tv Inside Story Al Jazeera January 9, 2015 5:00pm-5:31pm EST
nice honor for a canadian hero. that will do it for this news hour. i'm david shuster remember for the updates for news around the world www.aljazeera.com updating all the information in france. thanks for watching. . >> the men who were suspects in the charlie hebdo murders in paris were known to police, often under surveillance, but still free and at large. can democracies do what is need needed to prevent terror attacks like this week's paris killings and not give up freedom itself? this is "inside story." >> hello i'm ray suarez.
one of the charlie hebdo attackers, the men from the magazine shooting in paris earlier this week, reportedly went to yemen to fight with al-qaeda. some of the men were on no-fly list. one was arrested trying to get to syria to fight with the islamic state and did time in prison. like the united states france has remade its surveillance, it's domestic intelligence and its use of modern tools to keep tabs on people who might be involved with extremist groups. the kind of men who might go no a magazine office and slaughter the people inside. does a society who does not hold people without charge, does not hold people without trial protect itself were mass murder? >> reporter: this was the scene friday morning in dammartin-en-goele.
cherif kouachi sand said kouachi kouachi, hold up in a printing plant with one hostage. after an hour's long stand off with the police, the two suspects were dead, and the hostage was unharmed. meanwhile in the east of paris a gunman stormed into a kosher supermarket taking hostages. that stand off ended when the police raided the market. president françois hollande addressed his nation after it was over. >> i ask for unity as i expressed to france, it is our best weapon. >> and president obama said: >> france is our oldest ally. i want people of france to know that the united states stands with you today stands with you tomorrow our thoughts and prayers are with the families who have been directly impacted.
we grieve with you. [ sirens ] >> reporter: as france reels from the past 72 hours authorities are investigating the backgrounds of the kouachi brothers. cherif kouachi was sentenced to 18 months in prison after being convicted of terrorism charges in 2008. the charge: helping to funnel fighters to aid iraq's insurgency. officials are also scrutinizing the brother's ties to yemen. al jazeera's omar al salah reported from yemen. >> senior intelligence officer here at the intelligence agency told al jazeera that they did indeed fight with them. at some point he was deported. >> it's believed the gunman in the kosher supermarket was amedi coulibaly 32. he reportedly knew one of the
kouachi. he was joined by a woman who was identified at 26-year-old hayat boumeddiene. >> where does the democracy draw the line? can you round up people who haven't done anything yet? must you wait until extremist killers open fire before you move against them? can you unleash the force of the state in that way without risking creating even more problems for your country? joining us for that conversation, fred burton, vice president of stratford intelligence firm. former deputy chief of counter terrorism for the security service. fred flight. former satisfy member on the house intelligence committee and charles coggin, an associate at harvard's science and international affairs. he is a former cia station chief in paris.
and let me start with you charles, koggan. was this handled the right way as you look at the handy work of the french over the last 72 hours. from the time the gunmen open fired in the late morning on wednesday to the end of the hostage stand off on a friday afternoon, did this go down the way intelligence services planned for? >> well, i think it was amazing amazingly effective in the sense that they were able to locatize these two algerian brothers as they were coming down southward towards paris apparently went through a checkpoint and were localized, and found in a print shop. the police and the commander took them down, and their one hostage escaped with his life. i think it's quite remarkable, and i think it's a tribute to the french internal security services, which with whom i've
had many dealings in the past, and i admire the way they separate. >> mr. cagancogan, has there been an upgrade in responding to these types of attacks? >> i think there is certainly been an upgrade. the french ability to intercept them has improved remarketly. reremarkedly. the british, of course, have always been very effective. so i think throughout europe there is an upgrading of attention to these problems. >> fred burton, when it was figured out very quickly after the attack on the magazine offices who these guys were, information started to pour out about them, apparently the state had been following them for some
time. yet, at the same moment they didn't arrest them. they didn't hold them indefinitely. how do you follow a guy how do you know some things about them that make them set off your antenna, and not be able to move aggressively against them? is it a tough call? >> it's a very tough call. in essence you have too many jihad jihadists on the loose and not enough resources to put them out on the field to surveil them. that's when it boiled down to tactical analysis assessment that the persons you're going to surveil on any given day. i think the french service did the best they could predicated upon the threat information specifically targeting the building. clearly with the two counter surveillance french assets that were in place that was obviously
threat-driven, and i think they rapidly resolved the situation. >> rapidly resolved, but was it possible? is it ever possible in this kind of circumstance to prevent an attack like these? how intrusive can the state be? as people around the world sit and think oh man could our country be next, they're constantly makeing that calibration, calculation between how much they want the state looking over their shoulder, and how much they want them to be able to find guys like this before they open fire. >> well, in essence i think there is enough laws on the books with each nation-state, which are going to be different as to how they investigate these kinds of cases whether it's a criminal investigation or is it an intelligence case. but in essence i think if you
look in concept there are currently enough laws on the books for example throughout europe and in the united states, in canada, to thoroughly investigate persons like this and bring them to justice. >> fred, while he was on the run, one of the kouachi brothers spoke with a reporter and said yes, al-qaeda and the arabia peninsula helped direct this attack. these were brothers who were trying to get to iraq to fight for the islamic state. is that enough smoke for you to assume a fire and take them out of circulation? >> well, ray, it's a confusing situation. i think the increased threat environment because of the islamic state's propaganda and it's violence and social media has brought a real concern around the world. but i will defer to what my
colleagues here said. you can engage in belligerent rhetoric there are a lot of people who say things we find objectionable. there is a fine line between belligerent rhetoric and the act of threat. >> if you listen to people's conversations at mosques if you penetrate social organizations. if you have assets hanging out in social clubs and coffee bars and that kind of thing, do you get a lot of junk information along with leads on what could turn into real threats? >> of course, and we have to do all those things. i was a cia analyst for 19 years, and there is a lot of noise and a skilled analyst gets
