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Live Coverage of the Terror Attacks in Paris. Aired 11-12p ET
Aired November 13, 2015 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[23:00:10] DON LEMON, CNN HOST: 11:00 p.m. here on the east coast. 5:00 a.m. in Paris.
Our breaking news tonight, the city of light reeling from a night of brutal coordinated terror attacks. This is CNN TONIGHT. I'm Don Lemon.
At least 153 people are dead after multiple shootings. Several explosions at the Stade de France and a bloody siege at the Bataclan concert hall.
Here's what we know right now. The California band Eagles of Death Metal playing when terrorists storm the hall shooting 112 people and taking hostages. SWAT teams stormed the venue killing four attackers and sending hostages running for their lives.
At the Stade de France, a soccer match between Germany and France is interrupted by explosions including at least one suicide bombing. The sound of explosions caught on this vine video.
(VIDEO CLIP PLAYING)
LEMON: The Paris prosecutor's office says that five suspected attackers have been quote "neutralized," unquote. No official claim of responsibility but ISIS is applauding the attacks online.
Let's discuss now with CNN's correspondent Jim Bittermann. Jim is in Paris where this happened.
Jim, give us the latest.
JIM BITTERMANN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Don, this, in the last hour, the Paris prosecutor's office has told us they could not -- this is what we were talking about an hour ago, they cannot positively say, positively confirm that all of the attackers and all the gunmen have been tracked down and killed. That speaks to the fact that the borders of France have been sealed and neighborhoods have been closed off that police are taking exceptional measures to search and look for weapons and that sort of thing that indicates that they may think there is still somebody out there that was involved in this. They are certainly doing a lot to track down.
Now here at the scene, about 150 yards or 200 yards behind me, the grim business of going through the carnage is taking place, for the police and people from the coroner's office sorting through the bodies. In fact one of the people that came out that escaped alive told as the 30-year-old man said that it was absolutely chaos inside, that the gunmen went from group to group just shooting and just killing them in cold blood and he tried to get out and he did successfully get out. He said it was chaotic as everybody was scrambling to get away from the gunmen. He didn't hear them say anything or shout anything. They scrambled over security barricades. The barricades collapsed. People were falling on top of each other. He said he walked out on bodies and he wasn't sure if he was stepping on dead people or live people or whatever, but he managed to escape without any kind of injury. So, it really must have been a terrifying and very chaotic scene.
LEMON: You are a resident of Paris. You have been in France for quite some time. I want you to tell us what it is like especially in an unprecedented move where the borders of France are closed.
BITTERMANN: This has never happened before. This has absolutely never happened before. And I think that when President Hollande addressed the nation both from the scene and from his presidential palace, he was clearly shaken by this. This went over above and beyond anything that anyone could have imagine here. And this Friday the 13th attack was something that I don't think the French were not prepared for. I think they have been overwhelmed by.
We have emergency meetings that have been going all night long with the interior minister and other people. We have not seen the interior minister which is in a way quite strange. I'm sure we are going to see him sometime early, in the early hours of this morning. But there have been meetings after meetings and there is an emergency defense council meeting at the presidential palace that supposed to start in a couple of hours.
But you know, it's a question of what can they do now? The president announced the securing of the borders, but he said they are going to be stopping and searching things. And the mayor of Paris said they are going to be closing down schools and anything that might have been open tomorrow, Saturday. And I say tomorrow is actually today, Saturday, that might have been open that would attract a crowd. Even said that the grocery stores, I think he probably means the bigger grocery stores will be closed as well. So it's a real grim scene here, Don.
LEMON: Yes. Coming up on 5:05 a.m. on Saturday morning in Paris.
Thank you, Jim Bittermann. Appreciate that.
Let's go to Shane McMillan, an American and eyewitness to one of the shootings.
So Shane, tell us where you were at which of the locations were you last night, I should say, when this happened?
[23:05:06] SHANE MCMILLAN, AMERICAN EYEWITNESS (on the phone): I wasn't actually in any of the locations. I was actually at a friend's house which is right behind -- right behind Bataclan. So we heard what we thought was fireworks and then when it went on for a little too long we realized that it wasn't and it went on for a very long time. About 45 minutes or so from what we could tell. And when the gunfire kind of had slowed down, me and my friend went down on the street and right at that moment they were bringing people out of Bataclan and they were bringing them around the buildings on the block and they were putting them into the courtyards that were kind of jutting off on the streets. And they were using the courtyards and the hallways of the buildings to triage the people coming out of the club.
LEMON: What were the various conditions, Shane, of the people if you could get that close when they were being brought out or coming out?
MCMILLAN: Yes. I mean, it was all around. It was in every direction. We came down the stairs of my friend's apartment into the courtyard and we were surrounded by people who were being just at that moment brought in. And they were pretty severe, pretty severe injuries. I don't want to go into detail but it was -- it was a lot.
LEMON: So it was fatherly severe and gruesome. And I understand you don't want to go into it. Emergency personnel were treating people on the streets, correct?
MCMILLAN: No. I don't think they wanted to do the treatment out on the streets. I kind of got the feeling that they were afraid that there could be other attackers coming and they also didn't want people looking down from the apartments. So they were trying to do it in sort of a somewhat sheltered space. That's why they were taken them --
LEMON: They were outdoors because in the pictures that we are looking at, it looks like they are treating people on the street or trying to load them into the ambulances as they are helping as well.
