tv The Place for Politics 2016 MSNBC March 22, 2016 8:00am-9:01am PDT
in the last couple weeks in brussels, they had found traces or quantities of tatp in the residences of some of those people they have been arresting. so it certainly is consistent with the paris attacks, with the people they were going after in brussels, and elsewhere throughout france and belgium, but on the other hand, it's so commonly used that i don't think it's going to narrow things down any. >> okay. so it wouldn't be a surprise to you, pete, if we -- if the forensics and chemical testing came back that it was in fact tatp? >> to the contrary, brian, i would say it would be a surprise if it isn't. it's just how common it is now. it could be, you mentioned the forensic evidence. it could be there are different formulas and that will tell them something, but i think the most useful thing will be if they in fact did find an unexploded device, as had been earlier reported but not confirmed. that the key thing. they'll look at how the devices were built. that's where the signature is.
that's where the commonalities may lie. >> all right. we have just passed into 11:00 a.m. east coast time. this happened around 3:00 a.m. east coast time. and as you have been seeing at the bottom of your screen, we now believe at least 31 people are dead. the number of injured has been all over the place, quite frankly, between 100 and 200, with varying degrees of injuries, from severe burns to broken bones. the statement was put out within the hour by brussels equivalent of fire and ems. they have been busy in belgium today. two separate attacks. one at the airport, upper right, and one at the metro station, lower left.
and again, in belgium, as was the case after the paris attacks, people are being told to stay indoors. as you see the headlines change at the bottom of the screen, the french prime minister earlier today said we are at war. the french president, francois hollande said all of europe has been affected, has been hit, has been attacked by this. and this is again a very familiar feeling in brussels, after paris. the ambassador to the united states from belgium talked about the door-to-door inspections, the house-to-house inspections that followed the paris attacks. he talked about the names they have collected. he talked about the heavy weapons they have discovered. this video you're seeing play out on the left-hand side of the screen, various scenes from
inside the airport. most of them you can see the smoke hanging in the air. people reacting in the immediate aftermath to the fact there have been explosions. there are extraordinary pictures out on the tarmac. we are led to believe that was one of the exits. instead of allowing passengers or forcing passengers to go out through the front where the bombing had taken place, where the smoke was, they were able to exit and stand around at the base of at least one aircraft out there, and they were at least in the freedom and safety of the tarmac. this is one of the subway cars that was hit. very, very violent explosion. and again, you add to that the confines of a subway station, the confines of a closed tunnel, and it can be a force multiplier
on the force of the explosion. but we also saw these scenes of good samaritans, volunteers, helping people out. trying to keep things orderly in the scary confines of an underground subway tunnel. some of the first pictures we saw after the attack from underground. someone had the presence of mind to take these pictures. our foreign correspondent, amen mohuh teen has been following all of this from the overnight hours into morning. >> i'm struck by a comment that was made earlier in the day by the belgian prime minister who said this is far from over. obviously, he expressed a sense of pessimism that despite the attacks, the cell phone networks essentially going offline, despite the deployment of additional resources and security being beefed up across brussels, this situation is still far from over. the reason why we say that is based on the developments over
the past 72 hours that began with the capture of salah abdeslam friday in brussels in the neighborhood there and some of the information that came out over the course of this weekend, including the assessment by authorities that his network of people that helped him evade capture over the past four months was much, much larger than they had anticipated. by some estimates, as many as 30 people may have been involved in helping him keep on the run. the question then is where are these 30 individuals and were any of those individuals involved in today's attacks? certainly, authorities now are probably working just as hard to try and identify the attackers that were involved there. we heard, as we heard from both tom costello and pete williams in terms of working the forensics of this investigation, but trying to come up with the names of those individuals, their identities and their affiliations is going to be critical to get a sense of where brussels goes from here. so there is the effort, the ongoing effort, obviously, from
a forensics point. we were talking about the explosives. it seems this was, you know, a crude explosive device. based on the information we'ren there's a certain degree of sophistication with the fact that these individuals were able to detonate and carry out this attack shortly in the wake of the capture of salahabdeslam. you can't emphasize that enough. brussels had not seen a terrorist attack over the past four months while he was on the run. then in the past 72 hours, just following his capture, you see this massive escalation by either islamic state supporters or his own personal network of individuals inside that country. i think you get a sense of how coordinated this attack has been. that's also some of the initial reporting we're getting from u.s. intelligence officials, that this was a very well coordinated attack. >> a lot of people saw the timing as just too convenient for it not to have been a well coordinated attack.
