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tv   Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer  CNN  May 19, 2016 2:00pm-4:01pm PDT

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he's still fighting to win them. how their own relationship evolves here is going to answer that question if it does bring the party together. >> interesting. jeff zeleny, thanks. that's it for "the lead." i'm jake tapper. i now turn you over to jim sciutto in "the situation room." happening now, breaking news, focus on terror. an egyptian airliner vanishes over the mediterranean. officials say the likelyist cause is terrorism. search for wreckage. a search is under way for debris and clues that can tell investigators what happened to the airliner. what can the cockpit and flight recorders reveal about the plane's final moments? and american help. the u.s. deploys a long-range patrol aircraft to aid in the search. the president has been briefed and u.s. investigators are ready
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to step in if they are asked. we'd like to welcome our viewers from around the world and in the u.s. wolf blitzer is on assignment. i'm jim sciutto and you're in "the situation room." >> breaking news, an urgent search is under way as egyptair went down in the mediterranean sea. officials say controllers first lost radio contact with the airliner before it swerved sharply, plunged in altitude and finally disappeared from radar. an early theory among u.s. officials is that the plane was brought down by a bomb. they say there were no known threats to the aircraft or this route and no matches have come up in comparing the passenger manifest to terror watch lists.
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officials say the plane went through maintenance and security checks, noting that terrorism appears more likely than a technical failure. our correspondents, analysts and guests have full coverage of the day's breaking news. we begin with cnn's brian todd. what are you learning about what brought this plane down? >> u.s. officials telling cnn they are operating under a theory for now that this plane was taken down by a bomb and in a gut-wrenching development for the relatives of those on board egyptair flight 804, authorities have now had to walk back on their initial reporting that wreckage from the plane had been found. as of this moment, no wreckage of the plane has been confirmed or been located. the investigation now at a very early but critical stage. tonight, a frantic search in the mediterranean for signs of wreckage. >> the search and rescue teams are now turning into a search and rediscovery. >> reporter: the vice chairman says all of the maintenance checks were conducted properly.
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the airbus a320 is a workhorse, considered one of the safest plea passenger planes in the sky. and cruising altitude was about 37,000 feet. tonight, u.s. officials tell cnn they are operating on an initial theory that this plane was taken down by a bomb. as investigators learn more, that theory could change. egypt's top aviation official for now believes terror is likely. >> the possibility of having a different action or having a terror attack is higher than the possibility of having a technical -- >> reporter: at 11:09 p.m. local time, the plane took off from paris to cairo. it entered greek air space and then south of athens, the pilot was cheerful and changed the traffic controllers.
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2:27 a.m., the first sign something was wrong, despite repeated calls from air traffic control, the pilots did not respond. then, just two minutes later, the plane's signal dropped from radar. at some point after initially losing contact, a greek official says the aircraft took a precipitous drop in altitude, from 37,000 to about 10,000 feet. in the 24 hours before its disappearance, the plane had stopped in cairo, in tunisia, back to cairo and then to paris. >> in each and every destination that you have mentioned where the aircraft was stopped, it was checked. >> reporter: according to a u.s. official, that included a security sweep at the paris airport. >> would that have picked up any kind of a bomb? >> the presumption is yes but now we have a device inside a soda can in sanaa that prior to that would not have been picked
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up by the detection system. >> reporter: for that reason, counterterrorism officials will have to investigate everyone who could have come in contact with this plane at four different stops in four countries as well as their friends, relatives and anyone they might have communicated with. jim, it's a herculean task. >> and if they find the data recorders and flight boxes, what information is on there? >> aviation experts telling us tonight that finding the cockpit voice recorder is important but especially the flight data recorder. that's crucial. because that recorder can tell investigators if there was a catastrophic structural event on the plane and they can measure that with the characteristics of the debris field to determine if there was an explosion. >> brian todd, thanks. the feeling is that a bomb took
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a plane down. listen to homeland security chairman for the house, mike mccaul. >> the threat indicators are very likely that they were dealing with a sharm el-sheikh type of attack, a bomb could have been placed on that aircraft, and in paris as it departed for cairo. this is the kind of threat that keeps you up at night. >> mike mccaul, chairman of the homeland security committee. evan perez, at this point, what hard evidence is there that this was or could have been a terrorist attack? >> there really isn't, not yet at this point, jim. it's what officials have, is a theory going on what they don't have. and what we don't have is any kind of s.o.s., any signal from
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the pilots that something was wrong on this aircraft. if something was going wrong, if something was amiss, they would have had time to radio in and to say that something was wrong. if somebody was trying to break into the cockpit, they would have had time to do the same thing. three security officials were on board this aircraft. that leaves you with this view that you have a threat environment, you know this from talking to officials that really is focused on western europe, the rise of islamist extremists there as well as in egypt where you have an isis affiliate gaining steam. that's the threat. they are focused on trying to figure out who was on this aircraft, the manifest is going to be very important, as you reported earlier, nothing was found in an initial check against a watch list. they've got to dig deeper to try to figure out everybody who has had access to this aircraft, including the flight manifest, people who were on passengers as well as the crew.
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>> and you make a good point, both the starting point and presumed finishing point are in areas that have terror threats, paris, france and egypt. evan perez, thanks very much. as the search for wreckage continues, the search for answers is really just beginning. let's turn to richard quest. you are talking to officials. what are they telling you about the evidence that brought down this plane? >> well, it's pretty much as evan and the u.s. justice department says. when a plane leaves the sky in this manner, 37,000 feet, the number of reasons why are remarkably fewer and far between. the mechanical failure or a bomb, massive, catastrophic mechanic mechanical structural failure or pilot error. and that's it, jim. that's the entire parameters. in this particular case, we also
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have the greeks reporting that they saw the planes swerving as it came out of the sky. that has to be taken with a certain pinch of salt and that could be the plane just falling out of the sky and not under any form of control. we have the fact that debris has not yet been found or confirmed to be found. that's likely to happen over the next few hours. and put it all together and you've got the plane has been through asmara and tunis. any of those facts on their own should not lead you to any particular conclusion but put it all together and you start to end up with what seems to be and general direction towards nefarious activity. one point here on this plane, having been to tunis and then paris, if all procedures were followed exactly as they were supposed to have done, then that plane should have been swept
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many times. it should have been swept in tunis, in cairo and it would have been swept in paris. seals would have been put on panels, cubby holes would have been investigated and looked at. what you can't guarantee or check on, of course, the weak link in many cases, is what goes on the plane in the hold. what the passengers are putting on. and jim, there you're talking about paris charles de gaulle. if that proves to be the weak link, then aviation has just moved into a different league when it turns into the security questions. >> and we do know now, richard, they are looking at ground staff at charles de gaulle. just briefly, how accurate is the radar data, particularly considering where the plane was, the radar station is presumably a couple hundred of miles away. the swirl, is that accurate as to what happened? >> no. i've been skeptical from the
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swerves from the beginning. the greek minister talked about the swerves. for those to be true, it suggests that we've got no other radar data, no other profile. i believe that will be the plane breaking up when radar seized to be backing the aircraft. nobody else has come out and said that they saw the plane falling out of the sky. i would put the swerves with the ske skepticism at the moment. >> the first draft ends up not being true. >> absolutely. >> richard quest, thanks very much. joining us now, the national safety council president, also former national transportation safety board chairwoman deborah herrsman. thank you for joining us. >> grad to be with you.
