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At Least 153 Dead in Paris Terror Attacks. Aired 10-11p ET
Aired November 13, 2015 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[22:00:00] ANDERSON COOPER, AC360 SHOW HOST: We are going to be continuing to cover this all night long. We'll have resources all weekend long. Stay with CNN for our continuing live coverage.
CNN Tonight with Don Lemon starts now.
DON LEMON, CNN TONIGHT SHOW HOST: Anderson, thank you very much. It is the top of the hour. Our breaking news tonight, Paris reeling from a night of brutal coordinated terror attacks.
This is CNN Tonight. I'm Don Lemon.
At least 153 people are dead right now after multiple shootings, several explosions at the State de France and a bloody siege at the Bataclan concert hall.
But here's what we know right now. The California band Eagles of Death Metal playing when terrorist storm the hall, shooting at least 112 people and taking hostages.
SWAT teams stormed the venue, killing four attackers and sending hostages running for their lives. At the State de France, a soccer match between Germany and France it is interrupted by explosions, including at least one suicide bomb -- bombing. The sound of explosions caught on this vine video. Listen.
LEMON: The Paris Prosecutor's Office says five suspected attackers had been neutralized, their language, not ours, "neutralized." The official claim of responsibility, no official claim of responsibility but ISIS is applauding the attacks online.
Residents of Paris warned to stay indoors and the borders of France in an unprecedented move -- moved are closed tonight until further notice.
Joining me now is CNN international correspondent Jim Bittermann. He is in Paris, of course that's where we start. And, Jim, what's the latest information you have?
JIM BITTERMANN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Don, from the scene here, the emergency vehicles have left, mainly, and I think the scene around the Bataclan, the theater, is still being checked by police officers. We can't get too close to it. But we've been able to talk to a couple of people that have come out
and passed by here as they have left, people that escaped. One was a guy named Ruben Paris, a 30-year-old gentleman who was in there in the concert, and he described the scene as absolute chaos.
He said the gunman came in. He didn't hear them shout anything. He just heard the sound of the gunfire. He said the gunfire came in bursts. He said there was chaos, people tried to scramble over its security barriers to get out, the barriers fell in. People fell on each other.
He said he walked out and he did some stepping on, people he didn't know whether they were alive or dead but he was trying to get out and get away from this scene and he did managed to eventually get away from the scene unhurt.
But it was a scene of real chaos inside and with that number of dead, apparently, the gunmen from what Ruben Paris said, just went from one group of people to the next, killing them. It is a -- just a chilling scene, Don. It's a kind of thing it's unimaginable.
LEMON: So, Jim, we are getting word that the suspects have been neutralized. What are you hearing anything -- what are you hearing about the suspects?
BITTERMANN: Well, we don't know too much about the suspects themselves. We haven't been told much about them. But I think it may be a little early to say that all were neutralized. We heard here at the scene that, in fact, some people may have gotten away.
There is one witness I think who talked to CNN earlier who said that he saw some of the gunmen get into a car and leave. If that's the case, they may still be out there. And I think one of the things that just happened here that kind of indicates that and maybe speaks to that is the fact that President Hollande has sealed the borders of France and sealed all several neighborhoods.
And there is a lot of police works still going on this evening. We saw dog units here, for example, that might be a sign that they're cracking, they're still cracking someone. I don't -- I'm not 100 percent sure especially that they've closed down schools and closed down a lot of activities for the moment. I'm not 100 percent sure that the authorities feel that they have gotten everybody. They may -- they may feel that there is still someone out there, Don.
LEMON: All right. Jim Bittermann in Paris tonight. Jim, we'll get back to you. Stand by. Thank you for your reporting right now.
Tonight, a chaotic scene outside the Bataclan Theater in Paris. Pour survivors of the massacre. An amateur photographer shot this video that you're looking at right now, and posted it to social media, showing wounded people on the ground, others trying to offer comfort and assistance before paramedics were able to get to them.
Let's go to CNN's Pierre Buet now, he is in Paris and he was outside the concert hall that was attacked earlier. He joins me now. Good evening to you, Pierre, you are at the Bataclan concert hall, the hostage siege is over now. So, tell us what the scene is like at this moment.
PIERRE BUET, CNN PRODUCER: At this moment I cannot say. We're not just in front of the Bataclan. What I can say is that earlier the scene was one of a war zone, one of a central Paris very, very, very known district with a lot of young people going out and it was turned into a war zone for a few hours.
[22:05:11] There were armored vehicles, about 200, 300 police. Heavily armed police, tactical teams taking up positions. The atmosphere was very, very tense. And every -- every few minutes or so, we could hear shouts, screams -- screams, horrified screams coming from inside the theater. And then as the hostages were evacuated from outside the theater.
LEMON: So, talk to us about the hostages who were brought out. What were their conditions?
BUET: I would say that they were in a state of -- in a state of -- they were horrified, blatantly by what they had just seen. Some of them were -- were holding their heads. Some of them were completely disorientated. Some of them were -- were just being held by police, just accompanied out of the nightclub and just trying to -- trying to get a grip, really.
LEMON: You said they were holding their heads. Were they saying anything?
BUET: I couldn't hear any words because I wasn't that close. I was about 30 to 40 yards and just in front of the entrance of the Bataclan nightclub. I could hear screams, though. I could hear a few -- a few quite horrifying screams.
LEMON: And it was chaos, I would imagine because this theater holds about 1500 people. That is a pretty big crowd.
