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tv   Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer  CNN  March 24, 2016 2:00pm-4:01pm PDT

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saying that the process has just been so difficult. pamela, we should mention that about a dozen americans have been -- said that they are on the injured list. of course some of them have undergone surgery but certainly a long road ahead for them. >> it must be so agonizing for them and their families. thank you very much. that's it for "the lead." i'm pamela brown in for jake tapper. i turn you over to wolf blitzer in "the situation room." happening now, breaking news. more attacks planned. u.s. counterterrorism officials warn that isis has multiple plots going in europe. they say electronic enter septembe -- intercepts suggest the suspects have already been picked up. the manhunt intensifies. police are searching for a suspect who fled after the airport bombing and another man spotted at the scene of the metro bombing. there's now a desperate race to track them down. americans targeted. the airport bombers struck near
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airline counters at a time when passengers would be checking in for flights bound for the united states. were they going after americans? and terror plots linked. a captured fugitive is no longer cooperating, but new information connects the massacres in brussels and paris. the same isis bomb maker is tied to both attacks and there's now new concern that the plotters tried to obtain material for a dirty bomb. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." let's get to the breaking news. there's new concern right now that multiple isis plots may be in the planning stage right now with dozens of isis operatives at large. counterterrorism officials say isis picked out possible targets after last november's paris attacks and information found in a raided apartment includes maps
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of potential sites to be attacked. an urgent manhunt is stepped up as authorities now fear that two suspects may have escaped the bloody attacks on the airport and a subway station in brussels. investigators had thought one suicide bomber was responsible for the catastrophic subway blast at brussels, but surveillance video has now surfaced showing another man standing near the bomber holding a large bag. authorities are desperately trying to track him down. the other suspect being hunted is the man seen wearing a hat in this airport surveillance ill a -- image. he's believed to have left behind a powerful explosive before fleeing. the second suicide bomber is thought to be the bomb maker and made the bombs in the paris attacks. the chairman of the house foreign intelligence committee says he suspects the airport bombers may have targeted americans, noting the proximity
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to airline counters and, indeed, the bombs went off during the time passengers would have been checking in for flights to the united states. i'll speak with the republican congressman, adam kensinger who's standing by. our correspondents, analysts and gefrts will have full coverage of the day's top stories. let's begin with our pentagon correspondent, barbara starr. barbara, the search has been stepped up, the investigation much more urgent right now. what's the latest? >> wolf, tonight u.s. counterterrorism and intelligence officials are racing to figure out where the next threats may be coming from, racing to figure out what isis is up to. multiple isis plots in europe on the radar, possibly linked to the paris and brussels networks. they are in various stages of planning. a combination of electronic intercepts, human sources and database tracking indicate several possible targets had been picked out by the isis operatives over the last few
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months. since the attacks earlier this week, information found in a raided apartment, including maps, indicated other potential targets had been chosen. across belgium, the manhunt now on for two suspects still unidentified. this man on the right at the airport dressed in beige clothing is one. a second suspect spotted on surveillance holding a large bag at the subway blast. not clear if he is dead or on the run. moments after the airport attack, a brussels taxi driver looking for his airport worker's son captured the horrific scene. the belgian interior minister shouldering blame for missing an opportunity to prevent the attack. >> translator: i offered my resignation to the prime minister, but he asked me to stay in my post given the situation we are in. >> reporter: belgian authorities still think salah abdeslam, tied to both the brussels and
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november attacks in paris, knows more than he may be telling. >> investigators believe that he was on the inside of this plot, that he would have had knowledge and he would have perhaps been one of the suicide bombers tasked with launching a much larger operation in belgium in the weeks ahead. >> reporter: the bombers who have been identified, khalid el bakraoui who died in the attack on the subway and at the airport, his brother, ibrahim bakraoui and najim laachraoui who also had ties to the november paris attacks. the state department says there is no evidence americans were targeted, but more must be done. >> we're going to continue to work with belgium as well as other countries in europe to better improve passenger screening, security checks, all those things that can help tighten up the net. >> reporter: even if the terrorist cell has direct links to isis, retaliating militarily
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against senior leaders responsible may be nearly impossible. >> what you're dealing with is they may not be in raqqah, they may be in libya, they may be in another european capital. they may be somewhere where we're completely not expecting them to be. >> reporter: tonight u.s. authorities looking at every clue worry there could be more attacks coming. wolf. >> barbara starr, thank you. let's turn to our terrorism analyst, paul cruickshank. paul, why do they believe there are multiple additional isis plots in the works? >> well, wolf, there's recent intelligence that in the period after the paris attacks, isis cells in europe have identified targets moving towards some attack planning. there's also concern as our pamela brown has been reporting that the brussels cell had additional targets because there was some maps found at some of
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these residences that were raided in brussels. possibly suggesting more targets. and we also know from belgian officials, wolf, that there were two teams with this brussels conspiracy. there was a first team, which composed of at least three plotters, including salah abdeslam and mohammed belkaid, who were either arrested or killed last week in belgium. that part of the plot was thwarted when they went into the residence they were hiding in and found several things there. but the other part of the cell, the second team they weren't able to find and that team they believe were accelerating their attack planning and worried that they were going to be apprehended by the authorities,
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so they moved forward with a smaller version of the same plan, which is the attack we saw play out in brussels just a couple of days ago with that attack on the airport and the metro station. but this could have been a lot bigger, wolf, indeed and they had a tremendous amount of explosive, a lot of tatp, 15 kilograms recovered in a suitcase at the bomb factory. that was just the suitcase they left behind because they weren't able to fit all this stuff into the taxi, wolf. >> now that we know that multiple terror plots, isis plots are in the pipeline right now, it explains in part why the state department the other day issued this extraordinary travel advisory to all americans, among other things, saying terrorist groups continue to plan near term attacks throughout europe, targeting sporting events, tourist sites, restaurants and transportation. so i assume, paul, they have specific information about plots in the works right now. that's why they're telling americans be careful, maybe stay away from these locations.
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>> they have all kinds of intelligence coming in. a lot of it is often fragmentary and it's difficult to figure out exactly what's going on. this intelligence gathering is more an art than a science. but taken together, the system really is blinking red right now that there is a grave concern that we could see a series of attack plans in europe unfold. isis is ratcheting up its international attack planning. even before the paris attacks, wolf, there was intelligence that came in fragmentary intelligence that the external operations division of isis were planning an ambitious plot to hit five european cities, including paris, including london, berlin, population center in belgium and another city. well, they have now hit two out of those five. >> paul cruickshank, stand by. i want to go to brussels live right now. our senior international
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correspondent, clarissa ward, is on the scene for us. clarissa, it seems there were a number of major intelligence failures leading up to these horrific attacks. what are you learning? >> reporter: well, it's becoming increasingly apparent that that's exactly what happened, wolf, but i just want to say here in belgium, authorities have actually lowered the threat level today. keep in mind we've just been hearing all this news coming from u.s. officials about all this possible intelligence about a possible future imminent attack, but here in belgium, they have lowered the threat level from four to level three. that's the difference between an imminent attack and a serious threat of an attack. now, for all intents and purposes you're still going to see a lot of military an police presence on the ground. there'still going to be security checks at airports, at train stations and public places. but really it underscores the disconnect and the lack of communication between what intelligence officials elsewhere in the west are seeing and what intelligence officials here on the ground are seeing.
