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tv   Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer  CNN  November 20, 2015 2:00pm-4:01pm PST

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happening now, breaking news. terrorists storm a radisson hotel killing almost two dozen people and holding u.s. citizens hostage. the captives reportedly subjected to a religious test. we're learning new details of how american military personnel helped end this latest terror nightmare. still at large, the search for at least two of the paris attackers intensifying tonight one week after the horrifying rampage through the streets of the french capital. is the global manhunt closer to finding two of the world's most wanted terrorists? victim or killer? the moment a suicide bomber detonated an explosive vest during that dramatic raid. and now a twist as investigators reveal the bomber was a man, not the female relative of the mastermind. was she another innocent victim?
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terror drug, a powerful amphetamine not only fueling the finances of isis, but also turning its fighters until what some are calling super human killers. is a dangerous drug driving this isis jihad? we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer, you're in "the situation room." this is cnn breaking news. we're following the breaking news including a terrorist hotel siege that's left at least 21 people dead, suspected islamic extremists with ties to al qaeda storming the radisson hotel in the capital of mali in north africa with at least five pentagon personnel inside. also, the manhunt for two of the terrorists from the paris attacks intensifying tonight. one of them 26-year-old salah abdelsalam and the other still unidentified. the ongoing fear prompting french lawmakers to extend the
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state of emergency for three months. and a twist in the investigation, the paris prosecutor's office now saying the suicide bomb seen in this dramatic new video was not detonated by a female relative of the mastermind abdelhamid abaaoud who was also died in the violent raid. officials are revealing it was a man who actually set off the explosive vest. we're covering all angles of the breaking news this hour with our guests including president obama's special envoy to the global coalition to counter isis, brett mcgirk, and our correspondents and analysts also standing by. let's go straight to paris. cnn john berman on the scene for us once again. john, significant new developments in the investigation tonight. >> that's right, wolf. this is exactly one week ago tonight that this city, this country was beginning to understand the new challenges it faces. 130 people dead. hundreds more injured. now one week later a terrorist
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ringleader is dead, several more terrorists dead, many in custody being questioned tonight. but importantly, wolf, at least two very much at large. tonight authorities believe at least two killers are still on the loose. counterterror officials across europe are scrambling to find one unidentified assailant and 26-year-old salah abdelsalam last known to have fled toward belgium in the hours just after the attacks. as the investigation expands, extraordinary new video of the predawn raid in saint-denis. french police and military commandos close in on the exact spot where the architect of the paris attacks, abdelhamid abaaoud, is holed up, plotting more carnage according to authorities. you hear the violent exchange of gunfire. and then -- [ gunfire ] -- the blast of a powerful suicide belt. but in a new twist french
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officials now say it was not the female cousin of abaaoud who killed herself in that explosion as they had reported before. they now believe it was a man standing near her. his body blown to pieces even into the street. abaaoud was later identified dead on the scene as was that female cousin and a third body of a still unidentified man. it is unclear whether abaaoud was killed by police or blew himself up. paris prosecutors identify the female as 26-year-old hasna aitboulahcen. former neighbors on the outskirts of paris tell cnn that french authorities are now questioning her mother and her brother. new questions tonight, was she a terrorist or a victim? her final words caught on tape before the fatal explosion raise questions about her relationship to the paris ringleader. [ speaking in a foreign language ] through an attorney abaaoud's
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father tells cnn that he is relieved his son is dead. >> he said exactly that this was the behavior of a psychopath. for him it was proof that his son became devil. >> tonight the investigation continues trying to learn exactly how and where abaaoud and an expanding list of terrorists planned and carried out this string of deadly attacks in paris one week ago. a new piece of the puzzle tonight, surveillance video showing abaaoud aboard a paris metro train last friday, roughly the same time as the bloody attack on the bataclan concert hall. french authorities now say they have launched almost 800 searches and raids, detained more than 100 people and seized nearly 200 weapons. tonight we have new information from the paris prosecutor's office, word that not one but two of the suicide attackers at
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the stade de sprafrance, two ofm passed through the same processing point in greece on october 3rd more than one month ago, raising new questions about just how these terrorists exploited the refugee crisis perhaps to move into this country prior to the attack. wolf. >> more shocking information coming in. all right, john berman, thank you very much. let's bring in our senior international correspondent clarissa ward who's also in paris for us. clarissa, we saw this suicide explosion in the new abc video. we're now also learning she did not necessarily detonate that bomb. what more are you learning about this female relative of abaaoud? what was her role? >> well, to be honest, wolf, we really don't know very much. we know that she's 26 years old. that her name was hasna aitboulahcen. she's believed to be the cousin of abaaoud. and for days, for two full days it was believed that she was the one who had detonated that
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explosive vest. now we are finding out that she is not the one who detonated that explosive vest. that it was one of the two other men in that room. both of those men were also killed. one of them was abaaoud. so the question is, who was the third man? or is it possible that abaaoud even detonated the vest? and just to give you a sense, wolf, we spent the day in saint-denis again outside that apartment building two days after this raid. there are still forensic experts going in and out of that building combing through the wreckage. you can imagine the scenes of carnage that there must have been in that room for them for three days later or two days later to still have trouble identifying some of those bodies and to only just now realize that hasna aitboulahcen is not the one who pulled the trigger on that suicide vest, wolf. >> do they have any clue who this third individual might have been? >> if they do have a clue, wolf, they're certainly not sharing it. the question now is who is the
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third dead man. abaaoud was in there, the cousin was in there, who is that third person? could it be the eighth attacker, salah abdelsalam? who we know is still at large? that is probably unlikely because we know he was last spotted after the attacks on his way to belgium. but all of this brings home, wolf, is one central theme here. this is an ongoing operation, an ongoing investigation. the network is ever expanding. you heard john berman there talking about 800 raids. we know more than 100 just last night alone. so this is really an enormous operation and there is no sense that it's coming any closer to ending, wolf. >> clarissa ward in paris, thank you. let's go to that terrorist hotel siege in the north african nation of mali. a united nations spokesman now says at least 21 people are dead in an attack that may have been carried out by a group with ties to al qaeda. our chief national security correspondent jim sciutto has the very latest for us. jim, this is a radisson hotel,
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so-called radisson blu. there were american citizens inside. explain the latest information we're getting on what happened. >> wolf, we understand there were two to three attackers. they entered, it's believed, using diplomatic plates to get past the security there. there's a known terrorist threat there. there would be security outside the hotel. that's the way they got in. that's a known terror method, we've seen it in a number of countries. make yourself seem like you're a diplomat, soldier, policemen, you get past that security. two to three attackers on a target like that with hundreds of people inside they were able to hold a number of them hostage, thankfully most of them got out. but to kill roughly two dozen of them the trouble is there are hundreds, there are thousands of targets like this. not just around africa but in europe. it's impossible to secure all of them 100%. and we saw that there today in mali. >> who do they think, jim, was responsible? could there have been a link to the paris attacks?
