tv Channel 3 News Today NBC March 22, 2016 6:00am-7:00am EDT
capital, the government buildings there. so this morning we are starting to take the toll as the reports come in as we watch what unfolds in brussels, the heart of europe and a city on lockdown right now. >> the people of europe waking up to images of terror. people all around the world waking up to the same as you watch the injured being carried away from the airport in brussels this morning. >> we'll take a moment and let our stations pause and rejoin us at the top of the hour. good evening, everybody. 6:00 a.m. on the east coast, 3:00 a.m. in the west and 11:00 a.m. in brussels belgium. terror attacks at the airport and the subway system there. we have matt lauer with me as we cover this. we're going to pause for a moment to let our stations join in.
hour. just after 8:00 local time in brussels this morning there were two explosions at the airport there. one in the curb side check in area. the other inside the departure terminal. the second of those two blasts, we're not sure of the order of them but the departure terminal blast sealed to be devastating. a large explosive device that did enormous damage. 13 people confirmed dead. lots of others have been injured at a very busy time at that airport. 8:00 in the morning. people rushing to catch planes. other flights arriving in other parts of that airport. people were taken to a tarmac area where they were held for awhile. there had to be an enormous effort made to make sure that the people walking away were passengers and not members of
time later attacks in the metro system. >> just striking fear in the heart of europe this morning. let's get to keir simmons following this along with us. we just heard from the prime minister of belgium what we feared all along. yes, indeed, this is a terror attack. >> that's right, savannah. brussels is in lock down now. rail stations, the airport, rams, buses, all shutting down for fear of a further attack around just after 8:00 a.m. we first heard reports of some kind of an explosion at the airport and then we began to get the pictures of windows blown out and debris around. it was becoming clear quickly many people would be injured if not killed and we now believe 13 have been killed at the airport. reports then began to emerge that there were perhaps two explosions at the airport and
another explosion at a metro station not far away from the european union building. bronchusels is the capital of europe. it's the place where european government business is conducted. that metro station was in the place where many of the paris attackers came from back in november last year. so concerns very quickly raised, savannah, that this was not an accident. that this was another attack in the heart of europe and a substantial one. one that appeared to have been coordinated. >> let's put this in perspective and talk about the timing of all of this. these bombings take place just four days after the arrest of the alleged ring leader of the paris attacks last year. he was arrested there last
he apparently allegedly told investigators there were others in that area and something else was being planned and now four days later we have these attacks and as we talked about with pete williams, we have talked about throughout this coverage so far we tonight know whether these attacks had been previously plans and were what abdeslam was referring to or if after his arrest that his associates became so alarmed they might be compromised that they simply decided with whatever they had at their disposal to go out and create carnage. pete, i'll bring you in on that note. >> that's right. the authorities are saying that the attack in the airport in belgium was, in fact, a suicide attack. what does that mean? it means it was a person that had the explosives who detonated
it was not a remote controlled device or something set off remotely but precisely what the delivery mechanism is we still don't know. whether this was a suicide vest, as you have been noting, it seems like it would be more explosive than that. was it contained in baggage? was it in a suitcase or a box? we just don't know they're trying to figure that out now. that's going to take time to try to reassemble and figure out what it was. that report is based in part on witnesses rather than on the forensic work it would take to figure out how the device was configured. >> in terms of your sources here in this country, what are they telling you about your fears for something similar here and any precautions they maybe ready or willing to take here? >> well, the fears of these sorts of attacks in the u.s. really have been at a higher
overseas but at the same time the intelligence and security people here in the u.s. recognized that the threat picture is just simply very different because of where we are and where they are. the foreign fighter problem, the number of people from western european countries pouring into syria to join isis and then coming back or having connections to people that have done so is just an order of magnitude far worse in europe than it is here. the number of people in the u.s. that have been to syria is probably less than 200. it's many times that in europe and that's what has been concerning officials in europe. so much more than in the u.s. the concern has been elevated here. you have seen some step up security measures at airports especially. the question we're waiting to get an answer to this morning,