steve clemens, an msnbc contributor, again, happened to be in brussels today. we have just lost his cell phone signal. and that actually is a part of the story. at first, cellular communications were very, very difficult. it was theorized that perhaps the government had kind of jammed the signals as not to assist the terrorists. it now looks like it's just plain crowded cellular signals out of brussels and belgium. we will try to reestablish contact with steve clemens. now on the phone with us from brussels is a associated press paris bureau chief, angela
charlton, and angela, thank you for joining us. what can you report from on the ground there? >> hello. you had a pretty thorough reporting so far. i can say that the situation remains tense, although some stores and things are starting to open up again. as you mentioned, the main questions now are who did this and could there be attackers still on the run? i'm noting, too, that this happened at rush hour this morning, in what is effectively the european capital, the attack on the subway station was really at the heart of the european union. very near where all the eu leaders meet regularly. sxl european security officials have been bracing for this for weeks. and warning that the islamic state was actively preparing to strike. >> how public have the warnings been? it's hard to gauge as an
american audience. obviously, we watched the apprehension, the shooting of the at-large suspect, but how public have the warnings been to expect this? >> they have been pretty public, but it's also been going on, really, for four months. since the paris attacks. there's been a sense of apprehension, a sense that there are more people still out there, that there are a lot of questions still unanswered after the paris attacks. so i think for some people it had become a bit of -- they started to get used to this idea. >> and of course, there was that debate over the loss of civil liberties, as the house-to-house searches and forced entries started. first, in paris. and then in belgium. and then today we learned from the ambassador to the u.s. that those yielded a lot.
names, heavy weapons, and kind of added to the sense of foreboding that there was a lot out there yet. >> indeed, and that debate is continuing both in belgium and in france. much as we saw the debate in the u.s. as well. the searches also are continuing. >> angela charlton, thank you very much for being with us. from brussels. richard engle is still with us, our chief foreign correspondent. richard, what have you been able to find? >> i was told a short while ago that, by a senior u.s. intelligence official, that belgian federal police appeared to have made some progress in their investigation. they are searching a residence in a brussels neighborhood. and that they believe this
residence was possibly the staging ground for the three attackers believed responsible for for today's atrocities in belgium. if they have located a residence, a potential staging ground, searching it. that shows quite a bit of progress being made just in the last several hours since these attacks took place. that's one piece. the other is u.s. intelligence are currently sifting through all of the chatter, online chatter, intelligence intercepts, to try to eliminate circular reporting, duplications, rumors, and to see if there are other imminent threats out there. and at this stage, they're still -- that process is still under way and have not been able to determine if there are other imminent threats in europe related to or unrelated to events in brussels this morning. >> let's hope that that lead on
the suspected staging ground is the kind of thing that comes from human intelligence, when people learn there's been a terrorist attack, they kind of put two and two together and say, you know, we had those two or three shady characters downstairs in our building. i should perhaps tell someone. that's, you know, that's how leads happen. and that's how you can chase some of them down. hopefully prevent the next one. >> they're talking about three shady characters in this case. but i don't know the source, whether it came from human intelligence, a neighbor, giving up that kind of information. or if it was part of an ongoing investigation. i have no idea how they came to that location. only that they are very interested in it and consider it as a possible -- that it was a possible launch pad. and if it turns out to be that, that would be a major break in the investigation.