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>> given what is known right now, what steps would you be taking to determine the actual cause of this crash? >> you know, the first 24 hours are really a scramble for everyone involved. you want to lock down any perishable evidence or people in contact with the aircraft the last time it was down, any maintenance that might have been done, they are looking for the aircraft. so we're already seeing that they have revised the statement that they found the debris. that's an important piece of this, is to really wait until they have good, hard evidence to determine what happened. finding those black boxes, as you mentioned at the top of the hour, is critical. >> and they reversed that they found the wreckage. debor deborah hersman, please stay with us. we have a lot more hard questions to ask as we look at the loss of egyptair jet.
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welcome back. we're back with the former ntsb chairwoman, deborah hersman, the mystery of egyptair 804 passenger jet with 64 people on board. it vanished during the night over the mediterranean sea. deborah, as you look at this with your experience, once the wreckage is found and our latest information is that it has not been found yet, what signatures will investigators be looking for on the debris to get an initial assessment of what happened? >> you know, they want to locate the four corners of the aircraft first, the nose, the tail, the
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two wings. they are going to be looking to check those control surfaces to make sure that they are in tact and certainly if there is any sign of an explosion or foul play, they are going to look for markers of that. they can find those things in the equipment but one of the very important pieces is again the recorders. they can tell them a lot of information as well. >> when we look at where this plane went down, it's not the south indian ocean like mh370. how long could it take once they locate the debris? >> it really depends on how far away the assets are that can retrieve them. there are some specialized pieces of equipment that often they need to be able to scan, side scanning sonar, to be able to retrieve those black boxes to have the robot technology to be able to do that. but depending on when that
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equipment arrives, it may already be en route or how deep the water is where they find it, they may be able to do it and you are going to make sure that they don't miss anything. >> so certainly a lot of steps between now and then. once they do presumably find them, what are they going to be looking for and listening for, i suppose i should say, and also looking for in the data to determine the cause of the crash? >> so the really important thing is the two black boxes and they are actually orange, that they are going to be looking for -- the flight data recorder is going to have potentially hundreds or a thousand parameters. everything from speed and direction to kind of control surface positions. the cockpit voice recorder can be tremendously helpful because they can hear the communication not just between air traffic control and the pilots, between the pilots and each other, between the pilots and cabin
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crew and investigators at the ntsb back to twa 800 actually used sound signatures on the cockpit voice recorder to really understand the explosion that occurred in that fuel tank in twa 800. so they can do a lot with the equipment that they have. >> we have a flight data recorder here on the table in this studio. as you say, they are actually orange and not black. my understanding is that it's a particular -- if this were an explosion, it's a particular audio signature and length of the audio signature. is that right? that would determine whether it's a sudden or catastrophic event? >> that's right. they can really slow it down and if you think of video slowing it down frame by frame, they can do that with the audio recording and isolate other sounds out and they can really look at that sound signature and try to determine where in the aircraft it might have originated and what it might be telling them.
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but i want to share, this is technology that is decades old. the ntsb has recommended for a long time inward facing video recorders. we need to really think about those as far as eliminating any ambiguity, particularly when it occurs and there might be some human error or some action in the cockpit. that can be ruled out very quickly with video. >> so much more data we could be getting out of planes in light of technology today. deborah hersman, former ntsb, thank you for joining us. >> thank you. i'm joined now by cnn law enforcement analyst mike rogers, cnn aviation analyst and former ntsb managing director peter goelz and miles o'brien. we're going to take a quick break. please stay with us. a lot of hard questions to answer.
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what's recommended for me. x1 makes it easy to find what you love. call or go online and switch to x1. only with xfinity. welcome back. we are following breaking news. the crash of egyptair jet with some 66 people on board, u.s. officials tell cnn the early theory is that the plane was taken down by a bomb. the jet vanishing from radar during an overnight flight from paris to cairo. cnn international correspondent arwa damon is in cairo at the cairo airport. what are officials saying now about the status of the investigation? >> reporter: well, they also are echoing that notion by the u.s.
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that this was more likely to be an act of terrorism as opposed to some sort of technical failure. that being said, the vice chairman of egyptair is saying that he stands corrected. he had earlier stated that the wreckage of the plane had been found. that is no longer the case. this is still very much a plane that is missing with a search and recovery mission -- >> we just lost our audio from arwa damon live there in the cairo airport. i want to bring back our aviation expert peter goelz. we had this back and forth of whether they found debris and now they said they didn't. when they do find this debris, what signatures, what evidence are they going to be looking for on the wreckage they find to give an indication as to what brought the plane down? >> well, they are going to look at how the wreckage came apart and for the telltale signatures
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of explosions. the ntsb actually blew up a 747 following twa 800 so that it could map and photograph the destructive power of different sized explosive devices. so we know what the telltale signatures are, pitting, outward tearing of the skin. so that's what they are going to look for. but it's unlikely that they are going to get much valuable information off the floating debris. i mean, that stuff that is just -- the real information probably is 1500 feet down or more. >> the debris that's on the bottom of the mediterranean sea? >> that's right. >> miles o'brien, just minutes after it entered the egyptian air space, early information is that the plane swerved, they say 90 degrees to the left and 360 degrees to the left, plunged
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down to 10,000 feet. we know that the radar is not perfect but listening to that, hearing that, what does that tell you? >> well, it tells me probably the aircraft was in tact and moving the timeline back a couple of minutes, we know from the moment when air traffic control tried to reach the craft and they didn't respond, at least for those two minutes, there was some kind of trouble on that aircraft. so this wasn't an instantaneous event, whatever it was. it has all of the hallmarks of a deliberate event. does all of this jive with the idea that there might have been a bomb on board or something else happening that might have caused this? we don't know how long the plane was in trouble. we know that it was at least two minutes. the previous communication was 30 minutes prior to that. sometime in that timespan something happened. generally speaking when you look at these bomb attacks, you don't have these precursor events nor those kind of maneuvers.
