tv CNN Tonight With Don Lemon CNN November 20, 2015 7:00pm-8:01pm PST
♪ >> one last item before we go. we have just got photographs of the washington, d.c. area woman who was killed this morning in mali. she was 41 years old, a public health expert and veteran of the peace corps, a fallen hero. >> fallen hero indeed. we will need you to bring us up to date. this is "cnn tonight." i'm don lemon. breaking news, a serious and imminent terror threat in brussels. and one week after the attacks that shattered the city of light. the manhunt for a tee terror suspect goes worldwide. the woman found dead after a police raid did not blow herself up. with are learning more about her
tonight. and terror spreads 6,000 miles to another continent. gunman with ak-47s burst into a hotel in mali forcing guests and the employees to run for their lives. now, is al qaeda locked in a deadly competition with isis? i want to begin with the breaking news tonight and the terror alert in brussels raised to the highest level. drew griffin is on that story for us. a new threat to brussels. what do you know? >> came in the middle of the night from the interior ministry. a level four alert which said there is an imminent and serious threat to brussels which is why this region-wide warning has gone out. something is going on in this town. i can't figure out what. we took a picture of a bus load of what looked like our military
police in a caravan of other police vehicles. when we tried to take video they told us to stop taking video. we do know this alert came out in the middle of the night. it talks about a serious and imminent threat and only tells people of brussels now to avoid places with high concentrations of people to avoid concerts, major events, train stations, airports and high commercial concentrations. that is just about every place in this entire city. most of the public is sleeping an they don't know much about this. there will be a public announcement tomorrow morning. we'll have to see in just a few hours from now how they react. but a much bigger, heavier police presence and military presence on the streets of brussels. but we don't know what this is about. >> telling people to stay out of crowded areas. they are taking this threat
seriously. is there a precedent for this? >> it's never been done before, level four for an entire region. they have been making the threat assesments since 2006. we were at level three earlier in the week. the rest of belgium is at level three. but for brussels this is the first time a region has got to a level four alert. it is somewhat unprecedented. >> drew griffin, thank you very much. i want to go to anderson and paul cruickshank in paris. what are your associates telling you about brussels? >> there is significant concern about in brussels about the possibility that there is a terrorist plot in the works to hit brussels. i think that's why you have the maximum terror alert for the capital. there's been concern all week about this eighth attacker in
paris, salah abdeslam he might be back in brussels in belgium. but i think this goes well beyond that. this is a larger scale concern now, there may be something being planned in brussels in the days ahead. and i don't think they have a very good handle on what it is and what direction it's coming from. otherwise i don't think they would basically tell everybody in brussels to stay home tomorrow. this is an unprecedented step, telling people not go to airports or train stations or public spaces where people gather. there is a high level of concern that something may be in the works. when you think of this terrorist attack in paris that took place on friday, it had a precedent. there was this plot in belgium that was thwarted in january. the ring leader in that plot was the same guy, abdelhamid abaaoud who was coordinating isis
fighters in belgium in january to launch a major gun and bomb attack somewhere in belgium. they acquired police uniforms in that plot and the concern was they were going to use them to gain access to sensitive sites. belgian authorities managed to arrest some of the plotters. there was a fierce fire fight in eastern belgium where they killed two of the plotters and arrest a key person who was part of the plot. but they did not feel they rounded up the whole cell. there was quite a lot of concern. and clearly, abdelhamid abaaoud was -- managed to evade the international dragnet that followed that not. and in the month afterwards plotted this terrorist attack in paris which was going to be a two-wave terrorist attack first on friday and they were planning a second wave attack with the media gathered here but it's the worry is that something in addition may be planned for
belgium. >> and anderson, you have been covering this all week. it shows you how all europe is on edge right now. and brussels is taking this threat seriously, obviously. >> no doubt about it. and there have been many raids, both in belgium and also, i mean, hundreds of raids throughout france using the fact there are these special state of emergency powers that have been extended for another three months. several hundred raids and these are trying to shake the trees to see what falls out, what intelligence they can gather. we are learning more about the raid that took place in saint-denis. authorities were saying that the woman who was killed in that raid, the cousin of the ring leader, abaaoud, that she had detonated a suicide device. they are now saying today that is not the case. she did not detonate the device
but she was killed in the raid. it is not clear she was killed when someone else detonated a device or she was shot to death. but she is dead. and there is a third person whose remains they found in that apartment. so that was three people who was killed. the ring leader, her cousin -- excuse me, his cousin, the female who was thought to be a bomber. and an unidentified male who we have yet to find out more about. so there's a lot of information still coming to light and no doubt in the days and weeks ahead we'll get a clearer picture of what went on. >> i'm going to talk more about what you're discussing there in a moment. i want to bring in pamela brown with disturbing news in this current. she is here with us. there new information from u.s. officials that at least one of the eight paris attackers could have travelled to the u.s. >> for days we have been trying to' that question.
