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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
ISIS Hiding Among Refugees; U.S. Gives France Intel; Authorities Believe Eighth Member of Terror Squad Still At Large; President Obama Addresses G20 Summit in Turkey. Aired 9:30-10a ET
Aired November 16, 2015 - 09:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[09:32:57] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: And welcome back to our continuing coverage of the aftermath of the Paris terror attack. French authorities have said, based on the finding of a Syrian passport, one of the suicide bombers had outside the stadium, who killed themselves outside the stadium, that they believe that terrorist actually arrived on the Greek island of Leros on October 3rd, essentially using the same path that has been used by hundreds of thousands of migrants and refugees who are hoping to get to Germany, hoping to get to Sweden to start new lives. If, in fact, that is the case, it's the first clear example of a terrorist infiltrating refugee -- infiltrating that flood of refugees, which has been coming to countries throughout Europe, and that is raising some real concerns among European leaders about how to deal with the flood of refugees. Germany has taken in hundreds of thousands, as many as 800,000, and may take even as many as a million before the end of this year.
There's also now a major backlash in the United States. Some governors now refusing to let in Syrian refugees. Others calling for tighter security measures. The fear that something like the attacks in Paris could happen on U.S. soil.
Joining me now is former Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis. He was the city's lead police official during the Boston Marathon bombing. We're also joined by co-author of "ISIS: Inside the Army of Terror," Michael Weiss. He's also a CNN contributor and a senior editor for "The Daily Beast."
Michael, let's start with you. When you look at this flood of refugees and migrants who have come, I mean as many as a million in this year alone, no end in sight to it until the war in Syria actually ends. There are potentially millions of others who would like to try to make that journey. How concerned are you about further infiltration if, in fact, this one terrorist was from that group, further infiltration of members of ISIS and others who want to do harm to countries in Europe.
MICHAEL WEISS, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, I mean, it is concerning, Anderson. Although I want to stress, most of the attacks -- I mean we've now reported, CNN has reported, you know, the mastermind or the alleged mastermind of this particular attack is a Belgium national, well educated, in western Europe, right? I mean he -- he grew up among us. He did not come over from Syria. He was not part of this wave of refugees trying to have a better life, infiltrating that -- that sort of human population.
[09:35:20] So this is, I think, the crucial point. You know, ISIS is looking by hook or by crook to live amongst us, to deploy its expeditionary arm of foreign jihadists, operatives that are being trained in Syria, but also being trained in the west. I mean, you know, CNN reported in January during that -- or just after the Belgium raid that busted up an ISIS cell, which now seems to have played a role in this attack, that there's something like, you know, 20 different sleeper cells scattered throughout all of Europe and they consist of about 180 jihadists. Now we're hearing they've rounded up 10,000 people in Europe. My -- my hypothesis, my guess is that most of those people that are being rounded up are born in Europe. They're not coming over with these refugees.
But, yes, look, I mean, obviously, ISIS is looking to exploit any and all weaknesses in western immigration policy, in western political policy. They pay very, very close attention to the debates that are taking place in European capitals and in Washington. And one of the things they're trying to do with this Anderson, and your previous guest addressed it well, they are looking to ramp up Anti-Muslim bigotry in Europe. They -- they would love for nothing -- nothing better than to see Marine Le Pen, the leader of the Front National in France, become president of France, because she has cast this in a civilizational struggle, indeed a religious one, almost redolent of holy war. Viktor Orban, the leader in Hungary, has done exactly that, saying Muslims don't belong here because we're a Christian society. This plays exactly into the hands of ISIS, which has, indeed, made this a global conspiracy against Sunni Muslims. So they're trying to change the way Europe does -- does politics, does its own policymaking.
COOPER: Ed Davis, I mean the U.S. has said they would take 10,000 to 20,000 Syrian refugees over the next two years after thorough background checks. I mean the background checks are not very thorough, as they are right now in Europe. The U.S. says they will have much -- much more thorough ones. Does it concern you the idea of taking in refugees from Syria or, for you, from a law enforcement standpoint, is your greater concern people who grew up in the United States who may be radicalized online?
ED DAVIS, FMR. COMMISSIONER, BOSTON POLICE: Well, Anderson, when you get into a situation like this, you have to be concerned that you don't overreact. This needs a measured, logical response. There was one terrorist identified as someone who may have snuck in with the refugees, but that still means that there are seven people who got in, in different ways. So I think that we have to be concerned about people coming into the country. We have to look at their backgrounds. If we're able to identify that they have been on jihadist websites, if we're able to positively say that they've gone to training and they have evolved war against our country, then they shouldn't be let in. People who go there and get trained shouldn't be allowed back, as far as I'm concerned. But just to paint with a broad brush everybody who's trying to come
into the country, I think that that -- that is dangerous and almost impossible to do. We can't seal our borders off. No country has ever been able to do that completely in history.
