tv Local 10 News 5AM ABC March 22, 2016 5:00am-6:00am EDT
please stay home. >> let's pull in richard clarke joining us at this early hour. richard, thank you for joining us here. you see this. you hear these reports andndour thoughts? >> well, i think this is likely to have been pro-voked at the specific time by the arrests in brussels. it looked like the belgian police after weeks of faire to round up the gang that was still left was finally closing in on them. and the people who perpetrated these attacks today probably thought they had very little time left to do it before they were caught because of the evidence that the belgian police were getting from their raids earlier in the week. but if there a a multiple attacks that means there was still a rather large cell still out there and the belgians only lately said that publicly that they thought there was a --
this is obviously evidence that there was. there will be a lot of criticism now of the belgian police for taking this long after the paris attacks to find this gang. they'll also be a reaction here in the united states at some airports where people worry about the security beforeou get to the airport, before you get to the security zone. this is the very vulnerable part of the airport where you get out of the car and walk up to the desk. no security there normally. so what happens at some airports in periods of tension is they start inspecting cars as they drive into the airport and that backs up traffic. we may see that happening here in the united states today. >> okay, and y y know i want to ask too we have these reports from the belgian media of the three explosions at three other subway stations.
reaction to the potential of brussels? >> well, i think in this sort of reported incidents. we have to be very careful to not give them all credible. we don't really know yet what happened. the person -- as i say every time when one of these things happens is don't believe all the reports as they come in. there's always mistakes in every situation like this. there's mistakes about what has actually happened and what people think has happened. if we have attacks, however, both at the airport and on the metro, that means at least one cell as been operating with probably two or three members in it. i assume these are suicide attacks but we don't even know that yet so all we can say for
left that the belgian police had not rounded up. that cell felt under pressure. thought they might be rounded up soon. therefore probably moved forward with every attack planning they were doing and carrieded it out today. we'll find out during the course of the next few hours actually what happened. >> you do get a sense this is at least -- has all of the signs that it was a coordinated attack that took place this morning in belgium. >> well, if it's true that there were attacks at more than one location, obviously then, you know, it was a coordinated attack which is what they like to do, what al qaeda likes to do and isis or da'esh has picked up on that technique to throw an entire country into lockdown and fear because you don't know what's going to happen next. you don't know how many attacks there are, police don't though
system enormously and, you know, we hope this is just in belgium but we know that the belgian network did have ties into france and elsewheren europe so all europe, all of europe will be on high alert. >> we do want to say that just into abc news a spokeswoman for brussels transports has confirmed there wassen motion on rail tracks around 9:10 a.m. local inside one of those subway stations, i'm goin to pronounce it wrong, maelbeek, the correct way? >> yeah. >> so we do know one of those has been confirmed, the station near the eu and official buildings so this is a confirmation that we have at this hour. your reaction, richard? >> again, to be cautious about first reports, but if that's true and we do obviously know because we can see it, there was an attack at the airport, then we have a cell that's attacking
just as they attacked in different points in paris simultaneouslyly possibly suicide to try to lock down the entire city. >> richard, why belgium, about this is an attack? why here? >> well, because they live there. it's most likely that these people lived in the menbeek neighborhood which was a neighborhood of immigrants from north africa for the most part, an arab neighborhood where there was high unemployment, high scontent. where people felt ostracized and where isis had obviously put down its roots and since the attack in paris which was linked to that neighborhood in brussels, the police have really clamped down in that neighborhood, have begun raiding
remaining cell and obviously they flushed it out. didn't get all of it. flushed it out. flushed it io an early attack and i think now that neighborhood will be under even more pressure from police authorities and this is a cycle that where there are people in the neighborhood now who will feel resentment because of the heavy police presence+ so this has been a neighborhood that's been a source of concern for american and european security people for years because of the support for isis, support for al qaeda in the neighborhood. and the discontent in the neighborhood. >> richard clarke. his take on what is playing out. we want to cross over to the
hasan joining us from london and lama, i do believe david cameron shortly just moments ago made news over there, as well in london. >> reporter: yeah, good morning to you. yes, prime minister cameron did tweet saying how shocked he was at the attacks tha have happened this morning in brussels. we also got through to heathrow airport, of course, we're i close proximity to brussels and knock-on effect that happens, we spoke to heathrow airport that told us that there is a heightened security alert. visible heigened security officers that are on patrol at heathrow airport now. now, as you have been talking all morning this is breaking news and the details are only just coming in. we are hearing that there has been at least one explosion at a metro station in belgium, possibly three and this, of course, comes -- after several