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we saw another example of that today, wolf. the family of najim laachraoui, the bomb maker, one of the suicide attackers at the airport, they came forward, gave a press conference today in which they said that they told the police back in 2013 when najim laachraoui went to syria. again, unclear if officials actually digested this information, but taken in conjunction with some of those other failures we know about, one of the brothers, one of the bakraoui brothers had been deported from turkey. the other one had an interpol red notice, laachraoui also had an interpol red notice. and it appears that the raid that ultimately led to the capture of salah abdeslam was almost something of an accident, that authorities had been going in there thinking it was an empty apartment and it was only when three terrorists began firing live rounds of ammunition at them that they realized that they had stumbled upon something much deeper and much more dangerous. so today unsurprisingly perhaps,
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wolf, we saw the interior minister come forward offering his resignation. the prime minister actually refused and said it's an important time for belgium to stay strong, so now is not the time for you to resign, but we are definitely seeing a momentum building for accountability for these blunders, wolf. >> they need to create a commission of inquiry over there to learn from the blunders that clearly occurred to make sure it doesn't happen again. clarissa ward, thanks very much. joining us now, republican congressman adam kensinger of illinois. he introduced the bill that would require the administration and future administrations for that matter to give congress a detailed strategy to destroy isis and its affiliates. congressman, thanks very much for joining us. i'll get to that in a moment. but react, first of all, to the news we have that other -- that u.s. intelligence, law enforcement, counterterrorism officials are saying that there are other isis plots in europe right now in the pipeline.
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>> yeah, i think it's absolutely true. what we're seeing unfold is what many of us feared years ago, which is kind of these jihadist groups understanding in essence how to commit suicide bombs, understanding the psychological impact it has on the citizens and being able to do it through organizing on the dark parts of the internet. that intelligence agencies don't have the ability to read. i think it's something we need to be very concerned with and we need to obviously take them out in their home in syria and iraq, stay on the offensive, but give law enforcement the tools that they need. and the other big point on it is this. there's a lot of political rhetoric right now, but we have to understand that moderate muslims are our best allies in this fight. they're the ones that have the ability to notice if somebody at a mosque, for instance, is acting out of place or if somebody that lives next to them in the neighborhood maybe has some weird materials coming in and out of the house. this is a time we need to be opening dialogue with the moderate muslims in order to get
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the intelligence you need because you can't do it all from satellites and looking at encrypted things. >> information, congressman, including maps were found early are in the week at these apartments. how much can be learned about isis' planning for future terror attacks based on what they found so far? >> you know, i think we can learn a lot in terms of their techniques, in terms of their thinking. i think we can know that if there is a spot marked on a map, for instance, and isis is aware that we now have that map, that's probably not where they're going to hit, but we obviously have to be very careful of that. there's a lot that can be gleaned from this. but what's interesting and kind of my conjecture and what i think is going on is it's gone from where you used to have people that would go in and commit and suicide bombing and that was the end of the cell. now it appears that you almost have officers or lieutenants that kind of guide the suicide bombers, walk away to save themselves. the suicide bombers explode and then these officers, if you will, will go to the next
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network and stiffen the spines of those guys to make sure they follow through. so it's a little more level of complexity than what we've seen in the last decade or two out of these terrorists. >> it seems like a relatively new feature, suicide bombers go out and kill themselves. there are these guides that see what happened and they can use that background to plot future suicide bomb attacks. that's what you're saying, right? >> yeah, and you also look -- you know, it's not just suicide bombs anymore, it's guys showing up with ak-47s with military training and shooting innocent civilians. it's almost a hybrid of a straight military assault and suicide bombing and it's gotten way more complicated. it's frightening because when a guy walks away from two suicide bombers, he doesn't just melt away into civilian life again. he goes out and activates that next network and he can go as a hero that committed the first one. so it's this perpetual suicide network that we have to be very
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careful about and give law enforcement the tools that they need to do but we have to destroy this cancer in their home in raqqah and elsewhere. >> congressman, we have more information coming in. the chairman of the house intelligence committee says these terrorists may have been targeting americans. we'll get the congressman's reaction to that, more information coming in. we'll be right back. at mfs investment management, we believe in the power of active management. by debating our research to find the best investments. by looking at global and local insights to benefit from different points of view. and by consistently breaking apart risk to focus on long-term value. we actively manage with expertise and conviction. so you can invest with more certainty. mfs. that's the power of active management.
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we're back with the republican congressman adam kensinger of illinois. congressman, a man you know well, chairman of the house
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intelligence committee says it looks like americans may have been specifically targeted in this attack given the fact that the explosion, the bombing, the suicide attack at the airport occurred near where u.s. flights were taking off for the united states. a second bomb went off near a starbucks. what's the information you have? >> well, look, devon nunez great guy and privy to way more information than me as chairman of the intelligence committee but i think it's entirely possible. it could happen on one of two levels. one would be these attackers are sitting around their apartment and decide they want to hit the airport at a certain time because they know the american flights are leaving. or a target of opportunity. they walk into the terminal and notice this is an american flight with a lot of americans and decide that's where they're going to execute the attack. i think regardless of whether americans were targeted or not, and we ought to be very concerned if they were, this is an attack and any attack like this is against western values, against humanity in general. and this is the time when america needs to show strength of leadership, unite with our
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allies, moderate muslim allies as well and stand together to defeat this or this is only going to continue in perpetuity and we'll be talking about the next suicide bombing soon, unfortunately. >> we know about a dozen americans are in hospitals right now. they were injured and there are several americans right now, we don't know how many, but several americans who are missing. they haven't yet identified the 31 people who were killed so we'll wait for that information. there's also this information coming in. weeks after the paris attacks back in november, it was now discovered that someone in the belgian terror cell was keeping tabs on a nuclear researcher and could have been trying to build what's called a dirty bomb. how can the u.s. stop isis from doing that? >> well, look, we have to obviously control nuclear material where it exists, have good -- have good watch, good eyes on it. we have to have good radiation detection, which we do in a lot of major metropolitan areas. this is a serious problem. all it is is taking nuclear material on a traditional bomb and it spreads that and then renders whatever area it touches
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unuseable for hundreds of years. this is, again, among those that understand terrorism, one of our worst fears, one of our doom's day scenarios. this is the time where we have to unleash all the resources that we have to make sure we're protecting our people. look, a lot of this is unrealistic until it happens. 9/11 seemed unrealistic until september 11th and we saw what unraveled. >> senator mccain told me yesterday that there's a chemical weapons factory in raqqah that isis is controlling right now. it looks like isis is even in the midst of all of the efforts to undermine it, may be getting more powerful. >> yeah. i mean, look, we can roll them back in certain areas and we have and i commend the president where he's done that. but again, the perception is that they're being very successful and perception leads to reality. so you have these folks now that are sitting around on the verge of jihadism and see that isis is successful and are inspired to go join it. you're a bulls fan when you're
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doing well and maybe not when they're not. so this is something where dealing huge battlefield defeats to isis through indigenous forces -- probably my entire life we'll be engaged in this fight to some level. >> in light of the atam tack in belgium, you have introduced a bill demanding that the obama administration detail its isis strategy, how to destroy isis, but the attack was apparently much more about missed signals by europeans, belgian officials, for example. how do you fix that? >> well, look, obviously we have to hold the europeans accountable for information sharing. i think we have an amazing ability as a country to bring allies together so maybe if we can have conferences or whatever they do to say how do you share information in a better way. the other thing is you have to reach out to moderate muslims we trust in these communities to
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build human intelligence networks. i think maybe sharing our ability to do that with the europeans and crossing that information exchange may be one way to breach that. look, this is tough, there's no doubt about it. >> congressman adam kinzinger, thanks for joining us. >> you bet. take care. cnn has alarming information about how isis may be turning out dozens of specially made bomb makers just like the killer behind the belgium attacks. if you have allergy congestion muddling through your morning is nothing new.
