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tv   The Situation Room  CNN  January 16, 2015 2:00pm-4:01pm PST

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much. very very disturbing news and information. paul will have more on that later on cnn. that's it for "the lead." i'm jake tapper. i now turn you over to wolf blitzer in "the situation room" who will continue to cover this breaking and evolving story out of europe. wolf? happening now, breaking news. new terror arrests, urgent police operations in countries across europe. dozens of suspected militants taken into custody in germany, the netherlands, belgium, france and the uk. can officials stop the next attack? anatomy of a terrorist cell. we have new insight from former jihadists, and intelligence officer under the threat of so-called sleeper cells, the threat they pose and how and when they will be activated. tracking al qaeda. exclusive cnn reporting from inside yemen, home to the terror organizations most active and most dangerous affiliate. is it orchestrating terror operations in europe and the united states?
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and courtroom outburst. the parents of the man accused of plotting to attack the u.s. capitol shout to their son as he appears in court. what were their emotional messages? i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." we're following breaking news dramatic terror developments in europe where cnn has learned that terrorist cells may be poised to strike prompting massive police operations to prevent another possible attack. dozens of suspects have been arrested in terror sweeps in several countries and the search for more continues right now. at the same time we are learning new information about the role al qaeda in yemen may be playing in all of this. we are covering all angles of this fast-moving story with our correspondents in key locations and our guests including congresswoman gabbert, a member of the foreign affairs committee. but john berman is in paris for us. what's the latest you're picking up?
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>> reporter: in the last 24 hours, there have been arrests in belgium, in france in germany, in italy, in england. one western law enforcement official tells cnn it's like a slow motion car accident unfolding before our very eyes. europe is on edge as police launched raids targeting terror cells across the continent. western intelligence source tells cnn there may be as many as 20 cells with up to 180 people ready to strike in belgium, france germany and the netherlands, and in the past 48 hours, police in these countries have detained dozens of terror suspects. jihadists authorities say who recently returned from fighting for isis in syria and iraq. 17 have been arrested in connection with an alleged terror plot in belgium, including two individuals apprehended in france while trying to cross the border into italy. we are also learning new details about the belgian terror plot. the suspects planned to shoot and kill police officers.
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officials found hand guns bomb making materials, ak-47s and most importantly, police uniforms in the raids. overnight, french authorities also detained at least 12 terror suspects connected to last week's deadly attacks in paris. they are suspected of having provided support to amedy coulibaly, the man who attacked a kosher supermarket and killed four victims, also murdered a police officer. in the meantime the terror threat remains high in paris, where secretary of state john kerry marked his first visit since the attacks. he paid his respects at the kosher supermarket and visited the offices of "charlie hebdo." >> today i really wanted to come here and share a hug with all of paris and all of france. >> reporter: back in washington president obama together with british prime minister david cameron vowed to continue to fight the threat posed by violent extremists.
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>> the ideology the networks the capacity to recruit young people this has metastasized. this is a threat we will solve. >> reporter: secretary of state john kerry as we said was here in paris today. he said he was here to give the people of france what he called a big hug and this country still needs it. they are still laying the victims of these attacks to rest. >> lot of people in france say it was a game changer for them. john berman, thank you. the belgian terror plot wasn't a surprise to u.s. intelligence. we are now learning it had been on the radar for weeks. let's go to our pentagon correspondent, barbara starr. she is working this part of the story for us. what are you hearing from your sources? >> reporter: we are getting the very rare look into the very secret world of intelligence cooperation between the u.s. and those european intelligence services.
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the u.s. intelligence community had been aware of the terrorist plot in belgium for weeks, and was sharing critical information with belgian authorities. the plot was disrupted in a spectacular fashion with shootouts and the arrests of 17 people across western europe. >> this operation was meant to dismantle a terrorist cell not only the terrorist cell but also the logistics network behind it. >> reporter: a u.s. official tells cnn the entire developing plot was being monitored and watched, part of an ongoing relationship between the u.s. and european intelligence services. >> we've got active and ongoing law enforcement and information sharing arrangements with our allies in europe and naturally, those contacts continue. >> reporter: u.s. officials will not say precisely what they knew how much they knew and
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when they knew it. there is concern those details could signal other militants planning attacks. but one official says we were aware, we were tracking this adding there is a high probability other attacks were being planned. a european security source tells cnn that when belgian authorities arrested two men returning from syria over the weekend, they squeezed them for information, then decided to act quickly. the u.s. was also aware of the timing of the moves by belgian law enforcement. u.s. officials say. >> many of these individuals that they're targeting now are on u.s. watch lists. of course the concern is once these guys go fight, go back to europe they are able to fly to the united states without visas and it's a five or six hour plane ride. >> reporter: the u.s. intelligence community estimates more than 19,000 foreign fighters have traveled to syria. hundreds of them may be with
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isis which has vowed to send loyalists to the west to attack. as you know the nato military alliance is headquartered in belgium. tonight, they too are considering stepping up their security measures. wolf? >> that makes sense. thanks very much for that barbara starr. more now on the news that's just breaking. turns out police so far have taken out only part of the terror network that's plotting attacks in belgium. let's go to our terrorism analyst, paul cruickshank. you are getting new information. what are you hearing about the terror cells and the possibility that not necessarily all of them have been rounded up? >> reporter: well i was just speaking to a senior belgian counterterrorism source who says that they have rounded up part of this network but they haven't rounded up the whole of the network in belgium. so there is concern that there could still be some kind of operation, perhaps to avenge the death of these two terrorists
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who were killed in that building in verviers. a lot of concern about that. this was a very sophisticated group they were dealing with wolf with links to isis in syria. people who had fought there joined isis and come back including the two people who were killed in verviers. they had obtained explosive precursors for tatp the same explosive that al qaeda was going to use in the plot in new york in 2009. powerful explosives. so concern this was going to be a terrorism spectacular in belgium. they are not absolutely sure about the target yet. the reason why there was word that it might have been police stations and police officers is because they overheard them on wiretaps talking about if we see some police officers maybe we will try and kill them. but they're not sure yet that the belgians of what exactly the target was going to be from
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this group. but a lot of concern about this group. also new information about the fact that the belgians believe that this was being masterminded by an isis terrorist operative based in greece a belgian who had fought in syria and joined with isis and actually moved to greece to run this operation. the belgians went to the cia for help on this to try to locate this terrorist middleman, point person in greece but they have not been able to locate this person yet. still at large. a lot of concern about that. also concern because this terrorist network in belgium is believed to be connected to other isis linked groups in other european countries. obviously, we have seen concern today expressed about the idea that there are other terrorist cells, perhaps also directed by isis to launch plots in europe. european intelligence services are scrambling to understand what attack plans, if any, these
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other groups of individuals are trying to put into operation. >> so what you're saying is they found what you call explosive precursors that would be used to build some sort of bomb but they had not yet built those bombs, right? >> reporter: that's absolutely right. they hadn't started mixing what you need to mix to create tatp. you need to mix various chemicals which you can actually obtain in the west. but this is a very tricky type of bomb to build, and mostly you expect someone to need a significant amount of terrorist training bomb making training in a place like syria to be able to build a bomb like this. so very significant new detail. we are breaking all this information first, by the way, on cnn. this is not out there anywhere including in belgium. >> it's amazing stuff. what you say is the police uniforms they found, they may not necessarily have suggested they were going after police
