>> announcer: is this cnn breaking news. hello, i'm wolf blitzer. it's 1:00 p.m. here in washington, 6:00 p.m. in brussels, belgium, from wherever you're watching from around the world thanks for joining us. right now, president obama is renewing his vow to defeat isis just a day art deadly attacks in brussels. here's what the president said just in the last hour during a news conference in argentina. >> i've got a lot of things on my plate, but my top priority is to defeat isil and to eliminate the scourge of this barbaric terrorism that's been taking place around the world. this is difficult war. it's not because we don't have the best and brightest working on it. it's not because we are not taking the threat seriously.
itis challenging to find, identify, small groups of people who are willing to die themselves and can walk into a krould and detonate a bomb. >> belgium meanwhile remains at its highest security alert and will stay there long as about accomplishings remain on the loose. a man left behind a bag at the airport that contained the largest of the explosives detonated after the others but caused no injuries. we're also learning that interpol has issued a so-called red notice to one of the two brothers, the latest went out to el bakraoui on the left. we also know that salah abdeslam was supposed to be part of yesterday's attack but arrested a few days earlier.linked to ths
attacks as well. let's get more. joining us now our senior international correspondent clarissa ward and our senior international correspondent fred pleitgen. fred, you're over at the apartment where the suicide bombers left and they found explosives. what are you learning? >> reporter: well, wolf, it really appears the apartment here in the brussels district of schaerbeek was the main hub in the bombs used in the brussels airplane and the metro station as well. the authorities after a massive raid carried on throughout the better part of the night which we actually watched unfold on cnn the entire time.
they have discovered in that apartment at least 15 kilos, almost 40 pounds of tapt. remember, this was on top of what they put in the airport and metro station. they discovered cannon bombs and nails and screws and bolts that are mixed to make them even more deadly. they discovered an isis flag. and what's also more important, they discovered a laptop. and that laptop was in a garbage can outside of an apartment complex, and they say in that computer was a last will that he felt the authorities were on to him and that he felt he had to act quickly otherwise he would end up in the same place as abdeslam which is, of course, in the custody of the belgium authorities. >> we're just getting word that secretary of state john kerry will travel to belgium on friday
to meet with officials there to express u.s. condolences. the statement goes on to say that he will reiterate the strong support of united states for belgium efforts to contribute to efforts to counter violent extremism. that statement coming in right now. clarissa, you're there, what are you seeing as far as security is concerned. how are people coping knowing there are other suspected terrorists at large inside brussels and belgium right now, and they be plotting and planning? >> reporter: well, wolf, that was perhaps the head line that we heard from belgium's prosecutor earlier. that there is still a number of suspected terrorists at large, on the loose, potentially armed. and yet, as you can see behind me, there's quite a crowd of people gathered here. they have been here all day.
they gathered initially to hold a moment of silence to essentially commemorate all of those who lost their lives. and then they spontaneously erupted into applause. we've heard cheering, they've been saying we're all together, we're all together. so there's absolutely a sense of defiance or certainly, resilience here. now, looking around, you don't see that much in the way of obvious security. i have seen some soldiers heavily armed but i was watching closely, i did see a number of plains clothes security officers, obviously belgian authorities are keen for people to get back on the streets to be able to grieve together as a nation. to be able to show their solidarity and their defiance. but this is still a very high state of alert. authorities here do not want to take any chances as fred reiterated, there are a number of people, potentially, on the loose. and they just don't want to take any chances wolf.
>> aclarissa ward, thanks very much. fred pleitgen, thanks very much. joining us the retired u.s. colonel cedric leighton, cnn military only lift former intelligence officer and former official over at nsa, national security agency. also joining us shahad monalone, spent sometime in the belgian suburb molenbeek. first of all, cedric, some arrests, they're looking for more. potentially sleeper cells as well. how do they go ahead in belgium with their limited capabilities and let's put it bluntly, not necessarily great work they've done so far to round up all of these terrorists? >> well, wolf, that's exactly the problem, what you see is the situation where they almost got
them. it is very clear that these terrorists were feeling the heat from the police. but they just didn't have the action in the part of actionable intelligence that they really needed. they had the intelligence but not to the fidelity that they needed in the way they handled the raid on friday when he captured abdeslam. but what they had is the information to go in and conduct it. and they didn't have the information they needed. >> you've spent some time over there working in communities, in brussels, else where in belgium. there seems to be according to officials code of silence among some of the youth there. and that's perhaps why salah abdeslam were able to hang out without getting caught. >> these young people are caught in limbo where they don't feel they're part of their parents' generation in the homeland and they don't feel like part of society.
