tv The Place for Politics 2016 MSNBC March 18, 2016 10:00am-11:01am PDT
belgium, where a raid is under way. we believe it's in connection with the paris terror attacks and possibly connected to one of the most wanted men in the world. officials in the country say they have found evidence that sala ab de salaam have been in an apartment raided by police on tuesday. his older brother among the suicide bombers who killed themselves during those attacks that of course, left 130 people dead in paris. ab de salaam is believed to have fled paris since the attacks and been on the run since then. nbc's richard engel is live in istanbul. >> reporter: it appears the raid in molenbeck is winding down. officials there say a police spokesman said that two suspects
have been taken alive. we do not know, however, and do not have confirmation of who those suspects are. there are multiple reports that one of them at least was sala ab de slem. there are other reports ab de slem was holed up and involved in a standoff. but with the indication that the operation is winding down, that scenario that he's holed up inside is less and less likely. the police is saying two people were taken. two people are in custody. >> richard, what happened earlier this week? on tuesday, that may have potentially led potentially to
this? >> reporter: so if we can go back a little bit further, it started in november. it was the bataclan attack and the other cafes, the attacks in paris and the stadium as well. ab deslam escaped. there were rumors, speculation perhaps he chickened out. why did he live through what had been a suicide mission carried out by the other attackers? he was known to have been someone who was involved in the logistics of the operation with cars. there was an international manhunt connected to him and others connect to the paris attacks. and in brussels, there was a joint raid involving six officers.
the house was derelict. no water or electricity going into the house for some months. but when they opened the door, they were met with gunfire. two people escaped from the house. one militant was eventually killed by a sniper. and police have been investigating, today they revealed that they found abdeslam's fingerprint. he was potentially one of the two people who escaped and potentially, if we can get further confirmation, if we can get a confirmation he escaped to the other neighborhood in mallenbeck and surrounded and potentially captured. >> richard, the latest from
istanbul, thank you. contributor to msnbc. i believe he's with us from paris. chris, are you there as well? >> reporter: yeah, i'm here, kate. >> chris, let me start with you since you're on the ground in paris. i was there when all of this happened. this man is a key player. what do authorities believe his role was when the attacks killed 130 people? >> reporter: he was a player. and because he's the only survivor of the group to carry out the november 13th, 130 people, he's an important person to get a hold of because he knew all the players. he knew about the logistics. whether he was any kind of mastermind or more than a sort of minor figure in organizing logistics, that's an open question. but i'm sure the police are extremely glad to get a hold of
him. because this opens up a whole new network of connections to him that he can talk ottato the police about and probably will in the next few days and weeks. >> eamon, the connection to belgium. you think back to belgium, that's when the trail led them back then. are we looking at a scenario these people could have been hiding out in belgium all this time? >> reporter: they certainly had a strong connection to brussels. sometimes referred to within jihadist circles that the cell that carried out this attack was known as the brussels cell. evidence of and part of isis or at least loyal to isis who then
entered europe and then carried out this attack emerged over the last several months. we know that the family of abdeslam lives in mullenbeck and we went to the neighborhood. very dominant narrow with lots of north african and this has been a consistent challenge for european authorities to track down the various cells. there was no doubt there was a strong link between several individuals who carried out the attacks in paris. abdeslam was seen entering brussels where he's been wanted by authorities for some time. there was speculation he may have entered syria and may have gone through turkey into syria but it seems with some of the information that's emerging now in the manhunt that european officials were pursuing the individuals and led them back to belgium. kate?
