tv The Cycle MSNBC January 15, 2015 12:00pm-1:01pm PST
raids in belgium. two suspects are dead a third badly wounded. it happened in a town of verviers about an hour's drive from brussels. witnesses described explosions and detonations. another suspect was arrested for illegal weapons trade. he claimed to have contact with haya hayat. he allegedly purchased weapons from a belgium arms dealer who later turned himself into police. at the white house president obama meets with david cameron tonight to discuss joint efforts to fight terrorism. let's get to katie in london with the latest. >> we know prosecutors just held a press conference and confirmed two people are now dead and one is injured during a raid just a
few hours ago. we heard from witnesses that they heard an explosion that a rapid rapid succession of gun fire. police say when they approached the home that the suspects immediately opened fire on them using what they are calling war grade weapons. we believe those are high powered assault rifles and machine guns. they opened fire back and are able to neutralize the suspects killing two of them and injuring one. we are told there were a number of other raids going on in belgium at the time about ten different houses of people were under surveillance and were being monitored for just having returned from syria including these men or these people. these people who were involved in the attack and the raid just a little while ago. witnesses say the police were able to come in a little bit before they started this telling them to take cover to get inside and watch out. there was a warning about what
they were about to do and the fact that it could become violent which in fact it did. we are also told that there were no police officers that were injured during this and no witnesses or by standers that were injured during this. to give you a little context about belgium there are about 11 million people in that country and per capita the most foreign fighters most going to syria and iraq to fight foreign wars. about 150 people there at the moment. why did they act so quickly after learning about these people who just returned from syria? last year in may 2014 four people were shot dead during a suspected islamist attack at a jewish museum and they believe that man just returned from syria, the suspect who they charged with murdering those people. when they saw there were more people returning from syria they decided to act pretty quickly. they are saying they are pretty glad they did.
these people opened fire immediately as they approached. they believe they were able to stop what they are calling a pretty big terror attack in brussels, a "charlie hebdo" style attack. they are not giving too many other details besides that. they will have another press conference at 11:00 a.m. local time tomorrow, about 5:00 a.m. eastern where they hopefully give more context as to what happened and who the people that they killed are as well as who are the people they have been able to detain since. a very scary situation from the amateur video that we should know we have not been able to independently confirm but the amateur video if true certainly a scary moment for the residents in the area. you can hear screaming, gun fire and explosions and see the fire through the windows. developing right now and we are hopefully going to get more information as the night goes on if not tomorrow morning at 11:00 a.m. local time 5:00 a.m.
eastern. >> stay with us. i'm sure we will be back to you for more. let's turn to tom sanders, co director for threats. i want to first get your thoughts on what is playing out today. do we know of ties to the attacks in paris last week? >> none that i have heard of at this point. certainly this is a very worrisome indicator that you have a second series of violence playing out right now. this was not initiated by the group but it looked like this group or perhaps more than one group were about to initiate attacks. it could be that the attacks in paris have produced some intelligence on other networks. and then other fighters that are based across europe who return from syria or just self-radicalized could feel that they may be about to be exposed and therefore could start to launch attacks in order to prevent that. >> we see here that there are
operational cells throughout europe that are being combatted right now. >> no doubt about it. this is the shrapnel that comes back from the battlefield, these individuals who are either inspired by what is going on overseas in mali yemen, iraq or elsewhere or these individuals have gone for training. they come back and have orders and their own ideas of what they want to do to further the cause of al qaeda and isis and they act on that. >> tom, "washington post" was reporting this morning that four book stores in brussels received threats on wednesday. we don't know exactly who the threats came from and we don't know that they are connected to this raid at all but received threats warning them not to sell copies of that "charlie hebdo" magazine. how real are the threats that exist against journalists and book stores that did sell that magazine and display those
images? >> i think the threat is very high. if you consider the number of foreign fighters that come out of europe over 3,000, along with those individuals who are at home and never went to fight but are incensed by what they see and see example offered in paris that shows what the art of the possible is for retaliating in defense of the prophet you can see how reprinting this would induce other actors across the continent to attack media outlets. >> let's bring in retired lieutenant colonel and foreign adviser michael kay. very impressive job by the police obtaining the intel about this cell and being able to stop them before they are able to do something. that is critical in this ongoing war on terror. we talked it is so much harder with the smaller cells that are not communicating the same way as larger isis but here the police were able to get inside and know what they were going to do before they did it.