these people, they just hold themselves up, they just want to be safe. if they felt empowered and they felt they could be out there, be in public, see people falling through the cracks they might be able to do that. they're scared like other people. these young people are feeling isolated. >> so if people knew, young people, or maybe not so young, terrorists the most wanted in europe salah abdeslam directly involved in the paris attacks, if he was kihiding out they wouldn't go out? >> you have to understand, they're hiding in their holmes. if they're given a feeling that they're safe in their communities. >> how do you fix that? >> you fix that dealing with the law enforcement problems now. people are feeling scared to get out of their homes and communities. create space where is they can come together, learn inertia,
get to know their neighbors. >> are belgian authorities on top of it? do they know what they're doing? >> well, from what i saw on the ground is really a hands-off situation. that's not going to help anyone. >> belgium, it's not only a major european country, european union is there, nato is headquartered there. u.s. has enormous interest there. and the u.s. fears what happened there could happen here. >> oh, absolutely. when you talk about nato, the nato headquarters is actually directly between the airport and metro station that were bombed. both of those were bombing targets. and it shows how vulnerable not only nato institutions and other institutions. when you look at this, you're right, it's community policing part of this effort. but it's as authorities really need to have a structure where they essence rebuild their
entire oedipus. >> is that just throughout belgium or europe? >> well, i think you want to look at belgium specifically because you have descendants of morocco and turkish. the turkish community is much more integrated. they've run from for parliament. you have a local analog that is part of the solution. >> most were born in belgium but were from the moroccan community? >> yes. coming up belgian officials are being criticized for letting security slip. and donald trump takes on ted cruz, this time over a picture of his wife. you both have a
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in a daily beast article a u.s. intelligence officer likened the belgian security forces to quote, children. and the australian prime minister said, quote, it's a sad state of affairs in europe. they've allowed their security measures to slip. i'm joined by matt thornbury, chairman of the house services. mr. chairman, thank you for joining us. >> thanks for having me. >> do you agree with the comments that law enforcement, counterterrorism officials are not necessarily doing the job as well as they should? >> well i agree with that, what you just said. they're not doing the job as well as they should. they have long-running problems because most law enforcement in belgium is done by locale. so sharing the information among the various localities is not something they've done a good job with. they've been trying to improve
since the paris attacks but obviously they've not been improving fast enough. i also agree that information sharing across europe is not as good as it needs to be so there's room for improvement across all of those countries. >> the belgian interior ministry there said although authorities knew some kind of extremist act was being prepared in europe, they didn't know it focused in on belgium. he said we never could have imagined something of this scale. that's pretty amazing when you think of all of the warning signs out there, all of the intelligence pointing precisely to this kind of terror act. >> well, exactly, i think most sides of the intelligence on both side of the atlantic was expect something sort of terror attack anywhere. i'm struck by that comment because if you'll remember the result of 9/11 commission was a failure of the imagination.