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themselves but they potentially could have been using those uniforms to try to get through locations, is that what you're hearing? >> reporter: yeah that's exactly the concern. if they were able to dress in these police uniforms that they could get access perhaps to sensitive sites and this could have been a really quite ambitious plan especially given the fact they had assembled this arsenal of kalashnikovs and grenades but also these bomb making precursors which they were aiming to make tatp out of which is a high explosive, much more powerful than the explosive used in the boston bombings the type of explosive which was similar to the type of explosive which was used in the london bombings which is actually hmtd but a similar kind of explosive power. so this was an ambitious plot. the belgians all the intelligence as far as they're concerned suggests that isis directed this that there was a
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middleman, a key operational point person in greece still at large, a belgian fighter who joined up with the group who was running them from greece. the cia brought in but not yet able to locate this guy, nor have greek authorities been able to locate this guy. so this is a very fluid situation right now in belgium with fear that remaining cell members that might be out there may launch revenge attacks for the fact that two of these fighters have been killed. the one guy they have in custody they say he's just not talking. >> yeah. all right. paul cruickshank, doing excellent reporting for us. thanks very much. let's talk about all of this. joining us democratic congresswoman tulsy gabbert of hawaii she sits on the foreign affairs committee. you hear this reporting from paul cruickshank and others. what's your reaction? >> this is really just a sign of how deep the problem is not only
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in belgium, but also across europe across many of these eu member countries. i think there are some really important lessons for us here in the united states to learn from all this. i think we have seen over a very long period of time that belgium and france and some of these other countries, they hadn't done nearly enough to really check the travel for example, of their citizens and residents going to places like syria, going to places like yemen, and then keeping track of them. we have heard and learned a lot more in the last few days about the free and open travel between these eu member countries and how turkey really is the number one transit point for these foreign fighters who are carrying western passports to travel through turkey again, without having their passports checked at all, into syria and then coming back home and starting these sleeper cells, plotting to -- plotting these attacks. this is really an important lesson for us here in the united states to learn and making sure
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that we don't allow the same thing to happen here as we're seeing happening across belgium and different parts of europe right now. >> you also speak with some personal perspective. you served in the u.s. military in iraq. as you know congresswoman, authorities now say maybe 120, 180 terrorists could be ready to strike in these sleeper cells in europe. do you believe that same threat already exists here in the united states? >> i think we know and we have heard that there have been foreign fighters who are u.s. citizens and u.s. passport holders who have gone and traveled freely into places like syria or iraq and come back home. they still are u.s. citizens they still carry their passports, and i'm sure that there are others that we don't know about, and this is where it's so important for us as we look at this threat to make sure that we focus our resources on those who are posing a threat to the american people. we have been hearing from some
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folks recently and i think we may hear a lot more from people who will advocate for greater surveillance greater nsa programs than we have seen already expanding those, which is not the right move a, because they haven't been proven to be effective, that spying on and collecting phone call information on every single american is effective in capturing terrorists but it also weakens our ability to focus our resources on those who pose a direct threat. i think this has been a problem that we have seen in the boston bomber attack for example, that we have seen in paris, where people fall through the cracks because our resources are not focused on those who are planning these attacks and who do pose that direct threat. >> congresswoman, i want you to stand by. we have more to discuss. we are following the breaking news. we have to take a quick break.
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we are following the breaking news. a source now telling cnn parts of that belgium terror cell that sleeper cell remain at large right now. we're back with democratic congresswoman tulsi gabbard of hawaii. this belgium plot it involved all sorts of characters apparently and it's still out there, as you just heard. should all u.s. law enforcement be on a higher state of alert right now? >> yes. i think there's no question about that. i think in addition to that we really need to look at what are some of the weaknesses that we have here here at home. there's two areas that i would like to point out. first of all, as we look at the open travel in europe amongst the eu member countries
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specifically as we look at the porous borders that exist between turkey and syria and how people seem to freely move from let's say france or belgium through turkey and into syria and back out again without being tracked. we've got to look at our visa waiver program here which is of great, great concern, given the fact that people are able to as members of these visa waiver countries, basically get on a plane and come to the united states without really having a history of either europe or the united states understanding that they have traveled through turkey and into syria and are part of this radical islamic extremist terrorist movement. that's something that i have called for in the past and continue to call for, suspension of the visa waiver program until this is brought under control and these borders are controlled in particular between turkey and syria. >> why isn't the turkish government, turkey's a member of
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nato doing more to stop that kind of free flow between turkey and syria? i know many of your colleagues in congress are very upset about that. i know many administration officials i have spoken with over the past few days they don't know why turkey is not taking more direct action. >> i think it's a great question. i think turkey must do more. turkey needs to do more. the lax enforcement that we have seen across the border so far has been unacceptable especially for a nato country like turkey and the lack of really enforced terror watch lists that people from turkey to france and different eu countries, united states can tap into to recognize exactly who these people are, where they're going and what they're doing so that we can prevent these kinds of attacks from happening again. i think this is where countries like the united states countries within europe need to exercise their muscle and their leverage to get turkey to step up to the game. >> are you concerned that maybe
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some of the allies out there aren't themselves doing enough to monitor, to track some of these terror suspects out there, congresswoman? >> yes. i am concerned and in particular between again, these eu member countries that these terror watch lists are not where they need to be. again, that these individuals are not being tracked as closely as they need to be if at all, and unless and until that happens, you can talk about intelligence sharing and other things that need to occur, but if the value and the quality of that intelligence is not accurate or not complete then that just shows we've got some huge gaping holes within our national security. >> you served the united states military in iraq and thank you very much for your service, congresswoman. when you see what's going on right there, what goes through your mind the huge amount of iraq including areas where u.s. military personnel gave their lives in huge numbers that now
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is under the control of isis after the iraqi military in big parts of the country, including mosul, the second largest city there, simply abandoned their weapons and ran away. >> it sickens me wolf. like so many other people who i served with and service members who served both in iraq and in other places unfortunately we lost friends there who paid that ultimate price and what is so frustrating now as we look at the situation there, our administration refuses to recognize who our enemy is and unless and until that happens, then it's impossible to come up with a strategy to defeat that enemy. we have to recognize that this is about radical islam. this is as much a military war as it is an idealogical war, and we've got to understand what that ideology is and challenge it understand it so that we can defeat it and protect our
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citizens protect the american people. that's something that has to be done in order for us to look at places like iraq places like syria and places really in different parts of the world, north africa nigeria, this is not just about one group called isis or another group called al qaeda. this is about an overall threat posed by this radical islamic extremist agenda that exists all around the world as we are seeing unfortunately most recently in paris and in europe. >> so very quickly, you're upset you didn't hear those words from the president today, is that what you're saying? >> i'm upset that the president and the white house, whether today, yesterday or tomorrow is not actually saying this is a war that the islamic extremists are posing against the united states and against the west and we recognize who our enemy is and come up with a strategy to defeat that enemy. it's going to be slightly different in different places. it will be different in iraq and
