everybody at ntct. nick, along with cia director brennan and fbi director comey provided a threat briefing. and updainted us on the investigation into the san bernardino attacks. i reiterated that the investigation will continue to have this full support of the federal government. and that we should leave no stone unterned in determining why and how these terrorists carried out that tragedy. homeland security secretary johnson updated us on the measures we're take at home to increase awareness, stay vigilant and enhance the safety of the traveling public, especially with so many americans traveling during the holidays. after the terrorist attacks in paris and san bernardino, i know a lot of americans were anxious. and that's understandable. it's natural. what matters most to all of us are friends and our families and
our communities and their safety. that's true of folks inside of government as well as outside of government. but here's what i want every american to know. since 9/11, we've taken extraordinary steps to strengthen our homeland security. our borders, our ports, our airports, our aviation security, including enhanced watch lists and screening. we've gotten much better, thanks, in part, to the people in this room, of preventing large complex attacks like 9/11. moreover, and i think everybody here will agree, we have the very best intelligence, counterterrorism, homeland security, and law enforcement professionals in the world. our folks are the best. now, across our government, these dedicated professionals, including here at ntct, are
relentless. 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. at the operations center here, people from across our government work literally shoulder to shoulder, pouring over the latest information, analyzing it, integrating it, connecting the dots. they're sharing information, pushing it out across the federal government, and, just as importantly, to our state and local partners. in other words, what you see here today is one strong united team. so our professionals have a remarkable record of success. of course, when terrorists pull off a despicable act like what happened in san bernardino, it tears at our hearts. but it also stiffens our resolve. to learn whatever lessons we can and make any improvements that are needed. in the meantime, what the world doesn't always see are the
successes. those terrorist plots that have been prevented. and that's how it should be. this work oftentimes demands secrecy. but as americans, we should not forget how good these patriots are. over the years, they have taken countless terrorists off the battlefield. they have disrupted plots. they've thwarted attacks. they have saved american lives. and so for everybody who is involved in our counterterrorism efforts, i want to say thank you. and the american people thank you. now, i want to repeat what my team just told me. at this moment, our intelligence and counterterrorism professionals do not have any specific and credible information about an attack on the homeland. that said, we have to be vigilant. as i indicated in my address to the nation last week. we are in a new face of
terrorism. including lone actors and small groups of terrorists. like those in san bernardino. because they are smaller, often self-initiating, self-motivating, their harder to detect. and that makes it harder to prevent. but just as the threat evolves, so do we. we're constantly adapting, constantly improving, upping our game, getting better. today, the mission to protect our homeland goes on, on their main fronts. first, we're going after terrorists over there where they plot and plan and spew their propaganda. as i described at the pentagon, we're hitting issel harder than ever in syria and iraq. we're taking out their leaders. our partners on the ground are fighting to push isil back and isil has been losing territory. our special operations forces are hard at work. we took out the isil leader in libya. we've taken out terrorists in
yemen and somalia. so we're sending a message. if you target americans, you will have no safe haven. we will find you and we will defend our nation. meanwhile, as always, we're working to protect americans overseas, including our military bases and service members. secretary john kerry updated us on security at our embassies and our diplomatic posts. second, we continue to do everything in our power to prevent terrorists from getting into the united states. we're doing more with countries around the world including our european partners, to prevent the flow of foreign terrorists partners, both to places like syria and iraq and back into our countries. we're implementing additional layers of security for visitors who come here under the visa waiver program. and we're working with congress to make further improvements. any refugee coming to the united states, some of them victims of
terrorism themselves, will continue to get the most intensive scrutiny of any arrival. they go through up to two years of vetting, including bio metrics screening. the review i ordered into the fiance visa program under which the female terrorist in san bernardino came here is ongoing. third, we're stepping up our efforts to prevent attacks here at home. as i said, the nctc is constantly sharing information with our state and local partners. across the country, more than 100 joint terrorism task forces are the action arm of this fight. federal state and local experts all working together to disrupt threats. at the state level, fusion cells are sketching tips and pushing information out to law enforcement. just yesterday, the department of homeland security updated its alert system to make sure
americans are getting the most timely and useful information. with groups like isil trying to radicalize people to violence, especially online, part of our meeting today focused on how we can continue to strengthen our partnership between law enforcement, high tech leaders, communities, faith leaders and citizens. we've got to keep on building up trust and cooperation that helps communities inoculate themselves from the kind of propaganda that ice se isil's spewing out. preventing their loved ones, especially young people, from succumbing to terrorist ideologies in the first place. finally, one of our greatest weapons against terrorism is our own strength and resilience as a people. that means staying vigilant. if you see something suspicious, say something to law enforcement. it also means staying united as one american family. remembering that our greatest allies in this fight are each
other. americans of all faiths and all backgrounds. and when americans stand together, nothing can beat us. most of all, we cannot give in to fear or change how we live our lives. because that's what terrorists want. that's the only leverage that they have. they can't defeat us on a battlefield, but they can lead us to change in ways that would undermine what this country's all about. we have to remind ourselves when we stay true to our values, nothing can beat us. anyone trying to harm americans need to know that we're strong and we're resilience. and we will not be terrorized. we've prevailed over much greater threats than this.