MCMILLAN: Yes. So they would take them into the courtyards and get them stabilized them and bring them out as the ambulances came down the street because they didn't want to have people like lying all over the sidewalks and the streets. They wanted to be able to keep the ambulance moving. So it was a lot of people and a lot of injuries.
From what I heard from people who were inside there had been at least one or two explosions. And so there was a lot of people who had shrapnel wounds and other people who had gunshot wounds.
LEMON: Paris is a behemoth of a city and that, you know, at 5:00 a.m. now, what is the city like? Are people still out, or is it quiet?
MCMILLAN: It was pretty quiet afterwards. I was out on the street until about 2:00 in the morning. And what happened was I was -- because I was staying on the street where it happened I was inside of the perimeter and the people who were sort of just walking around on the street eventually were just taken and put in a courtyard so they wouldn't be privy to everything going on around just in case there was any sort of flare ups or anything like that. And so, I didn't see a lot of things after a certain point. We were put in there and we were all watching the news and talking as well. And then we were let back out around 1:30 or 2:00. And at that point I walked the block as much as I could. It was just kind of already at that point the people had been taken to the hospital and it was just the remains of the entire situation was being cleaned up.
LEMON: As we are looking live at the streets of Paris, our viewers are looking at live, I don't know if you can see here, but what I'm wondering from you is how are you doing after experiencing something like this even though you were not at the venue but close to it? How are you doing?
MCMILLAN: I'm fine. I mean, it's really not about me, it's more about the people who were in there. I was talking to -- I didn't really feel like -- I'm a photojournalist and I didn't feel like taking photos even I had my camera on me. I only took a few. I mostly just kind of would stop and talk to people who I felt need it. And there were some really shaken up people out there.
LEMON: Absolutely. We agree with you. And everything you just said.
Thank you Shane McMillan. I appreciate you doing an interview with us early in the morning there at 5:00 in the morning at Paris.
Let's move on now. And I want to bring in now Ryu Voelkel on the phone. He heard the explosions at the stadium as he was covering the match between Germany and France.
How are you doing this morning?
RYU VOELKEL, HEARD EXPLOSIONS AT STADIUM (on the phone): A bit sleepy. I was sleeping, yes, when the phone rang. So sorry, I'm awake now.
[23:10:09] LEMON: So where are you now? You are back home? You were able to leave the stadium?
VOELKEL: No, no. I went -- the whole thing started, people were using the hashtag on twitter, #porteouverte, which is open door in French. And people were offering free places to stay for people who kind of got stuck somewhere because the transport was shut down. And especially for me because I was staying at my friend's place where this was happening. And my friend was staying with her cousin and I couldn't get there. So I was stuck. And I saw twitter tweeting these things and, yes, people were just offering me a place to stay. And I ended up at a couple's place about ten minutes walk from the stadium because I was told from a lot of people that it was quite dangerous. The people -- the people who were doing all the shooting were still at large in Paris. And the stadium is in the suburbs and I wanted to stay there.
LEMON: As we understand with you, people have been -- a lot of people are in the same predicament that you are and there are Parisians people are offering for people to come into their homes and to their flats for safety and also because they need a place to sleep.
VOELKEL: Yes, yes. And I've been very, very lucky that I -- this couple was, you know, letting me sleep here. It was a bit of a long night. And I was having to sleep.
LEMON: So let's listen to this, this is video of the explosion and then we'll talk. Here it is.
(VIDEO CLIP PLAYING)
LEMON: OK, so we can hear the explosion. But we can't see where it is. So where was the explosion? And how many explosions did you hear?
VOELKEL: I was inside the stadium. And I was shooting -- and I heard it twice. And it was one of those sounds that was a bit strange to be fireworks at a European match if you have a lot of fireworks. And I just didn't really think it was a firework, a normal firework sound and it was outside. I could hear it was outside. I didn't really take much notice of it at that point. And then second half, I was on the other side of the stadium and I heard it a bit more faun faintly the sound. And also I didn't take note that much because I was working, shooting. And I got a crazy text message from my wife saying are you all right? There was an attack in Paris. And I couldn't text her back because when you are in the stadium, so many people using the phones at the same time, the signals get jammed. So I think she got really worried because I wasn't texting her back. And I got this, you know, eight more text messages, stay safe, don't do anything, just don't get out. I heard there was a bomb at the stadium. So I couldn't really understand what is going on. So I spoke to her just right after the match. So I think she was probably on pins and needles until she got a call from me later on.
LEMON: Thank you, Ryu, appreciate it.
VOELKEL: You're welcome.
LEMON: Thank you. Ryu was in the stadium when the explosions happened and he is having just stay stranger's home tonight who allowed him into their home.
You know, cities around the world paying tribute to the victims of the Paris terror attacks lighting up their landmarks in French national colors. You are looking now at one world trade center. This is right here in New York City. And then there is the CN tower in Toronto, city hall in San Francisco tonight and the high roller observation wheel in Las Vegas as well, all paying tribute to the victims in this Paris attacks.
So joining me is representative Peter King, chairman of the subcommittee on counterterrorism and intelligence of homeland security committee.
Good evening to you, Representative King. You know, I asked John Miller of the NYPD and our terrorism experts here on CNN if this is a wakeup call for us here in America, what do you make of that?