we're hearing possibly ten in total and many more@ injured after that suspected terror attack at brussels airport this morning. two explosive devices reportedly detonated at american airlines check-in desk. there are unconfirmed reportst this hour that shots were fired, again, these have not been confirmed but this is what is coming in to us that sts were fired and words in arabic were shouted before the blasts were heard, the airport is said to be as you can imagi on lockdown. all flights are canceled and rail tffic towards the belgian airport has been suspended and this morning's incident comes just days after salah abdeslam, a suspected planner in the paris attacks, that, of course, killed 130 people last november we saw that dramatic showdown, thqt dramatic arrest on friday after a @four-month hunt, manhunt, the
warning was that more attacks would take place not only in brussels but around europe. now, we are hearing that the terror alert in brussels has been raised to its highest level. back here in this country, the terror alert has been at severe which means an attacks highly likely. primarily because there have been so many fighters from europe, thousands of fighters going to iraq and fighting on the front lines. the fear is across europe, those fighters fighters, those jihadis would carry out attacks like we're seeing in brussels. >> what other reactions are you seng in london and how are people reacting to the news coming out of brussels you
>> reporter: as i said we were expecting something quite spectacular not only in belgium but somewhere else as well the threat levels have been raised to its highest but he been expecting an attack. when you talk to people and talk to officials and i mat to say it but they say that it's thought when an attack is going to happen, it's not if it's happen, it's when so it was expected. something this spectacular, especially since salah abdeslam, therwas a warning that after he was arrested some big attack would happen. >> and lama, while we've been talking with you we got word that david cameron said he will chair a meeting of the governmeme emergency cobra committee in response to the explosions in ussels. are you familiar with that committee and what does that
right, yes, the c.o.b.r.a. committee meet at -- with prime minister david cameron and talk about current issues, especially when itcomes to terrorism. they will discuss the attac today and how to move forward and also how to fan out all the police officers across the city here, just in case to be prepared for another attack because this country has seen attacks in the past notably in 2007. so we are expecting something not something of this scale but quite larg you can imagine the conversations they're having today as we were discussing when
that decision to put out more officers visibly, more security officers and heitened security alerts at terminals here in london -- >> thank you for joining us and giving us t latest from london. we want to bring in global affairs correspondent martha raddatz who is joining us right now on the telephone. martha. can you hear us. >> reporter: good morning. i just remind you that when the attacks in paris happened we quickly dispatched to brussels so i spent a great deal of time there during the highest terror alert when they expected and attack. that city was in complete lockdown. i'm sure youill see ha in the coming days. because of thesese apparent attacks in the brusselss airport at a metro station, as well also goes to the fact that terrorists
security is out there. no matter how high the alert and around there because of abdeslam, the city, of course, was on alert as well and still the terrorists apparently managed to attack very high-profile places. >> these are soft targets, not only high-profile, they're fairly soft targets, martha. >> reporter: they certainly are soft targets, i know when we all woke up this morning and saw the airport has been hit, a place where the security is extensive, if you are in an airport, if you are there before security almost@ anything can happen. the airport too in those areas is a soft target and certainly a subway or a metro station is, as well. >> what would you be expecting to hear in terms of a u.s. rewrakz in the wake of this. >> reporter: i'm sure all over
they're aware of this attack. they're trying to coordinate with their european counterparts. certainly trying to coordinate wi all the appropriate agencies here in t he city to see what they can do to see whether the alert level here should be raised. again, what is so alarming about this attack is that was expected. and people were able to carry it out anyway, despite the security, despite the warnings and people going all over that city looking for people who might want to commit an act of terror. the arrest of abdesl, it was stunning to people that he was still in brussels. i don't know, obviously, we don't know all the details about where he had been in the interim between the attacks in november and these apparent attacks but they were looking for him full time.
if people want to carry out an attack it's clear they can. >> martha, we'll keep you on the line but switch down to times square and to abc news chief anchor george@stephanopoulos who is joining us at this early hour to continue the coverage right now. george. >> okay, kendis, lauren, thanks very much. we are continuing this coverage of a major terror attack in europe this morning in brussels, belgium. it srted aren't 8 a.m. brussels time at the airport. two explosions at the brussels airport near the american airlines departure lounge, two explosions in rapid succession. least one explosion at the brussels metro station, as well. several casualties reported. right now brussels media reporting the 13 people have been killed. at least 35 injured. the airport now has been closed. you see the destruction and the metro system has been closed and the leader says the whole country is on the highest state of alert.