>> yeah, but i need questions. sorry, i was talking in new york. we need to see what to speak here. we have not confirmed msnbc news whether or not abdeslam. was any authorities in europe commenting yet? >> reporter: as of yet, no official confirmations from official agencies but local media are reporting, local belgium media reporting that they believe abdeslam has been surrounded and captured by authorities there. there's no specific confirmation from police or the federal prosecutor and these raids have taken place in the past. the past several months, manhunts escalate or tipped off to a specific location as the police surround a neighborhood or perhaps a building. information does come out relatively quickly. i'm certain we'll hear within
the next couple of hours whether or not there is confirmation that salah ab deslam. they have identified him within the vicinity of where this raid is taking place, kate. >> eamon, let's bring in laura haim. white house correspondent. been with us since november on and off. you were such a valuable asset to us back when this all happened. what are you hearing from french sources now? >> reporter: we're hearing something quite interesting at this moment. the french president spoke with one of our reporters. he's saying that he cannot confirm that abdeslam is in belgium. just this reporter. the operation raid is not over, so we have to be extremely
prudent. and to quote from the french president francois hollande, however the president francois hollande, he said there's a relation between the raid and what's happened in paris in november. but again, he refused to confirm of salah abdeslam. >> what's happening on the ground at this moment, laura is saying the raid is still under way. let me go back to eamon. eamon, tell us more about moleenbeck. >> reporter: we had a chance at the time when we were in brussels and speaking to several
and three brothers andrea mitchell he is still living in molenbeck. he made an appeal to turn himself in. his brother was believed to have been involved in the paris attacks, but did not go through or believe to have been at some point in the operation, decided to change his mind and escape or flee or may have been involved in the shootings, but did not blow himself up. after the night of those attacks on november 13th, there was a suicide vest that was found that had explosives in it. they thought that may have been his. he was supposed to go through with that operation and did not go so. he ultimately left france and was believed to be in brussels. there was security footage that was captured of him at the time showing him at a gas station
along the border and with another individual that police are still currently looking for. so there's no doubt if he is, in fact, captured today, it would certainly be a tremendous value for authorities to try and understand the larger network, perhaps to try and understand the larger motivations of how they spulpulled this paris attan november but the authorities had been looking for. somebody who they believe he escaped that night from france and ultimately into brussels. his older brother has been cleared by authorities. mohammed has been cleared by authorities. they do not believe he knew of this planned attack. he spoke to the media on several occasions following the bataclan theater attack as well as the paris attacks and came out and said he believed his brother was misguided and at the time, urged himself or his brother to turn himself in. now we know that police over the course of the last several months have picked up key pieces of evidence to suggest that
salah was in europe or in particular, was still in belgium and in brussels. as early as january, released some footage, again, saying that he was in the area. this neighborhood in the suburb of brussels, not too far away from the city center itself, an area full of belgians, december s sen. descendents. we had a chance to speak to young belgian nationals with a long list of grievances about their integration, how they were treated in society and much further. and all of them at the time did not know that there was such a very visible or at least prominent cell, if you will, that was involved in the paris attacks that could have really been in their midst. and that's certainly something as well that law enforcement officials have really been tackling with over the past
several months to try to figure out what it is in these communities or this community that allowed a cell like this to exist, plan an attack with very few people knowing about it and few who came towards law enforcement officials to try and prevent it at the time. kate? >> all right. eamon, thank you so much. so interesting to hear that context. let's bring in military analyst and colonel jack jacobs. as we look at this picture on the left side of the screen, a live picture out of belgium. we don't really have to be honest, a lot of information about exactly what's happened behind that wall. but colonel, you know these kind of operations. you know what can be gathered in a raid like this one. talk about what intelligence officials would be looking through right now if they have, indeed, come upon information and connected at least to salah abdeslam? >> there's some information on the national newspaper that says
he has been wounded in the leg and captured. somebody else who was with him was wounded and died. there was two others. none is verified yet. but there are a couple newspapers reporting that from brussels. the interesting thing about all of this is that typically, in my experience, the higher ranking somebody is, the captive, the less likely he is to talk unfortunate because he probably knows more. somebody who's a lower ranking like this guy, who knows however a great deal about the attacks in paris knows a great deal is not very high ranking and therefore, much more likely to talk about it. especially in view of the fact that he probably, i mean, there's some evidence to indicate that he was planning to die in the attacks in paris and may have gotten cold feet.
