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STATE OF THE UNION
World Leaders Attend Unity Rally in Paris; Interview With California Senator Dianne Feinstein
Aired January 11, 2015 - 09:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning from Washington. I'm Gloria Borger, and this is STATE OF THE UNION.
Today: a massive showing in the fight against terror. You're looking at live pictures of Paris, where world leaders from up to 50 countries are joining what could be a million strong at a national unity rally. The demonstration is in response to last week's deadly and horrific terror attack at the offices of the French magazine "Charlie Hebdo" and a pair of hostage situations that took 17 lives.
Today's rally is taking place as France remains on high alert, because terror cells have been activated within the country in the past 24 hours. The French government says that massive security measures are in place, with more than 2,000 soldiers and police officers deployed along the march route.
The terrorist attack in Paris raises fresh concerns about security here in the United States and the vulnerability of so-called soft targets.
I'm joined now by Senator Dianne Feinstein, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee.
Thanks so much for being here with us today.
The head of British intelligence this week said something that was chilling. He said that the world should be prepared for a possible mass casualty attack.
What's your read on that? You see these intelligence reports. Do you feel the same way?
SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN (D), CALIFORNIA: Well, as far as I know, after looking at the reports I have seen, there is no credible defined threat of that.
I think this is within the realm of possibility. I think we're in an all-out situation. France has declared war. What that means, I'm not quite sure, but we're going to see.
BORGER: Well, what's an appropriate response, then, if they have declared war? What's the retaliation?
FEINSTEIN: Well, that's not for me to decide. That's for France to decide.
But I think what they're saying is that there will be a unified national effort to rid the country of terrorists. And that's difficult to do, because they're deeply embedded. I think there are sleeper cells, not only in France, but certainly in other countries, and, yes, even in our own.
So I think this calls for vigilance. It calls for seeing that the national security organizations of our country, the intelligence community is funded fully, is directed ably, is cooperating with whether it be British intelligence, French intelligence, German intelligence, as we do.
And the French are good at it, and so are the British and the Germans. So, we can even be more active in terms of doing those things which enable us to find terrorists, to see who they're communicating with in this country, and to track that.
BORGER: Well, you're responsible for intelligence oversight. Do you believe the intelligence community here keeps better track than the French did on -- on those people who traveled to Yemen, those -- and they just kind of went off the radar screen? Do you believe we do a better job of it here?
FEINSTEIN: To the best of my knowledge, the French have more than we do.
BORGER: So, how do you explain this failure?
FEINSTEIN: The expectation has been that the foreign fighters coming back from Syria or even Iraq trained, to some extent, will likely first go to the European community. So, the problem comes...
BORGER: So how do you explain this failure?
FEINSTEIN: Well, this is extraordinarily difficult to do.
They had these people under surveillance for a substantial period of time.
FEINSTEIN: There are a lot of pressures. I don't know what the financial situation is. I don't know whether they have had cutbacks or what.
But this has to now be all out. And if war means anything, it's all-out intelligence. The way you stop this is intelligence, and the way intelligence works is to disrupt the plot before it takes place.
BORGER: Because they were French citizens, these terrorists -- terrorists could have come here. They were on a no-fly list.
FEINSTEIN: That's correct.
BORGER: But they could have come here with just their passports under the U.S. visa waiver program.
So, if the U.S. fly list had not stopped them, they could have landed here. So is the visa program a hole in the security net?
FEINSTEIN: Well, this is not new for me.
I serve on the Judiciary Committee as well, and it's my belief -- and I have said this publicly many times -- that the visa waiver program is the Achilles' heel of America, because you're right, Gloria. They can come back from training, they go through a visa waiver country, and they come into this country.
Now, there are no-fly lists. There are terrorist lists. But they're in the tens of thousands and even millions, so it's difficult to ferret someone out. They -- there are stolen travel documents in large numbers that they can pick up -- pick up a false passport, et cetera.
So, we have a big problem there. I think we need to take a look at the visa waiver program again, and see what we can do to prevent this kind of thing from happening, because I believe it will happen, if it hasn't already.
BORGER: When the president spoke about his anti-ISIS campaign last fall, he said that he was going to -- he compared his strategy to the one that the U.S. -- quote -- "had successfully pursued in Yemen and Somalia for years."
Looking at what happened in Paris this week, and looking at the connections between Yemen and these terrorists, was the president on the wrong track with that example?
FEINSTEIN: Well, I don't quite know what he was referring to...
FEINSTEIN: ... so hard for me to comment.
But Yemen, you know, we have a very serious bomb-maker still alive. They are now putting out propaganda for the most serious kind of bomb-making, target lists, planes to bomb, where to sit on the plane. And this material circulates freely throughout the Internet. It is comprehensive. I have just reviewed it.
And it's a very deep concern to me. Now, what you do about this, I don't know. Is it a problem in terms of recruitment? I believe it is a big problem.
BORGER: So, I mean, could you censor the Internet?
BORGER: Could you say these things should not be allowed on the Internet?
FEINSTEIN: Well, I don't know. I did the bomb-making legislation that's now law, based on the terrorist handbook in the '90s.