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>> mike rogers, we know that one of the brussels attackers was reported by some debelgian outls to have worked at the airport. has that been a goal to infiltrate airport ground staff? >> we saw that in egypt already with the sharm el-sheikh attack. they infiltrated the inner workings of the airport. paris went back and has done a scrub of employees working at the airport, anticipating something like this. but the challenge is, do you get them all or when were they radicalized? there's no indication, by the way, yeah, someone at the airport did anything inappropriate. but what an investigator will do is go back and look at everything that touched that airplane from the route teen maintenance that happened a couple of days before this flight to everybody working on the services. >> you mentioned before we went on the show that could have been
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an opportunity because typically a plane is moving in and out but when it has a routine maintenance, is that an opportunity? >> it is only because if you're authorized to be in that area, there's periods where that aircraft -- there's not a lot of activity around the aircraft. there may be a small maintenance crew, there may be no maintenance crew. we have seen in the past that there was interest in targeting the maintenance cycle of these airplanes because it's easier to get at it. it doesn't mean that it's easy but just easier. investigators will have to look at that as a precautionary measure. >> it's about opportunity. tom fuentes, we have multiple stops here. this plane has been in tunisia and previously in cairo. you have potential points when, if it's determined that this was a bomb, something could have been put on that plane? what kind of a challenge is that for investigators, everybody who touched the plane in four
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different countries? >> that's right. there's the maintenance handlers, catering service, the crew and passengers themselves. that's several hundred people each times four. and that's the challenge. are you going to interview 5,000 people? we don't know if it's a mechanical failure or not. this reminds me of mh370. the radar said it went this way, that way. how accurate is the radar? do we really know that's what it did? when we get the flight recorders recovered, we'll know but do we know right now? >> you have experience in dealing with egyptian authorities dealing with a loss of a plane off the coast of nantucket in 1989. the ntsb ruled it as a pilot suicide and the egyptians say it was mechanical. how confident are you in this
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process that the egyptian authorities will be transparent? >> well, that's an issue of question. if it's an accident and egypt really has to follow the iokao rules, if it's a terrorist event, there's no laws of international statute that says that any country has to be transparent about an investigation into terrorism. it was clear to news 18999 whus. you understood what took place in that plane and it was horrible. the egyptians, for whatever reasons, never accepted that, even though at the time of the reading and listening, they did agree. so i think we're in a gray area now and it serves the interests of the egyptians to be upfront about terrorism right now
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because they can point to charles de gaulle airport. >> so if i'm listening at home and i hear that the french authorities recently scrubbed all the ground staff at the charles de gaulle airport, the main airport in paris there, that would strike me that they had concern about security at that airport. does that make sense? >> it does. it was more of the fact that the information that came out of the brussels terrorist attack cleerlly showed that there were relationships within individuals in brussels and paris. and that was a precautionary note and i would argue that they are doing their due diligence. they are scrubbing to make sure they hadn't missed something in the background or there hadn't been recent radicalization and so one provided access point to a terrorist for getting a bomb on an aircraft. >> tom, as you look at the kinds of groups that would have the capability to do something like this, if it's determined to get a bomb on a plane, it's over
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water and whether there was a timing device on board. we're talking about technological capability here if it does turn out to be a bomb. what groups, beyond the obvious, of course. >> the one trying to bring down aircraft, they have perfected being able to make petn-based devices that a passenger can bring on the plane, like the underwear bomber, and somehow detonate it while in flight. however, you have all of these employees from the catering services to luggage handlers to maintenance who have access to the cargo hold. it doesn't have to be sophisticated. they can still any device in there that's not going to be noticed by the captain doing the walk-around preflight or anybody else if they want to hide it in that hull and you had that with the egypt crash of the flight leaving sharm el-sheikh going to st. petersburg, russia, where the device got put in the cargo.
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even if paris scrubs all of the employees that worked directly at charles de gaulle airport, the food is prepared off the site. somebody could put something in one of those, attach it to the bottom of the cart, gets brought to the airport and put on the plane. who scrubs their employees? >> and how many potential weak points there are as you talk about one airplane and all of these stops. tom fuentes, peter goelz, miles o'brien, thank you so much. coming up, egypt's early and somewhat surprising claim that terrorism, not a technical failure, is the likely cause of this crash. it is government has conceded to resisting terrorism in past causes. we'll take a look at why this time it may be different. sales n put you right through. ♪ sales department-this is nate. human resources. technical support.
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break being news this hour, an urgent search is under way for wreckage and clues after an egyptian airliner goes down in the mediterranean carrying 66 people on a flight from paris to cairo. the early assumption by u.s. officials is that a bomb may have taken the plane down. officials are also learning towards terrorism. let's go to elise labott. what are you hearing this early in the game? >> reporter: that's right, jim. the egyptians wasted no time in saying that they believe it was brought down by a terrorist attack and the government's long history of ruling out terrorism in its aircraft makes today's possible attack all the more
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significant and raises real questions about air travel to egypt. just hours after the plane disappeared. >> radar, the egyptian government says that the plane was likely brought down by an act of terrorism. >> if you analyze the situation properly, the possibility of having a different action or having a terror attack is higher than the possibility of having a technical -- >> reporter: the plane went down just a day after secretary of state john kerry was in cairo for urgent talks with egypt's president about the growing terror threat. today, kerry was quick to offer help. >> the united states is providing assistance in the search effort. and relevant authorities are doing everything they can to try to find out what the facts are of what happened today. >> reporter: it took four months for egypt to acknowledge terrorists were to blame for last october's bombing of a russian airliner over egypt's
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sanaa. russia, the u.s. and other countries publicly said terrorists were responsible. >> that was a direct reflection on the lack of professionalism of their security forces at the airport and it was a blow to their tourism industry. so they were resisting any indication that they were responsible for this. >> reporter: to this day, egypt insists the 1999 crash of egyptair flight 990 was brought on mechanical failure, even though american investigators released a transcript of a cockpit voice recorder they say confirms their findings that the pilot deliberately nose-dived the plane into the indian ocean killing all the passengers and crew. after flight 804 made stops in tunisia and eritrea, it was
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searched in paris. >> egypt tries to do the best job that it can in combatting terrorism. we have our hands full. but a country like france with far more resources like we do, they weren't able to catch this. this is a big job and we all have to do it together. >> reporter: this could validate claims that the crackdown is in the same of security. >> the government can say, look, we are vulnerable and we need to ensure that not only our citizens are safe but that foreign visitors and others on planes are safe. >> reporter: and if it was brought down by terrorism, it will be a devastating blow to egypt's tourist economy which suffered a 40% loss after the metrojet attack. they had plans to revive the tourism industry but with this it will raise questions about
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future air travel to egypt. >> tremendous costs on all sides, no question. the early assumption by u.s. officials is that this was an act of terrorism. i want to bring in cnn evan perez, cnn peter bettrgen and michael weiss. gentlemen, we're getting new information now and we're going to follow up on this new information right after a quick break. please stay with us. ♪ ♪ the captivating lexus rc, with available 306 horsepower. this is the pursuit of perfection.