right there near where the explosion occurred. i want to go to abc's alex marquardt on the scene in brussels. alex, take us through what you ow beginning with the airport. >> reporter: good morning, we're standing as close as we can get to the around. the police have put up a perimeter around the area and for the past two hours since these explosions happened people, thousands of travelers who were supposed to be heading out this morning have been streaming out. we spoke with one eyewitness, who was flying on an american airlines flight this morning who said that the explosion happened around 30 yards from where he was -- he thought it was closer to the delta air lines counter because he normally flies delta. very close proximity. many eyewitnesses who we have spoken to have said they saw bodies on the floor. we know t tt there are wounded and dead, as you mentioned,d, the number being reported right now is 13. that according to the belgian federal prosecutor who is speaking to the belgian media.a.
a scene of total devastation in this departures area. the explosions, one smaller than the other, the other bigger taking place just after 8:00 in the depture area and also understand it was near a starbucks. of course, this couldn't have happened at a business year time. this is a tuesday morning as thousands of people are trying to fly out of one of europe's main airports. this is obviously one of the most secure locations in brussels and then shortly after down. george. >> and alex, you said the metro station has been shut down as well and reports of injury in the metro bombing and now everyone in belgium has been place. >> reporter: they have. this is a country that is very quickly going into lockdown mode. there is a lot of chaos. you can imagine that they've -- the entire city is paralyzed
system like that. we spoke with somomne from the interior ministry which runs securiri yesterday about what we could expect to see, what the fears are in the coming days, weeks and months after the arrest of salah abdeslam on friday. he, of course, was the lone survive ago tacker from the paris attacks and the interior ministry spokesman told us two options, this will trigger attacks or you're going to see terrorists go to grounds and wait f/r the pressure to ease up. what appears to have happened was that first option. what appears to be going on right now is not just one terror attack but coordinated attacks and we saw that happen in paris, of course, 130 people killed at different locations, some of the most famous lococions in paris, the stade de france during an international soccer match, the bataclan theatre where the eagles of death metal were playing so that was a highly coordinated attack, very well planned and fear f european
then is that something similar could againake place. not just in one city like we saw in paris a what we appear to be seeing in brussels, but also that gives you a sense of chaos going on here. lots of cars flying by with sirens on. as i was sayingntelligence officials worried there could be simultaneous attacks not justn one city but across different cities. the french foreign minister h h said -- >> go ahead. >> the french prime minister warned after the attack that the risk of an attack is asigh if not higher than before paris. this was not only something that was feared this is something some time. >> okay, alex, i want to bring that to our chief global affairs anchor martha raddatz as well on the phone with us. martha, you were on @he scene in molenbeek, belgium, which has become the hotbed of terrorist activity in brussels in those days after the paris attack and as alex was just saying we knew
abdeslam earlier thi week that another attack was very possible. >> reporter: yes, in november, george, when we were there afterer those paris attacks that city was on absolute lockdown. there were fear, really every minute that an attack was imminent and in fact that is exactly how they worded it, that an attack was imminent at the time. throughout the city there were armored personnel carriers in the square outside the hotels, the city was a virtual ghost town. really no one went out which is exactly what's going to happen now. and yet these attacks went forward, many popses later, we don't know the connection, certainly, but they were certainly aware and thought that an attk could happen any minute in brussels and, again, these are as highly protecteds an airport is.
