tv CBS This Morning CBS March 22, 2016 7:00am-9:00am EDT
ujt(sphas been informed here in havana this morning about what u.s. officials say appear to be at least two explosions, one at the metro and one near the airport. many of the president's very top security advisers, including susan rice are here with him, and they're continuing to update the president about what they've learned.
with belgian authorities, and have planted -- stay in contact and offer assistance. now, we are expecting to hear from the president around 10:00 a.m. he was already scheduled to speak in a national address to the cuban people, and we do expect for him to have to comment on these developments, hearing. now we also know that the state department is still trying to track down these reports, and americans. there have been a few reportedly injured but no one can verify that. the u.s. embassy so far is gathering information. they are in lockdown and they are telling americans in the area to stay where they are, to shelter in place. it's worth noting that brussels is home to a number of very key diplomatic missions, including the military alliance at nato. now, as for what happens next, with the president, whether he continues on with his agenda, there haven't been changes that
as i said the president's supposed to speak. he's then also supposed to attend a baseball game here in cuba as part of his diplomatic outreach. we don't know yet if the secret service will allow him to go through with it. but so far, no major changes to his schedule. >> all right, margaret brennan there in havana. thank you. we should also note that security is beefed up in other european cities this morning after that brussels attack, and there's likely to be a similar response in major cities here in the u.s. we're in washington following that part of the story. jeff good morning first question however, any increased level of threat attacks here in the u.s.? >> well, no. according to u.s. officials that we've contacted this morning there is no threat against the u.s., and the u.s. posture remains the same at this time. the state department is still assessing whether there are any americans injured in these attacks, and u.s. officials are tracking the situation in
assist where needed as they always do in cases like this. there has been enhanced cooperation since last november's attacks in paris, and coordination is primarily in sharing intelligence to help track suspects down. and we're going to see that again in this situation. expect to see stepped up security here at home today. it's a precautionary show of force in places like new york city where police are now stationed in front of the belgian consulate in manhattan this morning. the nypd is ramping up security on mass transit around city landmarks, as well. bridges and tunnels. when it comes to the d.c. metro system, it is, we're told there are standard response to increased security and visibility of police following an attack like this. even if it happens overseas as it did this morning. there are no reported threats to the u.s. at this time, as i mention, and the terror alert level has not been increased. and by the way, tsa administrator landed in brussels
he is safe, we're told the department of homeland security works closely with major airports across europe, and we suspect that's why he was there in belgium today. the airport in brussels is not a major u.s. airline hub in europe, but some u.s. companies are concerned for their employees, as you might imagine. the airport attack was located in the check-in area reportedly near the american airlines area. american airlines has released a statement this morning saying, in part, all of our employees and contractors are accounted for with no reported injuries. delta and united airlines also issued statements this morning saying their employees are safe. some flights have been diverted to other airports, to amsterdam, for example, and upcoming flights to brussels have been suspended. gayle? >> all right thank you very much. cbs news senior security contributor michael morale is a
in washington. and juan is with us from salt lake city. good morning to you. michael i want to start with you first. we had a statement from the belgian prime minister who says what we feared has happened, we were hit by blind attacks. can we call these blind attacks when they were on a heightened security alert? and that this comes three days after the arrest of abdeslam? where they said they were expecting more attacks? >> i had two reactions to what happened this morning. one is, it's a reflection of how large -- how compartmented, how sophisticated the isis terrorist capability is in europe. after the first attack the investigation showed that these individuals had sophisticated bombmakers. they had bombmaking locations. they used cell phones individually, one at a time, so they couldn't be tracked. they had forgery capabilities to
forth between syria and iraq in europe, so very sophisticated capability. today. the other, i think, is the fact that this -- this particular attack, i believe, was something that they had in train, something that they had worked out that they accelerated given the arrest of salah abdeslam last friday. he was probably aware of this. they were probably concerned that he was going to talk to authorities, and they moved this up. those are the two things that struck me this morning. >> michael, what does it tell you, too, about their choice of attacks. the train station and the airport? >> they want to attack places where they create the most fear. right? so where people congregate, where people congregate every day and go about their daily lives, at airports and in subways is the perfect place for them to conduct an attack because it creates the most fear.