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an urgent hunt is under way for clues to the crash of egyptair. the working theory is the
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airliner was brought down by a bomb. back with the panel of experts looking at possible terror links. evan, if i can begin with you, there was no may day from the plane. why are u.s. officials, intelligence sources focusing on that detail? >> simply because, jim, they believe if there was catastrophic failure, something was wrong with the aircraft, this is a modern aircraft, a fairly well maintained aircraft. there would be redundant systems that would give them time to make that may day call, even if there was a hijacking attempt, they believe that certainly three air marshals or security officials would give them time to make that may day call. >> reinforced door. >> right, exactly. and the other thing that we have been talking about a lot, the swer fs picked up allegedly by radar. greek officials have talked about, we are told that kind of information is not that reliable, that the radar might be picking up pieces of the
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aircraft as they were falling to the sea. again, these are all early indications until they find wreckage, until they find the data boxes, we will be speculating what happened. >> and the air station a couple hundred miles. if there were determined to be an explosion, it happened over the sea, a couple hundred miles from the egyptian shores. presumably that would provide for some level of technology advancement to the bomb to have a timer or something like that. is there any indication, do you learn anything from where this catastrophic event took place if terrorism was the cause? >> we may learn eventually. i think it is too soon to tell. somebody on facebook made a good observation. this flight took off about 24 minutes late, and it would have landed, you know, around the time of the explosion had it taken off on time. you can imagine if it was an ied or bomb set to timer, perhaps it
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was met to detonate the device on the tarmac in the airport in cairo. this is intended under that theory to be a terrorist attack perpetrated on egyptian soil rather than mid air. >> as relates to terror, we know that recently french authorities went through the airport looking closely at airport staff and taking some of them out of their jobs. what does that say to you about their level of concern? had they identified to risk at the airport or is that precautionary? >> i have the answer. i think this is the weakest link, and we've had people that joined isis working at the minneapolis airport, people that joined sha bob working at the minneapolis airport. we have people at heathrow in the u.k. communicating with members of al qaeda. obviously a lot of people work at airports. they are not subject to the same
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scrutiny they are typically in the united states, even in the united states, seeing people not put there by isis, but self recruiting to the groups. this is a major flaw in the way we top security. >> and you have the paris airport but it stopped in cairo and tunisia before the plane disappeared. evan, if i can ask you, there's enormous concern for u.s. bound flights originating in europe and elsewhere in the middle east. this one, of course, did not go to the u.s., it was going onto egypt. is security more stringent for flights leaving europe and elsewhere overseas if they come to the u.s.? >> there are, there are stricter rules that the tsa imposes, that the u.s. government imposes on any u.s. bound aircraft or aircraft that overfly u.s. territory. for instance, the airlines are required to hire their own security contractors who go in, search, make sure that the
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aircraft doesn't have anything, that it is not supposed to be on there. beyond people as peter mentioned were the weakest link of the system, spent trillions on security, that's the weakest link, the u.s. says they have additional security requirements that aren't really required, for instance, by egyptair or other countries. they feel they have enough security in this and other airports. this is a very porous system, only as good as the weakest part of that. >> some of that would be security you would see, for instance, that extra interview before you get on the plane. >> some of it is stuff you don't see, people that are below the aircraft, and that's exactly right. we've had a couple of incidents in somalia where the aircraft had bombs on them. that's the thing that's worrying them. how are people getting these devices on the aircraft without being detected.
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>> thanks very much for joining us. coming up, an egyptian airliner vanishing over the mediterranean. the likeliest cause is terrorism because the plane simply fell out of the sky. the working assumption that a bomb brought the plane down. it's how i try to live... how i stay active. so i need nutrition... that won't weigh me down. for the nutrition you want without the calories you don't... try boost® 100 calories. each delicious snack size drink gives you... 25 vitamins and minerals and 10 grams of protein. and it's available in two new flavors, vanilla caramel and double chocolate fudge. i'm not about to swim in the slow lane. stay strong. stay active with boost®.
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breaking news. terror suspected. investigators are scrambling to find out why a flight from paris to cairo vanished during the safest part of the flight. u.s. officials say a bomb may have brought down the jet with 66 people on board.
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intensifying search. american jets are joining the search for debris and clues and the u.s. is sharing intelligence. stand by for new information from our terror and aviation experts this hour. and it's done. hillary clinton flatly declares she will be the democratic nominee urging a defiant bernie sanders to do his part for party unity. she's also dismissing donald trump as unqualified to be president. all this in an exclusive interview with cnn. we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. wolf blitzer is on assignment. i am jim sciutto. you're in "the situation room." breaking news this hour. egypt's president is demanding an intensified search for wreckage in a new airline disaster that could be an act of terror. right now, crews are scouring for debris of the flight.
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officials say objects found earlier did not come from the plane. u.s. officials telling cnn they're operating on an early theory that a bomb may have brought down flight 804. all 66 passengers and crew members on board the jet are now presumed dead. the flight was headed from paris to cairo when it vanished over water earlier today soon after entering egyptian air space. there was no distress signal before the plane disappeared. tonight, they sent navy planes to aid in the search. officials say there are no known security issues with any of the passengers on board. our correspondents and analysts are standing by with full coverage of the breaking news story. first to cnn aviation correspondent renee marshall. >> jim, this appears this was a catastrophic event that happened quickly.
