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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
Live Coverage of the Aftermath of the Paris Terror Attacks; One Terrorist Entered Europe As Refugee; Three Terrorists Identified As French Citizens. Aired 2-3p ET
Aired November 15, 2015 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[14:00:00] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Both the vehicles that has found I just mentioned in Paris suburb and the vehicle found outside the concert venue. One of the vehicles was found in that Paris neighborhood, three AK-47 assault weapons were inside that vehicle. Again, whoever drove that vehicle unknown at this time, believed to be still perhaps out there on the loose. The death toll has risen to 132, 352 people were wounded. Nearly 100 of them seriously wounded. So it's very possible that death toll sadly could rise.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN HOST: That's absolutely right. And we do know now that at least one of the terrorist who is attacked civilians in Paris entered Europe hidden among the wave of refugees fleeing from Syria. And that is the important news that we broke today because that is in fact a game changer in terms of this sort of organized group according to the French authorities, very clearly and carefully and painstakingly planned, infiltrating refugees, getting the papers they need to come here and act as terrorists and send their fighters here.
So our senior international correspondent Arwa Damon is in Greece where that terrorist landed and then made his way through Europe to here.
Arwa, what can you tell us about what the Greeks are saying about how this guy slipped through their hands?
ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Christiane, we're on Leros, and this is one of the many islands that the refugees do end up at, but not as crowded as some of the other ones. Now, what the Greek authorities are saying is that this individual basically went through the standard procedures here, and that is coming in, showing some sort of identification, bearing in mind, though, that those refugees and migrants when they arrive, there are a lot of them come without identification, so that's not eve an requirement, and then got fingerprinted and was processed into the system. But because there was no prior record of this individual's existence, nothing was flagged at this stage.
And this has been something that, yes, has been of concern for counterterrorism analysts, for a lot of people watching what's been happening, that these people who are affiliated with ISIS or sympathizers would be trying to infiltrate these waves of migrants and refugees coming across. But we've been speaking with a couple of them here tonight. A number of them actually just getting ready to board a ferry that will take them on to the mainland in Athens. You can actually see some of them coming through right now.
Some have heard of what happened in Paris. Some have heard, yes, that one of the attackers it appears was possibly Syrian or at least there was Syrian documentation that was found on the scene. And they are worried because this is a very difficult journey for them. And one father I was speaking to said, look, what choice do I have? I can't live in Turkey anymore because I can't afford rent and no one will rent to me anyways.
Another person (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE). He's going to Sweden with his family. People are actually in a fairly good mood. They haven't quite registered potentially what this is going to mean for them. But as I was saying, one father who I was talking to did say, you know, look, I can't afford to live in Turkey anymore. The Turks won't rent to me. And my house in Syria, Aleppo, has been destroyed. So people are hostile to Syrians everywhere. Those are his words. We feel this growing sense of hostility, so at the very least, let us go to Europe where we think we have a chance.
Of course, the great issue in all of this is if what happened in Paris is allowed to really reflect on the refugee population, if there is a massive backlash toward the refugee population, that is going to create an even bigger divide and that is potentially dangerously going to play into ISIS' hands.
COOPER: Arwa, let me ask you, because I was on the island of Lesbos, which is an island that has seen a huge influx of Syrians and Afghans and others coming over the last several months as you well know. The beach I was on for an hour and a half, probably about 250 to 300 people arrived in the space of about an hour just on this little stretch of beach. At that point it was 4,000 to 5,000 people arriving every single day.
On the island of Leros, where we know this terrorist actually came ashore on European soil for the first time, what sort of checks are there? Because on Lesbos, people come to shore, there's no border control, there is no officials there to meet them, to find out who they are, to search their bags. They do get processed elsewhere on the island, but it is very quick. And if you are believed to be Syrian, and many people claim to be Syrian even who are not, they get expedited even faster. They end up on a ferry as you just said heading towards Athens and then they continue on through the corridor to Europe. So on Leros, are there many checks of who's actually coming ashore?
[14:05:01] DAMON: Well, the actual system that's in place is very similar across all of these islands when it comes to the registration and vetting process. And this is where it is very difficult for the authorities because if an individual does show up without identification, they have to try to question them through people who are experts who have Syrian backgrounds and try to determine whether or not they are genuinely Syrian.