and france such shot spots right now? >> well, gayle, you have long-standing pockets of radicalization outside of paris, outside of brussels. we focused a lot at cbs on the molenbeek neighborhood. these are decades worth of radical individuals who've been drawn to some form of the ideology that isis is now espousing. the problem, of course, now, gayle, is you have the isis accelerant. isis is now motivating actors, and as mike indicated, now training them in sophisticated ways of operating. training them in syria and iraq, then deploying them back. the one thing that's shocking to me is that you've had in the wake of the paris attacks, yet another sophisticated, coordinated attack right under the noses of european authorities, when they understood that there were these plots unfolding, and networks that were planning attacks. keep in mind, gayle, that belgian authorities had shut down the subway in november of
were worried about this kind of an attack. >> one brussels transit spokesman is now saying that the casualties at the metro station are 15 dead and 55 injured. that again is just at the metro station. this does not include the casualties at the airport. this attack happened in brussels, juan, but the french president this morning said the whole of europe has been hit. is he right? >> he's absolutely right. and the french have talked about the fact that they feel that they're at war. and these are scenes that are reminiscent of a wartime environment. unfortunately. and this is a problem for europe-wide. a problem for counterterrorism and intelligence officials who have to share information to understand these networks that are operating across borders rather fluidly. pockets of radicalization, all of these countries that are contributing to the potential threat, and certainly a problem
try to ferret out other cells and activities that may be a threat not just in brussels, but in places like france and the uk. and so this is a europeanwide problem and u.s. authorities are going to try to do everything to help, and certainly to try to uncover what may be unfolding in the coming days. >> all right juan zarate, thank you so much. now let's bring in a reporter at politico europe who was outside the maalbeek train station when the explosion started and joins us now on the phone. tell us what you heard. >> so i was actually outside of the station after the explosions started. not quite at the time that it happened in the aftermath. i saw people being taken out of the station and being put down outside of the station on the main street in brussels that cuts through the brussels quarter, the european quarter. they were being covered in sheets. it was very difficult for police
to get through because of a traffic jam. rue de la waue is a one-way street and it was actually chaotic in getting help to the wounded. there were people milling around outside of the station. they had been moved on one side of the station around about 15 to 20 meters back and were filming what was happening. it was a chaotic scene. i don't know if people realized what had happened at that point. and now the street has been cleared. it's not being accessed by traffic except emergency services, and people are still walking around, still allowed to get around in the center of town but they're not allowed close to the station. >> victoria, it really took everybody off guard. you said you had warning from your employer, because after they had had the report from the airport you were told do not get on the metro. but most people did not know that. is that correct?
the metro was not shut down. it was not -- at least for the first probably around 45 to 50 minutes the metro was still running, the trains were still running so people were catching public transport. we decided, made a decision within my reporting team to try and avoid the metro at all costs because we thought that it was not entirely unforeseeable that there would be another attack and if it was going to come it would come in this area because this is the area where all of the eu politicians are. >> there were reports that after the attack at the metro station sometime later there were controlled explosions, likely did you hear those? >> yes, we are hearing that, that there was some suspicious packages found in the vicinity of the european quarter, and elsewhere around brussels. we hear that there were controlled explosions, there have been, i believe, unconfirmed reports at this point of several explosions, in fact.
the atmosphere on the treat? >> right now i think people are a little bit shocked. it's not like we didn't see this coming because this has been happening within europe for the terror attacks have been coming more and more frequently it seems. certainly in brussels, given that we had the brussels lockdown and the heightened terror level around about november when the paris attacks happened. people are in shock that this happened unlike previous brussels attacks the targets were very much a broader stroke of targets. so people at the airport, people on trains. i think people are shocked that this is finally seeming to get the average, everyday belgian, as well as the people who may for example, journalists and others who have been attacked in previous cases. >> to affect and scare the average everyday person.
area where this happened? >> the area of maalbeek where the train was actually -- the train blast occurred is in the center of tune. it is where the european institutions, the european commission and the european council are located one stop away from those places. within roughly a 500 meter walk. on the other side of rue de la loi is the center where the u.s. embassy is. there are several embassies around the station. so this is right in the heart of the quart er er where you've got diplomats, eu folks in general. so it really is the heart of the european quarter of brussels. it very much was meant to target the people who work in the eu institution. >> a very important point, the eu has been critical in terms of the refugee crisis.
of the fight against isis and terrorism. we should also note as zoya has been pointing out the level of shock and concern and now what will be a fierce response from european governments. at this hour the french prime minister saying we are at war. we have been subjected for the last few months in europe to acts of war. so, europe clearly after the attacks in november, in france, 130 people dead. this morning now, it has spread to belgium, with reports of at least 21 people killed at this hour. dozens wounded. 11 dead at the airport. and 10 dead at a metro station. we are continuing to follow this breaking news here at cbs news. >> you had the french president saying we are at war. but you have the belgian prime minister also saying we feared what has happened. we were hit by blind attacks. which is raising many questions this morning, considering that this attack happened days after the arrest of abdeslam, and they feared, authorities had feared that there were going to be more
high alert. >> let me bring michael back in. with all that's happened today, where did security forces -- security and investigators go from here in terms of dealing with isis? how does this -- how does this change what they do? >> let's look at this objectively, anthony. isis' goal is two fold. one is to maintain their safe haven in iraq and syria, spread their ideology, spread their caliphates to other parts of the world. and then secondly, to conduct attacks in the west that create fear, possibly to drive us out of the middle east. that's -- those are the two things they want to do. if you look at the first one, we're having some success shrinking their caliphate in iraq and syria, but they are growing rapidly in the west of the world. probably have more territory today, around the world, than
and, they've conducted now attacks in paris, san bernardino, and now in brussels. so, i would say they're winning, right? they're winning, and we're going to have to find additional approaches to try to undermine them. >> all right michael thank you so much. we're going to have much more ahead on this morning's brussel terror attacks. right now however we're going to take a break for your local
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welcome back to "cbs this morning." we are continuing our coverage of a series of explosions today in the capital of belgium, the country's prime minister says that the country was hit by blind attacks. >> now the blast rocked the brussels airport and a busy subway station. at least one explosion was caused by a suicide attacker. in total at least 30 people are reported killed. but the total is expected to rise. and we are talking about dozens more who have been wounded.
