tv Channel 3 News at 7 NBC March 22, 2016 7:00pm-7:30pm EDT
brussels terror attacks. this is "nbc nugget lies new with lester holt. good evening, everyone, we continue with our special breaking news of the terror attacks in brussels. dozens killed and hundreds wounded including americans. scenes of carnage from the airport and the subway that have stunned the world. the suspected bombers caught on camera, and at this hour a massive
for the one suspect who apparently survived and remains on the loose. there have been raids going on across belgium today, and that's where we begin with nbc's keir simmons. he has new information just coming in. keir, what can you tell us? >> reporter: well, good evening, lester. tonight nbc news has learned that authorities believe they have located a bomb-making factory and have found additional suitcase bombs, one at a house near the airport, where this day of horror began. tonight police are hunting this man, as yet unnamed, seen in the airport with two others. those men officials believe blew themselves up moments later. the check-in area filled with smoke. >> stay down, stay down. >> reporter: baggage and children's strollers abandoned. a woman in shock holding her child, cowering in the corner. >> lots of people whose hands were covered with blood, and everyone is crying, and, yes, it's
the first time i saw such a thing in my life. >> reporter: many injured, bleeding and many dead. killed by bombs packed with nailed, isis claiming responsibility for the horror. outside shattered windows and fractured nerves. >> all the luggage stays here! all the luggage stays here! >> reporter: hundreds fleeing on to the tarmac, smoke billowing from the airport building. >> you just feel like a wave, a wave go through your body. >> reporter: then an hour later more carnage. a subway car's doors blown out just as the plain was pulling out of the station. passengers escaping along the track while heard along the tunnel screaming. >> everyone was really shocked. they couldn't even describe because i asked two or three times what happened? what happened? and people couldn't really -- they were shocked and scared and i said, okay, someone said there was a bomb, an explosion. >> reporter: americans were among those injured in today's attack and some still missing.
no one has heard from stephanie and justin schultz. their family increasingly worried. and tonight those behind the attacks may be on the run, a house raid discovering improvised explosive devices, chemicals to makes more bombs and an isis flag. tonight a huge manhunt is under way, and this afternoon there were reports of lines of cars at the border undergoing security checks, but there are increasing criticism, lester, of the security failures that some people believed have occurred here, and when we crossed the bothered tonight, we saw no checks, no police. lester? >> some powerful images and stunning sounds there. keir, thank you very much. there have been no reports of any americans killed in these attacks, but a number of americans were injured, including a group of mormon missionaries. nbc's miguel almaguer has more on the americans in belgium and their families anxiously awaiting word back home. >> reporter: at least
six americans were injured in the attack, but thousands are in belgium. here at home their families waited desperately for word from their loved ones. >> she was there in the middle of the blast. >> reporter: chad wells' son mason suffered second-degree burns and was hit by shrapnel. the 19-year-old was at the airport, along with mormon missionaries richard norby, joseph empey and fanny rachel plane, all recovering. ironically mason was in paris when 130 people were killed and also survived the boston marathon terror attack. >> i think that experience of the chaos and civil unrest prepared mason for whatever he experienced today. >> reporter: for parents news campaign stakingly low. lauren cleary, monica hall and kate duffy, students from quinnipiac university, were also at the airport during the attack. janet cleary got the call at 3:00 a.m. that lauren and her friends were all safe. >> she called and
crying hysterically, that you know, that she -- that there was a bombing, that she was at the airport and a bomb went off. >> reporter: some 1,500 students study in belgium. universities like wisconsin, illinois and northeastern thankfully tweeting everyone is safe. meg hilling is with the group of 16 journalist students at mizzou. >> i do feel safe to an extent. i mean, it's made me realize that anything can happen anywhere. >> reporter: tonight most americans in brussels are safe. their families thankful and praying for those killed, injured and still missing. miguel almaguer, nbc news. and airport security here at home is being examined through a different lebs tonight after the brussels attack. as we had said earlier, it was in the ticketing check-in airport where the public and their belongings are not normally screened. typically in american airports. nbc's tom costello is working his sources. tom, is there a rethinking now of
maybe the whole airport needs to be secured? >> reporter: well, i think that that would be an ideal situation, lester, but the challenge, of course, is you simply don't have enough people to do that, and you don't have necessarily the money to do it. there is a reality here that there are tight budgets across the country. you know, there's been a great deal of concern all along that if there is a soft target, if you will, at the airport, not that the whole thing isn't a soft target, but they are particularly vulnerable between the parking garage and the checkpoint. some security experts say, listen, what really needs to happen is a robust police or military presence in that zone between the curb and the checkpoint. the more officers you have, heavily armed officers, whether in europe or here in the states, that in and of itself seems to act as a deterrent, and then in addition the more people who are speaking up and saying something that looks like it's out of the ordinary, that also helps. a couple of other moving parts i do want to pass along to you.