so you have a guy who knows a great deal about the attacks. about the planning. and is probably more likely than almost anybody else to talk. this is possibly an enormous treasure-trove of information, the ability to get links to other people who are planning attacks now, networks both in belgium and in france and perhaps elsewhere in europe. this is potentially a great opportunity to get so much information that it's going to take a while to process. if it's true he's been wounded and captured and if it's also true he was supposed to die in paris but changed his mind, he's going to be a source of enormous intelligence information. >> jack, let's see if we can verify or confirm any of the information from various media sources. i want to turn to msnbc
contributor and washington editor at large. steve clemens in belgium and just speaking with local security officials there. there's questions about whether abdeslam is captured or injured and captured. any information from authorities in belgium? >> all i can say is that at the forum i'm at, the brussels forum where the president of the european union is here, u.s. trade representatives and jayne shaheen and it's chock a block with intelligence officials is that i happen to be earlier talking about the earlier raid and just the notion that brussels seemed to be, have such a high amount of folks that have been to syria and have a large number of people that have gone to syria and have come back and after the paris raid. so it was coincidental despite having had the tuesday raids and talking to them that in the radio communications between
some of the security officials here responsible for protecting this conference site that it came in the media. so they were speaking and talking about this with each other here at this site which is about four kilometers, about two and a half miles from where the action is taking place. so that is not an official confirmation. it ranks with kind of, you know, coincidental hearsay in the sense that security officials tightened up as a result of what was going on and his name was mentioned in my conversations with the security officials that have come up and we began to see the media alerts begin to appear that perhaps they had shot or detained or had neutralized him. which hasn't been officially here. that hasn't happened. i've been on the phone with you folks since that had happened. it has interesting to be so close to the action, have so many national security and intelligence people from the region and from belgium here at
this site and so this was a point of communication where things were shared with the officials and really the security forces here. >> steve, thank you for checking in with us. i want to go back to laura hoai. >> reporter: the french president is with the prime minister of belgium. he is in belgium. and both men are talking about, of course, what's happening in molenbeck. what is happening is two elements. the belgian police is now saying officially that salah abdeslam is arrested, however, the french president does not confirm officially. telling us he's been neutrali d neutralized.
we don't know what this means but the belgium police is confirming abdeslam is arrested. we have to be extremely cautious and as i tell you a few minutes ago, the prime belgigium minist. >> let me make sure i'm clear here. you're saying that the belgium police are confirming that abdeslam has been arrested? >> reporter: yes. the belgium police. not the french. the belgium police is saying abdeslam is arrested and again, it's according to the belgium police. however, on the french side, the french president is not confirming. he has been arrested and he's asking people to be cautious about what they're reporting. >> understood.
laura. thank you. and my producers telling me we can now confirm, nbc news, can confirm that belgium police do tell us that abdeslam was arrested in belgium today. salah abdeslam. one of the people being suspected that killed 130 people in november, the man that's been on an international watch list now for months. there's been a manhunt under way for him for months. the man you see on the right side of your screen has now been captured in a raid in belgium. we don't have anymore details about that. there are reports that perhaps he was injured in that raid. that has not been confirmed. but at this point, nbc can confirm from belgium police telling us that abdeslam was arrested today. josh earnest at the white house was asked about this during the white house briefing moments ago and said he didn't have any information about what's happening in belgium. quote, i don't know if the president has been briefed on the latest developments, but
given what laura is saying about the belgium prime minister and the french president in meetings as we speak, one would suspect the white house is getting briefed on this as well. let me see if we can go back to eamon. are you still with us? >> i am, kate. >> so what we're learning is that he has been arrested and that colonel jack was pointing out, that could have significant implications in terms of what he tells to authorities at this point. he could be a wealth of information. >> reporter: absolutely. and there's no doubt that there were a lot of questions that have not been answered following the paris attacks and the fact this individual who french authorities believe was very much in the attacks, a very close associate of the ring leader, who was a person believed to have traveled back and forth from isis held territory in syria into several times, they're going to learn a lot from him if they can get him to talk about what he knew. the kind of network that was