BUET: A lot of people thankfully, thanks to the work of the police forces, a lot of people managed to get out. There was the -- the first assaults just through the front gates of the -- of the nightclub, just about an hour in after the beginning of the standoff.
And a few hundred -- a few hundred hostages were evacuated at this point. And then, later -- later about 20 minutes later, 20 or so, and then 50 or so, hostages were taken -- taken out of the -- evacuated -- evacuated of the nightclub.
LEMON: So, as we understand, Pierre, President Hollande came to the hall. What did he say?
BUET: I -- I'm sorry, I was just in front of the Bataclan at the point that a -- when Mr. Hollande made his -- made his presidential address and I did not hear what Hollande had to say on the issue. All I could hear was gunshots at this -- at this point.
LEMON: Understood. There is a lot going on there, but I will tell our viewers what President Francois Hollande said. He said "Paris is capable to carry out such atrocities must know that they will face a France that is determined and united."
So, we want to thank Pierre very much. Our producer there in Paris. Our justice correspondent is Pamela Brown, and she joins us now with information from her sources that she had been gathering.
What are they telling you tonight, Pamela?
PAMELA BROWN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I can tell you, counterterrorism officials and our intelligence officials in the U.S. are very busy tonight trying to piece together what happened here, Don. And they are alarmed by the apparent methodology by the apparent pre-planning that went into this near simultaneous coordinated attacks throughout Paris.
Five to seven attacks. And officials have been speaking would say that there are tactics seemingly from various terrorist groups from Al Qaeda through ISIS. So, it's a bit of a guessing game as this point as to who could be behind this.
But I will tell you, this is been what law enforcement officials have been concerned about for a while. That there are people in Europe who may travel to Syria and Iraq who may get training. And we don't know if that happened in this case, but officials I've been speaking with say, it appears that the people involved with this, the apparent terrorist had some level of training, some level of preparation that went into this.
At this hour, I can tell you that law enforcement officials here in the United States, Federal law enforcement officials are going to their sources domestically and overseas trying to gather any information to see if there were any warnings before this happened.
They're also putting additional scrutiny and surveillance on high priority targets here in the U.S. The concern of course is that there could be copycat attacks. There is no information of any specific credible intelligence that an attack will happen here in the U.S.
But officials are concerned and they are increasing security at certain places across the United States and big cities, soft targets and sensitive areas as well. Don.
LEMON: And, Pamela Brown, we are seeing that ISIS is applauding the attacks online but no claims of responsibility yet, correct?
BROWN: No claims of responsibility yet. And it's no surprise that they are applauding what happened. But officials I've speaking with say even if ISIS is behind it, if this was a command in control scenario they wouldn't be surprised if ISIS isn't taking responsibility yet, if that is, in fact, what happened.
[22:10:03] They say they could be working on messaging, that kind of thing. So, perhaps that could be behind the delay here. But again, they don't know, Don, what terrorist group is behind this. There is a lot of certainty that this is an international terrorist event, but who is behind it is still unclear and there have been no official claims of responsibility. Don.
LEMON: All right. Pamela Brown, working her sources. Pamela, stand by, we'll get back to you. Of the 153 victims, 112 were killed at the Bataclan concert hall where patrons were listening to an American rock band when gunmen burst in and started firing. A survivor tells us what he saw.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JULIEN PIERCE, REPORTER & EYEWITNESS: They were not moving, actually. They were just standing at the back of the scene, at the back of the crowd. And they were just shooting on the floor because everybody was on the floor. And I've seen one of the guys very young, actually.
He was, like, 18 years old, 19 years old, maximum, 20 maximum. And he was executing people on the floor, the person around him. He was holding his hostage with rifle, who was down, he was shooting on people. So, they were not moving, actually. They were just standing at the back of the concert room and shooting at us like as if it were birds.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So, to another witness now. Joining me now on the phone is Xavier Sarraute, a witness to the shooting at the Bataclan concert hall. Good evening. We're glad that you are OK.
LEMON: Thank you so much for joining us.
XAVIER SARRAUTE, SHOOTING WITNESS: Yes.
LEMON: You were just outside of this concert hall, about five minutes before the shooting. So, tell us what happened.
Yes. I was in the pub. You know, I'm walking in the pub, you know, 20 meters next to the Bataclan. And then we heard, you know, about three or four explosions. And we think that was just explosions of, you know, of fight but that was a gun. And we realized that after maybe -- maybe 20 seconds, and so we goes out and we took all the people and close the pub inside with the people and we protect them.
LEMON: So, you went in and you said you protected them and that they may be one reason you did that is because you are a former police officer, correct?
SARRAUTE: Yes. Correct.
LEMON: So, when you heard the shots, what did you think it was?
SARRAUTE: I thought it was auto fire for the first one, but after two or three, I realized that it was gunshots. So, I just goes out and I protect the people, you know, inside. LEMON: You thought it -- you thought it was auto fire, meaning or
maybe a car backfiring, is that what you mean?
SARRAUTE: Yes, that's what I mean.
LEMON: Yes. And so, immediately you didn't know that it was gunshots but quickly after it continued you realized it was.
SARRAUTE: Yes, I realized, yes, because I could not heard, you know, that was, you know, not the same time, that was really, you know, it was (Inaudible) so, you can.
SARRAUTE: When you know it, you know what it is.
LEMON: Yes. So, as we understand that people have been helping each other. There were people who were calling waving people into their flats and into their homes to get them out of harm's way. You gathered people on the street into the cafe where you were. How many people were with you?
SARRAUTE: About between 20 and 30 person. I think it was something like 25, 26.