to go through the noise and find out where the leads suggest there are real threats. it is an art and it takes an experienced analyst to look at this information. there are going to be false positives but our intelligence agencies have done a pretty good job at stopping threats like this going through all this noise. >> we'll be back with more inside story after a quick break. when we return we'll have more on how a country can, should protect itself from the kind of attack that rivetted france and the world and we'll contrast with a place like nigeria. a nigerian officials has announceed that boko haram has killed some 2,000 people in its latest attack, as many as all of last year. stay with us.
>> you're watching inside story on al jazeera america. i'm ray suarez. we're taking a look at whether countries can prevent the kind of violence we've seen in france over the last several days. we go now live to al jazeera's dana lewis who has been following the investigation in the day's events in dammartin-en-goele. were the two moves against the two hostage stand office simultaneous? did they come down together?
>> we're told that they did and certainly it was a major credit question what would have happened to the hostages in per paris had they not done them fairly close together. you had the hostage taker in the kosher grocery store saying essentially that the only way he's going to come out is if the kouachi brothers are released, and there is no way that these guys were going to walk. it was either surrender or die. the police had to make some critical decisions. i turned to my colleague i said what now? what about paris? he heard explosions, we heard the gunfire. we immediately thought that man in paris the other hostage taker, has a very good chance of understanding in modern media what is going on here and what he'll do to the other hostages. so the police had to set it up, and they did it within minutes of each other i'm told, and the
assault was very fast here. the helicopters had been removed from the air space. it was quiet and suddenly there are explosions that sounded like entry charges to me from where i was, and the eyewitnesses say they saw large numbers of police commandos rushing that building, commandos on the roof, and quickly the two gunmen were dead and the female hostage was safe. >> these are two very different situations. in one a supermarket before the jewish sabbath begins, probably people doing their last-minute shopping and then a building that is close to empty. was the police m.o. different because of those two different situations? >> certainly this was the easier one because there were not so many hostages. they were able to isolate the building in the industrial area of the town, and move on the building when they chose to.
you know, the question that i would raise is where were the kouachi brothers headed this morning, ray? for 48 hours they led the police on one of the largest manhunts in france's history. they robbed a gas station and clearly identified with their weapons including rocket-propelled grenades. villages were searched in northeast of paris for an hour and a half. suddenly they weren't flushed out. they came out this morning stole a vehicle came down a highway towards paris and i think that's very notable because maybe they had a plan to reenter paris. they were fired upon and fired back at a police checkpoint and basically in a police chase they decided to come in at the last minute. i don't think this was part of their plan at all. >> was there an attempt to get them to come out alive? or was it understood that this was going to be a shootout at
the end? >> according to french authorities, there are thousand in the school next door to me that were, you know, surrounded by police, and they were worried for their safety. they contacted them and started negotiations with them. they asked them if they could evacuate a nearby school. they gave permission for that. but in the course of those negotiations apparently the kouachi brothers said that they were prepared to die as martyrs and wanted to die as marts. they got their wish. >> that is al jazeera's dana lewis who has been covering charlie hebdo attacks. we will continue our conversation with our guests now. fred burton, you heard your earlier remarks echoed, that this was a pretty good
operation, and wrapped up pretty cleanly. do we miss, however what we could have found out from the kouachi brothers? were they valuable to french intelligence in a way useless now that they're dead? >> well, i always think its better off to talk to a terrorist suspect because they may be able to fill in gaps that you don't know. but i most certainly don't second guess the tactical commanders in the field making the decision to go in. look this is very dangerous work, and they did what they had to do. at the end of the day these were also cop killers and no doubt the police knew that going in. >> fred, let me continue just with that line. at the same time as we've been talking about paris the last 72 hours, boko haram has announced that it has killed--one nigerian
official is now saying it's probably thousands. what is the difference when you operate in a country that is more rural more crowded, how intensely divide racially and ethniccally than france is, the way nigeria is, where tensions continue to simmer, boko haram is more like a country within a country. is that a tougher nut to crack than extremist who is are salted out in the population, and you're trying to follow? >> well, it's been my experience that it certainly would be. meaning you're looking at a very capable and confident security service and police force with extraordinary extraordinary amounts of intelligence there. and in nigeria in some areas it's lawless you don't have the same degree of police expertise
counter terrorism specialists. this is where places--this is the kind of place where the cia and u.s. dod and allies can provide a tremendous amount of anti-terrorism assistance, too. it is a different kind of threat that you're dealing with. >> fred, how do you hide an extremist army? aren't they in some ways easier to find in the age of drones, surveillance satellites and so on. could they be isolated and killed in a way that a small number of jihadist salted among a population in a major metropolitan area can't? >> well, boko haram may technically may be an extremist army, but finding it's fighters within the population is extremely difficult. they blend in with the population. this is a real problem because as you said this is a state within a state. boko haram is dominating northern nigeria and separating
who is a boko haram member, who is violent who is a member of this organization is very difficult. it takes security services, a very large security service that would have to be put in northern nigeria, and the nigerian government does not have the personnel to do that. and to attempt to do that would be e ordinarily dangerous. >> if your government is doing unsavory things, maybe illegal things to target the nation's enemies and keep you safe, are you okay with that? how does a democracy decide how far things can go? do you want to be fully informed? or is there a part of you that would just assume not know? stay with us.