the united states or what is transit in the united states going to do as a precaution based on the attacks in europe. >> you have articulated it so well this morning, this is an area of an airport that is very, very difficult to secure. this is presecurity. this is before people and passengers are sent through that rather elaborate screening process we have all been used to. this is when you pull up to the airport. >> this has always been the concern here about airport security and what we have seen is when there have been attacks or threats against airports some airports do these things on their own. just to stress here that the security of airport facilities, buildings, access, this is not a federal responsibility. it's up to the airports. the feds take over past the security checkpoints. so what airports themselves do
based on past experience many of them are going to reassess. some may restrict access by cars. we have seen that. we just don't know yet. we're waiting to hear. the department of homeland security is k trying to decide what recommendations to give to airports in the u.s. but so far we haven't heard any changes. obviously the thing to do is what can we he tell people going to u.s. airports today that they can expect to see differently based on what happened? and my assumption is they won't see a lot different but there may be some further scrutiny of vehicles as they approach airports. nypd has said this is something they routinely do, they're going to step up security at airports, bridges, tunnels, transit points, subway stations and so forth. >> unfortunately it's not unpredictable that this would be
terrorist. this was a soft target and relatively low hanging fruit for a terrorist that wanted to inflict maximum harm. are there security measures perhaps not visible to us for these kinds of areas or is this area, departure lounge, this thing at airports around the world really as vulnerable as it seems? >> when we have seen attacks on airports around the world, this is the typical thing we have seen. going all the way back, think about the shooting at the airport in rome that produced mass causalities a couple of decades ago. terrorists go where the people are and airports are are an obvious thing. the subway bombing this morning in brussels although as we understand it it didn't cause nearly the causalities that this one did. this one was so much bigger but this has always been the worry about airports and train
places where people congregate and wait to do something. >> pete, excuse me. i'll going to break in here next to you because the images we just showed a moment ago, that was euro control. the air traffic control system for all of europe which is based right there in brussels. that's euro control. if the police are now moving around the euro control headquaters outside of brussels that speaks to their level of heightened concern for bigger and bigger targets. >> all right guys. pete i want to bring you back in and go over something that you and i and savannah talked about earlier and that's the interrogation of salah abdeslam over the last couple of days. there were reports that he was cooperating with authorities and then reports over the weekend that he was not. is there some thought now that
that he was not cooperating with authorities. that perhaps those reports were leaked so that any potential associates he had identified already might not feel that they had been jeopardized? >> that's possible but i suspect that anybody connected with him that was worried about him ratting them out would be worried no matter what the authorities said. the conflicting reports were these. there were unnamed sources that said that after he was arrested he did initially cooperate but his lawyer came out and said that's not the case. we just don't know which is the right answer. >> hang on one second. i want to go to something else. we have on the phone now steve clemens, he's an msnbc contributor. i understand that you were actually at brussels airport this morning. >> yes.
come up the train stations in the basement had just come up into the big hall and i didn't hear the blast. it had happened just before i had come up. but i did see the smoke and i did see the rush of people back out and how the authorities sort of took control very quickly and began forcing us to evacuate the airport and go right back from where we came. >> first of all, how are you doing? and second of all, what were people saying? did you hear or overhear anything from people who had witnessed it? who had seen the devastation? >> yeah. i mean, first of all, thank you. i am fine. i'm definitely much better than some of the people that were injured and tragically killed today. when i was there, i of course bonded with a lot of the people that i was with and when we were