LEMON: And what did they say, what was their reaction?
SARRAUTE: Oh, you know, they were -- they were really panicked. You know, they just stay on the floor and protect themselves. So, we just have to close the door and call the cops. And that's all. You know, just speaking with them, you know, that's really special.
LEMON: At that moment you had no idea what it was. You -- I'm sure you -- you obviously realized that it was some sort of...
SARRAUTE: Yes. I was -- for me, I was sure about what happened but I could not say to the others. You know, I just want to protect their minds.
LEMON: Were you afraid it was going to spread to the cafe more explosions, more shots?
SARRAUTE: Yes, yes. For sure. I was afraid, I was afraid about that. So, for that I closed everything.
LEMON: Are you afraid for tomorrow?
SARRAUTE: Yes. I'm still.
LEMON: Why so?
SARRAUTE: Now that you know, but I'm -- I'm afraid about what can happen. But I believe in the cops and the official forces. So, I don't know what to say. You know, it's really official, you know, what I feel right now. I'm under the mood, you know.
LEMON: Yes. Well, listen, we're thinking about you, stay safe. Xavier Sarraute, we really appreciate you joining us here on CNN this evening.
[22:14:54] LEMON: Gregory Philipps is deputy managing editor of France Info Radio France, and he joins me now by phone. Good evening to you, Mr. Philips.
GREGORY PHILIPPS, FRANCE INFO RADIO FRANCE DEPUTY MANAGING EDITOR: Good evening.
LEMON: What are your reporters telling you?
PHILIPPS: Well, it's been, like, such a (Inaudible) sad night, deaths, still on the field. It's right now more than 4 o'clock in the morning. And they're still in front of the Bataclan and close to the State de France and the North of Paris and the situation is still not very clear.
About -- we know that there has been six places attacked by these terrorists but it's not still very clear if some of these terrorists are in the streets of Paris or not. So, at that time, it's almost to the morning news they are going to start in one hour and the situation is not clear.
LEMON: OK. The information we are getting, Mr. Philipps is that five suspects have been neutralized. Any idea how many more they are potentially looking for? Because they say they have neutralized, they believe, all of them.
Again, this is just -- not CNN's reporting, but they have neutralized a number of them but they may be looking for accomplices. So, do you know how many more they may be looking for?
PHILIPPS: Absolutely not. I'm sorry. Yes, the terrorists are neutralized. The two or three were at State de France, the big stadium in the North of Paris. There was a game tonight. And they were probably chemicals and they killed by their own explosion, maybe two or three people.
And inside the Bataclan, that concert hall, probably three or four terrorists have been killed. But we don't have any idea if there is one or other terrorists on the streets.
And I can tell you that the situation in Paris is very tense. It's not so easy to get a taxi. People they don't want to go out and the government and the mayor are apprising people not to go out. We have no idea some terrorists on the streets right now.
LEMON: I want to talk to you about what eyewitness are telling your reporters. But before you answer I want to play a clip that you provided us where a witness says they heard a gunman shout "Allah Akbar." (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(SPEAKING IN FRENCH)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So, Mr. Philipps, if true, that is very significant evidence as to a motive.
PHILIPPS: Yes, of course. That was the witness talked to us. It was like 11 in the evening. And as you can hear he was crying just going out of that concert hall, the Bataclan. And that's the first thing he told us that he tried to escape and save his life and his mother's life. And after he said that, I heard that guy. And they had guns and they screamed "Allah Akbar," which is of course very meaningful.
Don't forget that we are 10 or 11 months after the attacks against Charlie Hebdo. And these attacks were shocked at that time. So, of course it's very meaningful.
LEMON: Yes. And this, the Bataclan is not far from Charlie Hebdo headquarters where that attack happened in January. Let's talk more about the -- the suspects, the attackers here. Because there have been reports that three of the attackers at the theater were wearing explosive vests. Is that what you're hearing?
PHILIPPS: That's what said on the air or investigators. But we don't have any official confirmation right now.
LEMON: OK. I also want to talk to you about the security in the city. I know that the President, Francois Hollande, said that they are -- the attackers are going to face all the force that France can muster terror capable to carry out such atrocities. He says, must know that they will face a France that is determined and united. What about security in the streets in the city tonight?
PHILIPPS: Well, right now, we are at a state of emergency. So, we know that schools will be closed tomorrow. And we know that a lot of soldiers and policemen will be on the streets. Right now it's the night. So, we don't see through right now.
But tomorrow morning, it's obvious that the people will probably be scared and they won't send their children to school and that's going to be a very tough day tomorrow.
LEMON: I want to ask you, as well about -- because after Charlie Hebdo, I would imagine that tensions have been high there, that Parisians have been really on alert. But we're also hearing that security had been increased at some venues and some areas recently.
Are you getting reports that there was some intelligence of the possibility of this type of attack?
PHILIPPS: Well since the attack on Charlie Hebdo we know that France could be a target because of what the French government decided to go against ISIS in Syria. [22:20:08] So, we knew for sure that France was a target and we are on high alert -- high alert for the last 10 or 11 months. I have to say that very sadly, it's not so surprising.
LEMON: All right. Thank you, sir. Gregory Philipps is a deputy managing editor of France Info Radio, France. We appreciate you joining us.
I want to bring in Phil Mudd here who is an expert on such matters. Mr. Mudd, let's talk about what the gunmen and the clothing that they were apparently wearing, according to eyewitness and to what they're telling the reporters there, three of the attackers in the theater wearing explosive vests, and also "allah akbar," yelling those words. What does that tell you?