And if you have knowledge and intent that your material is, in fact, going to be used for an attack, it is a felony. The Justice Department has prosecuted a few people for this, not a lot. They say it's very difficult, as we know. But that's where we are. When you have a recipe for a very serious bomb out there on the Internet, you need to deal with it, because we know the people who put it there intend to have it used for a criminal act.
BORGER: Let me just switch topics on you for one quick second about General Petraeus.
You have worked with General Petraeus.
FEINSTEIN: I have.
BORGER: There are reports that the Justice Department prosecutors may have a document on the attorney general's desk recommending prosecution.
Would an indictment be appropriate, as far as you're concerned, and has this been handled appropriately?
FEINSTEIN: Well, let me say what I think.
This man has suffered enough, in my view. He's the four-star general of our generation. I saw him in Iraq. He put together the Army field manual. He put together the awakening and how it worked out. He, I think, is a very brilliant man.
People aren't perfect. He made a mistake. He lost his job as CIA director because of it. I mean, how much do you want to punish somebody? Now, I don't know whether he directly gave material to her or not. I know she had access to classified data by her own classification. So, it's murky.
But, be that as it may, it's done. It's over. And he's retired. He's lost his job. I mean, how much does government want?
BORGER: So, I hear you saying that he shouldn't be indicted.
FEINSTEIN: I think that's correct.
BORGER: Senator Feinstein, thanks so much for being with us today, as always.
FEINSTEIN: Thank you.
BORGER: Thank you.
FEINSTEIN: Gloria, thank you.
BORGER: And let's go to Paris now to Jake Tapper, where almost one million people are attending that unity march we spoke of before.
So, Jake, what do things look like now from -- from your perch? JAKE TAPPER, CNN CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Bonjour,
TAPPER: We are here in Paris. We're at the Place de la Republique, which is where this rally is beginning.
We have been here for hours now, as the crowd went from dozens, to hundreds, to thousands, to now tens of thousands. It has been cold, and it has been rainy, but I have to tell you, the feeling here is warm. It is a crowd that is excited. It is a crowd that is united. They just finished singing the "Marseillaise," the national anthem here in France -- I'm sorry for botching the pronunciation of that -- for the third time.
TAPPER: They have been chanting: "Who are you, Charlie? Who are you, Charlie?"
There are flags from countries all over the world. There's a -- even the -- a flag from the state of California here, but people here holding signs saying, not only, "I am Charlie," standing, of course, for "Charlie Hebdo," the French satirical magazine, where 12 were -- 12 innocent people were slaughtered by terrorists on Wednesday, but also "Je suis Ahmed," referring to the Muslim police officer killed Wednesday, "Je suis Juif," "I am Jewish," talking about an expression of solidarity for the four Jews who were targeted and killed in that kosher grocery store on Friday.
There is a lot developing behind the scenes when it comes to -- in the investigation into the terrorist attacks. Obviously, one of the suspects, one of the terrorists, Amedy Coulibaly, released a video in which he pledged allegiance to ISIS. And that was released earlier today.
But, beyond that, beyond the hate and the investigation into the terrorism, this is really a remarkable scene of the country of France coming together with world leaders, ranging from British Prime Minister David Cameron, to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, to the Palestinian Authority president, Mahmoud Abbas, leaders from Turkey, Germany, Eric Holder, the U.S. attorney general, here...
TAPPER: ... all coming together, standing with France, saying...
TAPPER: ... we will not be bowed -- Gloria.
BORGER: And, Jake, does it have a feeling -- I mean, you were in this country, as was I, for 9/11. Does it have that sort of same sense that we witnessed in this country, when every member of Congress came out on the steps of the Capitol and sang together and the -- you know, the feeling in this country was very much one of unity, one of fighting back, one of not letting the terrorists take charge?
TAPPER: You know, I remember -- I remember the immediate days after 9/11 being a little bit more fearful, because, A, it was such a shock to the system, so new, at least to people in the United States, including myself, the concept of terrorism striking on our shores...
TAPPER: ... but also because the loss of life was so massive.
It reminds me a little bit more of the rally outside the White House after bin Laden was killed...
TAPPER: ... or after it was announced that Sunday evening, when all those people spontaneously, organically came to the White House and said, "USA, USA."
It's almost that kind of feeling, a pride, a defiance of saying, we will not be on our knees. As Charb, the now late editor of "Charlie Hebdo," once said, "I would rather die on my feet than live on my knees."
That's more the spirit here, I think.
BORGER: Yes. And everybody there is standing up for him and for all the others who -- who lost their lives. Thanks so much, Jake.
And we will be coming back to you.
But when we come back, Attorney General Eric Holder on what steps the U.S. might take in response to these terrible Paris attacks -- in a minute.
BORGER: And you're looking at live pictures of a national unity rally getting under way in Paris. Dozens of world leaders are participating, including British Prime Minister David Cameron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
And CNN is going to have live coverage of this rally starting at 10:00 a.m. Eastern.
Attorney -- Attorney General Eric Holder is also in Paris today, where he's representing the United States at the rally. And he's also attending a terrorism summit.
I spoke with him a short while ago about the Paris incident.