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different in nigeria but unless and until you recognize who our enemy is and understand them then we won't be effective in defeating that threat and we are going to continue to see the kinds of tragic incidents we have seen most recently in paris. >> it is so heartbreaking. representative gabbard, thanks very much for joining us. >> thanks. aloha, wolf. coming up inside a terrorist sleeper cell. new details of the threat they pose and how and when they might be activated. plus new details of the emotional outburst by the parents of that young american terror suspect as he appears in court today. huh, fifteen minutes could save you fifteen percent or more on car insurance. yeah, everybody knows that. well, did you know that playing cards 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...♪
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we're following breaking news a source now telling cnn police discovered the belgian terror cell possessed powerful explosives and some members of the terrorist cell remain at large. the shootout in belgium and the paris terror attacks highlight the growing threat posed by terror cells, including cells possibly operating, possibly right here in the united states. brian todd is joining us here in "the situation room" with a closer look at how these so-called sleeper cells actually operate. what are you learning? >> it is the danger of sleeper cells we are looking at tonight. a western official with knowledge of the paris investigation tells cnn there is huge concern over sleeper cells in europe and elsewhere. the fear is over the unknown, when, where and how they will strike. a terror cell disrupted, but europe is still bracing for more attacks. a western intelligence source tells cnn there could be several sleeper cells ready to strike in
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france germany, belgium and the netherlands. tonight, new concerns about their planning and timing. >> the worry is how and when will they be activated. >> reporter: former jihadists and intelligence officers tell cnn a sleeper cell is usually made up of a few operatives, either acting on behalf of a foreign country or a terror group taking instructions from it or are simply inspired by a group and acting on their own. as paris gunman amedy coulibaly appeared to do. they are living in the city where they want to strike selecting targets. >> they already are there and they have that ability to cross borders, they have that ability to live without being on the radar screen. >> reporter: they are highly skilled at blending in, appearing like the guy next door. >> he will have regular jobs you might see them at the strip joint, drinking alcohol. >> reporter: anything to take off the claim or suspicion that they might be extremist muslim terrorists. the 9/11 hijackers did that,
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reportedly drinking heavily in bars some even going to strip bars. a former jihadist who almost went to iraq to fight. he broke away went undercover for canadian intelligence and helped bust a terror cell in toronto. he says many sleeper operatives don't communicate with their handlers by phone or over the internet. some are told don't go to mosques, don't give a hint of your religion. >> could be shave your beard, remove your religious garb. anything to blend in. that will be determined by the handler or sometimes even the operatives in the cell itself. >> reporter: sleeper operatives stay isolated experts say, sometimes lie dormant for years. >> they wait for an opportune moment when world attention is turned away when their planning phase is over, to strike. >> reporter: the sleeper cell dynamic is always changing. one u.s. counterterrorism official tells me terror cells these days do less sleeping. they actively plot. they hope to avoid suspicion and often direct a terror strike
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themselves rather than wait for a signal. wolf? >> these days the sleeper cell operatives they are a whole lot more tech-savvy aren't help? >> that's right, wolf. a counterterrorism official told me this is a new generation of terrorists. they understand the more their operatives call e-mail or otherwise message their handlers the more likely those communications are to be intercepted. so they just find other ways to communicate. this official says this is partly the result of the edward snowden leaks. >> brian todd good reporting. thank you. with us now here in "the situation room" cnn intelligence and security analyst, the former cia operative bob baer. also phillip crowther retired lieutenant colonel james reese and paul cruickshank, who has been breaking a lot of news on all of this for us. paul we know the belgian terror suspects out there were supposedly ready to attack possibly only hours away from launching their strike.
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how many other terror cells potentially could be out there actively plotting attacks right now? >> well there is concern both in belgium and europe. the concern in belgium is they didn't get all of these guys that they only got part of the network. they are confident they got part of the network they were sort of most worried about, but that they fear there are others still out there and that they could avenge the fact that belgium security forces killed two of their comrades in verviers in eastern belgium. on the european level, there's concern that there's connections between some groups in other countries and this network in belgium, that the belgians believe there are actually connections and they have also got some marching orders from isis to launch attacks in europe and european intelligence agencies have received indications that isis are pivoting towards launching attacks in europe to retaliate
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for those air strikes against it in syria and iraq. several european countries involved in air strikes over iraq. >> bob baer how are these sleeper cells monitored? how big of a role does the united states play in assisting these allies? >> well it's huge. the national security agency has these super computers and they run this metadata through them. if there's a call for instance from brussels to an exchange in say dubai that's suspicious that will send up a red flag. enough of those red flags, they have a suspect and they will inform the europeans. the national security agency is very very good at this. their algorithms are very sophisticated. it doesn't tell you where an attack will be but it will start associating people which is enough to launch an investigation. >> colonel, we now know those terror suspects in belgium, they had police uniforms the original assumption was they were going to use those uniforms and target police facilities
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throughout belgium, but now the suspicion is they were going to use those uniforms simply to get through police lines and go after other targets. this is potentially a pretty sophisticated operation. >> well we have seen this in iraq and some other places where they will steal police uniforms and then use those uniforms to use as a cover for action. people see the police uniform, they think they're the real police let them get right through the lines and it's a great opportunity to attack using that cover for action as police. >> what's going on in france right now? i assume the sweeps are continuing there. they are trying to close up these sleeper cells as well. >> two separate situations we're looking at here. the terrorist cell in belgium and then of course what happened in paris last week. there is no clear overlap at this point but what we are seeing though are arrests for example in france earlier today of two people who are suspected of being in connection with that belgian terrorist cell. so there's a way the two police forces probably are working together. at the same time we are still
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seeing some developments in france. there have been plenty of arrests in connection with what happened in paris last weekend, more specifically with amedy coulibaly, the man who attacked the grocery store. the people who have been arrested over the last day or so they are supposed to be the people who have been organizing the logistics for amedy coulibaly, not part really of a big terrorist cell but those who may be organized some weapons for him, at the very least some kind of transportation a car, maybe. these are the kind of people who might get some more information on how he functioned maybe also how the kouachi brothers functioned because after all, we know there was contact between those brothers and amedy coulibaly. there are developments in france these last few days but nothing of a real breakthrough at this point. >> we know that jewish schools and institutions throughout france are getting extra security right now. >> in france and in belgium as well. there is that type of protection. it's been in place for quite a few days now with 10,000 french soldiers on the streets of
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french cities. they are protecting government offices but as you say, jewish schools, synagogues as well and the same at this point is happening partly in belgium. there is some overlap there as well. it doesn't mean that these are connected events really but certainly the same types of risks and the same types of precautions that not only the military is taking all the security forces in france and belgium. >> let me ask paul. he's done some excellent reporting on this. throughout europe right now, they're worried about these jewish institutions but give us your sense of what's going on specifically in belgium. >> well they are working around the clock to try and find the other parts of this terrorist network in belgium, wolf who are behind this. very significant ambitious terrorist plot that not only involved kalashnikovs and grenades but also involved the making of tatp a high explosive, much more powerful than the explosive that we saw in the boston attacks.