the embassy in brussels, the u.s. embassy is know asking u.s. government employees not to come to bruce els for at least a week until the 29th because of the situation there, and american airlines is saying that it and other airlines are certainly not going to fly in tomorrow. the airport is closed. thursday is out of the question. friday looks iffy, but that would be the earliest at best because of the situation at the brussels airport. the forensics investigation and the rebuilding. here in the u.s., homeland security is also saying it has no credible information right now about any potential threat against u.s. airports, but it takes all threats very seriously. back to you. >> tom costello in washington, thank you. the deadliest of today's attacks in brussels was the bombing of a subway train. security experts say that reflects that reflects a sobering reality, more people are killed in terror attacks on the rails. our justice correspondent pete williams has more on stepped-up security in u.s. cities. >> reporter: in new york's times square,
with 50 officers deployed to the subway station there. on bridges and tunnels more random checks of cars and trucks. on commuter train systems from los angeles to washington, a scramble to turn out a visible show of force. nationwide fbi agents are stepping up surveillance of terror suspects on the lookout for possible copycat attacks here at home. u.s. officials tonight say there's no known threat of a brussels-style attack here, and the experts say the security picture here is far different. police in europe are overwhelmed trying to track the nearly 7,000 people who have been to train with isis compared to the roughly 200 who have gone or have tried to go from the u.s. >> some of the countries in europe have unique challenge. i think it's probably because of their close proximity to some of the countries of concern. >> and the fbi has proven adept at stopping potential attacks here but u.s. officials say they face one big challenge, their
european counterparts do that make it harder to tracks the use of encrypted apps, disposable phones and other ways to communicate that cannot be monitored, and a former homeland security expert says the u.s. has a head start over much of europe working hard since 9/11 to prevent terror attacks. the bomb-makers, however, are very crafty, and they keep adapting, too. so this is not a static situation. it -- it will keep moving. it requires the united states security to keep improving. >> reporter: and one other factor. american officials have been working hard to develop and maintain good relations with the u.s. muslim population whose members often provide a warning of potential trouble in their own communities. lester? >> pete, you mentioned copy cats. how concerned are you that what happened in brussels might trigger something here? >> it's something that they want to watch for, but their general view is that people here in the u.s. who are going to care out terror attacks are on their own wavelength and they don't cake their cues from
oversees if they already have some plot in mind but nonetheless they want to make sure that something like this isn't a trigger point here. >> pete williams, thank you. let's bring back michael leiter now executive vice president of lidos which does national security work for the government. michael, what are you hearing from the intelligence community after the attacks about what heart and what things may have raised the hairs on the backs of next before today? >> counterterrorism officials have really been incredibly nervous since paris and san bernardino, and it's generally because they don't think they are seeing everything. they understand how big this radicalized population is and parts of western europe and they simply aren't seeing the communications. they don't understand the networks in a way that they have previously so they feel more blind and really they have for five or ten years and that's got everyone nervous. they don't see the same activity in the united states, but old saying in intelligence goes you don't know what you don't know. >> well, these pictures are so
here in the u.s., but the simple fact, are they fighting a different kind of war against isis in europe than what we've seen, even as we look at the san bernardino attack? >> it really is different, lester. what we see in western europe are large-scale, sophisticated networks where there is training and coordination to make the sorts of ieds that were used today, in the u.s. it has been much smaller, home grown inspired simply using small weapons. it can obviously kill people but generally can be more easily detected by officials, so europe has a larger problem, and they real very a more sophisticated problem than we have in the u.s. here today. >> you're keir simmons was on a short while ago reporting that they found what may be a bomb explosives. are those sorts of things as easy to get in this country as they might be in europe? >> well, regrettably the pre-courseors for these homemade explosives are generally made available. often it's hydrogen
peroxide and some other readily available tools, but actually making those weapons is a bit of a challenge and in most instances, like we saw in one attack in london in 2007, the bombs don't work, so i think what we have in belgium is, again, a group that has been well-trained, possibly in syria, and has practiced enough that they have gotten it right. so far we haven't seen that same scale here in the u.s. >> michael, always appreciate your perspective. thanks so much. >> thank you. today's attacks in brussels have a huge impact at home in the race for president p.of the candidates are reacting to all therefore, and they are react npg different kinds of ways. the man they all want to place, president obama, is taking heat for his response to the attacks while on his trip to cuba. nbc's kristen welker is on the campaign trail and tells us more. >> reporter: as terror again overshadows the campaign trail, the sharp contrast between the two front-runners taking center stage. donald trump calling to close up u.s. borders and other extreme measures.