BORGER: Mr. Attorney General, thanks so much for being here with us this morning from Paris. Americans have watched in shock and in horror as events unfolded
in France this week. Did anything about the nature and the sophistication of this attack surprise you?
ERIC HOLDER, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: Well, certainly, we're horrified by what happened. And we express our condolences to the French people.
But I think what we saw in France over the course of this last week is, unfortunately, what we're going to have to confront into the future. We have seen these kinds of attacks or attempts at these kinds of attacks certainly in the United States. We have seen things like this in the United Kingdom. We have seen this in Nairobi. We have seen it in Australia and Canada.
This is the nature of the new threat that we must confront. We can, I think, successfully confront it if we share information in a way that perhaps we have not in the past, and do a variety of other things, but I am very concerned about what we saw this week in France.
BORGER: We're now being told today that one of the terrorists has activated other sleeper cells in France. Do you believe that all of these terrorists are part of a larger sleeper cell operation?
HOLDER: Well, the French have the lead on this investigation. And I would defer to them as to what their investigation has so far uncovered.
What I will say is that the United States is working with our French counterparts as best we can, sharing law enforcement information with them, sharing intelligence information with them, making available to them the information that we have in our various databases.
And I'm confident that they will ultimately be able to determine exactly who was responsible for these acts...
HOLDER: ... and roll up all of the people who -- who were, in fact, involved.
BORGER: Should we assume that there are similar sleeper cells in the United States? Yes? No?
HOLDER: Well, one of the things that we are constantly doing is looking at the body of people who we are concerned about in the United States, use legitimate means to monitor their activities. We don't stereotype.
But we are constantly looking at those people to make sure that we are doing all the things that we can to keep the American people safe and stopping them from engaging in the kinds of activities that we saw here in France this week.
BORGER: One terrorist is still on the run, and she's apparently headed to Syria, if she's not there already. Do you have her in your sights?
HOLDER: Well, we're working with our allies.
I mean, we have looked at the number of Westerners who have gone to Syria. We focus mostly on the Americans who have gone to Syria. About 150 or so have gone to Syria or have attempted to do that, Syria and Iraq. We think there are about 12 that are there now who are actually engaged in the fight.
But we work with our allies. We share information. And it's one of the things, I think, that we frankly have to do better. We have to monitor each other's citizens, because the reality is that any one nation can be hurt by the citizens of another nation...
HOLDER: ... given the way in which people can transit from one country to another. So...
BORGER: Well, the French seem to have lost...
HOLDER: ... the concerns about an American citizen, the concerns about a French citizen have to be shared by all.
BORGER: Well, but the French seem to have lost track of two of these terrorists, let them off their radar.
Was that an -- was that an intelligence failure? And do you worry that could happen here, because, as you point out, you have people who have traveled to Yemen, for example, who are in the United States? So, if the French lost track of these -- of these folks, could you?
HOLDER: Well, I think it's too early to say exactly what happened here. There will have to be an after-action report and analysis of exactly what was done correctly, what was done incorrectly.
We try to do in the United States the best that we can in monitoring those people who we are most concerned about. But I think we also have to understand that we have lone wolves, people who act as individuals, and who kind of float under the radar screen, and who are potentially going to do things that are harmful to the American people.
We do all that we can.
HOLDER: We work with our state and local counterparts to monitor these people.
We ask the American people themselves to see something and to share that information.
BORGER: But were these men lone wolves? HOLDER: So, I think that we're doing a good job.
But we're doing -- well, that, we will have to see. We're dealing at this point, the French are dealing at this point with just the impact of the heinous acts that occurred last week. As the investigation unfolds, I'm sure that they will make determinations...
HOLDER: ... as to what the extent of any other people's involvement was.
BORGER: Let -- and let me just ask you, from your read of this, AQAP, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, has claimed responsibility for the Paris attack. And one of the brothers, as we know, trained in Yemen.
Do you believe that AQAP ordered, paid for, and coordinated this?
HOLDER: We don't have any credible information, at least as yet, to indicate who was responsible, who sponsored this act.
That is clearly one of the things that we have to make a determination of. I will say this, that AQAP remains the most dangerous of the al Qaeda cells, the al Qaeda organizations, and we are constantly focused on them.
BORGER: Let me -- let me just switch subjects here for a little moment on you.
There are reports that prosecutors in your department have recommended bringing felony charges against former CIA Director David Petraeus for sharing classified information with his mistress. Is that the case? Is that on your desk, that recommendation?
HOLDER: Well, I don't want to comment on -- I don't want to comment on what is an ongoing -- an ongoing matter.
I will say that, frequently, those things that are leaked to the media are done so by people who are not in a position to know, and are frequently inaccurate.
BORGER: So, is it inaccurate?
HOLDER: So, let me leave it -- let me leave it at that.
BORGER: Well, John McCain says that this entire process has taken way too long.
HOLDER: As I said, I...
BORGER: ... and that it's been grievously mishandled.
How would you respond to that?
HOLDER: Well, I have got great respect for Senator McCain and Senator Graham, who I understand sent a letter to me as well.
We have done this investigation, I think, in an appropriate way. An appropriate determination will be done. And it will be done in a way that I think the American people will ultimately decide was fair to everyone who was involved.
