tv Charlie Rose PBS March 23, 2016 12:00pm-1:01pm PDT
>> rose: welcome to the program. there was a terrorist attack in brussels overnight and we try to put it into context this evening. we begin with john miller, deputy commissioner of intelligence and counter-terrorism of the new york police department. >> you don't have to be that good to kill people. all kinds of idiots have figured out how to do that, and many of them have been terrorists. it doesn't require a lot of talent to walk into a crowded nightclub with a 30-round magazine in a machine gun and spray it into a crowd. >> rose: you have to be willing to die. >> that's about how committed they are, not how good they are. i think we saw again today they are committed in this process to die, and that is not a new feature in terrorism,it's just a frightening one. >> rose: we continue with a former deputy director of the c.i.a., mike morell. >> four attacks against the west
in four and a half months, that's an unprecedented pace of attacks against the west. al quaida never achieved that. so in terms of them wanting to attack us and us wanting to stop those attacks, not even close as to who's winning. >> rose: do you think therefore i.s.i.s. is the greatest national security threat to the united states? >> right now yes. >> rose: it is? absolutely. no doubt in my mind. >> rose: we conclude this evening with richard haass, nicholas burns, rukmini callimachi, and peter spiegel. >> this is the new normal. this has been with us for some time, it's going to be with us for some time, and the real question is how do we goative comprehensively in ways we don't tie eachout nor knots and close down the essential openness of our society. >> rose: trying to understand brussels when we continue. funding for charlie rose is provided by the following:
captioning sponsored by rose communications from our studios in new york city, this is charlie rose. >> rose: we question thin this evening with the terrorist attacks in brussels, at least 34 killed and many more injured. two explosions at brussels international airport, a third struck a subway train near the headquarters to have the european commission. eyes took credit for the bombings, four days after capture of paris attack suspect salah abdeslam in brussels. messages of support have poured in from leaders around the world including president obama who spoke from havana. >> this is yet another reminder that the world must unite. we must be together, regardless
of nationality or race or faith in fighting against the scourge of terrorism. we can and we will defeat those who threaten the safety and security of people all around the world. >> rose: new york and other cities have stepped up security in response to the attacks. joining me now is john miller, deputy commissioner of intelligence and counter-terrorism of the new york police department. he spoke alongside new york city mayor bill deblasio and police commissioner bill bratton at a press conference earlier today. >> what you saw this morning and throughout the day if you were a terrorist was a massive show of force on the part of the nypd. what you saw if you were a citizen or commuter today was a large sign of reassurance and protection. starting early this morning, we used every tool in the counterterrorism toolbox.
>> i am pleased to have john miller at this table to begin es it mean and where is itt what going. welcome. >> good to be here, charlie. >> rose: tell me what you know. tell me what you believe about this attack. >> i think what we're looking at here is a brussels' based network which was part and parcel overplanning the paris attacks we saw in january, which had been planning attacks prior to that around the time of the "charlie hebdo" attacks and the jewish supermarket hostage situation. so i think we're seeing a network node of i.s.i.s. that's been operating there for some time. i think what we saw earlier this week was very good intelligence work on the part of the belgium authorities that took them to a safe house, that led them to the mastermind, a shootout, captu, a police officer wounded, a couple of others got away, but they were certainly on the right track.
then i think what you saw was the result of parts of that network were able to regroup and strike. >> rose: do you think they struck because of the capture, because they may have worried what he may have told police about what might be coming up? >> it's entirely possible. that could be they rushed together an attack and that's what we saw today, or it could be simply as what we refer to as a punishment operation for the capture of their cellular leader. >> rose: do we know that he was the cellular leader and that they may have been connected to him or were likely connected to him? >> i think the operating theory right now is that the people that struck today were part of the network that he was running in external operations for i.s.i.s. that is a matter that is under investigation. that investigation is being led by the belgium authorities. we have american citizens among the casualties there which makes that a terrorist crime here in the united states under our
extra territorial laws. so the f.b.i. and the nypd joint terrorist task force will be involved in that investigation. >> rose: from many conversations, you have tight me that at the first glance of these things, all the information is not out and you have to take a couple of days to really understand and appreciate what's going on. what questions are you asking this evening? >> i would be asking what was the amount and type of explosives, looking at the damage -- >> rose: we know that, though, don't we? >> that those bombs seem to be quite large. there is a lot of forensics that go into that. there is a lot of reporting that changes over time. so i would be cautious on that until we heard -- >> rose: so we want to know where the explosives are. >> but i also want to know what was the pre-operational surveillance and the target selection, what do they do to choose those targets. what we do here, charlie, from the nypd perspective, is we want to look at every attack overseas, reverse engineer it,
and then try to build that into our plans here. what was the intent of the bad guys? how did they execute on that attempt? what can we learn from what they did before or during that we can put into our planning? >> rose: how good are they? you don't have to be that good to kill people. all kind of idiots have figured out how to do that, and many of them have been terrorists. it doesn't require a lot of talent to walk into a crowded nightclub with a 30-round magazine in a machine gun and spray it into a crowd. >> rose: they're willing to die. >> that's nots about how good they are. that's about how committed they are. i think we saw again today they are committed in this process to die and that is not a -- not a new feature in terrorism, just a frightening one. >> rose: we saw three people two. of them died. one is under a massive manhunt. can you tell us more about that and how you go about finding
