tv At This Hour With Berman and Michaela CNN January 8, 2015 8:00am-9:01am PST
hello everyone. i'm john berman. >> i'm michaela pereira. >> we have breaking news in the paris terror attack. heavily armed police are on a country road leading to a village 65 miles northeast of paris. the big question are they closing in on the suspects? both men reportedly were spotted at this service station north of the capital. police have set up check moints about 12 miles in each direction. french media say the heavily armed suspects robbed that place overnight. authorities have identified these men as brothers cherif and said kouachi. they have been on the run since killing 12 people at the office of the satirical magazine
"charlie hebdo" yesterday. >> just a short time ago the paris prosecutor's office announced the fatal shooting of a police woman in a southern suburb is also being treated as a terrorist attack. authorities have not said if those two with incidents are related. witnesses say the gunman was hooded and dressed in all black just like the kouachi brothers during their shooting rampage. our atika shubert is near the village where there appears to be this heavily armed police presence. atika, bring us up to date. you're on the move as police are. what's the latest on this manhunt? >> reporter: i'm actually at the road that leads to the village right here. it's the closest that police will let us go to what appears to be those police -- heavily armed police amassing in the area. we can't see them from the location we're at.
we do know they went in earlier. we don't know if they located the two suspects. it's a very rural farm area. there's also a very heavily wooded forested area around here several thousand hectares a huge forest in this area. it could be that the pro suspects are somewhere in that area and they're combing, searching that sort of -- the forest. we've seen helicopters circling overhead. we know police s.w.a.t. teams went in. that's all we have at this point. >> atika, i understand there's activity going on. please cut me off at any second if you see something developing. let me ask you in the meantime about this activity at the gas station overnight. it's believed that these men, these brothers tried to rob this gas stakes and then drove off? >> yes. that's the understanding from the gas attendant. we didn't speak with him
directly. french police won't confirm this. what local media reports is that they arrived around 10:30 in the morning, were heavily harmed held the gas attendant up by gunpoint took the fuel and food they needed and left in the direction of paris. when i was at the gas station earlier, what i did see was about 30 police some of them armed with pistols, many of them plainclothes kind of sifting through materials inside the shop. and there was a forensics fan parked outside. they were bringing material in and out. there were several cctv cameras, they appeared to be viewing possibly video inside the shop near the cash register. clearly police took it very seriously. it does appear that the gas attendant recognized the two suspects and immediately called the police up. that's how they were tipped off that they were in the area. >> atika, i'm curious, again,
just give us an idea of where this lies in relation to where you are now to where you were at the gas station. the gas station was north of paris. there's the map there. a lot of folks aren't really familiar with the french countryside. >> reporter: sure. the gas station is in an area about an hour and a half to two hours north of paris. another 12 kilometers northeast of there is the very small village of longpont. it's a very rural area of northern france. i can see farmhouses and open fields but also a very thickly forested area just around here. this is an area where, if they wanted to they could ditch the car and hide in a forest very easily. this is going to make it quite time consuming for police to find the exact location sweep
through and try to figure out exactly where they are. >> atika, we can now report that this area where you are, the highest terror alert level has now been extended to that area. french officials have extended that highest terror level alert to that area where you are north of paris. this is interesting, of course because you said they would not confirm the activity at the gas station or exactly what's going on near where you are. with this news that the terror alert has been raised to the highest level and what you have seen which is an enormous amount of activity in and around that area. at a minimum, we know there is a great deal of focus there right now. >> reporter: that's correct. what's interesting is we've seen convoys going back and forth, tactical units. earlier there were s.w.a.t. teams that went on this small country road here. helicopters circling overhead. having said that even though
we're at the highest level of security warning, we've stopped to talk with the head mistress of the school here. she said she's been given no special orders to close the school early. everything some rating normal even though she was aware of the increased police presence. they're frying to keep things as normal as possible. at the same time they're blocking off traffic to anyplace where they think they're trying to search for the two suspects. so things are tense here but people are trying to get on with life as normal. >> atika, quickly, i'm curious about that. talk about the work-a-day people. this is an area that likely doesn't see this kind of major police presence or operation happening in their midst. are there people gathered? are police trying to keep people moving along? have you spoken with other people in the communitityy? >> reporter: this is an area very rural for us. they were doing raids overnight,
an area known for growing champagne. this is not an area that would have expected to see this kind of police activity much less two terror suspects coming in with their car. one of the reasons that we understand from security analysts that we may be seeing it in this area is that the two suspects may have been trying to avoid the main toll roads, taking country back roads, trying to avoid police or avoid being photographed, for example, at toll booths. that may be why we're seeing it here. with the members of the community here they're shocked, they can't believe this is happening. of course seeing the brutality on the streets of paris that they saw yesterday and fully support the police action they've been seeing. nobody knows what's going to happen next. that's what makes them worry. >> atika shubert, thank you so much. point out, nightfall about to arrive there and make their work difficult, but also make the work of the men trying to hide themselves more difficult as well. >> there's a lot going on right where atika is right now.