devastation on a subway car that was hit by one of the explosions. it shows how the blast ripped through the car. people living in brussels have been told to stay where they are. charlie d'agata is at the city's airport. charlie, good morning. >> good morning. we have news just in. this is according to belgian media, that the royal palace of brussels, the official residence of the king and queen has been evacuated in response to this terror threat. belgian prosecutors confirm two locations where explosions struck this morning. at least one of those is a suicide bomber here at the airport. passengers waiting at the departure lounge, and check-in. reported hearing somebody shouting in arabic and gunfire before two explosions rang out. dozens of people in the fatality were injured from falling ceiling tiles and broken glass, and the rest of the people there were ordered to evacuate the airport as soon as possible. told to leave their hand luggage
the other explosion happened just about a half hour later at a metro station, a subway station in central brussels. several fatality ies are reported at both locations. all transportation has been shut down in the city. obviously here at the airport there's no planes landing or leaving. the mass transit system has been shut down. that means the subway and the trains. >> charlie d'agata in brussels. belgium this morning is at its highest terror alert level. the explosions came just days after police arrested the only surviving suspect of the paris terror attacks. elizabeth palmer is in london with more. elizabeth, good morning. >> good morning. and of course everybody is wondering whether today's attacks are connected to or perhaps even prompted by abdeslam's arrest. security officials in europe have been bracing for more terrorist violence ever since
belgian police knew they had not completely unraveled the network of radicalized young men, many of whom fought in syria, who either carried out or supported those attacks. the network is bigger than anyone realized. most recently the police have put out an apb for 24-year-old imagine up laachraoui, a belgian citizen. laachraoui is believed to be the bombmaker behind the paris attacks. his dna was found on the remnants of the bombs, and also attackers. in fact he may have actually rented the house in the belgian town under a false name. laachraoui is believed to have traveled with salah abdeslam, the only paris attacker still alive. abdeslam was captured during a raid last friday in brussels and had been able to evade capture for months. last year in belgium, 30 people were convicted of belonging to the isis terrorist network.
they were in syria. but it's now looking very much like that was simply the tip of the iceberg. gayle? >> all right. thank you, liz palmer, reporting from london. belgium's prime minister says there is no information connecting this morning's attacks at this time to the recent arrests of salah abdeslam. he's the one surviving suspect from last year's terrorist attacks. now he and other suspects came from a section of brussels that's called molenbeek. our digital cbs network reporter is here. attacks. >> good morning. belgium is considered a terrorism hot bed sending more terrorists per capita to fight europe. in december i visited the these radicalized jihadists came from. >> so this is number 30.
found. you can see we're literally across the street from the town hall. the other man, the guy who was supposedly responsible for planning the paris attacks, abaaoud he also grew up in molenbeek. these guys were friends. they grew up together. the question is, what happened? what happened to take them from this community to this horrific attack committed in paris on friday the 13th of november. >> in molenbeek, the town that you are the mayor of, there are some suspected 85 jihadists. >> it's a big number. but here in molenbeek you have a lot of people who are muslim. a lot of people who are coming from morocco.
the reason why we have so many people in contact with radicalism and jihadis. we tried to get information, but the fight at the local level, it's the federal level. >> most of the people never red the koran. they know nothing about religion. but they were let's say infected by propaganda. i agree to say that molenbeek is
at the same time that there is europe. you could find the same in the north of france, approximately between seven and ten people from europe, a resident in europe which are linked to the jihad in syria, which is an enormous amount of people, of course. >> even after capturing salah abdeslam this week, and with over 100 raids in the wake of the paris attacks, it is clear there could even be more terror cells than belgium's prime minister anticipated. >> wow. >> very eerie to see that video. >> and you were at abdeslam's apartment. stunning that just a couple of days ago he was arrested. not far -- >> not far from the city. the neighborhood that he spent almost his entire life in. the family residence is across the street from the plaza. you saw me talking to the mayor of molenbeek. we were less than 200 yards away from the doorstep of his house. >> so he's hiding in plain sight?
