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tv   Today  NBC  March 22, 2016 7:00am-10:00am EDT

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on friday, you wonder if there was an inkling of relief among the belgium people that this terror leader, the planner of the paris attacks, had been captured. i'm sure many others worried about the consequences of that arrest and the fallout and whether his accomplices would be pushed into action. we'll have more ahead from new york. our correspondents are fanned out, and we'll give you the lalatest inforon the second we have it. we'll take a break, allow our stations to reset. we'll be back with you in a second. good morning. breaking news. terror in brussels. powerful explosions rocking the airport and the city subway system overnight. reports of at least 15 people killed. dozens more injured. this morning, the chilling images from inside the airport and underground, as passengers are evacuated from train cars through darkened and smokey tunnels.
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this morning telling nbc news, isis, the terror group, is likely behind the attacks. the hunt for suspects is underway today, tuesday, march 22nd, 2016. good morning, everybody. ome to this edition of "today" on tuesday morning. i'm savannah guthrie alongside matt lauer. we're covering this breaking news out of belgium. the prime minister said this is a terror attack, a dark moment for his country. what we feared ed ed ed ed has happened. >> someone or someones went up to the airport area, detonated one device outside of the building. someone else, apparently a suicide bomber inside the terminal, packed with morning commuters. people lining up to catch flights to other parts of europe and parts of the world. near a starbucks, waiting to get coffee.
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with a backpack, suitcase or package, when the explosion ripped through the terminal. the devastation is apparent for anyone who can see the images. at least 15 people confirmed killed. this is an area of an airport where you haven't gone through security yet. you pull up in a car, get off a bus. one of our colleagues from msnbc said, he came up from a rail system beneath into the great hall, the departures terminal, when the explosion had gone off. no one had been screened for security. >> as we speak to counter-terrorism officials, like they say, this is a soft target. little to no security. as we said at busy airport situations, this would be presecurity. maybe some but not what we recognize when you're boarding a flight. >> a short time later, another soft target with little
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underneath the streets of buss el s -- brussels. you're looking at video of the darkened tunnels where passengers were torresed ed forced to evacuate the train after the bomb went off, maybe their way to safety and the area aboveground. >> to add context, brussels is the seat of the european union's government. it has also become a hot bed for terrorist activity and planning, as we learned after the paris attack. the cell most of the attackers came from the neighborhood in brussels known as molenbeek. we just had the arrest of one of the paris suspects, salah abdeslam in the last few days. he's been interrogated by authorities. unclear how much cooperation he's given. this morning, the key question is, what and to what extent his arrest, this man's arrest, may have to do with what we're seeing this morning in brussels. >> other accomplices in that
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arrested, as we look at images inside the metro in brussels, did other accomplices fear that after he was arrested, he would divulge information their locations, their identities? did that force them to carry out these plans before they had intended to? we've got complete coverage. beginning with keir simmons. what can you tell us? >> matt, good morning. clearly coordinated and terrifying series of events in the heart of europe. brussels airport rocked by explosions at around 8:00 a.m. then the metro hit close to the seat of european government. the city is now in lockdown. transportation shut down. with images emerging that tell a story of substantial blasts causing extensive damage. you can see here, matt and savannah, passengers from the airport being evacuated. the images you saw earlier of
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the blast on a subway train speaks to a very, very serious, substantial explosive device being used. the belgium prime minister now saying that he believes that at the airport, it was a suicide bomb. at the metro, it was a package of some kind. he is saying what we feared has happened. this morning, the u.s. embassy is urging u.s. citizens not to use public transportation in brussels. there are troops on the streets of that city. as officials, matt and savannah, scramble to establish whether more attacks are planned. whether, as you mentioned, this is connected to the arrest of salah abdeslam, who was wanted in connection with the paris attacks. it is in a suburb of brussels that many of the paris attackers from last november came from. the question this morning, are
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same network of isis affiliated jihadists? >> keir simmons, stay there. we'll go back to you as we follow these developments. >> let's bring in our chief justice correspondent, pete williams, who talked to his sources this morning. pete, anything new you can add to this? >> a couple of points. one is we're expecting a statement shortly that, apparently, will come out of the white house. noting that the government is well aware of this. they're assessing and trying to decide what to do. there's been no formal guidance to airports or subway stations or train stations in the united states from the u.s. government. there have been internal messages from the usual places that keep these operations informed of attacks. these messages have been flowing for the past several hours, to let the operators of airports, train stations, subway stations in the u.s. know what happened, give the best information they have and urge them to take appropriate precautions. the security of all those
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it's in the hands of local authorities. we only know of one specific plan to do anything in response, and that is not surprisingly in new york. the new york police department says it is going to have a very aggressive and visible presence today at subway stations, train stations, bridges and tunnels. but we have not yet heard of any specific plans by airports in the u.s. to adjust their security measures in response to the attacks in brussels. whether they will restrict travel, restrict curbside check-in, whether they will restrict cars getting near the airport. we don't have any word of any of that yet. but in the hours to come, those local airports are going to be making those decisions. coincidentally, the administrator of tsa that is responsible for the aviation security was actually in brussels for scheduled meetings with european officials.
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with people here about what he knows. but because of the uncertainty of who is responsible for this, the u.s. authorities are still trying to decide what the best steps are. we're told there will be a white house statement coming shortly, though we don't expect a great deal of substance in it. >> pete williams, thank you. we got a note, the u.s. officials briefed on intelligence tell nbc they've been expecting these attacks, or some kind of attack in europe after what happened in paris, that they're struck initially, not as coordinated or sophisticated as what we saw in paris. yet, we see they were able to inflict a lot of damage. let's go to tom costello who covers aviation for us. also very familiar with this airport, with this region. he has family that lived there many, many years. what can you add? >> a couple things. delta airlines flight 80, atlanta to brussels, is sitting on the ramp, unable to move the people off the plane because it is mass chaos on the ground at the airport.
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being evacuated from the airport tarmac or rather the terminal out on to the ramp. the numbers of people, hundreds, even thousands of people, waiting to figure out where to put them. it's not easy because there are no trains, there are no busses, there are no taxis, there are no subways. everything in the city is shut down. additionally, delta airlines 42, new york to brussels, has been diverted to amsterdam. both of the planes, we're told, are safe. to give you perspective, brussels airport is in zaventem, a small town -- actually my in-laws live right there. seven miles from downtown brussels. we can tell you there is train service and subway service also into that airport. when you talk about the entire subway system also being shut down following the terrorist attack on the subway system, this paralyzes the entire region. i also wanted to make note of the fact the european air traffic control headquarters is
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that, according to some video we've seen this morning, has been surrounded by heavily armed police tactical units, as well, this morning. about 20,000 people work at that airport alone, and it is not necessarily the biggest in europe but certainly is a critical airport, serving as the gateway into the capital of europe, but also, of course, as a gateway to the united states and into africa and across europe. there are the subway pictures we've been watching this morning throughout the morning. >> tom, stand by there. we'll check back in in a moment. nbc news analyst sean henry, the former executive assistant director of the fbi joins us now. the investigators now, law enforcement now in brussels and belgium at large have two major jobs. one, they have to try to prevent anything further from happening. two, they've got to begin the investigation as to how this happened. where do they begin? >> both of those things are really kind of locked together.
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investigation, they're going to be developing intelligence of who might have been involved. they're coming on the backside of what happened with abdeslam. the intelligence they're collecting from that. absolutely, the top priority will be preventing any further attacks. again, matt, it really starts with identifying who these cohorts are here, what they're pulling out of their ongoing investigation. there have been hundreds of searches. there have been dozens of arrests in the weeks preceding this. there's a lot of intelligence there that investigators will be combing through to try to put the pieces of the puzzle together. >> when you see the images, sean, especially those images inside the departures terminal at the airport, what's your first thought, your gut reaction? >> this looks like a catastrophic attack, and it looks like a large payload. it's very unclear what type of device this was. i think about people in an airport. we've all been there, pulling a
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that could potentially conceal explosive device that's a lot more substantial than what you might see on a suicide vest, a suicide bomber. again, unclear how the explosion was concealed, how it was brought in, how it was delivered, what the triggering device was. it certainly appears, just from preliminary looking at this, that it was larger than what we've typically seen with suicide vests. >> you hate to put it in these terms, but is this is attack that would be hard or easy for somebody to pull off? >> you know, when you think about planning that goes into this, there's coordination because you've got multiple sites, multiple events. you have a group of people who have to conceal their communications to try and stay below the radar. there is a sense of sophistication in that. especially when there's been so many arrests in the preceding weeks, searches, et cetera. they're trying to evade police while continuing to plan and execute this type of event.
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soft targets, there certainly is security at airports before you get to the gates but, again, we've all been in the large, cavernous areas. you get out of a car, taxi or bus, walking in, not a lot of security there. to that extent, not having to pass through traditional security devices, security check-points, there's a lot of vulnerability there, savannah. >> sean henry, thank you. stay by. we'll check back with you in a little while. >> we'll turn again to andrea mitchell, in havana traveling with president obama this morning. he was expected to give a big speech. has the president been briefed? >> the president has been briefed. susan rice, the national security adviser, is with him. the national security staff communicating, of course, back to washington and to all the intelligence officials. the director of national intelligence, james clapper, had recently testified about the
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and other groups. of course, wes don't know who the perpetrators were of this apparent suicide attack, but that would be the most likely suspect. some felt related to the arrest on friday of abdeslam in belgium. obviously, there's been a lot of criticism of the officials in belgium, as well as some criticism of the french officials. they have been trying to step up coordination since what happened in paris in november. as well, john kerry is here, and now the secretary of state did have a planned interview, we are told, with telemundo. he was doing spanish language television today. we don't know if that was going to happen. i was supposed to interview susan rice at 9:30 eastern today. we don't know if that'll still take place. they're scrambling now to re-write the president's speech today, to put out a statement and decide whether we see the president before his planned speech on cuban television. unprecedented event as that was to be, that was supposed to be
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he was going to broadly address the human rights issue here, which became such a point of contention, even in that unprecedented joint news conference between raul castro, the president of cuba, and president obama yesterday. there's been a lot of firsts here. some of which may not now take place. whether they adjust the schedule, how they adjust the schedule, he's due to leave here this afternoon and go on to argentina, where they had a very important commemoration of the end of the so-called dirty war. i was told that there might well be declassification of the american cia in that dirty war in the '70s and '80s in argentina. there's a lot we don't know about the president's schedule, but he's been fully briefed. suggest. andrea mitchell traveling with you. simmons. what can you tell us? >> that's right. nbc news has confirmed that at
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there in central brussels, 15 people have been killed. as soon as you saw this picture, this image of one of the carriages, you really feared that the extent of the deaths and injuries that might be cause bid somebody like that, and now we know. we're told 15 dead. we don't know how many have been killed at the airport. there, you can see pictures of other passengers fleeing, trying to get away. they know that an explosion has happened. they are evacuating from a carriage down the rail line, itself. it gives you a sense of the panic that was caused. i was mentioning at the airport, we don't yet know how many people were killed there. reports from there, matt and savannah, suggest that that may be a high toll. certainly of injured. again, just looking at the pictures of that airport, the
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strewn around, it's hard to imagine there haven't been a serious number of casualties from that. >> you look back at the images of the metro, of the train there, that explosion apparently happened after that train had left a station. looks like it happened -- well, that looks close to a station, but the images we saw a second ago seem like people evacuating in a tunnel somewhere, away from the station, and trying to -- right here -- make their way aboveground. >> of course, the fear we'vemorning, that the death toll would rise, apparently that has come to pass. at this hour, we know of 13 dead at the airport scene. now we're getting reports this morning that the numbers are rather high from the metro attack, as well. a brussels transit spokesperson saying 15 dead, as many as 55 injured at that attack at the subway station. we've been seeing these terrifying images of passengers evacuating in these dark and smokey tunnels.