someone like that? >> when you look at that photograph, it can appear they are together because they seem to be walking together in a line, but i don't have any more information about that last individual. was he just someone keeping pace with them because he was going the same way or is he part of that? we have to figure out who he is, if you're the belgium authorities find out where he is and who he is and talk to him about that because you really have to determine was he with them or passing through? >> rose: so new york city police department and i assume the lapd where you formerly were and other cities have to be fearful of a kind of attack in terms of transit, in terms of where there is a large gathering of people or in places with outdoor cafes are a o lot of people are easily accessible, yes? >> so, yes, what we see, as we saw once again today, is a constant returning to mass transit targets. but what we saw in paris was a
number of random targets. so, you know, sun sue wrote a long time ago who he protects everything protects nothing. you spread yourself too thin. we look at the threat stream every day, the individual events overnight around the globe and we put together a plan and say these are the 40 or 50 places where we're going to place our resources. that's where we think the threat is from one day to the next. the other thing is we move that around based on the threat stream but also based on unpredictability. charlie, if your opinion a terrorist and we learned this from the planner of the mumbai attacks in india where they hit multiple locations and set fire and killed people if you are a planner and see heavy security one day, gone the next, back two days later, it's very hard what it is you're planning to meet, and the constant movement, the unpredictable nature, but also
the response piece, which is the forces are out there every day, no matter where they're posted. when you blow that whistle and tell them to respond, they will be there in force, in mas and very quickly. >> rose: if police were able to find abdeslam, is it because of somebody turning him in? is it because of communication, giving himself away? what is generally the way they meet their end? >> it can be you develop a source, it can be you conduct surveillance physical with eyes on the scene or technical means through cameras. it can be a lot of things that brings you to the right door at the right time which happened through the good hard work of the belgium authorities a few days ago. but i also think we can't have these conversations where out of one side of the mouth i've heard critic on television saying
today, well, this is the result of an intelligence failure and all the week leading up to this i heard other critics saying apple shouldn't open the phone for a court order even though it's connected to the san bernardino attacks. the phones with end to end encryption where they can't open the communications with a court order, that's the kind of thing which would have been yesterday's intelligence failure is today's intelligence lockout. >> rose: but they seem to know and be very much aware of encryption data and how to use encryption. >> that's right. a good part of this is a trade craft. the trade craft if you're a terrorist, it requires discipline, planning and being thoughtful, but it also requires having the facilities to do that and, commercially, we as a global society are supplying
them with more and more impenetrable facilities. so it's very hard to have discussions about what's an intelligence failure and what's not when, slowly, the aperture that the authorities are allowed to look for is closing to the point it will be black. >> rose: can you speak to the issue today of the f.b.i. saying we may have found a way to open up the san bernardino iphone? >> yes. i think what the department of justice, the position they're taking is they have tried to force that issue through the courts and apple has fought that issue and even indicated that if the court rules against them, their engineers still may not comply.
devices. >> rose: but you think it might work? >> i think it could and should work. i've read through the science and it seems to be viable. >> rose: lots of questions remain, but one is these people have gotten, we believe -- these are not somehow somebody who got some message from online and decided to commit a terrorist attack. they were trained in iraq or syria and coming back because they have passports. is there enough scrutiny or is that an impossible task to check everybody at the border coming from syria or turkey? >> charlie, one of the great advantages we have is there is this big piece of water between us and these cases. one of the vulnerabilities -- i'm sorry.
one of the great advantages of the european union is they have a union they can easily cross borders. it's good for their economics, it's good for their social, crossover their society, but it comes with vulnerability. you see increasing questions being asked by various nations of when you have a known terrorist who managed to make his way from brussels into paris to do the attacks that occurred earlier this year, who is someone who had already been in paris before, then back to brussels, then back to syria, then back to belgium, that that comes with a certain cost, and this is an old tug of war in the argument about terrorism, which is what the terrorists' goal is, part of the goal is to cause the government to limit people's freedom, to cause people to question whether the government can protect them, to cause
people to be distrustful of their government. >> rose: to cause people to change their way of living. >> yes. >> rose: and quality of their life. >> so i think the europeans face a great challenge here. we, on the other hand, have the ability to scrutinize people before they come here, when they arrive here, we have the ability to turn them around. we have a vast intelligence network and great partnerships with our european partners where they provide that information about people. >> rose: so what is it you want your message to be to the citizens of new york tonight's? >> my message to the citizens of new york tonight is that we have one of the most complex layered and capable counterterrorism machines of any municipal police department in the world. i would put us on the level with scotland yard and the london police, but that we have built on it, we have enhanced it, we are a learning organization. every time something happens, we study that, and we add something to the mix.