could any of them have travelled to the u.s. what we are learning from talking to counterterrorism officials is that at least one of the paris attackers had a clean enough background he would not have raised any flags and got into the u.s. pretty easily. one of the officials we spoke to said at least three of them would have likely gained entry into the u.s. if they had tried. there is no indication that any of them travelled here at this point in the investigation. we've learned that four of the attackers were in this broad terror day they base and that at least one of them was on the no-fly list. but there is agree it concern among the law enforcement community in the united states that some of them could have slipped through. and also there is disagreement as well, some intelligence officials we have spoken to said we had enough intelligence that would have prevented these attackers from getting into the
u.s. but others say we don't know much about these people at all. there is a divided opinion depending which agency you talk to which is concerning. >> does this expose a problem with intelligence sharing, pamela? >> absolutely. i have spoken to several officials who say this reflects the issue they've been having. european officials have incomplete information on people they suspect could be radicalized because they are so overwhelmed with all these people going to syria and coming back. and they are focused on those that have returned. there is that aspect of it. and the sharing aspect of it as well. sharing intelligence. and i think we saw that play out with abaaoud, someone officials thought with u.s. in syria. we find out not only was he in france but on a subway train in paris during the attacks. i think that was a big wakeup call too that intelligence isn't being shared and methods are not
being used effectually. >> back to paris now, back to paul cruickshank. how do we prevent an attack in the united states if we don't have enough intelligence to stop them from coming to this country? >> well, as pamela is reporting, it is disturbing for a number of americans that a number of these attackers could have got on to planes, come to the united states. and i think that is the easiest path now for isis to launch an attack on the u.s. homeland. and they want to do this, don. i mean, that is the basic fact. it would be great for them in terms of their rivalry with al qaeda. they have been ratcheting up the
propaganda. people who are still in the united states that have been radicalized that want to fight isis' war back in the united states, but i think perhaps, the more concerning threat in the medium term is that isis manages to recruit european extremists, perhaps who traveled to syria to get training and then getting them on to planes from europe to the united states with the possibility of making bombs, tatp, suicide vests in the united states and going to gun shops and it's so easy to get extraordinarily powerful weapons in the u.s. so i think that's something that u.s. officials are going to be very concerned about in the weeks ahead and clearly, everybody has to get better on intelligence sharing. they have a chronic problem here in europe. there's no european fbi. there are all these different sovereignties and they have to make some changes now. otherwise we're going to have to
unfortunately have more repeats of what we have seen play out in the coming weeks. this is a very concerning time indeed. the wider network is still there in syria. they are still plotting these attacks, people connected and working with abdelhamid abaaoud including fabien clain who is likely the senior ring leader in this plot. the guy who claimed responsibility for this still persuading fresh recruits to come back to europe to launch attacks and potentially to come to the united states. >> speaking of isis and we know where abaaoud was confirmed he had died. but where is -- have they figured out where abdeslam is? have they figured out any new information on that? >> and the last time i checked in with belgium counterterrorism officials they had no idea whatsoever where he was. no idea whether he was brussels, whether he was in belgium, whether he was in some other
country. that is terribly frustrating for the belgians. the french stopped him 9:00 in the morning on the saturday after he got picked up by a couple of friends who came driving through the night after he called them up after the attacks. but they didn't realize at 9:00 in the morning that he was a suspect at that time. the pieces together.er they put- by that time, though, he had driven on with the two friends. they arrested the two friends in molenbeck. he could be in a cellar somewhere in molenbeek. the bomb maker is still believed
to be at large according to officials. >> there is new video of abaaoud around the time of the attacks on last friday. d does it give us any clues to his involvement? >> it is mere the scene of one of the attacks. he could have had some involvement, perhaps driving one of the cars. but clearly, he was never going to be a part of the first wave in terms of becoming a suicide bomber in terms of being an attacker. he wanted to be a part of the second wave, which was going to be a more ambitious and spectacular wave given the fact that the world's media descended on paris. we do not know what they were planning to do, what they were planning to hit. but the sheer arsenal of weaponry, the suicide vests that they had there that fierce fire
fight with french commandos suggests they would have had an enormous amount of fire power to go somewhere crowded that morning and that would have traumatized france in a much greater way than even what happened on friday. >> paul cruickshank, appreciate your expertise. thank you, sir. terror. a hotel siege that left at least 21 people dead. is it a sign of a deadly competition between al qaeda and isis. plus fears that one of the paris attackers likely could have been able to travel here under the visa waiver program. how worried should we be about terror on the home front. carved thick. that's the right way to make a good turkey sandwich. the right way to eat it? is however you eat it. panera. food as it should be.