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the people of brussels this morning. there is no air transportation in or out. there is no train service in or out. cell phone service is sketchy, to say the least, although they are allowed to text and use social media. clearly, life has come to a standstill, at least for this morning in brussels, belgium. >> we'll have more on these attacks. we'll continue to follow the breaking news and check in with our correspondents. we have new images and first-hand accounts of what has transpired there. we'll put it into context as we continue our breaking coverage. first, on a tuesday morning, this is toad on "today" on nbc. not quite. sometimes those seats are out of reach, costing an outrageous number of miles. it's time to switch... to the capital one venture card. with venture, you'll earn unlimited double miles on every purchase, every day. and when you're ready to travel, just book the flight you want, on any airline and use your miles to cover the cost.
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back on a tuesday morning with this special edition of "today" on the terror attacks in brussels. we want to go now to richard engel, who is our chief foreign correspondent. richard, i know you've been working the phones, finding out what you can on this. what can you tell us? >> it seems there were one senior u.s. counterterrorism official told me this seems to be a complex and coordinated attack. that this was not the work of a group of amateurs. that this was a sophisticated terrorist attack. that there were two explosions at the airport, terminal b at the airport. one of them inside the check-in terminal. unclear how many killed, but there are reports of at least 11, maybe 13 or more killed there.
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airport attack, the airport attack happening around 0800 in the morning, so 8:00 a.m. in the morning. the other attack happening at 9:00 a.m. local time, at the metro station. u.s. embassy personnel were not, frankly, located that far away. also, there is a nato headquarters also not far away. being told to shelter in place. very difficult for the people who are living in brussels right now to move around, to communicate. cell phone has been spotty. it makes people feel, well, panicked, frankly, because they can't communicate as easily as they would, even just to tell friends and family they're okay. >> they've been told to get inside and stay inside. let the law enforcement do their job. let them secure the streets. there are, according to people we've been in contact with
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intersections and cross roads leading in and out of brussels, trying to make sure they're secure. make sure someone they may be looking for doesn't slip through. it happened after the paris terror attacks. the city of brussels is on lockdown after the attacks. >> now western europe on high alert. many, many areas of transportation have been paused, as well. we want to take a quick break, give our stations a chance to breakaway for local news.
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mog. 2016. this is a special edition of "today" as we cover this morning's deadly terror attacks in brussels, belgium. explosions both at the airport and in metro stations. >> that's right. the death toll now stands at this hour, at least 28 people. 13 killed at the airport. 15 in the subway attack. we're now seeing the first
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and devastation. that image appears to be a train car. we've seen some terrifying images coming out of the airport, as well. >> we haven't had that image verified yet, but we do know that we have images of the scenes of devastation at brussels airport. where someone apparently set off one device. we've been told by brussels authorities or belgium authorities that these were suicide bombers. one outside the departures terminal. one inside the great hall. those are the scenes from inside the departure terminal, where just after 8:00 this morning, thousands of people would have been waiting, lining up to check in for flights. everybody in the area would have had a suitcase with them or some sort of package. impossible to know who got what into that terminal. they were inside and created devastation. >> this is a city, a country, whole region that has been on
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the prime minister of belgium, charles michel, saying our worst fears have come to pass. confirming it was a terror attack. indeed, in the case of the airport, the chief prosecutor in belgium saying it's believed to be a suicide attack. we don't know what nature yet. >> you bring up the paris attacks of november 13th. there's already an image making its way around social media this morning of the french people comforting the belgium people with the dates of these two terror attacks underneath. the people draped in the flags. that image right there. november 13 and march 22. the dates of the attacks both in paris and now in belgium. we're going to talk to some witnesses who were at the airport and forced to evacuate. also, we'll be joined by donald trump, the front runner on the republican presidential side to get his take on what's happening this morning. we want to begin this hour with nbc's justice correspondent
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pete, i think if you can help us put this into some timing perspective, because these attacks come four days after the arrest of salah abdeslam, who is said to be the guy who planned the paris attacks. they have him in custody. they've been trying to talk to him. unclear as to what, if any, information he's been giving them. >> right. and how dependable that information is. the question here today is, matt, was this an attack that had well been planned in advance and just happened to be carried out a few days after his arrest, or as is more likely, was pressure on this group in belgium causing them to accelerate a plan that they had been thinking about in advance, or simply take whatever devices they had and head to the airport and head to the subway with some intend ed intended plan to do this at the same time? that's what they're trying to figure out today. >> pete, can i ask you an obvious question?
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are the rules the same in belgium as they are here in the united states, in terms of what he is allowed to do in terms of not answering questions and what the belgium authorities are allowed to do in trying to get information from him? >> no, they're not the same. they can hold people there, in many european countries, and continue to interrogate them without having filed specific charges. he will face specific charges, but the so-called miranda rule you're talking about here, about statements used against you, that's generally the rule but they vary from country to country. for intelligence gathering purposes, they can try to ask whatever they want, as long as they don't use the evidence in court. that's the general rule in many western countries. in terms of the response here in the u.s., the white house has put out a statement saying the president has been briefed. the justice department has a statement saying the authority ing ing ing ing the attorney general has been briefed. they emphasize a couple things.
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warning of any kind of attacks in the u.s. along these lines. there have been no directives sent out to the operators of airports in the u.s. or trains or subways, telling them or urging them or recommending precautions. nonetheless, a lot of information about these attacks has been shared with federal authorities and their local counterparts. they're keeping them informed and unto date and many are responding on their own. in washington, d.c., our metro system, subway system, all hands on desk. exclose explosive sniffing dogs, more visible security. you'll hear announcements on our subway. watch for suspicious packages and report anything you think is suspicious. in new york, the police are going to have to have a much more visible and aggressive presence at tunnels, bridges,
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facilities and at airports. i don't think that the travel experience for travelers in the u.s. flying today will be substantially different, but undoubtedly, they'll see a lot more security. there's going to be a lot more sharing of intelligence that people won't see as this plays out in the next 24 to 48 hours. >> pete williams, our justice correspondent. stick around. we'll be coming to you many times this morning. >> let's go to kelly koeb cobiella. she's making her way to brussels. she was on a train, which was stopped. she's now in a car. good morning. what can you tell us? >> good morning. i'm on the highway on the way into brussels. hopped in a cab from the train station in france. if, in fact, the borders are closed somehow by highway, there's no sign of it as yet. the taxi driver, happy to take me into brussels. traffic is flowing here. we've been told at some point,
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that we won't be able to get into the country. we're testing out that theory now. yes, as i was on my way into brussels this morning, the attacks had already happened. the explosions had already happened at the airport. we were stopped about 20 minutes outside of brussels and told that it was for security reasons. shortly thereafter, the train station in central brussels was evacuated. the train station was closed, and we were turned around and sent back to france. as it stands, we're trying to get our way in. as i mentioned earlier, the transportation system is very difficult. the metro lines are shut down. the trains have been shut down. airport is shut down. it's become very difficult to get into the city. >> i can only imagine the situation there, kelly. keep us posted. look forward to your report as you arrive there at the scene. >> nbc's tom costello has new information on the attacks and
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airports. tom, before you get to that, i want to say, you also have a different perspective. as i do, you have close relatives who live in belgium. you spent a lot of time there yourself. in particular, you've spent a lot of time at that airport. >> well, this one hits close to home for me. my wife and kids are belgian. they have dual nationality. my wife used to work at the brussels airport. i went to graduate school in brussels and used to live there. we have been in and out for 25 years. we know it well. when you look at those images right there of the brussels terminal, that is a devastating impact impact. from having been there firsthand, i don't see them recovering from this in 24 hours as they initially suggested. this looks like the entire departure level of the brussels airport has been obliterated by a massive bomb or bombs. this is going to be a significant blow to not only air travel in and out of brussels --
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the starbucks right next to it, to the right if you will in the picture, is where we believe the bomb went off. or close to it. those are ceiling tiles that have come down from the airport terminal down to the ground. there you have the concourses throughoutjammed and packed with people fleeing out on to the ramps and tarmacs. an update on the status of american airlines flights going into brussels. american airlines flight 751, scheduled to depart from brussels into philly, that's been cancelled. flights into brussels, delta 80, atlanta to brussels, is on the ramp and holding in brussels. they don't want to deplane the passengers because of the chaos and security scene on the ground. the passengers who have been on the ground for several hours are staying on the ground. delta flight 42, new york to brussels, has been diverted to amsterdam.