we have had numerous drills and physical places followed by tabletop exercise, testing, command and control. this isn't something we start thinking about at 4:00 in the morning when thehone rang today. this is something we think about every minute of every day, but our greatest asset is the public. we say, if you see something, say something. at times like this, the calls increase. >> rose: is it fair to say as you have gotten smarter and buttressed your own counterterrorism activities that people who wish to engage in terrorist acts, because of i.s.i.s. and because of syria and because of iraq and the training, they're getting better and they're getting tough around they're more -- and they're more committed? >> well, i think they are very committed. i also think, you know, in the course of june, we had one plot unfolding in new york where people planned to come from boston to behead somebody in new york city, a named individual. we had another plan where a group of individuals here were supposed to build pressure cooker bombs that might have
been unleashed on the crowds during the fourth of july fireworks. >> rose: as was the boston marathon. >> and so far through the joint terrorism task force, through our foreign partners, through technology, through intelligence, through human sources, we have managed to prevent four of those plots in the last few months, 20 since 9/11, and the number before 9/11 going back to 1993. we understand we're a big target. we understand it is a committed and able adversary, and we're just not willing to give any ground if we can help it. >> rose: thank you for coming. thanks for having me, charlie. >> rose: john miller from the, not police department, head of counterterrorism and intelligence. back in a moment. stay with us. >> rose: mike morell, deputy and acting director of the cia, cbs news correspondent now. pleased to have him back at the table. welcome. >> good to be with you, charlie.
>> rose: how do we determine and is it likely there is a connection between these attacks and the recently captured abdeslam? we don't know for sure, we may never know for sure, but what i think, charlie, is that, in brussels, he was with a group of individuals who were planning a series of attacks. this was one of them. i think this particular target was one of them. whether this was the timing or not, we don't know, but i don't think so. i think what happened was he was captured. the group he was working with was concerned that he would, under interrogation, give them away, give the plot away, but they moved it up, they accelerated it. i think that's what happened. >> rose: that's a likely scenario. >> that's a likely scenario to me. >> rose: what are the near-term conversations? >> i think the very -- >> rose: what are the
near-term considerations? >> the threat profile for the next 24, 48 hours out to two weeks. two things, if we're right about the acceleration of a particular plot, what else might they accelerate in the days and weeks ahead, right? that's one thing you have to worry about primarily in europe. so another paris, brussels-style attack in europe over the next several weeks. i think you will see a very high state of alert as a result of that. second, you have to worry about copy cat attacks. whenever there is a terrorist attack, it leads others to say, hey, maybe i should do something to joint the effort here. >> rose: do we assume this is directed from i.s.i.s. headquarters? >> we don't know. paris certainly was. we know paris was conceived, planned, directed -- >> rose: and connected to brussels. >> -- and we know paris was connected to brussels in some way. whether these guys were told do
something similar or do this specific thing or whether they were just left to their own devices, not so sure. i'm not sure that really matters anymore at the end of the day. >> rose: why not? because if you're conducting these large-scale attacks on your own, you know, you have been to syria and iraq, you come back, you're conducting attacks on your own now that look athlike paris, doesn't make any difference whether you have been directed to do it or not. you're doing it in i.s.i.s.'s name. >> rose: my understanding is the bombs could be made from readily accessible material. >> they always could be. think about august 2006, the plot to bring down ten to 15 airliners flying from heathrow airport to the united states, an al quaida plot, they were going to mix chemicals on the plane, all readily available chemicals. >> rose: that's the defensive side. what is t offense? >> let's talk about the defense, then the offense. the defense, i think, has two
pieces to it. al quaida was always focused on the symbolic target, which tended to be a hard target, which tended to be on the secure side of security, getting through to an airplane, for example. these guys have learned to go after soft targets on the left side of security. >> rose: where a lot of people are. >> where a lot of people are who haven't been through security. i think one of the things we should think about is pushing the security perimeter out further. they've adjusted and we need to adjust to what they're doing to security. the other part of the defensive side is collecting intelligence. there is two ways you disrupt a plot like this. you get in it, in iraq and syria, at the leadership level where they do the planning and plotting if that is indeed happening and you can see it there and disrupt it. the other place is at the local level. the way that happens is via picking up communications, or
something somebody in a neighborhood saying something is going on in that particular apartment. we need to do better in an intelligence sense in both of those areas. >> rose: you get the impression of the reports we're getting from the paris police and others about what happened in paris that they're very sophisticated about understanding technology, throwing away cell phones and a whole range of things that they know could lead to their capture. >> right. so we've got, in the case of paris and the investigation into paris, throwaway cell phones, sophisticated document forgery, the ability to move money around. we've got a lot of things like that which gives you a sense of sophistication and a sense of training they probably got back in iraq and syria in a very sophisticated way. with that sophistication, you put, charlie, a very large number of guys. so 5,000 people went from western europe to iraq and syria to fight. many of them are still there.
