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TRANSCRIPT: MTA Chair & CEO Lieber Appears Live on CNN's The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer

New York City Transit
Updated April 14, 2022 12:00 a.m.
Janno Lieber headshot

MTA Chair and CEO Janno Lieber made a live television appearance on CNN's The Situation Room with host Wolf Blitzer to discuss subway safety.

A transcript of the interview appears below.
CNN Anchor Wolf Blitzer: Brian, thank you very much. Let's discuss what's going on with Janno Lieber, the Chairman and CEO of the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the MTA. Janno, thank you very much for joining us. Now, thankfully, the suspect has now been apprehended. But what are some of the immediate lessons you've learned from this attack? Lessons that you need to learn to protect subway riders in New York City?

MTA Chair & CEO Janno Lieber: Well Wolf, yesterday was a terrible day for New Yorkers. Today was a great day. The NYPD came through again with just unparalleled investigative capacity. They found the guy in a matter of 24 to 30 hours. We're celebrating. New Yorkers are riding the subway — 3 million plus a day. We are having basically half of the mass transit riders in the country. We've been coming back, but there's no question as your reporters said, there are some challenges in front of us. Fortunately, we have a mayor who has made subway safety his top priority and he's coming through on it. I can get into some of the details but that is really the top line is the mayor and the governor committed to subway safety. We're starting to see some turnaround so yesterday was a terrible setback.

Blitzer: A really awful situation. The police as you well know Janno used MTA video from other stations to help identify the suspect. Can you say definitively that only one camera at the shooting site wasn't working or was this a wider problem with the cameras at that specific station?

Lieber: Wolf, we have increased from roughly 3,000 cameras in the subway system — we have a 472 station system — we're now up to 10,000 cameras that increased like 70 percent in a few short years. Yeah, there were a couple of cameras that definitely had internet hookup linkage problems yesterday, but the police department combed through the video up and down the line. There were 600 cameras just on that one line in Brooklyn and they found a lot of material including visuals from multiple perspectives of this arrested guy coming into the system and leaving the system. I think it helped the PD in their investigation a great deal.

Blitzer: Could the suspect have been caught sooner Janno if that camera at that specific station where the shooting took place had actually been working?

Lieber: It doesn't appear so since he boarded the train across the platform, which whisked a lot of people to safety, and apparently emerged at a station further down the line.

Blitzer: Why wasn't it working?

Lieber: Well like I said Wolf, we're an internet-based system and it appears that one or two of those, again, 10,000 cameras in the system were malfunctioning on a particular day. But there's so much video from all of these different stations — 472 of them — including there are more than a dozen on the line that the police were studying and further into the system that caught video of him emerging elsewhere in the city. That's where we were able to help with this 10,000-cameras system. And it seems to be working well. Big step up from where we were just a few short years ago.

Blitzer: Yeah, those cameras are so so important. Janno Lieber, thank you so much for joining us. Thanks for all you're doing. We really appreciate it.

Lieber: You bet, thank you.