tv Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer CNN November 23, 2015 2:00pm-4:01pm PST
news. suicide vest, police find a possible suicide device in a paris suburb reportedly containing bolts, and the same type of explosive used in the paris attacks. imminent threat, an entire country is on high alert, its capital now on lockdown as belgian police hunt for a possible isis terror team. i'll speak with belgium's ambassador to the united states. voice of death, new information on the man who claimed responsibility for the paris attacks on behalf of isis. was he one of the masterminds? is he ready to strike again? we have new information. and striking isis, a french aircraft carrier launches its first strikes at isis targets in syria as russia says its missiles aimed at isis targets bear the words, for paris. i'm wolf blitzer, you're in "the situation room." this is cnn breaking news.
the breaking news, police seal off part of a paris suburb right now saying an item resembling a suicide vest was found in a garbage can. cnn affiliate bf mtv reports it does contain reports and the same explosives used in the paris attacks. paris remains under tight security as police search the backpacks of all school children. the british prime minister david cameron joined the french president francois hollande at the site of one attack. and as france launched new air strikes at isis targets inside syria, david cameron says he'll push for britain to do the same thing. and other european capital meanwhile is on lockdown right now. schools, stores and the subway system they're closed in brussels, home to the european union and nato. belgium is on high alert for what authorities say is an imminent threat of a paris style attack. as security forces hunt for the suspected eighth paris attacker, salah abdelsalam.
also at large, the so-called voice of death, an infamous isis commander who claimed the paris massacres in the name of the terror group. we're learning he may have helped direct that slaughter along with other attacks and may be planning a new strike. i'll speak with congressman andre carson of the intelligence committee and our correspondents, analysts and guests they'll have full coverage of the day's top stories. let's begin with our justice correspondent pamela brown. she has the very latest on all these fast moving developments. what are you learning, pamela? >> well, wolf, in a sign of just how active this investigation continues to be in france and elsewhere, tonight investigators discovered a possible vest with explosives in a trash can in paris. and now they're trying to figure out who dropped it there and when. french police sealed off the streets of a paris suburb tonight as a bomb unit checked a possible explosive device resembling a suicide vest found in a garbage can. cnn affiliate bfm is reporting the vest contains bolts and the explosive tatp.
the same type found in the suicide belts used by the paris attackers. next door in belgium much of the capital city of brussels remains on lockdown. country's terror alert elevated to the highest level over concern of a serious and imminent threat. police officers and soldiers patrol near empty streets. schools, the subway system and many shops remain closed. police raids across belgium over the weekend netted more arrests including one man now charged in connection with the paris terrorist attacks. today, belgium's prime minister warned the threat is far from over. >> translator: the belgium people are confronted with very difficult times. we are doing the utmost with our security forces to get back to a normal situation as quickly as possible. >> reporter: still on the run tonight 26-year-old salah abdelsalam, his brother told belgium reporters the family believes abdelsalam backed outd of the paris attacks at last
minute. authorities have yet to even identify all of the dead attackers. french national police are asking the public for help identifying these two men who they say detonated suicide vests outside the stade de france during the attacks. today britain prime minister joined france president hollande outside bataclan concert hall to pay respects and reinforce britain's solidarity in the fight against terror. >> we face a shared threat. and we must share information and intelligence to better protect ourselves from these brutal terrorists. >> reporter: as the hunt for more terror suspects continues, french warplanes took off from the charles de gaulle aircraft carrier to launch strikes against isis in iraq and syria. >> translator: we will intensify our strikes. we will choose targets that will inflict maximum possible damage on this terrorist army. >> reporter: and back in france investigators are determining whether the alleged architect of the plots killed last week,
abdelhamid abaaoud, may have played an even more direct role as an attacker after he was discovered in paris during the attacks instead of syria where he was believed to be. officials i've spoken to, wolf, say the attacks expose serious intelligence gaps and lack of information sharing between countries. clearly more needs to be done, wolf. >> pamela brown reporting for us. clearly there were major, major blunders up to the lead what happened in paris. let's go live to paris right now. cnn's martin savidge is standing by live. martin, a fresh scare in a paris suburb where police say an item resembling a suicide belt was found in a garbage can. what do you know about that? >> reporter: well, you're right, wolf. this is a fresh scare. it was just as the city started to feel a little less frightened than it has been over the past nine days or so. but like this afternoon trash collectors in the neighborhood of montrouge, a southern paris suburb, a residential area. they found inside this trash can what now is believed to be an
explosive vest. and as you say it had the explosive traits that go back to the same attackers of friday the 13th. but here's the clear thing being reported now in french media and that is that the salah abdelsalam, his cell phone was tracked by authorities into this very same neighborhood hours after the attack in the area where this vest was found. that seems to be just too much to be mere coincidence. but what does it really mean? was he somehow disposing of a vest? and was it his vest or someone else's vest? it really doesn't seem to add up at this point because it's in an area far away from any of the attacks that occurred. and it's certainly not back on the road to belgium where it's believed he headed after leaving paris. so right now it is unclear. we should point out that the vest is now been recovered and that scene has been cleared. the all clear has been given in that neighborhood. wolf. >> the investigation clearly continues. martin, thanks very much. joining us now democratic congressman andre carson of indiana, member of the house
intelligence committee. congressman, thanks very much for joining us. i assume you've been well briefed on what's going on. what can you tell us about this manhunt for this terrorist salah abdelsalam? do officials have any clue where he might be right now? >> well, i think that folks should be confident in knowing that the u.s., belgium and french law enforcement community has been working very closely together along with efforts from our partners. it is clear that the recent raids and the law enforcement surge that we've seen in the past week and a half is indicative of a unified and more broad ly growing global front t stop isil and any copycat terrorist who is seek to do others harm. >> but they got to learn from some of the blunders that did occur, intelligence failures leading up to that horrible friday night in paris. if they want to avoid these kinds of terror attacks down the road. any major blunder stick out in
your mind right now? >> well, i think whenever there's a tragic incident like this there are always lessons to be learned and takeaways, our hearts go out to the people of france and across the globe quite frankly. mali, nigeria and other places. but whenever you have this you always go back and monday morning quarterback and look at strengthening and tightening internal controls. but what is more clear is that the isil message, the message of radicalism, the message of extremism will no longer be tolerated from the global community. the global faith community. all people are coming together, people of good will and saying enough is enough. >> might that suicide vest then bolts that were found in that garbage can today in that paris suburb be a key for investigators in pointing to who else may have been part of this attack? >> well, whenever you discover a suicide vest, it's always a unique discovery. and something that could unlock other efforts that could have taken place or could have been in connection with the recent attacks in paris.
what is clear is that law enforcement authorities are now connecting the dots. they're shaking the trees. we're seeing a surge as it were. and we're seeing numerous raids where we're getting the information that we need to get to the root of this problem and eliminate the cancerous threat. >> i assume authorities in france, in paris, they're looking at that suicide vest and to determine if there were any parts there that could determine where they may have been purchased, fingerprints, any other evidence that could lead to more of the suspects who may still be at large. >> sure. absolutely. france has a very impressive law enforcement and intelligence apparatus as do we. and our intelligence community as well as our law enforcement community, the fbi along with the cia and other agencies have been working with the french authorities to work collaboratively in solving these cases. >> standby, congressman.
we have more to discuss. i want to remind our viewers also you once served in the department of homeland security and 46 million americans are about to be traveling during this thanksgiving holiday week. much more, much more with congressman andre carson when we come back. gegiving up all the thingsan she loves to do. it should just mean, well, finding new ways to do them. right at home's professional team thoughtfully selects caregivers to provide help with personal care, housekeeping, and of course, meal preparation. oh, that smells so good. aw, and it tastes good, too. we can provide the right care, right at home.