>> the intelligence community has a hard job because the nature of the business is covert. they have been working behind the scenes going through thousands and thousands of gig a gigabytes of data. that's something we don't see. we don't see the plots that are foiled. we don't see all of that work that is done. we only see this aspect of it which is either the "charlie hebdo" bit when it goes dynamic or when there is a raid. it is all very reactive. i think we need to be careful about judging to what level of maturity the planning had been conducted on these recent raids. it could be anything from potentially stepping out the door and going to conduct a "charlie hebdo" style attack or it could be in the early stages of planning. the real difficult job that
intelligence community has at the moment is the risk assessment because we know this ideology fuels the self-sacrificing mission, suicide bombers and that ultimately is the worst case scenario. if these people do step out the door and get hostages the situation turns from being proactive to reactive. >> western countries get to a difficult philosophical issue, a minority report situation where like did they actually do anything? but we knew they were going to do something. we can't wait until they start committing crimes we have to stop them before they start. >> not many people touch on this. this is the real prickly bit about counter terrorism is having just enough evidence to make sure that once they are apprehended they can be charged and convicted in a court of law or conducting a raid where they are wanting to err on the side of caution but not quite having
enough evidence to tip them over the edge when it comes to the prosecution side. >> i think europeans are looking at the question. you have a comedian in france who said he is being imprisoned only for speech. that's the claim. you look at a prosecutor saying they disrupted an imminent attack coming. obviously these prosecutors from the little we know are referring to the fact that law enforcement in belgium felt they were clear this was not speech or conspiracy. this was in their view an attack that was going to be carried out if they didn't disrupt. >> again, we don't know to what level of maturity that intelligence will be telling us. i think what is really interesting here is this is a whole process. it's not just about the intelligence community, human intelligence, about listening. we hear about the nsa. that is one component.
the next component is translating that information into an assault like we have seen now. the next part of it is apprehending safely the people who we think are going to be the perpetrators. the next bit is having enough evidence to stand up in the court of law. if we don't have enough evidence how we can re-look at the judicial system and look at antiterrorism laws to make sure the victims are the people that are protected and not the terrorists. at the moment i feel the law in some cases protects the terrorists. >> and that varies of course country to country. lieutenant colonel michael kay. stick with us. i want to bring in senior analyst at flash point global partners. thank you for being with us today. i was hoping you could talk to us a bit about the background of extremism in belgium. we have been learning about what is going on in france.
belgium is actually the country with the highest per capita rate of individuals going over to fight in syria. why is that the case? >> we can go back even to before 9/11. she is known as kind of the black widow was married to the suicide bomber back in 2000. we can go on forward. the belgium group compromised of a three dozen belgium extremists in september of last year they were put on trial but only eight or nine members were placed on trial out of the 50 or so members who are believed some are at large and some believed to be overseas. belgium has suffered from the rise of radical elements going back to over a decade ago. this should not be a surprise. the other part is that having foreign fighters that largest per capita in syria and places in iraq coming back unnoticed
considering they have really good passports that they can undergo and fly under the radar, these are absolutely important aspects that this threat could be emminating from syria and iraq and could be self-radicalized individuals who went online and kind of became self-radicalized over time. >> belgium authorities have a weapons dealer in custody. makes me think of how belgium has been a hub of weapons dealing throughout europe. the spread of weapons throughout europe is part of the problem and something that will have to be combatted in order to deal with the sort of terrorism. as we see through america that is a hard thing to stop the flow of weapons. >> absolutely it is absolutely difficult and a multibillion-dollar network whether in europe or other parts of the world. we can obtain high caliber
weapons but the scrutiny is absolutely high. considering in europe and western europe obtaining such high caliber rifles is extremely difficult if not near impossible. these individuals have to travel through a number of countries or a number of places in order to obtain these kinds of weapons and have an introduction by somebody to get to a weapons dealer. these weapons could not be coming from western europe but from eastern europe to western europe. in eastern europe it is much easier to obtain the weapons even in places like poland and hungry hungary hungary. >> you were talking about how easy it is to travel to syria and yemen to train and come back with the same passport. talk to us about the role turkey plays. >> it is almost 90% of the time they have to go through turkey in order to get specifically to syria from the north. i think turkey has been lax in
its security measures. it has allowed thousands of individuals to cross the borders. they mentioned earlier about the suspected wife of one of the paris attackers that she might have crossed turkey into syria. it didn't seem that turkish authorities really had a great zooming on her in order for them to figure out where did she end up after she left turkish borders. same for thousands of fighters who crossed by arriving in the south or going -- it is really important to figure out where the fighters are arriving to turkey from. are they going into spain or germany before they arrive in turkey? is there a specific route that they are taking? sdpl i want you to stay with us. we have more to do here. all of this is playing out overseas. president obama will meet with british prime minister cameron to discuss joint efforts to fight terror.