BORGER: Attorney General Eric Holder, thanks so much for being with us this morning.
HOLDER: Thank you.
BORGER: And the Paris attacks have launched a new round of criticism here in the U.S. about President Obama's foreign policy.
And with me now is the man we were just talking about, Senator John McCain, chairman of the Armed Services Committee and also a member of the Homeland Security Committee.
Thanks so much for being with me this morning, Senator McCain.
We will get to Paris.
Let me just now have you respond to what Eric Holder said on General Petraeus. He said that this investigation has been handled appropriately. You say it's been grievously mishandled.
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: Gloria, is it appropriate to leak information that is supposed to be kept sealed until a decision is made, the recommendation, not the decision?
It's a violation of any citizen's rights to have that information leaked, much less a man, as Dianne Feinstein just said, that is a genuine American hero.
And, by the way, I don't know if there's guilt or innocence. I might add, as an aside, classified information is leaked to the media every day in our nation's capital. But that's beside the point. But the fact is, this...
BORGER: Well, Dianne Feinstein didn't seem to think he should be indicted.
MCCAIN: Well, I think that -- look, I can't make that judgment, because I don't know the information.
But I do know that this is -- I -- one of the great honors of my life is to meet, to have known some great military leaders. This man is unique. He is one of the great leaders. Ask anybody who served under him. He -- with the -- he was an architect of the surge which turned Iraq around. He may have saved thousands of American -- young Americans' lives.
And, obviously, he deserves better treatment than have a leak to "The New York Times" about a recommendation, which is a violation of his rights and any citizen's rights.
BORGER: OK. And, Senator, thank you on that.
Let me just switch now, if I might, to Paris, the terror attack there, the unity rally we have been watching and is now up on our screen as well in Paris.
You have just heard the attorney general, Eric Holder, saying that he's going to try to coordinate more with the French. There needs to be better coordination among -- among all the allies. You have said that what occurred in France is a direct threat, not only to Europe, but to the United States.
Can you elaborate on that?
I paid attention to what the head of British intelligence, MI5, said in his speech, and others have said, experts, that these -- these organizations pose a direct threat, pose a direct threat. Now, whether it's an immediate threat or not, I don't want to get into wordsmithing.
But when Mr. Baghdadi left our Camp Bucca, after spending four years there in Iraq, he said, "I will see you in New York." He wasn't kidding. But the point here is that I'm glad that Eric Holder is keeping an eye on people and all that.
But this is because -- the result of leading from behind. This -- this is the same organization these people are trained from that the president of the United States said Yemen and Somalia were success stories. We made -- when we didn't leave a residual, a sustaining force behind in Iraq, and when the president turned down the advice of his head national security advisers not to arm the Free Syrian Army, and a number of other decisions, that laid the groundwork for ISIS.
And now we have a situation where the largest extremist caliphate in history is now in Iraq and Syria, and we have no strategy. We have no strategy to degrade or defeat it.
BORGER: Well, you are -- you are calling for a coherent strategy to combat this global terrorist movement, which we're clearly witnessing.
But what would that be? Would that be more boots in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen? How -- what would that coherent strategy look like, Senator?
MCCAIN: Well, first of all, it would require some -- some boots on the ground, not like the -- before.
But we certainly need forward air controllers. We haven't been able to drive ISIS out of a town called Kobani using the full weight or using American airpower for several months now. We lost -- we lost 86 brave Americans and 400 wounded to take Fallujah. That's one-tenth the size of Mosul. ISIS right now is winning. And we need to go after them, and we
need to have more boots on the ground. We need to understand that Syria and Iraq are the same. We need to arm the Free Syrian Army. We need a no-fly zone, which many of us have been calling for, for years, and a coherent strategy that can be presented to the Congress, because they're going to be wanting an authorization for the use of military force.
BORGER: And -- and let me clarify that.
BORGER: When you say boots on the ground, do you mean intelligence? Do you mean combat?
MCCAIN: I mean -- I mean intelligence. I mean forward air controllers. I mean trainers. I mean more air assets. I mean across the board an increase.
And if you talk to any of our military experts, those not in the administration, they'll tell you that's basically what we need, and it's fairly obvious what we need. And it's also obvious when the president did not leave a residual force behind as Ryan Crocker, Bob Gates and Leon Panetta have said we could have, that was the seminal moment that led to the situation we are in today, the largest terrorist organization in history.
So, I appreciate Eric Holder keeping an eye on people that come and go, but the fact is, as long as the incubator is there, we're going to have people who are going to try to do what they did in Paris a few days ago.
BORGER: Senator, before I ask you another question, I want to point out to our viewers what they're seeing on the screen, which is a picture now of all the world leaders, more than 50, who are linking arms and are marching in unity against terror down the streets of Paris. It's quite an astonishing view. You see, Angela Merkel there with Hollande.
Let me get back to you, Senator, on this. If you put boots -- if you put boots, if you put intelligence on the ground, how does that stop what Attorney General Holder called, the lone wolves, the folks who are being radicalized over the internet, as Senator Feinstein was talking about...
BORGER: ...those people who are uneducated perhaps, maybe poor, maybe looking for some kind of salvation in another world? And how will that...