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i was told by this source that when the belgian forces went into this building there was just one hell of a firefight. the returning fire they got was really quite extraordinary. the special forces guys who went in there, the police that went in there, had never witnessed anything like this ever in belgium. they had kalashnikovs grenades. eventually the belgians were able to take them out and they were able to capture one of these suspects. that suspect is not talking at the moment not giving up any more operational detail. they will obviously be trying to make him talk about possible other individuals in belgium and even in other european countries because the belief is that this group, this network in belgium, did have connections to other potential cells in other european countries. that this is all linked back to isis. >> we will have all of you stand
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by because there's a lot more to discuss. coming up exploiting chaos to train a new generation of bomb makers. exclusive reporting from a cnn crew inside yemen. and a u.s. terror suspect goes to court. we will hear from a cnn reporter who was inside the courtroom, heard the outburst by the suspect's father. in my world, wall isn't a street... return on investment isn't the only return i'm looking forward to. for some every dollar is earned with sweat, sacrifice, courage. which is why usaa is honored to help our members with everything from investing for retirement to saving for college. our commitment to current and former military members and their families is without equal. start investing with as little as fifty dollars.
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chaos in a country president obama once pointed to as a success story in the war on terrorism and it's allowing al
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qaeda to train a whole new generation of bomb makers, plan new attacks against the west. our senior international correspondent nick paton-walsh has some exclusive reporting from the capital of yemen, a country that's also home bade for al qaeda in the arabian peninsula. nick a very courageous journalist who is joining us from sanaa, the capital of yemen. tell our viewers what you're seeing what you're hearing. >> reporter: well, a key thing, explanation i have from a western diplomat today is how al qaeda in the arabian peninsula today has managed to use the chaos to its advantage. we have seen a sectarian part of the conflict that's engulfed this nation giving a potential home to al qaeda for years is going increasingly sectarian and there's a predominantly shia group who have swooped in who are really the rivals to al qaeda in the arabian peninsula
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who that same rift has been engulfing much of the middle east. because there are so many scared yemenis joining al qaeda's side taking up arms to assist them that's given al qaeda a little bit of space on the local battlefield to breathe. in the words of one local diplomat it's given them a chance to focus a little more on their internal operations. that's what they call attacks against the west basically. allowing them to groom what they refer to as this next generation of bomb makers people adept at making non-metallic devices. that's the kind of fear many intelligence agencies still have about yemen. they don't need to bring people here just transmit those techniques over the internet using things like al qaeda's "inspire" magazine. one more interesting thing we found out today, people poring over the precise nature of the kouachi brothers' trips here. one official saying to us the first was by the elder brother, said in august 2009 and he came two or three times up until 2011 or 2012. a lot of history here a lot of
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arms as the people are still looking to yemen to try and provide but frankly, the economy here is close to collapse it's a failing state, very hard for officials to give that sense of clarity. >> you get outside of the capital where you are, it's a real real disaster over there and a breeding ground for these terrorists to be sure. nick paton-walsh, be careful in yemen for us. nick doing amazing work for all of us. here in the united states shouts from a suspect's father disrupt today's court hearing for the man accused of planning to bomb the united states capitol. a live report is coming up. at the top of the hour we are getting new details about the breaking news. a source telling cnn members of that belgian terror cell have the m couldcomponents to make powerful explosives. some members of the terror cell right now are still very much at large.
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what turned out to be a bizarre court appearance an ohio man accused of plotting to bomb the united states capital was ordered to stay in jail as he awaits trial. let's go to cincinnati. alexandra field was in the courtroom. tell us what happened. >> reporter: this is the first time that chris cornell's family has seen him since he was arrested and accused of a terrible plot against the u.s. capitol capitol. he walked into the courtroom. that's when his parents started to shout out. his mother saying i love you. his father warning his son, don't trust anyone. the defendant, the suspect did not engage with his family. he did sit and speak quietly with his attorney before the proceedings began.
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then he stood up in front of the federal court judge in his shackles. she denied a request for bond. the attorney representing cornell made a couple of other requests. she said that cornell would like to be called by his muslim name. she asked he be provided with a prayer mat so can he do his prayers. she also requested to have her client taken off of suicide watch. >> you are getting new information about the alleged plot right? >> reporter: that's right. when the judge talked about her decision to deny an opportunity for bond she said it was because cornell posed a significant risk to public safety and she considers him a flight risk. she said not only is there this plot that he is alleged to have cooked up this thought he would go to the capitol and shoot people but we are hearing that investigators say he had actually put a plan into place to get himself to washington.