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for the isis commander dubbed the voice of death after claiming the paris massacres on behalf of the terror group. he may have been one of the masterminds of those and several other attacks. brian todd has been digging into this, brian, what are you learning? >> wolf, tonight our information suggests a sophisticated role in the paris attacks by this man, fabien clain, one of isis' top speaking french operatives. there are indications he may have issued commands remotely to his cells on the ground. his apparent tactics read from a plot right out of homeland. just hours after the carnage in paris, a claim of responsibility from isis' senior french operative fabien clain. he gives extraordinary detail on the targets saying they were meticulously chosen. >> translator: sites in the 10th, 1 19 and 18th districts. >> reporter: no attack in the 18th district ever materialized, but a car believed to be driven by alleged conspirator salah abdelsalam was found parked in the 18th district. he's still on the loose, the
subject of an intense manhunt. the only suspected attacker believed to have survived. >> investigators believe that salah abdelsalam may have been tasked to launch an attack against the 18th district but may have aborted. >> reporter: one of abdelsalam's brothers believes he maybe changed his mind at the last minute. but still points to the likely advanced knowledge of the paris assault. european counterer ter rir officials tell cnn they suspect he was a ringleader directing attacks with precision. >> he has significant relationships with a number of the attackers. we also know he has long time relationships with various people who have committed attacks in belgium and also in france. >> reporter: european count counterterror officials believe he worked in tandem with abdelhamid abaaoud not only on paris but an attempted shooting on a high speed train between belgium and france in august
disrupted by three americans. and officials suspect clain was the mastermind behind the plot to attack at least one french church in april. that plot failed when a suspected terrorist shot himself in the leg. but the french newspaper reports on a stunning level of micromanagement inside clain's network. analysts say the operative's handlers reportedly directed him at every step in the church plot via encrypted communications. it was terror by remote control. >> they instructed him to go and pick up weapons and a bullet proof vest from a car parked at a car park in a neighborhood of paris, to pick up the keys from the front right tire to wear gloves when he went in the car so he didn't leave any fingerprints. they told him where to attack, how to attack. >> and with that level of detail officials say fabien clain is probably looking to attack france again. it is believed he is probably right now in syria. a euro counter terrorism official tells us while it's difficult to track down what he
called these psychopaths, he says it's not impossible. pointing to the recent drone strikes which likely killed jihadi john and -- hussein. >> why do they have to supposedly micromanage all these operatives, instruct them every step of the way? >> well, analysts say it's because of the training that the french speaking operatives get. they say it's actually very short. their commanders bring them to syria, wolf, for maybe two weeks. then send them back. sometimes they don't even get to syria. they receive their instructions in turkey, then they're told to go back to france or belgium. now, if their commanders micromanage those operatives, it gives them much more capability of pulling off an attack successfully. that may have been what happened in paris. >> brian, thanks very much. we're back with democratic congressman andre carson of indiana. he's a member of the intelligence committee. congressman, is this guy fabien clain one of the master minds in this attack? >> well, you know, from what our reports indicate and from what i'll say is he is certainly a person of interest. there's no safe haven for them
or those like him. we are tightening the reigns in the intelligence community. and i think that what you'll see in the next few months is that a lot of these so-called leaders who are actually terrorists and might i echo sipsychopath, they doept ha don't have a place to hide, this ideology that is counterproduct ines ferre, manipulative, plays on people's thinking, as an international community isolate the threat and ultimately eliminate the threat. >> would you have a problem if the u.s. finds out where this guy is for the u.s. to launch a drone with a hell fire missile and kill him? >> listen, drones have been quite controversial. we can talk about this extensively. i'll let the scholars talk about that. but i think in this instance when you see the kinds of threats that terrorists pose, that's what drones are for to identify the threat, isolate the
threat and eliminate the threat. >> do you -- does u.s. intelligence have any information about whether clan or any of these other operatives out there have other cells in the works plotting specific attacks against the united states? >> what we do know is that the national security community as well as the department of homeland security has been working around the clock with state and local law enforcement. and as folks get prepared for the holiday season, we've not seen as of yet credible or specific reports indicating that there could be this kind of scenario like we saw in paris. there was just an active shooter scenario that took place in new york city this past weekend. even in the subway. and similar active shooter scenarios are taking place as we speak across the country, which should give some kind of comfort to americans that the law enforcement community is prepared and ready to fight against these extremists.
>> you're the only member of congress to have also served in the department of homeland security. so-called fusion center. you understand the threat on the ground. is the administration right now prepared to deal with isis as it has evolved as a threat? >> i think that president obama has shown himself to be open to listening to military leaders, certainly he gets a briefing daily from the cia director and the fbi director. and the intelligence community as a whole. he has shown himself to be one not trapped in rigidity but one who understands that when there are gaps and there have been gaps, that he's open to looking at our internal controls and constantly reviewing, asking the right questions so we can tighten the gaps, and ultimately do what we have to do in terms of keeping americans safe and keeping our global community even safer. >> as you know the "new york times" reporting over the weekend that the pentagon is now expanding an internal investigation of the u.s.
