Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Feinstein: President Must Not Sow Division

Source: Senator Dianne Feinstein - (D - CA)

Washington, D.C. - November 1, 2017 (The Ponder News) -- Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) has released the following statement on the terrorist attack in New York City:

“In the wake of a national tragedy, the president has an obligation to bring the country together, not sow division. It’s deeply troubling that the president’s response to a terrorist attack appears to be driven by this morning’s commentary on Fox & Friends.

“There’s a distinct contrast between the response to the attack in New York and the attack in Las Vegas. In the wake of the Las Vegas mass shooting in which nearly 60 people were killed and hundreds injured, it was ‘too soon’ to discuss banning bump-fire stocks and other policies to prevent gun violence.

“Now in the wake of the attack in New York City, it’s apparently not ‘too soon’ to reiterate calls for a travel ban and paint all immigrants with the same broad brush.

“The president sets the tone of the national conversation in wake of a terrorist attack. That conversation must be measured and based on the facts.”

Senator Graham Statement On NYC Terror Suspect

Source: Senator Lindsey Graham (R - SC)

Washington, D.C. - November 1, 2017 (The Ponder News) -- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) issued this statement on potentially holding the suspect in the New York City terror attack, Sayfullo Habibullaevic Saipov, as an enemy combatant for intelligence gathering purposes.

“I’m very pleased to hear that President Trump is considering holding Mr. Saipov as an enemy combatant. The President understands the difference between a terrorist and a common criminal. If an individual acts like a terrorist and says they’re a terrorist, they should be treated like a terrorist.

“Based on the current evidence, it would be very appropriate to initially hold Mr. Saipov as a suspected enemy combatant to allow us to gather the best and most reliable intelligence regarding his activities.

“Mr. Saipov does not have to be transferred to GTMO, but that certainly is an option available to the Administration. My main goal is to gather as much reliable intelligence as quickly as possible. We are fighting a war – not a crime.”


Source: Senator John McCain

Washington, D.C. - November 1, 2017 (The Ponder News) -- U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ), Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, released the following statement today on the terrorist attack in New York City:

“The terrorist attack in New York is the latest brutal, horrific example of the war that radical Islamist extremists are waging against our nation and our way of life. From Orlando to San Bernardino and Boston to Manhattan, we must not consider these attacks on our homeland in isolation, but rather recognize them for what they are: acts of war. As such, the New York terror suspect should be held and interrogated—thoroughly, responsibly, and humanely—as an enemy combatant consistent with the Law of Armed Conflict. He should not be read Miranda Rights, as enemy combatants are not entitled to them. As soon as possible, the administration should notify Congress how it plans to proceed with the interrogation and trial of this suspect.

“Finally, I agree with criticisms of the Diversity Visa Program, which is why I joined my colleagues on both sides of the aisle in 2013 to pass comprehensive immigration reform in the Senate that would have eliminated this program and replaced it with a merit-based system. Now more than ever, Congress should come together to devise and pass legislation to fully and humanely reform our broken immigration system and secure the homeland.”

The Diversity Lottery

Washington, D.C. - November 1, 2017 (The Ponder News) -- Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) has released the following statement on the revelation that the man who committed yesterday's terrorist attack in New York City came to the U.S. through the notoriously flawed diversity visa lottery program:

"Yesterday's attack was an outrage, especially because it was entirely preventable. The diversity visa lottery program has long been deeply flawed, but now we see very clearly how it's a threat to our national security. Senator Perdue and I have been working with our colleagues to eliminate this program, and this latest revelation makes our efforts only more urgent. I call upon my colleagues to pass the RAISE Act as soon as possible. We can't afford to wait any longer to fix our immigration system."