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these are our neighbors. these are the people that we work with. that matters to me. i have three children that are going to grow up here and i want them to be able to enjoy all the things that i was able to enjoy. together, we're building a better california. our breaking news, counterterrorism officials now say multiple isis plots may be in the planning stage.
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dozens of isis operatives may be at large and targets already may have been picked out. we're also learning more about the brussels bombings. authorities say one of the suicide attackers was a skilled isis bomb maker. how many others does isis have? brian todd has been digging into this part of the story for us. what are you learning, brian? >> they could have dozens of bomb makers, wolf. tonight the family of the man believed to be an isis bomb maker, one of the men who blew himself up at the brussels airport, najim laachraoui, his family is condemning him tonight. his younger brother telling reporters the family is ashamed and had no idea this was coming. this comes as we are getting new information on how laachraoui was trained by isis and new details on the gains they have made in their bomb-making program. the new level of isis' bomb-making skill. horrifyingly apparent in the devastation at the brussels airport. belgian investigators believe this man on the far left, najim laachraoui, blew himself up inside the terminal.
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laachraoui was an isis bomb maker. officials have told cnn he was a key figure in the paris attacks last november. laachraoui's dna was found in the bomb factory which produced the paris explosives and he helped coordinate the assault. >> investigators believe laachraoui was on the phone with the attackers in realtime in paris, the three attack teams, the night of the attack. >> reporter: cnn is told gentleman nenajim laachraoui studied electrical engineering in college. none of his family had any contact with him since he went to syria in 2013. that's where he may have first received explosive training. he's likely to have been skilled in making bombs with tatp. the volatile, deadly peroxide-based explosive believed to have been used in brussels and paris. tonight cnn has learned important new clues on how isis trains its bomb makers. a u.s. official tells cnn based on its use of suicide bombers
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and ieds, isis has made significant gains in its training program. analysts believe the terror group has dozens of operatives with those skills. so why, after investing that time and effort in training najim laachraoui, would i sis allow him to blow himself up? >> i think that isis has people who have been trained to make bombs in a very assembly line manner and those people are more spendable. >> reporter: experts say isis has not shown an ability to slip bombs past security screening and onto passenger aircraft, like al qaeda's master bomb maker. but the brussels attacks showed they can make more portable, smaller bombs that back larger explosive power. and when belgian police arrested one of isis' paris plotters, they found evidence of its deadlier ambitions. >> in his residence, they found about ten hours of video surveillance footage of a belgian nuclear official, somebody working at a nuclear
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site, raising the possibility that they were interested in either launching an attack on a nuclear facility or somehow trying to get access to a nuclear facility to get material out of it. >> reporter: what are u.s. and european counterterrorism officials doing to stop these plots? the europeans are focusing on trying to stop more isis fighters from coming back into europe. a u.s. law enforcement official would not give sources and methods but did say tonight the fbi is working closely with u.s. intelligence to counter this threat. wolf. >> hope so. brian, you also have some additional information about what this isis bomb maker, this guy laachraoui, did in syria and how he managed to get back into europe. what did you learn? >> according to belgian court documents, najim laachraoui was in charge of receiving jihadists. we're told by members of his family and their lawyer that laachraoui returned to belgium in september of last year. belgian officials say he drove
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with salah abdeslam through the hungary-austria border at that time. they believe laachraoui presented a fake belgian i.d. with a fake name. >> let's bring in our counterterrorism analyst, phil mudd, our cnn national security analyst peter bergen and justice reporter evan perez. phil, if these bombs are getting easier to make, more portable, should we expect more terror attacks? >> i think so. remember, when we're talking about bombs in the past, we're talking about al qaeda trying to get small bombs on something like an aircraft of the expertise to build that bomb and to add items in it that don't have metal, for example, so it can get through an airport detector, that's a lot more difficult than what we're talking about here. here, the expertise required a lot less. you've got thousands of european kids in syria to train them to come back and say we don't need anything in an aircraft, we just need to wheel it in an airport. a lot easier to do. >> and that's exactly what they did in this case of the evan, if this bomb maker, laachraoui, if
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he could have the skills necessary to build a bomb like this and still become a suicide bomber and kill himself, what does that say? >> that means that isis believes that they have gotba bomb maker to spare. there's a teacher back in syria who's churning out graduates. they're sending them back to europe and they believe that these are spendable, there are others waiting in the wings to carry out attacks. >> what does it say to you, peter, there are a bunch of brothers now in various terror attacks to work together to go forward. in the "charlie hebdo" terror attacks, in boston the tsarnaev brothers were involved. family members and brothers working together to plot. >> not at all new. in fact in the 9/11 attacks, there were four brothers who were part of the 19 hijackers, so we've seen this before. obviously there's an advantage in having brothers. who are you going to trust more
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than your brother. you're not going to worry he's an informant. we also saw a married couple in san bernardino for the same reason. these people practice perfect operational security because they don't need to talk to anybody else about the plot. >> the house intelligence committee chairman, devon nunez, and he's privy to a lot of information, he's the chairman of the committee, he says he suspects these terrorists in brussels were targeting americans because they went after -- one of the explosions were near where flights to the united states were originating, near a starbucks. the brussels station was near the u.s. embassy in brussels. there were a dozen americans that were injured and who knows how many of the 31 were americans. there are a lot of americans who are missing right now. do you believe that americans were targeted? >> no, i don't buy it, wolf. in america we believe everything is about us. if there's an american within 20 yards we must say it must be an american target. this is simpler. this is branding by isis to say transportation targets like
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we've seen attacked across europe in the past, like we saw attacked on 9/11, transportation targets which are not only iconic but also shut down an economy are targets that we can still beat you with 15 years after 9/11. i think this is a simpler story than going after americans. >> what are you hearing from your sources? >> i think phil is right. there's no indication that intelligence officials have yet that this was targeted against americans. in fact where the bombings occurred was closer to a brussels airlines counter, not near the u.s. carriers at all. >> it was not that far from the united, the delta, the american airlines ticket counters. >> that's right, wolf, but it appears that they were targeting large crowds and at that hour there were plenty of flights, a very busy time for the airport. >> isis does have a history where they go into a terror attack, a suicide bombing of targeting specifics. the "charlie hebdo" attack, targeting the journalists, the jewish supermarket, the jewish center in belgium, going after jews, for example.