so the extent to which any of us put blinders on and assume it can't happen here just aids the terrorists and gives them more room to roam and carry out their attacks. >> in a statement after the attacks you said this, and i'll put it up on the screen, mr. chairman. the u.s. stands with belgium but we all care and should do more to defeat isis. that does not mean that the u.s. must solve all the problems of the world but it does mean that america is an unique force for good." >> number one, intelligence is key. remember what we have done in recent years and that was leak to the terrorists how we gather information. and that has given the terrorists a real leg up. so beefing up intelligence-gathering, domestically, in europe, and in iraq and syria and other
operations of the world is key. secondly, we have been rather half hearted in going after isis in iraq and syria. we have been limited by a number of factors, concern about civilian casualties. concern about various things. and, so, it's been kind of a slow escalation of our military efforts. and you don't defeat a cancer of this kinds by slowly racketing up. you got to hit it with a sudden shock. so it's more of an attitude of seriousness with which you take this problem than it is anything else. >> well, shouldn't the u.s. be concerned about civilian casualties, losing innocent people in the course of trying to destroy isis? >> of course, we should be concerned. the question is, when we are letting the tail wag the dog. in other words, when military commanders have got to go up the chain of command several steps in order to authorize an air
strike, by which time the people you are trying to strike are long gone. so it's the micro management of -- from the white house that has -- and others that have helped inhibit the effectiveness of our military operations. >> i was talking the other day to donald trump, the republican presidential front-runner, he suggested reducing u.s. involvement in nato. this is before the brussels attacks. reducing u.s. expends tours as far as nato is concerned. are you with him on that? >> well, i have not paid a lot of attention to the statements made in the presidential campaign. i will say i think nato is very important not only for attacking isis but for deterring russia and putin. as well as its involvement in afghanistan. so, look, isis is a worldwide problem. it is an attack on civilization. and civilization had better get
its act together in order to be serious about defeating this enemy. nobody should assume that what happened in brussels or what happened earlier in paris is only going to be confined to those cities. this cancer will spread until we apply appropriate remedies. >> but very quickly because we're out of time mr. chairman, nato has not as an organization agreed to get involved in the war against isis. they've laid back. there's a division among the nato allies. a lot of people are frustrated by that. are you? >> yes, of course. i'm not saying nato is perfect. and as a matter of fact, nato had better step up to the challenges that civilization faces faces or it will be irrelevant. on the other hand it is helping to share information of the various countries and do a variety of things that are useful. but it needs to do more. that was the point of my statement, everybody needs to do
more, includinging us. >> matt thornberry, thank you for joining us. coming up a utah teen who witnessed boston marathon bombing narrowly escapes death in brussels. how strange is this for your family to be involved in two of these? >> i think two's enough for a lifetime now. >> you're going to see the emotional moment when he finally calls his very worried parents back home as we learn more about awhat's next for his recovery. with creative new business incentives, and the lowest taxes in decades, attracting the talent and companies of tomorrow. like in buffalo, where the largest solar gigafactory in the western hemisphere will soon energize the world. and in syracuse, where imagination is in production. let us help grow your company's tomorrow - today - at business.ny.gov this is lloyd. to prove to you that the better choice for him is aleve.
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including several young mormon missionaries in utah. one of those missionaries has an eerie connection to another bombing in boston, kyung lah has the story. >> every phone call, you've got to hope it's him, right? >> we're on pins and needles with over phone call. >> reporter: the call might be from their son mason, 19 years old, mason wells was with his missionary partner joe empey and elder joe norby at the brussels airport. >> departure, one of the bombs went off there and that's when mason was injured. >> reporter: all the men were hurt but expected to survive. the wells who live just outside of salt lake city haven't been able to speak to their son. they know he was close enough to the blast to be hurt. burns and foot injuries. what is it like being parents and having your son in the middle of something like this? >> i think the word is -- you feel -- you feel helpless.