sanctum of those airports. you have to go through security but you can go to a parking lot. you can bring in explosives, you can bring in weapons and it appears that's exactly what happened at the brussels airport today, we have fewer details on what exactly may have happened in the subway, the metro there, but clearly some sort of coordination despite the threat of arrest, despite the threat of allf these agencies in brussels looking for suspects, looking for people who might carry out an attack like this. >> that's right. alert levels will be raised across europe. to richard clarke, former counterterrorism czar. a lot are mystified by a couple thing, one it took so long to find salah abdeslam in belgium several months afterhe paris attacks and two after the arrest that the cells could still be so active that they could carry out what looks like attacks just a coupup of days later. >> reporter: i think that's right, george. in the postmore tem of this
awful lot of criticism from the belgian police and law enforcement people in general and the country that it took them four months after the paris attacks to find the perpetrator of the paris attacks and that they couldn't find the entire cell network that he was connected to. obviously there was a cell network, some of them were rounded up last week, but obviously some of them were still ou there. we don't know how many people were involved in perpetrating this attack. were they suicide bombers? or did they place bombs, how many people had come in from outside of the country? perhaps from syria or how many of these people were natives who grew up in molenbeek? but there will be a great deal of criticism that when they knew something was going on for months they were unable to uncover it. >> and, richard, how can you explain based on your experience given all the focus on that molenbeek neighborhood, given the entire security apparatus of
focused on there to try to break up the cells to capture salah abdeslam, how they were able to keep these cells active and operational. >> it's remarkable. what it suggests is that the belgian intelligence and police authorities have almost no access to a city in their own country, that they didn't have cooperation from the community, that they didn't have any of their own people on the inside that they couldn't break in and that evenlectronically with e-mails and telephones, they were unable to make the connections. now, that one thing that could mean is that the cell was very sophisticated, knew it was under surveillance and was using very, very good security procedures. but it is remarkable, molenbeek is not a big city. and for a cell like this to be able to survive all this time when the best of the belgian police and law enforcement
>> based on your experience, richard, we know the president in cuba right now wrappingp his trip to havana. what will be hahpening right now inside the white house and national security apparatus in the wake of this attack? >> so, the homeland security adviser will have convened a meetinin probably that meet something by video conferencece connecting the headquarters at cia at the national counterterrorism center, at t e fbi and other agencies so there will be an going meeting that will last all morning. while they "a," try to find out what's going on and "b"o figure out how to help and "c," is there anything we need to do in our country, martha mentioned the vulnerability of landside portions of the airport. landon side is the term for everything before security, so you know when you drive up to the airport you get out of the
kiosk, all that area is a very, veryulnerable area. we had an attack in los angeles several years ago where someone shot up the areaf the land side. question will be whattdo we do at our airports just in case something might be planned here, what do we do at our airports to protect the land side? very, very difficult job. >> okay, let's bring that question to ray kelly, the former new york city police commissioner. ray kelly, the new york city police havav dealt with so many terrorist incidents in the past and based on yourxperience what will be happening here in new york right now after this attack? what kind of measures will be taken to protect vulnerable sites? >> well, i'm sure key personnel have already huddled in the nypd. the department is uniquely suited to put a lot of uniformed people on the street as quickly as possible. it's an awkward time now by them. you'll have the change of tours
ability to put a lot more uniformed police officers on the street i think one of their goals will be to raise the level of the traveling public. you'll see unifoed police officers on the subway. the port@ authority is the department that's in charge of airport security, so the port authority have said they can also increase their u iformed presence. at kennedy and laguardia and newark airport and, of course, there will be also reaching out to investigators, working closely withhe fbi. investigations that are ongoing. they'll be wanting to tweet those investigations to see any information, anything at all that indicates the possibility of something happening here. they'll be listening to chat rooms, checking into chat rooms and websites that sort of thing
their number one goal right now will be to increase significantly uniformed police presence on the streets of the city. >> and, ray, one of the big questions when you deal with the airport and soft targets of the airport. how far can you extend security without paralyzing air traffic mpletely? >> well, yeah, that's a good point but i think the departments themselves are not staffed for emergency situations. so it's going to be difficult to increase that uniformed presence at the airport to a significant degree. and i don't think you going to see at least at this juncture a lockdown but you're going to see all available people in uniform at these locations at least to give out a sense of security. that there are policeresence and you're going to see
checking, as dick said, yeah, the airport, the landside of the airport has always been a concern. you have ready access and you can check a bag that's not being -- that's not being examined. you can check a case or a large package right at the entranceway and bring it into the terminal. it's a significant vulnerability or even a car driving right up to the front of the departure area so, look, let's face it we have lots of vulnerabilities and lots of vulnerabilities at airports in particular. what we try to do now is to as much as possible raise a couple of level of people who have to get on these airplanes. >> former new york city police commissioner ray kelly. a little after 5:30. want to bring you up to speed on a major terror attack in
two explosions at the brussels airport. 3:00 a.m. here in the east so zaven temptem airport near the departure lounge in rapid successsuck succession and 13 people killedd and the metro system as well. the in et tree system closed. airports have been closed. people have been ordered to stay in place in belgium right now i want to go to abc's alex marquardt who is on the scene and we've been looking at these pictures, absolute chaos at the airport this morning, alex. >> reporter: not just chaos but watching still now two hours after these explosions thousands of people strming out, some very emotional. others less so because they were farther away. it's quite cold in begg. there arar l ls of people with airline blankets wrapped around them. the people we've spoken to inside talk about a scece of
blown out windows and ceiling tiles that have fallen on thehe floor. this explosion taking place in the main -- in the center of the departures hall, various people told us it took place near a starbucks near the delta air lines counter,f course, just after 8:00 this was peak travel hour. lots of people checking in and lots of people landing here at one of europe's main airports. >> and, alex, has there been any confirmation from belgiumum officials this was indeed suicide bombers? >> reporter: not yet. at this point they are confirming -- they say they're looking into it being a terrorist attack, of course, there's acknowledgement that there is, the latest death toll we heard is 13, we don't know what the breakdown is between the airport where the two explosions happened and in the metro system. there's been at least one explosion confirmed at a belgian metro stop but there have been reports in the belgian media of more. we should note this is not just a belgian capital.