to brussels north station which is the station that i had originated in and had gone back, i actually tried to use my phone and interviewed a couple of the peel and tweeted out the interviews with what they saw because they were much closer and were right there when the bombing happened and one gentlemen said he had stopped to discuss his travel with one of the travel information people and had he not done that he would have been right in the line when the bomb went off so there was a lot of tension and i was here on friday when salah abdeslam actions were going on. the level of tension is much higher than even friday. it's going to be something that belgians thought was anomalous now has shaken the whole city. when we left the airport and i was interested but they really pushed us out very rapidly and
everyone had a good and immediate sense that they knew a very bad thing had just happened in the great hall. there was clearly a bombing. clearly smoke, an terrible things and people followed what the authorities said right away and the evacuation happened rapidly. it was interesting to see that and when you get back to brussels north station many people are trying to figure out what to do and i think i'm on the last train that got out of the station before it shutdown and i'm on my way to am administer dahl but we began to hear almost immediately from people, rumors about the bombings in the subways and at that time then everyone began to worry. you saw the large crowds at brussels north station just immediately begin to leave the station because of the fear that people said it's not good to be in these public places in large groups of people so that all happened within minutes. >> well, steve, again, we want
on this and we'll try to keep with you throughout the morning but most importantly we're happy you're okay and thank you for your time this morning. >> thank you. >> it's 6:15 on the east coast. 11:15 a.m. in brussels and to bring everybody up to date there's been multiple explosions rocking the heart of the european capitol this morning. most significantly at the airport there around 8:00 local time this morning. at least one explosion. when you look at the damage in the terminal it's quite extensive. the associated press reporting at least 13 dead. it may go higher and in close proximity to that in terms of timing there was an explosion at a subway station there. also close to the centers of the government buildings there in brussels belgium which in recent months has become a focus of
intense manhunt for one of the surviving paris attackers and also in recent years in light of what's been going on in syria this district is a hot bed of islamic radicalism. and this city has been under a great deal of tension over the last few months and now it seems some of the worst fear versus come to pass. >> they have been living under a high state of alert over the last several months. that's now been changed to the highest state of alert meaning there's fear of another or imminent attack. whether that's in the next several hours or days. we have no reports of any change in the security status here in this country. a guy who would be able to keep us abrea @ @just to bring you up to date, @you know, i'm happy to report
@temperatures in the upper 50s. @30s as you're waking up and @getting sweethearts ready for @the bus stops. @layer it up today. @it's going to get breezy. @about 15-20 miles per hour @later on today and heading into @tonight it won't be as cool @either. @that's where we should be for @the highs this time of year. @tomorrow we're in the upper @50s. @we're low 60s on thursday. @thursday is our rainy day of @the week. @no question. @maybe even some rumbles of @thunder. @behind this cold front, we're @going see cooler air for @friday. @mid-40s, short-lived. @we're back into the mid-50s for @the easter weekend. @saturday is still looking @totally dry there. @'s a lot of easter egg hunts @and brunches planned for both @days. @easter sunday, not a washout. @i do think of a 40% chance of @showers. @partly cloudy skies. @50s into early next week.
@to date, we're on twitter and @facebook and instagram and @wkyc.com with all the latest @information, even through these @special reports. @please just let us know if you @have any questions. @dani, what's going on on the @roads today. @>> for those people leaving the @house right now, we'll take a @look at 77. @we're all green, u.s. 30, 62. @no problems. @76, 71. @not tracking any accidents. @to the north, the cture. @clear commute here for you. @we look downtown because i know @a number of you prepare to head @into downtown at this time. @here's 77 near i-90. @perfect commute. @smooth sailing for those of you @who drive 77 and 480 and @independence. @seven minutes headed south. @if you head into downtown from @the west on 71 from 480, it's @your normal 8--minute commute @from 490.
any sort of anything entering into the terminal at all and because the parking structure is up against the airport. it's easy to be in the terminal in about 2 to 3 minutes. that's the fire station which is adjacent to the airport and there i will tell you, that looks to me like the main avenue that goes down through brussels next to the european commission and the european parliament and the last point i was going to make about explaining what is the eu, it's the bureaucratic hub of europe. this is where they all try to decide together how are they going to make joint decisions.