you feel scared because there's not a lot you can do. >> reporter: this isn't this family's first time in the center of a terror attack. 2013 mason and his father had just left this block on the boston marathon when the first explosion went off. moments later chad wells explaining what he saw to wolf blitzer. >> chad wells, are you on the phone right now? >> yes, wolf, i'm on the phone. i can hear you. >> reporter: how strange is it for your family to be involved in two of these? >> i think two of these are enough now. i'm dumbfounded. mason was in the turmoil from when the blast happened and it was pretty chaotic from what i heard. >> didn't expect him to be in belgium. >> reporter: the boston terror attack didn't quell mason's church to serve his church internationally. as a witness in the second attack, the wells hope mason's
mission centered on peace holds message. >> it's a good wake-up call not only to the citizens of belgium and france but to the world that we need to come together as humanity and not pull ourselves apart. >> reporter: as we're finishing our interview -- >> okay. >> reporter: -- the call from mason. >> mason, i'm going to catch a flight to paris. >> reporter: what was it like to hear his voice? >> it was amazing relief. pure joy to hear mason's voice to know he's alive, he's okay. >> reporter: you heard chad wells there planning travel to france. richard norby and joe empey, they were both wounded, shrapnel wounds, as well as burns. kyung lah, cnn, salt lake city, utah. we're just beginning to learn the identities of some of the attack victims, 36-year-old
adelma tapia ruiz. a native of peru. ruiz had lived in belgium for six years with her husband and twin 3-year-old daughters. they were waiting to board a plane to new york for a family reunion. the news agency said the daughters and husband had left the boarding areas just moments before the explosion. we're also learning about leopold hecht, a native of belgium. he was a student there. and olivier delespesse also killed. he represents french speakers in belgium. our deepest condolences. for more information to help the victims and loved ones of the attacks in brussels, logon to
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president obama's come under some criticism here in the united states in the wake of the brussels attack for not immediately coming back to washington from cuba and actually going to a baseball game in havana. he responded today during a news conference in argentina. >> their primary power, in addition to killing innocent lives, is to strike fear. in our societies. to disrupt our societies. so that the effect cascades from an explosion or an attack by a semi-automatic rifle. and even as we are systematic and ruthless and focused in going after them, disrupting their networks, getting their
leaders, rolling up their operations. it is very important for us to not respond with fear. >> president likened it to the boston marathon bombing say he was proud when the boston red sox were back on the field days after the terror blast there. the u.s. state department has issued a warning about travel to europe in the wake of the brussels bombing. here to talk about that is mark turner, he's the deputy state department spokesman. mark, thanks very much for joining us. i want to get to that travel advisory in a moment. but all of a sudden, the state department announces that secretary of state john kerry will head to belgium, i guess, to show solidarity in the aftermath of these terror attacks. why is he going to brussels on friday? >> first of all, one of the first calls he made yesterday morning was to his counterpart in belgium to express solidarity and obviously to pass on our
deepest condolences for those killed and injured in the terrible attack. first of all, he's going to meet with eu leaders and belgium leaders to talk about the situation of the situation, ongoing threat. you see this, you were talking about this earlier on in the program, the threat that foreign fighters pose in radicalization. these kind of recruitment cells that we all need to lift our game, deepen our dlab brace in order to confront these threats. >> there was a travel advisory that the state department just released. it's pretty chilling about americans traveling to europe. among other things, the advisory says, terrorist groups continue to plan near term attacks throughout europe, targeting sporting events, tourist sites, restaurants and transportations. mark, when i read this travel advisory, it basically said to me, the state department is telling all americans, you know what, this is not a good time to go sightseeing.
to do travel in europe. stay away from europe at least for the time being. is that fair? >> i don't think it is, wolf. and here's why. it is our responsibility as a state department to periodically issue what we consider our assessment of the security environment, whether it's europe, africa, wherever. worldwide. we issue worldwide cautions. and it's partly our assessment, or our duty, rather, to the american citizens, the american traveling public. we're not in any way discouraging people or recommending people cancel their travel to europe. what we're saying is, they need to stay plugged in. they need to enroll in the safe travelers program. they need to stay connected to travel.state.gov to get the latest information. we all need to be vigilant in today's world. it's just the reality of the times we live in. in fact, this travel alert was teed up to be released even before the brussels attacks. it's our assessment again, given
what's happened in brussels, given what's happened in ankara a few times, american travelers need to not stay at home but stay vigilant. >> what do you mean by near term attacks, do you have specific belief that isis is plotting more terror attacks specifically going out to as you point out sporting events, restaurants and transportation? because if i'm an american tourist thinking of going to europe right now, i'm getting worried reading what the state department just told me? >> so, if we did have specific information we're legally bound to do this, we would share that information with the public to whatever information that pertained to. we do not have specific information about an impending plat or attack. but that said, we see the pattern and we recognize there's an ongoing threat of continues
terrorist activity. these cells, small cells, networks that are hard to root out. we've seen belgium struggle to do this, but, quite frankly, it's not exclusive to belgium. we're all dealing with self-radicalized networks, difficult to infiltrate and therefore difficult to disrupt. that's the concern. now, we assess the situation every couple of months and we'll continue to do that as we go forward. >> this travel alert you say expires june 20th. that's a long time from now. >> it is. >> it's a travel advisory for all of europe, not just belgium. let's get the final word on americans who may still be missing as a result of terror attacks in brussels. how many americans remain unaccounted for as far as the state department knows? >> first of all, we've got a little over a dozen that have been reported injured in the attack. we're obviously provides
consulate services to them as needed. we still do not have a firm number. we do have some american citizens unaccounted for, we also have, frankly, mission personnel, u.s. government employees unaccounted for. we're seeking to determine their whereabouts in what remains very fluid information. you just reported on the fact that now they're just starting to release names, the government release names of some of those wounded and some of those killed along with their nationalities. we're still trying to determine the extent of those americans still missing. as we get new information, families call in, we have to add those to our whereabouts list. we continue to follow up on this. it's our job. we take it very seriously but i don't have a firm number to give you at this point. >> are there any american fatalities? >> not at this time. but we're continuing to monitor that, very obviously, closely. >> approximately how many americans are missing? >> again, i don't have a firm number.