european capital. the head of -- the base for nato and the european union is here. three american bads in the city, one for belgium, one for the eu and one for nato so this might be a smaller second tier european city compared to places like berlin, london, paris but this is an incredibly important business and political hub and so that i the significance of these attacks today. this is notjust something that's happening in a big belgian city but these are -- these are attacks someof the most highly secured areas in a city crucial to europe. >> become home to a dangerous networo of terrorists as well and bring that to john cohen, former counter terrorism official with the united states government and, john, molenbeek, that neighborhood in the middle of brussels, a hotbed of terrorism apparently salah abdeslam was able to be kept safe there for several months despite the fact that you had
in europe looking for him. >> reporter: yeah, that's right, george and i think what this -- if this turns out to be an attack in paris and s bernardino all illustrate is just how the terrorist threat has olved. we now have people who have become inspired on wt they've seen on social media communicatinwith other terrorists through encrypted communications channels and the bottom line is is that security officials are having a lot of difficulty finding these people identifying who they are and arresting them. so, you know, this is the challenge that people like fbi director com have talked about and other security officials have talked about but seeing another potentially seeing another example of that. >> we know with t t paris attacks some of the people involved were able to move back and forth between europe and syria to keep communications open across those borders. >hat's right. we have built these very robust counterterrorism capabilities. we, the united states and europe
being able to pick up communications between operatives say in europe and others in other parts of the world. if operatives in brussels or paris or other parts of europe or the united states can operate without having to use those traditional communications channels it makes it that much more difficult to -- >> how could they go around that. >> as we have heard,hey float around on social media until they find potential recruit candidates and move them into an encrypted communications platform whether it's commune -- encrypted voice or encrypted texting or e-mails. but the other part of it that is so difficult in someases there are no communications, we have people who are livingn communities who are becoming inspired by what they're seeing on social media becoming
be communicating with others locally and, you know, the first time we see them or identify them or hear from them is when they carry out an attack. >> that would be the san bernardino example? >> exactly right and this is something that has increasingly caused concern amongst law enforcement in this country, it has increasingly caused concern amongst law enforcement and security officials in europe and this is the new element of the terrorist threat andndan't continue to think about it and deal with it the same way we dealt with it in the years past. >> and at the same time, though, the attacks in paris and don't know much about this attack according to the french president were actually conceived in syria or organized overseas in belgium and carried out in france. great cross-border capability here. >> exactly right. part of the issue is that there's freedom of movement across the european union.
you're in the our union to get into turkey, g g into syria by crossing land borders, it's v vy difficult to track people and the other difficulty is once you're in the european union you can move freely throughout the european union. so one of the problems that officials are dealing with over in europe is how you bring about greater controls, greater security i i the border area around the european uniono you can prevent this type of free travel. >> okay, john con, thanks very much. back to alex marquardt in brussels right now. on that point, alex, we now have heard the entire train s stem that would be running through brussels, not just the metro system but entire train system has been put on hole,s well. >> reporter: all public transportation, george, has just been shut downwn, we've learned from the belgian government, that's on top of the metro system that we knew about as well as the buses which are very popular in brussels and the
brussels has trains that go directly to paris and london on the eurostar and also understand that has been shut down, the airport, we had to walk here by foot because everything -- the perimeter around the airport h h been shut down, as well. there's traffic that has come to a standstill on the highway so this is really a paralyzed city, georgege >> you mentioned earlier you made the point that brussels not just the capital of belgium but in many ways the capital of europe and we're just learning right now that all european union institutions are now at alert level orange, all meetings on premises andutside are canceled right now. concern offollow-on attacks. >> reporter: and they've told staffers to stay insisi, as well. absolutely. this is -- when people talk about this being the capitalalf europe that's no exaggeration. it's because all of the institututns are here, not just the embassies of major countries but the european union and nato. this is absolutely crucial capital to the functioning of
you have this enclave of molenbeek that you'veeen talking about that is in cenal brussels that the authorities have really no penetration into. the question that everyone has been asking is how has someone like salah abdeslam been able to evade capture for four months? right under the noses of police? when he was taken down, in that dramatic raid on friday amp, that was at a home that was about four or 500 yard as way from wre his family is living. that's the same neighborhood where he grew up. we know he was able to escape from paris the night -- the day after the paris attacks and so for the past four months we understand he's been moving around brussels. now how is that possible? that's simply because the belgian authorities have no penetration into the neighborhood almost. there's a lot of solidarity. there's a lot of animosity towards the police. we felt some of the animosity towards the media. >> tell me about that.