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>> there's no perceived link to the paris attacks. you have two al qaeda linked groups claiming responsibility including a group that's been active in central and north africa. took over a refinery in algeria, killed a number of westerners this last year. so, listen, this is a competition among these groups. it may very well be that al qaeda seeing isis grabbing the attention it has with its attacks in paris is trying to show its strepgt in a place where it has strength. not one but two al qaeda linked groups there. that said there are also isis linked groups there. but the best information at this point is that this is more likely an al qaeda connection than an isis connection. >> we understand there were some u.s. special forces on the scene in mali. what was their role? resolving this? >> what the u.s. military usually tells us is that one u.s. special forces soldier helped with the evacuation from the building. did not have a central role in raiding the hotel. you have about two dozen special
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forces based in mali right now. they've been there two or three years helped to train mali special forces. and mali special forces definitely played a central role in this. it shows you. we know the french have had ground troops in mali because they take the terror threat there very seriously. but the u.s. has had forces there for a number of years now as well. they've identified this threat. they are allocating resources there. it's not a huge contingent, but it's one that's meant to be a force multiplier to help the local forces respond to this threat. you also have a military contingent there from the u.s. to protect the embassy as well, which was not far from this hotel. as you said, wolf, there were americans in the hotel. thankfully they were able to get out safely. >> thankfully indeed. thanks very much, jim sciutto reporting. let's talk about all of this and more with president obama's special envoy to the global coalition to counter isis, bret mcguirk. bret, thanks very much for joining us. based on all the information you're getting, is there a connection between what has happened in mali today and the paris attacks? >> i think, wolf, as your
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reporters just pointed out these are all late-breaking situations. we've been in touch with our people on the ground in mali throughout the day. we have confirmed that no americans were lost in this barbaric terrorist attack. we don't see anything right now to connect anything that happened in mali to paris. but obviously we're continuing to follow-up very aggressively. and as jim just mentioned we have about 25 u.s. special forces on the ground. and we understand that some of them played a heroic role in helping to evacuate some of the casualties and the hostages today. >> do we know -- or do you know for more specifically whether this was isis, al qaeda, a combination thereof or some other terror group? >> again, hard to say. indications now is this is more of an al qaeda affiliated group. there's of course a competition going on for the mantle of this global jihad between isil and al qaeda. which gets into issues that developed in syria over recent years. but again, wolf, it's just too early to say.
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this is a late-breaking situation. >> are there occasions? because we've been told there are in various countries where isis and al qaeda elements actually cooperate, is that possible in this particular case? >> it's possible. it's really hard to say. a lot of these groups are interwoven, kind of marbled together. in syria you see the sharp distinction between the al nusra front al qaeda's global affiliate in syria and isil. more of a looser affiliation. but again, wolf, far too early to say. the most important thing is we've been very focused on with our colleagues in mali and bamako in making sure that americans are safe. and we're pleased to hear that they are. we're also of course proud of the role that our brave special forces played in helping to bring some of these casualties to safety. >> isis as you know has threatened to attack new york and washington, d.c. in two separate propaganda videos released over the past few days. here's the question, does isis really have the capacity to
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strike at times square or herald square, new york, or the white house or monuments here in washington as they've threatened? >> well, we've seen, i think james comey the head of the fbi and the attorney general spoke yesterday about the fact we have no credible actionable intelligence of any sort of plots like that in the homeland. one of the reasons is because since 9/11 we've worked so hard to really harden the homeland against -- you know, we know everybody that's coming in on an airplane. we track people very closely. so we see no actionable intelligence right now. but i will say, you know, in the hours after the paris attack president obama pulled together his entire national security team with the most important agenda item number one making sure that we are doing all we can to protect the homeland. and then number two to make sure we stand in full solidarity with our french partners. i just came back from paris, and i think we all it's really remarkable resiliency, courage, resolve, strength, i think we've all been impressed with how they've responded to this attack. and we're going to stand in
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solidarity with them. they will relocate to the gulf that's going to increase our capacity in terms of the overall air campaign. we signed an intelligence sharing agreement with them to get them more information to help them respond. and worng hand in glove with our french partners and with the entire global coalition. here at the state department on monday we'll have all the ambassadors of the coalition together to talk about the next steps in this campaign, to talk about things that we hope they can do because there's a greater role for all members of the coalition to play. and the vice president will be here to address them and answer questions they have. but we have to intensify our efforts. we are intensifying our efforts. and we want to take the fight to isil in the heart of its phony caliphate in raqqah, mosul and elsewhere. >> we're going to talk about that, that effort now to destroy isis. we're getting some new information, brett mcgurk, stay with us. we'll take a quick break. much more right after this.