an intense level of police activity. we'll clerk back in with her. in the meantime one of the crucial questions is who are these men, these brothers suspected of mass murder? we know their names, cherif and said kouachi. what are their backgrounds, connections might they have had to lead them to do this. joining us, cnn correspondent nic robertson. one guy was a pizza delivery guy, a fish monger for a time. who are these men? >> the lawyer of one of those men, representing cherif in a trial where he was accused of recruiting young men, accused of going to iraq via syria back in 2008 his defense lawyer said this guy is a poor kid from a poor neighborhood more of a pot smoker and a dreamer than a radical islamist. events seem to have shaped him
in a very different way. these are two men who have now a decade long association, it appears or is appearing in radical islamist circles. of course that plan to go to iraq and join al qaeda and iraq at that time. and back at that time cherif had said that he was radicalized or his views were changed because of the photographs he saw coming from the u.s.-run abu ghraib jail outside of bagdad the torture, apparent torture of muslim detainees. this was something that radicalized him. but we're talking over a decade ago. this pair have continued, it seems, to have run in radical circles and continue this sort of reinforced vision that they need to fight. there are reports that we don't have confirmed yet that they may have even gone to syria. these are unconfirmed at this time being reported by some
news organizations. all these things have to be checked out in greater detail. >> brings up questions about disenfranchisement among the algerian immigrant community there, et cetera. i want to ask about this third suspect. details seem to be a little confusing on this third suspect who turned himself in to police. tell us what you know at this point about this young man, an 18-year-old, correct? >> 18 years old. shortly after he was identified he turned himself in because he heard his name being identified according to colleagues at school he was at school in the afternoon and the implication by that would be that he wasn't the guilty party in this. it would appear if the two brothers were the gunmen then this 18-year-old would have apparently been potentially the getaway driver in this. this isn't clear. the fact that friends have been
tweeting that he was at school when he turned himself in raises questions. these three people have been identified as being suspect, this one turning himself in. the net or number of people police are looking for is likely much wider. we'll likely get more names coming forward in the days ahead as well. >> nic robertson, thank you so much for that. again, we're getting reports of intense police activity in the region north of paris. our atika shubert is there. she's seeing convoys of law enforcement drive past her. there's something going on not far from where she is. we'll check back in with her as soon as we can. ahead, how will they track these men? the dna, the forensics, the travel records. we'll dig deeper. standing in solidarity cartoonists around the world showing the pen is indeed mightier than the sword.