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united 950 landed at 7:01. that would suggest the passengers may have been in the terminal at the time of the explosion. you're looking at a shot there, live air traffic control look at the traffic in and around brussels. the brussels airport being shut down. what you're seeing there are planes going over the top of brussels but certainly not landing in brussels. united 999, newark to brussels, has been, we are told, rerouted to a remote location. i don't know if that's on the ramp in brussels or another airport. a military airport or something. i simply don't know. that's united 999. safe and on the ground at this hour. one other point, i would tell you, the miami international airport has just advised us that because of the concerns about the con possibility of another
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ocean, miami is increasing the use of canines today. more uniformed officers in the miami airport. more behavior detection units will be out and about. random patrols and perimeter patrols, random screening and checkpoints, a roving checkpoint situation throughout the miami airport. i wouldn't be surprise first-degree if you see that throughout the united states airports. >> my sister-in-law and brother-in-law there there outside of belgium. schools are in session there, which is surprising to me. they're a few miles from downtown brussels. schools in session. some parts of life remain normal there this morning, tom. >> you consider -- and i have my cousins who are the same ages as my kids, who are going to school in belgium. you might consider, there is no place safer for them right now than to keep them in school rather than out on the streets. in belgium the most of europe,
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to and from school, and the trains. to keep them in school, in a safe environment, makes sense. i'm sure, just as you have, i've been getting facebook instant messaging all morning from my family and friends in europe, checking in that they're okay. clearly, we have a situation where many people are apparently very seriously injured or have been killed in brussels this morning. >> this happened at 8:00 local time. may be that some kids were already in school at that hour and being told to stay put, especially since transportation is such a challenge now. we want to turn to an msnbc contributor, steve. he happened to be at the brussels airport at the time of the attack. good morning. we spoke to you earlier so we know you're doing well physically. >> good morning. >> what did you see? what did you hear? >> basically, i was at the airport to be there early to get back to washington. i'd come up from the train.
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station this morning, got to the airport and was there literally minutes or within a minute to r so after -- or so after the blast. i saw the smoke and chaos but i wasn't able to get too close. i'm sitting next to gentlemen on the train who were literally -- that's mine. sorry. right now, a lot of tension, even on the train i'm on, about people worrying about bags. my bag was here. there's tension everywhere. a lot of chaos this morning. went back to brussels north station. at that point, we began to hear rumors about the bombs that had gone off in the subway station. things tensed up. security got very tight. i was able to get what seems to have been the last train out of belgium. >> steve, thank you very much. >> thank you, matt. >> if you can add anything,
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again, to recap, we have a devastating scene in brussels, belgium this morning. both at the airport and in a metro train beneath the streets of brussels. where several explosions have gone off. at least two at the airport. at least one in the metro. at least 25 or 28 people now confirmed dead. many others injured. the scenes you're looking at now of extreme damage to that subway train there. also inside that departure terminal at the airport, where what is being called a suicide bomb was detonated. not sure if it's what we've come to expect or imagine, with someone walking into a terminal wearing a belt or some kind of a vest. the people we've spoken to this morning who are more expert at things like this than we are, have looked at those scenes of devastation and said it appears to them this was a larger device. perhaps carry ied into that
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backpack. impact. >> somewhat coordinated, as there's more than one attack. that is the image we've been seeing this morning, of apparent devastation of a metro car. we now know at least 15 were killed in that attack at the metro station. 13 at the airport. dozens more injured. belgium's prime minister saying country. >> we'll have the latest in the investigation ahead. and get donald trump's take on the events when he joins us live after this. with your friends & family savings pass! shop friday night owls and saturday early birds... and dress them up with 40 to 60% off dresses kid's dressy apparel... and new shoes for the whole family. for him - save 45 to 55% on a crisp new dress shirt and tie. and pick up a new spring handbag at 50% off. everyone gets kohl's cash too! now that's the good stuff. kohl's. i am never getting married. never. psssssh.
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good morning and welcome back to a special edition of "today", as we cover these terror attacks in brussels. at least 28 people have been killed in suicide attacks. one took place at the airport there. another at a metro station. >> this heightens concerns at airports and public transportation here in the united states. we can tell you that president obama has been briefed on the situation, as you know, he's
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national security is a key issue in the presidential race. republican front runner donald trump joins us by phone. good morning to you. >> good morning. >> often, people talk about a president getting that 2:00 a.m. or 3:00 a.m. phone call when something tragic has happened, either here at home or around the world. so let's go to the hypothetical situation. president trump gets that 2:00 a.m. phone call. what would you have done? >> first of all, you know, this is a subject that is very dear and near to my heart. because i've been talking about it certainly much more than anybody else. it's why i'm probably number one in the polls, because of the fact that i say we have to have strong borders. we have to be very vigilant and careful who we allow into our country. i know brussels well. brussels is a total mess. brussels is a -- i'm not talking about the attack today -- i'm talking about generally speaking, it's a city that used to be one of the finest, most
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cities in the world. now, it's a catastrophic, very dangerous city where the police have little control. >> let me take you back to my question. >> it's too bad. >> what would you have done first as president of the united states if you got this call? >> well, as president, i would do probably what i would have been doing for the period of time that i was president. i would be very, very tough on the borders. i would be not allowing certain people to come into this country without absolute perfect documentation. we're allowing thousands of people already to come into our country. they don't have proper documentation. we don't know where they're coming from. they happen to come from, perhaps, syria, but nobody really knows. they have no idea of telling documentation. >> which people would you on what basis? determination? >> i would exclude the people coming in from syria that don't have documentation, coming in from the migration line. interestingly, they have cell
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you say, how did they get the cell phones and where do they get their bills paid? i would exclude those people from coming in. the assimilation has been a disaster. you go to paris and you go to brussels and you go to other cities, you look at what's happening there with germany, with merkel's brilliant move to allow over 1 million people to pour into germany. it's not working. it's turning out to be catastrophic catastrophic. >> they have in belgium a guy by the name of salah abdeslam in custody now. he's said to be the man who planned the paris attacks of november 13th. he's in custody. what would you say would be appropriate in terms of what they can do to him at this moment to get any information they can about possible further attacks? >> well, i would say they should be able to do whatever they have to do. they have to get the information. i would say they should be able to do whatever they have to do. >> be specific. >> the laws are so liberal over there.
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but they should be able to do whatever they have to do to get him to give the information. the very sad thing is, he was being guarded and protected by people that were a few doors away from where he lived. they were protecting him, and they were guarding him. it was lucky they were able to find him. he was planning another attack. but they didn't find him because people turned him in. those people were guarding him and protecting him. that's not supposed to be the way the system works. >> when you say do whatever they have to do, can you be specific? what do you mean by that? >> i'm not looking for breaking news on your show, but the waterboarding, if it was up to me, and if we changed the laws -- or have the laws, waterboarding would be fine. if they want to do -- as long as it's with -- because we work within laws. they don't work within laws. they have no laws. we work within laws. the waterboarding would be fine. if they can expand the laws, i would do more than waterboarding. you have to get the information
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to be smart and be tough. we can't be soft and weak, which is what we are right now. when i say we, i'm talking about other countries, also. >> if you talk to experts who do the interrogations, you often time a division. some people think that harsh interrogation technique works and will deliver you the information, and others say it doesn't work. you'll get false information. are you in the camp that harsh interrogation, let's use the word, torture, works in a case like this? >> yes, i am. i am in that camp. i don't believe the other people. i'm in that camp, absolutely. they'll read him his rights. he'll sit there with a good lawyer. the lawyer won't give -- ten years will go by. by the time it goes by, he won't know anything because the world will have moved on to a worse place. i am in the camp where you have to get the information, and you have to get it rapidly. >> let's keep in mind, draw the distinction here, abdeslam is being held by belgium law enforcement, not by a military
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service, like was the case in this country when the cia took suspects to secret sites in other countries. he's held by the belgium justice system. >> he's being held by whoever. let the military take him over. they have to get their act together. belgium is no longer belgium. belgium is not the belgium you and i knew, matt, from 20 year ago, which was one of the most beautiful and safest cities in the world. belgium is a horror show right now. terrible things are happening. people are leaving. people are afraid. this all happened because, frankly, there's no assimilation. they are not assimilating. they're not assimilating in other locations either. >> just a couple of seconds -- >> they want sharia law. they don't want laws that we have. they want sharia law. you know, you say to yourself, at what point? how much of this do you take? we're allowing thousands and thousands of these people into our country.
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tlg. >> in the 30 seconds i have left, what would you say to the american people on a morning like this? >> i would say to the american people that we are going to be very strong. gilant and tough. happen to our country. if it happens, we'll find the people who did it and they'll suffer greatly. >> donald trump, thank you very much for joining us. >> thank you very much. >> we also asked democratic front runner hillary clinton to join us this morning, and she declined. >> by the way, president obama has been briefed by his national security team. we mentioned he is traveling in havana,xpected to give a major speech there. we watch what unfolds in brussels, belgium. the heart of the european capital, at the airport and subway station. we have reports of 28 people who perished this morning. dozens of others injured. as we sit back and take the toll
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attack on a major western capital. >> waking up to the images we all dread seeing in some major european city. we're going to take a break now, let some stations breakaway for their local news and weather. others, we'll be back with more
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good morning. we have breaking news. this is a special edition of "today" and these are the chilling images out of brussels, belgium this morning. the scene of devastating terror attacks, apparently coordinated. at least 11 people killed in a suicide bombing at the airport. at least are 15 others killed in an attack on brussels subway system. >> nbc's keir simmons joins us now. what can you tell us? >> matt, across europe, people have been braced for something
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the belgium prime minister saying this morning, what we feared would happen has happened. nbc news confirming so far, 26 fatalities. matt, this was a clearly accord nay -- coordinated and terrifying series of attacks in europe. brussels airport rocked by the explosions around 8:00 a.m. then the metro, close to the european government. the city is in lockdown. transportation shutdown. images emerging that tells a story of substantial blasts, causing extensive damage. there you can see terrified passengers fleeing from metro cars, heading down what must be dangerous rail lines, just to get away from the explosion that has taken place in another carriage, in another part of that metro station. meanwhile, at the airport, the pictures we are seeing of windows blown out, of debris
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substantial explosive device. you have to simply look at this blast. two blasts, we're being told by belgium officials. this is having a profound effect in europe. the president of france saying suffered its own attacks in november, saying this morning, through brussels attacks, the whole of europe has been hit. france will continue to relentlessly fight against terrorism, both internationally and internally. this morning, the belgium prime minister is telling people to stay in their area. the u.s. embassy urging u.s. citizens not to use public transportation. there are troops on the streets of brussels this morning. as officials scramble to establish whether more attacks are planned, matt and savannah, the people who carried out the
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them came from brussels. one of them arrested just friday. the fear now is that this has some connection to the same group who self-declared -- a self-declared isis terrorist cell. >> you brought up the paris attacks. if you remember, after the attacks in paris on november 13th, there were a lot of people who were stranded in that city with nowhere to go. on social media, the hashtag became popular, suggesting if you needed a place to go to find shelter, those people were offering shelter. something similar in brussels now, in belgium, after these attacks. #open house. keep in mind, a lot of people going to the airport this morning turned away after these attacks were not from belgium. they were trying to travel to their home countries and left with nowhere to go. people coming out of the subways couldn't get home. couldn't get to work.