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we're following the breaking news in the paris terror attacks including the revelation by paris prosecutors that the suicide bomb set off in that dramatic raid was detonated by a man, not the woman police initially thought, a relative of the terror mastermind abdelhamid abaaoud, all of whom were killed. we're back with president obama's special envoy to the global coalition to counter isis, brett mcgurk, he's joining us from the state department. brett, in the past month alone, past few weeks isis has been able to bring down a russian commercial airliner killing 224
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people. they've carried out the deadliest attack in paris since world war ii killing another 130 people. they've had suicide bombings in beirut, in baghdad, in turkey. here's the question, the coalition -- and you're the special envoy, is the coalition right now losing this war to isis? >> well, there's no question as i think i've said on your show before, wolf, we have 30,000 foreign fighters, these jihadist fighters have come from a hundred countries all around the world and poured into syria in recent years. we've never seen anything like it. if you run the numbers and numbers vary from the 80s, but it's about twice as many as went into afghanistan in the '80s. and those guys came from just a handful of countries. so we've never seen anything like this. we have to join together as a global community and a global coalition to eviscerate these foreign fighter networks and allowing these people to get across borders. we've done a pretty good job at it here in the united states in terms of tracking everybody who comes in. there's more for the eu to do, frankly. and i think the reports out of brussels today that they've set
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a target date by the end of the year to pass legislation, to put in place a passenger name record information for everybody flying on airplanes going across borders in the eu and coming into the eu. that's very important. that has to happen. that's something we've been encouraging them to do for some time. we also need to focus, wolf, on degrading and destroying their core in iraq and syria. i've been to about 30 capitals all around the world from north africa to the gulf to europe and to asia, and one thing that is attracting all these young people to come in to join isis is this notion of this phony caliphate. a year ago baghdadi's narrative was this war, flags, constant expansion, planting his flag throughout this expanding phony caliphate. we need to focus on making sure we shrink it. in iraq we've taken back about 40% of the territory isil controlled a year ago. and we're going to continue. we've cut off the roadway between mosul and raqqah, that's going to continue. we're putting in u.s. special forces into northern syria to help enable and advise local forces to take the fight to isil
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and isolate and trap them in raqqah. those efforts are going to intensify. but we need to work this at every single line of effort, military, diplomatic, economic. there's more for every coalition member to do. and that's why we're getting all the ambassadors here together on monday to talk to them about what they can do and what we're going to do together as we increase the pressure on isil. >> so how long is it going to take to liberate raqqah, the so-called capital of the islamic state? >> well, the first step is to isolate and entrap them. cutting off roadways, cutting off supply networks, cutting off thein filtration networks. six months ago their main infiltration route was a town called talabiad. we worked with local forces to take that away from them. there's a 98-mile stretch of border they still control in turkey. we're in active discussions with the turks to combine and join forces on the ground in a coordinated campaign -- >> so how long is this war in other words going to last? >> i'm not going to put a timeframe on it but we're going to do all we possibly can to
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begin this isolation stage. it's already started, to cut and trap them in raqqah. what's important is they get nervous, they do stupid things, we can find them and we can kill them. that happened with jihadi john, the barbaric terrorist that took the life of brave american journalists not long ago, we found him in raqqah and he's no longer alive. >> what about mosul? mosul is the second largest city in iraq, a city that used to be a city of 2 million people. isis took over, the iraqi army ran away, left tons of u.s. military equipment behind for isis to use. they've got all that gold, all that money. this is a rich terror operation right now because of what they stole in mosul, the oil that's going on. where's the iraqi army in all of this? they seem to be m.i.a. >> the first step in mosul is to isolate it. something we did with the kurdish peshmerga we just did the other day -- >> when is that going to happen? when is any of that going to happen? right now the iraqi army is not there. >> the iraqi army is focused on
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two fronts, one up the tigris river about 50 kilometers south of mosul and second on ramadi. it's difficult, they've taken 1,200 casualties iraqi security forces, many of whom we've trained, they're moving meter by meter through ied chains, through sniper belts. moving meter by meter fighting and taking back territory. in mosul, wolf, this took a lot of political effort with the iraqi government, central government just east of mosul to plan for the liberation of mosul. we have a new governor -- i won't get into all the details that helped coordinate this effort, but it's going to be a strangulation and isolation campaign. we want to strangle them, cut off the networks, cut after the supply lines. it's not going to be a d-day kind of thrust into mosul. but that strangulation and isolation has already begun. that's why you saw the kurdish peshmerga take sinjar, and that was coordinated with similar operations of arabs and kurds in eastern syria cutting off this
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key highway 47 that feeds mosul from raqqah. so cutting off those supply routes was the first step. now we're just going to continue the strangulation and pressure while we're doing air strikes every day into mosul every time we find their leaders. we killed in fact the number one isil leader in iraq, we found him and tracked him outside mosul and were able to strike him. it's going to take time, wolf. we all need to do more. we need to stand with our french partners. and as an entire global coalition enhance our resources and intensify our efforts. >> brett mcgurk is the president's special envoy to the global coalition fighting isis. brett mcgurk, thanks very much. >> thank you. coming up, surprising new twists as the investigators reveal the latest details about the paris terror attacks and the raid that killed the suspected mastermind. also, the powerful drug isis fighters say gives them battlefield courage and makes them feel invincible. vo: know you have a dedicated advisor and team who understand where you come from. we didn't really have anything, you know. but, we made do.
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we're getting new details about today easter ror attack on a radisson hotel as well as new twists in the investigation of last friday easter ror attacks in paris. the united nations spokesman now says at least 21 people died in today's attack on the radisson blu hotel in mali capital. about a dozen americans were rescued from the hotel in france. prosecutors revealed a third person died during wednesday's raid and shootout in a paris suburb. still unidentified man may have set off the explosion seen in
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this video obtained by abc news that killed a female relative of the suspected mastermind of the paris attacks who also died during the police raid. meanwhile, authorities across europe they are hunting for suspects who got away last friday. our justice correspondent pamela brown is joining us. she has new details on the investigation. what are you learning, pamela? >> well, wolf, tonight we're learning a recently identified suicide bomber at the stade de france apparently entered greece with the other paris bomber who used a syrian passport to enter under the guise of a refugee. this as european officials continue to hunt down other attackers on the run and in of their associates. tonight, chilling new video of a bloody sidewalk in front of one of the paris cafes. bodies lie motionless as frightened passerby scramble to help the victims. one week after the deadly attacks, a manhunt underway across europe for 26-year-old
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salah abdelsalam. french police stopped him briefly just hours after the attacks but let him go before they realized his role in the rampage. >> if he's doing the right thing such as maybe not using cell phones, not staying with people that might be his previously known associates, it's possible to hideout especially if he's gotten further and further away from where the attack location is. >> reporter: tonight we're also learning more about abdelhamid abaaoud, the suspected architect behind the attacks. closed circuit television not yet released to the public shows abaaoud at a paris metro station while the attacks were taking place, according to a source close to the investigation. alexander shat toe was abaaoud's attorney when he was charged with petty crimes. >> in 2013 he was wearing a beard and he was studying his religion. but he has no sign of
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radicalization. no odd or speech about society of something. >> reporter: abaaoud was killed during a police raid right outside of paris, a 26-year-old woman was also killed. [ speaking in a foreign language ] shortly after her voice was heard, an explosion rocked the apartment, seen here in video obtained by abc news. french officials initially believe she blew herself up, but now we're learning it was actually another male suicide bomber. tonight, it's not clear if that bomber was abaaoud or a third man who remains unidentified. and at this hour that is still something investigators are trying to figure out, who that suicide bomber was. meantime, a moroccan source is belief among moroccan intelligence is that abaaoud had contact with isis operatives in syria when he was in france and that the attacks in paris were ordered directly from syria, wolf. >> pamela brown, thanks very
