Manhattan, NY — Tuesday afternoon, a suspect, identified as Sayfullo Habibullaevic Saipov, according to two law enforcement sources, rented a pickup truck, drove it onto a busy bicycle path and mowed down innocent people before getting out and brandishing toy guns. Almost immediately after the horrific attack that left 8 dead and a dozen more injured, video of Saipov, an Uzbekistan native, was released.
There were multiple videos, taken from multiple angles showing the attacker flee the truck and run through traffic.
Police eventually caught Saipov, who they say is a "lone wolf" attacker. Nearly as fast as the video was released, so were the declarations that this attack was "an act of terrorism."
“After he came to the United States is when he started to become informed about ISIS and radical Islamic tactics,” Gov. Cuomo said on CNN. “Again, ISIS has gotten it down to a simple formula that they can put on the internet and it doesn't take a rocket scientist to rent a car, rent a truck. But they are cowards and they are depraved.”
It is amazing how fast an investigation can go when the attacker is called a terrorist. If we contrast the tragic massacre in Las Vegas last month with this tragic attack in New York, a telling picture begins to appear.
Within only hours, all of Saipov's travel history both inside and outside the United States was made public. We were informed that Saipov lived in an apartment in Paterson, New Jersey, with his wife, two young daughters and infant son. He moved there after stints in Ohio and Florida and when he came to the US from the Uzbeki capital of Tashkent in 2010, he settled in the Cincinnati area where he lived with a fellow Uzbeki family.
All this information was immediately released to the public without anyone demanding it. Contrast this with Vegas—as millions demand answers to very simple questions about Stephen Paddock—and it is the exact opposite.
It took close to a week to learn that Stephen Paddock allegedly traveled outside of the United States. In fact, it hasn't been 'officially' released at all. We were simply told by CNN, through a confidential law enforcement source that Paddock took several cruises that included stops at ports in Spain, Italy, Greece, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates.
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As the investigation into the New York act of terror shows us, it is quite easy to find out where people travel to and from inside and outside of the US. Why haven't we been told exactly where Paddock has traveled?
What's more, as the videos above illustrate, Saipov was caught on multiple cameras and this was all quickly published online. However, in spite of the tens of thousands of cameras throughout the Las Vegas area and inside the Mandalay Bay Casino—not a single video nor even a still image from a surveillance camera has been released.
Why haven't authorities released a single image of Paddock carrying a bag into the hotel? Why haven't authorities released a single image of Paddock sitting down at one of the many slot machines at which he was alleged to have used his girlfriend's point card?
Indeed, there was surveillance footage released of Stephen Paddock immediately after the shooting. However, this video was obtained by NBC news—from a different hotel, six years ago.
How is it that NBC was able to get surveillance footage from six years ago, almost immediately after the shooting, and police can't release a single image of Paddock at the Mandalay Bay Casino during his stay and before he shot himself in his hotel room?
It is ridiculous to consider the fact that most of the information the public has about Stephen Paddock and what went on inside Mandalay Bay has not come from police. Instead, it has come from citizens with access to certain information and leaked to the press. In fact, police seem to want the public to remain entirely in the dark about what happened as they continue to change their story and they actually publicly noted that they wanted to punish the person who leaked the photos of Paddock's suite to the news.
Department Undersheriff Kevin McMahill noted last month:
“There was a question about the validity of the crime scene photos that somebody had leaked. I can confirm those are, in fact, photos from inside of the room; they are in fact photos of our suspect, and as the sheriff mentioned previously, we have all opened up an internal investigation to determine the source of the leaks of those photos to the public.”
Why is it that we already know more about an attack and attacker that happened yesterday than we do about an attack and an attacker that happened a month ago? If authorities want to dispell these so-called 'conspiracy theories' popping up online, they need to stop changing their stories and release what they know—now.