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we have new video just in to cnn. this is police activity in the town of longpont which is in france, north of paris. our atika shubert has been near there, seeing convoys of law enforcement officials. you can see them for yourself right now driving by. clearly something going on there, looking for something. the terror al left level in this region has now been raised to its highest level. before it was just in the paris area. now that highest level has been extended to this town longpont. this is to the west of the gas station that one gas station attendant says was robbed overnight by the two suspects the kouachi brothers. he says they were armed, at gunpoint. they drove off. now the efforts of intense police activity. joining us cnn law enforcement analyst. the two of you together are going to be fantastic to talk us
through what we've just been witnesses. tom, i want your expertise. i know what we see when we see going on. by watching the video that john was showing us the report atika shubert was giving us about this increased presence highest level of alert. what is your sense? do you feel french authorities are close to getting their guys? >> i don't know about that. michaela what brothers me about it that cameraman and those reporters have no business being that close to heavily armed police about to engage in an operation. if somebody sticks their head out one of those apartment windows and opens fire you're going to have more dead journalists before this is over if that's how they do business. >> we appreciate tom's point there, but those pictures do exist. we're bringing them to our audience to show them the activity going on in the region. let me ask you what your sense of what french officials are now doing. what is french law enforcement doing? they're every cell phone record
from the region where these believe these two men live the dirt the tire tracks the car they impound thad the men apparently used to get away from the crime scene yesterday. give us a sense of what they're doing right now. >> john, you're absolutely right. probably evacuating certain neighborhoods and streets, they probably have the numbers, telephone numbers of these individuals. they may be communicating with them. they're going to be checking every connection to see if there's others out there, other radicalized individuals that are out there. they're tracking them down. they're doing the street by street hunting of these two terrorists that have killed so many people. they're going to continue to work at this until they capture these individuals. most likely these two brothers are probably on a suicide mission also and they're going to keep killing as many individuals as they can until they're captured or killed. >> tom fuentes, it was interesting to see how many developments were made overnight, from the impounding of the car, they combed through
that looking for forensics, the luck in finding that dropped i.d. talk to us about how forensics will play such a key part and how they've forwarded this investigation along? >> since they have the video placing them in that vehicle and that vehicle had the scene of the crime, of the actual murder of the journalists, they'll be taking hairs and fibers and skin particles, other dna evidence from that vehicle. these guys might not have their dna on record at this point, but if they get -- once they're apprehended, then they can take samples from them and compare it back to the vehicle, back to the crime scene itself inside the offices, and that's what will help prove. right now you can't really identify them by their faces with the masks that they're wearing. but the dna will link them hopefully to the inside of the offices, to the inside of that car and then to them personally once they're apprehended.
>> foria, these two men are bothers. does it open up doors? can they start talking to family members? does it make that search easier? >> i think the fact that they know who these two individuals are and the fact they're brothers makes it a little easier for the police officers. these two brothers are acting together. so how they planned it where did they go in terms of planning this who else has been closely communicating with them all of this is going to come into play. the issues are the same whether you look at the australian attack the boston bombing attack. they are westernized, radicalized individuals who are carrying out these violent extremist attacks against individuals or companies that they want to stop publishing or stop them from existing. this idea of radicalization continues to be a significant issue for western police departments. >> tom fuentes, foria younis
thank you, appreciate your insight. one thing we know these suspects took 12 lives, one was 82-year-old cartoonist george wallin ski. one of his three daughters posted this tribute to him on instagram. a picture of his empty desk. the cartoonist was known mostly by his last name. she posted this picture with these words, dad is gone, but not wallin ski. [container door opening] ♪ what makes it an suv is what you can get into it. ♪ [container door closing] what makes it an nx is what you can get out of it. ♪ introducing the first-ever lexus nx turbo and hybrid. once you go beyond utility there's no going back. e financial noise
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we do have new video just in to cnn a short time ago. this is the village of longpont which is north of paris. you can see this intense law enforcement activity there. you see the vehicle, you see the heavily armed law enforcement officers right there involved in some kind of operation. the terror alert level in that region has been raised to the highest level. before that level was in and around paris. now to the north, to the region where this is going on. atika shubert is standing by