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much. joining us now in "the situation room" our cnn law enforcement analyst, former fbi assistant director tom fuentes, our national security analyst peter bergen, our justice reporter evan perez, and our cnn military analyst retired major general james spire marks. evan, you're getting new information. i want to make sure we digest it first. stay with us, much more coming up right after a quick break. hi i'm heather cox
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we're following today's dramatic revelations from today in paris. they now say the person who died during this terrorist raid in that terrorist hideout was not necessarily the woman who set off that explosive device. it was the man who did it and the chain the prosecutors say the suicide bombing took place during the raid and it did in fact kill those people. there's a mystery in fact what that woman was doing there. we're back with our military, law enforcement and terrorism experts. evan perez, you're getting new information from investigators on what was going on. what are you learn sng. >> well, wolf, there's growing concern that at least one of the paris attackers and possibly more had clean enough backgrounds that they could have traveled to the u.s. under the visa waiver program. now, officials tell cnn that one of the attackers, at least one of the attackers was on the no-fly list, four on the watch list known as tide. there are 1.1 million names on
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the tide list. the highest level security list. there's disagreement frankly among law enforcement and intelligence agencies about how well the watch list would have worked to stop the attackers from traveling here. one intelligence official tells me that human sources and other intelligence methods would have filled the gaps, but law enforcement officials are very concerned that that's not the case. now, this is not a new concern. in the past year homeland security department has added new requirements for information for citizens traveling from the 38 visa waiver countries. but as a sign that the obama administration is taking this potential gap seriously, you expect to hear in the coming days new steps european countries in the visa waiver program are expected to provide more information to the united states about their citizens. one u.s. official does say that the vast majority of people who are either attackers or plotters, wolf, were on watch lists and that most were on the no-fly list. obviously they're still trying to gather information about
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exactly who these men were. >> tom fuentes, if they were on u.s. watch lists, no-fly lists, would the european allies automatically have known that as well? >> well, they should have. and they should have also been able to communicate that to the u.s. you know, following 9/11 france was the first country in the world to supply a flight manifest to the fbi before the planes took off for the u.s. so if they are still doing that, and if they had done that in this case, if any of them had intended to come here, they would have come up before that plane left the ground to stop them from boarding. >> peter, how important is it for investigators to determine the role of that woman who died in that raid? what her connection to these terrorists was, how important is it for the investigation? >> well, you know, we've seen isis recruiting women. we have data showing one in seven of isis' western recruits are female. and this is kind of an unprecedented development. this is obviously a very ma sole judge -- we have seen women being part of the support
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network in the same way. so here we don't know what her role is but quite possible she's part of the kind of support network. >> real quick that's actually something the fbi just recently told us, while the numbers are going down of american travelers, what they are noticing is more females and younger. >> that are being recruited. >> that are being recruited to travel overseas. >> what motivates these young women to become isis supporters? >> some of them have the fantasy they're going to meet the man of their dreams. a lot of them are getting married over there. they're thinking they're joining the perfect islamic society. and utopian views of what life under isis is like plus marriage is a powerful recruiting tool for some of these people. >> how did that work out for her? >> what's very disturbing, spider, is one of the terrorists directly involved in this massacre friday night, salah abdelsalam, he's still on the loose right now. he's either in france or belgium, reports maybe the netherlands. what does that say that this guy is still roaming around presumably europe some place? >> well, first of all, we know we've got really good positive
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identification on him. and he's been broadly broadcast throughout the intelligence network, all the law enforcement folks in europe are absolutely engaged in interpol is got him at the top of the list. so this is the most wanted guy in europe. what can happen, however, is you can drive from paris all the way to damascus. so there's no telling where this individual might be right now. >> that's the same thing you're hearing as well. >> that's a big concern, wolf. the fact that there is this flow of fighters that sometimes they're hiding among refugees, for instance, as a way to get across. and they've got safehouses, they've got routes that go through romania and then ferries down the coast. there are all kinds of different ways in which they can evade police and authorities who are looking for them. >> tom, we heard from the new york city police commissioner bill bratton today. there's still no credible specific threat to new york city despite these isis propaganda videos saying they're going after times square or coming after the white house. but still next week thanksgiving, holiday weekend, a
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lot of people traveling getting on planes. i assume, local, state, federal law enforcement, they're raising their security preparations out of an abundance of caution? >> well, they have been. but each time an incident happens they raise it again. so the people go from working 60 hours to week to 70 to 80 to 90. you know, they've been in this mode attack after attack after attack in the intelligence and law enforcement community. as far as the there's no credible threats. if there was they'd take it out right now. what you'd be hearing is that somebody's under arrest or latder hear they were taken into custody. they're not going to put that, yes, we have a credible threat. by the way, go shopping. that's not going to happen. so they take them out if they know. >> what's really alarming is that soda can bomb that apparently brought down that russian airliner over egypt and sinai killing all 224 people onboard, it looked so small and it could have been detonated either remotely or some people now suspect by suicide bomber who was aboard that plane.
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>> yeah. the fact that it's small, i mean, think about the underwear bomber going to commit suicide on northwest flight 353 over detroit on christmas day 2009. he was a very, very small piece of explosive that would have brought down the plane. planes are pretty inherently unstable. once you open a gap in them you're going to bring it down. >> spider, quickly, this mali radisson hotel that was attacked today, a lot of people killed, could have been worse, but a lot of people were killed. is it just coincidental coming a week after paris? or is there a connection here? >> i would say it's coincidental. they have a very tight relationship, but the trade craft used in the radisson attack and what we've seen in paris is entirely different. >> all right, guys. >> you would have seen a whole bunch of people killed inside that hotel, far more than were killed if it was an isis-related type. >> this is not isis but al qaeda obviously. that's a different organization. horrible terrorists. coming up, the isis terror drug, a powerful amphetamine fueling
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breaking news, cnn learned more than one of the terrorists from paris were on the no-fly list and a broader list raising fears about isis which may be using a drug to fuel the fighters' brutality. brian todd is digging deeper. brian, the drug could be behind some of the horrors. >> certainly could.
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we have new information from u.s. officials saying there is a powerful amphetamine called captagon, illegal and flows through the black market and jihad fighters are believed to use it. a captured isis militant tells us. >> they gave us drugs, pills that would make you go to battle not caring if you live or die. >> reporter: when our team interviewed, he was being held in northern syria. it was impossible to know if he was telling the truth or being coached by captors but tonight, a u.s. official tells cnn it's believed some jihadist fighters are using the drug captagon, a dangerous amphetamine. >> it keeps you awake. you stay awake for days at a time. you don't have to sleep. it gives you a sense of well
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being and euphoria. >> reporter: isis and al qaeda affiliated front were believed to be smuggling the chemical precursors for the drug. a law enforcement says there is a robust black market for the drug. the profits fund weapons. >> hasballah, people affiliated with have a large history of sell of captagon. there was a fight because some people were angry they weren't getting a cut. >> reporter: captagon was developed in the '60s and used to treat people with hyper activity. it's banned in the u.s. and elsewhere. while some question the drug's prevalence among those who preach purity. >> it is a violation of cultural religious principles. >> many would argue first of all, it's not a drug being taken
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to get high. >> reporter: psychiatrist robert kesl irk kesling says it's so bad, it can make you hear things on the battle field. that can hurt you, right? >> i think they think keeping these guys awake for four or five days is worth whatever harm of side effects the drugs have. >> for whatever sense of euphoria, there are horrible downsides. users he says can become psychot psychotic, brain damaged and could be addicted to this drug for years to come. >> brian, we have recent information saying it's not jihads using these pills and smuggling them, there are others, as well. >> extraordinary story. a couple weeks ago a member of the royal family was detained at the beirut airport for allegedly trying to smuggle two tons of captagon pills.