and paris and amsterdam are not autonomous but they try to coordinate eu policies in brussels. >> you have your family there and extended family there as do i. my sister-in-law around brother-in-law live outside brussels and are planning to come here from that airport on saturday of this week. i understand that in materials of downtown brussels now there are police at every single cross road. they have taken up positions at the crossroads and the intersections so clearly trying to figure out or either preparing for something else or trying to get their eyes on someone or anyone else that may be thinking of carrying out further attacks and perhaps stop someone pfr before they can escape that area. >> the metro stations are closed. the airport is closed. the cell service has been
of fear and a lot of tension on streets that have known that too well recently. >> have to tell you, you know, the belgians have been very fearful for a long time. yes since the paris attacks absolutely but they have also talked about this changing face of belgium for the last 20 years, 25 years. have to tell you it's been a politically devicive issue with the right wing parties trying to capitalize on that and become a country that no longer accepts immigrants but that's no longer the case. they're very welcoming of immigrants and when you do arrive from north african or middle eastern countries you're given a very generous social stipen to live off of. if we would go back to the images of the people in the subway. while there are reports of explosions in the metro system, the subway, i believe that's the
there's a metro station at the brussels airport, guys. so it's entirely possible that we may be looking at a combination of the images from across the brussels metro system but there is an underground metro subway station. >> actually steve who is our msnbc contributor that happens to be in the brussels airport told us he had just come up from the underground metro and witnessed the aftermath of these attacks and he is now headed out of the area. let's go to keir simmons. keir has some information and i should mention that the belgian prosecutor now said at least in the case of the airport attack this does appear to be a suicide attack. keir what more can you add? >> that's right. and sensing the fear sweeping across brussels the u.s. electrical bass -- u.s. embassy to
the leader of trans, hollande is holding an emergency defense council to establish how they will react in france. all of this gives you a picture of whether there's others out this or more attacks are planned. we have been saying this in our reporting over the last few days, back to friday, are there more isis affiliated jihadists out there and to they have plans for another attack. there were reports that salah salah salah salah a salah abdeslam himself that more attacks were planned. the question now for officials will be are there others that still have explosives and
attack other places. perhaps in belgium and other parts of europe and that will be the fear and part of that will be because until a week ago the authorities simply did not know where he was. they captured him because they carried out a routine raid on a building. that lead them to a fire fight which gave them some evidence that lead them to salah salah abdeslam. we have had a picture since the paris attacks in november of the intelligence agencies in europe and they have a very, very difficult task to tackle all of the extremists returning from syria. isis affiliated extremists have been coming back into europe. they have a difficult task but it's difficult to avoid the conclusion that the intelligence agencies in europe have been really struggling and once again another attack has been carried out.
i want to go back to tom costello. we're now seeing in a tweet from united airlines that their employees at the brussels airport are all safe. good news for the folks that work for you nighted. you have something you want to add though. >> delta airlines flight 80 from atlanta to brussels did land safely at brussels this morning and is parked remotely. they're not letting the passengers off the plane. they're still sitting on the plane. local teams on the ground are trying to figure out how to deplane them and where to put them. you saw the images of thousands of people on the ramp at the brussels airport because they had evacuated the terminal. imagine you have been on a long flight from atlanta into brussels. that's about a 9 hour plight or so and you land and can't get off the plane because you're in the middle of an emergency and they're trying to determine where to put the flight. delta flight 42 from new york to brussels had been diverted to
80 from atlanta is on the ramp there in brussels. >> anybody that's flown from the united states to europe knows that most of those flights are, i guess the majority of those flights are overnight flights that land in the european capitals anywhere from 6:00 to 6:30 in the morning up until 10:00 in the morning. so this would have been an incredibly busy time. >> that's right. new york jfk is the busiest intercontinental destination for flights leaving brussels followed by tell aviv and washington d.c. they then turn the planes around in just a number of hours and they head right back across the ocean so that's the morning push is when this would have happened and you can see how busy and packed. that's a con source there at the brussels airport.
you'll see a lot of folks headed to israel there in the brussels airport. it is a main portel from europe and amsterdam is the center for a lot of jewish activity in belgium. so the brussels airport is a main gateway for people leaving brussels and headed to tel aviv. >> stay right there. this is breaking news out of brussels belgium where 13 people have been killed. multiexplosions. we'll rejoin our coverage right now. good morning, everyone. it's 6:30 on the west coast. several explosions rocking belgium. two at the airport and at least one in the metro system in downtown brussels. we know that at least 13 people have been killed.