military's central command. analysts supposedly were offering a pretty specific, very dire assessment of what isis is up to, but their superiors were sugar coating it in effect to give a more rosy assessment. what can you tell us about this? >> well, whenever you're dealing with human beings of course you're always dealing with the human element of human frailty. and of course motivations and hidden agendas. but thankfully, i mean, the central command is a military command. we still have information coming from the cia, information coming from the department of homeland security, the d.i.a., and ultimately the fbi. and so i think that there are different intelligence tools that are being used to complete the bigger intelligence puzzle. >> i want to get your reaction to what donald trump and some others have been saying about muslim americans. you're one of two muslims to serve in the united states congress, keith ellison is the other muslim. when you hear donald trump
suggest for example that there should be surveillance of certain mosques in the united states, that maybe there needs to be some sort of database to keep track of certain muslims, what do you say to trump? >> you know, i think he's dialed back his comments. i think that mr. trump who has done business with muslims, who has muslims working for his organization, surely beyond the rhetoric and how he presents himself i've met mr. trump. i don't think he is as unreasonable as his rhetoric suggests. that's not a defense of him. i condemn the harsh language against muslims. i don't think that any mosque or any community should be surveilled unless you're looking at a mosque where the reasonable suspicion test has been met and probable cause test has been met. other than that to surveil people just because of their religion is unconstitutional and un-american. >> good point. congressman, thanks very much for joining us. >> thank you, what an honor. >> keith ellison as i said
before is the other muslim member of the house of representatives. andre carson is a member of the intelligence committee, to both of you thanks very much for your service. >> thank you. coming up, police find a possible suicide vest in a paris suburb reportedly containing the same explosive used in the paris attack. is it linked to a missing isis suspect? and a sign of how well the paris terrorists covered their tracks, authorities have yet to identify all the dead attackers. we're getting new information. stay with us, you're in "the situation room." all: milk! milk! milk! milk! milk! okay! fun's over. aw. aw. ♪ thirsty? they said it would make me cool. they don't sound cool to me. guess not. you got to stick up for yourself, like with the name your price tool. people tell us their budget, not the other way around. aren't you lactose intolerant? this isn't lactose. it's milk. ♪
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we've got breaking news coming into "the situation room." just now the u.s. state department has issued a worldwide travel alert warning american citizens around the world that they face a terror threat. let's bring in our law enforcement analyst tom fuentes, former fbi assistant director, cnn counterterrorism analyst phil mudd, former cia official and michael weiss, senior editor at the daily beast, coauthor of the book isis inside the army of terror. tom, i've got the worldwide alert right now. possible risks of travel due to increased terrorist threats and then go into specifics mentioning al qaeda, mentioning isis, boko haram, other terrorist groups. people are getting ready to travel for thanksgiving, for christmas, this is going to scare a lot of people.
>> when did they write that, wolf, about ten years ago? >> well, this has just been issued within the past few minutes. >> okay. >> what are you saying? >> well, it's the same thing they're always putting out. those kind of alerts out every couple months when something new happens, another attack somewhere. we know that. americans need to be vigilant anywhere they're going in the world. these are always possible. they've been possible for a long time now. >> but here's the news in this, and this travel alert expires they say february 24th, 2016. phil, it says authorities believe the likelihood of terror attacks will continue as members of isil or isis, daesh, another name for isis, return from syria and iraq. so they're coming back from syria and iraq, they're going to europe maybe they could come to the united states as frequent visa waiver program guys, citizens of france or belgium or other countries and that's the concern the u.s. has. >> that's right, but i'm with tom on this. this is like bringing a bb gun
to a shooting war. we've been at this threat for ten days, this war for 14 years, there are officials in government disseminating warnings, this is from a bureaucratic group that does this. if you're traveling today and you didn't know it might be dangerous to go to brussels or paris, you're not watching the tv. >> this isn't just brussels or paris, this is worldwide. >> sure, but they're looking at the situation in europe saying what do we say to american travel whether it's an event in mali, events in europe, places like pakistan, this is a standard warning from groups that are responsible for doing this to the u.s. government. for my mind this doesn't take us much further down the road. >> it does indicate to me it's part of a new strategy of isis now to go beyond their so-called caliphate in syria and iraq and target people all over the world if they can. >> well, it's what i would call a new-old strategy, wolf. remember al qaeda in iraq, we tend to forget they had a foreign expeditionary wing.
they were in and out of palestinian refugee camps in lebanon recruiting, radicalizing. there was a host of european terror operations, many of them aborted thankfully, that aqi was responsible for. what we're seeing now think of isis like a balancing scale. you suppress one side and the other side goes up. so as they lose ground, particularly in northern syria where they have the most entrenched presence, they're going to escalate, they're going to increase these foreign terrorist spectaculars as a recruitment drive. i mean, i've seen the videos they've been putting out since the paris attacks. fluent french speakers showing what they present as the carnage delivered by coalition aircraft killing innocent muslim civilians in raqqah. they're speaking in islamic chanting that accompany many of these jihadi videos. they're in french now. so they are egging on every and all commerce particularly in europe to carry on this winning streak of theirs. i mean, i mentioned before, you had ankara, sharm el sheikh,
beirut, now paris. brussels today is sort of paralyzed in this lockdown mode. i happen to think this is preemptive, better safe than sorry rather than they know something is going to happen in the next few hours. but good for the belgium authorities. they're doing exactly what they ought to be doing after what i consider to be, you know, the worst attack in the west since 9/11. certainly in terms of its scale and mass response. >> maybe that's why the state department issued this worldwide travel alert just now as well. phil, the suicide vest that they found in a garbage can in a paris suburb today. how are they going to investigate it? what clues can it possibly bring to this investigation? who else might be responsible for these mass murders? >> there's a simple clue whether there's fingerprints on there, but there's some more interesting things to look at. in the 21st century in europe even more so than the united states you're going to have cameras everywhere. i want to know if there are cameras around that indicate who dropped that into the trash, whether there's a vehicle with that person, whether there was an accomplice with that person. and then the final piece at
least initially is how is it constructed, not just what the explosive was, how was it sewn? what was the fabric like? the same manufacturer as the suicide vest? i think there's a lot to learn right away. >> the whole notion of this investigation they still, tom, have not identified two of the suicide bombers who committed these acts that friday night in paris. what does that say to you about this investigation? >> well, it says that they still don't know all the people that could be involved is why they continue to put the threat warnings out there, particularly in brussels with the city still being shut down. so, you know, these groups you've had two cells of six to eight people, one that actually carried out the attack a week and a half ago, the second one that was going to but interrupted in the big shootout with police. and they didn't have either of these groups on their radar before those attacks or before those encounters. and now they're saying there could be a third group of six to eight. so that's a lot of people out there that they have no idea who they are. and phil's exactly right about the vest. that's a critical piece of
intelligence to look at how it was put together. because people that put these vests together that deal with explosives, when they've been successful, when they've put together devices and still have all their fingers and toes, they don't deviate. so that tends to zero in on who did it, what school of explosives did they go to? and yet we don't know who the bomb maker is on the loose in europe. we don't know where the explosives are being stored, where the raw material for making these vests, there are still huge gaps in intelligence in this case. >> there certainly are. guys, standby. there's more information coming in. we'll take a quick break and resume coverage after this. people don't have to think about where their electricity comes from. they flip the switch-- and the light comes on. it's our job to make sure that it does. using natural gas this power plant can produce enough energy for about 600,000 homes. generating electricity that's cleaner and reliable, with fewer emissions-- it matters.