which means people must have seen him. >> that's the speculation. how could this young man who was considered the most wanted man in europe be right back where he spent his entire life? >> what do you think the answer to that question is? >> it's a tough one. it's a tough one. because a lot of the people in molenbeek, most people in molenbeek, are not jihadists. they are law abiding people. but clearly there is a problem there. and they're not able to wrap it up. primarily because even the chief of police told us, they don't even have a lot of arabic speakers on the police force. there are multiple police forces, some that speak flemish, some that speak french, some that speak german, and it's very difficult for those police agencies to coordinate. >> what -- >> you know, if you were strolling through the neighborhood you would feel like you are in a european neighborhood. no different than any other. it's not when we think of it, it's not, people say oh, there are people that are not doing as well as other parts of europe -- >> i've heard it described as a poor neighborhood. >> not the way you might see in some cities in the united states. but there are -- it's an immigrant community, for sure. and just like because of the
that are from other countries, they feel disaffected and disenfranchised, these young people. >> i noted there are at least 800 radicalized, believed radicalized in belgium. a big concern. how easy is it to travel from belgium to the united states? >> if you have a visa -- well with you don't even need a visa if you have a passport it's very easy for you to get on a plane. it's even easier, the bigger problem for europe is it's easy bus of schengen rules to travel between european countries. in the days after the paris attack we traveled from paris to brussels on the trains. a little bit of security. seen. once on the train, no passport controls, no checks. >> thank you very much. ahead more coverage on the terror attacks in brussels. we'll be right back. sound of faucet turning on sound of water running sound of water running
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we are following breaking news this morning from brussels, belgium, about multiple attacks at a train station, and an airport station there. there are conflicting numbers about their number of dead. somewhere at least at this hour, 26 people confirmed dead from the belgian government. 136 wounded at this hour. sky news reporter alex rossi was at the airport when the blast occurred and he described the situation to us earlier this morning. >> we were removed from the airport itself. some people on coaches. we are on foot heading to a nearby village. there is a crisis center that has been set up there. very little information here on the ground. we are being told now by police that it is a -- this is what people on the ground are being told, that it is a terrorist attack.
we've gone through security, the sound of two very large explosions. i was in the duty free. it's kind of -- you're just going through your normal routine that you do whenever you get on a flight. i was going to buy chocolates for my children for easter. and then as i was just turning after picking them up from the shelf, the explosions. and you kind of immediately, that's not -- that is not a normal sound. my instincts were, this is a terrorist attack. other people around me started sort of going towards the floor trying to hide behind shelves. and then people from the other side seemed to be sort of coming through from where -- before the security screening through the area we were in, which is after your baggage is -- your hand luggage is security checked. and to wait. very, very frightening. very panicked passengers.
point they thought there may be more exploepgss. more attacks. but we have now been moved out of the airport. the airport has been evacuated. from the outside, when you look at the building, you can see blast damage at the top, quite high up. sort of 40 meters up. which have blown the glass out. there are lots and lots of soldiers surrounding the building now. obviously with automatic weapons. and streams of ambulances. ambulances, the wail of sirens has been fairly continuous as they go in to help people who are actually -- who are very close to the casualties. >> that was sky news reporter alex rossi reporting on what he saw this morning.
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france's president said this morning the whole of europe has been hit. germany's justice minister said that today is a black day for europe. david cameron, prime minister of britain, said we'll do everything we can to help. officials in the u.s. are monitoring any potential threats to the homeland. we have more from washington. jeff, good morning. >> good morning. a u.s. official tells me this is obviously still a very fluid situation in belgium. but they are monitoring the situation there, and what they've learned already is that this type of attack, not only at the airport, but at the metro stations in brussels, as well, suggests the security weaknesses, not only in europe. but also worldwide. even here in the u.s., because when you look at what happened at the brussels airport, the bombs went off, and suicide bombs went off inside the departure hall before passengers
so that exposed a weakness there. and also, at these metro stations. and u.s. intelligence officials have known for some time, really since paris, that those are the hallmarks of what isis is trying to do with these attackers. don't necessarily hit symbolic targets, but hit soft targets. restaurants, concert halls, and now today, airport departure halls. >> thank you, jeff. the whole purpose, they said, is to put fear in average american and international citizens. we thank you, jeff. brussels is under lockdown this morning after the deadly bombings. we'll be right back. s back. storm coming? a very dangerous cheese storm. so you have 20 more bags. mhm. my yoga instructor calls it the death spiral. i call it living the dream. american express presents the blue cash everyday card with no annual fee. cash back on purchases. see you tomorrow.
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it is tuesday, march 22nd, you've already heard the news brussels. we're continuing that. welcome back to "cbs this morning." there is more real news ahead, including the brussels terror bombings that killed at least 30 people. belgian capital. but first here is today's "eye opener." >> multiple explosions. two bombings hit brussels airport. at least one of them was a suicide blast. >> the entire perimeter of the airport has been sealed off. witnesses said that they heard gunshots and people shouting in arabic.