we will prevail again. i once again want to thank all of you at ntct and every one of your home agencies across our entire government for your extraordinary service. i want everyameric american to as you travel and gather with family and the kids open their presents and as you ring in the new year, that you've got dedicated patriots working around the clock all across the country to protect us all. oftentimes, they're doing so by sacrificing their own holidays and their own time with families. but they care about this deeply. and they're the best in the world. and for that, we're very grateful. thank you, everybody. happy holidays. >> the president, surrounded by the vice president, the secretary of state, the director of national intelligence, the cia director, the attorney general, all the top national
security law enforcement intelligence officials in the obama administration trying to reassure the american public right now that the u.s. is ready for terror attacks. we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer in washington. immediately to our white house senior correspondent jim acosta. the second in a series of discussions by the president in this war on terror. earlier in the week, at the pentagon. he'll head out to san bernardino, california, tomorrow. the president on the eve of christmas and new years wants to reassure the american public that this administration is on top of this terror threat. >> that's right, wolf. i think the theme all week at the white house has been very quickly we got this. you know, from the days after the san bernardino attacks, the president had that oval office attacks. now at the national counterterrorism center. they're trying to say to the
american people there are people working around the clock. and, wolf, you know, the problem with what the president is facing at this point is he's facing some major doubts within the public. there's a new "washington post"/abc poll that showed only 22% of americans are confident that the u.s. government can prevent a lone wolf attack on the u.s. homeland security. that's what the president's been up against. i think the little nugget of news that came out of that speech from the president, and we were warned in advance that perhaps there wouldn't be a whole lot of new policy, is that there was a discussion at the national counterterrorism there about technology. law enforcement forming better partnerships with technology firmings. wolf, one of the big problems this government has right now is dealing with social media. monitoring what potential lone
wolf terrorists are doing. how they're messaging back and forth between the united states and terrorists overseas through encryption. right now, the u.s. government doesn't have a way to get around some encrypted messages. that's the discussion taking place. so the president did get an update on that in terms of what they're trying to formulate with the law enforcement community. we might have more news in the coming days on that, wolf. >> that's a very important development. there's an increase concern, as you point out, by incryptioned communications by various terrorist groups out there. the president saying at this moment, based on everything his top national security advisers have told him, he said there's not any specific and credible attack the u.s. knows of that's in the works, but that doesn't mean the u.s. cannot be vigilant right now. we have a lot more. jim acosta. we have a lot more to discussion. we have a panel of experts standing by. we'll be right back.