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the #open house on social media has become popular in belgium, just as #port due vare did after the paris attacks on november 13th. >> a smokey terminal. let's go to pete williams, following this from washington. do you have extra information for us? if not, remind everybody the context in which this happens, in which you have abdeslam, who was, of course, involved in the paris attacks, arrested. people are concerned the attacks may have been connected to that. >> either as retaliation or plans that were in place that were accelerated because people involved with him felt that police were closing in on them. that's a big question for investigators who are trying to figure out who carried out these attacks. in terms of the united states,
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intelligence indicating there were any plans like this to attack subways, trains or airports in the u.s. as a result, there has been no recommendation from the federal government for those facilities to make any big changes. nonetheless, many major cities are already increasing security on their commuter trains, subway systems. we've been told in new york and here in washington and other big cities, you'll see much more visible security on subways and commuter trains. more of the bomb-sniffing dogs. more reminders for people to report anything they see suspicious. you're going to hear that, see something, say something message a lot in the coming days. in terms of airports, no recommendation to change security. there will be -- you're going to see more of those people in the airport areas. you're going to see those detectivers, the behavioral detecter people watching out for people.
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there's no big change, i don't think, that travelers in the u.s. are going to see, other than more visible security. in terms of actual access to airports, curbside check-in, being able to drive up to airports to drop people off, we haven't heard of any changes along those lines. the federal government continues to follow this with their counterparts in europe. everybody has been briefed. they're all talking to their european counterparts to get more information. that seems to be the picture so far this morning. >> by the way, you made a good point earlier, pete, when you were talking to us. security in airports is handled by the tsa. the exterior of airports, that is handled by local law enforcement. you also brought up there is a koins coincidence here, the new head of the tsa is actually in belgium. >> the new transportation security administration was in brussels for previously scheduled meetings with his european counterparts. he's safe. there are federal air marshals in and out of that airport all
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they're looking after anybody they need to watch for. you're right about security of airports, not only outside the airports but inside the airports, all the way up until you get to the tsa check-point, all the security and the major waiting areas, the airline ticket counter check-in points, where you drop off your baggage, all of that security is the responsibility of the airport operator. the local authorities who run the airports. not the federal government. they certainly make recommendations. tsa's responsibility, the federal responsibility begins when you show your id and do the security screening. >> thank you very much. a wire service reporting there are house to house searches conducted. investigators looking for suspects or somebody with information in connection with the attacks. we'll turn to tom costello who covers aviation but is also familiar with belgium. his family is from there.
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tom, a bit about the situation in brussels. in particular, the molenbeek neighborhood of brussels, which has lately become a community that has housed in recent days, the paris attackers, and also become something of a center of this islamist, radical activity. >> i think if you talk to bell belgans, and i know many of them, they feel they're losing their country. they have an open immigration policy over the last half century, and allowed almost anybody, sweeshl especially from the areas breeding terrorism, many are not thoroughly vetted. they're given a generous social stipend to live off of. many belgians feel like they're bearing the fruits of that policy. they are seeing this kind of
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let me give you an update from the airport. we're hearing of 11 people dead at the airport. we just double checked. it now appears the delta flight that was sitting on the ramp in brussels, in which they really did not want to deplane anybody, didn't want to deboard the poss passengers, they've now deplaned. the passengers are off the plane but not into the airport. they're out on the tarmac, out on the ramp. delta flight going to brussels earlier, 42, was diverted to amsterdam. a united flight has been cancelled -- pardon me -- a united flight 950 landed safely at 7:01. an hour before this attack occurred. i think what we're also seeing here on the metro attack is important, and i'll draw your attention to the fact that the date line or the locater before
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different from molenbeek. molenbeek is where we've had the islamic extremism. this neighborhood is in and around the european union and the european commission headquarters. belgium is a tri-lingual country. you have an awful lot of phlegmish and french flame names. the brussels airport is in zaventem. that's why you see the phlegmish on the signs there. >> we're lucky to have you with us, tom. we have ryan heath joining us from brussels. he's the politico senior ue correspondent. lived in brussels for years. i'd like to have you to put this into perspective, and also the level of fear that the people of belgium have been living in over the past several months. >> to be honest, it's chaotic. i've been unable to get back to
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150 yards from that metro station that was bombed. i'm back at my home, which is itself 300 yards from the molenbeek district. it has been chaotic this morning. you hear sirens in the background, people are being given contradictory instructions. it wasn't severe how all the activities were. some people are still locked up in the european union headquarters. others are told they have to go to work or they will be fired. there is confusion. you have the things in the airport where most people were evacuated. some were stuck at their gate. others like the delta passengers have been sitting on the plane until the last few minutes. it's been flying in all different directions. i think after four months of graf state vitate ing between the full terror lockdown in november and wondering when the authorities would catch abdeslam and his accomplices, it's been a difficult time for people here in brussels. they have started to lose some
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authorities are handling the situation. they're forced at times to rely on their gut instinct. that's never the position you want to be in when you know the threats are out there. >> based on events of the past several months, even the past several years, there are not a lot of people there who would be surprised by something like this brewing in their town, but it doesn't lessen the shock of it actually happening? >> exactly. there is a resignation or weariness about the town. it doesn't mean that people lock themselves up in their homes, but in a sense, they know that this process isn't over and done with. they know that more than 90 people has trained and becomrade cal -- become radicalized in syria and came back to belgium. even if you catch the people behind the paris attacks, there were surely others still operating. we were warned that by the interior minister earlier this week.
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down. we were told to be on alert and, unfortunately, that's come true this morning. >> interesting perspective. politico's chief eu correspondent. thank you so much. >> pleasure. >> what he describes, adding to everything that's unfolded, can you imagine the chaos? some people tole, you have d, you have to get to work. school rs s are still in session yet the trains are shut down. cell service isn't available. this is trying hours for the people of brussels, bell gium belgium. we're back with more coverage in a moment. binge eating disorder, or b.e.d.,... ...isn't just overeating. it's a real medical condition. and while the exact cause is unknown... ...certain chemicals in the brain may play a role. b.e.d. is also the most... ...common eating disorder in us adults. hi, i'm monica seles. when i binged,... ...i wasn't in control. i never felt satisfied... ...no matter what the quantity was. afterwards, i felt so
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the death toll at this hour, 26 people. many, many more injured. we want to talk to a witness right now. jeff is on the phone, an american working for nato in brussels. as i understand it, he was at the airport and witnessed the explosions and the aftermath. jeff, good morning. first of all, tell us how you are doing, how those you love are doing, and what you saw and heard this morning. >> good morning. it was very interesting morning to say the least. i'm doing okay right now. the people with me, actually i have my girlfriend here, as well as an american from ohio. we brought back here since i'm assuming hotels will be jammed up. i think we're all doing okay. i don't think it's completely hit. the three of us were actually potentially right next to the explosion. >> were you inside the terminal, jeff, or were you in the curb check-in area? >> my girlfriend was flying
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we were checking in roughly about 7:40. i was waiting outside the check-in line. they wouldn't let me go through to help her with the bag. she was at the counter. i'm assuming around 7:40 something in the morning. the first explosion occurred to the right of me, to where delta airlines has its check-in, was my guess from what i saw. the first explosion hit, and i felt the shock wave hit me. basically, you kind of turn and a lot of debris comes flying at you. i turned to her and the entire check-in line, as well as everyone behind the counter, was frozen in place and everybody was looking around. at that point, i started to move towards her. that's when the second one went away. over towards -- there was actually a starbucks in the main terminal, before security. i believe it was essentially
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at that point, you had no doubts whatsoever what was going on. everyone hit the floor. it was shocking to me, the fact that the air inside the terminal was immediately full of smoke, debris, dust and everything else you can think of. >> jeff, you would say what, about ten seconds between the two blasts? you've now told us something that we didn't have before. we had been told originally that one of the explosions happened outside the terminal at the curbside check-in area and the other inside. are you saying both were inside the terminal? >> from where i was, both appeared to be inside the terminal building. once the -- the first explosion was followed -- this will sound horrible -- but it was follow heed he ed by screaming. the second was followed by dead silence. ever since the bataclan attacks, ever since paris, the lockdown
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november, you've seen soldiers, especially at the airport. i guess what shocked me at first was no one moved. no one appeared to be standing. no one was around. when i glanced over to where the second explosion occurred, given the fact that the feel ceiling was mangled inside the terminal -- and next to starbucks, it's a brussels customer service desk, if i remember correctly. that appeared to be demolished. once i was outside of the airport, i didn't see any damage. it was all inside the terminal building. >> did you see, jeff, some of the casualties? >> yes, i did. >> making your way out of the building wharks building, what did you see? >> when i glanced over, and i grabbed shareen and we started to move toward the front entrance, i remember a soldier came running by with his weapon. i looked down at the floor and there was a blood trail leading
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when i had glanced over and kind of hustled her past, i viewed what i saw was a large number of casualties on the ground. again, 30, 40 feet away. it certainly did not look like we were going to be looking for survivors in that immediate vicinity. once we exited the terminal building through the glass doors, there was an individual, he was in tact, but he was bleeding from the face. propped up against the wall. then you would see other people. we ended up crossing the terminal road and kind of sheltering in the garage area for a few minutes. then, you know, we were probably there for 15 minutes. that's when they started wheeling the gurnys s gurneys past us. >> we understand some were coming out on stretchers and others moved out of the terminal on luggage carts. how did you get away from the airport? >> we checked over -- i had a small cut on my finger. we grabbed our new american
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walking. at that point, all traffic in and out of the airport was completely shut down. we ended up in an area over by the cargo terminals, where there was a large mass of people. we were there for probably 30 minutes, until authorities pushed us out. i actually live downtown, so we wanted to get back to the apartment. we went to the railway station and attempted to find a cab, which took us a bit of time. we ended up walking probably about two miles out of the airport. you get to a point and look down and you're like, why is the luggage still in my hand? >> jeff, based on being there, do you have a sense of the magnitude of this blast? did it seem to be a very powerful explosive? >> i think they were fairly powerful. if i were to venture a guess, and also hearing what others who were there with me, it was
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i think there were two individuals. that seemed to make the most sense. they don't -- security has been high here quite some time. you wouldn't be able to just drop a package and walk away. i have to assume that -- i'm no expert -- but suicide bomb and, yes, powerful enough. i felt the first shock wave hitringer, and the second was probably more powerful, even though it was further away. >> you work for nato. any thoughts, after the events over the last several months in belgium and brussels, about staying there? >> yeah, probably too early this morning to clarify, i'm a consultant for nato, not a but i don't know. right now, i think it's a case of girlfriend is still here. as i said, we have an american guest who will be staying here
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will be hotel rooms. first assessment is going to be, how do i get them back home? then we'll go from there. i think, speaking personally, i was in istanbul one week before the suicide blast there. i've been around in so many of these incidents, part of me wonders, perhaps i'm getting a signal to go home. >> i hope your girlfriend has been able to communicate with her family back home, and your friend from ohio has been able to tell his or her family that he's -- that they're okay, as >> yes. everyone. 7:40 in the morning, early in the morning, didn't want anybody waking up on the east coast and, you know, not having a message to take down the tension. >> jeff, we appreciate you spending time with us this morning. send our bests to your girlfriend and friend. thank you for sharing with us what you experienced. our best to you. can't imagine.