PHIL MUDD, CNN COUNTERTERRORISM ANALYST: Just within the first few hours, we're starting to see signs that this is what we expect in a classic ISIS inspired attack. The number of people, the fact they're killing civilians indiscriminately.
The vests in particular, and what I heard referred to it as suicide belts to be are interesting from one particular optic. I think you would look at that and say they must have been planning to use this to increase the number of civilian casualties.
I'm not sure that's true, Don. I think what we're seeing as individuals are going into a location, anticipating or expecting that they will lose their lives in this attack. If they had been approached by police, if they had been involved in shootouts I would have expected them to use these belts to kill themselves so they could not be captured.
So, when I first heard this is reconfirmed that this was potentially an ISIS attack. Because though it doesn't look like a classic suicide operation, a backpack, for example, or an explosive-laden vehicle, it looks like they were going in there without expecting to come out alive.
LEMON: OK. Let me read specifically and this is a translation that we're getting here on CNN, at what you heard just a moment ago that we played for the newspaper editor there.
It says, "In the middle of the concert there were guys who arrived and they began to shoot at the entrance. They shot into the center of the crowd while yelling "allah akbar" with scatter guns. I think because they discharged. And after the concert stopped and everyone lay on the ground and they continued to shoot at people." Philip.
MUDD: Look, one of the things you have to understand about this in terms of what they're yelling when they -- when they go into the theater in this case, and the ability to sit there in cold blood and murder people, is that we think of these people as Islamic extremists. They probably are.
There is another way to understand this. It helps get into the mind of how these people operate, and that is, this is a cult culture. You have a relatively small group of people who are in a closed circle. They do not allow other ideas to enter that circle and they persuade themselves that the murder of innocents is acceptable.
You can understand this through the lens of Islam, you can also understand this of radical Islam, I should say, you can also understand this through the lens of people who are in circles that are so tight that persuading each other over the course of time that murder is acceptable becomes second in nature.
They went in and said, we're just going to kill everybody we can find. And they persuaded themselves that that's perfectly appropriate under some interpretation of Islam.
LEMON: OK. Phil Mudd, stand by, because I'll get back to you. I want to bring in Mike Rogers now, CNN national security commentator. Mr. Rogers, I want to ask about this, five suspected attackers this is have been neutralized. Again, that is not our language. It's the language of the Paris prosecutor.
And we have that, CNN has that information now, five suspected attackers. But we're not sure that's all who were involved in this attack -- in these attacks, I should say.
MIKE ROGERS, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY COMMENTATOR: Yes, and I find that highly doubtful. If you look at the sheer number of the sites that they covered, there is a logistical tale on each one. So, you have, certainly a bomb maker. And that belt was bomb vest came in, the suicide vests at the stadium came into France. They were probably assembled in France.
That tells you that somebody is still around. You have the transportation people. If you just do the number, and I know there's been some U.S. intelligence reports that there was at least two per station, that means that there are some folks that are unaccountable and that number could swing from 8 to 24.
And if you have dead, that tells you that there are still some missing. I think that's what the police are worried about. And they need to worry about this. There is likely more than this in the City of Paris.
LEMON: Yes. And there was method to this, Mr. Rogers. A concert hall, a soccer game, a soccer venue, restaurant, places where people gather, especially on a weekend on a Friday night. It was a stage to take away a sense of security, which is indeed the essence of terrorism.
ROGERS: Absolutely. And you know, we saw it changed, Don. Of late last year, when there was some folks who had been radicalized in Australia and were going to, go to Syria to fight. And this was an odd change.
[22:25:03] ISIS recruiters at that time said, no, no, no, stay in plae, stay in Australia, randomly pick -- pick people off the street, chop their heads off and videotape it. Luckily, the Australian and intelligence services and law enforcement interceded and stopped that plot. But from there, then Canada happened and others. And you saw this
steady drum beat from ISIS saying, hey, we want these small local targeted attacks. Make them happen. This one is bigger than that, Don, because it's clearly coordinated. This was -- this is a complicated thing to pull off in the way that they pulled it off.
LEMON: OK. Mike Rogers is standing by along with Philip Mudd, our CNN counterterrorism analyst and a former CIA counterterrorism official, both standing by.
I want to bring in now Mia Bloom. Mia is the author of "Bombshell: Woman and Terrorism." Why is no one taking responsibility for this, claimed responsibility, Mia?
MIA BLOOM, "BOMBSHELL:WOMAN & TERRORISM" AUTHOR: I mean, it's interesting. We've been looking even in Arabic on some of the ISIS sites and they've said, you know, not yet, be patient. Patience is a virtue.
So, they're deliberately not taking any credit. And so, my interpretation of this could be that they are unwilling to say anything because there may still be some of their individuals that out and about. They don't want to reveal anything that might contribute to the, their larger network being captured.
LEMON: Listen, we have heard again, and I asked the question to the newspaper editor that there was a heightened sense of alert obviously after Charlie Hebdo in January. But also recently that some venues had extra security added.
Because their -- the consensus is that they may have been expecting some sort of attack or gotten word of some sort of attack. Have you heard anything about that?
BLOOM: Well, I think it's along the lines of what Michael Weiss was saying earlier, that there have been introductions in term of the social network sites and on social media to encourage individuals to act, and to make the streets of Paris run with blood.
So, this is something that has been out on ISIS social media to make people very concerned about what might be sort of in the works. But I do think it's important that we hold off on prejudgment because there's been so much misinformation disseminated.