near there and will alert us. >> she mentioned there's a wooded forest area obviously of great concern to authorities on the ground. so the killers in paris have done more than just murder cartoonists, they've managed to galvanize a nation. about 30 marches are planned tonight across paris, a sign of support for the people of "charlie hebdo" magazine. large, large crowds gathered in the rain to pay their respects at times all you could hear were the bells of notre dame. >> what was particularly moving to all of us here in the studio as we watched this happen as the silence ended, that crowd broke into thunderous applause very moving moment. our cnn international
correspondent jim bittermann is in paris. we've been seeing the resilience of the parisian people also exhibiting online and in newspapers around the world powerful expressions, support and certainly the resilience of the parisian people. >> reporter: the fact is think this brings out the best in people. we've seen a steady stream of people come forward with flowers and notes and that sort of thing, just about a half hour ago here there was a great sign of religious unity with modern imam from a northern suburb speaking out strongly to his fellow muslims about the fundamentalism he's seen and how horrified he was with it. he was standing next to one of the leading jury rischewish philosophers. president hollande has had
religious leaders coming together. a show of political unity with the former president, president sarkozy who invited to the presidential palace, the first time car cozy has been back since 2012 all of it to kind of get a feeling among the french that they should unify around these attacks and make sure that they do the utmost to prevent any further attacks from happening down the line. having said all of that michaela we had this other attack this morning in the southern suburb of mountntrouge, just directing traffic around a traffic accident. a gunman got out of a car and shot and killed her. police don't have any leads in that. however, the prosecutor's office saying they're treating that incidents as well as a terrorist incident. michaela john? >> jim, that solidarity you've been talking about is so needed
give then there is still so much activity going on this moment of terror not over yet. let's talk a little more about that second incident that disturbing incident overnight when a police officer was shot and killed. are officers saying anything about -- i heard the person was dressed all in black using an automatic weapon. that doesn't seem like a random shooting at a traffic stop jim. >> reporter: no it does not. people shooting at police that's very rare in france. i think that it was just an added shock here. i think people felt that maybe things were getting out of control. you're right. i think this is not over yet. we have to find the two gunmen that were involved here but also this other gunman. he was dressed in black. he had a semi talk weapon according to witnesses. very much of the same pattern. there's nothing that we know of to link these two events but
still very, very suspicious. it could be a copy cat kind of a thing. at this point we just don't know. the investigators are hot on the trail. but whether they'll be able to track these guys down is another thing. >> jim bittermann thanks so much for being with us. appreciate it. ahead here in this era of technology in almost all of our hands, it's hard to imagine how people could hide these days. we'll talk more about how these suspects managed to keep themselves under ground for so long and how they're staying hidden now.
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welcome back. we've been covering the events in paris, of course and in france. we have breaking news on the political front. california senator barbara boxer, democrat just announced she will not run for re-election in 2016. senator boxer announced this online in a video message. she's been a senator from california since 1993. she was in congress for ten years before that. a fixture in washington a fixture in california politics. but she will not be running for re-election and will leave an open seat in now heavily democratic california. >> a game-changer and also interesting to see many are making these announcemention on
social media instead of other traditional channels. breaking news in the pir ris terror attack. heavily armed police are amassing on a country road leading to the village of longpont about 65 miles northeast of paris. the highest level of security alert to that area for the first time. the question is are they closing in on the suspects? both men reportedly were spotted at this service station north of the capital. police set up checkpoints around the gas station. french media say the suspects robbed that gas station overnight. >> authorities are identified as brothers cherif and said kouachi, both men in the early 30s. on the run since killing 12 people at the offices of the magazine "charlie hebdo" yesterday. want to bring in our terrorism analyst paul cruickshank. there's another development overnight. there was another shooting outside paris in the south of the city. the prosecutor's office said
they are treating that as a terrorism case as well. a police officer was killed at a traffic stop by someone apparently wearing all black, using a semi-automatic weapon. it's either connected or a copy cat killing or an awfully strange coincidence, paul. >> french authorities are not yet saying they're connected. i think there's certainly a possibility that they are connected. this shooter this morning was described as having north african appearance. he had a bulletproof vest all these weapons. he got away. he's still at large, still a threat. the fact that it happened just one day after this other attack could suggest that he was perhaps in on this what could be a wider conspiracy by a group of militants in france to launch attacks. that's not clear yet. altz you say, it could also be a copy cat style attack as well. >> paul i want your expertise