REP. PETER KING (R-NY), CHAIRMAN, SUBCOMMITTEE ON COUNTERTERRORISM AND INTELLIGENCE OF HOMELAND SECURITY COMMITTEE (on the phone): I sure and hop it is. It certainly should be because I just think that too many Americans, too many people in politics, too many people and the media, I think they somehow put 9/11 in the recesses of their mind. I think that it is ancient history. The world is as dangerous today as it was on September 12, 2001 and this was proven tonight in Paris. And I just think that Americans should look at this and realize it could have been us.
In fact, you just go back several months ago, Don, on the fourth of July when there was evidence of a possible terrorist attack. And fortunately five ISIS operatives were arrested in the New York City area and we were not attacked. But if they were not stopped it could have led what sort of an attack similar to what we saw in Paris tonight. We can never let our guard down. This is an enemy that is diabolical.
This morning when the president was on television saying that ISIS is contained, I don't know where he got that from or why he was saying that. I'm not sure (INAUDIBLE). I'm just saying that is an indication of the country not taking this threat seriously enough or realizing how ongoing it is.
[23:15:54] LEMON: So how vulnerable, then, are Americans in your estimation, particularly in the wake of such a big attack or I should I say attacks. How vulnerable are we here?
KING: Not as vulnerable as the French. The French have excellent intelligence. They have excellent security teams but you have the open borders of Europe. And you have so many, you have thousands of Europeans, many hundreds of French going down to Syria to fight with ISIS to become trained as terrorists and work their way back up through turkey and they're in France. And this was the fear all along of these foreign fighters returning home and carrying out an attack. So that well could have been the ones involved in the attack tonight.
France has that issue with the open borders and the European Union and proximity to Syria and Turkey and foreign side is going back and forth. But in the U.S. we have to be very concerned. We have to - we can never let our guard down. Again, just over the fourth of July, a few of those ISIS operatives had gotten through we could have had a massive attack.
We also have the self-starters here in the U.S., those who have been radicalized over the Internet. That is, again, a threat we have to be concerned about and take very, very seriously. You know, the copy cats and also the organized -- those who are actually trained by ISIS or by Al-Qaeda.
So no, this is a very real threat. We have had I think 50, 60 Al- Qaeda or ISIS operatives arrested in the U.S., you know, just this year. A few of get through and we could have a disaster.
LEMON: As a chairman of the subcommittee on counterterrorism and intelligence, was there an indication of a possible attack or of this attack prior indication?
KING: Don, there was none as far as I know that was seen at the time. Now, you are going to see over the next several days, it has begun already, a reexamination of all the intelligence we had, any conversations, anything at all to see if a signal was missed. And it well could have been. That's unfortunately, that's one of the realities of intelligence. It's something that later on stands out, does not look that important at the time. So all of that is being analyzed. All the intelligence that we have, that every countries have, our allies have, we will be going through that in retrospect to see what we missed and also what that could mean for attacks in the future.
LEMON: Can I - and let me ask you this one. This is the quote from the person who was in there. They shot into the center of the crowd while yelling Allah Akbar. What is that tell you?
KING: Well, that is certainly a leading indicator that these were Islamic terrorists that carried it out. If I had to bet, I would say it is probably ISIS as supposed to Al-Qaeda. I mean, so much (INAUDIBLE) diabolical group. But I think right now, ISIS is on the upswing. They are one who are most on the offensive. And they are the ones who have had the foreign fighters down in Syria and going back into France. So clearly, I mean, unless the world was turned upside down this was clearly an Islamic attack and within the Islamist movement, I would say it is probably ISIS.
LEMON: Representative Peter King, chairman of the subcommittee on counterterrorism and intelligence homeland security committee, we appreciate your time, sir. Thank you.
KING: Very good, thank you.
LEMON: I want to bring in now CNN justice reporter Evan Perez.
Evan, what are you hearing tonight?
EVAN PEREZ, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Don, you know, one of the things that Congressman King just talked about is exactly what is on the mind of U.S. counterterrorism and intelligence officials we have been talking to tonight. I mean, they are looking at the fact that this appears to be a very well-coordinated attack, simultaneous. We are talking about all these attackers who carried this out at the same time. And that really takes a lot of planning, it takes a lot of support. And so, that's what is on your mind now. And they are looking at the intelligence that the U.S. already has. As you know, they do a lot of collection of communication overseas especially.
And one of the things they have been keeping an eye on is, you know, some of these people in France especially who have gone overseas to Syria and Iraq and have returned from that fight and are now in France, the French have said that they have a hard time keeping track of perhaps over a thousand people. The U.S. says, you know, they have about 250 people in there. Sometimes have a hard time keeping track of those people. Imagine what it is like for the French to try to keep track of over a thousand, Don. And so, that's what is going on now.
We know that they are going back through all the intercepts, all of the communications that the U.S. already has. They are sometimes in these attacks, they go back and they find that there were messages being sent that perhaps didn't get the attention at the time they were sent. But now make more sense given what has gone on in Paris. This is something that is going to be much clearer to us in the next
48 hours, we expect, Don. And we know that the FBI and DHS, for instance, have their command centers up. They have been getting, monitoring the intelligence that is coming in from overseas. We expect that picture is going to become much more clear in the next couple days.
[23:21:06] LEMON: All right, CNN's Evan Perez. Evan, thank you very much.
The world reacting with horror to the Paris attacks. Joining me now is CNN global affairs correspondent Elise Labott.
Elise, appreciate you joining us this evening. You know, President Barack Obama and President Hollande had just spoke tonight. What do we know?