that number is changing all the time. we're trying to whittle down the list. we get new information from families, loved ones, asking about their whereabouts. it's just very fluid. so, we're trying to narrow it down to find out the whereabouts of these individuals. >> when you say mission personnel, you mean diplomats and their families who may be missing? >> that's right, that's right. yeah, that's correct. it's a big mission. as you know, there's a bilateral mission, there's a mission to eu, as well as a mission to nato. so it's a big official american community. >> our hearts and prayers go out to all of them. mark toner is the deputy spokesman for the state department. coming up, the debate between ted cruz and donald trump escalating this time involving their wives. that includes donald trump making a wild threat to quote,
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fight with ted cruz involving their wives. the social media feud started with a facebook ad by an anti-trump group called make america awesome. it's a super pac. we're not showing the ad. it's a photo of mrs. trump when she was a model before she was married. she's pictured nude on her stomach wearing nothing but jewelry. the writing on the picture says, quote, meet melania trump your next first lady. or you could support ted cruz on tuesday. that was released from the iowa republican caucus. cnn correspondent phil mattingly joining us from a john kasich event. walk us through this. it's gotten nasty between cruz and trump. >> reporter: no question about it, wolf, high stakes and somehow it came about over
wives. donald trump just used a picture of melania from a "gq" ad. be careful, or i will spill the beans on your wife. that's why we call him lying ted. a really unusual back and forth on twitter. not something you'd expect from a presidential campaign. but, wolf, the interesting part about all of this, this is a super pac not associated with ted cruz. what donald trump is accusing cruz of is illegal. and ted cruz spent a lot of time defending his wife. >> ted cruz's wife, heidi was just asked about it at a news conference. she was asked about donald trump's threat, quote, to spill the beans. this is how she responded.
>> you know, as i said, you probably know by now most of the things donald trump says have know basis in reality. so we are not worried. our campaign and we're going to continue. >> reporter: are spouses fair game in this election? >> i can lie said, we have run our campaign with the principles that ted and i believe in. and a lot of the things that are done from time to time are not from our campaign. so i want you to focus on what our campaign puts out which you'll find is a positive, hopeful optimistic agenda for this country. >> as you know, cruz did win the utah caucuses very impressively. he got more than 50% of the vote. so he gets all of the delegates there. she's an impressive woman, heidi cruz. she's a graduate of harvard. as ted cruz pointed out she's a daughter of missionaries. she has a successful career at goldman sachs. she's on leave right now. are we going to see more of her
right now to try to rebut what donald trump had to stay? >> wolf, you're going to see more of her, she's got multiple stops here in wisconsin. the primary april 5th. her resume is outstanding. she was a rising star in the bush administration before going on to private industry before going to goldman sachs. she is considered a very positive aspect of ted cruz's campaign. they want her out more and more. one of more interesting things we've seen, ted cruz trying to pivot away from what appeared to be a childish fight last night. for ted cruz, it's a campaign about serious issues when he can talk about terrorism, about supreme court nominees, when his wife can represent the campaign. that didn't happen last night, they want to pivot back to that, wolf. >> donald trump won impressively in arizona. cruz won impressively in utah. it's a one-to-one match. we'll see what happens april
5th. >> phil mattingly reporting for us. coming up, i'm joined by one of donald trump's senior advisers. we'll get his take. also, i want to talk about controversial comments that donald trump made to me about waterboarding, torture. much more when we come back. nutritious wheat for the adult you've grown into and delicious sweet for the kid you'll never outgrow... feed your inner kidult with frosted mini-wheats®. try new kellogg's mini-wheats harvest delights with sweet drizzle and bits made with real fruit. intensely-flavored.. colorfully-diverse. beautifully-misshapen. cultivated for generations, it's the unexpected hero of any dish.
