CNN transcript of risk manager/former FBI profiler on VaTech

Find the morning’s transcript here. I’ve bolded the sections I had in mind earlier today.

CHETRY: Well, the FBI now looking through a massive amount of information sent by Virginia Tech killer Cho Seung-Hui. The photos, the videos and the writings are disturbing, to say the least, but they actually could prove to be very valuable for investigators. Joining me now on the phone from Chantilly, Virginia, is Peter Smerick. He’s the president of The Academy Group, which is a behavioral sciences research center, as well as a former FBI profiler.

Thanks for joining us this morning, Peter.


CHETRY: Did you get a chance to look at some of that tape?


CHETRY: What did you think?

SMERICK: Well, you know, when you look at the tape and — well let’s just — let me put a caveat here. All of my opinions and observations are based upon looking at stuff we see in the news media, so I have no special insight into this case because the facts are being kept close to the vest by the investigators. But saying that, when you look at the tape and when you listen to the words that this individual is using, you don’t have to be a profiler or a psychologist to realize that the individual probably is rather delusional.

Now what’s interesting to me is that what we don’t know at this particular point is whether or not these thoughts of extreme violence is a current type of situation or whether he’s been harboring these thoughts for many, many years and then suddenly they involved in this murderous rampage that he went on.

CHETRY: Well, it looks like this is years in the making because we talked to students yesterday, some who went to high school with him as well, who describe the very same situations, someone who kept to himself, a loaner. There are people who went to school with him for four year and say they never heard his voice.

SMERICK: Yes. Well, you know, one of the dilemmas we have in a case like this, and I know lately on the media there’s been a lot of people talking about all of these red flags waving and we should have known and we should have been able to decipher this. The one thing I’ve learned over many, many years and analyzing thousands of cases is this — unless an individual either verbalizes threats . . .

CHETRY: Which he did.

SMERICK: Or physically — well, what verbalized threats did he make?

CHETRY: Well, he — people were terrified because of some of the things that were written in his plays, in his play writing class.

SMERICK: No, no, no. What — no, no, no. You have to understand something. What he has written in his plays is one thing. But what I’m saying is that when you talk to all of his roommates, when you talk to all of the people that have known him, has he actually come out over time and talked about, I’m going to kill you? I mean, has he ever verbalized any of the thoughts that we see here in the tape?

CHETRY: Well, there was the stalking situation, as well. There were two girls that were scared enough about him following them around that they actually did go to police about it. And that is something that apparently was not pursued to its fullest extent.

SMERICK: OK. Well the irony of, you know, that comment is that today and tomorrow I’m teaching a two-day course to investigators regarding the crime of stalking. And I think one thing you have to understand about this crime is that when you look at a typical police agency, they prioritize their investigations. So homicides and rapes, sexual assault, attempted sexual assault, the volatile crimes have the highest priority. Then you move down into property crimes. And, quite frankly, stalking is very, very low on the totem pole of crimes that are investigated.

CHETRY: Right.

SMERICK: And even in the cases that you’re talking about here, whereas I understand it he had sent some — and I’m guessing they’re sexually oriented e-mails to a number of women. Even if the police had thoroughly investigated that case, based upon what I’m reading in the paper, it would have been a misdemeanor.

CHETRY: I know, it’s disturbing.

SMERICK: And unless there was some actual threat in those e- mails, the police could not have gone much further than what they did.

CHETRY: All right. At the end of the day, are restraining order is a piece of paper, unfortunately, as you say.

SMERICK: Well, and that’s exactly right. A restraining order — if you have an individual who’s delusional, yes, I mean, he can violate a retraining order just as easily as you or I can.

CHETRY: All right. Well, Peter, thanks for your insight this morning. We’re going to be talking about this much more throughout the day, as well. The warnings signs. And could more have been done? I know it’s something that a lot of people are wording today.

One thought on “CNN transcript of risk manager/former FBI profiler on VaTech

  1. Chetry definitely wants to believe that warning signs will always tell you what will happen in advance, huh?Human beings are not the same as a computer program. The outcomes are not so predictable. Not even by decoding a person’s DNA can we tell what their next action will be. If we readjust our scans because we fear another Mr. Cho will fly under the radar, we may have to monitor tens of millions of people who turn out to be just fine. At what point do we forfeit all privacy to Big Brother?

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