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at this moment, our intelligence and counterterrorism officials do not have any specific and credible information about an attack on the homeland. that said, we have to be vigilant. as i indicated in my address to the nation last week, we are in a new phase of terrorism, including lone actors and small groups of terrorists like those in san bernardino. because they are smaller, often self-initiating, self-motivating,er there harder to detect. and that makes it harder to prevent. but just as the threat evolves, so do we. >> the president only moments ago speaking at the national counterterrorism center. let's discuss what the president said. joining us, our chief national security correspondent jim sciutto, tom fuentes, our cnn
law enforcement analyst, former fbi assistant director, analyst peter bergen, joining us from florida, retired general mark heardling. all of you well aware of what's going on. the president very specific in his words. we just heard him say no specific credible attack on the u.s. homeland. he did have the secretary of state. there are deep concerns about attacks around the world. this is an international issue for the president. >> the president's message today was one of reassurance. you've heard from the white house, from counterterrorism officials and others. they're concerned the level of fear has gotten so great in the u.s. that they're worried about panic. there is a real threat. they know it. but they also don't want people to be hiding in their closets, right, particularly as the holidays come. but he also right after that gets to the specific challenge with terrorism today. which is that often with these
kinds of plots, when you talk about lone wolf plots, there may never be a specific and credible threat. because there are not the points, the choke points, where you can catch it in advance. there's not the phone call from the cave in pakistan ordering the attack. you know, there's not the transit necessarily from the war zone to here. could be a home grown person who reads something online and plots and kills people. so, you know, that's part of the problem here. then the president carries on from there to say, yeah, the threat is evolving, but so are we. trust us. you've got people working here 24/7. i was in the ops center recently for a documentary we shot. this is running 24/7. >> it was created after 9/11 because the criticism that the left hand of the u.s. government wasn't talking to the right hand. there wasn't enough organization. tom fuentes, a new abc news/wg poll shows only 22% of americans
say they're confident the government can prevent what's called a lone wolf terrorist attack. 77% are less confident. the president said that is now a great threat to the u.s., individuals motivated, inspired online, if you will. he said he's talking to technology companies out there. this is a huge problem. >> i'm surprised the number's that high, 22%. a lone individual doesn't tell anybody, doesn't share it, doesn't have a wife and they exchange jihad pillow talk. if no one else knows it. purchases a firearm or other equipment legally. there's no chance of stopping that. if that person goes operational. zero. >> when you heard what the president's remarked, a balanced tone, be diligent, make sure you see what's going on, but go about and get ready for the holidays, we're watching, we're doing the best we can. peter, what did you think? >> well, you know, polling data indicates americans are more concerned about terrorism today than they have been at any time since 9/11.
that has an impact on the economy. people don't travel. they're scared. and, you know, i think what president said is correct. yes, we have a lot of people on top of this, but what tom has said is also correct, which is a lone wolf by definition we're not going to stop lone wolf attacks. it's very, very hard to do. unless we have a machine that can real people's souls, which right now we don't, it's hard to read someone's intent. the kinds of things law enforcement can usually interrupt. >> the president said there was a three-pronged effort under way right now, general hertling. the first is to get the terrorists where they are, whether in syria, iraq, sudan. he mentioned countries like yem and libya where the u.s. has gone after and killed terror leaders, isis terror leaders. that's the first phase. get them where they are. >> i know you're going to react to this but i'd say it's going as best as can be expected.