nbc's kristin welker. >> key to discussions will be fight against terror and foreign fighters. it is estimated that as many as 3,000 westerners have travelled to areas like iraq and syria to fight along side the violent extremists and a few coming back to their western countries to launch attacks at home. now, president obama, prime minister david cameron penned an oped together. this was in the london times reading we will defeat these barbaric killers and their distorted ideology which tries to -- we also expect prime minister cameron to press president obama to urge some of the internet companies here like facebook and twitter to engage in better information sharing with intelligence officials in
the uk to improve their ability to track some of these would-be terrorists. white house officials wouldn't comment on how president obama would respond except to under score the fact that the two countries do work quite closely on intelligence sharing and also on cyber security. the two leaders will have dinner tonight and then an extensive meeting tomorrow and they will have a joint press conference. secretary of state john kerry is in paris. he is set to meet with the prime minister of paris, francois hollande. ment to some extent this is an acknowledgment that they should have sent a higher level official to the unity march over the weekend. don't expect secretary kerry to apologize but will under score the close relationship between the united states and france. take a listen to a little bit of what secretary kerry had to say earlier today. >> basically to share a big hug
with paris and express the affection of the american people for france and for our friends there who have been through a terrible time. >> now, as for that raid that occurred in belgium that you all have been talking about, the white house hasn't commented on that yet but we expect to hear from officials here about that later on today. >> just also give us a sense of the mood here. this is a timetypically where the white house is focused on the state of the union putting out their message. obviously as you say from secretary kerry to comments with david cameron going into tuesday when we hear the president will be introducing new counter terrorism measures in the state of the union, what is the mood at the white house and that the tragic events are obviously overtaking their plans? >> reporter: it is really interesting point because remember president obama spent the past several days laying out some of the policies that he is going to talk about in his state of the union address.
the white house wanted the run up of the state of the union to be focused on that. today he is talking about the importance of paid leave for new parents, paid sick leave, those sorts of things. and time and time again and day after day the focus is on the terror attacks in paris and this new focus, this renewed focus on the broader terrorism threat the threat from violent extremists and foreign fighters. i think that is a key theme when president obama addresses the nation and dominated discussions behind the scenes at the white house. >> thank you so much. appreciate that report. i want to bring in the former assistant secretary of defense for special operations at the pentagon. thank you so much for being with us. if you can just start with your reaction to what we know at this point. counter terror raid outside of brussels in belgium. two suspects dead and one taken
into custody. >> fairly typical after the event like in paris in europe we have seen in the past all the security agencies start rolling up the cells that they know of. they don't want the copy cat to engage. this is typical. what is not typical is to have a gunfight. this shows the seriousness that the cells are armed now and are willing to die to defend themselves. the roll up of intelligence typical. a fire fight meaning things are much more serious. >> you talk about a fire fight happening happening. you know the men are armed and dangerous and prepared to die. take us into the mindset of the cops preparing and executing the attack on the cell which they know will fire back on them. >> they have the toughest job going into a building into a room with someone you know behind the door who has a gun and willing to die. they have to go up steps and
fumble around in the dark. they have some advantage, night vision devices and a lot of folks there. it is the most difficult raid upstairs through a door behind doors is a person with a gun. fortunately they were able to kill both terrorists one alive and no injuries from the police. very good operation. >> we are looking at videos obviously of a raid at nighttime. >> normally you want to go when the hostages are tired. they might have other information that forced them to move forward. so we really don't know until we find out more about it. they are always prepared to go and waiting and trying to get more intelligence about the nature of the entrance, the posture of those in the room, the types of weapons, collecting more and more intelligence. what triggered the exact timing
i couldn't tell now for sure. >> we know that this was a pre-planned antiterror raid. they gave a warning before this. obviously trying to get a step ahead of this. will we be seeing more of this type of thing playing out across europe? >> without a doubt. the french have rolled up several cells. there weren't gun battles involved in that. i can assure you other places in germany and there will be more arrests and in the united states cht this is very typical. police department starting to lean forward on investigations that they had where they are waiting to see how it evolves. now they say we better move in because these guys are starting to get serious. >> is there a danger at this point of other cells that are ready to go operational during this raid and saying they are on to us. we better act now? >> absolutely. and that's why i think a lot of police forces are going to move. some of the cells who may not be
identified may assume that they are identified. i have run into a couple of those in my experience. and they may expose themselves during this period where there are a lot of unsettled folks on both sides of the equation on the police and intelligence side and on the terrorist side. they are trying to figure out their next move. >> thank you so much for being with us. just to remind everyone there were no hostages in the situation from what we know. we will take a quick break and be back with more on the breaking news on the antiterror raid. we'll be back. thanks for the ride around norfolk! and i just wanted to say geico is proud to have served the military for over 75 years! roger that. captain's waiting to give you a tour of the wisconsin now. could've parked a little bit closer... it's gonna be dark by the time i get there. geico. proudly serving the military for over 75 years.