And for example, if these gentlemen that were -- that had suicide vests available to them and they didn't use them. To me, that's a signal that they actually didn't want to be suicide bombers. So that like in the Mumbai attack, you had guys with suicide vests. They had a plan to go to multiple locations and to exact as many casualties as they could.
LEMON: Philip Mudd, I understand you're wanting to weigh in on this. What do you make of the heightened sense of security lately in Paris?
MUDD: Look, one of the things I want to weigh in. We're talking earlier about -- about the security in Paris, but also the issue of whether anybody has claimed responsibility for this. A couple of things to think about, Don, the first is, as soon as we identify these individuals and we look at their social media trail, it's not clear to me that we won't find they claim responsibility there.
I would -- I would hold off on whether anybody said anything and whether these folks left a trail where they bragged about what they were just about to accomplish. The second and more interesting point on responsibility and claims here is when we see these decentralized organizations that are such a contrast to what we saw with Al Qaeda.
For example, last week, we see -- we see ISIS in the Sinai taking down a Russian aircraft and it wasn't clear that was coordinated with Syria. I wonder if ISIS central here didn't know what was going to happen, and so they are stepping like we are trying to understand what happened before they get out and make a statement, Don.
LEMON: All right. Philip, Mia, and Michael, stand by. Tonight, President Barack Obama spoke about the Paris terrorist attacks from the White House briefing room. Here he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA PRESIDENT: This is an attack not just on Paris. It's an attack not just on the people of France, but this is an attack on all of humanity and the universal values that we share.
We stand prepared and ready to provide whatever assistance that the government and the people of France need to respond. France is our oldest ally. The French people have stood shoulder to shoulder with the United States time and again. And we want to be very clear that we stand together with them in the fight against terrorism and extremism.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: You are looking live now at one World Trade Center adorned in blue, white, and red in solidarity with the people of France tonight.
Let's discuss now with John Miller, the deputy commissioner of intelligence and counterterrorism for the NYPD. And I imagine you are getting information at all time. My first question to you, is this a wakeup call to America?
[22:29:59] JOHN MILLER, NYPD DEPUTY COMMSSIONER ON INTELLIGENCE & COUNTERTERRORISM: Not at all. Because that would go on the assumption that we were ever asleep. I think speaking from the New York City perspective, from the time of the Mumbai attacks where you saw active shooters, multiple locations, the use of explosive devices, suicide bombers, and so on, the NYPD under then Commissioner Kelly began to put together a comprehensive response plan for something just like that, which is actually just like this.
LEMON: One hundred, I think a 160-some people died in the Mumbai attack, that you are mentioning, 300 or so injured. This one appears to be 153 at this moment. There is a comparison that there was -- there was an effort to make this a mini-Mumbai and some people are calling it that.
MILLER: I think it's pretty early but I think if you look at what we've seen so far and it's early, you have the same tactics, training and procedures apparent here as Mumbai. And I think if you look at the paradigm of that kind of attack, what is it, Don, its low tech. It's low cost. It's extraordinarily high impact.
And I think if you look at the emerging terrorist groups, there is a move away from the spectacular attack of towers falling and things that are very complicated, expensive and hard to pull off especially against a much improved intelligence collection apparatus. Something like this is harder to detect in some ways and harder to stop and easier to fall.
LEMON: You have told us before that the NYPD as people in Paris that you coordinate with, right? And that to coordinated with the French, NYPD who coordinate with the French, right? Are you getting information from them and what do they telling you?
MILLER: From the moment this attack started we were in touch with the NYPD post in Paris. I just returned from Paris after the Charlie Hebdo attacks, where we walked backwards through all of the implications of that attack with our French counterparts with their tactical people, with their hostage negotiators to learn how we would handle something like that here. We'll do that after this also.
LEMON: Our reporters here, one of our justice reporters is Evan Perez and he reports that U.S. intelligence agencies are looking at all signals, intelligence for any indication that there may have been advanced planning or coordination. I've been acting -- asking of our experts, was there any of that, have you got any indication of that?
MILLER: Not yet. And we're scanning some of the same channels in the unclassified world on the internet looking for what the various groups, Twitter feeds, and others in social media are talking about, and we're working very closely with the FBI with through the Joint Terrorist Task Force here in New York where we have a hundred detectives, with FBI agents and other agencies to see what's coming over the other trench that are -- that are more protected.
LEMON: So, in Paris you had bombings, tonight, shootings, hostages. Help us understand really what law enforcement, what police officers are up against for an attack of this magnitude.
MILLER: All right. So, you're looking at a couple of things. First, you want it to not happen.
MILLER: So, on the intelligence side, you want your human sources. You want to have your signals intelligence. You want to have your alert people reporting things to the police. And you want to be able to detect it, interdict it, stop it. That's what our investigations are for.
There have been since September 11, 20 plots against New York. Two of them were stopped in June, through that kind of work. One including the pressure cooker bombs, another included the planned beheading of a target here.
So, this is part of what we do. The second thing is if it happens because if it's a group of people and they get together and they have guns and they strike at random locations, as we kind of saw in Paris tonight, how fast can you interdict that. And New York is probably positioned to stop it faster in progress than any other place.
LEMON: As we look at, and we're looking at live pictures of Times Square right now, and I want to get to that, but just -- just 24 hours ago, a little bit more than that, our breaking news story we led this newscast last night, was the Jihadi -- Jihadi John. That he had been somehow targeted for an attack, a drone attack in Raqqah, Syria. What is the timing? Is that significant here?