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amphetamines are the most prevalent type of drug used. >> very disturbing information. thanks very much. we're continuing to following the breaking news. we have new details, new twists into the investigation of the paris attacks as the death toll climbs and we're learning about americans at the scene of a hotel siege that left at least 21 people dead. or, as we say at unitedhealthcare insurance company, go long. of course, how you plan is up to you. take healthcare. make sure you're covered for more than what just medicare pays... consider an aarp medicare supplement insurance plan insured by unitedhealthcare insurance company... you might give this a try... the only medicare supplement plans that carry the aarp name, and the ones that millions of people trust year after year. plan well. enjoy life. go long.
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happening now, breaking news, american terror death. attackers with ak-47s storm a hotel leaving a trail of bodies and bullets.
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we're learning one american is dead. there is a new claim of responsibility. is there any link to the terror in paris. hundreds of raids fail to find a primary suspect that's at large and still a terror threat right now and tonight, the search is expanding and a state of emergency in france is being extend extended. explosive twists, as stunning new video emerges we're learning more about the raid that left the paris attack mastermind dead and tonight, new evidence that a woman in the hideout did not kill herself after all. who actually triggered a suicide bomb? holiday security fears as americans begin their thanksgiving travel, the fbi is now on alert for paris-style attacks that might be unleashed by isis or copy cat killers. we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer. you're "the situation room."
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>> this is cnn breaking news. we're following the breaking news in the paris terror attacks and a deadly terrorist siege that claimed the life of an american gunman stormed a hotel in west africa in the capital of mali opening fire with assault rifles and trapping hostages. we confirmed one u.s. citizen was among the at least 21 killed and tonight, a notorious islamic terrorist group reportedly is climbing responsibility with help from a branch of al qaeda. as many as 170 guests and employees were captive in the hotel for hours including about a dozen americans. they were freed after security forces launched a counter attack. u.s. special of rages troops helped with the evacuation. also breaking, a relative of the mastermind of the paris attacks did not blow herself up in a raid as previously thought. new video shows the suicide bomb
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exploding during that raid on an apartment in suburban paris and authorities say it was a man wearing the suicide vest that detonated but they have not identified him. we have correspondents, analysts and news makers standing by. we're covering all the news breaking now. first, let's go to our chief national security correspondent jim sciutto. what are you learning about the radison hotel attack and the death of that american? >> this confirmation just coming in, confirmation one american killed in this hostage siege and the state department warning that it's possible that u.s. casualties from that attack could rise. we do know that at this point they believe that all u.s. government workers there have been accounted for. they are still doing their count at this hour, regardless. it is one more measure of the extend and reach that isis groups, that al qaeda-tied groups can show their power far beyond their borders.
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a surprise attack that became an hour's long siege as gunman storm this popular american-owned hotel in the capital of mali holding guests and hotel staff hostage. it began around 7:00 a.m. the attackers carrying ak-47 assault rifles slipping past security in a disguised car. >> apparently the people with the vehicle with diplomatic plates that i came and immediately they started shooting at people before entering the hotel. >> reporter: the approximately 170 guests and hotel staff were strapped inside trying desperately to attack. >> when i opened the door, i saw on the floor bullets. so i gently close the door and walk -- and i went out and
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walked and back in the gym and from the gym and from the side door, i left the hotel. >> reporter: reports say some hostages were released. still, fears of mass execution eventually push assault teams to act. police storm the building killing some of the attackers. sources tell cnn at least one member of the u.s. special operations forces there at the time helped get hotel guests to safety. once inside, police find bodies in the hallways but also survivors. among those rescued, the state department says about a dozen americans. >> the embassy continues to urge all u.s. citizens to minimize movement and be vigilant of their surroundings. >> reporter: the hotel popular among westerners was hosting a large dell case for peace talks. a country which has been battling islamists extremist
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with the help of u.n. and french forces. >> these attacks are taking place at a time when the peace process in mali is making good progress. the secretary general deploys the implantation of the agreement. >> reporter: francois hollande pledged to help. we're learning at least one american killed and it's possible that casualty total could rise. many americans were rescued from there and tonight we have completing claims of responsibility. two more groups, both of them al qaeda-tied groups and in light of the attention that isis has been grabbing in europe after the horrible attacks, this is a horrible competition for attenti
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attention. you can imagine a group like al qaeda trying to show relevance and degree of the threat by carrying out on attack on a western target, wolf? >> at least 21 people killed of several nationalities and at least one american dead. jim sciutto, thanks very much. exactly one week after the paris attacks, a dangerous fugitive at large despite 800 raids conducted by french police. cnn's international diplomatic editor nic robertson is joining us. nic, a number of breaking developments tonight. what are you learning? >> reporter: yeah, wolf, another one of the attackers has been identified. new videos emerged that shows the ringleader of the attacks shortly after the attacks very close to one of the vehicles used in the attacks. these details still however not enough the details in the intelligence so far not enough for the police here and in belgium to be able to round up and capture one of the big suspects they are looking for,
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salah abdeslam. tonight, the international manhunt for the eighth attacker is increasing in scope. authorities have expanded their search area from france and belgium. salah abdeslam one of the most wanted men in the world is being sought afghanistan the attacks that took the lives of 130 people. it's believed he spent time in the netherlands and more details about the woman heard in the audio. where is your boyfriend? he's not my boyfriend. french prosecutors now say 26-year-old hasna aitboulahcen was not the one that detonated the suicide vest. rather, prosecutors say the vest was worn by a man and the woman was killed from the resulting blast and we're learning more about the suspect mastermind of last week's attacks in paris.