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and then be able to go back because they have passports and carry out plots. this plot was not able to get off the ground but something that authorities had to deal with and stop before it started. this is something we are seeing more and more throughout the west. >> absolutely and something that everyone is very concerned about. it is really europe and no mistake it is belgium that this is happening, a country with more than 100 people who have gone to iraq and syria. they are getting radicalized. once they are in iraq and syria they are being trained and experienced. they can come back. it's that much harder to track them because there are so many of them. they have european passports making it easy to get from country to country. it is a formula for an incredibly difficult to track. >> they succeed so infrequently. you think about these people raising their hands to join the losing team and end up dead. >> you have that many people
going to iraq and syria being on that battlefield and coming back. you only need one successful team to really make a difference when it comes to terrorism. i think you will see a lot of similar roll up operations like we are seeing probably now in belgium. in the sense that police will move on people they have had under surveillance. if you are those guys you may be willing to speed up your plans because you are worried about that very thing happening. >> you have a really remarkable article and many remarkable articles in this latest edition of time. by attacking "charlie hebdo" the brothers cunningly forced the west to choose between the muslim sensitivity to cartoon portrayals and the secular value of free expression cower or offend either way the murders
win. is there a risk that in our reaction that we further inflame and further radicalize elements in belgium and france? >> there is absolutely that risk. you already have a very alienated muslim population in places like france high levels of employment. already in that condition. if you combine the fact that the vast majority of them have no interest in terrorism but there might be increase of groups that are very far right and that creates a cycle where those people feel as if they belong to france or the rest of europe even less. it makes them that more vulnerable and you have to cycle continue and continue. >> speaking to that issue it is really a wakeup call. lessons learned after the attacks. in the piece you guys write about the war fatigue that we
feel here in the united states and how that is not balanced with what is going on in the middle east and especially when you have isis and al qaeda competing with each other. >> we will see that very thing where the two groups try to top each other. we thought al qaeda sort of if not been rolled up it was a lot quieter. they seem to be connected and taking responsibility for the paris attacks. isis busy with fighting its own civil war that they now control large swaths. they are going to want to get the attention, as well. the best way to get it far more than doing anything there is to carry out the attacks in europe and the united states with the ease of doing so. if you need a lone wolf or small networks they can do a lot of damage without a lot of coordination. it probably isn't that typical once you have people in place and they have the weapons and means. >> while everyone joins together
against these kinds of terrorist murders the foreign policy response is still an open debate. what do you say to the neoconservatives who are looking, surveying this problem, people writing about the danish cartoon controversy and the rise of the militant groups but certainly taking purchase and hold on all of these foreign fighters as we are saying what do you say for those who say we were right all along this is truly a global fight with us or against us and western europe needs to come along to an american style of intervention here. >> there is no way to win this war. this is not a war that can be finished. it's a struggle that can be managed. every action you take will have reverberations that you can't really predict. >> what you just said is interesting. that is what john kerry said is that terrorism should be managed and can't be brought to zero. in the united states political context that message was
rejected at the time and people in paris feel the same way. they don't want to manage this. this is 11 years after that. the war on terror is no closer to being won. it is simply an issue that we have to deal with mill tarl and politically. you have to drain the swamps of that kind of radicalization and look at how you integrate this population in europe and in the united states as well. it's simply not possible to just eliminate it. i would say if you can't do all of those things if you can't deal with it domestically as well as the middle east you are not going to win and not manage the problem well at all. >> thank you very much for your time. the foreign affairs reporter at "usa today." this sort of war against terror cannot be won. it can only be managed. john kerry said it years ago. now we see that is true and these sort of attacks and
this sort of police action is the constant price that we are going
to have to pay for being at war with radical islam in the middle east. >> i'm sorry, to what is your question again? whether the war can be won?