BORGER: ...stop those people, because that's what some folks are saying the Kouachi brothers may have been? And how can you combat all of the activity and what the British director of intelligence called, all those dark places?
MCCAIN: Well, first of all, we have to have every Muslim cleric in the world, especially in the West, condemn this as a violation of the Koran, and an honorable and decent religion. That has to happen and it hasn't been happening.
Second thing is obviously we have to again (ph) try to track these people, but look, it's a threat, the lone wolf. It is a serious threat, but that's far different from sleeper cells manned by people who were trained as one of these young men was in Yemen, the success -- Yemen. Trained in Yemen and trained -- and they'll be trained -- and they're training them right now in Syria, where we have refused to help the Free Syrian Army. They're killing more than we are training, and that we have to go to the heart of it, because there's one thing to have a lone wolf, and that's bad. But far worse is a person who has been trained and equipped and sent on a specific mission. That's where you get the big attacks.
BORGER: And Senator, this female suspect as we know is probably on her way to Syria, if she's not there already.
MCCAIN: Yes, and obviously there was at least some training.
The nature of that attack showed a degree of professionalism that no lone wolf could have carried out. And right now, in training camps throughout particularly Syria, where we are leaving Bashar al-Assad alone with some incredible hope that the Iranians will work with us, which is bizarre, but right now in Syria, they are training people to go back to the country they came from, and commit acts of terror. That was the view of the head of British intelligence, not just mine.
BORGER: OK. Senator, thanks so much for being with us this morning, because now we're going to go back to Paris where Jake Tapper is.
Jake, we've been looking at these powerful pictures. Can you tell us a little bit more about what you're seeing from your vantage point?
JAKE TAPPER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I'm in the thick of it here at the Place de la Republique where the crowds have gathered. The rally -- the unity rally and march is set to begin in any moment and you can see these pictures. You can now -- people are starting to walk.
You can see these pictures of, as you say, a very moving images of various world leaders, Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, German chancellor, Angela Merkel, French president, Francois Hollande, Benjamin Netanyahu, the prime minister of Israel, starting to walk from here, the Place de la Republique. And I believe they go north to the Place de la Nationale.
There are going to be a couple of different pathways. Of course security is very intense here, Gloria, but the sentiment is strong. Rain and cold and wind has not done anything to dissuade the crowd from being here and being excited to be here, Gloria. BORGER: You know, one can only imagine with all these heads of
state, Netanyahu there for example. I know Eric Holder is representing the United States, you're talking about the security being massive, but do you get any sense among the crowds that there's any fear of anything occurring, given what went on in Paris this week?
TAPPER: I have not been able to discern any fear at all. In fact, quite the opposite, defiance by being here. People are saying we're here, we're strong, we're not going anywhere.
And you know, when you walk down the street holding a sign saying "Je suis Charlie," "I am Charlie, reference to the French satirical magazine "Charlie Hebdo," or holding a sign saying, "Je suis Juif," I am a Jew." You are taking a stand saying, I don't care what you think, terrorist. I'm right here and I'm standing up for the values represented by this country. It is a very stirring, very moving display of solidarity and defiance by the people here, hundreds of thousands now have gathered here.
Gloria, I do want to take one note to do some -- to note a development, which is that RTL radio, a French radio here, is reporting that Paris police have told them they found Amedy Coulibaly, the terrorist who killed the policewoman on Thursday and then took the hostages, killing four innocent people at the kosher supermarket on Friday. That they found an apartment that he was renting and they found a stash that included automatic weapons, detonators, cash, as well as ISIS flags.
They're right now testing to see if they can find any evidence, any forensic evidence that Hayat Boumeddiene, that is the woman, his girlfriend, who is also wanted, now thought to be in Turkey or Syria, whether she was there recently. That's just the latest on the investigation, Gloria.
BORGER: You know, Jake, you're talking about ISIS flags that he has. The other two seem to be AQAP, been (ph) in Yemen. I guess the question we all have this morning is whether it actually has become such a global movement that it doesn't -- that the distinctions are blurring, or whether these groups are competing with each other now for recruits.
TAPPER: Well, the counterterrorism experts with whom I've been speaking both here in France and back in the United States this morning, when I put that very question to them, does this mean al Qaeda, AQAP and ISIS are working together...
TAPPER: ...have really said that first of all reports of a chasm between the two were perhaps overstated. It's more like a power rivalry, not that al Qaeda has been so much disapproving of ISIS' tactics, as has been reported. And also that this has seems to at the very least be a matter of what Senator John McCain was referring to, individuals who are somewhere between lone wolves and individuals who have been trained but not necessarily coordinated in Syria and Yemen, but more individuals put -- who have self-motivated self-radicalized, gone to France and then come together themselves, Gloria.
BORGER: OK, Jake. Thanks so much. We're going to see you again at the top of the hour to talk more about this.
TAPPER: Thanks, Gloria.
BORGER: And for more on that right now I have with me two people who know about as much about counterterrorism as anybody I can think of, that's Jeremy Bash, former chief of staff to Leon Panetta, the CIA and the Defense Department, and Frances Townsend who ran Homeland Security over -- at the White House for George Bush and is now a CNN contributor.