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so they do have political targets that they go after. >> sure, that's true. and we still -- there's a lot we still don't know about the target selection. the people involved are either dead or gone. but it seems that certainly americans were injured and -- by the law of averages, look, it's the center of europe. you're going to have americans in brussels airport at any given moment. >> paul cruickshank told us the terrorists who blew up that theater where that american rock band was performing, they asked as they were going in, where's the american band, where's the american band. >> right. >> so they specifically were looking for, quote, an american band. >> that is exactly right. they researched the schedule of this band. they were targeting that performance. >> my sense is devon nunez does not make an assertion like that, that they may have been targeting americans, unless people in the u.s. intelligence community or law enforcement community have told him this on some sort of classified basis or whatever. that's just my suspicion. all right, guys, stick around, we have more to discuss. the belgian terror attacks are putting national security front
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and center in the u.s. presidential campaign, but it hasn't stopped donald trump and ted cruz from getting into an increasingly shrill fight over one another's wives. coming up, what caused this outburst from senator cruz. >> i don't get angry often. but you mess with my wife, you mess with my kids, that will do it every time. donald, you're a sniveling coward and leave heidi the hell alone. score, thanks to experian.com. kaboom... get your credit swagger on. go to experian.com. become a member of experian credit tracker and take charge of your score. the market.redict but through good times and bad... ...at t. rowe price... ...we've helped our investors stay confident for over 75 years. call us or your advisor. t. rowe price. invest with confidence.
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we're covering breaking
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news. u.s. intelligence officials saying there are new warnings that fugitive isis terrorists are plotting and planning multiple new attacks in europe. the belgian terror bombings have changed the focus of the presidential campaign, but in addition to talking about national security, donald trump and ted cruz, they're feuding about each other's wives. cnn's sunlen serfaty is covering ted cruz for us. he unloaded on donald trump this afternoon. so why is cruz calling donald trump a sniveling coward? >> reporter: well, donald trump, wolf, has been really going after ted cruz's wife, bringing up her appearance and alleging that there's something in her past to spill the beans about. well, this really set ted cruz off today. and tonight he is launching this very emotional, very angry pushback, essentially saying to donald trump, back off. tonight donald trump and ted cruz are escalating their nasty spat involving their spouses. >> it's not easy to tick me off. i don't get angry often.
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but you mess with my wife, you mess with my kids, that will do it every time. donald, you're a sniveling coward, and leave heidi the hell alone. >> reporter: that after trump retweeted this split screen image of cruz's wife heidi and his wife melania, with the caption the images are worth a thousand words. >> real men don't try to bully women. that's not an action of strength, it's an action of weakness, it's an action of fear, it's an action of a small and petty man, who is intimidated boy strong women. >> reporter: fox news anchor megyn kelly, a regular trump target, also joining the fray with a one-word tweet to donald trump. seriously? cruz today blasting trump for bringing his wife into the middle of their campaign showdown. >> let me be absolutely clear. our spouses and our children are off bounds. it is not acceptable for a big, loud new york bully to attack my
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wife. >> reporter: the attacks were first sparked by a facebook ad from an anti-trump super pac, not the cruz campaign that used an old modeling photo of melania trump posing nude. but trump still insists his rival was somehow involved. >> i thought it was disgraceful. and ted cruz knew about it. >> reporter: the sharp personal attacks eclipsing the divisions over national security, now emerging as a flash point between the 2016 candidates on both sides in the wake of the brussels terror attacks. tonight hillary clinton angling for a symbolic contrast, sitting down with muslim leaders in california. the democratic front-runner blasting her gop rivals for pursuing policies that she says will only sow division. >> cannot allow our nation to be pitting groups of people against one another. we cannot give in to panic and fear.
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it's not in keeping with our values. >> reporter: this comes as a brand new cnn/orc poll shows if trump and clinton face off in a general election, 56% of voters believe that clinton will win compared with 42% who think trump will. and while clinton also has an edge when it comes to who would be a better commander in chief and who is more in touch with the middle class, she and trump are tied on the question of who is a stronger leader. and back on the donald trump/ted cruz fight today, the trump campaign has called for the cruz campaign to direct that anti-trump super pac to pull the ad of melania that's up on facebook. the cruz campaign tonight is responding. they say they have nothing to do with the ad and they have already denounced it. wolf. >> all right, thanks very much. coming up, we'll have more of the breaking news we're following. u.s. sources now saying investigators are aware of multiple additional isis plots in the works.
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we're also following a new round of north korean threats to wipe out its enemies. is kim jong-un's military perfecting the technology to do it. ♪ i love to take pictures that engage people. and to connect us with the wonderment of nature. the detail on this surface book is amazing. with the tiger image, the saliva coming off and you got this turning. that's why i need this kind of resolution and computing power. being able to use a pen like this. on the screen directly with the image. it just gives me a different relationship to it. and i can't do that on my mac. this is brilliant for me. ♪ i...just me...me andrd my four daughters....
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as we follow the breaking news in the belgium terror investigation, we're seeing some ominous new saber rattling coming in from kim jong-un's north korea which is threatening to turn parts of south korea into, quote, a sea of flames and ashes. our pentagon correspondent barbara starr has been working her sources. what's are you hearing about this latest nuclear threat from north korea? >> tonight i have to tell you most of the sources i'm telling
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you, analysts in the intelligence community, military officials, u.s. administration officials express growing concern about this north korean rhetoric. u.s. officials are telling me that they now believe it is probable in their analysis in some analysis that north korea has a miniaturized nuclear warhead. not a firm conclusion but some in the intelligence community believe he probably does have a miniaturized warhead. why is this so significant? if kim jong-un can put a warhead, a nuclear warhead on a ballistic missile, launch it and have it hit a target thousands of miles away, this gives him the capability to pose a threat to the united states, to the asian allies, to really up end security around the world. and this missile that he wants to put it on, at least one of the missiles, is a mobile missile so finding that launcher will be very difficult in times of war. and it's also solid fuel. what does that mean?
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that means it's all fueled up ready to go on a mobile launcher that can be running around north korean country roads launching a nuclear warhead. that's the scenario that's had the u.s. most worried. and tonight they believe that kim may have achieved a significant step down that road and that's a miniaturized warhead. whether it works right now, who knows. but they do think in the words of one official probably he has one. >> are officials also concerned north korea will conduct another underground nuclear test? >> extremely concerned, wolf. there's an underground nuclear site where the north koreans have dug some three underground tunnels that they could put test material into. one of those tunnels for a variety of engineering reasons is very available right now to the north koreans. u.s. officials telling me they are seeing signs that north korea may be preparing for another underground test. he wants to try making a
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hydrogen bomb. all of this ads up to kim jong-un is very determined to go down the road of these weapons, these nuclear weapons, wolf. >> barbara, thank you. bar ra starr reporting. coming up, much more on the breaking news. u.s. counterterrorism officials warning that isis has multiple plots going on in europe right now. electronic intercepts, human intelligence, maps found in a raid suggest that the targets have already been picked out. aren't moving in the right direction,bers it can be a burden.