>> we have been saying for years the war cannot be won. we see here that can can't be won and we will be dealing with this sort of thing for a long time. >> it is clear that we will be dealing with it for a while. these cells in belgium and across europe have been sending people to syria and to iraq to fight with islamic extremists for years. just out of belgium more than 300 people have travelled. we are not sure how many have come back. there have been 2,500 people from across the european union and about 4,000 from across europe including turkey and russia. and many of those people are coming back and are coming back
with a heightened ideology and with battlefield skills. they are ready to bring the jihad home. this will be continuing for a while. >> and as we continue to follow this breaking news here of an antiterror raid outside of brussels in belgium and reports that two suspects are dead one taken into custody. give us a sense -- we have learned so much about france and the muslim population there and the numbers of individuals who have gone over to syria and other places and come back. we are now learning about belgium, what other countries should we be looking at in terms of having individuals having gone to fight in syria and come back what are other potential pressure points in the region? >> well the countries -- belgium ranks fifth among european countries. at the top of the list is russia. the united kingdom, germany,
france and turkey. so all of those countries have large muslim populations. of course, not all the muslims are radical, but they have -- the larger the population the larger the contingent of radicals that you expect to see from there. so those are the main countries, i would say. >> the belgium federal prosecutor who has been giving us some of the only information we have about this said authorities are investigating whether there is a link to the activities in paris and were also looking about this arms dealing and other related suspicions there. we have discussed the syria connection. what foreign policy implication does this have at a time where before we get the facts on whether there is linkage a lot of people in western europe are feeling a larger sense of being under attack linkage or not? >> well, the main -- for the
europeans this is bringing up -- adding a security element to the sentiment growing in europe related to conflict in syria and iraq. there have been large numbers of migrants and refugees seeking asylum in europe from the conflict in syria. that has caused kind of a backlish in europe against this wave of immigration. and these attacks are basically giving fuel to the antiimmigrant contingent in europe. so i think that's part of it. and i think it's yet to be seen how the european authorities are going to -- first of all they will be reacting this way by increasing raids and police
actions against suspected terrorists. it's not clear how it will change their foreign policy towards these conflicts in the middle east. for the united states i would say that it's -- we've kind of been the united states has been to get involved. these incidents in europe puts pressure i think on the united states to get involved a little more than it has. >> to define the mission and whether it includes ground troops all open debates. thanks for your reporting today. we will be right back with more details on this breaking news.
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breaking news out of belgium. tonight president obama meets with uk prime minister david cameron. the global fight against terror will be tops on the agenda. bringing back tom. this meeting between david cameron and president obama at such an important time. talk to us about what needs to be said, what you expect the two of them to discuss. >> i think they will discuss any enhanced intelligence sharing and cooperation that can take place between the u.s. and europe and with our partners in the region across the arabian golf and other places cht that will be at the top of the list. we are doing so much with our partners in all of those regions. i this go this will be a reaffirmation of the relationship and intelligence sharing that is so critical to surfacing plots that could cross the atlantic. >> i want to dig in a little more to the roots of extremism
in belgium. this group faced a major crack down. they had a huge trial, 46 members of the group brought to trial back in the fall. it has been described as having built the pipeline to syria from belgium. tell us a little bit more about it and if that group may at all be involved with this cell that was the subject of this antiterror raid today. >> of course we don't know whether they were involved. certainly people involved in the network, individuals that they sent over may be involved with these cells. i don't know too much about the group. what i can say is that any cell that exists across europe today will flee fight or wait for the police to come and give them a fire fight like they have never imagined. i think we can expect many many more events like this. those networks and copy cat networks like them have so many people to draw from inside their
communities to send overseas or to not even send but to just operationalize locally. we will find out soon enough whether this cell was the former or the latter. >> thank you very much for your analysis this afternoon. we will bring back senior analyst at flash point global partners. walk us through when you look at an operation like this in general terms how do authorities make the decision to go in and how do they balance the security here where we have been reporting deaths with the desire to gather intel? >> i think they have been talking recently about how security apparatus should be really proactive and reactive as michael kay mentioned earlier. i think they wanted to be proactive. they could have also received a tip. they could have received a piece of intelligence that was absolutely necessary for them to act right now before it was too late. we of course don't know whether these individuals had any connection with the france plot but if any information
emerged on these individuals it was absolutely imperative for the authorities to act right now. >> one of the things that happened here today is an arms dealer as far as we know currently gave himself up to police because he preferred to be in custody rather than free on the street presumably because he feels too vulnerable to folks who might want to kill him which suggests an interesting level of danger that folks who are at all related to terror cells will face on a daily basis. >> absolutely. if you meddle in bad acts expect a back lash. arms dealers are crucial to terror groups and terror cells because weapons, ammunition and components for bombs and explosives absolutely important that these weapons dealers are checked, being monitored because they could be a connection to one or many other terror cells.