You talked about Lesbos there, Anderson. We were there two, three days ago. The numbers there are enormous. And yes, when they do get to the beaches, it is very chaotic. And people sort of splinter off and try to head to the two camps because by now everyone knows that they need to register.
In terms of getting here, people are coming in much smaller numbers because it's a much more difficult journey. They actually end up going to a small, we are told, military Greek island that's about 45 minutes to an hour off of the Turkish coast, and then they are brought here and that registration process happens.
One father we spoke to that waited for three days and then he was registered. He was finger printed. He happened to have Syrian identification with him. He is traveling with his children. And now he is going to be boarding a ferry to move onto the mainland.
But when we look at the sheer scale of the numbers that are coming through here, especially if it comes to someone who hasn't been through the system anyways, it is very difficult at this stage to pinpoint what a person's intentions may or may not be and whether or not their travel documents are authentic. And that is one of the many reasons why the Greeks have been constantly and consistently asking for more aid and assistance. You can see more and more people trailing through, hoping to catch that ferry to move on tonight.
But one man who I was speaking to was saying, you know, look, people need to understand that those attackers that carried out that violence in Paris, that's the kind of violence that we were running away from. It does not reflect us. It does not reflect our religion. And we really hope that the rest of the world will be able to understand this and be able to get past the pain of what they have lost. And at the very least not reflect that on us, because we're coming to Europe looking for that better life.
COOPER: Arwa reporting from Leros. Thank you, Arwa.
That of course the island where it is now known one of these terrorists actually first landed on European soil for the first time coming across in a boat as so many as hundreds of thousands of others have who are fleeing the war in Syria and other wars and also looking for a better life.
Joining us now to talk about this is right-hand CNN anchor John Berman who joins us.
And that is the concern, certainly on those who are supportive of admitting refugees into European countries, who are legitimately fleeing war, what kind of ramifications is this going to have for the hundreds of thousands of others who have come? And is that actually part of ISIS' intention?
JOHN BERMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You have two clashing political imperatives here. You have the need to fight ISIS both in Iraq and Syria, not to mention here as well. And you have the need to deal with this refugee problem. And the problem now is that they seem to be for some people at odds. And you are seeing this political debate play out in every country in Europe and in the United States as well to the point where Marie La Pen, who runs the national front in Paris, she has local elections coming up next month, she do very, very well because she outright says today's refugee, today's immigrant is tomorrow's terrorist.
AMANPOUR: And of course the French president, who has been meeting with all the political leader, is now meeting with Marie La Pen. Yes, and he has brought them all in to talk about this and her big thing is OK, finish, close the borders. And this is, you know, being an increasing sort of clarion call from a lot of extreme right-wing groups of which she is one of the leaders.
BERMAN: And France is not one of the nations in Europe that has been particularly accommodating to the flood of refugees. It has been Germany. It has been Sweden. They have be coming up through the Balkans. But here, they have only let in not even 10,000 over the last year or so.
COOPER: Compared to Germany's some 800,000, and that numbers continue to grow.
BERMAN: And in the United States where there's been only about 1,000 over the last four years, it's a huge political debate raging right now where Donald Trump says it's a Trojan horse. Letting Syrian refugees coming would be a Trojan horse. You let them in and they would attack the United States from within. The president right now has promised to take in at least 10,000 Syrian refugees over the next year, but that's very controversial.
AMANPOUR: I mean, one of the things that all the intelligence people have been telling us for years and even from ISIS, just the blowback from Syria, just not dealing with the Syrian war and all these people going over the fight, you know, with ISIS and others, the blowback to all our capitals was something they were expecting, particularly since many of them can comeback with their own national passports. They don't actually need to fake it anymore. They don't need the Al-Qaeda 9/11 attackers to try to get visas and to, you know, trick and fake and all the rest of it. They can come here and do this. And this has been everybody's nightmare.
COOPER: You have European officials saying to me. I talked to the mayor of Salzberg several weeks ago, where who is dealing with the refugee crisis in Salzberg in Austria because they have seen a huge influx of people trying to get into Germany. He said he didn't believe it. He wasn't concerned about security. He didn't think that ISIS are needed to send people with the refugees because there's enough homegrown people here who are ready to take up the cause.