>> rich rard who happens to be with us in a rare break in this country. covering the events over in belgium. we mentioned cell service can be hard to come by. steve clemens had made phone contact with us. we lost it, and now we have regained it. steve, it's been a good while since we spoke. tell our viewers where you were and what happened. >> i was arriving at the brussels airport this morning, around 8:00. and just after the bombs had gone off. and as all of the action began to unfold, i was planning to fly to washington from brussels airport this morning. and was there to witness the smoke and see really a very fast operation of security officials at the airport begin to evacuate and take control. i never got up actually where the site was, but was near
enough there, and then as i shared with you a short while ago, some of the morning talking to many people who were very near the bomb blast. one man i was speaking to kept breaking out into tears telling me about what he felt. he felt very lucky. but trying to be normal and breaking into tears with just the intensity of what happened to him. everyone i was with, there were people on buses i met later on the train, others of us were sent back onto the train, back to brussel north train station. and there, we felt a second grip of tension with the rumors that were hitting about the bomb blast in the subway stations. that's when we began to see security really begin to build. once you began to feel safe at one station after we left the airport, then a second round of fear really gripped the crowd. and it was interesting to watch
them leave very quickly from brussels north station, those that could. others of us who were there realized after what we had seen that there was no way that brussels was going to reopen tomorrow. it will be a miracle if they do. and i hope they're able to recover quickly. but we tried to get out of the country, get out of the town, as rapidly as we could to another airport. i was told that we were on the last train that got out of belgium before they closed the border. so that's the way the morning has gone. >> indeed, steve. as the time for dinner nears, people have been told to stay in if they possibly can. and i think there's no reason to believe they won't abide by that. because of the, you know, the shock they have been through today. i don't know if an american audience can thoroughly appreciate after paris, just how
emotional a double blow this will be for them. >> i think that's right. i think in another dimension to this is after the capture of salah abdeslam on friday, well, i can't speak for many belgians out there, i think there was a sense of both it was an anomaly of sorts and that it was over. and it clearly wasn't over and clearly what happened today is a heart attack in the capital of europe. is really frightening people. so just the level of tension, and i just spent hours, literally hours, on moving from train to train. it took five trains to get to amsterdam airport because of the security procedures that the dutch government has put into place. just talking with people now about that is that something has happened. in my estimation at least with the people i talked to, that the sense that this is happening in another neighborhood, a little far away, that it's been solved,
that just added to the people that i'm around is completely different now. >> describe it more. >> well, i think that people, one of -- i tweeted some of the interviews i did with some of the guys. one young man was saying that maybe we have been living in a dream. that we have been taking our security too lightly. another gentleman i talked to said, now you see all the security, the craziness, reacting to this. how intense the police are, even in holland, changing trains. he says tomorrow there will be nothing. it goes in a big reaction, and then it disappears. he says that has to stop. we have to be more aware. that kind of comment was made literally by dozens of people to me over the last couple of hours. >> it's interesting that european citizens would be kind of angered by the self-knowledge that they weren't, you know, being vigilant enough. they weren't seemingly taking
this seriously enough. >> yeah, i think that's right. i think that at least what i'm getting subjectively in these episodes from people, is that they see this massive reaction of a security situation. fear is high, and that going tomorrow or the next day or the next day, to a complete draw down of security, awareness, and attention to something they don't think is wise. i don't have anything to measure this by other than paris where i visit frequently and i have been impressed after the bataclan attacks and after the "charlie heb hebdo" attacks you see a reasonable degree of security and police in paris. at least i have. i haven't measured what is happening across brauoader euro, but talking to the people who live in this place every day, they think their security services are highly reactive at the moment and disappear with the moment is over. it's not a sustained vigilance.
so that's one of the interesting observations i am making in the wake of the terrible attacks in brussels. >> steve clemons calling after having witnessed different pieces of this attack. but way too close for any of us. thank you so much for that reporting. we want to bring in a correspondent from our nbc station here in new york, wnbc tv, he happens to be the chief investigative reporter, jonathan deanest, and he can tell us what the reaction has been here in new york. and we can take that as an indicator of how other cities are going to react. and amend their behavior in light of brussels. jonathan. >> yeah, for the nypd, it's all hands on deck for the counterterror division. more than 1,000 police officers, extra police officers being called in over the next 24 hours to handle stepped up security,
stepped up patrols, and landmarks, at transportation hubs, along with the port authority police stepping up at the airports. all of this taking place as a precaution. police officials say there's no specific threat and they point to the numbers that pete williams has been talking about all morning. that in new york, or in the u.s., there's about 100, 150 isis followers, supporters, people who have tried to travel overseas to join the group, that the fbi has been trying to attract. in europe, the number is 6,000. things are much tougher over there than here, but the concern obviously, very much heightened given the events overseas, the nypd again calling in, doing a briefing right now. actually, explaining the numerous resources that are being called in. you have the hurk yule guns in
times square, in penn station. new york not alone. we heard of stepped up security in chicago. in miami, in los angeles. police departments across the nation stepping up what is already a heightened state of alert, giving the ongoing threat, but clearly, this attack in brussels, again, a wake-up call to the serious threat these cities are facing in western europe and to a lesser extent, here in the u.s. >> to repeat, jonathan, this is voluntary on the part of the city. they're not reacting to any order handed down by the feds. there was no direct evidence saying that new york was in any particular danger, correct? >> that is correct. there's no new specific threat information to new york or the u.s., based on the federal and local law enforcement officials we have been speaking with. this is something that the nypd does. they adjust their resources, they adjust their tactics, given
events that are happening overseas. and they try to do it in real time. so any time anything like this happens, they do it for precautions, they also do it to try to reassure the public that they're out there and doing everything that reasonably can be done to keep them safe. and so that is why you're going to see this visible police presence, certainly in north carolina new york, for the next several days. >> jonathan, as we look at this incredible shot from the tarmac at the airport. and we are guessing that it was just the most available and safest outlet for all of these people in the airport. you seeluftanza yet, and people are standing on the airport tarmac, a scene you don't see every day. then again, they have suffered through a great emergency there in brussels.