we have seen footage like this of people trying to get out of the airport and the subway stations. images like that right there of extensive damage at the departures hall or the departures terminal at brussels airports. what we know right now is one explosion took place in the curb side check in area. we have been told that was a suicide explosion. another, this one here inside the departures terminal where hundreds if not thousands of people would have been standing, queuing up, trying to use the kiosk and check in for their flights around europe and around the world and moments later more explosions in the subway system. >> and the prime minister of belgium said this is, in fact, a terror attack. the chief prosecutor said one of these attacks was the work of a suicide attacker. we don't know if this is someone with a vest strapped to him or
suitcase that turned out to be a bomb but what we do know is that the damage is quite extensive, in particular at the airport. you have a picture of the european capitol all but shutdown. the airport is shutdown. train services is shutdown. cell service suspended. the metro stations closed and you have a city that's very much on edge and an investigation now as to who is behind this and whether there could be more attacks. >> the belgian people have been living at a high level of alert over the last several months. it's now the highest alert meaning there is another or imminent attacks thought to be possible. whether they're in the next couple of hours or days. i want to bring in pete williams. let's put all of this many timing perspective because these
after the arrest of salah salah abdeslam which was the planner of the terrorist attacks on november 13th. he was arrested in an area known to be a hot bed of islamist, radical islamic action and i want to mention an image i remember seeing over if weekend. when abdeslam came out on the street scrambling to get away the belgian police shot him in the leg intentionally so that he could be taken alive because clearly they wanted information from him to prevent the images that we're seeing this morning. >> well, the timing is highly suggestive but what we don't know is whether this is, and you're looking at the pictures of his arrest there and the still picture of him. but what we don't know is was this attack today in rey'all
was this a plan that happened to be plan for this time? or was this a plan that had been talked about that was accelerated because the net was closing around people connected with him and they wanted to get this done before they themselves had to flee or were arrested and it's going to be a long time before we know the answers to those questions but this foreign fighter problem. this high number of people in jurors that are con neblth nected to isis and these sorts of terrorists, it's hard to get your head around. just double checking what the head of the office of the director of national intelligence told congress that the current estimate is that the number of people from western countries who have travelled to syria, sense 2012 is 6,600. that is just an enormous number of people to try to keep tabs on
indication of the magnitude of the security challenge. but they did discover this cell or network of people in belgium where the paris attacks were planned and directed. that's been the focus of efforts. ever since the discovery that the paris attackers fled to belgium brussels has been on continuous high alert. the city was shutdown over new years an christmas. the streets were isolated for several days as they discovered there was this cell that they have opinion trying to shut town. >> and the questions remain as to what salah abdeslam has told investigators. whether he has given them valuable information or misleading information intentionally. >> that's always a challenge but
is have a pretty good handle on if he does give them false information whether he's telling the truth or not. we just don't know the extent of cooperation. there's reports saying he was cooperating and his lawyer said he wasn't and we don't know what is the right one. mitchell. traveling with president balm. he is in cuba this morning and he was awakened by his national security team to apprize him of what's going on in brussels? >> absolutely. the president is staying at the residence of the emotions bass
he was going to heavily talk about acuban civil and human rights and now this is all of course up in the air because they have been crafting that speech. this was the main focus of this trip and then go to a baseball game before leaving for argentina. so that schedule is now also in play. i can't imagine that he would not give a speech. they have to obviously rewrite it. there was a lot of criticism from the president himself after the paris attacks that they did not respond more quickly in terms of the reinsurance of the country. so now having learned that lesson i think you're going to hear from the white house rather quickly and i think also they have to reconsider the rest of the schedule including what he
a baseball game between the tampa bay and cuban national team. that's part of the foreign policy. so all of this now is completely overshad doed by this terror incident that of course seemed so much like paris and after paris of course we have the experience in san bernardino and there's the political fall out on the election and on the white house itself. >> thank you very much. we're looking at footage right now from several minutes ago. these are people streaming away from the airport in prus brussels and i would imagine if we could get a live image up of the streets of brussels right now you would see a differ picture. many viewer people on the streets. people have been told to stay in place. they can't get around by subway because the system has been shutdown.