joint special operations command is everywhere. i've talked to some friends in that organization recently. some very good friends. and they are all over the world. searching for different terrorist organizations. not just isis. and there's a bevy of them out there. but what you're talking about is an organization that has to react to different organizations, terrorist organizations, that are trying to do not only our government harm but other governments as well. that's why i think the concern about the embassies and people who are overseas is critically important. again, i think the president, you know, as he's done this deep dive this week, going to the pentagon first, you know, pentagon briefings always start with an intelligence summary. what's going on. and then this is how we're addressing it. now he's taking it even one step further and gone to the national counterterrorism center. tom and i are familiar with that building. we've been there multiple times in our activity duties lead. it is ph.d. level work to try and do the very best you can to prevent terrorism anywhere. i'm surprised the number's as
high as it is too. just as soon as you think you've done away with any kind of attack, something is going to happen. and it's going to happen in the most bizarre place. a marathon, you know, ft. hood, a small community in california. none of those would have been predicted before they happened. >> jim sciutto, the second part of the president's strategy, in his words, prevent terrorists from getting into the united states. there's enormous fear right now a tourist could come in, a refugee could come in and commit an act of terror. >> specific focus on the visa waiver program because this applies to a lot of european countries. when you look at france, you look at the situation in the uk, belgium, the paris attacks, there are a lot of europeans who are carrying out these kinds of attacks and europeans with those passports could come to the u.s. without a visa. so specific focus on identifying folks with those passports who have recently traveled to the middle east as a warning sign. that's one change. you also heard the president there with reference to refugees
say, you know, try to tamp down that fear, saying it's a two-year process for a refugee, even before the paris attacks, to get into this country, in effect saying "we're on this." >> the san bernardino terror attack, the paris terror attack, what happened to that russian airliner over egypt, sinai, 2240 people killed. that has really created a enormous amount of fear that terrorists could slip into the united states. >> that's true. what jim talked about, the people on visa waiver, you had 10 million people enter the country last year getting an actual visa, so was not visa waiver, from all the rest of the countries of the world. or coming for a specific purpose, a job, a student. it's going to be impossible to monitor the tens of millions of people who apply for a visa and look at every one of their social media. right now, we're focused on syria, on the middle east. but we have people that have
gone to syria to join isis from all over the world from asia. the authorities in indonesia, malaysia, countries like that, they're very concerned, could come here also. >> there are those analysts that suggested all of this attention on isis by the president of the united states, an address to the nation sunday night, at the pentagon on monday, today at the national counterterrorism center. tomorrow, he's going to san bernardino. presumably, he'll make a statement out there. plays into the hands of isis recruiting. because it makes them seem so much more important and inspired these lone individuals to do something. you buy that? >> i mean, you know, 9/11 was one of the hinge events of american history, so everything is filtered through that event. you know, americans are very concerned about terrorism. the president can't ignore it. we the media can't ignore it as a story. and of course, you know, the more attention you give, it does sort of help them. but some things deserve attention. we do the thought experiment
where we didn't cover the nazis in 1938 as the media are the government. you have to pay attention to things making an impact on history. >> certainly do. up neck, the threat of terror hits an american icon, disney. we're going to tell you what's being done to combat the threat at its theme parks on both u.s. koofrts. plus the battle for second place. cruz and rubio wrapping up their attacks on each other while ignoring the front-runner for now. will their strategy pay off? today people are coming out to the nation's capital to support an important cause that can change the way you live for years to come. how can you help? by giving a little more, to yourself. i am running for my future. people sometimes forget to help themselves. the cause is retirement, and today thousands of people came to race for retirement and pledge to save an additional one percent of their income. if we all do that we can all win. prudential bring your challenges® on location with the famous,
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according to reuters, it took a week to find a graveyard willing to accept their remains. also, the man would purchased two of the weapons used in the san bernardino terror attacks is likely to face charges. according to u.s. law enforcement official, federal prosecutors are expected to file charges against enrique marquez. he's a friend and former neighbor of the terrorist syed rizwan farook. what do we know about the charges marquez is likely to face? >> we know the charges, we expect the charges will be filed by federal prosecutors in los angeles and they will center on the purchase of the two ar-15-style rifles that enrique marquez bought in 2011/2012 and turned over to farook. he has told federal investigators, the fbi, that he bought the firearms for farook because farook was trying to avoid additional scrutiny. at the time, farook had already bought two or three other
firearms. and so he wanted to avoid additional scrutiny, which would bring him into violation with federal and california law. it's illegal to buy a firearm for someone who's trying to avoid getting a background check. we expect that to be the center of these charges. he's been talking to the fbi for over a week now. he initially waved his miranda rights. he's been working with the lawyer in the last week or so. he has been providing information cooperatively with the fbi, providing information that he says indicates that he and farook back in 2012 were plotting some type of terrorist attack. not very specific as to what the target was. he has also told the fbi he himself was a convert to islam. he also described that he and farook used to build ieds or pipe bombs. and that it was mostly as a hobby. he says he has no -- he had no knowledge of the terror attack
in the san bernardino and certainly did not make any of the pipe bombs found in the home. as you remember, there were 19 of them found in the house. some of them were incomplete. as well as the three that did not -- that failed to go off at the inland regional center where the terrorist attack occurred. >> an important development in that story. evan, thanks. other breaking news we're following this hour, encryption apps appear to have helped the paris attackers carry out their plan that left 130 people dead, hundreds wounded. investigators are now looking into the attacks. they say they do have evidence, they believe, that shows the apps were used by the terrorists to communicate for a time before the attacks. our cnn money tech correspondent laurie segal joining us from new york. what did investigators specifically find? >> specifically, they're pointing out two different apps that offer encryption technology. one is called telegram. we've spoken about it before on your show, wolf.