Related News

Trump is assailing the diversity visa lottery after the NYC terror attack — here's what it is

New Bipartisan Bill Seeks to Close “Bump Stock” Loophole

Source: Brian Fitzpatrick, (R PA, 8th)

Read more at The Ponder News Home Page at

Washington, D.C. - November 1, 2017 (The Ponder News) -- Four Members of Congress—two Republicans and two Democrats—today have introduced the Closing the Bump Stock Loophole Act, new bipartisan legislation to close the “bump stock” loophole after a shooter in Las Vegas, using bump stock devices, killed 58 people and injured 489, making it the deadliest mass shooting in modern history.

The measure, introduced by Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-08), Congressman Dan Kildee (MI-05), Congresswoman Dina Titus (NV-01) and Congressman Dave Trott (MI-11), would allow the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) to immediately regulate bump stocks and functionally equivalent devices that substantially increase the rate of fire of a firearm in the same way it regulates machine guns and suppressors. The registration process for anyone in possession of or purchasing bump stock devices would include a rigorous background check, fingerprinting and a $200 registration fee.

Under the National Firearms Act, it is illegal for Americans to own fully automatic firearms and machine guns manufactured after May 19, 1986. Due to a loophole in the law, however, bump stocks—devices attached to semi-automatic rifles that increase their rate of fire to that similar to machine guns—are currently legal and unregulated. ATF has said it does not currently have the legal authority to address bump stocks or similar devices and has urged Congress to act to remedy this problem.

“Four weeks ago, our country experienced the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history. As former law enforcement professionals, it is difficult to swallow the fact that the horror of this event was exacerbated by the bump stock, a device engineered to avoid regulation under federal law -- but unfortunately, it is not surprising. We are grateful to Representatives Fitzpatrick, Kildee, Titus and Trott for introducing this proposal that will regulate these dangerous weapons under the National Firearms Act, and for recognizing the need for Congress to act to keep American communities safe. We urge Congress to support this bipartisan legislation and pass this bill,” said Michael Bouchard, President of the ATF Association.

“This bipartisan legislation will block the availability of these and other dangerous devices, and demonstrates a serious bipartisan commitment to keeping our communities safe,” said Congressman Fitzpatrick, a former federal gun crimes prosecutor and FBI agent. “We must do everything in our power to prevent the kind of evil we see in horrifying incidents like the Las Vegas shootings, and resolve as a nation to confront this evil through meaningful, bipartisan legislative action and an ongoing commitment to keep our communities safe from gun violence.”

“After the deadliest mass shooting in modern history, Congress must act to prevent gun violence. This bill will not prevent all senseless gun deaths—rather, it seeks to address one dangerous loophole in existing law that allows anyone to acquire a bump stock, no questions asked. This bipartisan legislation will give law enforcement the ability to regulate bump stocks and keep them out of the hands of criminals and violent people. Such deadly devices that can turn firearms into fully-automatic machine guns have no place on America’s streets,” said Congressman Kildee.

“Following the October tragedy in my district, I vowed to study and draft solutions with members on both sides of the aisle to prevent future acts of gun violence in our nation’s communities,” said Congresswoman Titus. “Since then, Reps. Fitzpatrick, Kildee, Trott and I have developed a bipartisan bill to regulate bump stocks or similar devices the same as machine guns and the deadliest of weapons. I believe the majority of Americans would agree: Anyone who wants a device that modifies a firearm to shoot hundreds of rounds per minute should undergo thorough background checks and oversight. Congress must take meaningful action to address this national epidemic. We cannot stand in silence any longer.”

“In the wake of the tragedy in Las Vegas, I promised my constituents that I would work on a legislative solution to close the loophole that allows legal semi-automatic firearms to be modified to perform like illegal fully-automatic weapons, and, today, my colleagues and I deliver. Most importantly, this bill ends the cycle of knee-jerk legislation, hastily thrown together in the wake of these all too common tragedies. Rather this is a proactive approach, that gives the ATF the regulatory flexibility it needs to hold these devices to the highest level of scrutiny while protecting Americans’ 2nd amendment right,” said Congressman Trott.