on analyzing what we know about these two young men, both in their early 30s. we were talking more about them. in terms of what you know and what you know about what's going on in france very very large muslim population a very large algerian french population. and the neighborhood they were from said to be a fair amount of poverty and disenfranchisement. seems like a perfect storm if you're looking for people to find an outlet for their rage. >> reporter: that's absolutely right. there's an unprecedented threat to france right now, the french prime minister just before christmas said his country had never experienced a greater terrorist threat. probably the western country that is most threatened by islamist terrorisms there are 400 french nationals fighting right now with jihadist groups like isis in syria and iraq. 200 more are on their way, 200 are already back in france and also some of them pose a security risk. it's not clear whether these
brothers fought in syria. there have been some reports of this but the french interior ministry has not confirmed those reports at this point. people will be looking very closely at whether they fought in syria, perhaps developed connections there with groups like isis or jab bad al nusra or even the corsonkhorasan group, which has a number of french individuals in their ranks including a bomb maker who has been trying to recruit europeans for attacks back in europe. the investigation is going to be looking at all these kind of things. it's still possible though that this is a kind of sophisticated lone wolf attack by people who did not have connections to overseas terrorist groups. all these things are still possible at this hour michaela. >> just some of the questions we're asking paul as we know that there's a huge law enforcement presence right now north of paris in the village of
longpont. authorities now involved in some kind of operation in and around that town. we'll get an update on that as soon as we can. thanks so much. cities in the u.s. on high alert. what is the reaction here? are people on edge in the u.s. we'll take a look. with kenny rogers gets old pretty fast? ♪ you got to know when to hold'em. ♪ ♪ know when to fold 'em. ♪ ♪ know when to walk away. ♪ ♪ know when to run. ♪ ♪ you never count your money, ♪ ♪ when you're sitting at the ta...♪ what? you get it? i get the gist yeah. geico. fifteen minutes could save you fifteen percent or more on car insurance. ♪searching with devotion♪ ♪for a snack that isn't lame♪ ♪but this...♪ ♪takes my breath away♪
operation just outside of longpont where we find our atika shubert. i understand there has been some developments some movements. what are you seeing right now in this on going manhunt? >> reporter: i'm right off the n-2 highway which is the highway the suspects are believed to have taken. you can see there are some police. that is the country road that leads to longpont about four kilometers down there. that's where we saw the s.w.a.t. teams, heavily armed police going towards a few hours ago. in the meantime we've also seen helicopters circling the area it looks as though they're searching for the suspects. to give you context, this area very rural. you can probably see there's quite a bit of open fields a farmhouse behind me. there's also a very heavy forested area in that direction. that may be where police are searching for the two suspects. they haven't confirmed that to us. but it is a very large area to search. it's several thousand hectares
wide. it's going to take a lot of time to comb through it. if anybody was looking the hide in there, that would be a good place to do it. that's the latest we have at the moment. we haven't seen an increase of the police presence since we've been here. but we do expect the police to stay here through the night. >> it's nightfall. there's a forest there, as you say, near a village as well. plenty of places to hide. we should say, also the terror alert level has been raised to its highest level in that region. that is a new development. atika, give us a sense of how far this is from the gas station that a gas station attendant says was robbed overnight at gunpoint by these suspects and how these two locations might be connected. >> reporter: what you see behind me here is the n-2 highway. that appears to be the highway that the two suspects took. now, the gas station is roughly about 12 kilometers southwest of here. we were there earlier, and what we know is that the two suspects
at around 10:30 this morning, that's where they held the gas attendant up at gunpoint taking fuel and food and then leaving he said in the direction of paris. now, they seem to have obviously turned around and taken the highway up here. now, we're a fairly short distance from that gas station so they didn't get very far if this is indeed where they are. one of the things we've been told is they may have been trying to avoid the major highways and keeping to back roads. this is actually not that big a highway. as you can see, that small country road there is exactly the kind of back -- country routes that they might have been trying to take to avoid detection. >> we obviously don't want to give away any of the tactical information or broadcast that in any way. but atika, are you getting a sense that these security forces are well equipped to del with searching, especially given nightfall? >> reporter: i certainly think that they're bringing out as
much as many, as much equipment and the kind of material they need to conduct this search. we've seen police coming out heavily armed, in riot gear we've seen heavy tactical equipment being brought in. a specialty vehicle, for example, with a number of ladders on it. all kinds of equipment has been brought in here. it's clear they want to make sure they have everything they can to try and narrow down the area where these suspects may be. but we do not have an indication at this point that they have pinpointed their location. they may still try to be closing in on them, as we speak. >> we do know there have been checkpoints set up all around there, approximately 12-mile diameter or so from the gas station. perhaps that will be extended to where you are. an intense police presence in the longpont area north of paris. we'll be right back. what makes it an suv is what you can get into it. ♪ [container door closing]