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cnn learned abdelhamid abaqoud was spotted on cc tv footage at the same time the attacks were going on at a metro station in the paris suburb, that's the same area a car was found abandoned. abaaoud was killed in a raid wednesday. one of nearly 800 raids around france in the past five days. the siege lasted more than seven hou hours. here you can see the police advancing before the final confrontation that also killed his female relative. trench authorities say a third body, an unidentified male has been found in the rubble of the apartment building among the devastation. >> translator: in under two hours, heavily armed and meticulously prepared terrorists killed mergelessly injuring
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hundreds and ending 130 lives. many of whom are still fighting for their lives. >> reporter: wolf, what the investigators are now learning is going to certainly give them more leads to go on but this is just the beginning of the investigation. the details identifying one of the suicide bombers, the name that they have so far as we know is potentially still a fake name. he was traveling with his brother coming out of greece and using fake documents. there is a lot of digging for the police to get to the bottom and make the connections they need to make here, wolf. >> certainly is. nic robertson in paris for us. thank you. also tonight, there are lots of unanswered questions about the raid in suburban paris, how did the mastermind die and who was actually wearing a suicide vest that exploded? let's stay in paris. our senior international correspondent clarissa ward is getting more information. what are you learning, clarissa? >> reporter: that's right, wolf.
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we spent the entire day at the scene of the apartment where the raid took place and there are still forensic experts going in and out, still a tent pitched outside the apartment. they are still taking samples, taking dna samples trying to work out the identity of the third man who we now know was killed inside that apartment alongside 26-year-old hasn hasna aitboulahcen and abdelhamid abaqoud. we know 72 hours after that raid went down, we now know from french officials that it was not aitboulahcen who detonated the vest but likely one of the other two men. we don't know was it abaqoud or was it the eighth attacker, salah abdeslam. when you which what the videos,
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the moment the blast detonated, the force of the glass and flames coming out of the windows, you can imagine the scenes of carnage they have been contending with inside the apartment. people here essentially realizing they may have to wait quite a bit longer to work out who the third person was in the apartment and who detonated that vest because we now know it was not abaaoud's cousin. >> still a week later, one week later, thanks for that clarissa ward reporting from paris. joining us, a member of the house intelligence committee chris stewart. congressman, thanks very much for joining us. as you know, the state department now confirming an american citizen was in fact killed in that radison hotel terror attack in mali today. have you been told anything about this american, whether civilian, military personnel? any information at all? >> wolf, i haven't. i wish i had.
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i'm sure that will be forthcoming. congress isn't in session so that slows things down a little bit. i'm sure we'll find that information shortly. >> based on what you do know and suspect that i know you're an expert in this and get briefed all the time. is it just a coincidence this mali terror attack at the radison blue hotel happened a week later than the paris terror attacks? is it coincidental or what? >> there are a lot of terror groups seeking for attention and to make a statement to the world but reminds us we live in a dangerous and chaotic time and becoming more so. i think america has to take steps to try to stabilize this very chaotic situation, very chaotic part of the world and i'm disappointed because i don't think administration has done that yet and american people are waiting for our president to lead on this and once again, i just think we haven't seen the leadership out of the white
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house that many of us hoped we would. >> what can you tell us about the pan hunt in paris and belgium? it seems the european security services, law enforcement, intelligence seem to be overwhelmed right now given the hundreds of suspected terrorists at large and terror cells at large, as well. >> that's right. not just hundreds of suspected terrorists but thousands, four to 5,000 they identified in europe and france but not only there that have traveled to syria or iraq or afghanistan to receive war training and have been able to come back into europe. we need to be aware, as well, that many of those, once they are in europe and have a visa, they are able to enter the united states, as well. having spent a lot of time with the director and others, they are aware of that and extraordinarily troubled by that, which i think we all should be. once again, we don't know details but we have an enormous
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challenge as does france and europe. >> you think these isis threats against targets in new york city or washington d.c. are credible based on that isis propaganda video, two of them released this week? >> yeah, not terribly. i think those are more message than they are reality. we're very aware of the specific threats. we're not aware of very specific threats right now. we have been in the past. we've been successful in countering some of the threats. there is no question about that. but i do think we need to always be aware if not tomorrow, the next week or the week after they are clearly wanting -- they clearly want to target the united states and want the damage, to damage our values and it's just kind of a matter of time before i think that they may have the ability to do that, which is once again why we have to be so careful. >> we know that two of those bombers, those suicides bombers in paris in the attacks last friday night were traveling from greece to paris. there is some suspicion they were posing as syrian refugees as they made their way to paris.
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what are you hearing about that? >> i think they may be the case. we don't know for certain. as we said all week, we cannot adequately vet these individuals. they can show up at the stations that process these refugees. they can do that without proper identification. not like they show up with a birth certificate. we can't talk to their families. we can't talk to their friends. we can't do background checks and know their travel history and work history. if they weren't in their program, we know isis wants to do that, that they claimed they will and declared intention to do that so i think that's why many of us have been so careful about this refugee program and make sure that we're doing the first thing first and that's to protect american citizens. >> congressman, we're getting new information into "the situation room" on next week's holiday travel plans, concerns about terror, if you can, stay with us. we'll take a quick break, much more with congressman steward right after this. those new glasses?
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we're following breaking news. cnn learning some terrorists were previously known to
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officials. you're getting information from your sources, evan, what are you learning? >> there is growing concern at least one paris attacker or possibly more had clean enough backgrounds they could have traveled to the united states under the visa waiver program. one of the attackers was on the in fly list and four or on the tide watch list. this is the lower level list, no-fly list is the highest level security list. there this is agreement, however, about how well the watch list would work. one intelligence official tells me human sources and intelligence methods would have filled the gap but law enforcement officials are concerned that's not the case. this is not a new concern. this something that's come up before the homeland security department in the past year added new requirements for information for european travelers, for people coming from the 38 countries that
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participate in the no flee list to be able to travel to the united states and just one sign of the concern from the obacho m bo -- obama administration, they are trying to fill gaps by getting more requirements from european countries to additional information. we're expecting to hear more about that in the coming days, i'm told. >> we certainly will. evan perez, thank you. let's dig deeper, joining us michael weiss, the senior editor at the "daily beast" and isis inside the army of terror. michael, you heard evan's reporting. at least one reporter had clean enough backgrounds they potentially could have traveled to the united states under what's called that visa waiver program. how many others are out there potentially who could do so? >> there are quite a few, wolf. one of the problems we have in this country is we have a honey come structure of agencies and
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security burros and they are supposed to coordinate with each other but don't. tamerlan tsarni was also on a watch list or no-fly list. that didn't stop him from flying to russia and then coming back. this has happened before in, you know, our long history of international terrorists incidents. i think the real problem is, though, look, it's not that these guys are necessarily going to come to the united states from other countries of origin. it's what happen in paris could replicate itself here. they will grow up here. they will be born here, grow up here and becomrae radicalized. i mean, the suermons are readil available and his stuff cuts both ways. i mean, groupies and fellow