attacks are connected to salah abdeslam's arrest last friday. le. >> many of the president's very top security advisers are here with him, and they're continuing to update the president about what they learned. >> according to u.s. officials, there is no threat against the u.s., and the u.s. posture remains the same. >> why are belgium and france such hot spots? >> you have long-standing pockets of radicalization outside of paris, outside of brussels. >> belgium is considered a terrorism hotbed. sending more terrorists per capita to fight than any other country in europe. >> they've conducted now attacks in paris, san bernardino. and now in brussels. so, i would say they're winning, right? they're winning and we're going to have to find additional approaches to try to undermine them. >> translator: terrorists have hit belgium. but it is europe who has been
been concerned. i'm norah o'donnell with gayle king and anthony mason. charlie rose is off today. and we are continuing our coverage this morning of today's terrorist attacks in brussels. at least 30 people have been killed in a series of explosions. and u.s. authorities at this hour are investigating reports of at least two americans who may have been wounded in these attacks. now moments ago we heard from the french president francois hollande who condemned the attacks. >> translator: a war against terrorism is now being fought by all of europe. and this is a war that is necessary. and we need to make sure that all our decisions are effective, and are taken on an international level. >> now the first of two explosions happened at the
u.s. officials say 15 people were killed there. a belgian prosecutor says at least one of the blasts was likely by a suicide attacker. >> in about 30 minutes later another explosion rocked a subway station. that metro system is now closed down. the transit authority says another 15 people were killed there. an image from inside the metro shows just how destructive this explosion was. you can see the very heavy damage in and around the subway car. these explosions happened just days after the last surviving suspect in the paris attacks was arrested in brussels. that happened on friday. charlie d'agata is near the brussels airport. charlie, what can you tell us? >> oh, good morning. the entire city obviously, including the airport, are on explosions. the terror began here at the airport just before 8:00 a.m. just at the departures lounge where people are checking in. passengers there say that people
gunfire before two explosions rang out. now those who could flee did in ordered to evacuate, leave everything behind. just about a half hour later, as place. this time at a subway station in central brussels. at least ten dead there. passengers were racing out of the tunnels, and trains, trying to reach safety. now, as you can imagine, there is shock and disbelief that terrorists were apparently able to attack when the country was already at a heightened state of alert. all transportation hubs have been shut down. obviously no planes coming in or leaving this airport. the entire train system itself, the subway system has been shut down and they're doing what they can to seal off the borders. gayle? >> thank you, charlie. >> charlie d'agata in belgium, thanks. we turn now to elizabeth palmer in london with a look at belgium's ties to terror. elizabeth, good morning. >> good morning. well, i'll take you to france first.
prime minister manuel vaust said just a short time ago that europe has been subjected in the past few months to acts of war. and that's certainly the view of security officials in france and belgium, as well. they've been braced for more terrorist violence ever since the paris attacks last november. since it became clear that the attackers were mainly based in brussels, the belgian police have been trying to unravel this network of radicalized young men. many of whom fought in syria, who either carried out, or supported those attacks. but, it's becoming very clear the network is bigger than anyone realized. and some of the key figures have only been identified since the arrest on friday of salah abdeslam. in fact, one of the most important, the suspected bombmaker, is called najim lash rawee. and he was only identified yesterday. the police put out an apb for him. he is a belgian citizen.
remnants of the suicide bomb from the paris soccer stadium last november and also in a safe house used by those attackers. police now say he knew salah abdeslam and believe they even traveled together, across europe, using good quality forged belgian identity cards. norah norah? >> do they believe he was involved in these attacks today? >> they suspect it. the proof will come when they analyze the bombs because every bombmaker has a signature and the ingredients in the bombs are also going to be a giveaway. it does seem likely. the next step will be to find him. not only him but his bomb lab. they feel it's probably a place he's been working from for months or maybe even years. >> incredible reporting there. elizabeth palmer, thank you so much. and president obama is receiving updates on the attacks from belgium. the president is on a trip to cuba. margaret brennan is traveling
margaret, good morning. >> good morning. well u.s. officials do believe that americans have been injured in these blasts. but they are trying to account for them, track down details, track down their family members. what we have been told is that embassy staffers, and all u.s. officials in belgium have been safely accounted for. now the president was first informed of these two explosions early this morning by his chief counterterrorism adviser lisa monaco. here in havana, secretary of state john kerry, and security adviser susan rice, are also traveling with the president and they remain in touch with their european counterparts in belgium and elsewhere. now, what we also know is that the u.s. embassy in belgium has told all americans in the area to stay on lockdown. don't move from where you are. call them if you do need help. so they are trying to collect information about who might be in the area. we have also heard that
to stick to his schedule. he was supposed to deliver a public speech in the 10:00 a.m. hour here in havana to speak directly to the cuban people. remember, he's here in this breakthrough diplomatic moment to focus on that real foreign policy priority. but this report of these explosions and fear of terrorism is going to force him to address what has happened. so far american officials are explosions. we do know that isis has been more focused on external attacks but so far they are not saying who they believe to be responsible. gayle? >> margaret brennan reporting in havana. we thank you. a u.s. official says that the belgian explosions have all the hallmarks of isis and the attacks exposed weaknesses in airport and subway security worldwide. cbs news senior security contributor michael morell joins us once again. good morning michael. i know you know the scenario very well.
what are the questions that u.s. officials are asking at this hour? >> gayle, the big picture here is that isis has a large, and sophisticated terrorist network in europe that has not been degraded, that has not been unraveled. i think that's the key issue here. i think the next few days, the threat level is very high. going forward. for two reasons. one is terrorist attacks bring out copycats. you got to worry about lone wolves thinking now is the time to move. whether that's in europe, or the united states. and i think you also have to worry about what other large attacks did salah abdeslam have and train that might get accelerated over the next few weeks or months? >> michael, as jeff pointed out to us, this attack at the airport occurred in the departure lounge, before anyone went through security. the first near a counter where customers paid for overweight baggage. the second bomb went off near a
security right now? >> so, anthony, terrorists study place. so when they look at an airport they see it's very difficult to get weapons, explosives, beyond the security checkpoint. so they adjust to that. and one of the ways they ajust to that is set off your explosives, do your attacks before the asecurity check oint. it's simply a reflection of them protocols. >> are we going to have to adjust our security too? are we going to have to have security checkpoints before you get into the airport now? >> absolutely. >> how frightening is this? because before you used to say if i get through security, i get on the plane, i'm okay. now you're saying we're going to have to worry before we even get on the plane when you're checking in? >> gayle, that's absolutely right. one of the things, last point that concerns me here is, u.s. officials are saying there's no - threat here. what they mean is no specific credible threat.