describe what the streets are like, who's there? you say you felt some animosi when you were there. how is that expressed? >> reporter: george, just anecdotally you know i lived in the middle east and i felt like i was back in the middle east. all of the shopkeepers are arabs, a lot of them north africansrom algeria or morocco, a very quiet working class neighborhood. there was animosity towards the journalists because there were so many of us but other than that there were a lot of friendly people, as well. it's many of the residents there are a conservative muslims and security experts have talked about this becoming -- that area being a breeding ground for jihadists and belgium has sent re fighters to iraq and syria to join isis than any other european country per capita. there are around 5,000 to 6,000 fighters from europe in iraq and syria and around 1,000 of them are from belgium and many of them are from molenbeek.
they don't have the penetration into that neighborhood that you might have in a place like new york or in a place like london? that's because as one former intelligence official told me yesterday there's less of a sense of civic duty towards -- with the police. less of a relationship with the police. you see that famous slogan. if you see something, say something i in the new york subway. that doesn't exist here inn europe. there's a lot more independence and keeping the police att arm's reach and then there's also the sense of that thehe don't belong. they don't feel that they'rere connected with belgian society. there's huge unemployment so that is what has been fermenting this rise of radical extremists from this one neighborhood really in the center of brussels. >> and, alex, we're learning the u.s. embassy has recommended now that all americans, all american citizens on the scene in belgium
well because all of belgium now on theighest possible threat level, threat of an imminent attack in belgium. >> reporter: that's right. we're seeing right now an alert from the u.s. embassy here in brussels, remember i mentioned ere are three different diplomatic missions by the americans hereut the embassy is one of the biggest ones and they are saying there reminding american citizens that belgium is at a threa level. that is the highest threat level which indicates a serious and imminent attack. now, we have seen shelter in place warnin elsewhere when terrorist attacks take place. this is obviously an indication that they believe tha more attacks could take place. right now what we know we had the two explosions at the airport, just after 8:00 this morning and then at least one attack on a brussels metro station, the entire public transportation of brussels now shut down. >> and, alex, to go back to
two explosions at the airport, give us a sense of the extent of the damage that you've been able to glean from eyewitnesses. >> reporter: one eyewitness we spoke with pretty emotional was due to fly out to montreal and said it was a scene of utter devastation was the wording they used. they had been upstairs when the last happened. they came downstairs, they saw debris everywhere, ceiling tiles that had fallen down, i asked whether there had been dead and wounded they saw and they said there were bodies -- there were bodies that they saw and, in fact, we have seen some of the wounded coming out. we saw a man wrapped in a blanket with a gash in his leg so this is what -- this was a double explosion. we understand that one was smaller than the other. one eyewitness who spoke very good english on his wayo the states flying on american airlines said that the explosion took place around the area of the american counters, you have the american airlines counter
counter which he would normally fly. he thought it came fro about 30 yard as way where the delta air lines counter was if we're seeing the police vehicles moving through belgium right now. belgium on the highest state of alert. i want to go back to ray kelly, the new york city police commissioner and, ray, the new york city police have developed their own ielligence networks including cooperation with europeans. >> oh, yes, that's true. new york city police officers in paris and in london and madrid but not in belgium but obviously there was a network where information flows and in europe despite the fact that we don't have people in every major city, but it's important conduit for the department and it gives them a relationshipp throughout europe really throughout the world.