we're going to go to a quick break. as we do, we want to show you something from earlier today. secretary of state john kerry spoke with our sister network, telemundo, about the terrorist attacks in belgium and the difficulty of protecting places like our public airports. >> i just spoke with the foreign minister of belgium, and he reminded me that this event took place not inside the airport, beyond the security, but before the security. so this is an area which one calls a soft target. there are limits to exactly how exhaustive those perimeters can become. so people need to be vigilant. everybody needs to take precautions. i think it underscores to everyone the importance of people uniting in order to defeat all of these extremist terrorist organizations that engage in violence.
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locations where today's terrorist attacks took place. on the right, the aftereffects. the drop ceiling at the airport having been blown to the ground. we have blurred some of the victims that were in early versions of the video before we knew what we were looking at. this is the kind of stanchions that make the lanes that we're all familiar with in airports, and you see the lamps. you see the smoke. all of it in the initial confusion. the overhead lighting, again, some of it blurred to protect the folks who ended up in the video. a stroller there in the
foreground. and here's video along the rails. again, another harrowing part of this story was the bomb that went off in the subway station. and look at this. people holding on to each other. you see the train tracks there, sporadically. but that's what people did to get out and probably considered themselves fortunate to be able to get out. an attack at the airport. an attack at the metro station. our foreign correspondent richard engel has been part of our coverage since the early, early morning hours. richard, the rest of the world is starting to get brought in on what you've -- okay, we have lost our communications with
richard engel for just right now. let's go to our friend christopher dickey. he is based in paris. world news editor for the daily beast these days, and we haven't spoken to chris dickey since the last time news brought us to paris. that sad, sad episode, chris, and of course, this is a direct outgrowth of that. and paris, and belgium, are both plunged into some very familiar feelings here. >> well, yes, they are. i mean, there's a horrible feeling here, and here in brussels, as i was driving into town this morning, the train station is closed. there are armed not only police but troops all around it. it's all cordoned off. you have really a sense in various parts of the city, critical strategic parts of the city, that this is a place under siege. in a neighborhood like this, the metro station isn't very far away where the horrible bombing took place.
there is a sort of normalcy here behind the camera, but the truth is this is a city that is very much on edge. and in fact, a continent that is increasingly on edge. >> and chris, for people who don't know brussels, it's routi routinely referred to as the european capital. >> that's right. it's where the core of the bureaucracy and government for the european union is. so this is very much the center of europe. symbolically and administratively. that makes it certainly a target. the other thing, as one counterterror analyst was telling me this morning, is that basically, there is an analysis by the islamic state that says europe is the soft underbelly of the west. and they look at belgium and see it as the soft underbelly of europe. because this is a country that went for almost two years recently with no government. this is a country where you have
overlapping and rather confused police forces. and you also have a very big muslim immigrant population that is well rooted in its own neighborhoods here. it's the kind of place where, in fact, as we saw, someone like the eighth bomber in paris, salah abdeslam, was able to hide out for four months and was never given up. >> chris, one of our consultants, one of our guests who we're going to hear from again here shortly, malcolm nance, said to us early on in the coverage in the early morning hours here in the states, make no mistake, this is a strategic campaign on the part of isis to destabilize europe. do you concur? >> absolutely. and i can tell you where you can read the strategy. there was a book written a little over ten years ago by a jihadist theorist, and he laid it out. he said, look, you start out with terrorist attacks.