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situation where you're just getting on an airplane, seeing a loved one off, kissing them good-bye. can you imagine what it would be like to be there? >> lucky he was to be where he was. not further to the right or further to the left, where these explosions went off. jeff, thank you. let us pause now. we'll get some stations an opportunity to do their local
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it's 8:30 here on the east coast. we have special coverage this morning. tragic news out of brussels, belgium. terror attacks rocking the city. two explosions at the airport there. at least one in a metro train underground in downtown brussels. want to be joined now by pete williams.
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you've been on the phone, talking to a lot of people. there are concerns about what they might have heard leading up to this, and more selfish concerns about what consequences this will have on us in this country. >> so far, the consequences seem to be limited, matt. what you're definitely going to see in major cities, at airports, already in the del airport in washington, much more visible security, bomb-sniffing dogs. this is the kind of thing you're going to see at airports all over the u.s. today. weapons at the ready. weapons deployed. these are airport police officers. as we've said before, the pictures look like they're from dellus airport, outside of washington, d.c. you're looking at the counterpart of the airy a area attacked in brussels.
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airline check-in desks. they'll have more bomb-sniffing dogs. the behavioral detection people will be out in force. they're the ones who work for tsa, to spot suspicious behavior. we've already been done, in major cities, washington and new york city, much more visible security on train stations, commuter lines coming into the cities, subway stations. one of the attacks in brussels was in a subway train actually on the train car, which is reminiscent of the bombings carried out in los don, ndon when the subway system there was attacked. these are pictures from the subway station attacked in belgium earlier today. devastating attack inside one of the subway cars. other than that, i think travelers are not going to see a lot of changes. there don't appear to be any word from any major airport on
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do, whether you can check in curbside or drive your car up to drop people off. we haven't heard of changes there. more visible security. more reminders of people to report suspicious behavior. why is that? the answer, we're told, is that there is no intelligence indicating any kind of a threat to those facilities inside the u.s. that's the natural thing that they would respond to. they're doing all of this, not because of any intelligence information they have they're not sharing, it's to what we know. the message traffic we've seen from the u.s. government to these local authorities is passing along, basically, what's been publicly reported and what they're seeing on social media. what is obvious, what has happened, that's enough for them to pass along these statements of concern to local officials. they're not recommending or requiring any changes in operation.
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pete, there's only so much you can do at an airport in terms of extending the perimeter. you can't go off airport problem property. you start the security procedure in those roadways that lead right to where you drop passengers off. there's not much you can do beyond that. >> right. we talked about this before. perhaps it bears repeating. the security situation involving isis actual operational people, who have been to syria and trained, is a light years difference in europe than it is here. the intelligence authorities in the u.s. estimate that almost 7,000 people, 7,000 people from western european countries have gone to syria to train with isis and returned to europe. that is a huge number of people to track. it's tiny in the u.s. compared
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one of the problems that european authorities have had is they're overwhelmed, trying to follow this rapidly developing threat they have. now, that's separate and apart from the focus on this specific group in brussels. i'm sure we'll hear more on whether authorities in belgium were doing enough. the complaint we've consistently heard from authorities in europe, intelligence and local police, is that this is such a big problem. they have to try to focus on the worst of the worst. they can't follow everybody. >> exactly. we remember from the paris attacks, as the ringleader, abaaoud has been to syria and had come back, name was known to authorities and even that was a challenge. the magnitude of what is before these counter terror officials as they try to detect the plots before they happen can't be overstated. pete, stand by there. we'll turn to tom costello. i don't know if you heard, we had a witness on, nato consultant, who was very, very
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he described those two explosion explosions that sounded to him like both had taken place inside the terminal. what did you make of that? >> i have to tell you, we talked about how well i know that terminal. matt knows the terminal well. the devastation there looks really quite significant. i'm not sure that they're going to be able to reopen this airport as quickly as they originally thought. by the way, every u.s. carrier that was flying into brussels, the planes have either been diverted or the passengers are safely on the ground. several flights into brussels already in the air from other longer destinations, but not the united states, have been amsterdam, paris or antwerp. they're small regional airports but putting some planes there. i think you think of that is as belgium's 9/11. putting the entire city, the entire country of 11 million
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i was just on the phone with my wife, who is in touch with family in belgium. all the schools are on lockdown, as we've discussed. the free university of brussels announcing they're evacuating their campus. primary schools through high school are on lockdown. probably not a safer place for them to be. several individuals in belgium are telling me their cell phone rs not working for voice calls. they are speculating, they are speculating, that that could be the government or the police, trying to shut down the cell phone network to make it more difficult for any potential suspects to communicate. that is conjecture and talk. that gives you a sense of where the population is right now. you can imagine the terror we kept on 9/11. especially those of us on the east coast. how people in brussels are feeling at this very moment, with the entire country locked down. no rail service, no subway service, no plane service. busses have been shut down to a large extent.
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schools on locktown. it is it is a state of fear and concern at this hour. >> tom, thank you. we know you'll continue to stand by. >> let's bring richard engel back in for more on the terror investigation. good morning. >> good morning. a senior u.s. terrorism official says this is a terrorist attack, described it as sophisticated and are concerned there could be follow-up attacks. 50 to 100 syrian-trained, isis militants are in europe looking for targets. they don't know exactly which countries they're in. they don't know exactly which targets they're looking for. but that is a significant number. going back to what pete williams was saying earlier. thousands of europeans have gone to link up with isis. many of them getting combat training in iraq and syria. then returned home.
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americans who i'm told either went to join isis or tried to join isis. still, 70 is a number, a high number, but nothing compared to the thousands in europe. so far, there's been one claim of responsibility from isis. we have not verified it yet. what we have seen is many isis supporters online, on facebook, on different social media platforms, celebrating this attack, cheering this attack. isis had been actually weakened, as of yesterday or a few days ago. their number of tweets was at an all-time low. some might interpret this as a way for isis to show that it is back. that it is trong. that -- strong and has recovered from personnel loss that is the group has been suffering in iraq and syria. >> richard, as we've seen, and talked about earlier, it's not
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or coordinates from its stronghold in syria. a lot of times, these are fighters who get some measure of training, come back holding western passports and are on their own and have a good idea of what to do once they're there. >> that's usually the way isis operates. it is very cellular organization. you could have a small group go, maybe one or more of them go to syria, get combat training, operational training, and then they come back and find their friends, relatives, associates. they form a very secretive cell. those cells can operate autonomous autonomously. they don't need moment by moment direction from iraq and syria. then you've seen groups from isis saying, don't come here at all. just do these operations on your own. be inspired by the message of isis in iraq and syria.
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sophisticated, coordinated attack, counter terrorism officials say if you make the trip and militants get bomb-making experience, it elevates their capacity significantly. >> richard, back to a point you made a second ago, where there could be dozens of isis-trained operatives or isis sympathizers in europe looking for targets to strike, one of the very things that europeans love so much about the european union is that they can move freely between countries. that is the very thing that makes it so hard to stop terror suspects from moving freely between countries. >> the open border system that has been inside europe has come under tremendous amount of pressure for two reasons over the last several months or about a year. one is the migrant and refugee crisis. hundreds of thousands of people have been leaving primarily iraq
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up through turkey, greece, macedonia, syria. following the mie grant trail into europe. the second is the security implications. where the two meet is a very sensitive and explosive issue for europe. we're already seeing the rise of the right wing. we're already seeing the rise of hate attacks, where people will use the terrorist attacks, these incidents, to vilify all of the muslim community. which, of course, only makes the situation worse. then people feel isolated, ostracized, ghettoized, and they retreat to their own communities. >> richard engel, stand by. thank you very much. let's go back to keir simmons who has been following the developments from overseas. what are you hearing? >> savannah, good morning. we're looking now at the people -- the authorities in belgium were trying to track
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morning. savannah, i think in some senses, we should talk about this as not just one attack today, but as an ongoing attack. if you think back to france, to the attack on "charlie hebdo" ," the satirical magazine earlier in the year, and then the attacks in paris in november, now these in belgium, they are part of a continuum. many of the people involved in each of the first two attacks i mentioned came from brussels. now this is brussels. we've been talking about salah abdeslam. he is the man, of course, arrested by belgium authorities on friday. then through the weekend, news emerged that he may have been talking and saying that another attack was planned. let's talk about someone else, too. a man called najim laachraoui. his details were released
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they wanted to hunt him to find him. said he was dangerous. his dna was found in apartments where they also found explosive material. there has been reporting suggesting that he may have been on a cell phone communicating with the paris attackers from pearl belgium while the attack was taking place. while we've been talking about the arrest of salah abdeslam and what connection this may have to that, we should also be talking about the other people connected to him. the authorities have been saying openly they want to find. whether those people will have felt like they were under a good deal of pressure. directly. it's hard to know how. >> right. >> keir simmons. >> exactly. >> thank you very much. >> matt, i was going to say, i think just to add so that, we are going to look at growing criticism of the intelligence
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time an attack happens, the dots are connected. yet, they don't seem to be able to connect those dots enough, and richard was just saying how many isis jihadists may have come from syria. it's a big task. but people are going to start asking in europe, how come we aren't able to stop this when we appear to have the intelligence available? that is just going to add to the sense of insecurity and fear. another attack, another attack again, ha z the s the risk it will have a profound effect on the phycology of europe. >> just as 9/11 did in this country. keir, thank you. >> right. >> we want to pause for a moment and give our other stations a chance to join us.