[14:10:17] BERMAN: You see both. You may see both at play right now. And of course ISIS knows this. I mean, you talk to U.S. security officials, you are naive wave to think that ISIS doesn't know that it shows discord all over Europe and the United States by staging this kind of attack and this kind of ethic (ph).
AMANPOUR: All right, John.
So taking advantage of the crisis, our panel on terrorism and security experts will weigh in on why the terrorists are going undetected. And we will be back after a break not too long from now.
[14:13:56] COOPER: Welcome to our continuing coverage here in Paris. I'm Anderson Cooper with Christiane Amanpour.
There are so many different aspects of this investigation which are ongoing which we have been trying to cover and we will be covering over the next two hours. But right now, we want to introduce you someone who lost two friends in the Bataclan theater attack. She is also a French attorney representing a family whose teenaged son left the country to join the jihad in Syria, Samia Maktout.
AMANPOUR: Samia Maktout joins us here in Paris. And you know, we have so -- it seems like everybody we talk to knew somebody who was killed there. That's the kind situation that we find ourselves in. You did.
SAMIA MAKTOUT, LOST TWO FRIENDS IN BATACLAN TERROR ATTACK: Yes. Tonight we all have close friends die. I personally have two very close friends die yesterday.
COOPER: What were their names?
MAKTOUT: Patrick and Stefan.
AMANPOUR: How are their families - I mean, can anybody even understand this so soon after "Charlie Hebdo" and just attacking civilians randomly in this city?
[14:15:03] MAKTOUT: You know, I still have on mind what Mohamed Maiya (ph) what these three French soldiers and three Jews girls in (INAUDIBLE). He said we love -- we love death as much as you love life. When we say this, we are scared today and as the president said today, we are in war.
AMANPOUR: In war.
MAKTOUT: Yes. We are in war. And we were attacked and it is very huge war. We are not scared. We are ready to fight. Every single French people are ready to fight, how to fight, to keep stand up and to say no to this terrorism because terrorism can come inside by different way. You know, one of the mother, defending her, her lawyer, she --
AMANPOUR: Tell us who is your client? The mother of?
MAKTOUT: The mother of one of the minors where I used to sue the French government because this boy was only 16 old and he was allowed to go to Syria through Turkey without any single -- the boarder ask him why are you alone? Why don't have luggage? Why do you have one- way ticket?
COOPER: And get all the way to Turkey to get to Syria. MAKTOUT: Since the last 8th of October, finally changed. But before,
any minor can leave France without authorization. And I sued the French government because this mother, who by the way was Christian, and she called me saying, I don't know how to do? I don't know why my son stopped shaking even my hand. And that's why I sue the French government, not to sue the French government or the French police but to make people aware about that.
AMANPOUR: About having to stand up and stop these young people going over.
MAKTOUT: Of course. We cannot leave our children going to Syria like that because they wash their brain. You know, this mother told me I closed all the door. I made very good education to my --
MAKTOUT: -- son. I closed all the door. And the virus, the fundamentalism came through the computer.
AMANPOUR: That is so -- everybody's telling us, even intelligence are telling us that particularly - I mean, really when you hear it from the head of intelligence like in England, Andrew Parker of MI-5, who says publicly that this virus is coming through the computers so fast, faster than the intelligence ability to disrupted and to get in the way and stop it, and that's their biggest fear right now. And as Samia says, you know, the mother sees her son brainwashed, a Christian, and he stopped eating ham, stop holding his mother's hand.
MAKTOUT: The minor was converted suddenly and she didn't even see anything. And she told me, I'm taking care of my son.
COOPER: Is she still there?
MAKTOUT: Of course he's still there.
COOPER: Still in Syria.
AMANPOUR: And he may come back and who knows.
MAKTOUT: Who knows? But, you know, there is nothing to do especially not only because our president said we are going to close the border. It's not enough. It's not enough.
AMANPOUR: And he also said we are in a state of war. And to be honest with you, that is something that we have to explore. What does that mean when our elected leaders say war has been declared on us, we are at war, it obviously begs a response.