same attack capability that they built in europe, they want to bring that to the united states. we don't have a good understanding of where they are in that. we need more information on that. we need to worry about that. >> we just heard elizabeth palmer report that the bombmaker believed to have traveled with abdeslam across europe together using these high quality forged documents. what do we know about this bombmaker? what's the nightmare scenario? >> the nightmare scenario for me is the bringing together of two things, norah. the first is, their ability to have bombmaking facilities in europe. have bombmakers in europe build these bombs in europe. that's one. the other is we know that they have the capability to make chemical weapons, and they've used those chemical weapons in iraq and syria. bring those two things together. a chemical weapons manufacturing capability in europe, and an attack in europe using chemical weapons. i worry about that a lot. >> all right. michael, we're all worried about a lot of things this morning.
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the sights and sounds of the explosions in belgium sent eyewitnesses running. the blasts sparked panic at a busy travel time at the airport, and subway. here's a closer look at the terrifying scenes from people who were nearby. >> this explosion was small, but second one was big explosion. i cannot describe because it was was -- >> when i was outside i just saw two -- two people with had like covered really covered with blood. a lot of people whose hands were covered with blood.
really close to the place where the explosions happened. explosion, a wave go through your body. >> and i knew as soon as it happened no doubt, this is a terrorist attack? >> it felt muffled. so i knew we were not very close to it. reverberated. >> one gunshot afterwards and there was one man who was speaking arabic afterwards. and i heard boom, an enormous explosion. after people and i said to myself, i'll try to save more people. >> it was first, and first with a small explosion. maybe shotgun or something like that. and a few seconds later, a very big explosion. and the situation all was a lot
>> we heard big bang. everybody came along here. we saw kind of smoke, you know. so the shop keeper went, no, it's nothing urgent. because they're working here. >> it was a very loud explosion? >> yes, it was, very loud. it was not something that fell on the ground or something. you felt kind of -- >> i heard it. i was in duty free. it was very frightening. >> yes, yes, it was. >> just a horrific scene there. one of the witnesses there said that the ceiling collapsed. that's one of the reasons they had trouble identifying and finding victims of this witness, we were working in the debris it was like a war scene. >> i saw another witness who was working. they're now setting it up at the departure. a baggage worker said he just jumped into a luggage chute because he was so fright beed. the belgian prime minister said this is a dark moment for our nation. we need calm and solidarity. but you hear the images, you hear from the people, it's very, very scary. >> the assessment about security not only in europe but in the
and for that reason our coverage of the brussels bombing will continue when we come back. next we're going to look at transportation security right here in the united states. you are watching "cbs this morning." only kraft natural cheese has a touch of philadelphia cream cheese, so whatever you make, is creamier than ever. allergies with nasal congestion? find fast relief
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there have been multiple terrorist attacks. brussels is a major hub for european travel, which today is at a standstill, as the airport and train station has been shut down. the city in many ways at a standstill. kris van cleave is in washington, and updates us on what is being done here at home. kris, good morning. >> good morning, norah. we've heard from amtrak that extra police officers are being deployed here. most likely to see that alone the northeast corridor linking boston to washington, d.c. it's the bustiest in the system. also amtrak employees have been told to watch for unattended bags, and the agency's active shooter protocols have been reissued to all employees. we expect to see stepped up police presence at metro systems, bus systems, transit systems across the country. washington. also d.c. police tell us they remain at a heightened state of alert with additional patrols being put on the streets today. a high visibility presence from d.c. police. norah? thank you so much.
welcome back to "cbs this morning." our special coverage of the terror attacks in belgium continues this morning. at this hour officials say at least 30 people were killed in separate explosions that hit the brussels airport and busy subway station. we're talking about dozens more wounded, as well. >> and at least two americans might have been injured this morning. a belgian prosecutor says at least one of the blasts was likely caused by a suicide bomber. charlie d'agata's near the brussels airport with an update for us now. charlie, good morning. you've been with us since friday. tell us, lay it out for us how
the last 24 hours? >> gayle, we got here on friday night. this is after the surprise arrest of this tenth attacker in paris. the one that got away, salah abdeslam. and we got to that neighborhood in molenbeek. and of course they had just raided the area and there was a heavy police presence around the neighborhood. but in addition to that, belgian authorities were putting the word out that now there is an increased terror threat because of that key arrest. and making warnings for people to remain lidge length. and we saw a heavy police presence around those areas in brussels. you have to remember, so many international headquarters are here, as well. you get the eu, the u.n., the american embassy, there are lots of potential targets there. we came in by train. we saw heavy police presence at the train station. we didn't see the airport. but because of the heightened terror threat, you know the word was out there in the public, to remain vigilant. you were talking about being
case that this arrest was going to shake up other isis operatives. just yesterday, the french and belgian prosecutors put word out that they were now looking for two other key suspects in connection with those paris attacks. and asking for the public's help. and then literally the next day we see what appears to be terror attacks here. here at the airport and at subway station in central brussels. so people here are just in a state of disbelief. now they're bringing extra forces in to deal with this terror threat but this is already outstanding. the police is already on edge before this happened. and i guess that the fear here is the idea, the worst fear is the belgians have said that you essentially have suicide bombers and suicide vests ready to go. sort of on demand. that they -- it would appear they have reacted to the events that happened over the weekend and struck back as dramatically as they did. so, you know, i mean there is a genuine fear here.