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he had left a note for his parents telling hem that he would be staying at a friend's house, presumably so they wouldn't look for him. the fact that he had purchased weapons and also put together this plan to get to d.c. made him too significant to be in his home even under surveillance and supervision. it's the reason he needed to be remanded to the jail where he is tonight. >> thanks very much. alexandra field reporting for us in cincinnati. breaking news coming up next. we have new details on al qaeda's role in the paris terror attacks. how specific were the orders to strike and kill? ♪ carpenters: "rainy days and mondays" ♪ ♪♪ ♪ ac/dc: "back in black" ♪
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happening now, escaping capture. new evidence the terrorist plotters are still on the lose in belgium alluding police and preparing to strike. inside the raids. we're learning about the united
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states' role in disrupting the plot in belgium. what the u.s. knew and when. the u.s. ramps up airport security again with terror fears on the rise. the homeland security secretary reveals moves to keep americans safe. we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer. you are in "the situation room." we begin with breaking news tonight. european forces are racing to try to find terror i haves who may be ready to strike at any moment after the deadly crackdown in belgium failed to entirely destroy the terror network and diffuse the danger. a senior belgium counter counterterrorism source is revealing new information. we're told the network exposed had the components to make powerful high-level explosives. the source driving home that the group's orders most likely came directly from isis. we have a leading member of the
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senate intelligence and foreign relations committees senator jim rich standing by live along with our correspondents our analysts. they have new details on the terror threat in europe and the united states and around the world. first let's get to the latest. our justice reporter, pamela brown is standing by in paris. she has new information. pamela, what are you learning? >> reporter: we are learning from a western law enforcement official it appears there was no command and control, that instead it appears to be franchised terrorist where there were again instructions given to the suspects. what happened here in paris at the attacks precipitated and moved up the raids that happened in belgium. belgium law authorities say the terror suspects were on the verge of launching an attack to murder police officers. >> there were plans to
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assassinate policemen in the street or at the police building. >> reporter: authorities arrested 17 people and killed two in the raids. sources say the belgian suspects were fighters returning from syria, working under the direction of isis. on friday two were picked up trying to cross from france into italy, according to a belgian prosecutor. in paris, 12 more people taken into custody. suspected of helping amedy coulibaly who attacked a grocery store. this man helped convict a man in 2005 a man who launched the paris terror attacks. he says the number of likely terror i havesists in france is on the rise. >> we have to face new jihadists
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who have been radicalized and very quickly by internet by social networks. >> reporter: authorities say no direct link between the paris attacks and belgian raids has emerged. they charged a man suspected of dealing weapons illegally. that man turned himself in after the paris attacks and claimed he met coulibaly late last year. the question now, when police searched the man's property did they discover any evidence of weapon sales to groups in belgium. the terror threat is high in paris where secretary of state john kerry paid his respects today visiting the sites of last week's attacks. as for the 12 people arrested here overnight in paris, we are told that he was part -- they were part of coulibaly's on tour raj and provided support. it is unclear at this point whether they were actually complicit in the paris attacks. i can tell you from speaking to
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officials, they are concerned about terrorist cells across europe and that they will be emboldened to act in the wake of what we saw here in paris. >> that's why that continent is on high alert right now. pamela brown in paris, thank you. more than 30 terror suspects have been arrested in europe over the past 24 hours alone. including in belgium. let's go to our senior international correspondent in brussels for us. what's the latest there, fred? >> reporter: we got new interesting information, wolf that pertains to the people arrested in the raids overnight in belgium. we reported around 17 people had been taken into custody. we have learned that of those 17 people only three actually still remain in custody. the others either never had anything going against them or were released due to some sort of lack of evidence. the official that i spoke to said that the three people that they have are actually the three people that they wanted to get. they believe they have the
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people in custody who wanted to perpetrate the attacks against police officers in belgium. two of the people who were going to perpetrate the attacks were killed during a raid yesterday in verviers. the official said when the police went to the house, it appeared as though the two people who were inside were very well prepared. they had their weapons in hand when the police came in there and started firing pretty much immediately. that's what led to the very large fire fight which left these two people dead. it went on for several minutes. violent night. there were raids in other places here especially in brussels as well. what the police found made them very anxious. it was weapons, handguns, communication equipment but especially police uniforms and with that they believe that police officers were going to be the target of this terror cell. >> fred i understand many of the jewish schools in belgium were closed today. what happened?
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>> reporter: yeah. the jewish schools were closed. it's simple. it's security concerns. they're afraid something might happen especially after large-scale raids by the police like you had today. keep in mind in the paris attacks after the attacks happened the next target was a kosher supermarket. that's not something that the authorities here want to take a risk on. the other thing that they are doing is for -- one of the first times in belgium's history, they are deploying troops inside the country. they are deploying a platoon. the first place the troops are going to be deployed is in a jewish neighborhood predominantly jewish neighborhood in antwerp. >> thank you. the united states is on alert for more attacks in europe and the possibility of similar threats in this country. national security teams are playing a key role in tracking terrorists in europe. let's go to our pentagon
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correspondent barbara starr. what are you learning barbara? >> reporter: we are learning tonight that the entire u.s. intelligence community deeply involved in all of this. they have been sharing intelligence with the belgian authorities. several officials telling me they knew about some elements of this plot for weeks. they had been monitoring it following it as it developed. sharing what information they had with the belgians. the belgians sharing back asking the u.s. for more information, more assistance. a top u.s. official telling me the intel geps sharing was on multiple levels. take that to read there was technical intelligence, perhaps as well as some human intelligence involved. it could be anything from intercepts to imagery. why are we saying could be? because u.s. officials are very adamant adamant, they don't want to talk about specifics, how much they shared what they shared when they came to know various elements of the plot in belgium.