behind the paris attacks and perhaps more urgently, the kind of networks that currently exist in europe that he may be aware of. keep in mind that a few days ago on tuesday, there was a raid where they found his fingerprints and his dna. and so they believe that he was at least, they were hot on his trail, but more importantly, he had associates or he had places in brussels and elsewhere in europe that he was able to feel comfortable enough to hide at and so they're going to look at all of these various places. they're going to try to trace his footsteps over the last several months to identify anybody that knew who he was or where he was and capture. that's going to be very important for authorities in trying to determine if there are perhaps any other cells, any other individuals that are out there, possibly planning or waiting to execute some type of attack. in addition to this sense of urgency and immediacy about the current security climate, they are going to try to piece together the lingering questions
that still remain from the paris attacks back in november. we know he had several associates that he was with inside syria. that is something that investigators have been able to piece together, but they also want to know how they managed this cell managed to evade capture, plan such an attack over the course of the several months leading up to the paris attacks in november and still get away with it. so there are a lot of questions that this individual, if in fact, he's now captured alive from belgium police, can be considered an intelligence troef for authorities or prevent ongoing operations or cells that currently may be operating inside of european territory. >> eamon, and if we can, i'd like to check back with richard engel in istanbul and following this story for months now. richard, one of the questions that occurs to me is what took so long. this is four months later this
man has been able to evade capture. >> reporter: he's been on the run for four months, and a security official in belgium confirmed to nbc news that he's been captured. a huge coupe for belgium authorities. in a moment, they're going to celebrate. but yes, there are those questions, why did it take so long? the french and belgians will say because they've been looking for many other suspects. they have rounded up a dozen people with the paris attacks. they're going, in some cases, on a house to house search looking for salah and other conspirators. they will say this was a great accomplishment. yes, it took four months, but that ultimately, they got the man they were looking for alive. >> richard, do authorities
believe that there are potentially more attackers out there? more people who were involved in the official french attacks who might be able to lead them to? >> reporter: yes. they don't know exactly how wide of a net necessarily needs to be cast. this was an isis cell. an isis cell that diamond was just talking about that went back with the direct connections to the isis caliphate as it likes to call it in syria and iraq. so there was an operational cell. it sounds like the key members of the operational cell are being rounded up or have been rounded up but this had operations directly connected to isis. how many more people are involved? how many people within isis knew about this operation? how many of them might be in syria in places that are hard to
reach? i think those are still questions that they're going to be putting and perhaps already asking salah now in custody. >> all right, richard engel watching it all from istanbul. a couple of things to note. we've gotten word from the white house. the white house commenting on what's happening this afternoon saying the u.s. has used extensive resources to help track terrorists ever since the paris attack. that's the comment officially from the white house. and the belgium justice minister speaking out as you see on your screen saying, quote, we got him. let's go to malcolm i think with us on the phone. we talk so often back in november, december about the security situation after paris and all the efforts that were under way to try to capture someone just like this man. what are the implications today? >> reporter: what you see is the
culmination of a massive international manhunt. what's interesting about the capture today is that it came after they had done a series of raids, certainly after paris and in brussels over the last month. that's where they got the key information. abdeslam has been an enicmatic and may have had a moment of conscience and went back in to the ji ha de world where he was hiding. comes to see what intelligence officials will get out of him. >> do you think it bodes well and talking about the fact and
the paris massacre who did not go and conduct his attacks. he dumped the suicide bomb vest and removed from the explosions himself so that no one who handled it would get hurt. all of this indicates that he didn't go to go through with that attack. he went back up to a world he knew very well and holed up. but it appears he may, he's going to give a lot of intelligence about the entire logistical support network and operatives that were coming in and out of syria he is going to be a treasure-trove of information. >> what? are they able to piece any kind of trail or not knowing where he
was all of these months? >> reporter: well, this is where, you know, the various forms of intelligence collection come together. it's quite possible that they have many indications that he was up in the molenbeck area but after the paris attacks thought he went over to germany. now you've got this international, you know, manhunt network that has to isolate every tip that you have there. now, you're talking about one man in europe. so it's quite possible that as he came back into the moleenbeck, they had indications he was there and possible they had him under surveillance for a long period of time and used this opportunity to capture him while going after the really dangerous groups and operational cells as richard engel called them that were going to carry out attacks and in doing that, they rolled him up last. it could have been either way.