to get out of the city but others are sheltering in place. we have reports that there's police officers at all of the major crossroads and intersections in and around belgian for a sense of security but also to try to get eyes on anybody who might be sus suspicious and trying to escape or be in an area should another attack be carried out. they have lived at a high level of alert for not only several months but several years. a fear of an attack like this. it's come to pass at one of the busiest times of the day, the morning rush hour. >> imagine the plight of travellers that have no way to get there in any event. let's go to tom costello that's familiar with this airport and this region. >> an airport worker there at
plast went off, if we can go back to the still photographs of that terminal, that the blast went off right next to the starbucks which is a kiosk. it's -- stop the picture. it's to your right. i have stood there and ordered a starbucks. it would be right there and an airport worker says that appears that's where the blast went off. an alert just issued by the belgian prosecutors office. the headline means terror warning people to stay inside. the euro star has been suspended. the super fast train service between london, brussels and paris is now suspended into brussels. the dutch prime minister advising people against traveling to belgium and france. reinforcing it's security as well as this continues to play out. it's a terror attack which is i
a continuation of the on going terror attacks since the terror attacks. the disruption and the terror hah gripped belgium over the last four months and matt you have family in the netherlands and i have family in belgium and they have been living with this fear for the last four months. afraid to go to areas where there is people gathering. concern about concerts. concerns about where the kids are at any given moment and whether the kids are going to be on a metro ride or train ride going into or out of a nearby town which is where a lot of university kids go. so this has been a polarizing series of events and now the entire country of about 11 million people on lock down. >> not only in amsterdam and holland but in belgium as well. my sister-in-law and brother-in-law planning to travel through that airport to
break coming up on saturday. you're right. they have talked about that overwhelming fear that has been if place for several months in particular in that city and obviously not knowing and feeling helpless to do anything about it. >> i have now got friends and family members, in laws that are checking in on facebook all saying they are fine. just now as i'm speaking to you, friends of mine, five are taking advantage of that facebook feature where you can check in and say that you're safe including thankfully my sister-in-law. she is safe but this is now how people are communicating with the cell phone system in the brussels area. we believe it's been saturated and therefore very difficult to make phone calls. they're asking people not to make phone calls to people are turning to social media to check in and say they're safe. >> officials in belgium are encouraging people to use social media. facebook has activated it's
people to say i'm safe. i'm okay. so if you are concerned about somebody in that region check social media. as we turn to sean henry who is our nbc terrorism analyst and former leader in the fbi, i wonder what your thoughts are this morning, sean as you look at the scope of the damage. i'm struck by the departure's lounge. your eye is more expert. when you see the carnage there and windows blown out, do you come to any conclusions about the force that might be necessary or involved here? >> yeah. clearly it looks as if this was a powerful explosive device. i have been to that airport before and it's a typical airport like you would see anywhere throughout the united states. you don't have security until you get to the gate area where you're about to go through the gate but then you have all the folks congregated in that area. you have people getting food and
there's a large mass of folks in that airport without security until you get to the gate area prior to the departure. >> can you lend a little insight into whether you think that something like this, proexplosions at an airport followed closely by one, perhaps more explosions in the metro system in brussels could have been pulled together quickly. does this appear to be a plan for awhile or a plan put in place following the arrest of salah abdeslam. it looks like something that was put in place however the arrest of abdeslam on friday could have been a triggering point. they are starting to reign in on us. abdeslam might talk.