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see car insurance in a whole new light. liberty mutual insurance. following breaking news french authorities say a possible explosive vest has been found in a garbage can just outside paris. the vest reportedly contains the same type of explosives used in the paris attacks and may be linked to the missing suspect salah abdelsalam. our experts are back to discuss these late breaking developments. michael weiss, an isis video just released this weekend is the first time we're now seeing isis inside raqqah, their so-called capital, the caliphate since the french air strikes began. these renewed french air strikes, you say this is propaganda to pay closest attention to, why is it so important? >> wolf, these guys always like to turn their defeats into moral victories. i recall during the battle of fallujah in 2004 even though aqi, al qaeda in iraq, which was
isis' predecessor, was booted out of the city, osama bin laden issued a communique saying this is marvelous. i mean, they had to destroy an entire city and we've led the crusader white in the process. and the brave will be written in the stars. so isis is now trying to say, okay, we hit france right in its capital. we killed loads of people. and this is retaliation for all the muslims that the west has killed including in this war. now we're going to show you how the coalition and particularly france has responded. this is, keep in mind, wolf, i want to stress this is propaganda. but it's effective. they're showing you blasted out what they claim to be residential areas in raqqah. this is the carnage unleashed by french fighter jets and warplanes. and they counterpose this with images of dead muslim babies. so when we talk about isis propaganda, we tend to emphasize their atrocities, the things they like to exhibit, their brutality. but we never really pay attention to the stuff that really resonates with their
constituency. which is they have framed this as a war between quite literally the world and sunni muslims. and sunni muslims are honor bound and duty bound to defend their faith. and that is going to increase the ranks. that will swell the ranks for isis. doesn't matter how many targets in the west or how many innocent civilians here they will kill. >> tom fuentes, these recent isis attacks they represent a shift in their strategy how they are planning their attacks, what they're doing, right? >> no, i don't think so. i think it represents carrying out a strategy they started more than a year or two ago of bringing people from all over the world to syria to learn how to put together attacks, learn how to operate weapons and explosives and then go back to your homelands and carry them out. we've had tens of thousands of people that have gone to syria from all over asia, from all over europe, from the u.s., canada, australia, and now all you have are that many of them have returned home and now they're going into attack mode. but this is a long-term strategy that they've already had.
>> it may be a long-term strategy, but phil, until recently most of their efforts were designed to expand their territory inside their so-called caliphate in syria and iraq. al qaeda and other groups they would try to strike against western targets, the u.s., the europeans, but now isis has really started to compete with them in that area as well. >> that's right. they're competing. there is a shift here that i see and that is in the past over the past year or two we've seen passive encouragement. that is if you're an isis supporter in western europe, united states, is go do something. now what we've seen change is active, we're going to create an isis organization directing plots overseas. to my mind that's pretty substantial. >> very substantial. i want all of you to standby. coming up we're following more of the breaking news. a major european capital now on lockdown as authorities hunt for terrorists amid what the belgium prime minister is calling a serious and imminent threat against his country. the belgium ambassador to the united states is here with me in "the situation room." we'll get the very latest from him when we come back.
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the belgium capital of brussels is now on lockdown as authorities conduct terror raids across the country. more than 20 people have been arrested, but the raids have nonot turned up salah abdelsalam who authorities believe fled to belgium soon after taking part in the paris attacks that killed 130 people. tonight, investigators hope a possible explosive suicide device found in a garbage can just outside paris will provide vital clues about salah abdelsalam and where he may be hiding. for more on the breaking news, we're joined now by belgium's ambassador to the united states johan verbeke, mr. ambassador,
thanks very much for coming in. >> thank you. >> what's the latest on these arrests that have taken place in belgium right now? supposedly you have arrested at least one suspect who was involved in the paris terror attacks. >> yeah. well, for the last two days as a matter of fact no less than 29 house searches have been operated. out of those house searches 22 people were being called for discussion custody, taken into custody. and out of them one now is being arrested as it is established that he is linked to what happened in paris. and three others are still under investigation. >> so this one individual linked to paris, what's your suspicion what was his role? >> that i can't tell you because that is of course something that the intelligence community's looking at in more detail. a >> have you released his name? >> no. >> when will you release his
name? >> that is for the authorities in brussels to decide at the appropriate moment. but that one person that was being arrested right now is of course the ones arrested in the course of last week. >> so -- so there's four people you are holding now -- >> three -- >> suspicion is they were involved somehow in the paris terror attacks. >> linked three if i recally arrested, three under investigation. >> why did the prime minister issue this imminent alert in brussels and continue for another week. >> first, there are indications for the intelligence community to be what they are but there are indications, the prime minister said himself that an f operation similar to the operation is in the pipe as far as brussels is concerned. multiple places, multiple acts
at the same time. that's been the trigger for increasing the level of threat from three to four, which basically is the highest level on saturday. now, the government is very determined in clearing out the situation, go to the end, finish the job as our home secretary said and that is why today he has decided to extend the period of the four level four and threat assessment until monday next week. >> a week from today. >> a week from today, of course, if in the meantime the situation cleans up, he can always withdraw that. i must add, however, that while that level threat four is being maintained until next monday, in the meantime, it is being provided as of wednesday step by step, normal life will start again. >> in brussels or the rest of the country. >> whenever i speak about level
four, i speak of brussels. >> so children will be allowed to go back to school starting wednesday. >> on wednesday the schools will be open. the shopping malls can open. metro stations will be selectively opened. >> you've never seen anything like this in brussels before. >> not at all. >> this is the most serious threat to brussels and belgium since, what, world war ii? >> i would say this indeed is one of the major threats since that time, although, you may recall that in the beginning of this we're, we had a major operation in part of belgium where a whole group, a cell has been dismantled in a very spectacular action and some people have been arrested at that time. at that time the level was very high. this kind of operation for the brussel operation. >> why are so many jihadist coming from belgium?
>> the reason we are high in the ranking per capita four and five is mainly due to the fact that we are an open society. you know where belgium is locate in europe. we are in the very center of europe. we have a lot of neighbors. we are a small country and therefore we open the doors and windows to the foreign countries. we are the most open economy of the world according to anthony young. that means a lot of people come in and out and that's part of the explanation, another part, more fundamental is that we have a large muslim community. if you take it proportional to the community we have, the figures become much more normal. we have a large muslim community and that muslim community is being seduced by the powerful narrative that comes out of syria and they feel attracted to
the kind of powerful narrative, including, i must say we have and had very strong recruiting centers that actively worked on those youngsters making them appear as even new life was -- >> because you know the criticism that you get from other europeans that the belgium security service, intelligence services, police aren't up to it. they haven't done a good job over not just recently but over the years. you've heard that criticism. >> we've heard that. we tend to disagree to some extent with that comment because basically we're one of the most open intelligence communities in euro europe. that is to say we've always been working with other service including the french. the french have been working very closely with us and we with them. not just since the 13th of november but already in the past. so there is a close operation
and what should i say on this? we have to address that measure. additional 18 measures. >> good luck to you and the people of belgium. we're of usually hoping things quiet down quickly. thanks for coming in. >> thank you. coming up, a stunning discovery in a paris suburb. police say a possible suicide vest is found in a garbage can and reportedly contains the very same explosive that was used in the paris attacks.