MILLER: I don't think so. And I'll tell you why. It would be extraordinarily difficult for any terrorist group or independent group to pull together a complex multi -- multi-location plan...
LEMON: That quickly.
MILLER: ... that included improvised explosive devices in that amount of time and execute. On the other hand, Don, you can't eliminate the possibility that there was a plot on the shelf and that someone green lighted it.
LEMON: So, again, we were just looking at pictures now, live pictures of Times Square. New York City is on the heightened since -- a heightened alert tonight, and it's always, New York is always on heightened alert, right. Because we are a target as we know from 9/11. What can you tell us about that?
[22:35:11] When these attacks began to occur and we got our first flash from our post in Paris and then began to follow it through open source media, we did a number of things. First of all, we took out our response to the Charlie Hebdo attacks which was basically the French package, and we said, where can we add protection right now?
We took a number of French locations and had people respond there. Some of them were already protected. The second thing we did is look at the type of targets, these are public venues, these are tourists spots, these are bars and restaurants, and so on.
So, we added people to Times Square, Hercules teams, heavily armed people as Strategic Response Group, SRG, with long weapons out on the street where people could see them, places like Penn station, Grand Central, Times Square, the Barclay's Center, Madison Square Garden.
We increased that presence with two distinctive purposes. One, to reassure the public, if they were worried that the police were out there and ready to respond. And, two, to make it apparent to anyone who was thinking about anything that the police were out there and equipped to respond and I think -- I think we did both tonight.
LEMON: And it's not just New York City as I look here. you know, there is a list of cities from L.A. -- from California to the LAPD, Boston, Massachusetts where everyone is on heightened alert, especially large cities tonight.
I have to ask you, before I let you go, the bomb was put on the Russian plane killing 200 people or so, more than 200 people. No one has claimed responsibility for that. But ISIS is celebrating online applauding the attacks. Is this an ISIS style attack do you think?
MILLER: I think it's too early to say that definitively here.
LEMON: Thank you, John Miller. I appreciate you coming.
MILLER: Thanks, Don. Good to see you. Thanks for having me.
LEMON: Thank you. The U.S. Department says the U.S. embassy is making every effort to account for all Americans who may be in Paris right now. The Bureau of Consular Affairs has two emergency numbers, and I want to read those numbers to you.
Right here in the U.S., Americans concerned about loved ones in Paris should dial this number, that number is 1-888-407-4747. 1-888-407-47. The State Department urges all U.S. citizens in Paris to contact their families. But Americans in France who need assistance can call this number, 011-202-501-4444, 011-202-501-4444.
Let's leave those numbers up just for a moment so people can copy them down. There they are up on your screen and we will read them to you again in case you missed them.
When we come right back here on CNN, the latest breaking news on tonight's deadly terror attacks in Paris.
[22:40:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: Breaking news right now, the U.S. embassy warning Americans in Paris to shelter in place in the wake of tonight's terror attacks. U.S. citizens are advised to pay attention to local authorities and stay aware.
And again, we'll update you on the airport situation as well. Because some flights into Paris have been cancelled. One of the attacks tonight took place at a Paris stadium where a soccer match between Germany and France was underway. The French president was there. The sounds of at least two explosions captured by cameras broadcasting the game. Listen.
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(SPEAKING IN FRENCH)
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LEMON: A Western intelligence source tells CNN that at least one of those explosions appears to be a suicide bombing. A dismembered body found at the scene would point to that. So, joining me now our CNN contributor, Michael Weiss, CNN terrorism
analyst, Paul Cruickshank, Buck Sexton, ex-CIA agent, Mia Bloom, author of "Bombshell: Women and Terrorism," Philip Mudd, CNN counterterrorism analyst, and Mike Rogers, CNN national security commentator.
Paul, as the scale of this attack sinks in. Put this into context for us.
PAUL CRUICKSHANK, "AGENT STORM" CO-AUTHOR: Well, this is absolutely staggering what we're seeing play out in Paris tonight. Seven different locations targeted simultaneous strikes, suicide bombers, hostage takers, gunmen with Kalashnikovs, a mounting death toll which is at least 150. Now it may go up significantly the.
This is an extremely serious moment I think for the West. If this is ISIS it's a very serious moment for the West in its fight against ISIS. There's been this terrorist safe haven in Syria and Iraq that's been mounting concern about that.
The French have been worried for months and months. They could see this kind of attack in France that the President of France saying that every week they are uncovering new signs of terrorists plotting, that the threat was unprecedented.
They've seen over a thousand French nationals go to Syria and Iraq. Hundreds and hundreds returning. They don't have the resources to watch them all the time. And so, unfortunately, unless something is done to address the root causes of this terrorism, which is this terrorist safe haven in Syria and Iraq, probably we think tonight, I think this could be the new normal, Don.
LEMON: And we'll talk about because they are concerned about migrants and Syrian refugees and all of that and then what all plays into this. But I want to ask you, we'll get to that. I want to ask you, Michael, who do you think is responsible? Is it too early to tell who's responsible for this at this point?
MICHAEL WEISS, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I think it is. Although I'm inclined to believe this is -- this leads more in the direction of ISIS than it does Al Qaeda.
LEMON: You think so?
WEISS: Well, if you look at the level of the attack, the level of the sophistication and coordination, the way that they actually waged this, this operation it's more like a conventional military assault.
[22:45:02] A Rhinolin (ph) into pal they go after check points in Iraq and Syria. You know, within in the space of half an hour you had, you know, seven different attacks in a wide geographical expanse of territory.