ELISE LABOTT, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, this is actually, Don, the second time that the two leaders spoke. You know, when President Obama spoke earlier this evening, he said that he had just spoke with President Hollande about the upcoming G-20 meeting in Turkey where the two would be meeting to talk about combatting extremism and terrorist groups like ISIS. Again, President Obama speaking with President Hollande tonight saying he wanted to offer American people's condolences for the attacks in Paris.
The president reiterated in the statement the U.S. steadfast unwavering support for the people of France, the U.S.' closest ally -- oldest ally and friend. And affirm the offer of any necessary support to the French investigation. And the two leaders pledging together with nations around the world to defeat the scourge of terrorism. And clearly, Don, this attack yet again, once again on the people of France, but really this president of the U.S. and so many leaders around the world expressing solidarity really feeling that this is an attack on all human kind.
LEMON: We have been speaking, Elise, to some Americans who are over there this evening. So what of a U.S. citizens in Paris and elsewhere overseas, what about their safety?
LABOTT: Well, Don, you know, thousands of Americans living in Paris, working in Paris and just visiting there. Tonight, the state department's hot line is really being flooded with calls. State department offering a hot line for Americans, for family and friends of Americans worried about someone. If an American is worried about someone in Paris, they're being asked to call 1-800, and we are going to put those numbers on the screen, 1-888-407-4747. Those are for the families of Americans in Paris that are worried. They have not heard from them. They have not checked in, worried about their welfare. And Americans needing assistance if you are overseas and need assistance call 001-202-501-4444. U.S. consular officials at the ready, on standby, to offer assistance to Americans, Don. Also combing through lists of people entering hospitals and unfortunately morgues trying to make sure that all Americans are accounted for, Don.
LABOTT: Elise Labott with some vital information for us this evening. Thank you, Elise.
Joining me now CNN contributor Michael Weiss, CNN terrorism analyst Paul Cruickshank, Buck Sexton, ex-CIA agent, Mia Bloom, author of "Bombshell, women and terrorism," Mike Rogers, CNN national security commentator and lieutenant colonel Rick Francona, former U.S. military attache in Syria. And again, I said Buck Sexton, right, ex-CIA.
My question for all of you is how could an attack this big and this complex? With this many moving parts come off really without a warning or enough warning to stop it? That goes first to you, Buck.
BUCK SEXTON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think we will see in retrospect that there were warning signs. There were certainly things that were missed that hasn't pointed out. The French do have very capable intelligence services, very capable security services. And actually, they have some authorities that we in this country might think who are if you are civil libertarian, you might think, wow, they actually have a tremendous amount of ability to do surveillance and sort of things that would be necessary to protect from this kind of attack.
But look, it's an open society. And they have a large population, large Muslim population that terrorists are allowed to infiltrate or can infiltrate I should say are able to hide among and then engage in this kind of attack. I think we will find that these are probably people who they have spent a lot of time in France. We will probably find out that if they were not born there, they at least spent many years on the ground to kind of get the logistics, the material, the weapons, the explosives that they have would require some familiarity with being there. So I don't think, as you are seeing a lot of these now, already, though the quick takes people out there. This isn't in any way tied to the flow of immigrants. I don't think you will find this is the case. We will have to see it on the days ahead. But it is impossible to be right all the time. This is a constant issue with terrorist, is that we have to be right 100 percent of the time. Security service have to right, a 100 percent of the time. And that is just asking too much especially when you have a massive in massive incubator for these kind of attacks with the Islamic state which is actually growing in sophistication and strength every time it is not being (INAUDIBLE). It is not anywhere near being destroyed.
[23:25:38] LEMON: Michael?
MICHAEL WEISS, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I agree. I also think, look, as many guests have said this evening, this speaks to the level of sophistication. This wasn't teenagers who got lucky. It looks like they had some proper military training. It looks like the logistics and coordination between and amongst them. I mean, we are hearing now about six terrorist known, most of them has been killed. There is probably at least a dozen or more.
LEMON: Let me ask you this because John Miller of NYPD said, I think it is another word, you know, if I'm wrong, I apologized. But I think what he said it's not sophisticated but it is coordinated that these types of attacks are scaled down so that they could carry out more of them. Is that correct to you? WEISS: It was a combination of a shooting attack and a bomb that went
off and went off successfully. I mean, perhaps not killing as many as they intended. Only few of the fatalities occurred at the soccer stadium. But, still, you know, and the fact that it all happened within the space of a half hour suggests to me that this has been long planned and there is some kind a central command. That is not to say it's not coming out of ISIS HQ in Raqqa. I mean, one of the things to keep in mind is, you know, the caliphate has expanded in a way that I think many have not foresees. If not necessary taking up more terrain in Syria and Iraq, but it is getting these affiliates and getting these sleepers essentially to declare allegiance and to conduct their own operations and then to give credit globally to the Al-Qaeda brand.
LEMON: How could something like this come - be pulled off without warning? Because I mean, these are coordinated, multiple crime scenes and different types of - in different locations.
PAUL CRUICKSHANK, CNN TERRORISM ANALYST: I think the short answer is the French are overwhelmed by the numbers that they're having to monitor. They opened surveillance files into more than 5,000 Islamic extremists throughout the country. They don't have the resources to monitor, only just a few of those 24/7. There have been more than a thousand French nationals traveling to Syria and Iraq. Hundreds and hundreds have returned. They are aware of 250 that have come back. And that's just the number that they are aware of.