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>> happening now, breaking news. a suicide bomber vest found in a garbage can and a cell phone tracked to the location after the attacks. is europe's most wanted man a target for not carrying out his mission. a capital gripped by fear of an imminent attack. a flurry of raids and arrests and a travel restriction for u.s. military personnel and pentagon employees. how safe this is ally? worldwide alert, the state department issues a global caution to u.s. citizens warning of an increased threat from isis, al qaeda and other terror groups. how great is the threat to americans around the world? and truth or trump? donald trump says he saw thousands of people in new jersey cheering on 9/11, retweets of inaccurate crime statistic. tonight critics are calling out
the republican presidential front runner asking if jump is deliberately distorting the truth. we'll check. we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer, you're "the situation room". >> this is cnn breaking news. we're following the breaking news, a chilling discovery and potential new clue in the paris terror attacks. a possible suicide vest found in a garbage can outside the city. cnn affiliate bfm is reporting it contains bolts and the same explosive found in the suicide belts used by the attackers. bfm reporting fugitive suspect salah abdeslam's cell phone was track tracked to the same area. brussels is on lockdown with the city on maximum alert with new raids and new arrests.
so far there is no sign of salah abdeslam detained trying to enter belgium but released by police. the state department issued a worldwide travel alert. it's urging all american citizens to use caution due to increased threat from isis, al qaeda and other terror organizations and notes the dangers posed from those returning from iraq and syria and the threat of lone terrorists. we're covering all angles of the breaking news this hour with our guests including seth molten and veteran who everything issed four tours of duty in iraq. also, our correspondents and expert analyst are standing by. let's get straight to paris, though. martin savidge is there on the scene for us tonight. martin, you're learning more about this possible suicide vest found at a paris suburb. >> reporter: good evening, wolf. the paris bomb squad gave the
clear in part of the southern area in the city of paris and late this afternoon trash collectors made an unbelievable discovery that once again has put paris on edge. the streets of this paris suburb sealed off after the discovery of what bfm said is a possible suicide vest. similar to what was used net terror attacks. the affiliate reporting the neighborhood is the same location law enforcement traced a key suspect's phone after the attacks. that suspect, salah abdeslam, still on the run. as belgium remains on high alert, its capital city brussels at the highest security level. nearly two dozen raids launched by belgium security forces in the last 24 hours. fielding one suspect authorities believe is connected to the paris attack but still no sign of europe's most wanted man.
>> salah abdeslam is not, not among the persons arrested during the searches. >> reporter: abdeslam vanished. two the men say hours after the attacks they received a phone call from salah abdeslam and he sounded very upset saying his car has broken down and he needed a ride back to belgium. two friends came to paris here and picked him up. the attorney stresses they had no idea he was involved in the attacks but the attorney says the men noticed he was carrying something. quote a big jacket and other things, maybe like an explosive belt or something like that unquote. his family believes salah abdeslam changed his mind at the last minute and didn't carry out the attack like others. they point to a rental car in his name found abandoned. meanwhile, french authorities released this photo said to be
from the travel documents of one of the suicide bombers that blew up outside the stadium in paris. they believe he used a fake name so they are asking if anyone recognizes him. the prime minister to pay respects to the bataclan concert hall where most of the paris victims were murdered. >> i firmly support the action that president hollande has taken to strike isil in syria and it's my firm conviction that britain should do so, too. >> translator: we are going to intensify our strikes. we're going to choose targets who would make as much damage as possible. this terrorist army. >> reporter: as he spoke, the aircraft carrier was beginning its first day of flight operations sending more french jets against isis targets in syria. getting back to this vest, it's now been discovered and the fact authorities seem to have traced the cell phone of the new
missing man to that same area. it seems too great a coincide e coincidence. if salah abdeslam dropped it off there, what does it mean? does it support what his family said, that he somehow had a change of heart, dumped the vest and abandoned the mission and fled back to belgium? we doesn't know. it's certainly a question authorities are trying to figure out. you can bet they are looking at surveillance video and everything else in that area that might give them a clue, wolf. >> they certainly are. thanks very much. france is launching the first air strike against isis from its aircraft carrier, the charles degal in the eastern mediterranean. cnn is learning top isis leaders are fleeing the self-proclaimed capital as the area increases daily. let's go to our pentagon correspondent barbara starr. barbara, this isis stronghold in raqqah is now clearly under a major assault. >> absolutely, wolf. raqqah continues to be pounded by coalition aircraft and isis
leaders are well aware they are making some changes to their own security. isis leader abby backer al baghdadi is believed to be in raqqah but the u.s. has intelligence showing some isis leaders are trying to get out of raqqah, cnn has learned. leaders moving their operations to safer locations outside the city. >> it shows the effect that our air strikes and the pressure that we're putting on isil is having. >> reporter: the hunt is on for bagadadi and including this man, an isis commander the u.s. believes may be directing attacks outside syria and iraq. >> i think they have become more decentralized outside of syria and iraq because they know they are getting beat in those two countries. they have given the word, conducted attacks on your local
soil. >> reporter: attacks outside syria and iraq perhaps ordered or inspired by isis include paris, beirut and possibly the downing of their mission airliner in sinai u.s. officials say. the french sending their own response, the aircraft carrier charles degal launched its first air strikes against isis targets. isis released a video showing what it says is damage inside raqqah. cnn cannot independently verify the images. defense secretary ash carter is to meet with french counter parts tuesday. in the wake of the paris attacks, the pentagon is hoping allies will increase efforts in syria all in an effort to break isis' grip on raqqah. the u.s. will press for france and britain to send special forces to join with u.s. commandos due to a rise in
northern syria at any time. the u.s. also hopes turkey will agree to let allies not just the u.s. fly out of its air base to challenge isis' international networks. the pentagon also stepping up the targeting of isis' oil infrastructure inside syria over the weekend bombing nearly 300 oil smuggling trucks. those are -- that's a capability that earns isis millions of dollars every month. wolf? >> are they also bombing the storage depots, refineries where the oil comes from or just the trucks? >> right now they are focussing on this very specific area in eastern syria where the oil smuggling trucks had been assembling but both in syria and iraq, they have gone after various elements of the infrastructu infrastructure. it's a delicate problem because the u.s. wants to leave some elements in tact so if syria does come back, the people will
have resources, financial capability there. but right now a lot of focus on making sure isis can't earn money off of that. >> you don't want to be a truck driver driving one of those oil tankers at this time. let's talk about this with seth of massachusetts and also a marine corps veteran that served four tours of duty in iraq. congressman, thanks very much for coming in. you suspect that abb abu bakr a baghdadi could have control? >> it's a real problem for us and bringing their organization down. >> should the u.s. be taking out all of isis' oil capabilities right now, not just bombing the trucks, if you will, but going after the refineries, the storage depots. as you know, donald trump is recommending this for a long
time. >> well, i think this is an example of where it's very hard to have a specific military strategy without a broader political strategy, without a plan for what's going to take the place of isis after we defeat the military. it's the political vacuum that's kpils existed in the civil war and allowed isis to sweep into iraq. that's the fundamental problem. we can defeat isis military but unless we have a political plan for the aftermath, we'll find ourselves back in iran again five years after today's action just like it's five years after president obama pulled the last troops out. >> are you saying the president, the obama administration does not have a political strategy in place? >> i don't think we have a serious enough political strategy. we've been leading with bombs and troops. if you think about what happened when isis had this dramatic expansion from syria into western and northern iraq, they
didn't just sweep in and defeat the iraqi army. they went home because they lost faith in their government and that's a political problem in iraq today that allowed the rise of isis. but what was the president's response? he sent 500 military trainers to baghdad. you don't fix iraqi politics by training iraqi troops. i think the military pieces got to be part of the solution. there are a lot of isis guys who frankly need to be killed and that's the only way to defeat them. unless we have a political centr strategy to make sure we have a plan in place to fill the vacuum that will be left after we defeat isis, then this -- that's not a long testify term solution. this example, maybe it makes sense but let's come up with a plan to understand who will take the place and take over that oil infrastructure once we get isis out. then we can have a better idea whether it makes sense as a shorter term military strategy. >> a lot of people make the point when the u.s. went to iraq to get rid of saddam hussein
that was e sasy. congressman, stand by. we have more to discuss. we're about to go to the front lines as close to raqqah as you can possibly get. much more with the congressman when we come back. innovative sonicare technology with up to 27% more brush movements versus oral b. get healthier gums in 2 weeks guaranteed. innovation and you. philips sonicare save when you buy the most loved rechargeable toothbrush brand in america. the market.redict but through good times and bad... ...at t. rowe price... ...we've helped our investors stay confident for over 75 years. call us or your advisor. t. rowe price.