donald trump says the terror attacks in belgium underscore his dual use water boarding, other harsh enter gags tactics including torture n. an interview with me in the situation room he said water boarding the paris terror suspect arrested last week might have prevented the attacks in brussels. >> look, i think we have to change our law on, you know, the water boarding thing. he may be talking, but he'll talk faster with the torture. if he would have talked you might not have had to blow up all these people dead and all these people horribly wounded.
he probably knew about it. i would be willing to bet that he knew about this bombing that took place today. >> steven miller, a senior policy adviser to donald trump. he is here with me right now. does he want to revise his comments not only supporting water boarding but supporting torture which goes against u.s. law right now, against international treaty obligation has the united states has. >> he has made clear whatever enhanced enter gags techniquesland use would be consistent with international treaties. >> they ban torture. >> if we have to revise our treaty obligations or our laws, he would do that. >> revise the geneva convention? >> not the geneva convention. but other agreements. water boarding is considered an improved enhanced enter gags technique. >> it has been outlawed since it was used after 19. >> but it's prove to work.
have been proven legal, have been proven safe and proven to save lives. >> he would bring that back, if he were president. he would try at least to get congress to authorize it? >> exactly what he is saying, yes. >> as president of the united states, he defended his strategy for fighting isis earlier today at a news conference in argentina. listen to what he said. >> we are approaching this in a way that has a chance of working. and it will work. and we're not going to do thing that are counterproductive simply because it's political season. we're going to be steady. we're going to be resolute. and ultimately, we're going to be successful. >> i want to react on behalf of the trump campaign to what the president said. >> the president's policy on terrorism has been fundamentally misguided because he refuses to acknowledge the threat as radical slaumt. but secondly he refuses to change our immigration policy to prevent the importation of a terrorism threat. >> he has authorized more targeted killings of terrorists
during his seven years than the bush administration did during its eight years. he is still going after terrorists and he is authorizing drones and pilot -- planes with pilots to go out there and kill people. >> he is launching some strikes in the middle east while at the same time giving visas to terrorists to come right into our doorstep. >> visas to terrorists? what terrorist has been given a visa? >> i'll give you an example. we had the san bernardino shooting. tashfeen malik was here on a visa. >> she wasn't a terrorist when she came into the united states. >> that's the whole point. >> she was getting married to an american citizen. >> the child of pakistani migrants. farook was the child of pakistan aye migrants. we found dozens of examples in just the last year of individuals here on visas who are involved in terrorism. we've seen with the chattanooga shooting in tennessee a quaetd migrant. we've seen somali refugees
joining isis in droves across the country. >> there may be individuals who slip through the process. but no one who is a known terrorist gets a visa to come to the united states. if anything, the president would authorize a targeted assassination of that terrorist. >> with tashfeen malik she had been radicalized before her entrance between the united states. we find many individuals who support extremist ideaologist allowed into the united states. you have many who subscribe to sharia law. and a subset is a high risk population for radicalization. as a result of that we have to ask ourselves thoughtfully and carefully should we give visas to people who have antisemetic views, hatred towards the muslims, hatreds towards secular views and hatred to the united states. and trump says it's not a good idea. >> he wants a ban.
>> until we can implement a security protocol. >> we'll continue this conversation. i'm sure it's going to generate commotion out there. that's it for me. i'll be back at 5:00 p.m. eastern in the situation room. in the meantime, the news continues right now right here on cnn. here we go. i'm brooke baldwin. thank you for being with mees. you are watching cnn's live coverage for the frantic manhunt for the bombing suspect and a terror cell truly at large here. right now here is what we know in belgium and really the international community mourning the victims of the deadliest terrorist attack in belgium's history. the country also on its highest alert as police are hunting for, quote, unquote, a number of suspects who still may be in the country by the way. we know that belgian authorities are now searching for this man. they have not identified him. this was the man in the