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. breaking news, brussels on the highest terror alert tonight. belgian officials citing a serious and imminent threat of an attack. an islamist militant group claim responsibility for the attack in mali. joining me is a correspondent for vice. and our security experts here on cnn. good evening to all of you. we're going into this weekend very scary for, really -- juliette i had a friend who said my daughter is in germany at a concert right now. should i be worried?
and my answer was probably all of europe you need to take precautions. >> i think that's right. i'm the mother of three children and i feel an unease even though i'm in this field. it's right to do so. for someone in germany, our advice is obviously it's a tense time. but the increased security is serving or should serve as a deterrent for any activity, particularly countries that are focused on it like in europe. but also, as i've been saying all week, you can only minimize the risk so much. as we see in mali, just a couple guys walk into a hotel and it's an international and global terrorism incident. we can lower the risk. but part of this new world order is also accepting a level of risk for being in cities and living in society. >> absolutely. philip do you think there is an increase in coordination now. you heard that there is a
problem with sharing information. will there be more intelligence sharing after the events in the past week? >> i think there will be tough questions in the coming days. if an individual from this plot travelled to the united states did any european country have information that would have led the united states to deny a visa. we're 14 years after 9/11. the lesson in the united states after 9/11 was you've got to share information better. i think 14 years on, the lesson among european countries is if you have information on one of your citizens and to protect that citizen you are not passing information, the answer is going to be you can't do that any more. so we don't have the full answer yet. but i fear what we'll discover is that europeans knew things that should have been passed to the americans and might have prevented one of the attackers from traveling here. >> could this news, this maximum
terror alert in brussels have to do with the hunt for salah abdeslam? >> i think the answer is yes. what you're looking at in the security service is two things. first after the attack any security service is going to operate on an abundance of caution. if i were sitting at the fbi or cia today where i served for 25 years you're going to react quickly to even a blip on the screen. but the extent of the warning suggests that the belgians have more than just concern. you tonight shut down a city unless you have information that suggests that something is afoot, maybe that somebody is coming into the country that people are there about to stage an attack. this is too broad a warning to be disseminated just because you have a broad concern. >> you have ahmed, we know what happened in paris. is this what isis wanted? >> i think isis wants to use fear as a weapon of terrorism to
drive home the point that it's what happens at the end of the day that take precedent over fact. they want to use fear so people react in a way to close down cities and they want to create the illusion this is not just terrorism against all. this is terror between islam and the west. they want islam to seem incompatible with the west. this is how it is unfolding because that is what they depend on for their survival. as much as there are differences between al qaeda and isis, it's important to focus on the similarities. they come from an ideological perspective. >> is this a competition between them? >> it is in a sense. but what unites them, the invasion in iraq, al qaeda was several hundred members before 2001 and now they are stronger than ever. we have isis on the other hand
even though they are focused on their territory and caliphate they are focusing on those who are obstructing those who are preventing them from expanding. we saw in september they increased their attacks and their cities are attacked. this is all part of the strategy. >> you call this an ek co-effect. >> i would call this an echo effect. what you're seeing across the world is -- especially in mali is groups looking at successes from their perspective like what happened in paris and saying, look, if we're going to compete not only for global attention but for recruits and money we've got to have the same keepd of operations we are seeing from isis. if we look at what happened in mali you might have an al qaeda organization saying it's not just about getting control of the air waves, it's about ensuring that in this competition with isis, that we
compete for money and recruits with an organization, that is isis, that has controlled the air waves. >> we continue our conversation, so stay with us, everyone with word that one of the paris attackers could have entered the u.s. through a visa waiver program. is american homeland security tight enough? we're going to talk about that next. other wireless carriers make families share data. some way to say happy holidays. switch to t-mobile now and get 4 lines with up to 6gb each, and no sharing. just $30 bucks a line at t-mobile. milk has 8 grams of high-quality protein. which could be the difference between just living life. and milking it. start every day with the power of protein and milk life.