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happening now -- breaking news. more isis plots. investigators tipped off to multiple terror attacks being planned right now in europe.
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isis operatives set to be eyeing several -- several possible targets. where might they strike next? expanding manhunt. the search for a second terror suspect under way tonight in belgium and beyond. the man caught on camera only moments before the deadly subway explosion. are there even more suspects at large? aimed at americans? growing suspicion the airport bombings were timed and located to kill the maximum number of u.s. citizens as they prepared to board flights home from belgium. dozens of nationalities are among the victims. were the killers trying to single out one? and spousal spat. as terror shockwaves spread, a new war erupts between two republican presidential candidates. donald trump and ted cruz fighting over their wives and a series of jaw-dropping tweets. now an outraged cruise is calling trump a coward. how will the gop front-runner respond? we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around
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the world. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." >> this is cnn breaking news. >> breaking news and a chilling terror revelation tonight. u.s. counterterrorism officials are telling cnn that investigators know of multiple isis plots in europe in various stages of planning. they say the plots are possibly linked to the terrorist cells that carried out the attacks in brussels and paris. also a senior belgian counterterrorism official is telling cnn that investigators believe the brussels isis cell was composed of two teams. one team allegedly planning a larger attack or a series of attacks but after the arrest of the paris terror suspect salah abdeslam last week, investigators believe the second team launched the airport and subway attacks. and the manhunt expanding. with police now looking for a second suspect caught on camera
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at the scene of the subway bombing. he's believed to be on the run as is the man in the light colored clothing seen with the suicide bombers at the brussels airport. we're covering all angles of the breaking news this hour with our guest, including the chairman of the house foreign affairs committee, ed royce, correspondents and expert analysts, they are also standing by. let's begin with cnn justice correspondent pamela brown. major new developments tonight in the terror investigation. what are you learning? >> u.s. officials say a combination of electronic intercepts, human sources and database fracking indicate possible targets have been picked out by isis operatives over the next several months. and the concern is that others believed to be connected to the brussels cell and paris cells will launch more attacks in europe in the near future. tonight, as new video emerges of the bloody chaos at brussels airport, investigators are analyzing new evidence indicating other potential
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targets had been chosen. the evidence includes maps found in an apartment connected to tuesday's attacks, according to a u.s. intelligence source. a belgian counterterrorism official says investigators believe the brussels isis cell was composed of two teams which were planning a larger attack or series of attacks in belgium. after police discovered paris ringleader salah abdeslam's hiding place in brussels last week, investigators believe the second team accelerated their time table. this as investigators are now searching for a second unidentified suspect. a man was spotted on surveillance video at the maalbeek metro station. they believe he's alive and on the run along with this unidentified man spotod surveillance video. he dropped off a massive bomb before fleeing. we're learning more about the three identified suicide
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bombers. 24-year-old naseem laachraoui who set off one of the explosions at the brussels airport. ibrahim el bakraoui, the other suicide bomber at the airport. he was arrested in turkey last june and deported. and his brother khalid who detonated the bomb at the metro station. belgi belgium's interior minister offered to resign admitting that belgian authorities missed an opportunity to stop ibrahim el bakraoui after he was arrested in turkey last june and deported. >> i think it is justified that people ask how it is possible that someone was released early and we missed the chance when he was in turkey to detain him. >> reporter: belgian officials say they believe el bakraoui's brother khalid used a fank i.d. to rent a safehouse where some attackers hid out and where police arrested salah abdeslam. after police discovered abdeslam's hiding place last week, investigators believe the second team, including suspected
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bombmaker najim laachraoui accelerated their time table. they believe it consisted of the el bakraoui brothers and at least two others on the run. let's bring in clarissa ward. she's in brussels. we're getting some new information about an ongoing anti-terror raid near paris. what are you learning? >> what we know so far is these raids are ongoing, unfolding. they are taking place in the paris suburb. we just heard from the french interior minister. they believe they have foiled a significant plot. that it was in an advanced stage. essentially earlier today they arrested a person who was a high level threat. that person then led to this tip which precipitated these ongoing raids. now the interior minister also asked journalists essentially to refrain from speculating too much, to refrain from asking too many questions to understand
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that this is an ongoing fluid and potentially dangerous situation. but he also stressed that this was the result of a weeks long investigation that relied heavily on european cooperation. obviously european leaders across the continent trying to show the rest of the world they are cooperating. they are sharing information. and so essentially we're waiting to hear more about what the specific target of this attack was, when it was supposed to take place but what we know so far, just to recap, that this attack was in an advanced stage and that a high level threat has been aborted, essentially. one person arrested and those raids still ongoing, wolf, in the paris suburb of arjantoi. >> any word if they have a connection to the november paris terror attacks or the more recent attacks this week in brussels? >> so far no indication of that. the only thing we do know is
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that he is a french national. obviously with the paris and the belgium attacks, most of the perpetrators involved were either french nationals or belgian nationals with the exception of two iraqi nationals who also participated in the paris attacks. but at this stage, we're seeing a really common thread here which is european leaders being quite tight lipped trying to give as little information to journalists as they can for the obvious reason, of course, that they don't want journalist activity to tip off people in the larger network of potentially threaten these ongoing operations. >> which certainly makes a lot of sense. clarissa, thank you. clarissa ward from brussels. let's get more on all of this. the chairman of the house foreign affairs committee, ed royce of california. mr. chairman, thanks very much for joining us. i want to get your reaction first of all to the news there could be multiple terror plots in the works right now. how likely would it be for another plot to go off in europe in the midst of all this
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information that's being released? >> very likely. i had the conversations with european authorities. not only scotland yard overwhelmed here or feel they are but the continental europeans in particular. and belgium is a case in point where there were grave concerns about just the sheer number per capita of people coming from belgium to train with isis and then going back with the skill set. this is the problem in europe. the continental europeans are overwhelmed right now in terms of their ability to keep up with the sheer numbers of former terrorists coming -- or terrorists who participate in training with isis in the middle east and then come back to carry out these attacks. >> mr. chairman it was revealed by belgium authorities they are seeking a second suspect from the brussels metro bombing. what, if anything, are you
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hearing about this person? >> i haven't heard a lot about this individual. i think the bomber najim the bomber who, obviously, is now dead who carried out the bomb attacks in the first paris attack, he clearly committed suicide here in this last attack. but in terms of the ability to keep up with these individuals, here's the problem, wolf. the strategy should be to have a comprehensive strategy and deploy it to defeat isis so as to end their ability to use their training facilities to keep putting these individuals back into europe with the order of attacking. there's no way we're going to be able to monitor the whereabouts of these individuals and catch them after the fact. what we need to do is to go forcefully forward with a plan
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to defeat isis and remove the -- >> you don't see that happening by the united states right now? a specific plan to destroy isis? >> no. there was a law that we put into effect giving direction to the executive branch for the president to come up with a strategy to do exactly that. for those of us that have advocated for a long time for, you know, forward deploying some of our special operations people, for arming the sunni tribes and arming the kurdish military that are doing the fighting, for changing the -- and creating a much more robust list of rules of engagement for our air force there, for those of us that feel that all of that is necessary in order to push isis into obliteration, take them out of raqqah and out of all the other cities that they hold, we don't see this happening. instead we see them expanding
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into libya. we see them expanding around the globe, including in afghanistan. and we see the same arguments about whether or not we're going to use our air power to hit them in afghanistan. we watch that same argument play out that we had for some 12 months before we even hit isis with respect to their expansion out of raqqah in syria. so we need to have the united states lead on this. leading from behind is not working for us here. >> your colleague, the house intelligence committee chairman devon nunez says it looks like americans were actually targeted in these brussels attacks. do you believe that to be the case since the first bomb went off at a location at the airport terminal where flights to the united states were about to take off? the second bomb went off close to a starbucks at the airport terminal and at least a dozen americans have been injured and on who knows how many of the 31 killed are americans?