Federal Judge Usurps Role of Commander-In-Chief in Blocking Transgender Military Policy says Family Research Council

Source: Family Research Council

Washington, D.C. - November 1, 2017 (The Ponder News) -- Family Research Council criticized the injunction by U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly that blocks enforcement of parts of President Trump’s transgender military policy.

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins, a Marine veteran, released the following statement:

“This is where judicial activism is leading us. The courts have moved beyond legislating on the invented rights of abortion and same-sex marriage to clearly usurping the constitutional authority of the executive branch. The president has the primary task of protecting Americans but we see the courts weakening his immigration policies designed to protect America from threats and now telling the commander-in-chief how to run the military,” concluded Perkins.

Read more at The Ponder News Home Page

McConnell Requests GAO Report Targeting Opioid Abuse

Source: Senator Mitch McConnell- (R - KY)

Washington, D.C. - November 1, 2017 (The Ponder News) -- Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) made the following remarks on the Senate floor regarding our nation’s opioid crisis and a report he requested from the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) about federal response to opioid use disorders:

“The opioid crisis is hurting communities across our country. Its challenges are complex. Its causes are many. As I said last week, no single bill or program is going to solve the crisis on its own. Only a sustained, committed effort can do that.

“That’s been my view over the many years that I’ve been involved in this issue, from the first time I invited the White House drug czar down to Eastern Kentucky to see the challenges posed by prescription drug abuse firsthand to my work on other initiatives like passing a law to help address the tragedy of babies born addicted to drugs.

“It’s also what I believed as the Republican-led Senate worked hard to pass important legislation like Jessie’s Law, the 21st Century Cures Act, and the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act. I believe President Trump took the same view as he announced another important step last week by declaring a public health emergency for opioids. I would like to once again thank the president for his commitment to confronting this crisis.

“We all know there is much further to go, and as we’re moving forward — Republicans and Democrats, the House and the Senate, states and the White House — we should remain committed to working together on policies and programs that deliver results. About an hour ago, the Government Accountability Office released a report I requested about the federal government’s response to opioid use disorders.

“The government’s chief watchdog recommends that as the Department of Health and Human Services expands access to medication-assisted treatment, it should also develop clear measures to gauge performance. This GAO study will help to ensure that dollars are spent wisely to fight the crisis of opioid abuse taking lives in communities across the country. The announcement of GAO’s conclusions will help us as we continue to build a comprehensive approach to combating heroin and prescription drug abuse.

“This is another step in the right direction. As government officials review this morning’s report and as agencies develop new plans to fulfill its objectives, I will continue working with partners in Washington and Kentucky to address this important crisis — so we can one day finally put the pain of opioid abuse behind us, once and for all.”

Read more at The Ponder News Home Page

Update on the Release of the FBI’s JFK Assassination Files

Source: Federal Bureau of Investigation

Washington, D.C. - November 1, 2017 (The Ponder News) -- The FBI has authorized for release all previously withheld materials in its JFK assassination files. Currently, the limited redactions relate to individuals who provided information during the course of the investigation, and whose lives may be at risk if they are publicly identified. Every effort is being made to lift the remaining redactions going forward as those personal safety concerns are balanced with the goal of maximum transparency.

The National Archives will release all remaining records on a rolling basis in the coming weeks.

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Rep. Maloney on Suspected Terror Attack in Lower Manhattan

Source: Carolyn Maloney (D-NY, 12th)

Washington, D.C. - November 1, 2017 (The Ponder News) -- Following an apparent terrorist attack in which a truck was used to kill eight and injure 15 more people in lower Manhattan today, Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12), released the following statement:

“Today's terrorist attack was a preplanned barbaric act of violence against innocent civilians that deserves the condemnation of every citizen of every nation. Yet even in the face of such savagery, I know that our city is too strong, too resilient, to let terrorists dictate how we live. We intend to carry on with the same vigor and determination that lights up our city every day, even in the darkest of times.