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travelers and adherence of al qaeda love him and listen to him and same for isis. there is even a brigade on the ground in syria named for him that isis controls. this is sort of cooky cutter stuff what we're hearing. it adheres to the ideology too familiar since 9/11. >> as sick as it is, terror operations over paris and sinai and beirut, they seem to encourage the recruitment process for these young people to join isis. michael, let's talk about what happened at the radisson blue hotel. one american among at least 21 people killed in that attack, it's looking, it's looking like this was an al qaeda linked operation. is that the information you suspect, as well? >> yeah, it wouldn't surprise me. one of the things i keep saying is that isis and al qaeda are in a state of both cold and hot war with each other. hot on in ground in syria where the al qaeda affiliate is
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fighting isis in some instances but cold in the sense that look, isis has had a banner quarter year in the last three months, look at the attacks they claimed credit for. the bombing which killed over 100 people. the metrojet airliner in sham el-sheikh that killed over 200 people. the worst bombing in lebanon since the close of the civil war and now this gruesome paris atrocity. al qaeda feels left out like they are the j.v. team to coin a phrase and trying to catch up and regain the narrative and regain the sort of luster. and as i have also said, there is a generational divide here. the cooler brand, believe it or not is isis. they are younger guys. they are not your grandfather's jihad. al qaeda feels like it has to keep pace with what isis is perpetrating and as isis is
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escalating its foreign operations, you're going to see more of this. you're going to see al qaeda follow isis atrocities and vice versa. >> you know, i want to show our viewers this map of what was going on in mali. how close this radisson hotel to the u.s. embassy in mali. the suspicion is they could be going specifically after americans or westerners. is that the suspicion you share? >> yeah, well, look, americans, that's the golden egg for both of these franchises. you know, this is -- we are, as they put it the far enemy. we are the world's only super power. all evil, the root of all evil begins and ends really in washington. if they can capture or kill americans, they -- that is the absolute ultimate goal that they have. but look, we don't know, part of this, their, what can they get
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away with? an embassy or hotel near an em b bar see in mali is one thing. when they say they will burn the white house black, that seems like bravdo. one thing they love is deployment by isis ground troops in such a way that wouldn't really pose a direct threat to raqqah but that would give the opportunity to do what they did with the jordan airmen, take a hostage and turn it into the propaganda spectacle that i don't need to tell you or you viewers to expect. absolutely they are looking to go after and kill americans wherever they can find them. >> michael stand by. we have more to discuss. there is more breaking news coming into "the situation room", as well, including details of the terrorist attack and the american among 21 people killed. we'll also go back live to paris on the breaking news from the
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hostages. jim sciutto is following the story for us. jim, what else are you learning? >> wolf, this confirmed just in the last hour that an american killed along the 27 killed in the attack u.s. state department now focussing on trying to account for all other americans. it's possible that that casualty total will rise. we do believe we've been told the u.s. embassy staff, u.s. military staff have been accounted for there. we know at least one u.s. special operations soldier was involved in assisting mali special forces as they helped lead hostages out of that building there. there is about two dozen u.s. special forces there for a couple years now training those mali special forces and a reminder the french have ground troops there, as well. the u.s., france, allies have been aware of the terror threat there for sometime. you have two groups claiming responsibility. both of them with ties to al qaeda including al qaeda and the islamic, al qaeda basically in
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northern africa, a group that attacked a western refinery in north africa a number of months ago and as you have to look at this, you have to wonder about the connection here. i sils csis carrying out a majok and al qaeda to atrack attention. it's,they think,work and compete and possible they are coal peting for attention for this attack, the u.s. western allies to help mally to deal with this threat and it's a very severe one here. there are a number of targets and what is particularly worrisome is it appears the attackers, two, possibly three went into the hole under the cover of diplomatic plates and they do their best to prevent these attacks but they used diplomat i can cover to get in.
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>> let's go to paris and the manhunt and it's been a week despite nearly 800 raids. nic robertson is in paris for us. what are you learning tonight? >> reporter: wolf, i think there have been a couple significant developments through the day, salah abdeslam still on the run, questioned where is he? no one knows. there have been questions, was he the third man killed by police in that raid in saint-denis. 5,000 bullets fired and was he the third man police say three people died in that apartment? it's not clear. the interesting detail that we have learned that clears up if you will or gives us a more complete picture of the events of last friday night is the ringleader abdelhamid abaqoud, his, he was seen on cc tv
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footage at a metro station in a suburb of paris, subway station about ten, 15, 20 minutes after the attacks took place on friday. that would give him just enough time to drive one of the cars that was involved in the attack and was found just a couple blocks away from that subway station. it would have given him time to drive from that attack and dump the car near the subway station and it is caught on video at the subway station. the facts and evidence are beginning to stack up. that car itself was rented by salah abdeslam, the man still on the run. he was also salah abdeslam, the man on the run was involved in that shooting attack with the two men, the ringleader and man still on the run involved in that shooting attack together, did they both flee in the car, dump it near the station, leave?
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that's very, very important for the police. the other detail that emerged that will have growing and another attacker is now proven by ferry tickets purchased appears as a ref frefugee befort here at the sports stadium. >> very disturbing development. nic, thanks very much. i want to bring in our experts to discuss what we're learning. joining us michael weiss, terrorism analyst paul cruickshank and tom. stand by for a moment. we're getting more information into "the situation room." we got to assess what is going on. more breaking news when we come back.
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we're back with our terrorism experts. we're following breaking news, an american among the 21 that died on a radisson hotel. we know the woman that died in the raid wasn't necessarily the suicide bomber thought but we
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don't know who the male wearing that suicide vest was. how does this all change the narrative, if it does? >> well, i mean, i'm not sure it does. there was a lot of attention paid to the fact that this could have been a female suicide bomber and it's somehow unique or counter intuitive to have a woman blow herself up when in fact it's fairly common especially in russia in the caucuses. i mean, you have various insurgency groups including those loyal to isis and they have a term for it, the black widow. in fact, before metrojet, the russian airliner that isis blew up a few weeks ago, you had had in 2004, two commercial airliners taken out in the skies above russia by these black wido widows. it is a fairly frequent occ occurrence to see where jihad is m is predominant that women will be repurposed for this kind of attacks and creates a false
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sense of security. abby back r al baghdadi did this in a town where al qaeda and iraq had strapped suicide bomb vests to i think they were mentally disabled, a 13-year-old girl and 3-year-old girl in the early days of the u.s. war in iraq and walked into a police station or military check point and blew themselves up. they were not volunteers but this is the point. when you see a woman you're supposed to think she can't possibly commit an act of terrorism but it happens all the time. >> scary sight. paul, is it known how this female cousin of abdelhamid abaqoud, the so-called mastermind of the friday night terror attacks in paris, how she was involved if she was involved in this terror cell? >> well, wolf, investigators are
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trying to priest that together but given she was in the safe house when they are about to go and launch one of the worst terrorists atrocities in european history suggests perhaps some degree of complicity and what i can say and what investigators do say is that abdelhamid abaqoud, her cousin had a track record of brainwashing family members, recruiting family members into isis. in 2014 he brought his younger brother when he was just 13 years old, unis all the way to syria to join isis, especially kidnapped him, family were very, very upset, obviously about this. and this young kid thought to be one of the very youngest isis fighters. so possible certainly she was involved but investigators trying to piece that together. >> tom fuentas, these suicide vests sophisticated.