>> thanks so much, malcolm nance. to recap for those just joining us, we're looking at pictures out of belgium right now, the town of moleenbeak, one of the key fugitives out of the attacks in paris. a man named salah abdeslam is captured into custody and that is a significant turn for the investigation into the paris attacks and for the fight against isis. the justice minister of belgium saying simply, we got him. we'll take a quick break here on msnbc. back with more live kovrcoverag straight after this. y about a cracked windshield. so she scheduled at safelite.com and with safelite's exclusive "on my way text" she knew exactly when i'd be there. so she didn't miss a single shot. (cheering crowd) i replaced her windshield... giving her more time for what matters most... how'd ya do? we won! nice!
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it's my job and it's i takealso my passion.rises. but with my back pain i couldn't sleep... so i couldn't get up in time. then i found aleve pm. aleve pm is the only one to combine a sleep aid plus the 12-hour strength of aleve... for pain relief that can last into the morning. and now... i'm back. aleve pm for a better am. good day, brian williams with you here from new york. as you have been watching, it's been an eventful couple of hours. especially in belgium, as the main fugitive from the paris terrorist attacks from four
months ago, the deaths of 130 innocent people. the main subject has been captur captured. his condition, we know he's been captured. abdeslam, we remember that name from the investigation and kind of played out from paris in concentric circles around europe at the time. our chief foreign correspondent richard, e engel has been watch and listening with us. richard played a hand in the kovr coverage of the story after the attacks. richard, remind us his role among the terrorists. >> so brian, this suspect, this fugitive who's been on the run for four months has been the most enigmatic of the paris
attackers. the other attackers who blew up their devices or opened fire at cafes an inside the bataclan theater killing 130 people all died in the attack. but salah abdeslam is seen on surveillance video. his suicide vest, he believed, was found dumped at a location as he fled the city. so it appears he either had a change of heart or didn't want to go through with the suicide mission. there have been many attempts to find him since then. many raids, many arrests. other people connected to the paris attacks have been arrested. but abdeslam's whereabouts were unknown until this week. on tuesday, there was a raid in a different neighborhood in brussels and we learned in which
one mill talent witant was kill his fingerprint. they had him in another neighborhood in brussels and today, just a short distance away according to belgian officials, there was a counterterrorism raid, a s.w.a.t. team raid and sala salah abdeslam was captured and now in custody. >> describe moleenbek, most of us came to know after the paris attacks. >> reporter: it is an immigrant community, a neighborhood where there are quite a few immigrants from north africa, algeria, moo morocco and intimately connected to the attacks in paris. a lot of the people who were involved in the attacks had family there, had spent time
there, and it suddenly became known in european circles as the center of jihadi and surprised a small european country ended up having the highest number of people per capita in europe going off to join isis and fight with isis in iraq and syria. that center in belgium of jihadist activity has often been considered ripe to be in the heart of the molenbeek. >> not to advance the story all that much, but what's your guess about the threat level going into this weekend in europe especially for americans who may have travel plans? and spring break for a lot of american kids and schools. what's your guess as to the threat level in the united
states? does this have an overwash effect across the atlantic? >> reporter: it's a hard question to answer, brian. i'm nervous about speculating, but generally, in the past, when there has been intense pressure on militant groups and right now, the people who are involved in that paris attack, any other people connected to abdeslam are on the run. they know he's been caught. they know he may be talking. and the result of that kind of pressure is usually one of two options. any militants still at large could either go underground knowing a key element, a key player has just been caught and either go into hiding or the opposite effect, if they know that if somebody who has information has just been grabbed, they could go ahead and launch any attacks that they
might have been planning because they have nothing else to lose. so a lot of pressure is being put on this particular isis cell in belgium right now. and you'll have to wonder how are they going to react. and i think based on past experience, it's one of two ways. either go into hiding or they launch whatever operation they had been working on. >> richard, forgive me, but because it has been four months and because we've had the holiday period, the new year, and the intervening months and americans have gone on about their business and now following a presidential election, remind us what we learned about this group, this cell, their motivation, the selection of the fiendishly vulnerable soft targets where they chose to spring their attacks, not all of them successful. >> reporter: this was the most
