from different sources, if it does turn out to be this, it could be a much more significant case in terms of who his sister might be. i can't confirm that right now. i'm waiting for confirmation on it, but that would a be a major issue in terms of how this negotiation might go down as well. >> yeah, i'm hearing those similar reports as well, and i just think it's important to be transparent with our audience and for folks to understand while we're seeing a lot of
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these reports online as to who this possibly might be and who this individual's sister might be, we are very aware of that and following those tips and some of that news that's developing. but it's important for us not to necessarily report those until we have confirmation of that, because this is obviously, as i have mentioned on multiple occasions, a very precarious situation and we don't want to inflame a very sensitive situation until we have confirmation of that reporting, but of course we are hearing about the fact that the suspect is, in fact, asking to speak to his sister. his sister might be someone who is quite notable in this unkees history and may very well be someone who is incarcerated in this country as well, but of course, unconfirmed as to who his sister might be or who his sister is. as we get more confirmation, we'll bring it to you. this is becoming, as you well know, an international situation. we're hearing from senator ted cruz, texas senator ted cruz saying his wife and he are praying for the congregation in colleyville and for the s.w.a.t. team and all other law
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enforcement. ambassador to israel, u.s. ambassador to israel saying, closely monitoring reports of the hostage situation. prime minister bennett from israel as well closely monitoring the situation along with the president and the white house monitoring it as well. talk to me, clint, about the security measures that are in place at religious institutions like this one. i know specifically, you don't know about what security measures are there, but typically, especially when we know about how they have become a target for so many incidents in this country, historically. >> yeah, after 9/11, there was just sort of a series of attacks or threats that went about throughout the country and i know in boston, where i lived in one period, the synagogue right down the street from where i lived had physical security during any sort of congregation and technical surveillance in place all the time. and that was just due to the ratcheted up environment that we had in this country where synagogues were a target. back then, you know, 10 to 12 years ago, we were talking about international terrorism in this
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context, but more recently, we've been talking about domestic extremism, hate groups or individuals who are going in terms of anti-semitism, to try to deliver an attack against the synagogue as a place of worship. you might remember back to 2018, basically, that year there, we saw churches, synagogues, places of worship around the country were seen as targets, and so from that, and a lot of locations, we saw both increased physical security and technical security and that's kind of what you were talking about with some of the people they're interviewing that are there on the scene. over the last ten years, we have seen remarkable increase in security. the other dynamic that i think we really need to look at here is there were several live streams out immediately, and so in many places of worship nowadays, you have live stream broadcasts, especially during the time of covid so this creates a conundrum in terms of security because now we have a situation where a hostage situation was playing out and it
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could be viewed out in the social media, which is very unusual until recent years that that was even a possibility. so, that also creates the situation where a hostage taker has the ability to get their voice out or broadcast into social media and into the public through their own means. it's a new -- unique dynamic, i think, that is unfolding, particularly during the time of covid. >> that is such a good point. do you think -- do you feel as if these type of live-stream moments inspire people that want to do harm? >> yeah. my biggest concern with anything in the u.s. extremism space has always been that when one person does a hostage situation like this or a terrorist attack inside the united states, it kicks off a contagion where you see other people that were possibly considering some sort of extremism or violent attack to undertake a similar attack or plot on their own that they had already been thinking about. and it's known as stochastic terrorism, which is whenever you have one or more of these
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incidents, it really becomes probable that you'll have one or more. it's a contagion. we saw this in 2018, throughout 2016, you might remember when isis had a wave of attacks in 2016 in paris, brussels, you saw this sort of pick up all around the world, including in the united states. so, my big worry, particularly with the live stream phenomenon, is it kicks off such that other people want to try and do the same attack, and the live streaming is the big vulnerability. it's very hard to detect. it's very hard to moderate, and ultimately, really hard to police over time because they're really hijacking the feed of the target location. it's a real conundrum, i think. >> clint watts, stay close to your camera if you would, clint, as this story is developing. you're an integral voice to this conversation. and this breaking news. also as clint just said, the fbi is now assisting with the situation in colleyville, texas, and also getting confirmation now that atf as well is assisting and on the scene in
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colleyville. we are continuing to follow this breaking news situation, ongoing hostage situation at a synagogue in colleyville, texas, a suburb of dallas-fort worth. texas, a s of dallafos-rt worth
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♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ welcome back, everybody. we're continuing to follow the breaking news out of colleyville, texas, a suburb of dallas-fort worth where there is an ongoing hostage situation at a synagogue there. with that, want to bring in nbc's josh lederman who's in