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>> i think devon is exactly right on that. when the bomb is placed before the american airlines counter and it's just before the flight to philadelphia, and on top of it, you combine that with what isis has said about targeting american targets, as well, of course, european targets, which explains the eu and so forth and the metro stop. but the reality is the targeting is on americans and europeans. and we can expect more of it. and unfortunately that target is not just confined to europe. they will attempt. and this is why the united states has to be ever vigilant on this. they will attempt to carry out more of those style attacks and take it into the united states. >> mr. chairman, stand by for a moment. we have more information coming in. i'll need you to answer some more questions. we'll take a quick break. more with the chairman of the house foreign affairs committee after this.
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we're following the breaking news. u.s. counterterrorism officials are telling cnn that's investigators now know of multiple isis plots in europe in various stages of planning. we're back with the chairman of the house foreign affairs committee, republican congressman ed royce of california. mr. chairman, weeks after the paris attacks back in november, it was discovered that someone in the belgian terrorist cell was actually keeping tabs on a nuclear researcher there and could have been trying to build what's described as a dirty bomb. how can the united states stop isis from doing that? >> well, there's a couple of points here. one again, i'd go back to the argument we need to take the war to isis. wipe them out in raqqah. take away the land they hold and
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the training they're doing. secondarily i've held issues on this possibility of penetration of a dirt i bomb into the united states. in the past we've held these hearings in order to look at how we could better beef up our border security. this is another important step that we have to take. a third step is one that we have taken, and that is in changing the law with respect to the visa waiver program so that we don't automatically bring people in from europe with european passports who have gone to syria, come back to europe and then come into the united states with intent to do harm. that makes it harder to introduce such a device into the united states and the kocontin t continental united states. so all of these steps need to be taken in tandem starting with that first principle, that first point. if you take away the command and
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control center in raqqah for isis and take away their ability to train there, really set back this movement. you've taken down their capability to recruit to a large extent as well. >> the defense secretary ash carter says there's an underlying problem in europe. for example, turkey deported ibrahim el bakraoui, one of the terrorists, flagging him to belgian authorities. interpol had a wanted notice out for his brother, one of the other suicide bombers. what's going on over there? whose fault is this? it looks like multiple intelligence, law enforcement failures in belgium. >> as we discussed earlier, it's long been a concern and this sort of confirms it in terms of the ability of the belgian state to handle the sheer number of isis fighters that have come back into belgium, first of all, and second, those from elsewhere in europe tend to go to belgium nrd to plan their operations
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because belgium being a small country doesn't have the type of law enforcement capacity that, for example, the french do. nor do they have the kinds of relationships with other states, other allied states in this fight against isis that allows them to effectively use intelligence quickly. and so it's a pretty bureaucratic system there in brussels. >> they, obviously, need some sort of commission of inquiry to review the blunders that occurred and learn from them so it doesn't happen again. i'd highly recommend they do that. final word, go ahead. >> let me share with you an irony. we brought up a bill by lee zeldon just before we -- just the day before the attack. and the focus was on states like belgium and setting a minimum standard for their airport security, for their methodology of trading information with us, about those who fly out of those
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airports, and it's something that is really needed because we've got considerable leverage, and we've got a lot of expertise that we can give to the belgians and others. they need to accept that expertise and step up their game because this is the consequences of, partly, of not being prepared. you can't fully prepare but at least you can be state of the art. and the united states has done a lot of good work on this and needs to share that intelligence and accept it. >> good point, mr. chairman. thanks very much for joining us. >> thank you. >> ed royce is the chairman of the house foreign affairs committee. much more breaking news coming in to the situation room right now including more details of multiple isis plots believed to be in the works right now in europe. also, donald trump and ted cruz. they are engaged in a bitter war of words involving their wives. and senator cruz is livid. >> i don't get angry often. but you mess with my wife, you
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this is cnn breaking news. >> breaking news coming in to the situation room right now. officials say isis is planning to follow the bombings in belgium with new attacks on multiple targets throughout
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europe. meanwhile, cnn has learned that a large counterterrorism raid is under way in brussels right now. our senior international correspondent nick paton walsh is at the site of the ongoing operation. what are you hearing? what are you seeing? what are you learning? >> it's relatively quiet in the schaerbeek area of brussels. you get four or five white trucks. police have been moving around them. one appears to be a truck for dogs sniffing out substances. there's a large number down that road. a very large area sealed off this road here but also the roads that span about four or five blocks continuing around this area. unclear quite why such a large amount of territory has to be sealed. we have locals here complaining. many of them can't simply get back to their homes. and also reports that perhaps in the past hours or so people have heard helicopters in the skies
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above. clearly there has been some intense activity. more intense in the past hours but a substantial area sealed off. remember, wolf, there are two individuals at least if not three who police are still searching for. the man in the white seen in cctv in the airport. another man seen in cctv outside of the metro station. unclear if he died in the metro blast. fears that that cell may be potentially have had other plans afoot. the ones which were impacted by the arrest of abdeslam. 40 pounds worth of explosives left behind in the flat causing many to be concerned that perhaps other plots afoot which maybe these raids here behind me may somehow be connected to try and stop. >> enough bomb-making material to kill many more people.