They did a lot of reconnaissance work. An eyewitness in the theater had reported that there was no security protocol in that theater. So, no metal detectors, no baggage checks, nothing like that. That means the terrorists had been there before, you know, they had scouted it, they probably attended a concert just to see the just of rapid response time.
Look, and there's also, I mean, it's too soon to tell based on just eyewitness reports. Rumors about people, you know, talking about Syria and Iraq. The Syria component would -- would lead me more in the direction of ISIS.
LEMON: All right. Let me -- let me read you this. Because in the middle of the concert and this is the -- this is the translation that we have from the witness, the eyewitness.
LEMON: "In the middle of the concert, there were guys who arrived and they began to shoot at the entrance. They shot into the center of the crowd while yelling "allah akbar" with, along with scattered guns, I think because they discharge. And after the concert stops and everyone lay on the ground and they continued to shoot at people." What does that tell you, Buck?
BUCK SEXTON, THE BLAZE NATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR: What it tells you that they were trying to target every aspect of French society, and this is really an assault on Western civilization itself. They're trying to get people from restaurants.
LEMON: So who gets responsible?
SEXTON: No, it doesn't tell you responsible. You can't tell based on the very basic tactics of them going in. The choice of the targets, though, shows you that they're trying to send a very clear message whether it's ISIS or Al Qaeda.
I don't think that there is honestly at this point all that much that we have to worry about in terms of the distinction. You can say if it's the same security precautions either way. The sort of things that we're about, follow on attacks, whether it is ISIS or Al Qaeda, that is something that will figure out in the days ahead.
But as for what's going on right now, they're trying to send a message. And that should anybody...
LEMON: The message of terror.
SEXTON: This is the essence of terror, that if you are at a restaurant, if you are at a stadium, if you are a concert, anywhere in Paris, in France, in all of the West, in any enemy territory, any part of the land of war, according to the Islamic state, you are a target and you are a subject to this kind of vicious and sadistic annihilation. And that's what they look at -- you don't have to say, Don. Well, as long as you have the Islamic state operating as it does, as a terrorist state, which is what it is, you have this risk and this was really inevitable. I know people don't think it that was now, but it was only a matter of time before we went from a lone wolf, who is a crazy person with a hatchet or perhaps a gun, and instead we have this. A sophisticated multipronged attack with surveillance on-site, with people who knew what they were doing to create maximum carnage.
LEMON: You speak of inevitability. You say this is inevitable. And when I asked John Miller from the NYPD if this is a wakeup call to America, he said, no, it's not, he doesn't believe it is because he said that would assume, the question would assume that we have been asleep, that our intelligence officials here have been asleep. Do you think it's a wakeup call?
SEXTON: I think it is a wakeup call in the sense that you can't allow this festering sore of the Islamic state to have to continue to have training camps to have its own funding sources, to bring Jihadist from all over the world, to have a cyber-caliphate.
All of these things are happening. They have been promising now since the initial incursion into Iraq from Syria, since the seizure of Mosel (ph) that they would bring this war to Europe's doorstep which they've done more than once. And they've done in this spectacular attack for the last few hours, and that they would eventually bring the war to us, too.
You know, we didn't care all that much about Afghanistan until eventually the towers has fell. When you have this sort of a situation, when you have this level of sophistication, the ability to plot, train, recruit, and gather resources and a stated mission.
I mean, they're not going to get into the textile industry, they're not trying to set up some sort of a technology centers here. They want to attack the West and America. That is the purpose of the Islamic state. It was only a matter of time before we were hit in this way. I do think it is a wakeup call.
LEMON: Mike Rogers, CNN national security commentator. This is coordinated. The question is how coordinated was this? And how long does it take to plan an attack like this?
MIKE ROGERS, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY COMMENTATOR: Well, I mean, obviously, the details of that will come out in the days ahead. But clearly this took some time. It looks like there was reconnaissance probably at the stadium. You have to wonder if they knew about the president's presence there. Probably it was well-publicized going into the event.
So, that would tell you how much time with that notification. But they pick those big venues. That would take surveillance, it takes logistics, it takes a logistics tail. Meaning, there are other people involved who are not the operators who showed up on these sites.
And same with the restaurants. I -- you know, the more I'm hearing of what's out there, Don, the restaurant nearest may have been a choice, an opportune target mainly because people were out on the street and they were firing from an automobile.
So, I don't know if the type of restaurant had anything to do with it. I think it was the ease of the target. So, when you look at all of that and how it had to be coordinated over time, nearly simultaneously, this took months.
And they had to have meetings, discussions, conversations, you know, that's what's so concerning about this, all of that planning process was missed and it had to take some period of time to make it happen.
LEMON: Mia Bloom, intelligence officials are always monitoring the chatter going on out there. But as I have heard, I'm not an expert, when something like this happens, usually the chatter goes quiet because they know people are looking with a more critical eye at this point.
[22:50:04] MIA BLOOM, "BOMBSHELL: WOMEN & TERRORISM" AUTHOR: Well, you have exactly both examples are true. You have both a flurry of activity of people congratulating people who are celebrating and you may have people who go quiet and are going underground.
So, we actually can't have the exact opposite kinds of reactions and we don't know if you're looking at the right individuals, whether these are the individuals who are just fan boys or whether these are individuals who have an operational capacity.
I think it's important to understand, though, looking at Charlie Hebdo as a template, you have ISIS working together with AQAP. So, the whole debate as to whether it's ISIS or Al Qaeda might not necessarily be, you know, it's either one or the other.
We do have people who are drawn together. They might affiliate with different organizations, but overall, they have this hatred of the West, the hatred of the United States or France or whoever.