we're back with democratic congressman seth, stand by because we're following breaking news, a new worldwide travel alert is issued by the state department warning all americans around the world of an increased terror threat. let's go to nick paton walsh in northern iraq right now and nick, you got very close to the self-proclaimed isis capital in syria raqqah, tell us how that went. >> reporter: well, it is remarkable to see almost unnoticed how much progress the forces made. they basically isolated i sisis territory and pushing down south
within 20 miles. they have a substantial trench network, an out post close by and a lot of open ground between them and the outskirts of raqqah but a lot of coalition air support. in fact, just 24 hours ago in the very place we were, the place you're seeing now, there were a bid by isis to attack them and four coalition air strikes hit the town but those kurdish fighters there high in moral. one said he wanted to avenge upon isis for what p haened hap isis and american troops there feeling they have a duty of humanity to get rid of isis but their weapons are very light. one of the fighters there actually carrying one that used to belong to his friend that died eight months ago that fought. they don't necessarily have the numbers, either. they seem to be being boosted by some sunni arab fighters, syrians, too, known as the syrian democratic forces and a
vital part of the american strategy to make sure any kurdish attack against raqqah has sunni arabs in the mix, too, because raqqah is a syrian arab town. but while they are optimistic about moving from a ground offensive, they don't necessarily seem to have the weapons in place just yet. off camera they did talk about how there may have been americans in the mix, suggesting special forces, barack obama announced may be in play there. >> he said about 50 would be deployed inside syria with this battle for raqqah with advisors. thanks nick paton walsh. congressman, the kurds, these fighters nick was with them only about 20 miles outside of raqqah. could they actually libber rate raqqah? >> maybe they have a good chance
but if that happens, what have we achieved? are they prepared to hold the territory and take over administratively where isis left off? that's the missing point here. i would ask what is the mission of our 50 special forces going in there? are they going to force a transition from assad's leadership or over throw him? these are fundamental questions to give our troops the guidance we need and make sure we have a real plan for defeating isis not just in the short term but long term, as well. >> you also need not only a strategy and plan, an exit strategy down the road as well and what i'm hearing from you congressman, correct me if i'm wrong, you're not hearing any of that. >> i'm not. i'm not hearing nearly enough. the fundamental thing that led to the rise of isis and al qaeda are political vacuums in the middle east. it's a political vacuum that
allowed isis to sweep into iraq and afghanistan prior to 9/11 that allowed the establishment of training camps used against us in the 9/11 attacks. so we've got to have that piece of the plan in place. it doesn't mean there is not a role for the military. a lot of these isis thugs need to be killed. dropping bombs and at some point perhaps sending in advisory troops is needed but we've got to have a serious long term strategy, plan if we're ever going to see this through. by the way, we have to talk about things like social media. isis is recruiting people around the globe including right here in america using the internet, using social media and i don't think we're meeting that threat, either. >> we certainly aren't. there are reports that a third paris attacker may have entered france as a refugee. it's interesting you brought your iraqi translator back home from iraq. do you think the u.s. has a good
enough vetting system right now in place to handle thousands potentially, let's say of syrian and iraqi refugees? >> yes, i do and i received extensive briefs on that system this past week and it's worth pointing out the republican bill to hit pause really does nothing substantive to improve the process, to improve the screening. we already have the most intensive screening process for any traveler coming into the united states reserved for these refugees. it's totally unlike what happens in europe. it takes 18 to 24 months for an individual to be approved to come from syria to the united states and that person cannot step foot in our country until fully approved. it includes extensive background checks, checks against numerous different databases and interviews with counterterrorism and immigration ocho i shall 'm. in europe is that doesn't happen. it's a very different situation and i think if we focus on
refugee immigration, not only are we betraying values and saying american values only aplay with caveats, we're also really missing the threat. >> congressman seth molten of massachusetts, thanks for joining us. >> thanks, wolf. breaking news continues. we're going back live to paris for the discovery of the possible suicide vest. stay with us. whether your car is a new car an old car a big car a small car a car that looks kind of plain a car that looks kind of like a plane a red car a white car a blue car a red white and blue car
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the breaking news, we have a possible suicide vest reportedly containing bolts and the very same explosive used by suicide bombers in the paris attacks. martin savidge is joining us in paris. a terrorist cell phone was traced in the area where this device was found. what's the latest? >> reporter: this is the cell phone belonging to salah abdeslam. the concern is how did this suicide vest do to this neighborhood? this is an area of southern paris suburbs and apparently that cell phone was traced on the night of the attacks. did he back out of the mission?
doesn't seem to know at this time because he is still on the run. he's the most wanted person now in all of europe but this does raise serious questions. we do know that it had tntp, the same kind of explosive used in the attacks in the other vests so there is so many connections here and this comes, what, nine, ten days after these attacks and this is another mysterious thing. it's in the trash. someone hasn't picked up the trash in the time in between. so many questions and this falls at a time when many in paris were just starting to let their guard down and this brings it all back. could there be someone else? that's another issue that has to be in the minds of many people here tonight, wolf? >> i'm sure they are worried, understandably so. martin savidge, thanks very much. also breaking tonight, a new worldwide travel alert just issued by the state department warning americans of an increased terror threat around the globe, comes during one of the busiest travel weeks of the year in the united states.
