TODAY | February 05, 2013
>> harri smith has been involved in this situation. i know you've been in daily contact with ethan 's mother. how is the reunion?
>> i spoke to one of the family members last night. they said ethan was doing really well, lots of hugs and kisses going on and that he was just his lovely, sweet little self. so, they were so happy.
>> have you learned anything more about the conditions of his confinement, how he was treated over these last six, seven days?
>> you know, we were told earlier in the week that mr. dykes actually was being very kind to him, giving him his favorite foods, asking for coloring books , allowing him to watch cartoons, giving him his favorite snack. but i'm sure, as the sheriff reported, that the conditions went downhill, he endured a lot, that little boy . but the mother told me one thing when we were sitting together over the last several days, that he is a brave little boy and if you just took the time to get to know him that everybody who meets him just loves him. that he's such a likable little boy . brave and she said that he's going to love him.
>> well, he is a little boy who obviously has been through a lot. as i understand it --
>> he has.
>> -- you actually ran into ethan 's mother just at the moment that she was finding out that the rescue had taken place. can you tell us about that?
>> lots of smiles. i actually was going over for my afternoon visit and she was being rushed out the door along with her mother, the grandmother. and you could see she was visibly shaken, nervous, but i could see this little smile. and she gave me a big hug. and grandmother turned around and smiled and said, you know, we love you. and they put them in a vehicle and i later learned they were on their way to the hospital to be reunited with ethan . so i know there's a lot of hugs and kisses.
>> indeed, lots to come. especially tomorrow, his birthday. senator harri anne smith , i know you've been a great support to the family. thank you for being with us.
>> thank you.
>> now here ais matt.
>> savannah, thank you. clint van zandt is a former fbi negotiator and profiler. soechl details being kept close to the vest, how they were able to see inside that bunker, how they got a camera in there, how the suspect actually died. is that the right course of action in something like this?
>> i think it is, matt. because the team that did the rescue was also the national team we would call upon in a major terrorist incident . so, we want to keep those things close to the vest. we know bad guys watch television, movies and everything else to get informati information. and the last thing the fbi wants to do is give up their methods, their techniques and have terrorists use your show or somebody else's as a training film to understand how we go after them the next time.
>> clint , you have been the guy on the other end of the phone in these hostage negotiations. how do you know when the time has come to take an enormous risk like this, knowing that some action against the suspect could also result in harm to the young boy in this case?
>> yeah. there's an ongoing cost benefit analysis that's done, matt. negotiators that have been talking to mr. dykes for the entire week who are going to provide information, is he up, is he down? has the emotional threat level increased? then you're going to look at the information you have. in this case, the alleged cameras that show him walking around with a gun in a menacing fashion. and finally the tactical team has to say we believe with a high degree of certainty that we can get in and make a successful rescue if we have to. that's the time the on-scene commander says, okay, i believe the threat level is so high to that little boy , we have no choice and we're not going to wait and let him get killed inside and then go. the fbi made a decision to go. right decision, obviously. and that little boy is live today because of that.
>> clint , as the guy who is the negotiator at that moment, i would imagine your role changes dramatically. instead of trying to gain the release of that little boy , you are now a distracter in some way. you are trying to keep the suspect calm even though you know the storm is coming.
>> you know the storm is coming. the negotiators and tactical team work very, very closely together. and, matt, you can't skip a beat. you can't give any indication that you know something is going to change because you want to lull the hostage taker into a sense of omplacency. where the tactical team can go in, take the person by surprise. by the time he is able to react, they've already dealt with him.
>> clint van zandt , always interesting to get your perfect speexpect ive on something like this. thank you very much.