You heard what I was just talking to Jake about which is ISIS, AQAP. Are we now in a world where they're competing for each other and this is a recruitment tool what we saw in France? Or are they all under the same banner at this point? I'll start with you, Jeremy.
JEREMY BASH, FORMER CHIEF OF STAFF TO SECRETARY LEON PANETTA: Well, I think they're wolves. They may not be lone wolves. I think they're acting somewhat in concert with each other because after all the individual who took hostages at the kosher supermarket clearly was doing that to help his buddies who were over across town at printing factory. So there is coordination.
I think the fact that the individual at the kosher supermarket had pledged allegiance to ISIS and the others had clearly met with Awlaki and gone to Yemen and pledged allegiance to AQAP.
BASH: I think that's very disturbing. I think it does show that this is a global jihad, that this is a networked jihad and that they will cooperate when it suits their ends.
BORGER: They'll cooperate with each other...
BORGER: ...rather than competing with each other.
FRAN TOWNSEND, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: That's right, remember this is a -- they share this ideology, right? At its core, this is a radical extremist, violent version and because they share that, there will be instances where they compete but their tactics and ideology are things they share.
BORGER: So Jeremy, if you were over at Langley right now, and you were advising the CIA director, what would you be red flagging here?
We had a rant this morning from the terrorist who took the hostages at the kosher market. We've had a link with Abdulmutallab, the underwear bomber. So what would you be red flagging over at the agency now? What are they doing?
BASH: I think we first and foremost have to be looking at any individuals who have connections with any of these suspects. So, the analysts out at Langley and the analyst out the National Counterterrorism Center in Northern Virginia are scrutinizing all of our terrorist databases looking at travel, looking at communications, trying to understand who in the United States may have been in touch with these individuals. And also whether we have any information that we can share with French authorities, with British authorities, with German authorities.
BORGER: Was this a French failure by the way of intelligence?
BASH: Well fundamentally, when you lose 17 individuals in broad daylight it's a failure and no leader is proud of that moment.
I think only time will tell to determine the extent of the failure, whether, in fact, if they had these people under surveillance, probably some electronic surveillance, listening to the phones, and watching what they write and communicate. But probably they didn't have them under physical surveillance, and that's really an issue that the intelligence agencies don't have the resources to do that for everybody.
BORGER: Well, is that -- is it -- is the physical surveillance a problem in this country as well? We don't have the manpower, we don't have the resources. We have budget cuts.
TOWNSEND: That's right, Gloria, but here's the -- let's at least have one glimmer of good news and the good news is we have far fewer we believe, based on what Eric Holder told you this morning and the intelligence community had said, far fewer we have to worry about.
When you ask about what should we be doing right now, the other thing is we know that one of the Kouachi brothers trained at Iman (ph) University under Awlaki in Sanaa, Yemen. This was a known recruiting and training school. Boy, oh, boy, we ought to go back to look to see what Americans were there, who trained there, where are they and what surveillance do we have against individuals who can pose a direct threat to the United States?
BORGER: So Jeremy, do you presume that the CIA is looking at those links between Americans and these terrorists in France, as well as people who attended this university?
And I think they're looking at all those connections and they're looking at the individuals who have traveled back and forth to Syria. They're looking at whether these people have links inside the United States. And they're also going back and probably analyzing all the links to the AQAP network that sent Abdulmutallab on Christmas day 2009 to blow up Northwest flight...
BASH: ...253 and detonate that underwear bomb that I saw a government demonstration of what that bomb would look like. That would have knocked the plane out of the sky. I have no doubt. That will -- BORGER: So he met with one of the -- these brothers, correct?
BASH: And who may have roamed with one of these brothers, a report indicates. And so they're clearly links there that everybody is going to be unpacking, pulling the threads on sharing information and it's that basic blocking and tackling of intelligence work that's going to help us disrupt the plot.
BORGER: OK. So, Abdulmutallab, the underwear bomber, is in the supermax prison somewhere. So do you presume we are reinterrogating him about his links to these terrorists?
TOWNSEND: Sure, he was -- well, he was represented by a counsel obviously.
TOWNSEND: You be sure American investigators are trying to do just that in order to be able to understand what that relationship is, what additional they may be able to learn about his movements and his contacts inside Yemen, when they were together.
BORGER: Now, two of these men were on the no-fly list. So that's great because we know that they could not have gotten to this country. But generally they can roam on their EU passports around Europe, it's something that Dianne Feinstein was talking about that really worries her, this visa issue. And particularly if the no-fly list has holes in it, and it could, how worrisome is that?
BASH: I think it's worrisome.
First of all, there are two issues. One is they can go between European countries fairly seamlessly because they all carry these Schengen visas and those Schengen visas allow them to cross borders really without getting individual visas for each country.
And then there's a secondary issue which is that they -- some countries don't require a visa to get into the United States. So our -- really our only line of defense is to ensure that they are on a no- fly list and that there are responsible airline security and airline officials at the airlines and airports who can stop them.