some of theme died on the batt battlefield, but many are starting to come home, right? some of those who will come home will do nothing. some of those who will come home will conduct -- >> rose: and some of those who come home will come into the migration flow. >> yes, and just coming home, right? because they can. they've got the right passport. they don't need to come through the migration flow. so you've got a very large number, and you've got sophistication. >> rose: how much coordination between the various intelligence agencies? >> so between the united states and the european nations, it was great when i was in government. i assume it's great today. there wasn't an information-sharing problem. i really don't know the extent to which european countries -- >> rose: but you assume. i assume it's pretty good. >> rose: everybody knows we've got to know more about everything. >> so i don't think that's the problem. i don't think information sharing is the problem here. i think the problem is getting
information to share, right. go back to that intelligence perspective. the importance of intelligence. >> rose: as a former intelligence official, how would you gather the intelligence? what's the probable means? >> with i.s.i.s. in iraq and syria, twofold. detainees picked up on the battlefield, questioning them in the right way, getting information from them and any documents and computers they have, that's one way to do it. the other is the old fashioned way when you recruit spies inside of eyes to tell you what's going on there. that's the job of the central intelligence agency. that's the job i used to have. >> what's the overview of those you have and those you know and professionals about the strategy against i.s.i.s. so far? because the argument is being made that they have lost 20% of their ground is the administration argument. the argument is some of the financial sources are drying up. is i.s.i.s. less strong? my second question, does that
impact what their strategy is? >> i said this morning on cbs this morning that the terrorists are winning, and, boy, that's spread all over the place now. here's what i meant by that. >> rose: because that went against conventional wisdom at the time? >> i don't know why it's spreading through the media. i think it's a good sound byte, right? that's probably why. here's what i meant by that. charlie, think about what the terrorists want, what i.s.i.s. wants, and think about what we want, right? and look at it objectively in terms of whether we're getting those things. so what i.s.i.s. wants is to maintain their caliphate in iraq and syria, and they want to spread their ideology to other parts of the world, and they want, as their ideology spreads, to have their groups create their own caliphates, right? and they want to attack us to create fear, to create political
division in the westering right. >> rose: but let me interrupt you on that. one, they're losing ground in iraq, clearly. >> hang on. >> rose: that's the caliphate. that's what they want. >> rose: right. what we want is we want to take away their territory. we want to take their senior leadership off the battlefield and prevent attacks. >> rose: all those things we're doing. >> so how are we doing? let's take a look at how we're doing. yes, we're squeezing them in iraq and syria. 20, 25% of their territory taken away, right? and probably increasingly so in the last several months. >> rose: and cities in iraq. taking some cities in iraq away, miking life more difficult for them. but at the same time we're doing that, what are they doing outside of iraq and syria? they're growing like wildfire. they're losing ground in iraq and syria but gaining ground elsewhere, primarily libya. so not only up along the coast where they're continuing to gain ground but also down in southern libya. so, yes, squeezing them in iraq
and syria probably not enough, but squeezing them, but they're going like wildfire elsewhere. >> rose: but in libya seems to be a different kind of i.s.i.s. >> you're absolutely right. right now it is. so the i.s.i.s. you have in libya right now is largely focused observe gaining -- focused on gaining additional territory, possibly attacks in western libya like hotels in tripoli. over time they will develop the same external focus on europe and the united states that i.s.i.s. in iraq and syria have. so over time they will become and start sending those kind of people to western europe. the biggest flow of foreign fighters is now into libya, no longer into iraq and syria but libya. so the same problem we had in iraq and syria now playing out in europe, we're eventually going to see in libya. so that's important. that's the story on the safe