spectacular attack by isis on an international target. this was in many ways isis' target that it has international ambitions, it doesn't just want to fight and kill local minorities according to ton a g. they surpassed al qaeda. the attackers in paris, the attackers who carried out the shootings and bombings at the france, several cafes and inside the bataclan theater while a rock stert wconcert was going o sometimes called the belgian cell. the ring leader believed to have gone back and forth to syria and met with isis members and doing
horrific things, dragging bodies behind vehicles. so it was this terrible combinati combination. people not only radicalized and got battle experience fighting for isis who then organized themselves, went back to their home countries, recruited others in their home countries, places that they knew, and carried out the attacks. so now with the arrest today, belgium and french officials can say they have more or less closed the circle. that almost all and still unclear how many total people were involved in the paris attacks but that nearly all of them after today's arrest have been either killed, died in the attacks themselves, or were captured. >> richard engel, part of our
coverage. a veteran correspondent of all the conflicts we've been covering overseas. eamon, what can you add about isis in france elsewhere and in europe? >> one of the most significant aspects is that over the last several years, whether it was isis inspired or isis, you know, operationally involved in the execution of this attack and what we've seen in other countries, these lone wolf type of attacks tend to be the isis inspired attacks but counterterrorism and officials in investigating this was that this attack carried out in paris showed a very different set of hallmarks that we had seen in the past. individuals, the belgian individuals and the cell had close operational involvement on the ground in syria and in iraq. so much that even after the
paris attacks, after isis claimed responsibility for it, they put out their propaganda material. they didn't mention sala salah abdeslam knowing he had been on the run and knowing he was sought after by intelligence officials, an indication they had all of the information about the other nine attackers. the profiled in the various propaganda magazines and such, but this individual was not mentioned. when you raise the question about where we go in terms of what he can provide officials, certainly, on a few different levels. and any finances, how they managed to get the weapons and transport the individuals and there's going to be a sense of urgency to identify what he may have known in terms of operational cells that currently exist inside europe. as we were hearing, the raid that began on tuesday involved an individual engaged in a
shootout with the belgian counterterrorism officials. believed to have been about prosecutors. he was armed and in that apartment where they found the dna and frinlingerprints that lo where we are today. and this individual, and been on for four months and had safe houses to go to. spending money, somehow acqui acquiring food and what have you but kept a low profile and that's going to be a key question now for authorities to try to determine that. because in an operation like we saw in paris, such a strong link between isis in syria and european and what it may mean for u.s. officials. >> thanks. we see these familiar scenes now. this woman, i think we can say rather obviously lives or works
in that block that has been sealed off. we saw so much of this following the terrorist attacks in paris. and there will be time to discuss this later, but people in france and belgium have given up so many civil liberties. there have been so many structures that have been forcibly entered by investigators who have been frantic after all to hunt down the men, the women responsible for this, the people who were planners. the people who are associates. and obviously, this is a very emotional day in molenbeek. a quick break for us. our breaking news coverage of this story will continue right after this. vo: across america,
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the capture of the, let's call him the main fugitive in the paris terrorist attacks four months ago now. salah abdeslam and this happens in molenbeek, belgium, in brussels, a neighborhood most of us came to know after the paris terrorist attacks. we're looking at this roped off police line standing kind of frozen with their shields and riot helmets for a reason. as we saw in some of the shootouts after the paris attack when they freeze a neighborhood, it is often because they have worked out sidelines, how far a weapon could fire and potentially hurt an innocent person. but also, think of the people on the other side of the police lines. yes, some of them, it's friday
night. just want to return to their homes. some of them are visiting friends. think of the occasional caregiver who went out to get something for caregiver who went out to get something for a 90-year-old bedridden inside one of those structures that's no longer reachable and they're trying to talk sense in the police, police won't have it because it's a frozen zone. that's what we're looking at here. they often go door to door and flush out everyone from the structures so they know that street is clean in police parlance so if they see anyone move they'll know it's something untoward. it's police, what appear to be elements of armed forces, certainly dogs and their handlers. this was the incredible video of the swat-style team this doorway