you create as much islamophobia as you possibly can. you play on that as much as you can. that allows you to recruit these underemployed and disaffected young people in muslim communities. and you can build on that to the point where, in his theory, anyway, eventually you'll have an insurgency and a civil war. that is the basic playbook for the islamic state. i'm sure that's what mr. nance was talking about as well. >> and chris, what has the immigration influx done to affect it, to accelerate it? >> well, it's created a sense of panic. quite apart from the question of terrorism, the whole immigration issue created a sense of panic, and basically, gave the impression, the right impression, that these governments are not in control. not of their own borders, not of their own people, not of their own policies. when you have 28 different countries trying to decide on something, that's pretty hard. but especially when they have to decide on all kinds of issues
that surround the question of immigration. so especially immigration from syria, there are people who are really unquestionally fleeing a horrific war that europe has been completely unable to end. >> this doesn't sound hopeful for the near future. >> no, i have to say, brian, it's not a very hopeful situation. it's a grim one. it needs some real leadership, and we don't see that leadership forthcoming except perhaps on the part of the germans. but they're having a lot of trouble pulling the rest of europe behind them. >> they are. and other than, you know, making better defense forces, devil's advocate, what does leadership do? what would it get you? what minds would it change? >> well, it does a couple things. first of all, with leadership, you can organize not only the country, but you can organize your intelligence and security services much better than they have been organized in many european countries. there's all this talk about sharing intelligence.
but as one of my old friends from the cia said, people don't share intelligence, they trade intelligence. there's always these negotiations going on about who knows what and who knew it when. that creates a lot of problems. as much as they talk about working together, they haven't done it very well. the other place where you need leadership is in reassuring the people, in telling them this will be taken care of. not just making hollow sounding promises, but doing things that show people that you really are on top of the case. and the third area where you really need to work is on working with the communities that exist here. it will take a lot of leadership to say to people in europe now, especially, you cannot vilify these people. we need to work with the muslims and work with the arabs who are here, not try to isolate them and alienate them because the more you do that, the more you play directly into the playbook of the islamic state. >> all right, christopher dickey, who has made his way to brussels from his base in paris.
we sure appreciate being able to speak wuio. now to the man we have been quoting in this conversation, malcolm nance. he has been around the business of intelligence, counterterrorism, special operations, for decades. and malcolm, it's been a while since our audience heard from you. i thought i would let you repeat your contention about what it is we're witnessing. >> well, when you combine what's happened in belgium today with the raids that have taken place over the last four months and the paris attacks, you are seeing a strategic campaign from isis. this is not just individual little attacks that have not been centrally planned. you're watching isis throw punches by using the foreign fighters that have come over to iraq and syria, joined the caliphate, then training them, operating them as nationalist groups like the french group, the belgian group, and they're redeploying them back into europe. what they're doing is no matter
what level of insecurity and intensity they have, they're operating when they can, where they can. so for this campaign to be successful, of course, it requires them to train special mission units and to create a european wide logistics network, and we're seeing that because all of the efforts that the belgians and the french in their joint counterterrorism efforts have shown, they have taken down dozens of safe houses, found dozens and dozens of heavy weapons and explosives and we still have the campaign throwing another punch. >> isn't it true that as enemies go, they're patient. they're willing to have people infiltrate and go dark if need be for long periods of time? >> yes, this is -- this is a strategic, multi-decade campaign. osama bin laden himself thought reestablishing the caliphate, having them destabilize europe and the rest of the middle east, would take a century. isis is the flash mob version of
that. they thought that this could be done in a matter of a couple years. and they're executing a strategic policy. not just a campaign, but a policy, which this apocalyptic revelationist cult where they believe they're going to bring about the apocalypse by antagonizing europe and getting them to overreact and come and fight in syria. and that's exactly what they believe. so they're not just carrying out military strategy. they believe that they are acting as the hand and weapon of god. in that each one of these attack s, as they're manual, the manual, they call, the management of savagery calls it, a strategic attack, a qualitative attack or paying the price attack. today was a strategic attack which was designed to provoke the nations of europe and by extension, the united states, into overreacting against the islamic state. >> well, malcolm, i'm told that ayman mohyeldin across the