another one is what's app owned by facebook. the first time they're really coming out and saying they believe these apps were used to to plan this attack. a little information on telegram. an app launched in 2013 that terrorism analysts keep saying more and more they're seeing isis members use it. it offers two layers of encryption. also public channels. group chats with up to 200 people. and also this is a snap chat-like feature but offers encryption, self-destructing messages and photos. law enforcement's obviously paying attention to this. as we hear from officials, it's harder and harder for them to find out what conversations are happening behind encryption. you've got to remember, wolf, encryption is a dual technology. it helps our bank accounts, helps us communicate safely online. it also does the complete opposite. which is it helps terrorism and helps terrorists communicate safely. >> the fbi director recently
raised concerns about these encryption programs. warning they could help terrorists carry out attacks and actually has called for a way to decryption some of the data in cases involving criminal terrorist activities. you've spoken to someone involved in the what's app encryption app. tell us about that. >> i spoke to a hacker that everyone from intelligence officials to edward snowden has said look out for what this guy builds. his name, he calls himself moxie marlin spike and he's building out the encryption technology for what's app which is being used by hundreds of millions of users around the world. he talked to me about why he's building it and why he believes we need it. listen to what he said. >> what we're trying to do is make mass surveillance impossible. and, you know, terrorists or pedophiles or whatever the bad people are, they already have access to incryption. right now, we're the only people who aren't using incryption technology. people already involved in high risk behavior are already using
it. what we're trying to do is develop technology that is really simple to use and accessible to just everyday, normal people. >> wolf, you know, what moxie said is people, the bad guys, have been using this obviously for a long time. i asked him, okay, but the government wants to have a better relationship, they want a back door, a way in, to these communications, and what he said is, you know, this just is impossible. i think his line was something along the lines, they can't protect their own data, how can we expect them to protect ours? if you built a back door for the good guys, the bad guys will go there too. we're seeing this ignite this debate, wolf. >> what could tech companies do to help law enforcement in this war against terror? >> sit hard to get into some of the specifics. you hear how president obama says we really need to come to the table. we need tech firms and law enforcement to come to the table. they also have separate interests. you know, tech companies want to protect user privacy. they want to make it more difficult for folks to access
the data. and also, you know, we saw after the snowden revelations is there was a lot of resentment in the tech community for the amount of government oversight. so now if law enforcement goes to what's app and says we need access to these private communications, what's app, because its communications are encrypted, can turn it over but they won't have access to it. so we're entering this new time where we have to have and facilitate better discussions between the tech community and the government. >> thanks very much. the happiest place on earth is adding extra security in the wake of the attacks in paris and san bernardino. walt disney world announced they'll be adding metal detectors at the entrance to the park in orlando, florida. they'll also do the same thing at disneyland out in california. disney world will stop selling toy guns at the park. other parks like universal orlando and sea world in florida, they're adding metal detectors, at least for the time being.