law enforcement agencies are bracing themselves now. our aviation correspondent rene marsh is working this part of the story. americans traveling this week are going to see, i asuper, a lot more increased security measures. >> this thanksgiving we'll see the highest volume of travelers since 2007. you see the map behind me. these are aircraft in the air in realtime as we speak and as people are on the move, cities nationwide are on alert. homeland security secretary jay johnson just put out a statement acknowledging the anxiety people are feeling but ensuring americans authorities are working around the clock. the frightening scene played out at an abandoned new york city subway. two active shooters, one wearing a vest rigged with explosives. this was only a drill but it's a scenario police around the country have to prepare for. >> obviously suicide belts in afghanistan and iraq and now
most recently in paris. i thought it was most appropriate to introduce that. >> reporter: the department of homeland security tested first responders and nypd's response to a terror attack on mass transit. the results of the training will be shared with law enforcement nationwide. nearly 47 million americans are expected to travel by car this thanksgiving and an additional 25 million will fly on u.s. carriers. as the volume of people on the move increases, more officers and canines have deployed to vulnerable sites at train and bush stations, there are increased patrols. in mayor cities like new york and washington, riders should expect random bag checks. bridges and tunnels are also being close lly monitored. there is concern ahead of new york's thanksgiving day parade and the city's tree lighting ceremo ceremony. >> we know of no specific credible threat of a paris-like
attack directed against the u.s. homeland. we are and we continue to be and we have been concerned about copy cat-like attacks. >> reporter: outside major concert venues and stadiums, there sais also more security. bomb-sniffing dogs and officers patrolled the wwe wrestling match. >> as long as terrorists organizations are calling for attacks in the homeland, we've got to all be shrvigilant and w over time. >> reporter: passengers traveling by air should expect longer than normal wait times and expanded screening of things on airplanes began friday with direct flights to the united states. at domestic airports, expect tsa to spend more time inspecting passengers and luggage. random checks, hand swabs to test for explosive residue and additional checks at the gate. even prechecked passengers may be required to remove shoes and
laptops. as cities are on high alert and running their own drills, cnn learned today that 13 passengers who got off of a flight from mexico to new york's jfk airport friday bypassed u.s. customs screening. customs and border protection is still trying to track down three of those mapassengers. we understand an airline worker at the gate didn't realize it was international and allowed passengers to enter the domestic terminal. we should point out all passengers had been checked against the terror watch list before they boarded that u.s. bound flight. >> still that's a pretty serious mistake that was made. rene, thanks very much. let's dig deeper into this joining us the former assistant fbi director and senior law enforcement analyst tom and paul
cruickshank. >> it's one thing if they try to organize a cell or an inform meant told them there would be an attack. if they monitor, in those cases, when is the person going to go operational? the only way to know in some cases is to read their mind and that's asking a lot. >> the macy's day parade in new york city and major the too ball games on thanksgiving. these are all big, big events but there is also deep concern about soft targets, if you will, by lone individuals. >> the soft targets, i think, are the big deal. when you look at the big veeven taking place, security is paramount and obvious and in layers and most of the outer core is very aggressive intelligence collection and a
lot of good forensics. it's the soft targets you don't expect it where you become that much more vulnerable. >> you agree, paul? >> absolutely. and this is the isis playbook they can get automatic weapons and there is concern that these terrorists can get weapons quite easily in the united states and very powerful weapons at that and concern that isis could send over some european extremists it's recruiting and training in syria and iraq and the evidence from this paris suggests some attackers could have got to the united states. i think isis can get a plot through against america. >> guys, stand by. we're getting more information on the suicide vest found in the paris suburb. we'll take a quick break. more of the news right after this. automated voice: to file a claim, please state your name. carnie wilson. thank you. can you hold on? ♪ hold on for one more day really? hey, i know there's pain. why do you lock yourself up in these chains?
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can also be catch-up-on-my-shows time. here i come! can't find you anywhere! don't settle for u-verse. x1 from xfinity will change the way you experience tv. more on breaking news, the discovery of a possible suicide vest where investigators traced the cell phone belonging to the eighth terrorist immediately after the attacks. paul cruickshank reporting it was found near a trash can and there is potentially significant
discovery? >> it's very significant for two reasons. one is there has been a lot of concern about this missing suicide vest that they believe belonged to salah abdeslam and the fact that his cell phones traced to this address is highly suggestive of the idea that is indeed the missing suicide vest that he didn't end up using that night that will be somewhat reassuring to investigators but he could have access to other weapons, kalashnikovs, things like that. this suicide vest didn't blow up. from a forensic point of view, they will be able to extract a lot of information about the bomb maker, signature of the device. the bomb maker is considered to be still at large. so this will be a very valuable find indeed from the forensic point of view because this device didn't blow up. >> is it possible, tom, the suicide vest could have been sitting there in that garbage
can for ten days? >> i think it's possible. they may have kept the trash removal companies out while they did forensics. we don't know. it would be a good question to learn the schedule for pickup and had that trash been removed since that time. >> the belgium prime minister today said they will continue to high state of alert, this highest state of alert in brussels for another week until next monday. they have to have, spider, some specific information to cause this kind of major dislocation. >> this is a major shut down. there are probably really good targetble, actionable intelligence we don't know about and not going to share. if they did, it wouldn't become actionable. i think we're going to see here in the next couple days an action that would take place that would lead us to the reason, the reason for locking the place down. >> the assumption, paul, is that isis may be targeting a location in brussels, right? >> that seems to be the information coming in and the
worry that the belgiums have and this worry really emerged on friday is there could be another attack team a bit like you saw in paris on friday the 13th that could launch a simultaneous attack in crowded spaces in brussels. that does seem to be specific information coming in. they don't have a good handle who is behind this and don't know the direction this would come from otherwise i don't think you would have seen the massive alert being put out and i think back to the plot which was tworted in january. there was no security alert before that even though that was a major isis area. the reason was they had all the suspects they felt were responsible on the 24/7 surveillance. they had a real handle on that one. they do not have a handle it appears on this threat stream, wolf. >> you think the belgium
authorities may be overreacting because they misread was going on. >> i'm not sure if they are overreacting but i agree with paul. normally in a case like this, if you have specific information against a certain group, who they are, where they are, what they will do, you go get them. you don't make the announcement and shut down. if they had that kind of information, they would go get them but the fact they haven't and are afraid this unknown cell is out there and going to attack and we don't know how they got that information. >> spider, the fact they are on the highest tate of alert in brussels, which some people call the capitol of belgium and europe and a terror attack is quote imminent, that means -- >> i truly believe they do. they could be developing this situation. there could be some additional steps they have to go through and you also conduct operations to gain intelligence. they might be pushing at it to
see what type of a reaction you get so they can then launch? >> let's not forget outside of brussels saying all u.s. military personnel have to be careful, avoid certain areas now. this is an incredibly dangerous situation unfolding. guys, stand by. much more ahead on the breaking news from paris and the worldwide alert just issued for all americans traveling around the world. the alert issued by the state department and controversy swirling around donald trump tonight doubling down on his claim he saw thousands of muslims in new jersey cheering on 9/11. big day? ah, the usual.
moved some new cars. hauled a bunch of steel. kept the supermarket shelves stocked. made sure everyone got their latest gadgets. what's up for the next shift? ah, nothing much. just keeping the lights on. (laugh) nice. doing the big things that move an economy. see you tomorrow, mac. see you tomorrow, sam. just another day at norfolk southern.