studio here has a confirmation of a credible claim on responsibility for today. >> that's correct, brian. getting confirmation. u.s. officials telling nx bc ne they believe the claim of responsibility that has been posted on a website that has been in the past credible, that has been affiliated with the terrorist group isis, has actually claimed responsibility for the brussels attack. the statement was posted on their website, known as the mac news agency. that was a short time ago. right now, u.s. officials believe that claim of responsibility to be credible. it's always very difficult for nbc to independently verify it, but as we have seen in the past, announcements and statements that have been posted on this particular website, through this particular group, has been in the past proven to be credible and true. now, this news website is loosely affiliated with the organization. in the past, it has been
considered to be kind of like their media hub. we know isis has claimed responsibility in the past for many attacks, including the paris attacks. in the wake of this attack in brussels, it seems what we feared all along, that this was an isis attack, now the group is actually claiming responsibility for it. it seems as well, brian, as we have been reporting, the coordination of this attack had all the hallmarks of an isis directed operation. we is seen in the past lone wolf type of attacks or isis-inspired type of attacks, but what is similar between what we saw in paris in november and what we're seeing today is a certain degree of coordination, a certain degree of sophistication that many western intelligence officials i have spoken to in the past are the direct hallmarks of isis. very few organizations could have pulled something like this off. terrorist organizations, could have pulled something like this off. and now, several hours after, within the timeframe that isis has in the past claimed responsibility, they are now claiming responsibility for what
w we have seen in brussels. >> ayman mohyeldin, thanks. all of which brings us right back to malcolm nance. malcolm, the question i didn't have time to ask, the question you're probably always asked by public sector and private. what do you do? >> well, for the most part, we are in a global war. with this organization. but when we say this organization, you have to remember, this is al qaeda's fifth generation. just younger, faster, better equipped with weapons, and they now have carved out a piece of terrain in iraq and syria, north africa, libya, and parts of egypt, yemen, and somalia. so this organization has to be taken on connectically, as we have been doing, which is military combat operations we have sustained. we have carried out over 22,000 air strikes on this group, not just in iraq and syria, but also in libya and other places. but also, we have to -- we have
to empower the muslim world. all right, to show their rejection of this. the muslim world has been speaking out against isis in this corrupt cult-like islamic ideology. they call it islamic but it's not really. we have assist them in taking away the ocean that these terrorist fish swim in. that, of course, has amen aul zzaw wuhe wuhery said, if we louvre tse t muslim support, we will be crushed in the shadows. that is the one thing we have not been doing. we refuse to speak about islam and call it a cult as it is. >> let's continue to drill down. how do we empower them, exactly? >> well, for the first -- for the moist part, we give so much more media coverage to the acts that the terrorists carry out, as opposed to the people who actually speak out against them.
there's 1.6 billion muslims in this world. they almost to a person reject this ideology. the grand mufti of saudi arabia a year and a half ago referred to isis as the number one enemy of islam. the grand mufti of egypt said they shouldn't be called the islamic state of iraq and syria, but the terrorist tate of iraq and syria. these terminologies, this level of communicating on a strategic and global scale, that is what they fear. they fear that people within the muslim world will religiously not touch them, will feel their souls are endangered by commu communicating with them. we need to help amplify the message from the muslim world on a broader scale. this cult is an existential threat to islam and by extension, they are carrying out these acts in order to provoke us to attack the muslim world. not just isis. >> and what's your guarantee
that such a strategy will curtail, say nothing of stop, the activity, the terrorist activity? >> well, the terrorists are trained operatives. they're going to carry out their activity until they're destroyed physically. isis, they are irreconcilable. the campaigns the saudis have carried out to try to bring them back into mainstream islam just does not work. they need to be kinetically destroyed. but for the most part, here in the united states, we just started again an office of global engagement led by a former navy s.e.a.l., who is now responsible for helping create that megaphone, for creating that global social rejection by the street level muslim that comes into contact with them. all of that will feed into the counterterrorism network and information system. just one other fact.