I think all of this tonight makes me think of a terrorist plot as well that was thwarted in Belgium in January. Three gunmen in eastern Belgium. The Belgium commandos went in. They had a huge arsenal of weapons, Kalashnikovs, they had explosives, they have police uniforms suggesting they want to target (INAUDIBLE), U.S. and Belgium intelligence officials telling me that plot they believe was directed by the top leadership of ISIS in Syria. This is a group increasingly into the international terrorism business. I think the events of the just past few weeks have really illustrated this, the attack in anchor attacking, more than 100 killed, ISIS suicide bombers. That attack just yesterday in Beirut yesterday, 40 or 50 killed. The ISIS suicide bombers, they claim for taking down that Russian Metrojet and so on and so on. And so, this is the group pivoting now towards international terrorism.
LEMON: Mike Rogers, I want to ask you this. When you hear of people stuck in a concert hall for hours with gunman going through, just really gunning them down one by one, how do people recover from that? What does that do to a nation, to the nation's psyche?
MIKE ROGERS, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY COMMENTATOR: Well, it is a whole host of things. First of all they will have to evaluate how their raid team. And the French have a very good counterterrorism raid team. There are, you know, our FBI has something called the HRT team which is always responsive to events just like this in the United States. Well, the French have something equivalent. It is very, very good. And do they will do that evaluation.
The psychology piece of this is going to take a toll for some time, especially the people who are in theater. They are going to need some extra help. They are going to need some extra attention. I'm sure the French government, at least I hope, will make sure that they get lots of help and counseling. You will see that throughout Parisian metropolitan area for schools and kids who were exposed to what this is.
And the sad part about this, Don, is this is exactly what the terrorists want. They want to have that shudder, that chaos, that terror, that is your feeling like can I sit down in this cafe and have a cup of coffee on the street. And when you start asking yourself that question, they're winning the fight. And that's what they are going to have to deal with in the days and weeks and months ahead.
[23:30:07] LEMON: Mia Bloom, the fact that they are not wearing masks inside of theater. That means they are not afraid of being recognized or identified.
MIA BLOOM, AUTHOR, BOMBSHELL, WOMEN AND TERRORISM: Well, we had a similar -- a comparable example in Mumbai where not all of the terrorist operatives were wearing masks. And in fact they were walking freely. So we do have different kinds of comparisons. I would say that the (INAUDIBLE) attack by the Chechens is very similar attacking at a theater. But that siege lasted for more than three days. And in fact it was a very different dynamic that went on. And depends on to the killing as many people of the terrorist did.
So I think the way in which the French went in was much better. They were quick, they were fast. They probably saved a lot of lives because from what people have come out and said, the terrorists were just mowing people down. They would have killed as many people as they could.
So we do have at least the ability to say that the French were very prepared. However, they were still taken by surprise. And I think that we have to understand that the way in which terrorist networks operate, they operate secretly. And while I think some other write that there is a huge bystander effect, we are not going to know any of that for several days. And so, right now we are kind of just guessing.
LEMON: Lieutenant colonel Rick Francona, does it seem like they were targeting a particular kind of place or kind of person. I mean, these are all places that would attract a younger group of people.
RICK FRANCONA, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Yes. That is a very interesting selection of target venues. They don't really seem to have a whole lot in common. And they don't really go after a national symbols, something that, you know, like the Eiffel Tower. Something you would expect would be attacked. So you know, it is puzzling as to why they chose those seven different locations.
But I think they were just trying to strike at France. And I think we are seeing ISIS looking at who they need to go after outside of Iraq and Syria. They went after the Russians because the Russians have just started their campaign in Syria. France recently announced that they are going to start bombing in Syria. Prior to that they were only operating in Iraq. So they have a real desire to go after the French. Hezbollah, the target of the attack yesterday in Beirut, increased Hezbollah activity in Syria.
So they pick these targets for a reason. But specifically, these targets in France, you could make a case for the stadium because it's a large venue. But they went for soft targets. And I think what we are looking at in this operation is fairly sophisticated planning with a very simple execution. These people did a lot of research on how to do this. Somebody had to move those weapons. Somebody had to move those people. Somebody had to train the people. But the actual execution of it was walk into a theater and shoot as many people as you can or walk into an area and blow up a suicide vest. So this show a lot of sophistication in the planning side and a lot of sophistication in how this all operated.
LEMON: All right. Everyone stand by. The deadly coordinated attacks in Paris. That is our news tonight. We'll be right back after this break.
[23:37:02] LEMON: Back now with our breaking news on the coordinated attacks in Paris this evening. CNN national correspondent Jason Carroll is live in Times Square where security is being tightened tonight in the wake of the attacks in Paris. Had been speaking to NYPD, Jason. You are in the heart of New York City in Times Square. Tell us what is it like?
JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, we have seen a heightened state of alert out here. And evidence of that and these are some of the officers that we've seen, heavily armed officers right in the middle here of Times Square, Don. I know that you spoke to John Miller a little earlier about the NYPD activating several of its counterterrorism units, units with names like the Hercules team, the counterterrorism response command, and critical response group. These are officers who are highly trained, in some case highly armed as you can see here. They are very agile.
They will be deployed to several cases throughout the city including sensitive French sites like the France consulate. Also, right here in Times Square where we are, places whenever people will gather, pen station mass garden.