“I am incredibly grateful for the swift response of New York’s finest and our first responders, and for the abundance of caution the NYPD is exhibiting with their stepped-up presence to keep our city feeling safe. I am confident that the NYPD and FBI will conduct a thorough investigation and bring the perpetrator to justice.

“Our hearts break today for the families of the eight people killed by this madman and I send my hopes for swift recoveries to all those injured. We will stay New York strong, and get through this together.”

Read more at The Ponder News Home Page

Press Conference After Deadly Driver Kills 8 in Manhatten

Source: New York Mayor's Office

Police Commissioner James P. O'Neill: Good afternoon everybody. Steve, are we good? Alright. Just keep in mind that this incident occurred a little more than two hours ago so all the information that we are giving you right now is preliminary and subject to change.

After I speak you are going to hear from Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio, Bill Sweeney from the Assistant Director in charge of the New York FBI offices standing up here with me too, we have members [inaudible] of my executive staff. We have Cy Vance and members of the state police.

First, I just want to say that today there was a loss of innocent life in Lower Manhattan. The dead and injured were just going about their days, heading home from work or from school, or enjoying the afternoon sun on bicycles. This is a tragedy of the greatest magnitude for many people, for many families here in New York City and beyond today.

I want to commend the response of our NYPD officer that was on post near the location who stopped the carnage moments after it began. And also work, the work of the first responders, including the Fire Department and the EMS personal surely helped save additional lives.

As I said I will give more of a chronology in a couple of minutes, but right now I would like to introduce Mayor de Blasio.

Mayor Bill de Blasio: Thank you Commissioner. It's a very a painful day in our city – horrible tragedy on the West side. Let me be that clear based on the information we have at this moment, this was act of terror. And a particularly cowardly act of terror aimed at innocent civilians, aimed at people going about their lives who had no idea what was about to hit them.

We at this moment, based on the information we have, we know of eight innocent people who have lost their lives and over a dozen more injured. We know that this action was intended to break our spirit but we also know New Yorkers are strong, New Yorkers are resilient. And our spirit will never be moved by an act of violence, an act meant to immediate us.

We have been tested before as a city very near the site of today's tragedy. And New Yorkers did not give in in the face of these kinds of actions. We will respond as we always do. We will be undeterred. And I want to thank everyone at the NYPD, all our first responders for their extraordinary efforts in the midst of this tragedy, starting with the officer who stopped this tragedy from continuing – all the first responders who came to the aid of those who were injured.

An investigation is under way to get all the facts and what we will tell you today will of course be preliminary. But we know we will get down to the bottom of what happened. I want to ask all New Yorkers, all Americans to keep the families of those lost in your thoughts and prayers. They will need our support.

And I want to ask all New Yorkers to be vigilant. We know it's Halloween night. And we know in the days ahead people will be uneasy. We ask all New Yorkers to live by the idea – if you see something, say something – tell an officer immediately if you see anything unusual, anything that worries you. Be vigilant and know that there will be extensive additional employments of NYPD officers this evening and throughout the days ahead.

We will also keep you posted as this investigation continues and as the NYPD gains more information. Governor Cuomo.

Governor Andrew Cuomo: Thank you. First, our thoughts and prayers with those New Yorkers who we lost today – it reminds us all how precious life is. They left the house this morning – they were enjoying the beautiful Westside of Manhattan on a beautiful fall day and they are not going to be returning home. And that shock and that pain is going to be very real. And our thoughts [inaudible] our prayers are with all of them.

Our first responders did an extraordinary job. The NYPD, the FDNY, the FBI, the New York State Police, EMS – they, we have the finest security on the globe and to see them in action today proved that once again.

The new terrorist tactic which they have called for publicly, are these lone wolves who commit an act of terror. This is all very preliminary – it's only been a couple of hours. But at this point, there's no evidence to suggest a wider plot or a wider scheme, but the actions of one individual who meant to cause pain and harm and probably death, and the resulting terror, and that was the purpose.