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insurance in a whole new light. liberty mutual insurance. reminding you of what we're watching in paris. we've just spoken with our atika shubert about increased police presence in the area where she is outside of longpont. an intense security presence an intense search. she's heard helicopters as the manhunt continues. we know the security threat level has been raised to its highest level in that area north of paris. meanwhile here on our soil u.s. officials are obviously concerned if there will be an attack here. >> new york city other cities say they're on high alert. nypd officials say this city is
prepared. >> based on yesterday's picture we moved the critical response vehicles to certain french-related location in the city. we did a deployment to a number of media places that we keep in kind of a standard plan when the threat shifts that way. we have heavily armed teams called the hercules teams. you just saw one of those on your screen where they'll show up with heavy rests, heavy wech upons and show up without notice. you don't know where they'll be or how long they'll stay. part of that is just keeping people who might be thinking about or planning a potential attack off balance. >> want to bring in congressman bill keating from massachusetts, a member of the house homeland security committee. congressman, curious if you've been briefed, any reason for heightened alert, any connection to any possible terror threats in the united states right now? >> there's no actionable threat right now. however, as i'm listening to the description on your show john
about what's happening, it's so hauntingly familiar to an attack that did occur here in the u.s. that's the boston marathon bombings. as we're speaking they're empaneling jurors for that trial. the similarities two suspects radicalized brothers the manhunt that's going through the suburbs with the helicopters that were there in watertown with the infrared capability to search maybe through the woods as darkness approaches there o and find where there could be individuals hiding. the carjacking that occurred even -- although it might be unrelated in france the police officer that was killed subsequently. so i'm looking at these things feeling like we've actually lived through this in this country before and my feelings for the parisians that are involved as boston was strong you see the resilience of paris,
you see the resilience of france coming forward, but we do see the dangers back here at home because we've reasonably in proximity been through this. >> congressman, we appreciate your reflection on boston because we too, see the similarities. we see this threat. we understand we've already experienced our own version of it here. what more can we do? you've been part of these congressional conversations about these jihadists that get radicalized and the foreign fighters even returning to their home soil. what more do we do? >> today national security officials will be briefing law enforcement and leaders from our major cities to try and once again set up a network of information sharing. the breakdown that we saw in 9/11. the breakdown that we saw in the boston marathon bombing was a lack of information sharing. now, what's occurred here in
europe from my committee's standpoint could be a game-changer. there's been stalled action plans for increased security in europe because of some of the countries involved their privacy concerns. there's been a plan to take airplane listing of passengers sharing that information. it's been stalled in the parliament the eu parliament since 2013. i think this will change that because the arguments that those officials were saying is well it's not that great a danger here in europe. unfortunately and tragically this week's event has indicated that that is indeed the case that there is a great danger. what does that mean back home for us? it means this: if they increase that information sharing for passengers among the eu countries. if they take their external eu borders and make them stronger and harmonize the criminal legislation they have among those countries, we have a situation where those eu
citizens come to the u.s. without having to go through a visa process, just showing their passports so that we will be safer here in the u.s. if they make those changes in you will see those changes in europe make europe stronger and safer and it will make the u.s. stronger and safer as well. >> well the fact is we share this world together. bill keating with the house homeland security committee, thanks for your time. our hearts are heavy along with yours. >> thank you very much. we are watching a major police operation north of paris in the village of longpont. police moving in on something. the terror alert has been raised. we'll bring you the latest update on that. a key question of freedom of speech to express yourselves the cartoons the pen can be mightier than the sword. ahead, we'll hear from one person who says that the blasphemy that led to the paris attack the blasphemy in quotation marks, is something we need to embrace. i make a lot of purchases for my business. and i get a lot in return
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. the expressions of grief we have seen for charlie hebdo have been powerful and creative as well. cartoonists around the world have been publishing drawings to show their solidarity with the french magazinend at respects for the cartoonists who were murdered and their support for free speech. >> earlier today i spoke with a cartoon editor of the new yorker, bob mancough who said while he's not a fan of charlie hebdo you don't have to like a magazine to support its work. >> cartoons often cause outrage and resentment and also people wanted retribution so if you had