i think hindsight is 20/20 but in terms of recruit many you'll see a lot of miss departments in europe not having sufficient representation of some of these minority communities and as was said before, that that means they don't have the connectivitit they'd like to have in some of these minority neighborhoods. that's something you've had to work on at the new york city police departmeme. really building a more diverse force so you could be activiv and really in the middle of these communities. >> precisely. there ar new york city police officers born in 106 countries and tt gives us an awful lot of capability to talk to people and to bring those people into the -- continue to bring those people into the dedartment. so, it's something that i think has to belooked at very seriously in europe because they will admit to you that it is a deficit. something they need to do a lot
>> okay, ray kelly, thanks very much. i want to go to our chief global affairs anchor, martha raddatz, in washington right now. martha, you spent time in that molenbeek neighborhood after the paris attacks. several months ago and we just heard alex describing the real animosity they felt up side that community which was appears to have been harboring terrorists for several months. >> reporter: it sure does, george and truly when you go into that neighborhood, we were very careful, there is animosity when you go into those neighborhoods and commissioner kelly's point, i think what has to happen here is better intelligence in thoho neighborhoods. there is the protect our own. there's also i should bring up people may be under threat. if this terrorist attack was planned in that neighborhood or elsewhere around there, there may have been the threat of death if anyone turned them in. this also points out ass we've said again and again this morning, the vulnerabilities no
put on some sort of imminent terror atck, no matter how many police officers you sprea throughout a city, spread throughout europe, there are these soft targets and an airportndeed can be a soft target on that outer perimeter when you enter an airport, there is really no security other than the presence of guards and sometimes and it's apparent this pork it's too late before they can do anything. >> well, that is what is so chilling about this, martha. you were talking about earlier, the takedown of salah abdeslam earlier this week predictctably a trigger of a follow-on attack, it. george. i mean, we do not know how large a network this may be. we don't know how many people were involved in the plalaing and carrying this out and alert. europe on alert. you have officials here who are talking about what to do next and to do what they can to try
when i was there in november, shortly after the pis attacks in brussels, that city was shut down. there were armored personnel carriers on the street everywhere you walked. there was a security presence. was there an attac planned for that period of time and that was stopped? we just don't know that. at the time they said they thought an attack was imminent and didn't happen. maybe that stoppedhe attack now but certainly didn't stop a terrorist attack many months late. >> martha, you have just returned from the middle east, as well, where the fight is being taken to isis in iraq in syria, m mor escalation of the air attacks against isis. even as we're seeing some progress against isis there inability too completely control them throughout europe and maybe even here in the u uted states. >> reporter: this also points 0 out that the military alone is not the answer. there were very dynam attacks
we tracked some missions from beginning to end. we watched spy planes go up in the air over syria. we were on an awacs plane up over syria watching the migs that they carry out again and again and there really has been an uptick in those missions, george, hitting far more targets because the intelligence has improved in the military campaign. but this is far beyond that military campaign. you can go after those sources of money, you can go after the fighters on the ground in iraq and syria, but it's the ones who cross the border who carry out these attacks and there may be a correlation, george. there m m be a correlation between the military fight picking up, them losing many, many fifiters, them losing -- isis losing some infrastructure and others crossing the border to believe they mt carry out terrorist attacks to get more effect to go after civilians, to
>> yet one of the theories and one of the hopes is if isis is crushed in the middle east, that will take away the source ofhe inspiration around the world. >> reportfr: boy, the source of inspiration is really hard to stop. only need to look online. you only need to hear these stories from our john cohen and others talking about the recruitment online, talking about that inspiration and when isis is successful, that unfortunately inspires people as well. >> okay, i want to bring john cohen back. thank you, martha raddatz, to get into that point of you were talking about earlier, john, how they can communicaca across using enenypted networks that re-open the debate in the united states over how much the government should be able to get into our phones and iorder to try to crack this encryption. >>yeah, absolutely, george. we have a tough problem as it relates to @ncryption. on the one hand legitimate
government depends on it to protect our economic and national secrets. on the other hand we are seeing terrorist organizations and criminal organizations use these same technologies to pacific their communications so industry and government are going to need to come together on this one and it's a tough problem but they need to solve it. >> and what would be -- what are some of the possible solutions? >> well, i mean i think you're starting to see -- i mean that's going to be for the technologists and operational folks on the government side to come together and talk about. i mean there are real concerns about building back doors into these encryption capabilities, there are those who feel that would compromise their legitimate use on the other hand, youp know, the -- we've just witnessed the apple fbi discussions, the fbi was seeking
wipe the data clean so that they could use their techniques to break the encryption. but this -- what we need to do, george, we need to bring the technologists and business solutions. >> immediately today, john, talk airports here in the united states and other airports across attack. >> well, as richardrd indicated earlier, i suspe that already you have seen homeland security and law enforcement officials from this country gting on the video teleconference together talking about what@ they know, talking about what the -- if there's any additional intelligence, dhs will be considering whether there needs to be any increase in security at airports in this country out of an abundance of caution. but customs and borderr protection is probably looking at flights that have left europe