BORGER: So I want to bring in Irshad Manji with us who can talk to us a little bit about how Muslims have not been assimilated in France the way they may be assimilated in this country and whether that contributes to the problem that France had that hopefully we would not have here.
IRSHAD MANJI, FOUNDER AND DIRECTOR, NYU MORAL COURAGE PROJECT: Well, it doesn't help (INAUDIBLE). The fact is that in France although it is a democracy, there is a dogma that don't we don't experience here in the United States and that is something called, laicite (ph), which translates into secularism but in fact is not the kind of secularism as in separation of church and state that we know here. Rather French secularism is more of a disappearing of religion all together. So that many Muslims, including young Muslims, who may not be particularly religious, in fact most are not, nonetheless feel quite stifled in that area of their lives.
On the other hand, Gloria, and this is where some of the good news, some of the optimism should come to play in, you know, the rate of intermarriage between Muslims and non-Muslims in France is high, and is only growing. And historically, intermarriage is a great indicator of integration. It also keeps a check on each of the parties, you know, communities, and the most extremist elements in them. So again that piece of the story will never make the news. Where are the visuals? Where are the -- you know, where is the sensationalism behind it? But let's not forget that there is a bigger picture here.
BORGER: And you may be saying it's sort of a generational issue, as much as people like Fran and Jeremy...
BORGER: ...are out there fighting this terrorism that, in fact, it may take a generation or two...
BORGER: ...to --
MANJI: I can't begin to tell you how many messages I get from young Muslims around the world, including in France, who say that, you know, we are going to be raising our children with the values represented by reformist Islam.
BORGER: OK. We're going to go to Paris for a moment. We're going to go to Fred Pleitgen. He's in the middle of the massive rally there. You see there are more than 50 state leaders there rallying in defiance of the terror that struck Paris this week.
Fred, from your vantage point, tell me what it's like.
FRED PLEITGEN, SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's absolutely amazing, Gloria. We're right in the middle of this massive march which is called, the unity march. I'm actually marching with the folks right now.
And what they're obviously showing is that in the aftermath of what happened here over the past couple days of these horrible terror attacks is that France as a nation is not going to allow itself to be divided. They want to show unity and that's exactly what this rally is about, it's about unity of the nation.
Really people here were telling me is that after what happened here, after the terror attacks they believed that France had two possibilities. They were either going to let themselves be divided by the radical forces. Obviously on the one hand you have the radical Islamists you have here and of course also the radical right wing that you have in France. But they say instead they want to show unity. So what they're doing right now is they're beginning this march and it is absolutely amazing to see how many people came here, because remember, that it's a fairly impromptu organization here. There's no speakers here. There's no stage or anything. There's a couple people here in the middle of the Place de la Republique who were sort of leading the chants a little bit, but they don't have any sound system. Nevertheless this crowd is absolutely on the same page with the way that they talk, with the chants that they give and all of them are about unity. All of them is about not being intimidated, freedom of the press, freedom of speech and of course generally liberte (ph), the freedom that really France stands for and that's so important as a French value. So it is a positive vibe that's come from here.
As you can see the French flag that sort of dangling over my head. So, it's a very positive vibe here that's coming from the people and they say their reaction to all of this is going to be one of trying to unite everybody here in France, the Jewish community, the Muslim community and of course the Christian community as well. They see that as something that is very important, and something that certainly is under threat, Gloria.
BORGER: A tremendous showing of national unity. Thanks so much and we'll be getting back to you later. Let me -- let me go to my panel here.
First to you, Jeremy Bash. When you do have this sort of outpouring, as you -- as you have in France, how does that affect intelligence operations? Are people become -- do people become more aware, more supportive, more willing to fund? More willing to surveil after going through something like this? Or not?
BASH: I think you put your finger on a very good point which is at moments since 9/11 I think the public in general has lost focus on the threat from Islamic extremist terrorist organizations. And this has kind of waxed and waned in our country and in the public dialogue in the last 13 years. And at times of danger and at times when we see terrorist attacks, there have been more support for more aggressive intelligence operations, but then when we go through several months where we don't have an attack, you hear voices saying, why do we have to have more security? Why do we have to have so much intelligence?
And so I think this is going to be a wake-up call. And the international unity I think is exactly the right message to send that we have to be united, we have to come together, and we have to be forceful and aggressive in our confrontation of these terrible, terrible, evil forces.
BORGER: Well Fran, you sat at-- you know, you sat at the White House. Talk about the coordination. I mean, Eric Holder said earlier in the show, we're going to increase coordination. There's going to be a meeting in mid-February about increased coor -- I thought there was coordination between the European allies and America in all our counter terror activities? It was there -- is there not enough or --
TOWNSEND: There -- the French have been and the British are particularly --
BORGER: Very aggressive.
TOWNSEND: ...very aggressive... BORGER: Yes.
TOWNSEND: ...very strong allies, a good exchange of information. But you know, look, we know pre-9/11 we even internally didn't share the way we needed to. I think that's one of the issues the French -
BORGER: Do intelligence operatives just not like to share (INAUDIBLE)?