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breaking news tonight, u.s. officials say at least one of the paris attackers might have been able to get into the united states through the visa waiver program, a sign that the fight against terror has spread worldwide. back with me is ahmed and juliette kayyem and philip mudd. we saw the mayor and police commissioner of new york city saying go out and enjoy, just make sure you are aware of your surroundings but we're going to keep you safe. but in brussels they are telling people to stay off public transportation and out of crowded areas. they are handling this two different ways. >> that is based on the intelligence that brussels is
clearly reading right now. this is a very, very draconian response and my guess is that they anticipated something very quickly or a group has gone dark and they are very nervous. it's probably the right thing to do given the climate there and each city is going to be different based on the intelligence that we know at this stage that's occurring in each city and each city is going to be different. we have to recognize this. there will not be one global response to this and there will be surprises. while we try to lower the risk we also have to put cops out in the streets. we have to prepare people for what to do if something bad happens. we don't talk about that enough. but give people the education and the skills they might need if something happens in a public place. where should they go? where should their children go? soon as cell service is down those initiatives are important
that people like me talk honest about. you are never going to get the risk down to zero. >> philip do you agree with that? ahmed's point this is what the terrorists want. and in new york city they are trying hard not to give the terrorists what they want. >> i will be in new york city tomorrow morning. i'm going to go out on the city. i think the message back to terrorists has to be straight forward. you want to change our way of life, the definition of terror is trying to persuade people to shift away from their way of life because you have attacks that convince them that they can't live life safely in a free society. i think the message is straight forward. we do have an isis presence in the united states. the fbi director has talked about investigations in all 50 states. but as soon as you say i'm going the stay home tonight because i'm worried about the threat you play into their narrative. >> ahmed, how does isis want to
define this war on terror? >> as i told you as a clash of civil variations, islam versus the west and islam not being welcomed in the west. they also want us to turn and local populations in the west to turn against muslims. this legitimizes them. when governors come out and say syrian refugees are not welcome in america, that plays directly into isis' play book. they believe the refugees are tr traitors. >> some say that the president should rethink his stance on the issue. what do you think of that? >> i think this is not just on the individual or collective level, terrorists use fear to
try to manipulate them and react emotionally. that's why terrorism is so powerful. we are focusing on conversations that we shouldn't be focusing on because there are more important conversations to have and more importantly the role of saudi arabia and exporting -- >> that's how you start, though, you have to start a conversation somewhere. we're not opposed to those conversations but it's also in the way you have those conversations. president obama in kuala lumpur tonight saying, once again, this barbarity only stiffens our resolve to meet this challenge. what happens now in the war on terror, philip mudd? >> one of the challenges is collecting intelligence in the battlefield. isis will never win because they have an ideology that can't
transition from intimidating people into governing. but look at the range of adversaries, russia, iran, jordan, turkey, the united states and now europe which talked for years about its concern about america being involved in global war on terror saying we are at war against isis. i think over time isis in the short term has had people on the fringes of europe and the united states maybe this is an organization i should join but the array of adversaries along with the fact they have an ideology that has no future, they are sealing their demise even if they gain a lot of headlines. they are just sort of drawing too many adversaries against them. everybody opposes isis. >> i want to ask juliette about france. the french government voted to extend a state of emergency for three additional months.