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the working theory is a bomb potentially brought the plane down. investigators won't say what went wrong until they get their hands on the wreckage and the critical black boxes. tonight an urgent search is under way in the mediterranean sea. they deployed an aircraft to aid in the search for flight 804. officials in egypt and in the u.s. believe this was likely an act of terrorism. >> translator: if you look at the situation properly, the possibility of a terror attack is more likely than a technical problem. >> reporter: at 11:09, the plane took off in route from paris to cairo. at 1:48, it checked in at the next control point, south of athens. greek officials said the pilot was cheerful and thanked the air traffic controllers. 2:27 a.m., the first sign something is wrong. despite repeated calls from air traffic control, the pilots do
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not respond, then two minutes later, the plane signal dropped from the radar. greek officials say that aircraft plunged from cruising altitude of 37,000 feet to 10,000 feet, when it disappeared from radar. egyptair officials say the plane, arron oberholder bus a 320 was relatively new and pilot experienced. >> he has 2,000 hours of this type. good reputation. >> reporter: a u.s. official says it made two stops but was swept by security before leaving for cairo. this is the latest incident for egyptair. in may, a man falsely claiming to wear a suicide vest hijacked a plane with 72 people on board. in 1999 u.s. investigators say a deliberate act brought down an
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egyptair plane near nantucket island killing 200 on board. in october, a russian airliner crashed from taking off. isis claimed responsibility for placing a bomb on board. there was some discrepancy about whether debris from this jet liner had been discovered, had been found. the vice chairman of egypt air told cnn that life jackets and debris from the aircraft had been found. the airline later backtracking once greek officials came forward and said no debris has been found at this point. jim, the search for debris, the critical, critical pieces of the plane continues tonight. >> that will pick up when the sunrises tomorrow morning. thanks very much. as investigators focus on the possibility of terrorism, there are fresh questions being raised about airline security at airports. cnn's brian todd is looking into that. any warning signs of what might have been missed before this?
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>> reporter: apparently not many warning signs, if any. they have a massive job ahead. u.s. officials say they're operating under a theory it was brought down by a bomb. officials acknowledge it is still early. this theory could change. two u.s. officials telling cnn there was no known threat which anticipated the incident, but investigators are going to have to look at where this aircraft was in the 24 hours before it vanished. that information is crucial. let's take a look. during that period, the plane stopped, then went to cairo, stopped in tunisia, then flew back to cairo, then flew to paris. the vice chairman each stop the plane went through a security check. according to one u.s. official, that included a security sweep of the plane in paris at charles de gaulle airport before final takeoff. aviation security analysts tell
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us that sweep in paris may not have picked up a smallul eller . you have to look at the crash of the metrojet plane in the sinai in october. they found what appeared to be bomb or detonator inside a soda can. he says up until that time, a standard security sweep may not have picked up a device that small. so they have to look at the sweeps that were conducted at each of the airports, jim, that's going to be crucial. are they going to detect anything at any of the airports. >> four different airports, four different countries. so many people involved in each of those stops, isn't that right? >> that's right, an incredible job ahead. u.s. officials say investigators first looked, it will likely be the ground crew in paris, flight crew. anyone in paris who had access to the plane there. analysts say counterterrorism officials have to investigate everyone that could have come in contact with the plane, as you
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mention, jim, at all four stops in four countries. and people who were their friends, relatives, anyone they communicated with. imagine how many people you have to check out in that circumstance. >> brian todd on the story, thanks very much. want to go to cnn analyst miles o'brien. miles, looking at this there is a gap in the time line that investigators are particularly concerned about. why is that gap significant? >> well, there's 30 minutes that are kind of unaccounted for. we know the last two minutes something was awry on the aircraft, air traffic control tried to reach the crew, they didn't respond after several times. couple minutes later the aircraft began erratic maneuvers and then disappeared. trying to figure out what happened in that two minute period is hard. one of the things i should point out is this 90 degree turn. it is standard procedure in rapid descent for an aircraft to
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turn 90 degrees off the airway so that it doesn't move into the flight path of an aircraft that might be flying below on the same route, so that 90 degree turn could have been a crew struggling with an aircraft that was dealing with decompression. the subsequent 360 is a little harder to figure out. beyond that, there was a 30 minute gap which we don't know what was going on from last known radio communication to that final call that was nonresponsive. was there something going on at that time, we don't know yet, and that's something the cockpit voice recorder will help us with eventually when it is found. >> fascinating that the first turn could have been under control of the flight crew. one theory. miles, stand by. i want to bring in former fbi director tom fuentes and peter
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bowles. how many legs were in the flight, three stops, three different airports. that means a lot of folks who would have had opportunity to touch the plane. >> absolutely. it is a daunting task. all of the stops were in areas where there are active terrorists dedicated to injuring the aviation industry. and this is a real problem. eritrea, and we don't have a clear understanding of what resources were being applied in the three airport. we know what charles de gaulle has done, and they had a problem. we don't know what resources were being applied to protect the plane. >> tom fuentes, after the metrojet crash leaving egypt on the way to russia crashed over
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the sinai, security was already tightened at that point. paris was already on high alert in the wake of the parisian attacks as well. what security could have been bypassed, even after raising the level again, as you're watching this, what potential weak points are there. >> paris airport is big compared to shar mel shake. their security would be more sophisticated, but the challenge greater because of the number of people that work at the airport, and probably food carts prepared off site and delivered already assembled. somebody could stick a device on a cart, bottom of a cart, get on the plane and blow up later. you have all of that as a challenge. one of the things to me still missing, this is not the indian ocean. there's a lot of ship traffic, airline traffic in the eastern mediterranean sea. when this plane, it is dark.
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if this plane was blown up like a bomb, you remember video images of twa 800, flaming debris coming down, on the surface of the water, where is that. we don't have any witnesses that saw anything in the air. and on a clear night with dark skies, you would think you would see it for hundreds of miles. >> when you look at this, people at home think about vulnerability of people getting on the plane, we all go through the screening, but as we have been talking about, all these other people have access to the plane, maintenance, food workers. do we have the same vulnerabilities in the u.s. and u.s. bound flights? >> unfortunately, yes, jim. the back door of the airport remains the issue that is of greatest concern to people who look at security of airports. while we are taking off shoes, pouring out water bottles, turning in nail clippers on the
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front door, at the back door the caterers, baggage handlers, people that have intimate access to the guts of the airplane are not put through the same scrutiny by any means. now, they're screened as employees of various contractors that do the work, but it is a vulnerability that should be addressed and it hasn't been sealed up as it should be. >> one indication, and there are many ifs attached to the story, we are not there yet, we don't know the cause, we know what the leading theory is being terrorism, but tom fuentes, we know that airport security was a concern at least in france because they just went through a big sweep of the airport staff that they went through. they were searching lockers, checking, doing background checks. several people lost their jobs. how worry some would that be if you went through a check like that and something was still able to get on a plane. >> very worrisome.