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let's listen in. >> and i know the department of defense has also indicated that they're prepared to cooperate with oversight into this matter. secretary carter indicated finally that he has curtailed his use of any e-mail whatsoever, but certainly will ensure moving forward that e-mails about his government work is conducted on his government e-mail consistent with administration policy. >> we know the office here reached out to the pentagon at the behest of the chief of staff to ask about this. given that happened much earlier in the year, how was this allowed to go on until just a few months ago? >> well, again, what you said is true, josh, that the white house
chief of staff did ask the council's office here at the whaug white house to construct senior officials at the pentagon to alert them to concerns about the e-mail use. and those concerns were relays. in terms of what action was then taken by senior officials at the pentagon, i'd refer you to them. explain what steps they took in response to those inquiries from the -- >> i think the question this raises for a lot of people -- >> all right, we're going to continue to monitor this white house briefing. josh earnest, the press secretary, talking about ash cart, the defense secretary, using his personal e-mail. no longer, but using it for a while, while he became the defense secretary of the united states. raising a lot of eyebrows. we're going to have much more on this part of the story coming up. the question is why would ash carter be doing that, knowing all the controversy surrounding the former secretary of state hillary clinton and her use of a
prive e-mail account while she was the secretary of state. much more on this story coming up. but let's get to presidential politics here in the u.s. right now. one of the big questions surrounding the republican field, is there room for only one 44-year-old first term senator in this race for the white house? both ted cruz and marco rubio, they're vying to be the party's alternative to donald trump. with less than seven weeks to go before the iowa caucuses, that's led to some heated words out there on the campaign trail. just today, cruz hammering rubio over a failed immigration reform bill. rubio making a veiled jab at cruz's vote to curb nsa surveillance. >> we have a president, and to be fair, support both weakening us militarily and in our intelligence gathering capabilities. >> tuesday was very interesting. because tuesday for the first time in five debates senator rubio publicly admitted not only did he support obama's amnesty
but he still supports amnesty citizenship today. he explicitly admitted it in this last -- >> joining us now, julie pace, the white house correspondent for the associated press and contributor to cnn's inside politics. also, cnn's chief political analyst gloria borger. do cruz and rubio now basically consider each other to be their main rival? not necessarily donald trump? >> you think? you know, they are fighting right now not only for the nomination but for the future of the republican party here. that's what we see playing out. this is a fight over national security policy. it's a fight over immigration. it's a fight over how much you spend on defense. and these two men are attacking each other because they differ in huge ways. and each of them wants to inherit trump's voters and supporters. but cruz is going right at rubio by using -- you heard him use
that word amnesty, wolf, on immigration. and when you use that word to republican primary voters, it's a complete red flag. and rubio is going back at him and saying, wait a minute, you have flip-flopped your position. because back in 2013, you said something very different about legalization for illegal immigrants. this is going to go back and forth and back and forth to get those primary voters. >> they're both 44 years old, both cuban-americans, both first-term senators. obviously both very smart guys. very ambitious, both of them. they're trying to court i guess voters out there the who don't like this notion of, quote, amnesty. and there's a big debate on this whole issue of immigration. who is more liberal, shall we say, than the other. >> it's this classic issue that republicans run into, where what you say in a primary could win you states like iowa and new hampshire but it might hurt you in a general election. >> with hispanic voters
especially. >> who will be crucial in a race probably against hillary clinton. what i think is so fascinating about this dynamics, for months we've had a primary dominated more with personality, anger at washington. this is actually a substantive debate and i think it's a sign voters are start to look at issues more. if these two continue on in this path, think you will have an interesting debate about the future of the republican party. >> it's a complicated fight they're having. because what rubio is saying is that cruz proposed legislation 2013 -- or that could have led to legalization for illegal immigrants. and what cruz is saying is the reason i proposed that bill, that measure, is to kill your bill. so it's a complicated issue for voters. and it's just easier for cruz to say he's for amnesty and i'm not. and the issue's a lot more complex than that. >> -- in this race for the republican nomination -- >> of course, yes. >> listen to this, this is the russian president, vladimir