a name that wasn't your actual name it made it difficult. >> a level of protection for you. >> yeah. i think, you know, one of the things that's been coming up a lot is about freedom of expression. >> yes. >> and these cartoons are provocative and offensive. and you want to know something, i'm not a huge fan of charlie hebdo's cartoons. freedom of expression is for expression we don't like. you don't need it for freedom you do. some of the cartoons are fine. we've never published those cartoons in "the new yorker." the most important thing is supporting not that you like but that you don't like. that's why i think everybody is united. >> the staff at charlie hebdo plans to publish next week despite losing so many of its staff. donations from google and french publishers have been pouring in. reports the magazine hopes to print a million copies a million copies usually only put out about 60,000. >> you heard bob mancough say he may not be a fan of charlie
hebdo's cartoons but others have criticized the magazine for baiting muslim extremists basically asking for trouble. some critics feel like charlie should have drawn a line on blasphemy, given that it knew the risks. >> ross daudss is a columnist for "the new york times," has an op-ed that captures the crux of this discussion. if a large enough group of someone is willing to kill you for saying something it's something almost certainly needs to be said. ross joins us right now. ross i know why i love your column and i love that statement right there. but i wonder if you can explain what you mean? >> sure. and it goes to something in the way that bob was talking about in the interview. you guys just showed which is that look it's totally reasonable to look at charlie hebdo or any other publication that crosses lines and offends people and in a vacuum say, i didn't like that cartoon, i don't think they should have run
it it was offensive to my religion my political views and so on. but once violent or in the threat of violence something that this magazine was living under, going back years, once the threat of violence is injected into the discussion then the debate about, you know, whether this is appropriate or not, often just becomes beside the point. if somebody is threatening violence if there is a gun on the table basically to use a line the late christopher hitchens used the argument about whether something is appropriate or not has to wait until the gun comes off the table. that's what we're dealing with here. if there wasn't a threat of violence against these cartoonists and this magazine i think there could be a really interesting discussion about whether this is a good taste, whether that isn't it in good taste and so on. that discussion can't happen as long as people are being killed, as long as people are being killed the people doing the killing need to be challenged. >> so it's not hypocritical to say then basically what you're saying i can say i don't like
cartoons about religion i find them offensive, but also still say, thank goodness those cartoonists have a right to draw them, we ishave that freedom of discussion. >> the police kp context matters. something is a braver political statement in a situation where it might get you killed than in a situation where it might not. you know this has -- if i go out tomorrow and draw a cartoon, you know making fun of the buddha in north west washington, d.c. i'm going to get an angry, you know an angry response from a local, you know, buddhist temple or something but i'm not putting myself in danger and i'm sort of posing as brave by doing that. but so that i would say doing something like that is worth criticizing more than actually putting yourself in danger by drawing an image of the prophet mohammed. >> it is the threat. it's the threat almost. >> it's the threat that makes it worth doing. >> you know in general, in the
macro it's not a simple issue, ross is it. in france and germany there are laws that ban certain kinds of holocaust, for instance, i am in no way equating that with what went on in paris yesterday, but gets to the point in democratic societies free speech is not always universal. >> no, but it also gets to the point of why we're fortunate to have the first amendment in the united states. there's nothing -- i agree, there's nothing politically natural about freedom of speech and something in most societies throughout human history been, you know a value that isn't upheld and even in most western societies there are more limits than there are in the u.s. i think basically, you know, there free speech in the u.s. isn't absolute. the more absolute line we take is correct. germany's laws against holocaust denial while understandable in historical context are a mistake and i think the attempts to
impose larger hate speech laws in european countries more expansive laws we've seen lately are more of a mistake. i'm glad to be here in the u.s. where protections are more absolute even again, for speech that i might disagree with and think would have been better off not published in some cases. >> it is ironic not only have the attacks cause the more people to see the offensive cartoons in the minds of these terrorists than would have seen them before but may have, in fact justified the publishing of them to begin with. ross thanks so much for being with us. >> powerful to think if and when it does publish next week a million copies could be printed instead of the normal 60,000 that they would issue of that magazine. great conversation. thanks for joining us "at this hour". >> the conversation and coverage of the attacks in paris and now perhaps moving to the north continues right now with ashleigh banfield.
snoo>> hello, i'm ashleigh banfield. welcome to our special live coverage of the paris terror attack. it is 6:00 p.m. in paris, which means the two brothers who are suspected in the charlie hebdo attack again have now the cover of darkness with which they can use to hide. police think they know where to look for them. security checkpoints are set up in a 12-mile radius of this gas station that is northeast of the capital where cherif and said kouachi were reportedly spotted by a gas attendant. the man says the suspects stole gas and food