but it was a type of event that was preplanned. >> however devices like these with the how power we have seen, is that something that can be assembled quickly or was that something they had on hand waiting to use? >> it may have been in preparation already. his arrest may have been the trigger point where they believe he might talk or authorities might be getting closer to disrupting the entire network so they moved it up more quickly. >> i know we don know the type of explosive here but based on what we see, the damage that we see particular in the airport lounge are these, would you assume, the kind of explosives that are easy to get your hands on or manufacture and create? we're so know how weapons have
does it look to be a device that would be sophisticated? >> with these networks we have seen they have had the ability to get their hands on weapons whether it be long guns or explosive devices, et cetera. it's still unclear. this is still very early in the investigation whether it's a suicide vest if somebody is walking through with a large piece of luggage. the impact of the blast and the katz catastrophe caused by the blast indicates a larger payload. something secluded into luggage or a larger bag. investigators will make the determination as they start to do the analysis. >> we talk about security and the fact that this is quite a soft target. that this occurred in the case of the airport presecurity. but that is not to say that there is no security in this
tom costello remembers the departure lounge. what do you know about the security that is often employed in these portions of airports? >> you know, i think that post paris, especially, the alert level has been high. intelligence agencies have been concerned about the soft targets and transportation hubs being targeted. while there's not a physical inspection, there are no other type of devices to do those types of surveys, there are police officers both in uniform and in soft clothes doing surveillance. they're looking for people acting suspiciously. you often have bomb dogs walking throughout the airport we see the same measures domestically. it's more of a low profile but they're out there. in the case where you have a lot of people congregating at the height of the morning rush. 8:00 in the morning.
we have a holiday weekend coming up here. when you have that many people together, surveillance is not always the most effective. the most effective is that physical touch which they wouldn't get until they were heading toward the gate. >> an event like this sets off a chain of events in other european capitals as well. obviously there's an identified terror cell in brussels in this particular neighborhood and now what, give me some insight, what is happening in counter terrorism agencies throughout europe right now? >> matt, this is throughout europe and globally. we'll see an enhanced investigative and intelligence effort. this is all about gathering intelligence. any time we see a situation like this we talk about intelligence. in the last few weeks prior to abdeslam being arrested there were people that were arrested and a lot of interviews that
all of that is in an effort to be able to see through the front windshield. how can we get out in front of this and disrupt this type of activity rather than trying to investigate it on the back end as it happened. that's exactly what investigators are doing now. they're using signals intelligence to intercept communication and they're talking to as many people as they can in the community. people that have been arrested recently in the last few weeks to try to make an determination. who else may be involved and are there other attacks that are in place? i would be interested to see what came out of the interviews. there was some media reporting that he was talking to investigators and to see what came out of that and where that leads investigators but this is going to be throughout europe over the next few days and weeks because everybody is on alert while brussels is considered to be the epicenter here, this is throughout europe and quite honestly in the united states we'll be on similar heightened alert. >> thank you very much.
with us? pete are you there? >> pete is talking to a source next to me on the phone. let me just pick it up if you don mind. i got a facebook message from a friend of mine that lives in brussels and works at the european commission but she says the second explosion happened in a subway station that she uses from time to time. it's the one closest to the office for the european union however many, many, colleagues use this daily. i'm very worried about them and i'm worried that they will not be well. she is translating from french into english. she can't get a clear picture as to who is is accounted for and who is not. she is asking for people to pray for them. the belgian prime minister saying that many, many are dead and many injured. >> tom, thank you very much.
some footage in the darkened tunnels of the subway system in brussels. we talked to kelly that was on a train heading into brussels and we understand that journey has taken an unexpected turn, kelly. >> that's right, matt. just after we were on the phone the phone lines pam very congested. the train stopped and we were held at a signal for probably a good 20 minutes before we were told anything and then told that the train station was being closed that this was for our security and safety and we were being turned around and sent back to france. so i am now talking to you where we have been told we'll see an increased police presence and security presence at train stations throughout france and we are seeing some of that and also a lot of just confused passengers trying to figure out how to reroute their journeys now. from what i was told on the
very difficult now to get into brussels and into belgium. we have been told from that border from belgium into france has been closed. no way in from the train certain. the train station has been closed. they're shutting that city down as they try to figure out whether there will be more attacks or whether it's on going or we have seen tend of it. >> kelly, thank you. one of the goals of terrorism to bring things to a stand still and change the daily lives of citizens and they have accomplished that. they have shutdown air traffic in and out of belgium. the rail system and the subway system in brussels and as kelly just report they have shutdown train systems and train travel into belgium as well. >> they also suspended the cell service that adds to that level of tension and fear as people are trying to locate after finding out the welfare of loved