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france and belgium have a series of attacks going back to charlie hebdo and other attacks. they know they're vulnerable to attack from al qaeda or isis or one of the other groups to try to put a weapon or bomb on an aircraft. so they're aware of that and they do these sweeps, but miles is correct, back door of the airport, we had at atlanta where delta flights were used to shuttle guns illegally to new york city, an informant turned it in, said yeah. in that case the employee gets on the airport grounds with a bagful of guns, goes into the airport, meets his partner who has already gone through security and trades did you feel bags, and gets hundreds of firearms on the delta flights. if we have that vulnerability, which we do, how can you throw rocks at cairo or paris or other airports and say their security is inadequate.
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the concern now is pressure on tsa about shortening lines, will pressure from the public -- >> you can't make it 100% safe. stay with us. new information is coming in. after this break, we're going live to paris. safety doesn't come in a box. it's not a banner that goes on a wall. it's not something you do now and then. or when it's convenient. it's using state-of-the-art simulators to better prepare for any situation. it's giving offshore teams onshore support. and it's empowering anyone to stop a job
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egyptair flight 804. officials say terrorism is more likely than technical issues to explain why the flight disappeared over the mediterranean earlier today. french officials say no theory at this point can be ruled out. atika shubert is at the charles de gaulle airport where the flight originated and took off. beknow they were raising security in advance of this. what are you learning from french authorities? >> reporter: absolutely. what airport authorities have told us is that they have taken months ago, stepped up security measures, the airport remains at the highest alert level. some of the measures they've done is to rescreen thousands of employees. 85,000 employees have access to the highly secured areas of the charles de gaulle airport in
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paris. they rescreened employees and actually removed about 70 of them from their jobs accessing secured areas because they feared that these employees may have had links to radical islamist negotiation. this has been a concern for authorities for some time. what they do to keep up that vigilance now is they do random, periodic checks of personal security lockers, screening with police records as well achb they are quite vigilant here. the question is whether there was a weak link anywhere that may have gotten through. that's what investigators are looking at, and they're specifically concentrating on ground staff baggage handlers, caterers, anybody that may have had access to the plane before it took off, jim. >> atika, as they have been looking and investigating following the disappearance of this flight, no red flags they've discovered yet?
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>> reporter: no red flags yet but, you know, it is going to take a lot of time. here at charles de gaulle, hundreds of people are likely to have had some contact with that plane, so they're interviewing different people who had contact there and they're sending their own investigators to cairo as well, so it is going to take some time. but as far as the investigation goes, this is the place to start. >> atika shubert there live for us in paris. i am going to turn to cnn justice correspondent evan perez, close relationship between u.s. and french authorities going back years. what are u.s. investigators learning from french counter parts, what evidence that this was terrorism? >> well, nothing yet. it is still early in the investigation. as atika pointed out, there's nothing ruled out yet. however, what u.s. officials are homing in on is the flight manifest. they want to know about every person on the aircraft, that goes for the 56 passengers, 10 crew members, including 3
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security members and 2 pilots on the plane. as you reported earlier, they did an initial search to look to see whether there's any red flags that show up on known terror watch lists, but that's not enough. they have to go deeper and figure out whether there's any indication these people had any signs they could have done something to the aircraft. >> this group could have gotten someone clean on board the plane. as we look at this, tom fuentes, the plane was on the ground in paris for 90 minutes. is that enough for someone to tamper with the plane and get perhaps an explosive on board? >> certainly. but in modern aviation times it is going to have to be. you're not going to have a plane go through an eight hour check. it would bring worldwide aviation to a screeching halt. that's going to have to do, and again, we don't know what kind of security measures were taken off site at caterers where food carts are put together.
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people handling the baggage and sequencing that goes through in the airport. degall is a complicated airport. when you go to one terminal, you have to take a bus to another terminal and another bus to another terminal. the terminals aren't connected to walk from one to the other. people are in motion all over that airport by bus and taxi to go to different terminals. there's a lot of difficulty or challenge for the french authorities to secure that particular airport. >> please stay with us. we have new information coming in. just ahead, more on the investigation of the crash of the egyptair jet, the search continues in the mediterranean for the plane and 66 people on board. ♪rock-a-bye stacy ♪running non-stop. ♪lifting up patients... ♪...changing their socks. ♪you're sore and you're beat ♪from all that you did. ♪for rest and relief ♪try sealy's hybrid. ♪so take a load off ♪and feel good as new.
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significant? >> it is significant because you have the greek air traffic control calling out at 1:48 and then -- and they get a reply from the plane, from the pilots, and the pilots according to the greeks sound cheerful. then 30 minutes later you get what should have been the handover call telling the plane 804 to contact egypt, and nothing. two minutes after that you get the plane going into egyptian air space, 90 seconds after that you get the incident and the plane falling out of the sky. what we can say, we can't time or drill down to exactly the moment when anything would have happened because you've now got a 35 to 40 minute window, but the plane appears to be flying normally. there's no indication of anything wrong in that 35 minute gap. what we need to know, of course, this is why the black boxes will
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be so significant is what obviously happened at that crucial moment of the handover, when all of a sudden they were not responding. was this a case of the pilots being overwhelmed by mechanical issues. but even if it was, jim, pilots i have spoken to say yes, you af ate, but if the ground calls out, you can quickly click and say stand by, dealing with major problem, stand by, dealing with major failure, they didn't do that. that's why one is starting to move toward either catastrophic form of failure or indeed the nefarious bomb scenario. there's not much room in between these two. >> richard, we have early radar information about how the plane descended. that information showing a sharp turn to the left, a 360 to the right. what does that early information tell you? >> it doesn't actually tell me
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too much and this is why, because normally you would also have secondary radar information that would have given you a lot more detail. if you look at most of these incidents, the secondary radar detail continues as the plane goes down. you see the rate of descent and how the plane is falling. in this case we have only had the greeks saying they saw, the greek minister's words, saw the plane swerving on radar. we haven't had this confirmed from anything else. some pilots suggest it may have been making evasive maneuver because of stalling, sharp turn to the left or right, steep descent to gain air speed. but then you would have power, then you would have adsb reporting, we would have more of a flight profile if that was the case. what i think you may find here, jim, i can't prove it, but what you may find is greek radar data
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either inaccurate or proves to be the plane breaking up, by which stage power has completely gone. i would just say it is there, i have a skepticism about it, it needs further investigation. >> miles o'brien, cnn aviation expert as well. you heard richard speaking about this gap in radio communication. is there an alternative explanation for why that could have happened? >> well, what made me think about this, jim, is these evasive maneuvers, what we saw was a 90 degree turn initially. that is standard operating procedure for a crew doing an emergency descent after rapid decompression. you don't want to fly right down on the airway and potentially onto other aircraft to and from on the highway in the sky. you turn left to right 90 degrees and go down quickly. what if the loss of communication was because of bad radio communication. this is, after all, the farthest
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point between two radio transmitters, potential dead zone for radio transmissions. what if the crew couldn't hear air traffic control or air traffic control couldn't hear the crew or both, what if they are issuing a may day and no one was hearing them. what would be interesting to find out is if there were any aircraft in the area that may have heard anything on their radios, they would have been close, might have picked up something that air traffic control did not. >> would be incredible in 2016 you lose something as simple as radio communication. evan, on the terror side of this investigation, we are coming up on nearly 24 hours since the plane disappeared. would it be unusual to not have a claim of responsibility from a terror group at this point if it was actually a terror attack? >> it is not unusual. you have had incidents they have gone days before they claim, sometimes they want to see what's being found out by authorities from their own investigation. obviously if they have somebody who is able to get a device onto
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the aircraft, they might be trying to figure out how to get that person out of the reach of authorities. it is not necessarily indicative of anything. >> peter, tom, let's talk about what we know. we lost an aircraft over the water here. they haven't spotted wreckage, despite earlier reports from the greek authorities that they had. what happens next? i imagine a frantic search, you have been involved in crash investigations to some degree, which would lead you to wreckage under the water. >> you have to get vessels into an area where the radar indicates that this plane might have gone down. they have to start listening for the pingers from black boxes. these pingers attach to the boxes have a limited life span, they need to have redirected assets to recover the boxes so when they pick up the pingers, and they will, that assets are on station, ready to go. it is a race against the clock, and there's not a lot of time.