The fact remains is that, the individual Pledges of Allegiance that these operatives make is less salient. And the fact that they can operationally work together, temporarily, you know, and then we see them enlarging their capacity because they can draw on operatives from a variety of different groups.
LEMON: Philip Mudd, the concern is always is a second wave. What are they doing now to prevent that?
PHILIP MUDD, CNN COUNTERTERRORISM ANALYST: You got to think about a couple of things in this. Think of a concentric circle with three rings. Ring one, and I haven't heard the answer to this, have they picked up a cell phone, for example, from any of these individuals. Because I want to know if there are communications, let's say over the past 24 to 48 hours, that suggests there's other conspirators out there.
Ring number two, documents, explosives, weapons, travel, communication, is there a support network? And I believe there has to be of people out there who are trying to escape now. One reason, the President of France has closed the borders, trying to escape now who might go and organize another attack.
Ring three and final, and that is, are there people out there who are aware of this and didn't say anything in advance of it. So, right now, there is a ton of people like me in my whole life trying to pick up information about the identities of these individuals to map out that spider network of who supported this and whether there are co- conspirators on the loose, Don.
LEMON: OK. All right. Panel, stand by. When we come right back, much more of our breaking news tonight. The deadly coordinated terror attacks in Paris.
[22:55:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: It is already Saturday morning in Europe where people are waking up to shocking newspaper headlines about the attacks in Paris.
Britain's Guardian running a banner, a banner headline reading, "Horror returns to the heart of Paris." That's a reference to the massacre at satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo earlier this year in January.
And on the front page of the Sun, "Massacre in Paris" have reads. And that same headline France London Times as well.
Joining me now is CNN's Tom Foreman. Tom show us where all this happened, please.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Don. If you look at this, this didn't happen in the heart of Paris that tourists know, but rather a little bit north of it there. And in fact, the most terrible part of this in terms of the number of people who are killed is on that theater, actually it happened was in a very short walk from the Charlie Hebdo offices, which are right down here.
This is where the theater is up there. This theater is not a particularly large theater. It would seat about a thousand people. And we're told about how many people are there. So, that's a popular venue there nonetheless.
Here's a picture that was tweeted by the bassist from the band that was playing the American band from California, shortly beforehand, so you got a sense of what it looked like. And then down at street level you can see what was confronting police as they came up and where the people were being triaged afterwards.
So, this is a sense of just a general neighborhood there where we had the biggest number of casualties we know about so far. If we move on and we know there were several other attacks. We'll look at three major sites right now. That's where we really focus is.
We move to this Cambodian restaurant up here. This restaurant is not, again, necessarily, a tourist site, although it does show up in some tourist magazines and things like that same people might want to go there. Very popular with young the people in what is a very densely populated neighborhood there. We had people who were killed and injured over here.
There were also some people over in this area, right over in here. So, this was the second big target out there right now. And then if you move on there, if you go to what theoretically would have been the largest target which is the stadium to the north of town, a big soccer game going on, 80,000 people in the stadium.
And this is where we had these two explosions, including what police now say was one suicide bomber. And yet, in terms of the number of people who were wounded or killed, this is one of the smaller locations up there, Don.
So, all of this geography is what the authorities are going to be looking over in the coming days to figure out how those targets chosen, how are the attackers chosen, and how do they coordinate heading all of those people on this terrible day. Don.
LEMON: Tom Foreman, thank you very much. I want to bring back our -- my panel now. Michael Weiss is here with me in New York, he is a CNN contributor, also I want to bring in Mia Bloom, author of "Bombshell: Women & Terrorism," Mike Rogers is our CNN national security commentator, and also Lieutenant Rick Francona who joins us this evening, CNN military analyst joins us as well. And Buck Sexton, who is a former CIA.
You believe that this, Paul, there are indications that point to ISIS.
CRUICKSHANK: I think if you look at the indiscriminate nature of the violence, the fact that they just opened up on restaurants that could be a point more toward ISIS than Al Qaeda.
And the reason for that is in 2013, the leader of Al Qaeda, Ayman Al- Zawahiri put out a new guideline for Jihad saying that Al Qaeda shouldn't launch indiscriminate attacks because Muslims could be killed in those attacks.
And when the Charlie Hebdo attacks were happening in Paris, the two Al Qaeda recruits, the brothers, the Kouachi brothers, actually just went off to the continent, they didn't go after other targets, other people in Paris.
So, it could be a point to more toward ISIS than Al Qaeda, the nature of the targeting this evening. But certainly, the sophistication of the attack, the coordinated nature, the fact they had up to six explosive devices, suicide vests, all that points to an established terrorism outfit.
You're not really looking at this point at a lone wolf style plot. We've never seen a lone wolf style like this. You're looking more an established terrorist group.
LEMON: All right. Do you concur it, Buck Sexton?
SEXTON: Yes. I think it's most likely the Islamic state at this point. I think that's -- that's the best estimate you can have. And I also think as we're looking at this you're going to find that there were networks of individuals who were at least aware of this, if not somehow involved in this.
So, there will be a lot of follow on the days ahead. As was mentioned, they'll pull phones or they'll rob everything they can to get a sense of the electronic signature. But this has been promised by the Islamic state. As I said before they've been saying they are going to do for quite some time. And I think that it's -- to this point we've been largely lucky in the West.
[22:59:58] LEMON: All right. Stand by, everyone. We are going to reset because we're getting very close to the top of the hour. And we want to reset here on CNN with the breaking news.