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nick paton walsh, we'll check back with you. joining us, our terrorism experts, justice reporter evan perez, cnn terrorism analyst paul cruickshank and michael weis, a senior editor at the daily beast. paul, what do investigators know about these other isis plots that are in the works right now linked to both paris and the brussels cells? >> well, wolf, as pamela brown has been reporting, there's been human intelligence, intercepts coming in, suggesting that there are several plots in the works from isis operatives in europe at various stages of planning. that they were set in motion in the wake of the paris attacks. but authorities are trying to untangle exactly what the threat is. intelligence is often more an art than a science. often fragmentary intelligence coming in. but i can tell you this, wolf. they are very, very concerned
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that isis is accelerating its natural attack plotting in europe. belgium has borne much of the brunt of this. there's a major isis network that has managed to establish itself in belgium, in brussels. that network responsible for the paris attacks and the brussels attacks. the very same cell responsible for those to the concern now is that some of that network still at large in brussels, still can have access to bombs and guns. and we could see another terrible day unfold soon. >> you also have some additional details i'm told, paul, on the structure of the cell that actually carried out the brussels attacks. what have you learned? >> that's right, wolf. according to a senior belgium counterterrorism official, they believe, investigators, that there were two teams who were going to be part of either a larger attack or string of attacks that were planned for some later date. well, team one was composed of
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salah abdeslam and the overall ringleader, mohamed belkaid. and another individual. they were holed up in a safe house in brussels last tuesday when belgian security services essentially stumbled on their apartment. they weren't expecting them to be there. there was a firefight. when they went in they discovered a kalashnikov, detonators, an isis flag, ammunition. all this suggesting salah abdeslam and those members of that first team were going to be part of a gun and bomb paris-style attack on the streets of brussels. then the second team, when they got wind of the fact the safehouse had been raided, that salah abdeslam had been arrested, they were worried, authorities believed the net was closing in on them. so they pushed the accelerator button on the plot, a smaller plot than was originally intended but a horrible, devastating attack nonetheless on the metro. they had so much explosive there, enough for a cell which
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is at least twice as big because there are other people, wolf, who were involved in this network in brussels that had already been arrested. >> evan, what are you learning about efforts under way to disrupt these terror plots that may be in the pipeline? >> officials call it a ticking time bomb. and the frustraiting thing is te attackers have all the advantage. they know when they can attack, pick targets of opportunity. plenty of soft targets. the belgians lowered their terror readiness level. here in the united states people feel that certainly it's still at the highest levels. they are very concerned an attack could be in the offing. they've been seeing this. they know very little about the specifics of what could be coming and that's what's frustrating them. >> michael, what are these details we do know about these plans that may be in the works of isis. what does it say about what isis has in mind to do throughout europe and even here in the united states? >> well, wolf, what i've been hearing from actually inside of isis and from people who have
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recently left is that paris was a sea change for them. the staggering success of that operation has meant that muhammad al anani's, phase two of the caliphate, they are putting everything into this. and they have many europeans trained up in syria who have been dispatched back into europe. the number that i've seen reported this week is something like 400. i believe it's much higher than that. and they are absolutely now scrambling to accelerate plots that have been under way. i've heard that germany is a very possible likely target, in fact. again, take this all with a pinch of salt given the providence of the source, but they are in a very boastful mood about this. they think they can absolutely paralyze europe. and europe is indeed, that's got the bull's-eye on it more than north america. >> you believe that's why the state department issued this extraordinary travel alert this week in the aftermath of the
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brussels bombings? terrorist groups continue to plan near-term attacks targeting sporting events, tourist sites, restaurant and transportation. telling americans be very careful if you are planning on going to europe any time soon. >> for the first time in my life, i won't travel to europe. i'm taking it that seriously. >> really? >> yeah. >> because of imminent terror plots? >> yes. >> paul, you are from belgium. you were born there. you know that country and all of europe right now. paul, what do you think? >> well, people are scared, wolf. there's no doubt about it. isis have succeeded in really scaring the european publics because there really is a significant threat. the arithmetic is really worrying more than 6,000 european extremists who have traveled to syria and iraq. many of them joining isis. 1500 who have come back and this is beyond the capacity european
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security services to keep europe safe right now. to prevent these attacks getting through. a lot of these jihadis that have joined isis have pre-existing ties to criminal networks, petty crime. they can easily get hold of automatic weapons, kalashnikovs and deadly as we saw play out in paris. just with a few kalashnikovs you can create absolute carnage. i think the uk, there's slightly less of a threat there because there's fewer guns in the uk that are available on the black market. you need to smuggle them in. the countries most at threat right now, jrmgermany, i agree with. holland because it's part of that anti-isis coalition. before the paris attacks there was fragmentary intelligence that came in to western intelligence that isis was planning a vicious plan to attack five european cities, including paris, a major city in
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belgium, but also berlin and london and another city. they've hit two of those five so far. cities in germany, cities in the netherlands, i think, especially vulnerable moving forward. isis will want to send a statement they can hit all these countries. what they want to provoke, wolf, is a backlash against muslims in europe because they think that's going to help them with their recruitment. the way things are going right now, there's real worry about social cohesion across the european union. >> we have to take a quick break. this travel advisory from the state department was not just for belgium. it was in their words throughout europe. u.s. citizens should exercise vigilance when in public places or using mass transportation. be aware of immediate surroundings. avoid crowded places. exercise particular caution during religious holidays and at large festivals or events. much more on the breaking news right after this. (music plays) hi i'm kristie and i'm jess.
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♪ we can't let you download on the goooooo! ♪ ♪ you'll just have to miss it! ♪ yeah, you'll just have to miss it! ♪ ♪ we can't let you download... uh, no thanks. i have x1 from xfinity so... don't fall for directv. xfinity lets you download your shows from anywhere. i used to like that song. we're watching multiple anti-terror raids under way right now. one in brussels. another near paris. these come amid concerns the brussels terrorists were targeting americans when they set off bombs at the brussels airport. authorities are searching for what's they say is a second suspect in that metro attack who may have escaped. we know one airport bomber escaped as well.
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salah abdeslam escaped after paris. what role does this escapee, shall we call him, play in the attacks right now? >> they are trying to figure that's out, wolf, at this hour. with the metro attack, it appears that this individual was on the platform with one of the bakraoui brothers, the metro bomber, and one of the bakraoui brothers went in to the metro carriage and then you have, of course, the explosion as the train is pulling away from the station, as i understand. and on the cctv footage, this individual is pictured at the metro station with a large bag. of course, we know that this cell has used suitcases to put bombs inside. so one of the worries is, what's is in that large bag? where did he go? and who might he be linking up with next? might one of those people be
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that third individual seen at the airport, the individual seen with a cap and a light anarak who for whatever combination of reasons abandoned his suitcase bomb and started running from the scene. did he decide to back out of the plan? did something not work? what is he going to do next? what we have seen, wolf, with this cell and it's the very same cell behind the paris attack is a lot of determination to carry through with attacks. if at first they don't succeed to try again until they can go to paradise from that point of view. one last thought here, with the paris attacks, there was that second wave plan that the ringleader in paris abdelhamid
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abaaoud was trying to hit. there's concern that whatever is left of this cell could launch some kind of attack with the world's attention squarely on brussels. >> michael, do the brussels targets, the new targets discovered by investigators indicate that americans may be specifically targeted? >> the airport was targeted because they wanted to hit as many foreign nationals. they injured a dozen americans. if they can't strike us on the u.s. homeland they'll strike us while we travel abroad. this is one of the reasons the state department issued this travel advisory warning. americans are the top prize to isis because we are the world's superpower and, according to their conspiratorial world view, the force of all evil against sunni muslims in the region. so, absolutely, they are trying to get us. >> evan, we know at least a dozen americans were injured in the terror attacks in brussels out of 300 or so who were
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injured. of the 31 who were killed, they haven't officially released identities, we know there are several americans who are listed as missing but they haven't been identified yet. none of them have been identified yet. what are you hearing? >> there's certainly a growing fear among u.s. authorities, wolf, that because there's so many americans who have not been heard from, family members who are talking to members of their families, phones get cut off and they haven't heard from them since, they are fearing the worst. we may hear there may be fatalities among the americans. we don't know yet. it's not been confirmed. that's one reason we have the fbi there in brussels trying to assist the belgian authorities because it is something at the top of their agenda. >> stand by. as the hours pass since the attacks, families of the missing, some of them american, are facing the very grim possible ut their loved ones will never come home. sasha and alexander pinczowski orp the phone with their mother while checking in for their
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flight back to the united states when the phone went dead. emily eisenman was looking forward to seeing her boyfriend bart migom. she called to check on him but no one answered. >> it's been the worst days of my life. i just guess i didn't know how much one person can love another until -- until you just don't know where they're at. >> andre adam was waiting for a flight to miami with his wife danielle when the explosion tore through the terminal. danielle was found injured, but alive. andre is still missing. >> and then the missing couple from tennessee, tiffany and justin shults at the airport during the attack. the state department told them the two americans were injured but a belgian official later contacted justin's mother and said that information was incorrect. justin's brother says he'll keep
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praying for the couple to be found alive and well. we'll be right back. ♪ in new york state, we believe tomorrow starts today. all across the state, the economy is growing, with creative new business incentives, the lowest taxes in decades, and new infrastructure for a new generation attracting the talent and companies of tomorrow. like in rochester, with world-class botox. and in buffalo, where medicine meets the future. let us help grow your company's tomorrow - today - at business.ny.gov everhas a number.olicy but not every insurance company understands the life behind it.