>> thank you for your time. turn now to michael crowley. welcome back. part of the beginning of this current situation was what happened at "charlie hebdo." this week they came back with another cover featuring the prophet muhammad. what do you think as a magazine guy, what do you think about the decision? >> well you know people in the press are sort of admirably defiant bunch. when you tell them they can't do something it makes them want to do it more. it applies in a case like this and a more mundane situation like the government agency doesn't want to answer a question you better believe that the amount of effort is doubled. this is the spirit of the free press. it is quite likely to have security consequences.
and you know i think that we are probably going to see efforts to further retribution and we are going to see more attacks and raids like the one we had today. it's clear we are in a new era of terrorism here. i think social media is a crucial part of it. we will see a lot of attacks particularly as the war festers. >> and part of that we have been talking about this earlier on the show is the fighters traveling to these parts of the world, yemen, syria and elsewhere to be trained by isis and other groups and coming back with the same passports. how do we begin to make progress on this? is this something we need to work closer with with turkey? >> there has been a lot of frustration with turkey. a key issue here is information sharing so the right hand knows
what the left hand is doing or many different tentacles of who is coming and going and what records you have and the turks in particular because they have so many of the europeans who are going to turkey flying to someplace like istanbul and going over the boardrder on foot. the western officials have had their frustrations that the turks are not sharing the information that they could same time the turks are frustrated the west is not sharing information. there is a lack of trust there. so they are trying to make it better. talked to upper yooeneuropean officials. i think they are not there yet to the point where they can feel comfortable. >> there are plenty of u.s. officials who basically say there have been frustrations about the lack of interest in a lot of european countries to do air strikes against isis a fair criticism that we don't want to air either. talk about what the attacks do.
we can report in belgium they raised the erterror level from two to three. four is the highest. they are not at the highest level although obviously this is a tough day for them. what do you think this does to the larger question that the president will be addressing on tuesday an ongoing campaign against isis on a day where we see the tie to syria? >> i think the likely effect is that it will increase public opinion for taking stronger action including military action in iraq and syria. you know you saw in this country the way public opinion spiked when we started having terrible beheadings of american hostages. i think that really gave president obama political space to do something that it was pretty clear he was getting ready to do anyway which was have a vigorous military campaign. these attacks just drive home for people a threat particularly
in some other countries that may have seemed abstract to them. security officials have been warning for months that foreign fighters will make attacks. it seemed abstract and now seems real. >> thank you for your reporting. we will squeeze in a break and come back with political reaction. health can change in a minute. so cvs health is changing healthcare. making it more accessible and affordable with over 900 locations for walk-in medical care. and more on the way. minuteclinic. another innovation from cvs health. because health is everything.