haven and their territory and their movement, right? on terrorist attacks think about it this way -- in the last 4 and 4 1/2months since late october, they've brought down a russian airliner over the sinai, one of their groups. they directed an attack in paris, killing hundreds. san bernardino. >> rose: a connection. a connection, right. somebody who thought they were doing it in their name. now brussels, whether directed or not. so four attacks against the west in four and a half months, that's an unprecedented pace of attacks against the west. al quaida never achieved that. so in terms of them wanting to attack us and us wanting to stop those attacks, not even close to who's winning. >> rose: you think therefore i.s.i.s. is the greatest national security threat to the united states? >> right now, yes. >> rose: it is? absolutely. no doubt in my mind. no doubt in my mind. >> rose: the president says in
an article that you and i both read in the atlantic monthly by jeffrey goldberg that they're not a national security threat to the united states. i mean, he says climate change is a greater long-term national security threat to the united states. >> so he said i.s.i.s. is not an extensional threat, right? >> rose: right, that the united states can beat i.s.i.s. >> yes, yes we can. absolutely we can. >> rose: if we do the right things. >> if we do the right things, right. and thing change us in fundamental ways. their near-term objective, right, is to maintain their caliphate, expand it. part of that includes putting pressure on us because they see us as attacking them, right? thaw didn't come after us in the west until we went after them right after they beheaded people. so this isn't -- i don't think this is a case of them wanting
to draw us in to defeat us the way bin laden did in afghanistan, they want to create fear and division to drive us out of the middle east. that the what they want to do. but eventually, charlie, those individuals at the center of this movement believe that they are preparing the world for the coming of the mahdi, for the islamic savior and their job is to convert as many people as possible to islam and those they can't to kill. so that is their long-term objective here and we are in the way of that. >> rose: but are we doing enough to stop them? >> um... >> rose: you said we're losing but we're not. >> we're not doing enough. >> rose: which begs the question, what should we do? >> and if i had a simple answer to that, i would be telling it to the president right now. there isn't a simple answer. i'll give you the broad answer. the broad answer is that i know of only two ways to degrade a terrorist organization, and i learned this through experience.
one is to, in very rapid succession, remove their leadership from the battlefield. >> rose: we're doing some of that. >> but not rapid enough and not senior enough, in my view. then two is you've got to take the caliphate away from them. >> rose: the territory. you have to take the territory away. >> rose: it's recruiting. it's two things. it's a place where they are safe and secure and able to plan and conduct operations, and it is a great recruiting tool. it is a great recruiting tool to say, we have the caliphate. so you've got to take it away. now, i don't think 100,000 u.s. troops on the ground is the way to take it away. it wasn't successful in iraq, and it wasn't successful in afghanistan. we are more than capable of taking it away, but we are not capable of holding it. >> rose: that's always been the problem. >> that's always been the problem. >> rose: and you have to have local people to hold it. >> who are accepted, right? >> rose: right. so the only way this works is
a sunni-arab force in syria and a sunni-arab force in iraq to take the territory and to hold it. the only way that happens is if both sunnis in iraq and sunnis in syria believe that they have a future in both of those countries, and that's why the politics -- >> rose: and the reason they have to be sunni-arab is -- >> i.s.i.s. is territory. >> rose: and i.s.i.s. is sunni. >> and this is sunni territory so they won't accept shia freeing them. >> rose: in syria, the president has an increase in the number of special forces on the ground. we have 3,000 people on the ground now. >> right. >.paris happened. >> rose: we're not on the ground in paris. in syria. >> we didn't change the strategy but intensified it significantly after sir. i can't we have to look again and say we're still not degrading these guys to the
point where they're not able to conduct attacks. at the end of the day the way you have to measure whether you're defeating them or not is their ability to take and hold terrorist and their ability to conduct attacks in the west. >> rose: and the measure how we're doing by our ability to take the territory and prevent attacks. >> that's how we've got to measure it, right? and, so, when there is four attacks in four and a half months, you say, jeez, how well are we doing here? >> rose: and what's amazing to me is that these people are all coming back from syria. i mean, what they're learning in syria and how tough that makes them in terms of understanding the elements to conduct an attack. >> there is no better training for somebody to be a terrorist than training -- military training on the battlefield by actually fighting. there is no better training than that. >> rose: thank you for coming.