closed down. they've tried to do what they can to seal off the borders. obviously no flights coming in and out of this place. they're just wondering what comes next because they have no confidence that the belgian intelligence services or police or any forces can stop them. >> charlie d'agata reporting from near the airport in brussels this morning in belgium. thanks, charlie. the u.s. embassy in brussels advised american citizens there to shelter in place. michael chertoff joins us now on the phone. he was secretary of homeland security under president george w. bush. secretary chertoff, good morning. >> good morning. >> two airport bombs went off in the departure lounge, mr. secretary, before people went through security. one of them went off near a starbucks. do we need to change airport security at this point and move it back even further, if you would? >> well, i have to say, this is something i've spoken to people about for some time. the actual portion of the airport before the checkpoint is
federal government. it's controlled by the local authorities. and it has increasingly become vulnerable because as people wait to go through security, they actually congregate there. and so now there's an effort, i think, on the part of tsa to start to move the airports into pushing the security envelope back. we've seen some of that in terms of not allowing you to park in front of the terminal but i think we're going to have to step that up. >> what can, what should the u.s. do at this point? what, what, what is our position, our reaction? >> well, obviously first of all, we want to help the belgians with intelligence sharing. evidently there is still a remnant, at least, of this terrorist cell that attacked paris that may have been precipitated into carrying out the attacks because now they're being hunted. in the u.s., i think we have less of an issue. but we saw in san bernardino that we do have people here who are capable of carrying out attacks. i think you're going to see
explosive detection dogs at transit points, train stations, and pair ports. it may be we have to bring back in the area of the airport outside the security checkpoint, the national guard, or a heavier police presence like we did right after 9/11. and there's always a concern about copycats. so i think you're going to see some elevated security over the next week. >> in fact, mr. secretary, nypd just announced this morning they're going to increase security here in this city so we can expect to see a larger police presence in the trains, bridges, tunnels, subway stations and other soft targets in the city. >> i think that's correct. i also think for americans traveling overseas, particularly europe, they want to have heightened awareness of what's around them. i think there's some speculation that the bombs in the airport may have been aimed at either u.s. air carriers, or for -- going to the u.s. i don't know whether that's true or not.
all american institutions in europe to be aware of what this security position is. >> mr. secretary, if you move the security perimeter back in airports, where do you move it to? >> well, we have restricted where you can park in front of the airport. so we've done a fair bit in the entranceway to the airport. we've been really a little bit lax has been between the point where you enter the departure lounge and the point where you go to the security checkpoint. with that suggestion that you're going to move the checkpoint out to the curb, i think a presence of explosive detection dogs, an increased police presence to respond immediately if someone winds up doing something in that departure area, i think that -- those are steps that we're going to start to see more of. >> secretary chertoff we're told top u.s. military and justice department officials have been briefed on these attacks.
our belgian counterparts and other u.s. agencies, not only helping them but the situation on the ground there but probably collecting u.s. intelligence to discover whether anything is of concern here in the united states. it has been suggested by the republican front-runner that the borders in the u.s. should be sealed. what's your reaction to that? >> well, first of all, it's -- i mean, that would be a gross overreaction which would actually wind up handicapping our ability to protect ourselves. because people who are going back and forth in order to actual coordinate security will be hampered in doing that. that's exactly the wrong answer. one thing that we do do is monitoring communications between people in belgium that are suspected terrorists and people in the u.s. the collection of that metadata has proven to be very important way of determining whether there
look, the bottom line is, when you have cancer, you go at it with a scalpel, you don't take a meat ax. and this approach of sealing the border is preposterous. metadata, do u.s. law enforcement officials have the capabilities today that they need in order to collect that information? >> well, as you know, the law changed recently, last year, so that the metadata is now held by the telephone companies. itself. and one of the challenges is to make sure that there is a platform that allows the rapid assessment of whether there's a metadata connection, and it's in the hands of the telephone companies. i think that is a little bit challenging. i think we are in good shape. but i think we can get in better shape. and this to me understores the importance of building that capability and implementing it as quickly as possible. >> once again, the debate and discussion continues about that collection there. secretary chertoff, thank you.