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that wolf is because the u.s. believes there is a strong probability that there are other plots out there, other attackers, all of this underscoring the u.s. concern about these fighters going to syria, joining up with isis and then coming back into europe and the ultimate worry, of course for the u.s. government they could come on and move on into the united states. wolf? >> that's the nightmare scenario for the united states. barbara starr, thank you. president obama discussed this new terror threat in europe with the british prime minister today. let's go to our senior white house correspondent jim acosta. tell us what happened. >> reporter: the president and david cameron vowed to continue the fight against terrorist. but listen closely as these two leaders who call themselves friends appear to have some friendly disagreements. stepping out of critical
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national security meetings president obama and british prime minister david cameron spoke the same language but were not always on the same page on how to fight a growing threat. after last week's attack in paris and raids in belgium, the two leaders sounded tough. >> this phenomenon of violent extremism, the ideology the networks the capacity to recruit young people this has metastasized and it is widespread. >> we do face a very serious extremist terrorist threat in europe in america, across the world. we have to be incredibly vigilant in terms of the threat. >> reporter: the president urged europe not to overreact. >> it's important for europe not to simply respond with a hammer
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and law enforcement and military approaches to these problems. >> reporter: then he tried to isolate the problem. >> our muslim populations, they feel themselves to be americans. there are parts of europe in which that's not the case. >> reporter: cameron's diagnosis, more urgent. >> it means countering this poisonous death cult of a narrative perverting islam. >> reporter: cameron the pushing the president to pressure apple, google and facebook back doors into communications. it's a move they are resisting following the outcry over government snooping following the leak from snowden. the president sounded cool to cameron's proposal. >> we shouldn't feel as if because we have seen such a horrific attack in paris that
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suddenly everything should be going by the way side. >> reporter: oodanother pressing issue, the march deadline to reach the framework of a deal with iran to contain its nuclear program. the president threatened to veto a bipartisan bill in congress to impose new sanctions on iran warning it could kill nuclear talks. >> my message to congress is just hold your fire. nobody around the world, least of all the iranians doubt my ability to get some additional sanctions passed should these negotiations fail. >> reporter: now the president was not asked durwhether he regret regretted not going to paris' march. we tried to ask the question. the president did not respond. all week long the white house said they did not want to unpack the decision making process behind who went to paris. the president did not unpack it again today. >> the white house did acknowledge they wish a high-level u.s. official would have represented the united states. they made a mistake in not
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sending someone along those lines. jim acosta thanks very much. let's bring in senator james rich a member of the intelligence and foreign relations committee. thanks for joining us. let's talk about what's going on. authorities say 120, maybe 180 terrorist suspects could be out there right now, could be ready to strike in europe. what are you hearing about the disruption of the so-called sleeper cells? how extensive is this what's going on right now? >> wolf i think first of all, your reporters have been doing an excellent job of painting a clear picture of how different europe and the united states are when it comes to the muslim populations. muslims who have immigrate to the united states have done like many many other nationalities and are integrating into the population to a large extent. in europe that's not the case. they have large slums where
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these people are congregated. and they continue on with the cultural background that they have had and the results of that is many of them are susceptible to these people who preach violence and preach this religious religious thing. >> you are suggesting the threat is greater in europe than it is in the united states? is that what i'm hearing? >> i think that's a fair statement. don't get me wrong. there is a threat here. but we have as you know and you and i have talked about many times, we have a very robust intelligence operation here in the united states. and we are able to keep a handle on this have been. we've been lucky in some circumstances. as you know we have got to be -- we have to be right 100% of the time. they only have to be right once. >> as far as you know are there
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sleeper cells in the united states as there are in europe? >> well you know a lot of this stuff is classified. i don't think it takes a lot of imagination to conjure up the fact that the united states is the preferred target. if they can get people here they will get people here. i don't think it's a stretch either to understand that our intelligence agencies are closely monitoring anyone that they feel is a threat. >> do you -- do you have confidence any american for example, who have gone over to syria, got connected with isis did training over there, that left syria, went back to turkey and flew back here to the united states that the u.s. government knows who these people are? >> there's no doubt that we know who the vast majority of them are. if your question is is it 100%? is there a guarantee of 100% accuracy? i couldn't sit here and say
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that. but people who have engaged in this type of conduct, that's what intelligence operations are for. we have -- we spend a lot of money doing this. i think americans would be very proud of the work that the intell gens community does. >> is u.s. surveillance adequate? is there stuff that needs to be done to improve it? >> wolf you can always do more. of course if something happens to slip through, there will be criticism. but i have to tell you that i spend a good share of tuesday and thursday every week on these issues. our job on the intelligence committee is to -- is oversight. number one see they are doing their job and see that they are not infringing on the american's constitutional rights. i feel good about where we are. i think the bipartisan committee, i think generally feels the same way. >> that's encouraging to hear
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that. i want you to stand by. we have more to discuss. we're following breaking news out of belgium, out of france out of europe. the sweeps under way right now. they are looking for so-called sleeper cells. much more right after this. ♪ ♪ ♪
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back with breaking news. a source telling cnn the raids did not entirely wipe out a terrorist cell that may be preparing attacks in europe right now. senator james risch is with us. hold on for a moment. i want to go to our terrorism analyst who has been talking to key sources of his. he has been bringing us a lot of the breaking news. update our viewers on what you are learning.
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>> i have been speaking to senior belgian counterterrorism source. they are very very concerned about this cell that there is part of it out there in belgium at large and that they could launch attacks to avenge the death of two of their brothers so to speak, in that police security service operation yesterday in verviers. the belief from european officials is that this is isis getting into the international terrorism business. there was a plot director in greece, a belgian isis fighter who had gone over to greece to run this cell to run these operations in turn linked back to the isis leadership in syria they suspect. this is a real deal isis plot. we have not seen the like of it before from everything that they are gathering in terms of intelligence. they brought the cia in try and
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help them the belgians to find this guy in greece. they have not been able to find him yet. he is still at large. that is a significant concern. when they went into this building in verviers after the raid they found chemicals needed to make high explosive tatp when suggests that what they had planned here could have been really a terrorism spectacular, not only involving high explosives more powerful than boston but kalashnikovs and grenades. they had police uniforms suggesting they may have wanted to gain access to sensitive sites. we heard earlier a suggestion from the belgian federal authorities that they wanted to go after police stations and police officers. that's because there were wiretaps. on the phone they were talking about what if we get the chance to target police officers let's do that. the belgians do not know yet exactly what the target of the cell was. but they feel this was an
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ambitious plot they suspect linked back to isis. this is a game changer. this isis they believe taking the war to the west the heart of europe. wolf. >> exclusive reporting for us. thanks very much. don't go too far away. i want to bring back senator risch, a member of the intelligence committee. i assume senator, what we just heard from paul is pretty consistent with what you have been hearing. >> well this is not a surprise to really anyone. isis has been threatening this ever since they exploded not long ago. they have been threatening to bring the war to the west. so what you are hearing is certainly not a surprise to any of us that deal with this every day. i suppose people who don't follow it it probably is a surprise. a couple of points i would make. number one, when you talk about these cells, you want to be careful. that con notes a close-knit
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highly commanded organization. these things are very loose knit. they're very malleable. after the roundup, after they said they had everybody, i would be reluctant to reach that conclusion because these things are very amore fous. >> this is isis not aqap al qaeda in the arabian peninsula, this is isis? >> clearly, there is an isis element to this. they have said so. they have said from the beginning that they were trying to establish the country -- their own country. they said as soon as they were done with that, they were going to move out from that to do the will that they want to do outside and particularly in the west. so these things are not surprising. the other thing is is -- the other point is that this goes on somewhere in the world every single day, not once but
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multiple times. the fact that it happened in this high-profile situation in france has brought it to the attention of the national media as you are running the story and other media units are running the story. this goes on every day in the world. >> one final question. the president today very strong words for congress saying he will veto any legislation that would right now increase sanctions on iran. as the suz trying ingu.s. is trying to work out a diplomatic deal to prevent them from building a nuclear bomb. your reaction? >> we will give him that opportunity. as you know a lot of us have been critical of the way the administration has gone on about this. it's a dangerous situation. i think more sanctions are in order. and i think that anything that's put on the table needs to be approved by congress. >> it will be approved -- presumably be approved by congress.