greats to be with you, always. >> rose: michael morell, deputy and acting director of the cia, now correspondent with cbs news. back in a moment. >> rose: we continue our coverage of terrorist comings with richard haass, president of the council on foreign relations. nicholas burns, professor at the harvard kennedy school. rukmini callimachi, professor at the harvard kennedy school, who leads the paper's i.s.i.s. coverage. peter spiegel, bureau chief for "the financial times." i am pleased to have all of them on this program on this day. >> we saw several raids in
schaerbeek. they found bombmaking materials, chemicals, i.s.i.s. flags, those raids are continuing in schaerbeek. they released photos of three perpetrators who they think did the bombings. two guys that are likely dead and one there is a manhunt for. so those raids going on in schaerbeek now. they're on the run. they haven't disclosed how extensive the cell is. the expectation is this was a well-planned, professional and large cell that perpetrated this today. >> rose: any connection with the arrests made recently? >> that's speculation. 24, 48 hours ago we heard belgian authorities saying they were nervous that because the arrests made friday, that abdeslam, the last remaining attacker from paris, they thought since he was arrested they thought the plotters could
move up their attack date and there would be retaliation. they were preparing because they thought they were connected. that's the operating suspicion amongst the analysts i talked to today. >> rose: is he talking or not? disclosures over the weekend that he has been plotting and that they were plotting something else. the foreign minister in belgium said he told the police something else is coming. that's why this speculation that this terror cell felt it had to move things up. they felt abdeslam was squealing, ratting them out and they had to move more quickly. again, this is a form of speculation but based on a lot of officials and analysts we talked to in belgium. >> rose: what do you know about the photographs of these suicide bombers and the third man under intense manhunt scrutiny? >> among the things that's very interesting about this photograph is two of the three
men are shown wearing a black glove only on their left-hand. there is been speculation this is to hide the detonator. at the same time, a.f.p., as i was leaving the office an hour ago, reported quoting officials that they believe fat the bomb was actually inside the suitcase. if it was in the suitcase the detonator in the hand would not make sense. the cord would have to go to the trolley cart, which wouldn't be logical. i got off the phone with jimmy oxley at the university of rhode island considered the leading academic on the explosive t.a.t.p. she looked at the preliminary images of the blast site and she says the difference between paris and here is the amount of t.a.t.p. paris was suicide belts. a suicide belt has around one pound of t.a. p t.p. what she saw from the damage is what she estimates between 30 to 100 pounds of t.a.p.t. which would have had to have been in a
suitcase or something else. >> rose: do they have any connection to abdeslam. >> the fact i.s.i.s. claimed it and through the same channel as paris, starting with semiofficial news agency, moving to their kind of press releases they do on their channels, that i really have no doubt that it is i.s.i.s. but beyond that, no. >> rose: so nick burns, when you look at this, what do we do? what's the strategy? obviously there's a need for more intelligence. >> i think the u.s. government understands we have a common problem with the europeans. we both experienced major catastrophic terrorist attacks going well back before 9/11. europeans have a lot of history with indigenous groups back in the '70s. so i think what we've learned is two things. one is the serious daily plotting work of intelligence cooperation, of law enforcement cooperation, of our security services and our judiciaries
working together slowly in this long war to try to compress these groups, try to go after the people perpetrating it. second, we also learn you have to go to the point of attack and here is where the europeans haven't been aye as strong and forthcoming as washingtonians would like. we need more in the campaign that is barely containing the islamic state. now it's metastasized. they control 400 kilometers of the northern libyan coastline and the mediterranean sea so we're going after that side and we need more help. so through west africa, mali, chad, nigeriaia you have like mind groups. boko haram is saying -- >> rose: swear ago certain kind of allegiance or relationship to i.s.i.s. >> exactly. so in this long war, not my term, that was coined ten years ago, you're going to have to have that kind of military operation, the french in west africa, the british in iraq and syria we need more of it from them at the point of attack so
weaken these groups. >> rose: they've all been in syria, they learned to do this on the battlefield. what can we do to stop them from coming back? >> syria is the graduate school for terrorists. there are three venues, one in the region as nick was saying putting more pressure on these guys to the extent they're on the defensive they're not on the offensive. secondly, interdiction. how do we stop these people at the borders before they get in. >> rose: they're traveling with passports. >> right, how do we target them, having better border and homeland security. thirdly, they're finding places to plug into. that's where you have to get at these societies, why are these people so alienated, why aren't they assimilated and integrated, why aren't leaders working more closely with law enforcement. that is the biggest gap between
europe and the united states. they've done a much poorer job of assimilating minority communities, the relationships between community leaders, law enforcement and the rest are not as close. you have to get it right in each three venues, in the region, border and also within your society. any one of the three can hurt you so you have to have a comprehensive approach. >> rose: peter speak to brussels. it is said brussels has had more people go to syria than almost anybody. obviously some of them coming back. what is the feeling about brussels as a hot bed of i.s.i.s. support? >> yeah, i mean, the problem that richard pointed out about border security is present here. the problem is most of these guys are bell june or french citizens. if you're saying we have to stop guys at the border, what happens when they show up? they're nationals. most of the guys in paris were not i.s.i.s. fighters who came from syria. the organizers and the