and they seemed aware someone was taking this video across the street, they tried to wave them off. they encountered one or two women inside the home, they said come on out and went past them on their way out. for a while this was all we knew. section of belgium then it was learned that they captured the man they were looking for. a government minister said we've got him and that was taken to mean that salah abdel slam was in custody. we've seen francois hollande and charles michel, the prime minister of belgium, already attending a european summit on
the other massive issue they've been dealing with and that's immigration out of the middle east. and they ended up talking about this joint raid. what started with a terrorist attack in paris four months ago, the deaths of 130 innocent people continues to play out and it has stretched for a long time one assumes, electronics, drones, whatever the public has needed. the public has been willing to give up civil rights and liberties after the terrorist attacks. they were willing to do what they needed to do because it was decided for the public good something that resonates and this country post-member amman,
i do recall that they exerted special power, certainly in france but also in belgium. it's common, we keep having this debate in this country. >> every country has debated its own version of the patriot act similar to what the united states went through after 9/11. a lot of folks in france at the time when the french parliament was discussing the measures that would give french counterterrorism officials and intelligence authorities extended powers, extended surveillance and the ability to listen in on more than what europeans had grown accustomed to. that was at the time a major debate that raged across european capitals. nonetheless, though, as you mentioned right now, this scene
unfolding in molenbeek has become all too too familiar. that neighborhood is a tough neighborhood. i spent time talking to folks there. when there were a lot of western journalists who descended on molenbeek after the paris attacks, they were not given the warmest of receptions. there were some that had eggs tossed at them. some were told to leave. so it's a difficult neighborhood and that's not lost on the minds of the officials there. keep in mind, there have been several raids that have taken place in molenbeek. it's interesting to see why salah abdeslam, who is from that neighborhood, decided to come back to that neighborhood knowing that it was perhaps a neighborhood that is going to be under tremendous amount of surveillance. at the time when we were there, we spoke to officials who were working on trying to integrate and assimilate this community and they told us it was very difficult to convince many of the descendents, the young descendents of the north african migrants that settled in
molenbeek to buy into the process, to buy into the system, to cooperate with law enforcement not only on this investigation but others and you could imagine that that is certainly something that has been a challenge for belgian officials but also in communities all across western europe where intelligence officials, counterterrorism officials are trying to make inroads into some of these communities where they believe previous cells or currently operational cells may be hiding out. and as we mentioned in this particular case, the raid that took place on tuesday not too far away from what we're seeing now, they must have gotten some intelligence to lead them where they are today but that's going to be a question for officials going forward, brian. >> let's go to ron allen at the white house. ron, life goes on in america everyday, of course, and yet in the white house, in the national security shop, this issue, this exact cell is never far from mind. it's one of the things on their daily agenda.
>> and since november there have been a number of briefings on background and more publicly to reporters trying to detail to some extent what the united states is doing and the emphasis has always been on intelligence sharing and sharing with expertise that the united states has that the french and the belgians don't have to try and make these kinds of raids possible. now, we understand the president has been briefed and more details are coming out of belgium as to what exactly happened but in briefing i was just in, josh earnest made the point of saying that this raid was possible without providing details because of the cooperation, because of the expertise and intel of the united states lending to the belgians and to the french. now, one big concern over there, of course, is that europe is -- at least western europe is one place where there's so much movement and i can tell you the united states has been concerned about trying not only to share intel with those two nations but
that the europeans share amongst themselves and integrate the -- what they know more carefully, more succinctly, and more operationally, if you will, to try and make these raids possible because we know there's been a lot of movement over the years in europe amongst terrorist groups, between terrorist groups and, of course, there's a concern of fighters coming in from syria and iraq which are not far away from belgium and france. >> ron allen watching it all at the white house as they are as well. we'll take a quick break and we'll be back at the top of the hour to update you on the very latest out of belgium.
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