Also, we are told, Don, expect an extra presence throughout the weekend at New York City nightclubs and theaters and museums. This is a precautionary show of force, more than anything. No specific threat to New York City. John Miller, the deputy commissioner of counterterrorism spoke just within the past hour about the assessment that took place after the attack and where exactly the extra security was need in New York City.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN MILLER, DEPUTY COMMISSIONER, INTELLIGENCE AND COUNTERTERRORISM, NYPD: Look at the types of targets. These are public venues, these are bars and restaurants and so on. So we added people to Times Square. Hercules teams, heavily armed people. Strategic response group, SRG, with long weapons out on the street where people can see them. Places like Penn Station, Grand Central, Times Square, the Barclay's center, Madison Square garden.
We increase that presence with two distinctive purposes. One, to reassure the public if they were worried that the police are out there and ready to respond. And, two, to make it apparent to anyone who is thinking about anything that the police were out there and equipped to respond. And I think we did both tonight.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARROLL: And, Don, I also want to point out that New York City has one of the most sophisticated counterterrorism units in the world. They have police all over the world including in Paris. New York City will be reaching out to its French counterparts within the coming hours. Within the coming days.
We should also tell you that New York City's mayor spoke out as well, saying that New Yorkers' hearts go out to the people of France and that New Yorkers stand in solidarity with the people of France -- Don.
LEMON: Let me ask you because you have been about town tonight, not only in Times Square. And as we look there, I don't know, you will have to tell us, it doesn't look as if as many people are out in Times Square. I mean, it is, you know, 11:30 on a Friday night. The weather is good and around the city, are you seeing more people or less people out and more security or less in other places I should say, more security?
[23:40:08] CARROLL: Well, you know, Don, it's a good question. And in terms of security, yes, we have seen increased security. I took the subway on the way over here just to get my feel for how about that was. I saw a number of officers there.
In terms of traffic here, I mean, in some ways it does look like the type of night you would see out here in Times Square, a number of the tourists that you see out here. Lighter numbers. I mean, I guess it's hard to tell. But in terms of the number of officers, this is something that is unusual. This is not something that you would see on a typical night in New York City in Times Square. You would not see these types of heavily armed officers here. In terms of the number of people, you know. It's really tough to game.
LEMON: Yes. Jason Carroll, Times Square for us. Jason, be safe. We will talk to you soon. Thank you very much.
Newspapers in France reacting to the terror attacks. Among them, Liberations headline reads Carnage in Paris. The keep just says one word which describes it, horror. (INAUDIBLE) Another headline is war in the center of Paris. And (INAUDIBLE) says this time, its war.
Tonight 's terror attacks happened in multiple locations in and around Paris. And CNN's Tom Foreman has more on that.
So Tom, take us there. Show us where these attacks happened.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, something interesting about this, Don. And we have been talking only about the idea that these were softer targets. These terrorists did not go after the heaviest tourist areas of France like the equivalent of the Times Square.
For example, this is Notre Dame down here in (INAUDIBLE). This is one of the closer things that you would know as a tourist to the attacks side. And yet you have to go a bit north here before you get to where these one of the big attacks here near the "Charlie Hebdo" offices. Is he going to leave it out a little bit further? There is "Charlie Hebdo" over there. And then up here is the theater that we've been talking about all evening long.
The Theater had an American rock band performing there from California. About a thousand people in the crowd. You see this picture was tweeted out by one of the band members, right before the concert at some point here.
But still, this would be something that would tend to draw more of a local student crowd, a younger crowd, not so much foreigners were visiting or tourists. You can see from the screen here what it looks like just to give you a sense of the neighborhood there. Very densely populated part of Paris, by the way, this the 11th arrondissement or district.
The other big attack in this area was at this Cambodian restaurant which is, again, not terribly far away. You could walk the distance. You could easily drive it in a short period of time. This also very popular. It shows up in some tourist books, but it's not in the heat of the tourist trade. So it would be more locals visiting here. This is where a lot of people were injured and killed in this area.
And then when you talk about a big target where you have a lot of people from elsewhere. That's when you move to the stadium, which is up north there, 80,000 people can be seated in this stadium. And clearly, there was a design here to strike at a lot of people. Because this is where we had two bombs go off and the one that authorities now say was a suicide bomber.
But clearly something about this part of the attack does not seem to have play out in the way the terrorists wanted it to. And that the number of people hurt or killed up here was really small compared to elsewhere. Still, terrible and awful.
But sorting all that out, Don. That's where that job is right now. It is figuring out why did they pick those targets? Why did they not try to go to something like the Eiffel Tower? Why did they go a little bit further out? How did they recruit the people and how did they coordinate it all to happen on this day -- Don.
LEMON: Hey, Tom Foreman, can you help us out? I want you to help us out our next panel. So if you can stand by. And can you go back to the Cambodian restaurant that you had up because I want the panel to talk about it. Can you go back to that?
FOREMAN: Sure. We'll go back to the restaurant down here. As you can see, it's in a densely populated area right there on the corner, yes.
LEMON: OK. So standby. Hold that up for us. If you can zoom in on that for us it would be great while I bring in, on street level if you can, I want to bring in Michael Weiss, Paul Cruickshank, Buck Sexton, Mia Bloom, Mike Rogers, Lieutenant Rick Francona and, of course, Tom Foreman is in Washington to help us out.
So, as you look at the restaurant and where this happened, Paul, take us inside the restaurant and these locations. So, Tom, point out the restaurant to us.
FOREMAN: The restaurant we're talking about. This is a Cambodian restaurant right over here. But there also seems to be some portion of the attack involving this one across the street as well.