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titions joi us. in the "today" on a tuesday morning. good morning again. this is "today"'s special coverage of the terror attacks unfolding this morning in brussels, belgium. there have been explosions at the airport in brussels, as well as at a subway station near the seat of government. the eu capital. you're seeing these images, a powerful blast by the looks of it. we've got tom costello who covers these issues for us and region. costello joins us now. tom, what do you know? >> flemish television is
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this is unconfirmed by nbc news -- but flemish television is reporting a third suicide pelt has been found at the airport, undetonated, and they are therefore looking for the possibility that somebody got away. again, that is from flemish television reporting that a suicide best undetonated was found at the airport. belgian police are looking for a to sen potential suicide bomber who got away. we have been inundated with e-mails, tweets and phone calls from people concerned about their relatives or students studying abroad in belgium. 16 university of missouri students are said to be fine and well and not harmed at all. of course, many of these universities that have study abroad programs are right now reaching out to the students and trying to find them. it's going to be difficult
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through much of the country, or around the capital region, has been shut down. it's not clear whether that's an official police action, though that's the rumor on the streets. cell phone conversations in and out of brussels is very difficult, as parents and concerned individuals on this side of the ocean try to reach their kids on that side of the ocean, or their loved ones on that side of the ocean. 200 flights cancelled so far. all of the u.s. flights inbound into brussels are on the ground safely or have been detoured to other airports. >> thank you for that information. don, back to you. he says according to sources that a third undetonated suicide belt has been found inside that airport. what's your first reaction to that? then i have another question for you. >> great piece of evidence is my you can get dna. you can get fingerprints. look at the device itself and, a lot of times we talk about how signature. the way they put things together.
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back to the origin to see if it's the same person that made the explosives in paris and this one. a lot can be gleamed from that. >> given that, that there may be someone -- and there probably are other people still on the loose as a result of something like this -- if you're the person making the decisions, when does brussels, when does belgium, get back to business? do you allow people tomorrow morning who weren't directly affected to get back on busses, to go to their jobs, go to the banks, to go to school? how do you start to gauge this sort of thing? >> very difficult situation. obviously with somebody potentially during the early hours, they're going to be operating under the assumption that there's at least another person who has left the belt behind, and maybe more. are the attacks over with? the first priority has to be public safety. until the officials feel like they've got their hands wrapped around the situation, i can't see they'll be opening up the subways and airports.
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i believe it was around christmastime, when things shut down. here we go again. so i know there's going to be a lot of pressure to make that decision. public safe they has to take precedent. >> potentially a hunt for a suspect or someone who will be connected. the third may be a suicide bomer if the phlegmer tell er flemish television report is correct. salah abdeslam, one of the paris attackers, was able to live, perhaps not well or out in the open, but was able to be for the last four months without detection. what can authorities really do? we heard a route euters report of going door to door and house to house. >> network of your own intelligence people that can infiltrate a community like that. it doesn't appear they have that.
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network, it's not robust. you do go door to door. you can't plant yourself in front of the door 24/7. you need intelligence. you need the cooperation of the community. we said that all the time. prevention is the key to this thing. the best way to prevent is not more rings of physical security. yes, you need those. but you need people that will come and tell you that an attack is in the works. >> richard engel, i believe, or maybe keir simmons, just said there has already been criticism within europe of their intelligence gathering capabilities. their ability to stop things like this. although it's extremely difficult. an attack like this in belgium will amp up that criticism. what cooperation is there between european officials and american officials, and can american officials really have any impact when we're talking about what goes on in places like paris and belgium? >> i think so. first off, there is good cooperation between our european partners and the u.s.
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the most classified information with our trusted partners in europe. and expect the same from them. there will be a lot of pressure for the belgians to step up what they're doing. the u.s. will offer whatever resources can be brought to bear. at the end of the day, it's their country. it takes a lot of resources to build a robust counterterrorism network like we have in the united states. we have joint terrorism task forces that are run by fbi all over the country. i think the notion of that is still somewhat new in europe. i mean, imagine if each state in the united states didn't coordinate with one another through the fbi and through other organizations. i mean, it would be chaos. >> people in your business call these soft targets. to the layperson watching this, this is real life. it's a cafe in paris or a concert hall or an airport or a train station.
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these areas are so vulnerable. >> that's a lot of the key, what makes isis and other organizations so successful. you don't necessarily have to kill thousands. but the psychological effect, the fear, i mean, that's what these groups really trigger. the gut, the fear that makes you not want to go out of your house. then when they do that, they win. >> don, as always, thanks very much. we have much more to get to this morning as we continue to cover this breaking news coming out of brussels in belgium. at least three explosions have rocked that european capital overnight. two at the airport, one on a subway train. many more developments headed our way. we'll bring them to you as soon
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let us reset for you. 9:00 on a tuesday morning on the east coast, 6:00 a.m. out on the west coast. this is a special edition of "today" as we continue this morning's deadly attacks on the airport and subway system in brussels, belgium. >> it has been a morning of fast-moving developments. 26 dead at both the airport and at the subway station. you have a major western
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down this morning. let's go to nbc's kelly cobiella. she has been traveling to brussels all morning. not an easy trip. you have made your way there. tell us what you see and hear. >> good morning, savannah and matt. just arrived at the metro station where that blast happened several hours ago now. you can see behind me some tactical police on scene. investigations ongoing. quite a ways down the street, as well, one of the entrances is off to the left. another one farther down the street. we spoke to a witness here who was here at the time of the explosion. said he was on his way to work, traveling on the metro, as he does. he heard the blast first. he said everything went to black. when he could see again, he saw many, many people injured. we now know that 15 have died at this attack site. more deaths at the airport, as
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just in terms of how the city is functioning right now, we know that the metro stations have been closed. the metro has been closed. trains are not coming into the main train station. eurostar trains have been diverted, turned around, as mine was. there actually is quite a bit of traffic on the street. there are people out and about. traffic is extremely heavy getting out of the city and fairly heavy getting in, as well. there was some talk of closing the border between france and belgium. we were able to drive straight in and, again, into the city. no changes there. just in terms of travelers getting into and out of the airports, the airports have been closed. really, the city now in a state of shock. people trying to figure out what's next. do we go to work? do we stay at home? do we collect our children? are the phones working yet? they have been in and out. i've been able to get some phone calls through.
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in flux right now, guys. >> kelly cobiella on the scene there. i know you'll continue to keep us posted. she mentioned she was able, matt, to drive? >> which i was surprised to hear. >> you've been remarking and you know the area well, having had family there, these are pourous borders. >> i'm surprised kelly and her team drove right to the area where the metro attack took place and not be stropped in the process. you can see the streets look basically deserted. pete williams has been joining us with information coming in from his justice colleagues and sources. what can you tell snus us? >> as we've been saying earlier today, the administrator of the transportation security administration, peter, who will have a role in deciding what the u.s. response will be, was in brussels. he was there for meetings with
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he was not at the airport. he's safe at the embassy now. tsa is also checking on the safety of federal air marshals. they regularly travel into and out of this airport, as they monitor and fly on flights into the u.s. from brussels. some were coming in. some were going out. tsa is now checking to see whether all of them are safe. that's the process that's going on now. we have had no confirmed reports of american casualties, either in the dead or injured, at the brussels airport or at the bombing of the subway car. in terms of the u.s. response, there's been no recommendation from the federal government that airports or mass transit in the u.s. should do anything different. a number of federal agencies, fbi, justice department, homeland security, tsa, the transportation department, they're all sending messages to the operators of these systems, telling them what's going on in brussels. frankly, passing along what is being publicly reported and said on social media.
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response are up to local authorities. we've seen much more visible police presence at the airport here outside of washington. at the airports in new york, also additional security at the airports in chicago. the police in boston say they have adequate resources in place. all of that is because there's no intelligence, no specific information to indicate that there are any such attacks planned against these targets in the u.s. >> pete, we've learned that bell belgian officials raised the terror alert to the highest possible level. if you're a citizen, you exercise the most vigilance. what does it mean for law enforcement in a country like that? >> it varies. it probably means they have specific duties, specific places they're supposed to go to. the teams that are responsible
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have kind of been on -- working 24/7 for the last several days. what it's going to mean is as they investigate these attacks, as they find frag ms s ments of evidence, it'll give them new leads which will be additional things they can follow up on. it means more visible presence guarding public facilities all throughout belgium. it's going to be very different duty for them than it would be here. >> pete, one last thing. don was just here and commented on this. the discovery of that undetonated suicide belt at the airport, that's a huge lead for investigators. >> absolutely. if that report is confirmed and turns out to be true, then that will be a huge cache of evidence. they'll trace where the components came from. they'll do fingerprints and dna. people who make suicide vests tend to think they won't be left behind, so they may not have
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the hope will be high that there's going to be enough -- remember, it was a dna trace found in one of the places where the police in belgium searched that led them to believe that the main terror figure was still alive, and also gave them an additional name of a person they're looking for. those traces of evidence can be extremely important. >> there have been reports here and there, not yet confirmed by us, that there may have been weaponry recovered at the airport. that could also be a treasure-trove of evidence. thank you very much. let's go to tom costello. i understand you have news for us. >> couple pieces of information. flemish television, vtm, is reporting that the doctors who are treating the victims are reporting significant nail injuries. they believe that the bombs may have been packed with nails. they have been pulling pieces of nails and shrapnel out of the victims.
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hospital in belgium. 15 miles away or so, major trauma center. my kids were born there, actually. another doctor is reporting there has been at least one, maybe more amputations already as a result of the injuries. also, the french security forces have crossed the border and are responding to assist the belgian authorities. they're arriving in downtown brussels as you would expect, moving at great haste across the countryside to respond to downtown brussels, to help shore up the main city center of the capital there. where the european commission is and down through the brussels, belgian government offices. the u.s. embassy is not far from that either. >> they've been told to shelter in place. u.s. embassy officials are okay. no reported injuries among them. >> it goes without saying but i'll say it anyway n a story
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get more and more images from the scenes of these explosions. either official images or from individuals who have taken pictures with their cell phones. we'll be careful in deciding what to put on the air. we'll warn you. obviously, a lot of the images we may see are going to be extremely graphic. >> that's right. let's turn to richard engel, chief foreign correspondent, always a wealth of information about the context. on a day like this, richard, what more can you add? >> i can tell you u.s. counterterrorism officials are watching this very closely. they're asking themselves, this cell? they certainly believe or suspect that there are more people involved than just the attack. when asked whether u.s. officials think this could be the start of a wave of attacks in europe by isis, the answer i
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so not good news coming from u.s. counterterrorism officials as they watch this. they think there are more suspects involved in this cell, and this could be likely, i was told, a start of another wave of attacks in europe by isis. that does duck tail with information we got earlier today from intelligence sources, saying that there are a few dozen, 50 to 100, syrian-trained, isis militants in europe at the moment. looking for targets. none of this is good news. >> chilling detail we just got from tom costello, who has been monitoring some of the local television, flemish television, saying some of the injuries that doctors are finding and treating there is consistent with nails. these may have been explosives packed with nails. unfortunately, something we've seen before. on the other hand, richard, as you know, it may be as authorities get into the forensics and are able to pour through the scene, sometimes you
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particular bomb maker or style of attack. as we watch the new images come in. >> it's very standard that they pack suicide vests can nails, ball bearings. sometimes they'll put other materials inside the vests. rat poison is one that is sometimes used. all of these things are unfortunately now readily available online. on isis websites. on isis platforms and their magazine. they'll put the manuals out so that people can learn how to make them. then law enforcement officials in a cat and mouse game, try to take them down, only to see them reposted again. you can imagine what it would be like in that airport. i'm looking now at the screen, with all the smoke hanging in the air, when these apparently nail encrusted suicide vests detonated inside the airport. >> yeah. sometimes, it's not just the
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this is video that has audio along with it. you can hear the cries for help. and the screams and the seconds immediately following one of those blasts. it's very, very haunting and difficult to watch. richard, thank you. we'll be back with you in a little while, all right? >> sure. we'll be back with more coverage right after this. (politely) wait, wait, wait! you can' t put it in like that... ... you have to rinse it first. that' s baked- on alfredo. baked-on? it' s never gonna work.