was that the right thing to do? >> i think so. they are under still an imminent threat. what i like about it is that france is recognizing they are not thinking straight. they know three months from now, the world is going to look very different. they are tying their hands three months from now to reinstitute it. that's unlike what the united states did with the patriot act and there was a lot of controversy about it. france recognizes they are in a different position than they will be 90 days from now. that how democracies respond but go back to normal. we are not going to be in this state for eternity. this is a bad moment. and we recognize the tragedy that happened. but we have to keep our heads. just this syrian refugee or this islam bashing, it is just everyone keep their heads. this is a -- this is a struggle and it is dangerous. but, this is something that we
will deal with. and i think it's just very important that we take the long view at this stage because the last week has been a lot of, i think very dangerous talk for democracies. >> and knee-jerk reaction from a lot of people. thank you so much. have a very safe weekend. thanks for joining us. coming up, the world after the paris attacks. what have we learned about the terrorists and how to fight them? for adults with an advanced lung cancer called "squamous non-small cell", previously treated with platinum-based chemotherapy,
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a worldwide manhunt underway for terror suspect salah abdeslam just seven days after the paris attacks shocked the world. joining me is the author of a new book called "abraham." and also with me is the former chairman of the house intelligence committee. thank you so much for joining me. peter, it's now exactly one week from those heinous attacks on paris. has the world significantly changed in one week? >> absolutely. you know, the process started
really two and a half weeks, three weeks ago when you had isis taking down the russian plane over the sinai peninsula and then you had the bombings in beirut. and then you have what happened in paris and since that time, you know, you've had the aftermath in paris and the attack in mali. the world is a very, very different place and no one is sure what it looks like or what the threat environment is today. everybody is hopefully listening and learning as to how we can move forward and keep multiple countries safe at this time. >> people are telling me they are listening and learning on the street and people are telling me, today i was with ben stiller and he said every night i watch and i learn from you know, the panels and the people you have on. the world is learning. sadly, these things are happening. but we're all learning together, aren't we? >> it's important. it's an expensive way to learn. the cost of human life has been so high. but we have to learn. we have to change.
>> the french president, francois hollande said they are at war with isis. and i've heard some say that this is the beginning of world war iii. do you believe that? >> that is a euro centric view. you look at israel, they have been fighting terrorism for many, many, many years, airplane hijackings, thousands of people killed in terrorist attacks. but when it comes to paris we pay more attention because we are more closely identified with european countries and we fear what will happen here. it's not a war. we have to understand. we know how to fight wars and we always fight the last war. this is a very different phenomenon. this is using new technologies. we've seen nothing until we see the internet starting to be hacked, until we see, you know, the whole structure being subject to terrorism. we have to learn how to fight
the next war not refight the last one. >> we are learning tonight that the paris attackers salah abdeslam his record was clean enough to allow him entry into this country. do we need to add extra security in our screening process? >> i think you need to add more screening here. but let me disagree with what alan was talking about. if we don't confront the threat today it is going to start looking more like a war. we have isis that controls a geographic area in syria and iraq that is close to the size of the state of indiana. we have other caliphates, the threat environment is evolving into cyberspace which they are using for recruiting and messaging purposes. but i fully expect that one of these days we will see a cyberattack coming from isis and so, yeah, i think we're
approaching that scale where it's going to be a war. but alan is correct, it's going to be a very, very different war. in regards to talking about upping screening, we need much better cooperation at all levels of intelligence. our terrorism centers need to be better coordinated with the fbi. the fbi needs to be better coordinated with the cia. and the cia needs to be better coordinated with intelligence services around the world. >> you said a cyberattack. in what way do you fear? >> i for they will go after our infrastructure. they could shut down, perhaps some power plants. they could go after a financial center. there are all kinds of areas where the united states is very, very vulnerable to a cyberattack. they are trying to develop those capabilities and just like we're listening and learning, they are also listening and learning and cyber is a poorman's tool.
you need the knowledge but you can attack the west or -- or your enemy with a very small investment. you just need to be very smart. >> is that a bigger threat, you think than the type of attacks in paris? >> it's a greater threat to the country. i think that killing people over christmas vacation or going into malls or going into theaters or grand central station dramatically react to it much more because we see the human life before us. but cyberattacks can really bring the country to a economic halt, to a medical halt. it can devastate. the attacks today were not isis. there is al qaeda. there are the other groups that don't have property. and even if we win the war against the areas that isis attacks, there will still be cells in europe and in the united states that can attack even without them having territory. it's a new type of a battle.