those passenger manifests just again to make sure that no one slippepe through the cracks who may have connections with terrorist organizations. >> ok. >> we may see incased screening of cargo and passengers at all last points of departures in europe just again as an increased or an abundance of caution t ensure that people aren't able to put things on planes that could potentially cause an aviation type of incident. >> that's always been one of the biggest concerns that explosives could be put in cargo holes and go undetected. >> yeah, absolutely. and the department of homeland security and customs and border protection and tsa have worked very closely with the airport authorities and security organizations in those last points of departure airporor. thth's the key issue from a security perspective for the u.s. are planes traveling directly to the u.s. from a european or other city so, again, with this
this involved the use of explosives and please sieveexplosives at transportation falls tsa already is coordinating with their colleagues in europe to see if there are additional security measures even if they're temporary as it relates to the screening of passengers andnd cargo coming to the u.s. >> john, we've also seen efforts in the united states to get to these nascent cellsefore they can carry out any kind of activity to have homeland security actually engage in these communities where young people might be inspired to violence. >> yeah, george, i mean this is a major priority for the fbi. it's a major priority for state andocal law enforcement right now. we are -- we've seen several examples. san bernardino but also the stabbings that took place in the university of california campus notoo long ago. it requires a very different approach than the one we've used
police working much more c csely with others in the community. and i know thatt there's been a lot of effort by the fbi to expand their abilities in that area, again, working with local communities. >> i want to bringhat back to alex marquardt in belgium. this morning, we talk about -- you were talking about the animosity inside the community of polenta towards westerners, perhaps towards the police, as well and this is going to reignite the entire debate over the migration of refugees entering europe from the middle east, we've already seen some babalash there across europe. >> reporter: absolutely, george. we've seen evidence that several of the paris attackers were able to slip into europe on those refugee routes. abdel hamud died in that
paris in the area of saint-denis two days after the attack and bragged to an eyewitness who spoke -- who he spoke with that he had come into europe with 90 would-be suicide bombers so this was already before this prospect of more terror was ignited was a controversial i iue and this will do even more -- this will do even more damage and provoke the conversation even more and we're seeing that play out now because of the million ss who have poured into these countries and these couriesesre saying we can't take any more people because the support systems aren't there and then as you say this will reignite the debate
>> we have seen now the terror the british prime minister is cone convenienting the emergency committee saying they'll do everything they can and the severe. also alex, the french president francois holland holding a meet. they've been under a state of emergency since the attacks. >> they've extended it twicece and that meeting we've got the warning from thehe u.s. embassy here in brussels to american citizens to shelter in place and noticed the threat levels they are have been raised to four which means a possible imminent attack, what we know now from the belgium prosecutor 13 have been killed in these attacks this morning between the two explosions at the airport andnd in the metro system. the entire metro system has been shut down along with the rest of
brussels that includes trains that go in and out to other country, so right now brussels has been completely paralyzed and isolated because no one is going in or out of this country. >> o. alex, thanks. back to ray kelly if he's still with us on the phone, the former new york city police commissioner. we're learning apparently ray is not with us right now but we are learning from the new york police department to expect a heightened security presence across the city right now in the wake of these attacks in brussels, belgium, to recap right now as we come up on 6:00 a.m. here in the east coast, there's been a major terror attack in brussels, belgium, this morning. at least two explosions at the airport at the brussels airport at approximately 8:00 a.m. brussels time 3 a.m. on the east coast, two explosions in rapid succession which killed at least 13 people at the brussels airport. three dozen injured. a separate he can explosion, at least one separate explosion in
now the entire country on the highest state of alert warning of imminent attacks, franc in a state of emergency extended, britain has also raised their level to severe right now across europe, fear after these explosions in belgium. this morning, abc's chief global affairs anchor martha raddatz with me as well and we can expect the convening of the national security team this morning. >> reporter: certainly can. american authorities across the agencies here in washington are going to be coming together to try to figure out what we can do next. they'll be coordinating with their european counterparts to try to share intelligence, see if anything is planned for here, but obviously what we've seen here this morning, george, is no matter how much attention you put on this, no matter how hard you try to penetrate terrorist networks, it simply does not always work. >> okay, martha raddatz, thanks very much.
right now, speaking it tao wongbae. you were at the airport. you were near the departure lounge when the explosions went off? >> yes, yes, in terminal b. i was on my way to liberia and i just passed the security when we saw where the bombing took place and we werere being rushed and pushed away to the exit so we n evacuate. >> what did you see and what did you hear?
from abc news in new york,, breaking news right now at 6:00 a.m., brussels is under attack. multiple explosisis killing more than a dozen people, raising the terror alerto the highest level. meanwhile president obama making hisiory as he begins his final day in cuba. we are live on what's happening today before he takes off. good morning, south florida. i'm eric yutzy. >> i'm jacey birch. we're going to get straight to all that breaking news taking place in brussels but first let's start off with checking out the weather heren south florida because it certainly is cool outside. >> jen correa in this morning. much cooler start,