Samia Maktout, thank you so much for telling us your story.
COOPER: I'm so sorry for the loss of your friends.
AMANPOUR: My goodness, yes, indeed.
And we will have much more. We will be back right after a break. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
[14:22:44] COOPER: Welcome back to our continuing coverage of the aftermath of the Paris terror attacks. The investigations still ongoing both here in France and in Belgium. An international arrest warrant has been issued for one of three brothers authorities are looking for. Of the three brothers, he's the only one unaccounted for. One of them was one of the suicide bombers killed on Friday night after an attack. Another brother has been apprehended. This brother is still on the loose. That is one focus of the investigation, but there are many arms to this investigation.
AMANPOUR: There are, and really, the people of Paris for sure are really on tend to hooks. On the one hand, they want to come out. They want to show solidarity. The government has told people to stay in because they are not sure who is still at-large and what danger.
And to that end, we saw literally a mass panic an hour and a half ago. This whole square suddenly emptied. And also around one of the restaurants that was hit on Friday night. And that's where we find Clarissa Ward.
Clarissa, tell us again what you saw as you were outside the restaurant just a few hours ago.
CLARISSA WARD, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it was just a couple hours ago, there were a few hundred people here. The mood was very somber, very quiet. People were lighting candles, you know, having a few thoughts, and memorializing the dead.
And then all of a sudden, there was just a complete blind panic, Christiane. I've never seen anything quite like it here in Europe. People just started running for their lives. And you should be seeing now some pictures that our cameramen Scotty McWindy managed to get as he started running towards the source of the panic.
Policemen began to materialize from all over. They were heavily armed. They were shouting at the crowd to get back. We saw women pushing strollers with small babies, shrieking, clutching their children. People crying. No one seemed to know exactly what the source of the panic was. And what was interesting to see as well was just how nervous authorities seemed to be.
We saw plain clothes police men suddenly materialize, one carrying a sawed-off shotgun. They were looking at us and shouting at us, telling us to get back. I was trying to ask them, what's the matter? What's going on? What's the problem here? They weren't really able to give us a clear answer because they themselves didn't know. They were quickly trying to clear the streets, push the crowds into the safety of nearby apartment buildings.
And it was such a juxtaposition from conversations I had earlier with Parisians who said, you know what, on Friday night we cried, on Saturday we stayed at home, but today we came out, today we are defiant, today we show our anger. We will not be cowed. We will not be fearful. And for all that indignant and that defiance, it was so quickly punctured.
In a matter of moments, there weren't even gunshots but the abject terror that we saw on these people's faces, Christiane, was really just shocking and very telling. As much as people here want to move on, want to be defiant, want to embrace the daily rituals of French life, the reality here is that life has changed. And there was a very real sense of that as we saw these people fleeing in absolute panic.
[14:25:58] COOPER: And what's interesting about it, Clarissa, I mean, there is justifiable fear on the one hand not only given what has occurred here Friday night, but also the fact at the very least there are French authorities believe there are others out there who were involved in the planning if not the actual execution of these attacks who are still out there, who are still out on the loose. So it's understandable that people would be, you know, responding in a split second when police start yelling, when any rumors start to spread. There is very justifiable concern and fear.
AMANPOUR: And important to say, though, there were no shots. Police said they're running for no good reason, really, but it is sort of the herd mentality sets in when one panic sort of starts -- Clarissa?
WARD: Yes, absolutely, Christiane. And, you know, just to make the point again that what was really striking, it wasn't just the people, the ordinary people who were panicked. I was looking at policemen. They were pointing a gun in my face and shouting at me to get out of the street. And I was asking them, what's the problem, what's going on? They were just as panicked as the people were. They didn't know where the source of the panic was. They are as you say still very much on the lookout for more gunmen, more possible attackers.
And beyond that, there's just a sense that this is a potentially combustible situation. When you have a lot of people on the streets and there's a sense of shock and fear in the air, you know, dangerous things can happen. And for that reason they said, you know what, I mean, you can see people are starting to congregate again. But police were saying to us before, no, no memorials, no protests, no gatherings. We need you all to go home and stay home until we can figure this situation out.