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in the midst of the negotiations are going to vote to go ahead and warn iran that there will be more sanctions if there's no deal? >> i think that will make it crystal clear to iran that they will have to be serious about this. there's a lot of us that don't believe they're serious about this. certainly, this is one way that we can communicate to them that we -- we're going to do something about this. >> senator risch, thanks for joining us. >> thank you. >> just ahead, a live report from belgium. we follow breaking news on the urgent terror threat out there. the would-be attackers who apparently got away at least some of them. new measures to tighten security at airports here in the united states. we will tell what you the hole land security secretary revealed today.
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following breaking news about the urgent terror threat in europe right now. a source telling cnn, members of a terrorist cell are at large despite the raids in belgium. let's check in with reporter chris burnzs. he is joining us live from brussels. what's the latest? what's the sense over there? what are you hearing about the sleeper cells? >> reporter: wolf there is an effort to track down the people who were linked to these places
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that were searched overnight last night. some dozen places across -- mainly around here in brussels in and around brussels but also in verviers where the shootout occurred last night. they are trying to track these people down. they are also about 13 people who were arrested overnight. five of them are being charged. then of course there are others that are at large. they are going after them. security measures are being tightened. the police have -- are closing their police stations here in brussels. most of them all but three of them, are being closed overnight and over the weekend for the right-hand -- because that shoot outwas out was over the men plattotting to attack police headquarters behind me with around the clock commando guard which you don't see here in brussels. troops are going to be deployed 30 troops the first of 150 who
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are set aside to ensure security now that the level has been raised to three out of four now. those first 30 are going to be going tomorrow morning to the jewish quarter in antwerp to reassure people there. the head of the jewish community here today was actually calling on european governments to allow jewish communities to arm themselves themselves. this is where the prime minister is trying to calm things down. let's not go overboard on this. at the same time, he is call on european leaders to hold a sum summit to talk about it on a european level. >> are these considered high value arrests the people that -- who have been rounded up or middle level or low level types? >> well among the arrests is the third man who was in that --
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the raid on the house in verviers. a 25-year-old man. he denies any kind of link with terrorism. he said he had nothing to do with it. police had enough evidence to charge him with republicans z weapons and explosives charges. the others have been charged with links to terrorism. it is not clear exactly to what extent they have been involved in any kind of plotting. police do have to track down these others who were linked to places where weapons were -- weapons were found, explosive materials were found. so that remains an issue. that's where the police are very very busy watching and trying to track those people down. >> chris burns reporting for us. thanks very much. let's bring in phillip mudd and james reese and paul crookshank who has been working sources
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bringing us breaking news. paul could there -- i guess the sense is are attacks imminent right now? how worried are law enforcement authorities, intelligence sources, national security owe fishes in belgium right now? >> they are worried, wolf. they are worried that there are still members of this cell at large who may put some kind of attack into operation to avenge the two fighters who were killed in that raid on that building in verviers. there's a lot of concern in belgium. but there's also concern right across europe. the belgian sources i'm speaking to say that this group in belgium, this network links to isis had connections to other groups of young men who have come back from syria and are in other european countries. the indications that european intelligence agencies have received is that isis is now pivoting towards launching
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attacks in europe against the countries participating in the air strikes against it in syria and iraq. there are several european countries involved in the air strikes in iraq. the united kingdom, france denmark, holland, belgium are some of the countries. a lot of concern that those countries could be targeted by isis. isis signalled this back in september. the spokesman of the group said that they were going to launch raids against the countries who were coming after them in syria and iraq. they said that this was coming. now it appears it is. >> colonel reese, paul reported earlier that these explosive precursors or whatever that were discovered they were -- they could be used to build a bomb a tatp-type of high explosive. tell us about what kind of dam a bomb like this could do. >> wolf, any of these explosives could do a lot of dam. here is the silver lining when
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it comes to explosives. any time anyone hears they have explosives, the aweeyebrows go up. tatp is very unstable. we have seen it in afghanistan, in iraq and some of the insurgencies there. when we see explosions in the city we go to investigate. they were trying to build tatp bombs. they blow themselves up. that's kind of a good thing. if paul would have told me they are getting c-4, that really concerns me. but this is a silver lining in this whole atrocity going out through europe. >> walk us through the operation right now, fipphillip mudd. they are trying to hunt down terrorist cells. what's going on? >> there's a tension in any investigation. we're seeing the results of the tension. first you want to map the nervous system of any cell or sort of rough organization. that mapping takes weeks or months.
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where is the money? who radicalized them? those questions are difficult to answer especially if you have a cell like this trained and potentially has good operational security. the tension is if you see imminent plotting like the belgians talked about, you cannot take the time to finish mapping the nervous system of that network. if you go down early, which is what they did last night, you step back the next day and say, there's a lot of work to do there's operatives out there we have to capture. we didn't have the time -- the luxury of time to map out and capture the entirety of the network. >> the president today said with david comeameron that the terrorists are usualing social media as the primary way of communicating. how do you deal with that? >> this is a tough one. we saw people in the united states for example, recruited off youtube. i think we have to work with the internet service providers. the news is talking about dinks between cameron and the president about how aggressive
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to be with internet service providers. this is a difficult one to crack. we can work it by asking the service providers to look for evidence of this kind of activity. but there's one other answer wolf. that is over time i believe there's going to have to be more self-policing. people are going to have to send in notes to service providers and the government citizens saying i'm seeing something on a website or a chat room that looks inappropriate. you should look into it. there's going to have to be a public dimension to this. >> there's concern, colonel reese about copycats maybe inspired by what's going on. >> absolutely. what we don't want to do is -- we have to think about the other cells that might be out there or like you said some of the copycats. they are seeing everything going on. they are disingenuine. they say, they turn around and grab a gun and a couple pieces and say, let's go do this for isis. there's nothing. it's that kind of multi-lone wolf that's concerning. >> i want you to stand by.