>> you say you would even go further than waterboarding, is that right? >> absolutely, absolutely. >> how far would you go in. >> i'd go further. >> reporter: hillary clinton calling that unrealistic. >> you tell me how high does the wall have to be to keep the internet out. >> reporter: for trump an opening to answer critics who say he's not presidential, for clinton a chance to showcase her foreign policy experience. >> regardless of what the campaign has become about it, will now revert back to national security. how is this person as president going to keep you safe? >> reporter: meanwhile the gop's number two ted cruz trying to match trump's hard line calling for police to patrol neighborhoods of american muslims. >> today's attack underscores the need for a strong commander in chief. >> reporter: a position that drew criticism from republican and democratic candidates. >> because you happen to be of another religion that somehow you have evil intent is -- is just irresponsible. >> that would be unconstitutional. it would be wrong. >> reporter: meanwhile, the current commander in chief addressing the tragedy during his historic trip to cuba.
>> and this is yet another reminder that the world must unite. >> reporter: and despite criticism from republicans he made no apologies for attending a baseball game with his cuban countersglarts they cannot defeat america. >> reporter: and now defending america in sharp focus once again. kristen welker, nbc news, seattle. still ahead tonight, inside the tunnel as passengers flee for safety and the terrifying moments after today's train
we are hearing incredible stories of survival in the wake of the terrorist attacks in brussels. evan lamios, a new jersey native was on the metro train behind the one that was hit by a bomb blast this morning. what followed was a frantic evacuation of passengers through the smokey tunnel, and evan caught it all on camera. here he is in his own words. >> this morning i was on my way to work. i went via metro. i was reading on my phone about some explosions at the airport, so immediately i knew there was something going on in the country, and then suddenly there was kind of a blast of air, and my ears popped. we heard some loud thuds that seemed to be in the distance,
and -- and the metro stopped, and -- and there was an announcement that came over the speakers saying that there had been a disturbance on the metro line, and at that time people were a little bit nervous on the metro. people were starting to talk about the fact that there had been an attack at the airport. people seemed to be a little bit disturbed and a little bit concerned. they opened the very last door and installed a ladder and had us evacuate out on to the metro tracks. there was smoke that collected in the metro tunnel, so as we were exiting the metro it was clear that something severe had happened. when i realized that there was something really going wrong, i had no idea that it was as close as it was. i thought it must be pretty far away and they are just trying to be extra careful in evacuating us on the track. i'm still waiting in a sense for the emotion to hit. i know i was close to something really horrible, but it hasn't really entirely sunk in yet. these people who have been injured and who
"the daily beast" and is based in paris. christopher, after the paris attack there was a lot of soul-searching about the open borders at the eu, about security cooperation. what happened to that conversation, and assuming it's picked up, where does it go now? >> well, it was and is an ongoing conversation. there's always talk about how you can have better intelligence-sharing. how the police can work together better, but we're talking about 28 different countries here with very different culture, very different legal cultures and police cultures. it's very, very hard to get them to coordinate coordinate. the idea that you can open up all the borders of europe but not have a single strong federal police force and federal law enforcement system was always a fairly impractical why the and now the chickens are coming home to roost to use a terrible cliche. >> we talked a lot about vulnerability today, but is there a higher sense of it given the fact in many ways they saw this coming in the climate was right for this, an -- and yet it happened and even with
knowing it was going to happen they couldn't pinpoint it? >> well, that's right. i mean, you get this chatter. you hear that something is going to happen, and, frankly, just the mood in the intelligence community was that things inevitably were going to happen. in fact, on friday morning i was talking to one of the french counterintelligence specialists, one of the top guys and i said when do you think the next big attack is going to be. he just looked at me and said soon. it was always noon that there was always going to be some kind of attack, that isis was going to try to strike back, not just for the arrest of this guy on friday but because this is a war that they are waging against the united states and europe. >> all right. christopher, good to talk to you. thanks so much for being with us tonight.
finally tonight, the horror we feel after the brussels terror attacks has sadly become part of a new normal. maybe it's not even new anymore. and yet even under what some call a constant threat of terror the world in which we live might still find a way to carry on. here's our harry smith with some final thoughts. >> reporter: so this is it, folks. >> explosions rocking the airport and the city subway system overnight. >> reporter: we click on the tv in the morning to see what's new, and we are stunned, as we watch the coverage we connect our own dots. the arrest last week of the terrorist in belgium, the guy who got away from the attack in paris. we remember belgium, that neighborhood, molenbeek, trouble there. did the belgian authorities miss something?
did they not turn that place inside out? and if they did, then this is worse than we want to believe. the numbers, the resources, the commitment to wreak holy hell whenever possible. we hear the eyewitness accounts. >> the shock and impact, the shock wave that hit just was like nothing i've ever felt before. >> reporter: just another day stories turn into tales of survival. our guard is up again, just like every other time this happens. california, paris, we hold our loved ones closer and realize this feeling will fade in a few days, but we also now know this will happen again. harry smith, nbc news, new york. >> let us honor the strength and resilience of this day, too. that's going to do it for us on a tuesday night. a program note. matt lauer reports live from brussels tomorrow morning on "today." i'll see you from there tomorrow night as well. i'm lester holt. for all of us at nbc news, thank you for