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>> they have some safe house probably in paris where they make them where they have explosives, vests, raw material to do it. they don't know if they identified the bomb maker, arrested him. killed him. it is about being the mastermind. i think the real mastermind is the one that has his hands on that bomb maker. they are somewhere on the loose. >> there was also a bomb make there made the bomb that blew up that russian plane spider killing 224 people on the flight from sham el-sheikh to st. petersburg in russia. somebody had to make that bomb, as well, and that was sophisticated the small compact nature of it in a soda can. >> absolutely, wolf. what this talks about is the depths of their trade craft, where they learning these skills. do they have to go to syria or acquire the skills online whether in belgium or france and then the other thing is the network that exists and the opportunity for intelligence folks to work, each one of these individuals has a narrative and
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we can backtrack each narrative and begin to thicken the enterprise that allows us to do forensics that tom is talking about. how do we get into this and identify the next individual that might take that next step? >> because you got to learn the lessons of this to make sure it doesn't happen again. michael weiss, you interviewed a man that claimed to be an isis defactor. what did he say about how these isis fighters are moving across borders? >> he said, you know, the border has been somewhat restricted in the last few months because isis lost terrain in northern syria largely at the hands of the kurdish militias. he says that, you know, there used to be at the height of the when the coalition announced the war, he said this was the global casting call. and he gave me a figure i didn't believe. i'd ask several times. he said 3,000 people a day were trying to cross to join isis at that point. this was a little over a year ago. now it's reduced to a trickle. it's very difficult.
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when i interviewed him in istanbul, he told me it cost him about 1 thous$1,000. it cost about him $1,000 round trip to cross the border and back and he had to be smuggled because it's true, turkey at the border is better at keeping it closed off. there is one border crossing isis uses, frankly, the entire caliphate is depend dant upon it. it's controlled by the turkish government and on syria side, free syria army and anti assad rebel groups that are not isis but isis holds them hostage to the fact that if they don't allow isis trucks and material and oil to cross that border, isis can simply cut off the energy supply to one-third of syria and just bathe aleppo in darkness. they operate not just a terrorist organization but mafia
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and as a -- i really don't like calling them a state or certainly not a functioning state but certainly they do operate like a quazi failed state, one that saddam presides over or one assad presides over. the uptick you're going to see now like i say, stay where you are in your home cities, your hometowns and we'll come pun ka -- communicate with you remotely. >> unlike al qaeda, isis clearly can control significant amounts of land in syria and iraq and have a lot of cash, a lot of money from oil revenue, gold they stole from the banks from other cash, as well. a lot of money. we have more to discuss including how they are doing, what they are doing next but i want to let our viewers know that they can help the victims of the paris attacks, go to
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. we're following the breaking news. two americans are among the 21
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dead in the terror attack on a radisson attack in mali. paul cruickshank said abdulhamid abaaoud, the ringleader of this whole attack, and their accomplices, is there any indication that some of them slipped through europe posing as refugees? >> reporter: well, the french investigators here have said that two of the suicide bombers at the stadium did exploit the refugee processing system. they came through greece on the same day with fake syrian passports. no one is suggesting that they were actually refugees. but they appear to have exploited the refugee processing system. all of these attackers that have been identified so far are
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either french or belgian. it's also worth pointing out that there have been hardly any cases of refugees coming in and them being a terrorism nexus. i can only think of two. one of them being in germany just a few weeks ago, german investigators were looking in to somebody who was claiming to be an isis member at an asylum processing center and back in may when a moraccan traveled on one of the boats and was sent back because of the ties to the attack in tunis. it's important to stress because a lot of hyperventilation because there's a theoretical
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concern because of the southern european countries like greece just do not have the capabilities to monitor all of this. there's really a soft underbelly right now and think of all of those greek islands, roof, and all of those can get in. >> tom fuentes, how much concern should there be that the refugees could make their way into europe or even into the united states? >> there is no way to do a background on them. the movement that they have the fbi director certify who they are going to go to to do a background check, do they go to assad, ask him for background checks? do they go to isis and say, these guys are fleeing your territory, do they have a criminal record? there's no one in syria to do a background check with. so they are guessing. and they think maybe by locking them up for a couple of weeks in the process that somehow people will fallout of that process. you know, that's great. but it's not reliable. >> the international manhunt under way right now for salah
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abdeslam, one of the terrorists on the run right now, does it look to you, spider, that he had some sort of exit plan, exit strategy in place or he just got lucky? >> no. i would suggest that he had a plan in place. i don't think any of these terrorists has serendipity design where they are going to go next. his role for the long term is how can i now live to fight another day? his objective is to continue to try to turn, recruit some more, return to syria, as necessary, or to stay in place and just hide out until he can get new marching orders. >> michael, the paris attacks, the huge propaganda win for isis that probably helped them in their recruitment. will they try to continue these attacks now if they assume they have momentum? >> of course. they are planning all the time. i think the real worry in europe and indeed in the united states is what else have they got up
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their sleeve? it's important to emphasize this, wolf, and paul was absolutely right. just the facts of the way isis' security operation works, the people that they appoint to be security chiefs, they tend not to be syrians. okay? iraqi's lead the organization at the top but the middle cadres are people from foreign countries and be that tunisia, algeria, saudi arabia or european countries, such as belgium, france, great britain. this is the real issue. the people that are going to probably perpetrate these attacks will not be syrian nationals themselves because syrians who are part of isis don't have that capability by and large. this is what the isis defector told me. >> it's a scary, scary situation and, unfortunately, it's not ending by any means. guys, thanks very much for all of that good analysis. it's been one week since the attacks in paris. tonight, we're remembering the people of france and our
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thoughts are with them as they continue to recover from the horror and go on with their lives. thanks very much for muwatching. i'm wolf blitzer in "the situation room." cnn coverage of the terrorist attacks continues right now with erin burnett "outfront." good evening. welcome to our viewers in the united states and around the world. "outfront" tonight, u.s. national security officials telling cnn that at least one of the eight paris attackers could have traveled to the united states. his record clean enough to avoid raising red flags in the u.s. screening system. this comes as the massive international hunt intensifies. authorities across europe searching for salah abdeslam. investigators now say a third person in the apartment raid detonated a suicide ves

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