architects were -- aboud, particular, was bell jean. but most were petty thugs doing crimes on the streets of molenbeek and organized by the recruiters who came from syria. the belgians get defensive and say we're not as bad as the parisians or the frenchmen, and it's actually more integrated in brussels, the center of town more mixed than paris. but part of the issue is there is a narrative here that, to pardon my french, they don't poop where they eat. there is a belief by the belgian authorities, if they left them alone they would go elsewhere to do their bad works and not here. that attitude changed 18 months ago after charlie he could o the government started putting more money into the intelligence and security apparatus, but they went a decade underinvesting in
those resources and had to ramp up and get better at it in belgium the french have done a better job because they have been dealing wit longer with africa. the belgians have not done that hard spade work and only started in the last 18 months or so. >> rose: is this a new face of i.s.i.s. we should worry more than anything else. >> yes, i.s.i.s. has a branch within it run by a high-level leader, the spokesman of the group, come out in interrogation records of people who were talked to on the way back. we have thought of i.s.i.s. as a group that is a territory holding caliphate, and that their main interest is in governing. that's incorrect. i am putting out a forein -- story in the next couple of days looking at the fact they have been sending people back since february of 2014. the reason we haven't noticed it is every single other attack before paris failed and every
single one was taken in isolation. people would say this is a random act, we're not sure of the connection to the core. when you piece it together and look at the mode of operations and the fact that tapt, this very explosive which isn't easy to make -- >> rose: but based on common things. >> yes, their interest of governing and holding a territory very much goes hand in hand with wanting to attack the west and i think we've blinded ourselves to this reality. >> rose: wanting to attack the west has risen as a motivating factor for i.s.i.s. as much as holding territory and that's the newer development. >> absolutely. and you go back to september 2014 when adnany makes his first statement threatening the west. it's clear their intention to hit the west, but we didn't take them seriously at that point in time. >> rose: is this the biggest national security threat to the united states. >> it is a nawsht threat or challenge. the biggest?
i don't know. is it bigger in north korea to put a nuclear warhead that could reach california? probably not. is it the possibili of getting into a conventional war with china in the south china sea, i would say no. this is the new normal. this has been with us for some time. it's going to be with us for some time. the real question is how do we go after it comprehensively in ways we don't tie ourselves in knots, we don't close down the essential openness of our society and to answer your question in a different way, that we don't allow it to become the biggest national security challenge we have. >> rose: does that mean we haven't gone at it in the right way? >> the biggest thing we haven't done i'd say is in the region, the acts of commission and omission. what we've done in iraq, what we haven't done in syria what we did and didn't do in libya. we have done and not done things geoipolitically that created
enormous opportunities for these groups to prosper. i am worried what about they can do to saudi arabia. i don't think we should rule that out. tease guys now have global reach. so, yeah, the chicks have come home to roost -- >> rose: the terrorist attack not global reach in terms of being able to overthrow the saudi government? >> i think the saudi government is potentially vulnerable. saudi arabia is the most digitalized society in the middle east. they're overextended in yemen. internal splits within the royal familiar limit these guys have been pushed back, the terrorist in syria and iraq. they have a foothold in libya. why would we assume they'd not see the principal target in the region as the government who controls the two holiest sites of islam? if i.s.i.s. wants amazing credibility, it would be by posing a syria challenge to the house of saud. that is something we need to worry about. >> rose: you agree?
i do. europe is our largest trade partner and investor in the united states, home to largest military alliance, 28 europeans are in the n.a.t.o. alliance. that's a really important alliance no matter what donald trump said and his ill advised comment about withdrawing from n.a.t.o. you had the eurozone crisis of the last five years which weakened their sense of integration. the refugee crisis which completely upset the politics of europe. you have many of the western european countries saying we'll take muslim refugees. most of the eastern european countries saying no muslims in our christian societies. there is a disagreement about that, shangen is the free movement across borders. you have border controls now going up, doors being shut from one european country to the next and finally, lest we forget, vladimir putin has occupied crimea, divided ukraine, put
pressure on other curnghts and so it is in the united states' interest to help the europeans face this series of crises. but i've begun to worry and never thought i would about tint congratulations of europe, the success of the european union. there is been talk about the pivot to asia. we have a lot of national interest invested in group so i think what the united states has to do is get with angela merkel, she tees key leader and the other leaders hollande and cameron and say what can we do. >do. >> rose: she just showed vulnerability. >> and three state elections didn't go well for her to the national right is rising? germany. >> one of the greatest accomplishments in the last 60, up0 years in history, the major geopolitical was historical. it's not now. the european project lost all forward momentum.