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. amid a steady dumb beat, donald trump is sticking to his story that he witnessed thousands of people witnessing the attack on the new york world trade center by muslims. sara murray is on the scene for us. what's the latest on the controversy, sara? >> reporter: that's right. he's called for surveillance of some mosques and we'll see if he ramps up that rhetoric tonight. in the wake of the paris terrorist attacks, trump is sharpening his anti-rhetoric
terrorist talk. he says he saw thousands of people celebrating in new jersey after the 9/11 attacks. >> i watched in new jersey where thousands and thousands of people were cheering as that building was coming down. >> reporter: standing by his claim, even as news organizations and government leaders call it false. >> you know, the police say that didn't happen. >> people that were cheering on the other side of new jersey where you have large arab populations, they were cheering as the world trade center came down. >> reporter: tonight, trump is not backing down, even asking "the washington post" for an apology. the billionaire is pointing to this sentence in "the washington post" a week after attacks. law enforcement detained people after cheering on rooftops in new jersey city. cnn has found no evidence of arrests or a video shows muslims
cheering. still, despite that lack of evidence, today, trump's main rival, dr. ben carson, said he saw the same thing. >> did you see that happenig, though, on 9/11? >> i saw the film of it. >> in new jersey? >> yeah. >> reporter: trump is on the defensive for his response at a campaign event in alabama this weekend. >> get them the hell out of here, would you please. >> reporter: a black lives matter supporter was kicked and choked. on sunday, trump appeared to condone the crowd's violent response. >> maybe he should have been roughed up because it was absolutely disgusting what he was doing. >> reporter: hours after those remarks, trump tweeted an overly charged graphic. that claims that 81% of whites are killed by african-americans.
>> sara murray reporting to us from columbus, ohio. sara, do we have you? >> reporter: we're just wrapping up the "national anthem." the controversy has moved and dr. ben carson is walking back his remarks earlier saying he doesn't stand behind the statement attributed to him earlier, the people celebrating in new jersey. he said he saw that video coming from countries in the middle east. wolf? >> sara, don't go too far away. i want to bring in brianna keilar, senior political analyst, ron brownstein, editor of "the national editor." your response from your colleagues, i don't know if you were working at "the washington post" back in 2001 when all of this uproar developed but donald trump wants your newspaper to apologize. are you hearing anything whether or not "the washington post" is
going to apologize to him? >> i'm not hearing anything. and based on what i know, wolf, we don't have any reason to issue an apology. this was mentioned briefly in a news item one week after the attacks that alleged reports were being looked into but none of those have ever been substantiated and anybody can go to our website and read our fact checker of the whole incident. he gave it four pinnochios. look, somewhere in the world -- and definitely we've seen on video that other places in the world were cheering the 9/11 attacks. and anybody cheering the 9/11 attacks, it's reprehensible. it should go without saying. that someone is doing this in jersey city is not substantiated, certainly he's being misleading if he says thousands of people watched as this happened. >> brianna, does this help among the base of the republicans
voting in the primaries and caucuses? >> it might help. what is he doing here? he's feeding what is really a scary image to a republican primary audience at a time when there's a lot of anxiety about muslims, specifically, muslim refugees, as we saw from the bipartisan house vote last week. and i've been talking to republicans today. republicans who certainly wish that this would hurt donald trump and they say this is nonsense. this is bad for the republican party. but look, he's operating in pretty safe space politically. look at the past. he has offended latinos, talking about mexico, sending criminals and rapists. he's even offended iowans. he's made this habit of insulting groups of insulting people and it hasn't backfired. >> four months in a row he's atop of almost all of the national polls, atop all of the early state polls. he's doing remarkably well. >> it's this nexus of terrorism
and it's such jet fuel for him. this is a shattering event for him. legitimate for americans to be questioning all of our preparation and all of our defenses. i think you really have to understand what is happening here in the republican primary and what donald trump is saying as a continuation, as brianna was saying, as months of arguing that undocumented immigrants are a threat, both security and economic. before that, ebola and unaccompanied minors at the border. you're seeing a series of arguments that trump and other republicans that the world outside is coming, we need to build a fortress. i need to point out that among college-educated republicans, trump's numbers are much weaker and he has a little bit of dynamic where he's feeding his base but at the price of raising more doubts of those that are still skeptical and eventually that may coalesce among one and
the race could look different. >> some are saying that he could capture the republican presidential nomination. >> look, his hold on this part of the party is real. 14 candidates in the race, he's over 40% among noncollege republicans with 14 alternatives. but historically, it's been the other wing of the party that wins and behind a rubio/bush, more likely rubio, that will be more of a challenge. >> let's let david weigh in. what do you think, david? >> clearly, as ron is saying, he has figured out a way to get this 30% of the republican primary voters to back him and propel him to this position and he'll probably carry this well into new hampshire and iowa. it's been done, like we've been talking about, throwing out these statements that feed the energy of the base, statements like obama is proposing 100,000, 200,000 refugees coming to the country when the president has only proposed 10,000. and then he has a way of sort of gradually walking that back and letting it fade and it's been
effective for him and i think, for one, it doesn't reflect well on him as the leader of one of the two major political parties in the country and i also think that, as ron points out, as you get to a general election audience, this is not going to be as successful, in my view. >> his numbers are going up, brianna, but ben carson's numbers seem to be going down. >> i would add to this that the republican establishment moving into the winter of trump, they thought that there was no chance. how could he be the nominee, they thought? but increasingly we're seeing this admission on the part of the republican establishment. this could happen and they are coming to terms with that. >> a big change with 9/11, this is occurring amid already about america's changing face, trump drawing so much power from the resistance and portions of the republican base. >> ron, brianna, guys, thanks very much. be sure to join us for the next republican presidential debate.
i'll be the moderator when the candidates face off december 9th in las vegas. remember, you can always follow me on twitter @wolfblitzer. erin burnett "outfront" starts right now. "outfront" next, breaking news. the state department issuing a rare worldwide travel warning to all americans on one of the busiest travel weeks of the year. plus, investigators find an abandoned suicide vest just outside of paris as the manhunt for the missing attacker shuts down a major european city. and donald trump claims he saw thousands and thousands of celebrating after the 9/11 attacks. where's the proof? let's go "outfront." good evening. i'm erin burnett. "outfront" tonight, a new and disturbing warning to all americans ahead of the busiest travel day of the