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wilmington, delaware, where the president is right now. josh, give us an update. how is the white house dealing with this? are they monitoring the situation there? what's happening? >> reporter: they are. we are told, yasmin, that the white house is closely monitoring the situation at that synagogue in texas at this hour. the white house referring all questions about what's been taking place in texas to the fbi as well as to local law enforcement agencies at this time. we know that president biden, who has been spending this weekend at his home in wilmington, he is at his house right now. he spent part of today with his grandson at a local country club, but the white house has not yet given what's referred to as a lid for the night, meaning there's a pool of reporters who is with the president at this time. they will stay with him, and it's possible we could still see the president tonight if he were to decide to leave the residence. on saturday evenings, it's uncommon for him and his family to go to church in the
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wilmington area so we might be able to have a chance to question him about what he is learning about this incident. we know that every time the president comes here to wilmington or travels anywhere outside of washington, there are designated national security as well as homeland security officials who travel with him. they get the latest information and then are able to brief the president in realtime so that he can provide his response and stay up to date about these kinds of security situations so that would be the conduit for the information president biden is going to be getting throughout the evening tonight as the white house tries to figure out along with the rest of us exactly what's taking place in texas. >> so, are you expecting, josh, the president to speak any time today? >> reporter: we don't have any indication that he will speak. we just know that it's still a possibility because the white house has not fore closed the possibility of him being out and about in public tonight but as of right now, we don't have any indication that he would actually out and speak.
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>> josh, thank you so much. we appreciate it. want to bring in jonathan greenblatt, the ceo of the antidefamation league and michigan congressman andy eleven, the former president of his local synagogue as well. thank you both for jumping on for us. we appreciate it. jon, let me start with you as we're watching this develop. this is something that you and i talked about a few weeks ago, the rise in anti-semitism and possible attacks at religious institutions like what we're seeing now. we don't necessarily know what has happened inside there but as you're watching this unfold and hearing the details of this, what do you make of it? >> well, unfortunately, it fits into a pattern that we've seen in the past where jewish sites, be they synagogues, jccs, jewish federations, other communal institutions, are targeted, targeted by extremists of different varieties, whether it's right-wing, left-wing, religious-based extremists. i mean, keep in mind that this
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is happening on the heels of a remarkable rise in anti-semitic incidents that's been terrifying to members of the community. when i say members of the community, i mean, again, from seattle to new york city, we had jews being attacked in broad daylight just six months ago after the fighting in gaza. people were literally targeted in broad daylight by assailants whose main criteria was, were they identifiably jewish. so there's a reason why synagogues, schools, jccs, et cetera, all have intense security precautions, not just locks and cameras and doors but literally rabbis have to be trained in how to deal with potential attackers. and in fact, it was a dhs drill that happened at the tree of life synagogue just a month -- and i think it was september of 2018 that saved many lives at the tree of life, even though 11 people were still massacred on that day. so, being on edge and being
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very, you know, beingvigilant is unfortunately part of the american jewish experience. >> congressman levin, we are getting breaking news on this developing situation, more details are coming in. we are hearing from three senior law enforcement officials that a man is holding a rabbi and potentially others hostage at this fort worth area synagogue and has told authorities there that he wants the release of sizziqui from federal prison. she was accused of attempting to kill u.s. officers in afghanistan and is being held at fmc carswell, which is actually in fort worth, texas, a principal prison for female offenders that houses a total of just over 1,000 inmates according to the federal bureau of prisons. congressman, as you're seeing this unfold and you know these are ongoing hostage situations, we know the possible motive, the brother of this inmate at a
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local prison there in fort worth, what do you make of it? >> well, yasmin, there's simply no excuse to use violence in this way to try to achieve something. i won't even get get into, you, the specifics of his motive in that case. it's just horrifying, speaking as a former president of my synagogue and having served on the board of two synagogues during my life, this is your worst nightmare. it really doesn't matter what the hostage taker's motives are. the idea of doing this in a house of worship of any kind, a jewish house of worship is horrifying and completely unacceptable. >> talk to me about, congressman, the security that you have seen at your own local synagogue and the security that
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exists at many religious institutions now, and whether or not it's something you feel as if has been normalized, but not in a good way. >> well, you know, i was on the board of quite a large synagogue in the d.c. area when i lived there, and until i went to congress, i was president of a small synagogue here in ferndale, michigan. it causes a lot of heart ache because you're there to worship, to pray. you don't want to feel like you're in some militarized situation. jewish communities have done a good job coming together and figuring out how to provide security in a way that doesn't feel obtrusive to, you know, the kind of religious experience for those, you know, who are there to worship.