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what was your initial reaction when you heard the news? >> it was just terrible, horror. the idea that terrorists are continuing to strike at the heart of europe and now brussels, and the number of casualties from what look to be fairly sophisticated coordinated attacks is deeply distressing. we've got to stand in solidarity with our european allies, as they have stood with us on so many occasions. we have to intensify our efforts to find and prevent terrorists from ever doing this again. it's going to be a long challenge because there's a lot of factors, including, you know, these easy accessibilities to
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mobility of terrorists in today's world. but we've got to be absolutely strong and smart and steady in how we respond. >> secretary clinton, it's savannah guthrie. as you well know, we aren't yet aware whether or not isis is taking responsibility for this, if isis directed this, or if isis nearly inspired this. nonetheless, i think we all agree that isis is really at the heart of this. if you were president today, what would we be doing differently to try to get at this root cause? >> well, savannah, you're right, that we're not sure yet, but it's also true that, you know, we have been confronting the threat of terrorism for quite some time. this is the latest terrible manifestation of it. we've got to tighten our security. i've talked about a visa system and passenger record system.
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with our european friends because they were reluctant to impose the kind of strict standards we were looking for. that after paris has changed, and we need to do much more to tighten things up. i know our security professionals are working to do that. but it's unrealistic to say we're going to completely shut down our borders to everyone. that would, you know -- that would stop commerce, for example. that's not in anybody's interest. we have to do a much better job in coordination with the europeans on tracking and following anyone who has any connection with terrorist activity or terrorism. >> secretary to clinton, when the european union was established, borders became invisible. anybody could travel between countries in europe easily.
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reconsider that, now that we see how easily terrorists have moved between france, belgium and other countries? >> you know, matt, i think they already are reconsidering it. the dream of a whole free europe that was at peace is one that should not be walked away from. it was an essential development after the horrors of world war ii. but we do have to be realistic about how people move from place to place. it's been my understanding that the europeans are looking hard at how to better protect their borders internally. of course, they are coping with this extraordinary wave of syrian refugees and refugees from other products of the middle east and south asia. they have labored to do that in
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that, too, poses extra burdens on them. so this is a time for us to, you know, reaffirm our solidarity with our european friends and allies, individually and through nato, to support them as they struggle with how best to defeat the terrorist threat they face. >> secretary clinton, this is obviously a time to think about what's the proper policy response, what the law enforcement response is, but i keep thinking about someone sitting at home and watching these images and thinking about europe and our friends in western europe, and wondering, could something like this happen here? is this something that people should fear? >> well, savannah, i think we've got to recognize that the threat posed by the modern incarnation of terrorism is one that we have to be individual lent vigilant against.
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reason to be frightened about what they see and what happened to us with san bernardino. remember, the terrorists are trying to undermine the democratic values that are at the root of our way of life. we cannot let them succeed. we have to intensify our efforts to keep america safe and to work with our friends and allies to help them be safe, as well, from these threats. >> you know, it seems, secretary clinton, that information is so vital when it comes to combating terrorism, and that is why, perhaps, perhaps, you hear some people say, when you get a key suspect like the one taken into custody in brussels last friday, maybe you should use some enhanced techniques to get information out of that person. it also may be why the you look at this country, in the wake of the san bernardino shootings, that you just brought up, a lot
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apple, you have to unlock that phone that was left behind by one of the shooters because it's crucial that we get that information. is that just simply a logical step that people take after events like this, and do you agree with it? >> matt, i think it is certainly understandable that people would be asking those koinds of inds of questions. as to waterboarding, our country's most experienced and bravest military leaders will tell you that tell you torre chun ture is not effective. it puts our soldiers and civilians at risk. but we have to give law enforcement and intelligence officials all the tools they need to keep america safe. they don't need to resort to torture, but they are going to need more help. you know, just yesterday, i said
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about the cell phone, i just can't believe that we can't find a reasonable path forward here. trying to help our law enforcement professionals get the information they need, both to follow up on a task, but most importantly, to prevent attacks. you know, the privacy and safety of people who can lose their lives or be injured in an attack has to be weighed against the privacy and safety of our information. i just still believe there's got to be a way for our great tech companies and our law enforcement ro professionals to figure out how to deal with that. it appears from the early refrain on the capture of the terrorist suspect in brussels, that one of the ways he was tracked down was through the use of his cell phone.
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not stupid. they are quickly adapting. the more they use encryption to communicate, the more difficult it's going to be to figure out what the heck they're up to. we have to -- we've got to work this through, consistent with our values. >> secretary clinton, we appreciate you joining us this morning. thank you for your time. >> thank you. great to talk to you both. thank you. and i appreciate the way you're handling this very serious matter. >> thank you very much. >> we're back right after this with more of our coverage. real cheese people, don't eat pasteurized processed cheese food. it's only required to contain 51% real cheese. with sargento 100% real natural cheese slices, a patty melt becomes more than just patty. ham unites with its better half. and a club sandwich becomes part of a club you definitely want to be in. real cheese people would
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it's 9:30 on a tuesday morning. we have more of our continuing coverage of this incredibly difficult situation and tragic situation in brussels, belgium. 31 people dead following at least three explosions. two at the airport there. one in the subway system. earlier in the morning, kelly cobiella, one of our
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way on a train to brussels. that train was stopped and not allowed to proceed. she then got in a car and managed to get into the area very close to where that metro explosion took place. kelly, good morning again. what can you tell us? >> good morning to you, matt. just about a block away really from the entrance to that subway station. the street has been cordoned off by police and evacuated. there are investigations ongoing there. difficult to see the entrance really from where we stand. there's one to the left and then beyond your eyesight is another entrance. that is where investigators are carrying out their work at this point. we understand now that more than 70, 7-0, people were injured here alone. i believe you've report td number of deaths has gone up again. at the subway, the metro stop, extremely terrifying moment for
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this explosion happened at the height of the morning commute. brussels. the european commission building, very close to here. perhaps, matt and savannah, a sign of the nervousness in the city right now. just in the past ten minutes or so, we were told to move to the side of the streets, the street i'm now facing which had been open, traffic flowing, has been blocked off. counterterrorism police appearing very nervous, telling all of us to stay back because of a suspicious car. this is the scene that's been happening throughout the city since the explosions happened. again, we don't know if there is anything specific about this car. we don't know if it is actually something connected to the attacks. again, a sign of nervousness, a sign of tension in the city, everyone has been told to stand back while they investigate it.
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we want to turn to a guest who i think is joining us by skype. she's a technology reporter for "ploit "politico." she worked in brussels the last five years and was at the airport this morning. we see you. you're looking well. first of all, how are you, and what did you see and hear? >> i'm -- i actually was not at the airport. i was at the train station just avenue the blast after the blast occurred. which is where the place where roughly, we're hearing, it looks like 15 to 20 people have died there and dozens more who are injured. >> what did you see and hear? >> so i was outside the train station as they were bringing people out. there were people who had been laid down on the sidewalk, upon the main street which goes between the european quarter and the embassies on the other side of the area.
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there were probably half a dozen the ground. some of them were covered in white sheets. they, as far as i could tell, were not people who were dead, they were people who were injured. many, many people crying. some of them covered in blood. just a general state of panic. >> how long have you lived in brussels? a year now. i moved here last year. i was here after the paris attacks, during the brussels lockdown. so this is not -- this is the sort of thing that brussels is becoming used to now. >> yet, as you say that, the reason i ask you is in the last few months and weeks even, with so much talk about increased security and tension, and after the arrest of salah abdeslam four day ago, and people started talking again about the potential for other attacks or incidents, was there concern about gathering in places like subways?
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the groups you hang out with? were people worried about traveling that way? >> people weren't worried direct directly after the capture of salah abdeslam. on friday was when this -- when this all occurred, when the raids happened around brussels, when he was caught. in the next few days, we did start hearing a little bit more about how this could actually increase the terror threat in brussels. the terror threat stated three of a maximum four until this morning. after the brussels airport attacks, as soon as that had happened, we were on our way into the office to cover it and into the city to cover it. among the reporters at "politico," we were basically saying, nobody get on the train or the met co- ro. we expected it would be problematic. >> you were near the train station. you described what you saw in the aftermath of that attack.