We will be vigilant – more police everywhere, you'll see them in the airports, you'll see them in the tunnels. It's not because there's any evidence of any ongoing threat or any additional threat, it is just out of vigilance and out of caution. And the truth is, New York is an international symbol of freedom and democracy – that's what we are – and we are proud of it. That also makes us a target for those people who oppose those concepts, and we've lived with this before, we've felt the pain before, we feel the pain today, but we go forward together and we go forward stronger than ever.

We're not going to let them win, and if we change our lives, we contort ourselves to them, then they win and we lose. We'll go about our business – again, there's no ongoing threat, there's not evidence of that at this time. So, there's no reason to have any undue anxiety. You will see more security forces, but that's only because it's an abundance of caution and not a signal of anything else. And there will be continued investigation and justice will be done. But again, to those we lost – they're in our thoughts and our prayers.

To the first responders, thank you, thank you, thank you for the job you do. You put your life one the line every day. You do it better than anyone else. And to New Yorkers – be New Yorkers and live your life and don't let them change us or deter us in any manner, shape, or form.

Thank you.

Commissioner O'Neill: Thanks, Governor Cuomo. Thank you, Mr. Mayor. As I said, I'm going to go through the chronology here. And I know when I'm done, you're going to have a lot of questions, but we're not going to go too deep into it, it's only two hours. And after I get done with the chronology, Dan Nigro is going to talk about the injuries.

It's about 3:05 pm, a male driving a rented Home Depot pickup truck entered the West Side Highway bicycle path at Houston Street, began driving southbound, striking a number of pedestrians and bicyclists along the route. At Chambers Street, the truck collided with a school bus, injuring two adults and two children. After the collision, the driver of the truck – a 29-year-old male – exited the vehicle, brandishing two handguns. The uniformed police officer assigned to the 1st Precinct, confronted the subject and shot him in the abdomen. The subject was wounded and transported to a local hospital. A paintball gun and a pellet gun were recovered at the scene. The subject's identity is not being released at this time pending further investigation. At this point, there are eight fatalities reported in connection with this incident. In addition, several people have been injured and Commissioner Nigro from our Fire Department will discuss that.


Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro: Thank you, Jim. As the Police Commissioner said, six people died – they were pronounced at the scene between Houston Street and Chambers Street. They were all males. Two others were transported in traumatic arrest and were pronounced at the hospital. We also transported 11 people, all with serious but, at this moment, not life-threatening injuries. The injuries are what you may expect as a truck went at high speed down that bicycle path and struck bicyclists and pedestrians. There may be more injuries as people self-evacuated and we will determine that later as we do our survey. But that's the patient count and the deaths as we know it now.

Commissioner O'Neill: Alright, at this point, we're going to take some questions.

Myles, hold on – Myles –

Question: [Inaudible]

Commissioner O'Neill: John, you want to talk about the program a little bit?

Deputy Commissioner John Miller, Intelligence and Counter-terrorism, NYPD: So, as you know, through the SHIELD program, we do a very wide outreach. We have just under 20,000 members in the private sector. After ISIS, [inaudible] magazine came out with the issue just about two years ago around this time of year suggesting car attacks. You'll recall, one of the targets they suggest was the Thanksgiving Day Parade. We went and did extensive outreach to the truck rental business. We visited over 148 truck rental locations in this area. The obvious ones – U-Haul, Ryder, Home Depot, etcetera, and talked about suspicious indicators, ways to come forward. After attacks on the German Christmas market, after Nice, we repeated those visits two more times either by making telephonic contact, email, or going back to the same places. So, the industry has had a high level of awareness on this matter from the NYPD.

Question: [Inaudible]

Commissioner O'Neill: It's way too early to discuss that. I mean, this just happened two hours ago and it's of course part of our investigation.