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as europe faces urgent terror threats, security officials in the united states are preparing for potential threats here as well. the secretary of homeland security says even more security measures are on the way at airports all across the united states. our aviation correspondent is here in "the situation room." a chance to speak with the secretary today. tell us what happened. >> the headline of the
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conversation is essentially, another round of ramped up measures at our airports. it's on the way. it's unclear if these will be seen or unseen changes. johnson says it's in response to threat streams they are seeing. >> we have evolved to a new phase in the global terrorist threat. >> reporter: the head of homeland security revealing today, even more airport security measures are on the way. >> we're looking at doing more in the short-term in reaction to some of the threat streams that we are seeing now. >> reporter: this after dhs announced earlier this week ramped up searches at u.s. airports over fears terrorists are creating non-metallic explosives. capable of passing through some airport scanners undetected. >> when you talk about more measures as far as aviation goes what would that look like? what's the time line for that? what is the new intelligence? >> i told my folks i wanted an
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assessment in the very short-term. so i expect to get that in the next couple days. >> reporter: it's unclear what the extra measures would be? >> we're looking at it. >> reporter: random passenger and luggage checks are happening at the gate. once travelers have cleared tsa checkpoints. after al qaeda published a guide to building heart inging hard to detect bombs. transportation systems continue to be a target for terrorists. in 2005 four suicide bombs detonated within secretariesy s seconds and three trains in london. in 2010 a man pleaded guilty for plotting to blow up new york subway subways. >> we need to focus on homeland based threats. >> reporter: this week, an electrical malfunction caused smoke to fill a d.c. metro
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station killing one and injuring dozens. passengers were left waiting for more than 40 minutes before emergency responders helped them evacuate. raising serious questions about how prepared the u.s. is to respond to emergencies on the nation's transportation system. >> one does have to wonder what would have happened had that fire been set by terrorists. clearly, the response was inadequate. >> reporter: striking a reassuring tone saying the department is assessing new intelligence and threats every day, every hour. he went on to say that that's how he actually spent the majority of his morning. again, striking that very reassuring tone. >> all right. thanks very much. let's bring back phil mudd. are you confident these security measures are up to the job? >> heck no. if you look at the targets over the past 15 years, you are
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talking about skooms, smg about skooms, s talking about skooms schools buses, trains airplanes. it's not that i don't have confidence in secretary johnson. it's the rapenge is impossible to cover. we can have or try to have some sense of security that the government can protect us. the true is answer there's no you can in a country of 330 million people. >> where do you stand on this? >> i understand. i think one of the things we have to do is we can't be parochial in our thinking. we have to think asymmetryicalasymmetrically. we talked about the social media. we have got to give the intel community and the law enforcement the budget and the funding. there is technology out there off the shelf that can help collect on social media and do location on it. but we have to have the funding to get it and we can't go through this ten-year process of trying to find equipment. >> are you confident, phil that all agencies, naggal alnational law
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enforcement, the u.s. government are working together they're not competing with each other, but basically on the same page? >> heck yeah. there's a couple reasons why. number one, a lot of us in leadership positions -- my friends who are in leadership positions at the agency you don't have to have faith in us. there ain't no learning the sick kick of the mule. we learned from 9/11. we're not going to get burned again. the second thing is if you are not sitting at the fbi and sitting up in your chair after paris and belgium, i don't know what you are doing. anybody in my old job is saying there but for the grace of god. we have people like this in unit. we have to look for people that we haven't even on the radar. one final thing, the range of data that we will acquire is a gold mine from the locations in belgium and paris and from the people who are taken down. that's an opportunity in the coming week to see if there are threats we never found in the
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u.s. >> phil colonel, thanks very much. to our viewers, for more on what you can do to support those affected by the terror attacks, visit more breaking news ahead. ny due tails of the raids in europe. sources telling us that members of one cell are still at large.
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preloaded with the latest episodes of the top 100 shows. only from xfinity. much more on the breaking news. we're following a major development at the united states supreme court. the justices have decided to consider whether same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry or whether states can ban gay marriage in case with huge social and political implications. let's discuss this and more with our seennior legal analyst. how's this going to play out? >> one thing we know for sure a hundred years for now people will be talking about this case. this is an enormously important case. certainly based on the last time
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the supreme court had a gay rights case be winsor case where they struck down the defensive marriage act. that was a 5-4 decision. it looks like it will be a similar split ruling that all 50 states have to have same-sex. >> we'll know by the end of june. also the constitutionality of the obama care. >> that an enormous case. as many as nine million people may lose health insurance in the obama administration loses that case. it's a very big term at the supreme court. they're huge. >> these decisions play into the 2016 elections. there are some republicans who are just have the supreme court decide on gay marriage so they don't have to talk about it. very much there are other republicans who are going to say we want to run on this. we want to make it a wedge issue again. that will help them. >> who would say that? nobody thinks that. >> in the republican primaries
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with the republican base and those are the folks which gay marriage is unpopular so you could have people like ted cruz running against somebody more moderate like a jeb bush and it becomes a primary issue. >> i think the supreme court is giving a gift to the republican party. >> in the general election but it's an issue in the primary. >> okay. >> where is president obama on the issue of terror. >> they wanted david cameron and barack obama wanted to talk about cyber security which is so important. all they're doing on the cyber security front and how they want to make sure they can read encrypted messages which is so important as we see in the recent terror issues. he got taken off of that message because it was asked a question by abc news about iran
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sanctions. lots of democrats want to do it. he and cameron were saying wait a minute. hold off. just let us get to yes with iran. he's got democrats opposing him on the hill on that. he said today that he would veto it if they did it. that was a little off his message. >> you want to weigh in on that? >> betting the congress will do nothing is always a good bet. >> they announced their schedule for debates. there's going to be nine debates in the primary. cnn will have three. cnn will host the debate at the ronald reagan presidential library in september. another one in nevada. possibly a third in march. there's a lot fewer debates this time around. >> i'm sad about that. >> who did you not -- what network did you not see on that
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list in. >> msnbc. >> i'm sad about that. i'd like to see more debates. clearly, the decision has been made. there were too many debates. it hurt mitt romney because he had to run to the right very publicly during the debates and run to the center during the general election. you'll remember it was when mitt romney talked about self-deportation and made a $10,000 bet with rick perry which he probably wishes he had not done. there's lots of candidates who don't have a lot of money be. they would like more debates. if you want to go rogue you cannot participate in our sponsored debates. that's a pretty tough penalty. >> there are people who are saying we demand more than nine debates. >> we love those debates. the answer is yes. >> that's it. thanks very much for watching. you can follow us on twitter.
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tweet me or tweet the show. erin burnett outfront starts right now. breaking news. an international man hunt under way for suspected terrorists. members of the terror cell belgium targeted in deadly raids. new details from the raid. police found a powerful explosive after the assault. it's called the mother of say tin. we'll tell you how easy it is to make that. they also found police uniforms. al qaeda developing even more sophisticated bombs. they are training the next generation of bomb makers in yemen. we are
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