the officials are actively encouraging people not to use cell phones but instead use social media to let relatives and friends know they are okay. facebook has activated it's special system that allows people to indicate on their pages they're doing okay and as we see this is a city in lock town. not surprising that our correspondent and anybody else trying to get into brussels is not able to do so and even less surprising is probably quite hard to get out of brussels at this point. not least because of the transportation issues but investigators have to be having that net around the city fearing what happened in paris where one of the attackers was able to escape in the hours on november 13th. that escaper who then remained on the run for more than 100 days and was just arrested on friday in brussels and one of
matt, of course is what is the connection there? is it a direct consequence. is it something planned for sometimes. perhaps they felt it tightening. perhaps people that were watching what happened as they got closer to the cop rations in the area of brussels that is said to be a center point for radicalism so these are all questions that we are looking into this morning. >> so hard to contain something like this. unlike other countries around the world and even here where we're used to a border between the united states and mexico flex or the united states and canada, this is the european union. the boarders are inkriz visible. belgium isn't that big of a country by the way into the surrounding countries so it's
going in or stop someone from getting out. >> u.s. senior officials telling me that the president has been notified notified. susan rice is here with him as well as john kerry on this trip. senior officials that would be kerry and rice and others in the national security complex are in touch with their belgian counter parts. they're talking to intelligence officials and the european counter parts on what warnings they may have had and information they may have had. security is very tight here. i have to tell you hen we came here from the hotel this morning the roads were closed and also the president is due today to be giving a major speech to the cuban people on cuban television so there was already tight security but we had to make all kind of detours to get here this
pointing that that belgium is the european capitol. there was a lot of criticism after the european union after the paris attacks that their security officials were not communicating well on intelligence threats similar to the experiences that he we had after 9/11. too much stove piping. there were not communications abroad broad sweeps. well now this second major attack in a western european capitol this is going to be another threat not only to the european union but the so called ability to travel without vsa or passport this is going to have big sbi gragss because it helped with a terror threat.
that's the reality and in germany, the bad election for angela merkel with the right wing parties gaining strength in some of those midterm elections. so a lot of implications in france and germany for the leadership and this is obviously going to be felt here tht in the u.s. as well. >> andrea mitchell traveling with the president in cuba. you're looking at images from brussels belgium this morning. two explosions at the airport there. at least one in the subway system. it happened at the morn rush hour when the airports and the subways would have been jammed with travellers. we know of at least 13 fatalities as a result of this. many other people have been injured and there's reports that that fatality number is expected to rise.
the highest terror alert level that is possible for them. it is the highest level meaning that another attack or imminent attack is very possible. >> the prime minister confirming it is a terror attack. many dead and many injured in these explosions. there appear to be two sights of those explosions. one at the airport at this busy, busy time when people are getting ready to depart. the other at a subway station. at least one subway station. this one very near to the seat of government for the european union. it's frequented by government officials. this happened at 8:00 a.m. brussels time so as the morning was just getting started and perhaps a type chosen to inflict maximum damage and we have seen incredible images in particular coming out of the airport. that departure lounge that's so
a crowded, crowded room and now we see passengers leaving. people looking shell shocked as they try to take the toll here this morning. this had to be an incredibly powerful blast. >> it's the great hall area. more than one story. those are ceiling tiles on the floor right now. it was an extremely large explosion. we're not sure if it was the same device used on the subway but the results were devastating and we know that 13 people died but the fear is that total will two much higher. >> these are people who have been living under a great deal of tension in and, perhaps, recent years. fearing this very thing would happen. the belgium prime minister saying, our worst fears have come true. we were hit by what he called a blind attack.
on friday, you wonder if there was an inkling of relief among the belgium people that this terror leader, the planner of the paris attacks, had been captured. i'm sure many others worried about the consequences of that arrest and the fallout and whether his accomplices would be pushed into action. we'll have more ahead from new york. our correspondents are fanned out, and we'll give you the lalatest inforon the second we have it. we'll take a break, allow our stations to reset. we'll be back with you in a second. good morning. breaking news. terror in brussels. powerful explosions rocking the airport and the city subway system overnight. reports of at least 15 people killed. dozens more injured. this morning, the chilling images from inside the airport and underground, as passengers are evacuated from train cars through darkened and smokey tunnels.