LEMON: How they pick these particular targets?
CRUICKSHANK: Well, pretty indiscriminate that the violence, and in fact the first reports that came in earlier this afternoon related to that Cambodian restaurant, reports that there were Kalashnikovs involved, gunmen were spraying the restaurant. Not clear at this point this was a terrorist attack.
LEMON: What I am saying is that it looks fairly. It's open to the street. These are venues that are appear to be open. You got the restaurant which is open to the street. You got the stadium which Tom will put up later which of course is an open place. And you have got the concert venue as well, of course, open to the street.
[23:45:16] CRUICKSHANK: These are all soft targets. You don't have to you go through security. There are no cordons around them. And there is almost some sort of infinite number of these kind of targets in the city like Paris. And they realize that they got to these targets, they would have no problem attacking them. Nothing could go wrong. There wouldn't be somewhat police stationed outside. A bit more security around the stadium, obviously, but they didn't get into the stadium. They exploded their suicide vests (INAUDIBLE) outside the stadium.
LEMON: Stand by. I have new information just coming into CNN. And this is according to ITV, seven out of the eight gunmen or suicide bombers died while exploding their bombs. And CNN confirmed that now seven out of eight of the suicide gunmen died while exploding its bombs in those soft targets. And the reason I had Tom do that to show, and particularly that restaurants is because if you go into a place like the Eiffel Tower, something you - one must go through security through that. But go ahead.
CRUICKSHANK: And if you have a suicide vest, it is always a much more difficult to go into a more protected target. So they were deliberately going after soft targets. It appears that some of those suicide bombers died outside the stadium. It appears that some detonated their devices from the early reporting inside theater as the commandos went in. They will be looking at whether they managed to find these explosives. This goes beyond just getting some guns on the black market. These perpetrators managed to get ahold of explosives. They managed to put together explosive vests. That suggest a high level of terrorist crafts. That points more towards an established terrorist group. Go ahead, Buck.
SEXTON: And symbolism in the attack on the Stade de France when you have France playing Germany. I mean, this is the national sport of France. This is a place where you have a tremendous amount of people much as gathered. And obviously, we saw people actually watching on television as the explosions went off.
So while these are soft targets if you looks at the restaurant and some the other places that were picked where they didn't have security, it looks like they did surveillance. Stade de France was sending a very clear message. To explode suicide bombers outside that is to strike at the heart of France. The entire country is watching that soccer match right there at that time. The entire country in a sense heard those explosions as they went off. And must have thought themselves what was all of that. As soon as the news begun to break, you can imagine the riffle effect. So they actually have to harness the media as well by attacking Stade de France. They are going after all these soft targets across the rest of the city.
WEISS: And you have an American rock band playing at a mid-sized venue in a cosmopolitan area of France knowing, I'm sure the terrors does know (ph) that a lot of ex-patriots would be attending that concert. So they got of everything on this one.
LEMON: Mike Rogers, what do you make of seven out of the eight bombers died, suicide bombers died while exploding their bombs?
ROGERS: Yes. And again, my whole concern here is, and you know the French authorities are doing this, and I think that led into the closing of the borders. You have a bomb maker out there. And getting these folks to martyr themselves and we will likely see their martyr videos released in the next few days is a process. This doesn't just happen. You don't just show up one day and say, hey, I'm ready to go. Let's strap it up and go and have the event.
This is a process. It's a psychological process. It is a radicalization process. That takes lots of infrastructure to do that. And then you have to build and assemble the bomb. Even if they were able to get pieces and components prebuilt into France, they have a serious problem. That meant somewhere in that town and likely there or could be Belgium, could be other places where they have freedom of movement, those vests were built. And if you saw the kind of equipment that they had in the Belgium raid not that long ago, you will know that they have the capability to assemble that kind of thing but it had a logistical picture surrounding that event, imagine what it took in this event. That's what I'm thinking in this particular event.
You know, the other three, they were talking about three in theater that didn't blow up their belts. I think that was a different system. I think that was a system if they got rushed and or the police were able to get in there. So I don't know if those were intended to be detonated prior to, you know, them feeling like they were going to go down. I think there are two different scenarios here if I can parts these details a little bit. LEMON: OK. So, quick, go ahead you want to talk more about it?
ROGERS: You mean on the -- again, I just -- I do believe that we're going to have to separate each one. Clearly, the people engaged in the shooting of the restaurants were of different mission and I'm not sure they thought they were going to get killed and may not have. I'm not sure that those folks have been taken into custody. So you had suicide bombers and you have people who believed they were going to do the shootings and the kill and escape. Think of that logistical trail. That means that there are safe houses. People are trying to move them which is probably why ISIS hasn't taken credit for it yet. They want to make sure that those folks are either bedded down somewhere or safely out of the country.
[23:50:18] LEMON: Is that a hallmark of any particular group, Al- Qaeda or ISIS? Like you know, one is more prone to having suicide bombers than the other?
CRUICKSHANK: They both use suicide bombers. I think the one big concern now is there is going to be a major ISIS propaganda video that is going to come out if they were indeed responsible. And just recently they instructed all their recruits, all their operatives to film everything. They said it's no point launching these kind of attacks if you don't film them. They instructed everybody to film with go pro cameras and maybe some of the cell have been instructed to download it to the Internet. Get it back to the group in Syria and Iraq. And if this is ISIS, I think there is going to be a major video production.