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. we are back and following breaking news out of belgium where authorities say they've foiled a terror plot. another suspect is under arrest with, we're told alleged ties to the female accomplice still wanted in the paris attacks. u.s. officials are on alert after foiling another major planned attack. a 20-year-old ohio man under arrest after planning to hit the capitol with pipe bombs and a plan to then execute people as they left. all in all, he was working with an undercover fbi agent. luke russert is an the annual gop retreat in pennsylvania. house speaker john boehner speaking about the plot. what can you tell us luke? >> well we picked up a fascinating bit of information from speaker boehner. he says the terror plot was
thwarted because of information received through the foreign intelligence surveillance act. it's a piece of legislation that came under a lot of skrut any post edward snowden. he's saying it's why the attack was thwarted. >> our government does not spy on americans unless they are americans doing things that tip off our law enforcement officials to an imminent threat. it was our law enforcement officials and those programs that helps us stop this person before he committed a hey nous crime in our nation's capitol. >> in the coming months it has to be reauthorized. you bet what boehner say said will be huge news. republicans and democrats are going to point to this incident
specifically. it will upset a lot of people that were concerneded with the possible overreach that was put on american civil liberties. a fascinating development here. this information is not public the fisa information was used to thwart this possible attack on the capitol. >> thank you luke russert. that's certainly new regarding the sources and methods on that issue. now paul berman. possibly best known for "terror and liberalism." he has influenced the the global debate. >> thank you for having me. >> let's start with something you were writing about just after 9/11. the notion that the type of hay tret. the type of doctrine that animates some in islam won't necessarily be alters by foreign policy or humanitarian goals because i doesn't care about that.
it cares about something else. >> of course. the movement is in my interpretation a classic totalitarian movement. thest the same movement we've seen in different versions for 90 years now. naziism, facism. this is just the latest. it's not in response to anything in particular. it's a revolutionary idea on one hand. it's a paranoid conspiracy theory on the other hand. and that's what it's about. >> a lot of people think what is being called iz laukic terrorism is actually a bar loshization of iz lauk, which is a global peaceful religion. what do you think of the notion that they're misusing islam to get at jihad. >> the movement is something that obviously draws on islam. it draws on a version of islam
and combines its version of islam with modern ideas which in many cases are european and not islam at all. you can see it in the attacks in paris. the attacks on the grocery store. the real origin is europe. not the muslim world. it hasn't led to this kinds of massacre. the idea of going and randomly murdering jews is a european specialty. here it is brought back to europe by people claiming to be acting on the basis offist laum. >> how do you actually undermine that revolutionary ideology, as you put it? >> well obviously there's a
role for the police and there's a role for the military. but there's also an important real for people arguing. and the press arguing. trying to show it to be what it is. arguing with people. presenting forceful arguments. i think "charlie hebdo" did this by ridiculing this. the cartoon just now is -- i hope you've showed it to your viewers. the cartoon defends the prophet muhammad. >> what do you say to those who say showing the images that are offensive to many muslims who are not terrorists but showing them just inflames those tensions and adds to the feeling of ostricism. >> i don't agree. i don't think anything is inflaming the movement. it's inflamed by it's own
doctrines. >> so these are excuses? >> yes. and charlie hebdo is not my style of writing. but what it's done is try to show how ridiculous are these movements. how ridiculous are the doctrines. something really ridiculous about it all. one of the cartoons went under the label, if muhammad returned. it shows muhammad being beheaded by a crazed fanatic. of course, now we're told we shouldn't show the public because it would inflame the public. but contrary cartoons like that are an argument. >> some people in america are learning about "charlie hebdo". you've been covering this if r years. you said there's a voluntary censorship happening in response to all of this. after paris now, do you think
it's better or worse? >> is what better or worse? the feeling that people want to sensor themselves for fear here? >> i home people will sensor themselves less. i think we see inadequate police action. there's been inadequate military action. and also arguing. we haven't argueded forcefully and thoroughly and seriously enough. and so of course we have to argue more deeply. more persuasively. more passionately. >> a debate that will continue to be had. thank youing for being with us. we appreciate it. >> thank you. >> that does it for us and our continuing coverage of the situation in belgium. "now" with alex wagner starts right now. >> with europe on edge we have breaking news in the deadly anti-terror raid in belgium. it's thursday, january 15th. this is "now." we are following breaking news
of a deadly anti-terror raid in belgium. this is amateur video, unconfirmed by nbc news reporting to feature the raid. authorities say two suspects were killed an one arrested after they opened fire on police the belgian federal prosecutors office said the raid was a search of ten homes of people recently returned from syria. they say the raid stopped what they believe was an imminent attack. >> during the investigation. we found this group wus about to commit terrorist attacks. >> belgian authorities did not point to any connections with the attacks in paris last week. a known arms dealer is under arrest after turning himself in yesterday saying h