coverage of this breaking news. we should note president obama is in cuba this morning. he is expected to speak about the attacks that happened in brussels. we're going to have special report with his comments shortly after 10:00 a.m. eastern time. several presidential candidates are also responding to today's attack. julianna goldman is in washington tracking that for us. good morning. >> good morning. that's right. we have reaction from all the republican presidential candidates. donald trump initially commented on twitter, saying the u.s. must be vigilant and smart. now norah, it's important to note that while one official is saying this has all the hallmarks of an isis attack, cbs news has not confirmed the identities of the perpetrators. but in follow-up phone interviews trump has been linking what we're seeinging on the ground in brussels to his previous statements on muslims like what we saw after the attacks in paris and san bernardino, california. specifically trump is saying that he'd reinstitute harsh waterboarding.
and if you can expand the laws he'd do a lot more than waterboarding. as for his tough talk on border security, he said on our digital network, cbsn that he'd be extremely careful about letting people in from the middle east, including from syria. let's take a listen to part of that interview. >> i would be extremely careful about people from the middle east coming in to our country. i would be extremely careful as to what's going on. you have an isis problem that's a massive problem. they want to come in. they want to do big damage. and i would be extremely careful about that. >> he's also tying his tough talk to his position in the polls saying he's the front-runner because people are concerned about what's happening in this country. also, ted cruz is linking the attacks to muslim extremism, saying radical islam is at war with us. he said these attacks are just the latest in a string of coordinated attacks by radical islamic terrorists. and, gayle, john kasich has released a statement. he expressed his solidarity with the people of belgium.
our efforts with our allies to identify, root out, and destroy - we're still waiting for reaction from democratic presidential candidates hillary clinton and bernie sanders. >> all right. we hope to hear from them both later on this morning. thank you, julianna. cbs news contributor and "wall street journal" columnist peggy noonan is with us and good to see you. >> good to be here. >> these attacks at brussels come at a very key time in our campaign. what impact do you think it will have on american politics? >> well, it's hard to say in a way. what has happened in brussels is reflected in the general conversation taking place on the gop and the democratic side. what to do about terrorism. how do handle it. what -- what actions to take. it seems to me one of the interesting aspects of this terrible thing that has happened over in brussels is that it is terrorists, we think, that are
or have hit, at a central area of european politics. meets. and sometimes votes. where those who staff and are part of the european parliament live and work. >> what does that mean? >> that says it's a little bit like 9/11 when they came to america, the bad guys, and said we're going to your financial district. we're going to hurt you right there in the heart of it. this is coming to the heart of political europe, and saying, guess what? you arrested our big guy the other day. you think you set us back? we've already planned this probably. we're just coming. we're not going to stop us. it is a message. >> when these attacks happened, they seemed to focus the american electorate's mind in terms of the type of next president that they will choose, in terms of national security credentials. the republican front-runner donald trump just yesterday
and revealed what was also in a "washington post" editorial, a noninterventional foreign policy. even suggesting for the first time any major presidential candidate has ever suggested withdrawing from nato. >> yeah. that was interesting. there are often murmurs and discussions of 60 years after its founding, more than 60 years, disnato answer more problems than it solves? but that doesn't normally come forward by a major presidential candidate. and of course, at a moment like this, when the world seems in various places on fire, i am not certain that people will love the idea of there's fire and chaos and we're going to add another small element of chaos to the reality here. so, we'll see where that goes. i give him points for a certain candor that others have avoided for a very long time. >> ted cruz is weighing in. he says make no mistake these
incidents. just the latest in a string of coordinated attacks by radical islamic terrorists. john kasich says we must also redouble our efforts with our allies to identify, root out and destroy the perpetrators of such acts of evil. what do you make of their comments coming in? >> you know what i think is implicit in that, i mean they're saying what they always say, we have to be strong, we have to get the bad guys. but in a way, america's still waking up to this brutal story from brussels, and i suspect many americans are experiencing it, not as a new thing, but as a continuation of what we already know, radical jihadist extremist islam is at war with the world. not only in america, not only europe, but today they hit europe. >> peggy noonan, thank you very much. we'll being back with more of our continuing coverage of the bombings in brussels this morning. you're watching "cbs this
there's one more update for you on the situation in brussels. at least 30 people were killed this morning by two explosions at the brussels airport. and then another at a subway station near the european union's headquarters. now no one has claimed responsibility at this time. but officials are calling this a terror attacks. more than 100 other people were injured, possibly including two americans. brussels remains under lockdown this morning while police search for more bombs around the city. france's prime minister says europe is, in his words, at war. president obama is expected to speak about the attacks from havana in a little more than an hour from now. his comments live in a special report. for many of you we're going to have continuing coverage of the terror attacks in belgium. please tune in to all of our cbs news networks.
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"the young and the restless" is celebrating 43 years .. we'll go live to l-a to chat with cast members eric braeden and peter bergman. and at 9-18 it's a classic tale of who- dun-it set to music... we'll meet the cast of "murder for two". and don't forget to stick around to the end of the show for our daily march madness basket ball shoot out fun!!! but first ... a new study from f- s-u about marriage ... we'll go live to l-a to chat with cast members eric "the young and the restless" is celebrating 43 years .. we'll go live to l-a to chat with cast members eric braeden and peter bergman. and at 9-18 it's a classic tale of who- dun-it set to music... we'll meet the cast of "murder for two". and don't forget to stick around to the end of the show for our daily march madness basket ball