>> both of you gentlemen stay with me. in the wake of the paris terror attacks the battle is heating up over refugee and whether to let them in. that discussion is next. who wants to try? before earning enough cash back from bank of america to stir up the holidays, before earning 1% cash back everywhere, every time and 2% back at the grocery store, even before they got 3% back on gas, all with no hoops to jump through, daniel, vandi, and sarah decided to use their bank americard cash rewards credit card to sweeten the holiday season. that's the spirit of rewarding connections. apply online or at a bank of america near you.
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in the weak of the paris terror attacks the battle over refugees in this country heating up. president obama meeting with refugees in malaysia. back with me, alan and peter. as a crusader against anti-semitism what comes to mind when you hear this anti-refugee rhetoric? >> there is no question. when roosevelt turned away the st. louis with a thousand -- >> 900 on there and 200 were killed. >> and the canadian foreign minister wouldn't take in. we have to open our gates. we have to become the ultimate country of asylum. but we shouldn't conflate two issues. get them out of syria.
that's the first thing. if they could go to some place like saudi arabia which has normal land mass and very few people and could stay there and go back to syria and help build the country, that would be ideal. if that can't happen, we have to be the country of last resort. but the arab and muslim countries should be the first ones. and we should put pressure on them to hold them temporarily until the crisis abates. if nobody else will take them that statue of liberty means something. we have to take them in. >> do you have concerns about letting syrian refugees into the country? >> i do have concerns about that. when you are talking about this, i'm well aware of what this process is from the time i spent on the intelligence committee. you are looking at ungoverned areas. what that means is there is not a central government database to get information on who these people are, what their backgrounds are.
it's a garbage-in data system. garbage in means garbage out. we can't vet these folks. get these folks out of harm's way, you know, roll back the area that isis controls and then let these folks go back home and rebuild their communities. the kurds just did this in iraq. they freed sinjar mountain and sinjar city. that was an area that 400,000 people used to live in. this is now an area where 400,000 people should be able to move back into and start rebuilding. >> yeah, i wonder. if this is a real fear, though. if it's a real fear if none of the paris attackers were not syrian and didn't come over as part of the refugee process. is a fear that is unreal being stoked here? >> it's partly unreal but it is generalized. an antimuslim fear. we cannot allow that to hoerpt.
-- operate here. we have to make individual determinations. certainly let the children come in first. save everybody first and then we can deal with residency and citizenship. that comes second. >> thank you, gentlemen. appreciate it. we'll be right back. what makes this simple salad the best simple salad ever? heart healthy california walnuts. the best simple veggie dish ever? heart healthy california walnuts. the best simple dinner ever? heart healthy california walnuts. great tasting, heart healthy california walnuts. so simple. get the recipes at walnuts.org.
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work of this year's top ten heroes was held this week. here is a behind the scenes look. >> i'm inside the american museum of natural history. we are set to honor ten everyday people doing extraordinary things. i'm giving you your own backstage pass. since 2007, cnn heroes has been an annual event. to places the cameras and rolling out the red carpet. this army of seasoned pros knows what it takes to make this evening memorable. >> how do you keep it fresh? >> ten new heroes every year. >> anderson cooper and a-listers turn out to salute our honorees. andra day was drawn to the
positive message. >> the purpose for creating a song was that it is encouraging and inspiring and healing for people. it works well with the theme of tonight. >> a 21,000 pound blue whale rarely has to share the spotlight. >> the minute you walk into the place, you are just overwhelmed. it's intense. this event is going to be spectacular. >> and maybe motivate all of us to make an impact. >> make sure you tune in sunday december 6th, 8:00 p.m. eastern for cnn heroes and a host of celebrity presenters and performers. it's an evening that is sure to inspire. i'll see you back here on monday night. cnn special report "blind sided: how isis shook the world" starts