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>> we have data recorder for viewers. this is the pinger here. that's it? how much time? a month? 30 days? >> it is mandated 30 days. some have 90 days now. they're moving toward 90 day pingers, batteries which will give searchers a greater leeway, but many of them still have 30 day batteries, and that clock starts ticking. i watched it happen. >> we have some new information now. cnn can now report the name of the three crew members of egyptair flight 804, according to an official close to the investigation as well as a security source. these are the names. muhammad said shuk ar, the first officer next to the captain, the third was a purser on board the plane. tom fuentes, say you're
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investigating this crash in your old job as former assistant director to the fbi, you don't know for sure this was an act of terrorism, but you're factoring that in as a real possibility here. what do you do now? if you have exposed some vulnerability, what are authorities doing in reaction to this. >> i don't know how much more they're doing in airports like paris. if they have maximum security in effect, there's only so far you can take it, so much delay you can instill on passengers and airline industry. i don't know how much more they'll be doing, they might say they're doing a lot more but i doubt they can do a lot more. the other thing i would be concerned in this investigation, it is dark in the mediterranean sea, we have to wait a few hours for the sun to come up. if the plane blew up, came apart mid air, you'll have a wide debris field. if that plane went into the
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water like air france 447 and others, you'll have less debris field, narrower area where it hit the water and have a place to look for boxes on the bottom. to me, the fact there are so many ships, so much air traffic in that area to not see exploding debris, fire in the sky. again, 24 hours ago, it was dark then. this happened in the dark. and it would have been seen for dozens if not hundreds of miles. >> one of the busiest parts of the area, in lied of recent incidents in war zones. >> don't have witnesses to explosion and fire in the sky. >> and in the air. evan, following the paris attacks last year and concern of the terror threat in europe, you had the u.s. look at visa free travel from europe to the u.s., and new rules were added to tighten. here is the u.s. going to look at this, say we have to tighten
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security on u.s. flights coming out of an airport like paris? they have to wait for the final determination, but what's in their arsenal to respond to something like this? >> it is not clear there's more you can do. i know from talking to officials that in the aftermath of the belgium attacks and what happened at the belgian airport, there were things unannounced to make sure we have maximum security for flights coming from those airports to the united states. there are things being done. i'm not sure there's more you can do. jim, you and i from talking to officials learned this is a summer they're expecting a lot of activity. they are very concerned about heightened terror picture in western europe in light of the soccer championships that we have coming next month in france. talked to french officials, they're very worried about what they kbpt to see the next few
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months. >> like a series of super bowls, imagine the european championships as they come up. thank you. coming up just ahead, were airport workers in paris involved in the downing of flight 804. we are learning more information. we will be right back. n care of. home, car, life insurance obviously, ohhh... but with added touches you can't get everywhere else, like claim free rewards... or safe driving bonus checks. even a claim satisfaction guaranteeeeeeeeeee! in means protection plus unique extras only from an expert allstate agent. it's good to be in, good hands.
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welcome back. terrorism strongly suspected in
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the crash of an egyptair jet that plunged into the mediterranean on a flight from paris to cairo. 66 people were on board. the search continuing tonight for the wreckage. also joining us, cnn terrorism analyst paul crookshank from brussels. you're getting information about the key question, whether airport workers in paris could have been involved. what can you tell us tonight? >> reporter: jim, it is certainly a key line of inquiry at this point whether somebody working at the paris airport charles de gaulle had the opportunity to get a device on board. we are told there was a security sweep of the aircraft at charles de gaulle, but in the weeks after the terrorist attacks, there were concerns about radicalization. said nearly 70 airport workers
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had their security cards revoked in terms of getting into the secure areas of the airport. many or most of those because they were judged to be radicalized. also, in brussels, allegations that there are 50 sympathizers working at the airport. those are not substantiated. they were well reported in the belgian media. this speaks to the concern in europe about the insider threat, but there are top regulations in europe in terms of screening of airport workers in terms of them being able to get to secure parts of the airport. those standards are more rigorous in europe than the united states, so might have been difficult to get a device on the plane, even if you're able to recruit an airport insider. >> you know isis took credit for
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downing of the russian jet leaving sharm el sheikh last year. what other groups are suspects for having that capability and ambition to take down a jet. >> depends how they put a bomb on the plane. in the past, al qaeda based in yemen, their bomb maker worked on petn based bombs that could be carried undetected by a passenger onto the plane. the underwear bomber, he put the bomb in his -- tried to detonate it in his lap. isis, anybody could put a device in cargo or luggage. that's what happened in the egypt flight, it was in cargo, not on the plane. it depends. one group specializes in one thing, the other group specializes in any device you can get on an aircraft. >> the principle had been aqap, sneaking it in through laptops and other devices, now you have
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isis claiming a soda can bomb and others that took out the jet in somalia several weeks ago. is there concern among counter terrorism officials this talent has proliferated? >> it seems to be proliferating. the somali incident raised concerns if aqap trained people in shabaab to do this, we know al qaeda is trying to share some expertise with some of the bomb makers in syria, and jim, we know isis has interest in doing this. they haven't been able to necessarily do something like this in western europe, but these incidents, especially the somali incidents raised a lot of concern that someone is trying to perfect this and is going to try to bring this to western europe and eventually to the united states. >> so peter, there are so many questions here, you have been involved in so many crash
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investigations, including those involving nefarious activity. game out for viewers, what are the next steps the next couple days. what are we going to see happen? >> you have two places where activities are taking place. one is clearly the search. they've got to find where the plane went down, then they've got to identify where the boxes are and go down and get them. at the same time, on the aviation front they have frozen records of the plane, they're going back, looking at them. they are frozen, all of the personnel records of flight crew, they're looking in depth at all of the passengers, they're trying to find some opening that might indicate what happened. and it is going to be a long slog, i am afraid. >> miles o'brien. quick thought for you. you have confidence in those investigating this disaster to get hard answers quickly? >> egyptian authorities in the
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past have demonstrated reluctance to call a spade a spade when it comes to certain activities. i am thinking about egyptair 990 in 1999, the second officer clearly that was suicide plunge. to this day they don't admit that. perhaps they changed, that was a long time ago. >> miles o'brien, paul cruickshank. just ahead, more on that egyptair disaster. and hillary clinton and donald trump weigh in on the possibility it was an act of terror. tonight, clinton is also calling trump unqualified to be president. stand by for more on her exclusive interview with cnn. you know when i first started out, it was all pencil and paper. the surface pro is very intuitive. i can draw lightly, just like i would with a real pencil. i've been a forensic artist for over 30 years. i do the composite sketches which are the bad guy sketches. you need good resolution, powerful processor because the computer has to start thinking as fast as my brain does.