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watching tvs get sharper, oh remotes, you've had it tough. bigger,
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smugger. and you? rubbery buttons. enter the x1 voice remote. now when someone says... show me funny movies. watch discovery. record this. voila. remotes you are back. the x1 voice remote is here. x1 customers get your voice remote by visiting xfinty.com/voiceremote. we're covering the breaking news. belgium authorities announced arrests in new raids across brussels. let's go to paul cruickshank. what else are you learn, paul. >> reporter: the belgium interior minister has announced there's been a major terror operation in schaerbeek in brussels, but he has announced
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five arrests. this appears potentially to be a significant breakthrough. quite how it relates to the brussels attacks we await to hear, but the tenor of this tweet suggests a significant breakthrough tonight. five arrests. they may be major arrests. >> paul cruickshank, thank you. we're also following important developments in the campaign for the white house, including the highly personal skirmish escalating between donald trump and ted cruz. >> politics has taken a turn for the ugly today. donald trump is going after ted cruz's wife. we saw a very angry response from ted cruz today as he argues family members should be off-limi off-limits. >> it's not easy to tick me off. i don't get angry often. but you mess with my wife, you mess with my kids, that'll do it
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every time. donald, you're a sniveling coward, and leave heidi the hell alone. >> reporter: the attacks just got a little too personal. that's after donald trump tweeted this image. trump's insult comes after he threatened to spill the beans about cruz's wife after an old modelling photo of melania trump posing nude appeared in an ad, even though the ad came from a cruz superpac and not the cruz campaign. tweeting, seriously? today, cruz unleashed saying trump appears to have a problem with strong women. >> donald does seem to have an issue with women. donald doesn't like strong women. strong women scare donald.
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now, donald is scared a lot these days. donald is scared to debate. he ran away from the last debate that was scheduled because he was scared of megyn kelly and because he was scared to defend his policies. >> reporter: meanwhile trump is still hammering cruz, releasing this video slamming the texas senator's recent spate of endorsements. >> ted cruz is not my favorite by any means. >> reporter: a trump nomination could cost the gop the election. >> donald trump is a train wreck and he hands the election to hillary clinton. >> reporter: a new poll shows trump faces steep odds in the general. 56% of voters protect hillary clinton could beat him in a head-to-head battle. while the two are nearly even on who would be the strongest leader, clinton trounces trump on her ability to reality to
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middle-class problems and handle the speedometresponsibilities o commander and chief. >> cannot allow our nation to be pitting groups of people against one another. and it plays into the hands of terrorists who want nothing more than to intimidate and terrorize people. >> reporter: now, donald trump isn't one to apologize and today is no different. he took to twitter this afternoon to say i didn't start the fight with lying ted cruz over the "gq" cover pic of melania. he knew the superpac did. >> gloria, barbara boxer, the democratic senator from california, tweeted this. real donald trump has once again insulted all women. he does not deserve even one woman's vote. how could this potentially hurt
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him getting female support? >> look, he is of all the republican candidates doing the best with republican women, wolf. he is up nine points over cruz. he is almost triple over john kasich with republican women. should he become the nominee in a general election, 74% of women have an unfavorable view of donald trump. hillary clinton, while she has her own problems, when you pit her against trump, she's up with women 21 points. however, he does very well with white men. and if he can make up the gender gap that way, this wasn't hurt him that much at all. what we see today is the fact that ted cruz is trying to make up some ground. yes, he's obviously upset about what trump tweeted about his wife, but he's kind of laid down the gauntlet today. he now has to beat donald trump. this is war. they're going to go to war in the state of wisconsin pretty soon, and he's got to beat him
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there. this is one way he clear lly believes he can do it. >> the next big contest in wisconsin april 5th. how is ted cruz handling this? >> i think he's handling it very well, as effectively as you can. it's probably going to do more to hurt trump than to help cruz. in that sense, it helps cruz. there has been a gender gap in the republican race. donald trump has run consistently better among men than women. the problem for ted cruz, though, is that the calendar is moving toward the states with fewer evangelical voters. there is no state yet in which he has carried most evangelical voters. it was kind of an ominous shot today where a poll came out in pennsylvania where he was only 11% among voters who are not evangelicals. >> for months, you've been out
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there on the campaign trail with donald trump. this issue of women keeps coming up. you've noticed it obviously. >> that's right. it came up with megyn kelly. the anti-trump superpac ran an ad about the comments he's made about women. in the past, there was carly fiorina. republican have been loathe to bring this up. they feel it is more like an attack democrats would make, but democrats are sitting by chomping at the bit to make this an attack. you can bet everyone who is supporting hillary clinton is already building a file of these comments donald trump has made about women and they're going to use them against him in the general election. it took him attacking a republican's wife for it to come up. >> given what's going on in the world, hillary clinton gave a foreign policy speech yesterday, which was political and clearly aimed at donald trump, but a serious speech. here you have in the middle of brussels ted cruz and donald trump fighting over pictures of
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their wives. i think it's unseemly. if you're an independent voter out there and you're thinking down the road about the general election, this is clearly something that's going to come up about the level of debate in the republican party. >> ron, go ahead. >> you're looking at in donald trump a candidate with unprecedented, unfavorable ratings among the general public to be in this position. hillary clinton is in a weak position too, but if you look at the new cnn/orc poll, he's looking at an 82% among non-white voters, almost me il this group. you have this situation where republicans are kind of looking
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at trump, growing more and more uneasy about his ability to contest a general election. yet, unable to coalesce behind one alternative, allowing him to motor toward the nomination as a plurality frontrunner. >> thanks, guys. we'll continue this down the road. thanks very much for watching. next, live in brussels with breaking news tonight. a major counterterror raid. isis is in various stages of planning multiple attacks while the manhunts for at least two suspects intensifies tonight. i'll speak to the brother of the suspected bomb maker in tuesday's attacks. his warning to belgian officials years ago. ted cruz like you've never seen him before, calling trump a sniveling coward who should leave his wife the hell alone. let's go

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