they attack the maelbeek station, the train station that served that entire muslim population of brussels. that alone is probably going to alienate a lot of people and create a wealth of intelligence that will come to belgian intelligence services. >> all right. malcolm, thank you very much for that. i don't know if it leaves me feeling hopeful or not. but certainly a better idea of the war we find ourselves in. tom costello covers aviation. he's been continuing to report out this story. tom, what do you have? >> i hope you don't mind. i need to make a clarification to the previous guest because there is confusion about where the metro stop blast occurred. not mallen beck, ma maelbeek. that's where the subway explosion occurred at the heart of the european union. molen beck is that neighborhood they were talking about that has been the home of these islamic
radicals who have been in brussels. but the actual blast occurred closer to the heart of downtown brussels at maelbeek. i hope you don't mind the clarification there, but there's enough confusion i thought we should make that clear. the terror alert level, the threat level in brussels and belgium remains a four, the highest it can go, as you would expect. the lockdown has been lifted at the schools, kindergarten up through high school. those kids are now being allowed to go home. some rail service now resuming. some metro lines, the number two and the number six, are resuming there in brussels. and the nato headquarters is operating, as you would expect. it's probably worth making note here, brian, because yesterday, of course, candidate donald trump made mention of whether he might consider diluting the united states stake in nato or reconsidering our membership in nato. nato headquarters is right in the heart of brussels.
it's two miles from the airport. and brussels is profoundly proud that they are the home of nato. and you will see, as you walk through the streets of brussels, people in all different sorts of uniforms representing the various members of nato. and their order, of course, is that they defend, if one is attacked, they all respond. so it will be interesting to see how his comments might resonate in brussels today. and there you're looking at downtown brussels, the main artery that goes into the heart of the business and really more of the government district in downtown brussels. that goes right bapast the eu buildings and into the heart of the government. the belgians do have a royal family, a king and queen, and their palace is in downtown brussels and the eu embassy is not far away. >> for viewers who haven't been with us for all the many hours we have been on the air, they probably missed your full disclosure moment where you
pointed out you're married to a woman from belgium. with that in mind and your family history there, and your travels there, how has that country changed in demonstrable ways you have witnessed in just the years you have been going there? >> well, and that's been, i hate to date myself now, but i would say i have been going back to brussels for the better part of almost 25 years now. and you know, my wife would tell you that she feels like the country changes every time she goes back. there has been a big influx of refugees from the middle east and from north africa. many of them escaping just abject poverty, dire economic situations, violence in their home countries. they're trying to escape the likes of isis. and they have found belgium to be a very welcoming country in general with very generous social networks, and stipends,
even. if you show up, they'll take care of you. you can cast a judgment of whether that's good or bad, but you will find a stipend if you're a refugee from another country. that has been a source of huge political dialogue within belgium, with people suggesting that they were entirely too welcoming, and that they have been too helpful and they should have been watching the borders better, and they lost track of people who were suspect. and as a result, they have now got a very significant population of people who are not born in belgium, and do not necessarily share that country's traditional values, and as a result, they have -- they're now reaping whatever came of that, whatever was the origins of that. so listen. you want to get into a hot political discussion in belgium, speak flemish or french in the wrong neighborhood or start talking politics and it will last for hours. >> i'm listening to our learned friend, malcolm nance, and some of the other contributors we have had on the air today, and
it does not fill you with hope consideri concerning the future of that country and the future of that continent. >> if i could just put on my hat of just the guy who goes to belgium regularly and loves belgium, i will tell you, loves the people, loves the food, i think many belgians would tell you that they have had a real problem with the government not being as nimble, as responsive, and maybe even as proficient as they would like. especially when they compare themselves to other european countries. they do, however, have this unique linquistic divide, the french and flemish, and there's a tiny province that even spokes german. they try to get along, and you throw into that mix this problem with bringing in refugees from other parts of the world, and they bring their problems and their values and it's been a very volatile mix.