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following breaking news on the crash of egyptair flight 804 and the serve for wreckage that is still under way right now. tonight, hillary clinton is talking about the possibility that terrorists brought this plane down. she is also taking swipes at both donald trump and bernie sanders in an exclusive interview with cnn. our senior washington correspondent, jeff zeleny, has details. jeff, how was the interview? >> reporter: well, jim, hillary clinton saying for the first time explicitly she does not believe donald trump is qualified to be president. this is a change in her language from only a month ago when she said voters should decide. the reason is this. she knows some voters are taking donald trump seriously. she believes she needs to make her case more aggressively against him. >> it does appear it was an act of terrorism. >> reporter: hillary clinton says the loss of egyptair flight 804 is a stark reminder of global threats in dire
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consequences of this presidential campaign. >> once again, shines a very bright light on the threats that we face from organized terror groups. and i think it reinforces the need for american leadership, for the kind of smart, steady leadership that only america can provide. >> reporter: sitting down today with cnn's chris cuomo, clinton saying in no uncertain terms, she believes donald trump is not fit for the job. >> do you think that donald trump is qualified to be president? >> no. i do not. >> reporter: her strongest words yet against trump, saying explicitly for the first time, is he is unqualified. >> i know how hard this job is. and i know that we need steadiness, as well as strength and smarts in it. and i have concluded he is not qualified to be president of the united states. hours earlier, well before intelligence officials weighed in, trump also said the egyptair liner was a terrorist attract,
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writing on twitter, great hate and sickness. but clinton says trump's sharp rhetoric is making america's fight against terror even harder. >> when you run for president of the united states, the entire world is listening and watching. so when you say we're going to bar all muslims, you are sending a message to the muslim world. and you're also sending a message to the terrorists. >> reporter: visiting her hometown of park ridge, illinois, today, clinton made clear she has one arrive school in the presidential race, not two. she said her competition with bernie sanders is over. >> i will be the nominee for my party, chris. that is -- that is already done, in effect. there is no way that i won't be. senator sanders and i are following the same rules. and i'm 3 million votes ahead of him. and i have an insurrender mountable lead in pledge delegates. >> reporter: she she is confident in july. >> i am absolutely committed to doing my part, more than my part, but senator sanders has to
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do his part. that's why the lesson of 2008, which was a hard-fought primary, as you remember, is so pertinent here. because did my part. but so did senator obama. >> reporter: sanders supporters have made their view of clinton clear. in rhetoric far hotter than eight years ago. after the final primary contest ended in june, clinton says she believes trump will help bring democrats together. >> the threat that donald trump poses is so dramatic to our country, to our democracy and our economy, that i certainly expect senator sanders to do what he said he would. >> reporter: until then, clinton says she's focusing exclusively on trump. but insists she won't turn to everything he throws her way. >> you pick a fight with a bully, you know you're going to be pulled down to their level. i'm going after him exactly on those issues and statements that
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are divisive and dangerous. and i actually think that's what the american people want to see, not a argument between two people. >> reporter: as for trump's comments about her husband, clinton says she's not taking the bait. >> no. not at all. i am -- i know that that's exactly what he is fishing for. and, you know, i'm not going to be responding. >> reporter: now jim, donald trump also responding just a few moments ago in a statement. let's take a look at this statement. his words here to hillary clinton. he said, the fact that hillary thinks the temporary muslim ban, which she calls the muslim ban, promotes terrorism proves bernie sanders was correct when he said she is not qualified to be president. now he goes on to say this. look at the carnage all over the world, including the world trade center. san bernardino, paris, the "uss cole," bruce else and an unlimited number of places. she and our total ignorant
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president. by the way, ask hillary who blew up the plane last night, he says. another terrible but preventible tragedy. she has bad judgment, he says, and is unfit to serve as president at this delicate and difficult time in our country's history. those words from trump tonight who is campaigning in new jersey. and one other note. bernie sanders also had something to say about hillary clinton. he said that millions of voters disagree with her that this contest is over. she still has one more month to go. jim? >> and in that statement, donald trump getting a bit ahead of where u.s. officials are at this point. they do, jeff, say that terrorism is a possible cause, but they haven't determined it. determined that to be the case yet. looking at this kind of statement certainly in character with no pulling punches style of donald trump. >> reporter: no doubt about it. without having much information, of course, he tweeted so early this morning. sometimes he's right on this. but it does raise the question of as president, do you want to get ahead of this here. donald trump is pulling a full
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steam ahead, no doubt, jim. >> jeff zeleny with the hillary clinton interview. i'm jim sciutto. wolf blitzer will be back in "the situation room" to him. after this, erin burnett "outfront," starts right now. "outfront" next. breaking news. an intense search and rescue operation for egyptair 804. that plane missing. 66 on board. one early theory, a terror attack. what happened to the plane, where is it? and u.s. officials working on the theory it was a bomb. who planted it? how did it actually get on board? was it in paris? plus, los angeles international airport under heightened security alert tonight. let's go "outfront." good evening. i'm erin burnett. "outfront" tonight, the breaking news. a massive search unday

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