secret prisons men held indefinitely without trial electronic surveillance, lethal drone strikes. if you take those measures in a democracy, how can leaders get consent? can we talk out in the open about the hard and ugly things that countries do to target their enemies? charles cogan let me start with you. this is one of the hardest things about being a free country, isn't it? >> well, i would like to say a word about why france is such a target. and why they do extreme measures against terrorism. first of all it has the largest muslim population in europe. it also has the largest jewish population in europe. many muslims are from north africa and many are algerians who bear the history of the terrific reprisals between the french and the algerians in the war of independence between
1964. france has aggressively a-religious policies. they ban the veil. when you put all these things together you're going to get a huge threat against france now and in the future. the french traditionally have used very strong methods against their enemies particularly during the algerian war. i don't think you're going to get the french public to have much heart burn about the methods used against these terrorists. >> what about the american public? >> the american public, of course has a wave of revolution against the activities of the cia and in years past and the
enhanced interrogation techniques. these have been banned now and i don't think the u.s. can go back to that. the u.s. public has spoken against it. >> fred, where did does a democracy draw the line and not give away something about itself in protecting itself. >> ray there is a tradeoff between liberty and security sometimes now all these programs you talked about there was consent by the american people. theconcerning enhanced interrogation i admit that the program had some problems. in a report released last month by the senate was written by senate democrat partisans to embarrass the cia and the bush administration. we have kept the united states
safe from terrorism since 2001, and i think the american people realize that. that's why on an overwhelming majority they reject the senate report on the enhanceed interrogation. >> fred burton, same question. >> i think at the end of the day how do you identify pre-exposed activities ahead of time and have resources in place from a threat matrix perspective to make sure that they do not go forward with operations. there are a lot of critical investigative leads here that we don't know. how did they acquire their weapons? how did they acquire their training? how did they conduct their extensive pre--operative surveillance? a lot of this will come out to be dissected by the counter terrorism community over the next 60 days.
>> will we ever be able to keep track of everybody where a world is able to get on planes and fly to the other side of the planet in one day? will we ever know about someone who goes to sanaa joins up with al-qaeda and learns to pull off an operation like the one we saw on wednesday? >> i think we're much better off today than we were before 9/11, and i think that the international cooperation is tremendous today. >> so, are we left in a place where we're going to have to understand that a certain amount of vulnerability just abides, fred burton, and that's part of the job of being a country in the 21st century? >> without a doubt. i think that that's the reality
of the world we live in today. there is no such thing as 100% security. >> fred burton, fred flights and charles cogan gentlemen great to talk to you all. thanks a lot for joining us. that brings us to the end of this edition of inside story. thank you for being with us. the program may be over but the conversation continues. check out our facebook page, add your own thoughts on today's program, and send us your ideas on twitter. our handle @aj inside story am. coming up at 6:00 p.m. eastern on al jazeera america. french security forces stormed a warehouse in a town north of paris and killed a suspected gunmen in the charlie hebdo attack. at the same time a hostage stand off was coming to a deadly end in the french capitol.
we'll have live reports from both scenes. plus the latest on the suspects, where they've been and what they said. president obama's plan to send millions of students to college for free. all that coming up at 6:00 p.m. eastern. >> today on "talk to al jazeera" jazeera," norman lear , political activist and war veteran. >> who knows, god could be a woman, a president who would help us look in the mirror and see ourselves honestly. >> he is the man behind the iconic is it sit-coms of the 1970s