>> all right, tom costello, who wearing many hats for us today. one is as an american with imminent >> the other is our veteran correspondent who covers the aviation business and too often, that also means covering the business, the grizzly business of terrorism. we want to bring duncan gardam back to our discussion and he is a journalist who also specializes in covering terrorism and security analysis. duncan, what have you been able to learn if anything since our last discussion on the air, i guess a couple hours ago now. >> reporter: well, the situation is still pretty vague, actually, brian. we're in the early stages of this investigation where they're really trying to track down very tight, pull up very tiny threads that might be able to lead them to some locations. my understanding is that they are looking at some locations
around belgium and that they're getting some assistance from france as well in terms of trying to track down who these killers may have been and indeed try and work out who else may still be out there that's part of this cell. and i think part of the concern here really is that you've got a large number of individuals that seem to, more than likely will be attached to the paris attacks and to some of the earlier attacks that have happened in france and belgium as well. so this is a large network, a large sprawling network that has been very good so far at protecting itself from being tracked down, largely because they've used what we call burn phones that you can discard and use encrypted communications, both on laptops and on telephones. and that makes it more difficult to locate when you're trying to work out who they are and who
else might be out there. >> i'm also so curious to learn how much human intelligence is generated by the violence of this. it was the case after paris that, you know, neighbors did report suspicions they had, sightings they had. and if this truly is in malcolm nance's view going to be a war of us against them, them being the terrorist, that's what it's going to require. >> sure. it does require communities to come out against this and of course, communities largely do come out against this. france and belgians and indeed, other europeans have made dozens
of arrests since paris. and suggests there are large number of support networks. unpicking those is very difficult. but i think you're right. when you're saying, look, okay, this is potentially a conflict that is going to go on for decades and it's us against them. we have to work with the communities that are here in europe and we have to talk to them and say, you know, what is it that attracts young men to these kind of theories and philosophies because these are much larger numbers we're seeing now than we were seeing in the al qaeda days. what drives them out to syria and what attracts them to come back to launch attacks here and we've been seeing a lot of information has been coming out of syria. a lot of encouragement coming out of syria to launch attacks in europe and with particular
relish. isis has got a french language magazine that appeals directly to french individuals. they've got an english language magazine that appeals directly to english speakers. and they also use social media very effectively. not just to say go and launch an attack, but to kind of imagine what that attack might be looking like and to share advice on how to make bombs and what kind of attacks to launch. >> in 60 seconds or less, do you doubt for a moment that this is our war? that this is the new war for this generation? >> reporter: look, isis wanted to be war. that's very much what they want it to be. they want it to be a clash of civilizations. they want to draw the west into this apocalyptic showdown in syria, but it doesn't have to be that way. we can work with communities to
isolate these individuals. they're not large in number. they're small in number. and it's very much important that we recognize that the vast majority of muslims across the west and indeed across the middle east do not agree with what isis and fellow jihadis are saying. >> duncan guardam, thank you very much for being with us all morning long, in fact. as we go to a break here and approach the top of another hour, we just wanted to update you on the very latest. 31 souls have been lost today. we are hoping that number doesn't go any higher. though, we've watched it climb all morning. the u.s. embassy is reminding u.s. citizens in belgium that they are under a threat rating of a "4." that is serious and eminent attack. it hardly gets any more serious than that.
we learned three u.s. mormon missionaries were among the wounded. all of their families have been notified. the list of wounded as the number has been wavering all day, hovering around 100 with varying degrees of injuries. but it looks like as evening starts to fall in belgium, this is going to have been a dual-pronged attack in all likelihood tied to the capture of the remaining suspect from the paris attacks. you see both locations here on the map, and as a result, brussels, often referred to as the capital of europe, is on virtual lockdown tonight. people being told to stay indoors. shelter in place. it will be the story we are covering all day just as we have starting in the wee small hours of the morning when word first
hit in america. 3:00 a.m. eastern time, most americans were asleep, that there had indeed been a terrorist attack overseas. our coverage, of course, will continue. henry! oh my. good, you're good. back, back, back. (vo) according to kelley blue book, subaru has the highest resale value of any brand. again. you might find that comforting. love. it's what makes a subaru, a subaru. and you're talking to yourevere rheumatorheumatologistike me, about a biologic... this is humira. this is humira helping to relieve my pain and protect my joints from further damage. this is humira giving me new perspective. doctors have been prescribing humira for ten years. humira works for many adults. it targets and helps to block a specific source of
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>> good day. i'm andrea mitchell from cuba. the breaking news of the terror attack in brussels. you're seeing president obama here in havana a short time ago addressing the cuban people and what happened in brussels. >> the thoughts and the prayers of the american people are with the people of belgium. we stand in solidarity with them in condemning these outrageous attacks against innocent people. we will do whatever is necessary to support our friend and ally, belgium, in bringing to justice those who are responsible and this is yet another reminder that the world must unite. we must be