mr. putin is flexing geopolitical plus also in europe. the very accomplishment that was europe i think now is under threat in ways we never imagined. if we had this conversation two years ago we would have talked about every part of the world except europe. the fact europe is in play again historically is a major a deterioration of the global situation. >> rose: more leadership from the united states? >> i think it means that. jeff goldberg's article in the magazine the obama doctrine, two points on that, to see a sitle american president call our allies free riders when you've got to work with britain and france, and then to defend the syria redline decision from 2013 that you draw a red line -- or you tell assad he can't cross it using chemical weapons, he crosses it twice and nothing happens -- i admire president obama, i have a column in the
financial times on this tomorrow, he has a good record on foreign policy, except in diplomacy integration and our military, which is so important in the expression of american power. i think most previous presidents and secretary of states have understood that but this is a weakness. >> rose: the thrust of the article has to do with he wants to get the united states out of the middle east and wants to make a pivot to china and latin america and other places in the sense of saying, you know, we can't make a difference there in part. >> but up to a point. you don't want to get out of the middle east. you want to reduce and change what you do. you don't want to try to transform it. you don't want to turn them reading the federalist papers in arabic. that's probably a bridge too far. but what we've seen is what goes wrong in the middle east has real consequences for europe and also to reduce -- we need to do more in asia, but you can't -- we don't have the option. one of the things right now, the biggs threat to our position in
asia is trade. the missing piece of american policy and presence in asia is t.t.p., the trade negotiation. the problem is the four leading candidates for president do not. again, we've got to do certain things in the middle east but again we can't walk away from europe or in particular asia is where the 21st century will happen more than anywhere else. >> rose: i want to come back to i.s.i.s. i asked a question earlier and we'll see it after this part here of mike morell, deputy director of c.i.a. and act c.i.a. director. he said i.s.i.s. is winning, i.s.i.s. is not losing. yet they have lost ground. they have lost individual personnel. they have lost some of their financing sources. is i.s.i.s. gaining because it has new tactics? >> from where i sit, i think they're winning because they've now had two major hits. they've had november 13th in paris which is the most devastating attack on european soil in a decade and now brussels. so even as their territory shrinks, the image they have among their recruits is they're
ever powerful, they're threatening the infidel west in all its heart lands and the territory they lost -- i was in syria last year and the city of hasakas when it fell to the y.p.g., an allied group to the u.s. those are not the critical areas for i.s.i.s. these are on the ellens of their territory. it's not raqqa or mosul to we have it to really bear down on the caliphate. >> rose: peter, tell me the most important questions this evening about what happened including the conversation you participated in here, what are the core questions to be asking tonight? >> well, i think it is how deep and extensive knees networks are. the point made earlier about the realization only now that some of these attacks dating back to 2014 even were much more
sophisticated, networks which were, you know, much broader and in depth than we knew before. an intelligence report out of the department of homeland security that point to a failed aback in belgium southeast of near which it said this looks like i.s.i.s. is now trying to create a network in europe to attack consistently and rapidly. and i think the dynamic of this attack, the fact that they were able to move up the attack and still be successful goes to the sophistication. i think the question will be asked how far does this go? it's clearly not this old lone world. it is multiple people in multiple capitals that use connections that go back to syria and i think that's what europeans have to come to grip with. as we look at what unfolded in the last hours, those are the questions we need to answer. >> in the police report i got regarding the paris attack, a witness is cited who sees the
planner of the attack and sees him november two days after the attack. she has interaction with him, is considered credible according to police, and in that interaction he says to her i entered the flow with 90 other operatives. now, that could be an exaggeration, but let's just add it up. we have ten attackers in paris. we know that 20 other people since paris have been arrested in direct connection with those attacks that came from syria. 30. a third, right? so i'm starting to think that number is not that far off. >> rose: what is the united states not doing? >> i think we've got to work short term, long term. we have to remember we're part of the fabric overeurope from the n.a.t.o. alliance. we're part of the security equation. in our vocabulary, obama administration, n.a.t.o. is them. n.a.t.o. is us. i think we have to reinforce our support in the short term mainly through law enforcement intelligence and judicial services to help the europeans cope with the fires breaking out on the continent.
long-term, hope that can make the same leap that it took us so long to make. we're a melting pot society, they're a mosaic soavment they have large collections of people that don't feel a part of their society so perhaps we can help both in short and long term. >> rose: thank you for joining us. see you next time. for more about this program and earlier episodes, visit us online at pbs.org and charlierose.com. captioning sponsored by rose communications captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org
kacyra: it kind of was, like, the bang that set off the night. rogers: that is the funkiest restaurant. thomas: the honey-walnut prawns will make your insides smile. [ laughter ] klugman: more tortillas, please! khazar: what is comfort food if it isn't gluten and grease? braff: i love crème brûlée. sobel: the octopus should have been, like, quadripus, because it was really small. sbrocco: and you know that when you split something, all the calories evaporate, and then there's none. whalen: that's right.