LEMON: The latest news we have on the breaking news, seven of the eight bombers blew themselves up. Seven of the eight suicide bombers blew themselves up. We're back with our panel. Mia and Rick Francona will be back with you right after this break. More on our breaking news.
[23:54: 26] LEMON: France, under a state of emergency tonight. As a result, that U2 has postponed its Saturday night concert. Originally scheduled to air live on HBO. The band just put out this statement saying, we watched in disbelief and shock at the unfolding events in Paris. And our hearts go out to all the victims and their families across the city tonight. We are devastated at the loss of life at the eagles of death metal concert. And out thought and prayers are with the band and their fans. And we hope and pray that all of our fans in Paris are safe.
Back with me now Michael Weiss, Paul Cruickshank, Buck Sexton, Mia Bloom Lieutenant colonel Rick Francona.
Lieutenant colonel Francona, earlier Christiane Amanpour brought up how the refugees pouring into Europe from Syria complicate the matter of country is trying to figure out who crossed into their borders. How do you see that?
FRANCONA: Well, I don't think it really is Jermaine to what we are talking about today. But I think it will in the future. These countries are overwhelmed especially if you look at what is happening in Germany, 800,000 refugees. And France, to some extent, I think they have taken 20,000 refugees. I think it is going to upset the character of many of these countries for a long time to come. Whether that translates into increased terrorism, I don't know. But it certainly creates a base of people from whom you can recruit.
LEMON: Mia, you know, just two weeks ago, ISIS was able to blow up a jet with a bomb. Now, large scale attack like this one, culprit not yet known. Do we need to re-asses what the threat level is right now worldwide?
BLOOM: I think the individual countries in Europe are very clear on what the threat level is. I don't think the United States is at the same threat level. And I think also that the suicide bombing attacks that we have seen today play out a very consistent with suicide bombing attacks whether it's exploding at the entrance of an location because you don't think you get in or whether it is exploding right before you are about to get caught or killed by the security forces. We have seen this. I documented this in my first book, "Dying to Kill." And so this is very consistent with suicide bombing. It's not necessarily attached to a particular group, but it's certainly is consistent with the ways that bombers are trained, both Muslim and non-Muslim groups.
LEMON: Let's talk about other indications that this may have something to do with ISIS. As I know, Michael, you have been doing some reporting yourself as well on people who go in and out of the country and return and go to Syria and so forth.
WEISS: Yes. I was in Turkey at the end of last month actually interviewing an ISIS defector. He wasn't just any defector. He was part of (INAUDIBLE) which is their state security apparatus which is responsible for training among others, foreign operatives. And he told me that there were quite a lot of French nationals coming into Raqqa joining ISIS. And he trained a few of them. And I said where do they go? He said some of them are back in France.
So there is absolutely this cross penetration. I mean, I think the statistic that the French government has got now is something like 250 returnees and that is out of a collective number of about 1900 French nationals that are in some state of flux with respect to either having joined ISIS, been killed in Syria or Iraq or trying to make their way back across the border. So this again, leads me to believe this is more ISIS than Al-Qaeda.
SEXTON: Absolutely. I think that if you look at the sophistication of the attack, especially when you start talking about multiple suicide vests going off within a close period of each other, I think you can assume that there was a relatively high level of training than to some of these. That they were able to pull all these together, pull it together in France. And by the way, the numbers we are talking about, of course, the numbers of the French government is guessing at, really. They actually don't know how many. If they say it's 250 you can assume it's probably considerably higher than that.
LEMON: Let's talk about the target. You guys said that these were soft targets. But actually, if you go into the stadium, you - one would have to go through security. If they were trying to put the maximum amount of people, then what of the stadium?
SEXTON: This is why the stadium was the symbolic target, I think. And as we have been discussing at the table, the stadium was the center piece of all the rest of these attacks that we have seen. You have France playing Germany over a huge portion of the population, and by the way, Germany watching this match in real time as it happens. You can imagine what the feeling is among people who have friends, family members who were inside of this stadium. You heard the explosions on live TV. This was designed for maximum psychological impact in the moment. And because of the stadium, you have that. Outside the stadium there is security. There are officers there who are armed. There are going to be people who are able to deal with some sort of terrorist attack. But if you are talking about a suicide bomber, it doesn't matter how alarmed they are, how well trained they are, merely getting there is all you need to bring off the attack.
LEMON: Go ahead, Paul.
CRUICKSHANK: And at the stadium, the head of the French republic, Francois Hollande, the president of France, having to evacuate, that is obviously again a huge symbolic significance if it indeed was ISIS. Hollande has taken the war to ISIS aggressively in Syria and Iraq. There is a French aircraft carrier on the way over there. This may well be the ISIS response.
LEMON: The -- what one must say is what happens now? How does everyone else respond? Not only the people in Paris, not only the people in France but worldwide and especially here in the United States? That's what everyone is going to be looking at. How can such a place where -- how can this happen in such a coordinated way and people not know?
SEXTON: I think there will be quite a response from the French. They have done airstrikes in Syria. They are going to go - they are going to go with more of that I think. There is a U.S. presence on the ground in Syria. That presence is likely to get larger. I think this is also going to push us in that direction. And unlike the aftermath of the Jordanian pilot situation where they said they were going to unleash their fury, then all of the sudden we realized the French can actually do it. I think they will.
LEMON: Thank you, everyone. I appreciate our live coverage of the terror attacks in Paris continues right now with John Vause and Aisha Sesay. END