TOWNSEND: Well it's sort of right (ph). You're trained to keep secrets but I will tell you the show of national unity, what we're seeing -- what viewers are seeing on their screen, what's most important to me from my time at the White House is you've got to harness that now, right? It's more than just showing up. You see King Abdullah and the Queen Rania of Jordan, very important. But where are the leaders of Egypt and Saudi and the Emirates?
We want our Arab allies. This is their fight, too. It's not just the European and Western fight. And so I think it's very important that it's not just a show of unity. You've got -- Jeremy pointed out earlier to me, you've got Mahmoud Abbas there, the Palestinian leader, who just cut a deal with Hamas, a terrorist organization. It's more than just showing up, Gloria.
BORGER: It's kind of interesting that he is actually showing up though. I mean --
TOWNSEND: That's right. But you got to do more than show up.
BORGER: Right. It's not good enough to just show up.
MANJI: ...show up. And I can tell you all that, you know, having been on the receiving end of death threats myself for writing about the need for reform among my fellow Muslims, I have sometimes received information about those threats from journalists before I receive them from either the FBI or from other police forces around the world.
NYPD, by the way, the best counterterrorism force in the world as far as I'm concerned. Everybody else, they need work.
BORGER: Now and I should say that you are the founder of the Moral Courage Project, and I just want to ask all of you if a -- if a young person about -- who is in the process of being radicalized is watching this picture that is so stunning to us, what's the reaction of that person? Wouldn't it just inspire more defiance if you're already sort of on the road to being radicalized? I mean it may unite us, but what does it do to the young radical?
BASH: It's hard to get inside that individual's head. And on some level, Gloria, I think we have to be kind of radically honest with ourselves. On the fringe of this Islamic extremism, global jihad is
basically a death cult. It's a...
BASH: ...(INAUDIBLE), you know, stop at nothing. They don't share any of our values. They're not going to look to do anything. And there are terrorists around the world who fan that emotion and that movement.
And so there's very little we can do other than, frankly, gird ourselves for a fight and take them off the battlefield. But then there's a whole other swath of individuals who are wondering, hey, wait a second, do they have a point here? Is there something here in it for me? Is there something that I'm attracted to? And that's where I think, frankly --
BASH: ...Arab and Muslim voices need to take the lead in explaining that the faith of Islam is not one that has to or necessarily does preach radicalism or terrorism.
MANJI: And this is why part of what the Moral Courage Project does is we run a worldwide network of advisers who are available to anybody, including any Muslim, who is struggling with faith and has questions about faith. We are trying, therefore, to be on the front lines of, you know -- of preempting violence that might occur if we weren't there.
But, you see, this is where support from intelligence forces, from governments, even from private corporations that may be able to finance, you know, some of the work that this kind of a network, my kind of a network does is we're all in it together. And I think a lot of people kind of assume that, you know, Fran does what she does and Jeremy does what he does, and Irhad does what she does and -- you know, I'm appreciative of them all but I can't contribute, not true. Everybody has a role in this.
BORGER: Well, Fran, you heard John McCain earlier talk about coming up with a coherent strategy out of the White House which he believes the White House has not had. He believes that you need more boots on the ground in a lot of places. He's not talking combat. He's talking counter terror. Is he right?
TOWNSEND: Well, there are several aspects to this, right? You absolutely need a coherent military strategy to attack the problem. But that has to be accompanied by, as what (ph) we (ph) say (ph), all tools of national power. A diplomatic, financial sanction, intelligence in law enforcement, and that then has to be integrated with your allies. You have to be working off common sets of objectives about what's the intelligence you're going after and how do you collect it, how do you deconflict and leverage assets that are limited. And so you do -- BORGER: Add (ph) more intelligence on the ground.
TOWNSEND: Absolutely you need more intelligence on the ground.
BORGER: And Jeremy...
BORGER: ...you're agreeing.
BASH: Absolutely. I'm kind of old-fashioned on this. I think if there's a no kidding plot out there, the only thing that's going to stop it is recruiting an agent to conduct espionage and go into the plot, penetrate that plot, and report back to us.
We've successfully done that in many cases that's impossible to do for all the nation plots and all the people who are thinking about should I take up arms against the West -
BORGER: So you don't think what happened in France was a game- changer? You think it's more of the same that we've seen or --
BASH: No. I do think this a big wake-up call.
BORGER: You do.
BASH: And I do think -
BORGER: Well wake-up call in (ph) there (ph).
BASH: I think it's a big wake-up call -
BORGER: As we see in these pictures it has been.
BASH: (INAUDIBLE) it's creating this international movement now to really wake up the world to the threat of radical Islamic -- the global jihad, radical Islamic jihadism. And I think that that is a -- that is not only a wake-up call but also an opportunity here for us to put more resources behind our security, our law enforcement, our intelligence.
Look, Congress is now working -- trying to work out funding for the Homeland Security bill and that's going to be something that's going to happen over the next couple weeks and it remains to be seen whether Congress will actually fund it. Homeland Security actually funds the security for a lot of our organizations inside the United States. If you're a nonprofit, you need that money.
BORGER: Yes. And you need that money to fight terror.
Well, right now we're going to take a look at these pictures in Paris. They're astonishing. And we're going to go to Christiane Amanpour and Jake Tapper who are right there on the scene of this amazing and inspirational rally.