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but it's a very difficult situation. i have to say that my understanding is that there are some great interfaith partnerships there in fort worth, and i understand that rabbis and christian leaders and at least one imam are trying to work together to see who could have an influence on this person. obviously the fbi hostage experts are doing so. you know, we can only hope they can talk him off this cliff and, you know, not have the violent outcome that he fore shadowed with his words. yasmin? >> yeah? >> if i might, adl extremism, we monitor extremist threats to the jewish community and other targeted communities, so we know indeed that the assailant, his
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sister has been held in prison. we're aware of the fact that al qaeda for years ask years has been spouting, you know, insane anti-semitic conspiracy theories. they have related to targeted jewish interests around the world, in india, in the middle east, and of course here in the united states. they've repeatedly threatened jewish individuals. so unfortunately we're not surprised by this. adl is on the ground coordinating with the fbi and the local jewish community and in touch with the families of people who are being affected by this right now. >> john greenblat, congressman leaven, thank you for lending your voice to this conversation. i want to bring back clint watts as we get an update on who this individual might be and what they want. clint, you and i were speaking earlier and we are learning now that confirmation of a man holding a rabbi and potentially others hostage.
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and has told authorities that he wants the release of aafia siddiqui from federal prison. talk to me about what we know about siddiqui. >> yeah, aafia siddiqui was a major terrorism case going back, i believe, around the 2008 time period. it was a major one because he was known to be basically a neuroscientist, someone who was involved with biological studies. he was captured in afghanistan not really quite a complex scenario. during her detention, allegedly pulled a rifle, used it to engage with interrogators and was wounded. it was someone essentially tied into the al qaeda network in a very significant way. the way the scenario played out, i remembered it right, was tied to muhammad, the designer and orchestrater of the 9/11 attack.
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so it shows an international terrorism connection with you look at the evidence here so far. why would they want the release of this person? are they connected to them? do they know them or is it someone they're aspiring to? we'll have to solve that, you know, as we hear from law enforcement and get more details about what the case is. but this is a major international terrorism dimension that was not there when we first heard of the standoff at the synagogue. >> you talked about why this person would target this synagogue, and we're learning now this individual is being held at a prison in fort worth, dallas-fort worth, texas, which may speak to the question you put out there a little bit earlier. we don't have confirmation of what this suspect's relationship is with siddiqui. how does this change the narrative and the approach of law enforcement in negotiating with the suspect, knowing his
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demands? >> it turns it into a federal situation, where you're talking about the department of justice. has this person, whoever the hostage-taker is, ever communicated with this aafia siddiqui? just like you said, what is his proximate to the detention center. the situation gets way more complicated now because this wasn't just any terrorism subject that was convicted. that was a major one a decade ago. this was a big case in terms of the united states and its war on terror. it has connections in afghanistan and pakistan. it's gotten majorly complicated now for hostage negotiators trying to de-escalate the situation. this isn't any terrorism suspect. this is a major al qaeda suspect from decades ago. >> thank you so much and thank you to all the people that joined me throughout the last two hours as we continue to
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follow this developing hostage situation in colleyville, texas. we'll bring you the details as they develop throughout the rest of the evening. for now, thank you for watching. "politicsnation" with reverend al sharpton is coming up next. n. wooo! vaporize sore throat pain with hey lily, i need a new wireless plan for my business, but all my employees need something different. oh, we can help with that. okay, imagine this. your mover, rob, he's on the scene and needs a plan with a mobile hotspot. we cut to downtown, your sales rep lisa has to send some files, like asap! so basically i can pick the right plan for each employee. yeah i should've just led with that. with at&t business. you can pick the best plan for each employee and get the best deals on every smart phone. (music)
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