putin, talking about this race. he gave a shoutout to someone, namely donald trump. i'll put it up on the screen. help he is a very flamboyant man. he is an absolute leader of the president's race. he says he wants to move to another level of relations, to a deeper level of relations with russia. how can we not welcome that? of course we welcome that. nice shoutout from putin to trump. >> the coveted vladimir putin endorsement i guess. trump will use this on the campaign trail over and over again. he's been talking about how he would be tough with putin, he would be able to work with him and push america's priorities. i think you'll have a lot of chuckles at the white house about this idea. >> i'm not so sure winning the putin primary is so good for a potential republican presidential nominee because putin is not popular. that would give chris christie, i would think, something else to rail at trump about. christie said he would shoot down a russian jet at your
debate the other night if it were in a no-fly zone. >> trump does often say, i'm willing to work with putin. he always recalls -- >> he was on 60 minutes the same night i was on 60 minutes. great ratings, all of that. >> both very popular. >> let's see how that rell works out. guys, thanks very much. coming up, fight against isis. cnn gets some rare access to the air base they're using in syria. >> this really does feel like the center of a massive russian military operation. the air is filled with the smell of jet fuel. and the ground shutters with the roar of those warplanes returning from their bombing missions. >> what russia's military commanders are telling matthew chance, who's inside syria. the best of everything is even better during red lobster's ultimate seafood celebration. with jazzed up new dishes like the decadent grand seafood feast and the ultimate wood-grilled feast
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access to that air base in western syria. >> reporter: this is how they support their syrian allies and battles its enemies. we gained rare access to the syrian base near the military hub of russia's air space. this feels like the center of a massive operation. the air is smelled with the smell of jet fuel and the ground shutters with the roar of those planes returning from bombing missions. russia's defense ministry says more than 200 targets have been struck in just 24 hours. 320 militants killed, it says, from isis and other rebel groups. fighting the syrian government and its president bashar al assad. i'm joined by the chief military
spokesman for the russian government. thank you for the trip. . he's escorting us here on this trip. . let me ask you that question about who you are targeting. is it isis or are are you supporting assad? >> translator: i can answer the question with our actions. every day we show you how russian aviation is fighting international terrorism, destroying their infrastructure in syria. >> reporter: on our tour of the base, we were shown how russia carefully arms its bombers with high-tech precision weaponry. we also saw unguided or dive bombs being loaded. human rights groups accuse russia of killing civilians from the air, a charge the kremlin seriously denies.
there's another plane coming in now just touching down. it's going to be very noisy. they just carried out an airstrike in syria against rebel targets. russia says it's stopping isis in its tracks striking their assets and shrinking the territory they and other rebel groups control. and after more than 4,000 over syria, this kremlin air war shows no sign of winding down. >> matthew chance is joining us live now from syria. matthew, excellent reporting. in another rare example of granting access. earlier you were taken on a mission. are they show iing their success
by allowing all this access? >> reporter: yeah, i think that must be part of it. i have spoken to a lot of defense officials here over the past couple days since i have been embedded with the russian military and they talk about the conflict in syria like it's a battle they are winning. they draw comparisons with the u.s.-led coalition. one defense official said, look, in the past two years, we have seen the territory controlled but isis increase dozens of times. that was when the united states was bombing isis in syria. since we have opinion here, the russians in just three months we have seen that territory decrease. so they are very confident about what they are doing. yes, that's why they took us offshore. this unprecedented access really for russia. it may be normal for the u.s. military. it's very rare for the russian military to take western
journalists on board their missile cruisers off the coast. it's a spectacular sight actually. these are very capable bit of military equipment they've got. they can carry munuclear missil. they are there for air defenses to provide support for the airplanes in the skies over syria to make sure none of them get shot down anymore. >> matthew chance giving us an excellent report. that's it for me. i will be back a the 5:00 p.m. eastern in "the situation room." the news continues right after a quick break.
top of the hour, i'm brooke baldwin. thank you for being with me on this thursday. here's the news now. today we do expect to see the first criminal charges filed in the deadliest r terror attack in the united states since 9/11. the san bernardino shooting now 15 days ago the man likely to be charged has told officials he did not know. he says he did not know about the plot that would claim the lives of these 14 people leaving another 21 wounded. prosecutors say enrique marquez did admit to vuding some of the weapons used in the massacre. he was a friend of the male gunman.