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witnesses or anybody that had been underground? what's your understanding of where and how this explosion took place? was it on a platform? was it in a train car? >> it seems to me that the explosion happened on a train car. it was under the train station. quite close to the actual station itself. we've seen some photos of the train car that looks completely wrecked. looks like a bomb had exploded within it. certainly, the indication is that this was something that happened in the train itself. this is a major station in the european quarter, so the sense is that the european commission and european council and generally those involved in eu affairs, probably the targets of that they tack. >> let me ask you what this will mean in your opinion moving forward in brussels. there are all kinds of reports of this cell that existed there, larger than perhaps was
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there's a very good chance there are more people, more accomplice accomplices, still yet to be detected. how do you think that will impact daily life in that city as you move forward from this event? >> i think daily life is unlikely to be hugely impacted in brussels. certainly, in the past when these attacks have happened, in the immediate aftermath, people do tend to avoid large gathering gatherings and train stations. generally, things get back to normal because this is one of those things where, what can you do? you can't stop living your life. you can't stop going to work. you have to continue doing what you need to do. so my personal feeling is that people will be more cautious now and more scared, but there's not really all that much we can do in brussels, from the perspective of avoiding public spaces. >> correspondent from "politico," thank you for your time this morning and we wish you the best, as i imagine it's
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difficult to recover from this. >> thank you. good-bye. >> well-spoken young lady. let's bring pete williams back in. pete, i know, has been on the phone. every time he's not with us, he's either broadcasting over on msnbc or on the phone with his sources. anything you found out, pete? >> couple things, matt. number one, the transportation security administrator in brussels is safe and accounted for. the transportation security administration is doing its security check of federal air marshals to see if they're safe. we're waiting from word by the state department, whether americans were injured or casualties in either of these two attacks in brussels. we have not gotten any confirmation of that. the state department is asking americans in brussels to check in. there are lots of schools that have students there. they're checking in with them. so far, we have not heard of any americans involved in these attacks or injured in these attacks. >> in terms of what's going on in the u.s., many cities are
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subway systems, at their airports, simply because of the pictures and the kind of thing you're seeing right now. not because of any intelligence information. there isn't much. there's no specific information warning of attacks here. they are responding to the obvious. they're looking at what the news media reports, the social media reports, the information they've gotten in bulletins from federal agencies here, from the department of homeland security, justice department, transportation department, pass passing along what is known from these attacks in belgium, and deciding to step up security. we've seen it here in washington, d.c. at the airport and on our subway system known as the metro. we've seen it in new york on bridges, tunnels, at the airport and subway stations. we're seeing it in chicago. we're seeing it in l.a. all these cities taking these responsive steps on their own. when you go to these places
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the subway or take a ride at the airport, you're going to see more officers with weapons and with bomb-sniffing dogs. you'll hear more announcements on see something, say something. more vigilance on packages, luggage, anything abandoned, even for a few seconds. much more of that vigilance. nothing beyond that that we've seen. nothing that would restrict where you can drive at the airport, or whether you can drop your baggage off curbside. we haven't heard of any changes like that. as to our knowledge, none of those are contemplated right now, based on everything known. >> pete, just to keep it in perspective because naturally you see this and worry, wow, could that happen here? the scenes are familiar to us. they can take place in any city in the world. on the other hand, we are somewhat fortunate in this country that we don't have the
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authorities in the counterterror officials in western europe are dealing with, in terms of the number of people that they want to be surveilling. >> step back from this for a second. the supposition here is this is an isis-un inspired or directed or associated attack in brussels. every reason to think so. there are unconfirmed reports about that. all the previous attacks have been connected to isis since the paris attack. the people that have been rounded up and the arrests, the frequent raids we've seen in brussels all have those connections. what's the isis threat in the u.s.? it's somewhat changing. it was originally, and still continues to some extent, to be homegrown extremists. people that are consuming isis propaganda, that isis reaches out to and tries to get to do something. low-level attacks, go out -- isis tells people to stab somebody, shoot somebody.
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follow up on those attacks. isis is also trying to get people into countries all over the world to carry out larger-scale attacks, which is what you're seeing in europe. the contrast you're talking about is this, if you look at the total number of people in the united states suspected of having successfully gone to or tried to get overseas and get to syria and join up with isis, that number is somewhere around 150 or so, according to american officials. a number are actually fighting with isis, considerably smaller. contrast that with western europe. almost 7,000 people in western european countries have done that. have either tried to or succeeded in getting to syria to come and join isis. flooding back to their home countries, overwhelming the ability of authorities to keep track of them.
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security posture you're seeing and that's why it's different here than it is there. >> isis told followers all around the world, don't go out and look for key strategic targets. go for any targets. do whatever damage and create whatever carnage you can cry uate -- create. when you look at the scenes inside the airport in brussels, that's textbook what they're asking their followers to do. >> yes. airports and subways have been consistent targets of terrorists in the u.s., in spain, mass transit, airports, trains, subways, for the last two or three decades. >> pete williams, thank you very much. we expect president obama to comment on this morning's attacks in about 45 minutes or so. during a much-anticipated speech to the cuban people. nbc's andrea mitchell is in havana traveling with the president.
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>> good morning again, matt. the president should be speaking around 10:30. that's the timing he was going to go on cuban television and speak to the cuban people, unprecedented speech, speaking about human rights, before he meets with dissidents later. of course, he'll begin the speech, i understand, with comments, the first comments from an administration official, about the terrorist attack. we assume he'll try to calm fears and talk about communication with our counterterrorism officials and foreign ministers in other capitals. about conversations with belgium counterparts, as well as french and british and others engaged. and how there is coordination. that said, there's a lot of concern among national security officials that there has not been enough coordination within europe, and borders have not been secured. borders are still open, as matt and savannah, you've been reporting. according to the european system, the european union
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also, we should point out that the president did in december, december 17th, he met privately with print columnists, in a series of interviews for the "atlantic" about foreign policy. he acknowledged he did not respond quickly enough to reassuring the american people after paris. he was about to travel to turkey. similarly after san bernardino, there was concerns the president didn't respond quickly enough. after paris he recollects did not immediately go on television and talk to the people in america about how they should feel and how the government was responding. i think you'll see an attempt today by the president to respond. he's still expected to meet with the dissidents at the embassy. then we don't know whether he will complete the schedule. they say he will. he was quick to attend the
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that follows his loosening of regulations last week that would allow for the first time cuban players to sign with the mlb, to potentially potentially, without defecting from cuba. a lot has going on with the president here today. matt? >> important trip but, of course, overtaken by the terrible events in brussels. talking a little bit ago about how in this country, there's no direct orders to change anything in how security is carried out at airports, train stations or bus stations, you can expect more of a police presence at the locations. it's something we're familiar with here where we broadcast from. you can see, i think, some police officers, larger number than normal, behind me here. i think a lot of this is a visual deterrent, but a lot is to comfort people. >> yeah. >> let them know things are being looked after. in rockefeller center, when we see a special contact
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arrive, some people think it makes them nervous. i find it makes me feel more secure and confident. i say to the police officers thank you for being here. you'll see that at locations all around the country. >> nice to say thank you. these are intense times for them, as well. we'll continue our coverage on what's been happening in brussels, belgium, after a short break. we'll be right back. don' t let dust and allergies get between you and life' s beautiful moments. with flonase allergy relief, they wont. when we breathe in allergens, our bodies react by over producing six key inflammatory substances that cause our symptoms. most allergy pills only control one substance. flonase controls six. and six is greater than one. flonase outperforms the #1p non-drowsy allergy pill. so you can seize those moments,rwherever you find them. flonase. six is greater than one changes everything. the yogurt made from
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three separate explosions. at least three separate explosions. still trying to determine exactly what happened at both the airport and the subway stop. nbc's tom costello has an update on what was said to be a suicide vest or belt found at the airport undetonated. what can you tell us? >> yeah, so the bottom line on this is that has been detonated. either belgian military or the tactical unit blew that belt up. they believe it was an unexploded belt, perhaps belonging to a suicide bomber who might have gotten away. they have been looking for that suicide bomber, as well. there was talk about a kalishnakov. 20 have been said to be dead at
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molenbeek is the neighborhood where the isis sympathizers were living. the molenbeek versus molbeek. horrific injuries by victims, reporting nail wounds and amputations that had to occur. limited train service, we're told, is going to start up again in the brussels capital region. i underscore limited. the schools are still on lockdown. interesting, free taxi rides now. several of the taxi drivers have come back to the brussels airport. you saw all the people standing out on the streets, outside of the brussels airports. they couldn't get out. had no place to go. there were no planes anymore. the subway shut down. the busses and trains shut down. the highways are taken over by emergency services. people were walking down the highways, carrying and pulling
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taxi drivers have come back to the airport and are picking people up, free of charge, and taking them where they need to go. it reminds me of 9/11 and the ferry operators who came back across the hudson river, picking people up on manhattan island, afs i mong i was among them, to get us back to new jersey on that day. in these terrible instances, there is the sense of community and coming together to try to help people in their darkest hours. >> we had an american nato consultant we spoke to on the phone earlier who had been at the airport, dropped off his girlfriend and witnessed the explosions. he had taken a fellow american -- >> from ohio. >> before that point, a stranger, and said, come with me. come to me house. you have nowhere else to go. if there is a silver lining, it's always that there is humanity in the midst of all this. >> tom, thank you very much. interests me that tom said the belgium law enforcement detonated that belt that they found at the airport. believed to have been an
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i guess you have to do that because those things are unstable. could cause harm to anyone working in that area, in terms of a police or first responder. but you have to wonder then, what do you lose there terms of potential evidence to help track down these terrorists, who they were and whether there might be more out there. >> exactly. keir simmons has been following this for us. good morning. what are you learning? >> hey, good morning. we're hearing increasingly from witnesses, particularly who were at the airport, describing what they saw and heard. i want to take you through some of the accounts. they really are distressing. as we look at the pictures of the smoke and degree that was bris left at the airport, one witness saying people were crying, shouting. krirn children. it was a horrible experience. i don't want to think about it. i would probably have been in the place when the bomb went off.
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describing that they were close to being exactly where the explosion happened. many people saying as they were entering the airport or moving through the airport, the explosion happened. one of their first thoughts was, what about if i had been there? i was about to go there. i had just been there. another witness saying, 20 meters from us, we heard a big explosion. it's like when you're at a party and suddenly, your hearing goes out from a big noise. another one saying, took a very long time for the ambulances to come. maybe half an hour. another witness, everything was coming down. glass, it was chaos, unbelievable. it was the worst thing. people were running away. a lot of people were injured. many of these accounts from the airport that you're seeing there because, of course, it's a fairly open space. there would have been a large number of people who were able to be witnesses but, thankfully,
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much more difficult in the metro, where a third explosion happened around an hour later. as you guys know, in those -- on those occasions, a bomb goes off in an enclosed space, anyone who is around is going to -- well, frankly, they'll struggle to survive. one person saying about the metro, it was panic everywhere. there were a lot of people in the metro, this witness says. it was, again, around 9:00 local time. it will have been just past the rush hour. still, as you guys will know from there and from anyone who travels by subway, to work or back, that kind of time is a time when people -- there would have been people crowded on to that train. 20 people on that train, we are hearing, have been killed. 11 at the airport. 31 in total. >> keir simmons, helping us understand the human toll we've
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as we continue to cover these attacks in belgium, we're going to take a quick, quick momentary break. let other stations join us.
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gular programming. good morning. breaking news. terror in brussels. suicide bombings rocked the breaking news. terror in brussels. the death today rising to at least 30 people.

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