Question: [Inaudible]

Commissioner O'Neill: Initially, we thought it might have been but it turned out not to be. Yeah?

Question: [Inaudible]

Commissioner O'Neill: It's all part of the investigation.

Question: [Inaudible]

Commissioner O'Neill: No, this incident is over. It did end right by Stuyvesant High School, so we had to make sure all the kids were taken care of, and we held them in place for a while, and it was important we do that, but this incident is over.


Question: [Inaudible]

Commissioner O'Neill: He's a 29-year-old male and I'm not going to talk about the truck right now.

Right there?

Question: [Inaudible] the suspect said [inaudible] anything to that effect. Is that the only indication that this may be an act of terrorism, or do you have – what else [inaudible]

Commissioner O'Neill: Yeah, he did make a statement when he exited the vehicle. And if you just look at the M-O of the attack – that's consistent with what's been going on. So, that, along with the statement that's enabled us to label this a terrorist event.

Question: [Inaudible]

Commissioner O'Neill: No, not right now.

Question: [Inaudible] nationality and was there any intelligence leading up to this [inaudible]

Commissioner O'Neill: Again, two hours old, and we'll update you as we go along.


Question: [Inaudible]

Commissioner O'Neill: It's being conducted jointly with the NYPD and the FBI.

Question: [Inaudible]

Commissioner O'Neill: From Florida? I'm not going to go into that.


Question: [Inaudible]

Commissioner O'Neill: Not – John – not right now, no.


Question: [Inaudible]

Commissioner O'Neill: After the Times Square incident I talked about this. Any incident that happens in New York or happens in the country or happens around the world, we have to learn from that, so of course we're going to take a look at that.


Question: [Inaudible]

Commissioner O'Neill: Yes, he's in the hospital. I'm not going to tell you what hospital.

And I'm going to let Chief Gomez talk about what we're doing for the Halloween parade tonight.


Chief of Department Carlos Gomez, NYPD: In less than 90 minutes that parade will kick off. We will proceed with the parade and certainly we've added more resources, more police officers, heavy weapons teams, blocker vehicles on the street leading to the route as well as more sand truck. There's also heavy weapons teams being deployed throughout the city at key, iconic locations.

Question: [Inaudible]

Commissioner O'Neill: Well, this is why we do investigation. Initially, I'm sure, whoever put that out isn't sure what the event was, and now two hours into it this is the determination that we've made.

Yes, in the first row?

Question: [Inaudible]

Commissioner O'Neill: Too early in the investigation to know that.


Question: [Inaudible]

Commissioner O'Neill: I haven't looked at the video let. We're retrieving as much video as possible. What we do know is he entered the bike path at Houston Street and exited the bike path at Chambers Street when he collided with the school bus. And there are no intersection on the west side of the bike path between Houston and Chambers.

In the – hold on, one second – in the back there?

Question: [Inaudible]

Commissioner O'Neill: Dan, do you have that?

There are among the injured that are serious but not life threatening.


Question: [Inaudible]

Commissioner O'Neill: We're not going to talk about where the Home Depot was rented from just yet, and Bob, do we know how many people were on the bus?

There were two adults and two children on the school us.

In the back, Lisa?

Question: [Inaudible]

Commissioner O'Neill: Don't know. That's part of the investigation.


Commissioner O'Neill: No, we don't have that yet.

Unknown: [Inaudible]

Mayor: I'll just close this off here by saying look, the NYPD is investigating this with our federal partners, with our State partners. There's going to be a very, very thorough investigation, but the most important thing – as Governor Cuomo said, as Chief O'Neill said – people should go about their business knowing the NYPD is out in force with our partner agencies tonight and throughout the week. Very important additional measures are going to be taken for people's safety, but the bottom line is we are going to go about our business in the city, and we are not going to be deterred. And we'll get you updates later on in the evening.

Thanks, everyone.