COOPER: And, in fact, as Michael points out, that is exactly what ISIS would like the west to do, to actually prevent these large numbers of refugees from coming. Because, if anything, they don't like the fact that so many people are leaving the potential caliphate, leaving a potential place that they want to rule. Ed Davis, appreciate you both being with us. Michael Weiss as well.
We are anticipating comments coming up shortly from France's president, Francois Hollande, and then President Barack Obama.
Also in this hour, top secret intel. France now getting special assistance for its air strikes against ISIS. We'll take a look at what the United States is sharing with their partner, next.
[09:43:34] COOPER: Crafting a unified, international response to the Paris terror attack that now dominates the agenda, the G-20 Summit in Turkey. President Obama is there and he's expected to speak in our next hour. We'll obviously, bring those -- those statements to you live.
Also, France's president, Francois Hollande, we're told is on the way to -- to the parliament and he's going to be addressing a joint house of parliament here in Paris and address the nation, an historic address. It's rare that he addresses both a joint session and an address to the nation.
Part of that response, the U.S. is now sharing sensitive intelligence with France about ISIS targets in Syria. Our global affairs correspondent, Elise Labott, has more now from Washington.
Elise, what have you learned?
ELISE LABOTT, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, this bombardment of strikes by France on that ISIS stronghold of Raqqa last night followed a decision by the United States to increase intelligence sharing with France. On Sunday, the U.S. began to help identify ISIS targets for the French war planes and is going to continue to expand that intelligence sharing to make it easier for France to intensify its air campaign. This, in effect, gives France a seat at the table, alongside America's most trusted intelligence sharing partners. This so-called Five Eyes Group, including Australia, Canada, New Zealand and Britain. Defense Secretary Carter in close talks with his counterpart, the French defense minister. They're going to continue to coordinate that.
And U.S. intelligence agencies, Anderson, are also scrambling to get on top of the ongoing threats in Europe. This morning, CIA Director John Brennan spoke about those challenges of developing intelligence on that. Take a listen. [09:45:00] LABOTT: Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN BRENNAN, CIA DIRECTOR: This was something that was deliberately and carefully planned over the course, I think, of several months, in terms of making sure that they had the operatives, the weapons, the explosives with the suicide belts. And so I would anticipate that this is not the only operation that ISIL has in the pipeline.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LABOTT: So even as they continue to develop this information about targets, the French have said they believe some of the attackers could be at large. There are other cells in Europe planning attacks, as the Director Brennan just said. So certainly intelligence on that even as important as they continue to develop targets on the ground in Syria. Anderson.
COOPER: Elise, thanks. And that of course is the concern of so many people here in France, also in Belgium, that there are other cells out there, that there are other members of this cell. As we know, officials -- there's an international arrest warrant out for the person who's believed to be the eighth member of this terror squad that attacked on Friday night, the person who was actually pulled over by law enforcement in France on his way back to Belgium after the attacks. He was actually let go. That person is still at large, believed to be the eighth terrorist involved in the attacks on Friday.
Still to come, concert-goers, soccer fans, some of the victims of the attack. Their stories, next.
[09:50:53] COOPER: And welcome back to our continuing coverage of the aftermath of the Paris terror attacks. I'm here in the Plaza de la Republique. You're looking there at a live shot of the G20 Summit where President Barack Obama is expected to speak momentarily. France's Francois Hollande is also expected to speak, a joint address to the parliament.
Here, I'm joined by Christiane Amanpour. A lot of focus first of all from France's president. This is a historic address, very rare for him to speak, both houses of parliament and in an address to the nation at the same time.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I think Versailles it's the first time or very rare, since 1848, apparently. But we expect, according to French politicians who will be there, that he will reiterate the message that he has been talking about, which is France is at war. A war has been declared upon us. And we have to, as they've said, every French official, we have to destroy this enemy. And we really want to see what the world leaders have decided in Turkey in terms of eradicating this threat, because war has been declared on our cities now. COOPER: Let's go to Michelle Kosinski who is there in Turkey as we
await President Obama. We now believe President Obama will be speaking before France's president.
Michelle, what are you hearing today?
MICHELLE KOSINSKI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We should hear from the president any minute --
COOPER: And the president has just stepped out, so let's listen in.
Yes, Michelle, the president's on the stage. Let's listen.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: -- President Erdogan and Turkey for outstanding work in hosting this G20 Summit. (INAUDIBLE) is beautiful. The hospitality of the Turkish people are legendary. To our Turkish friends, (SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE).
I've been practicing that.
At the G-20, our focus was on how to get the global economy to grow faster and creating more jobs for our people. And I'm pleased that we agree that growth has to be inclusive to address the rising inequality around the world.
Given growing cyber threats, we committed to a set of norms, drafted by the United States, for how governments should conduct themselves in cyberspace, including a commitment not to engage in the cyber theft of intellectual property for commercial gain.
And as we head into global climate talks, all G-20 countries have submitted our targets, and we've pledged to work together for a successful outcome in Paris.
Of course, much of our attention has focused on the heinous attacks that took place in Paris. Across the world, in the United States, American flags are at half-staff in solidarity with our French allies.
We're working closely with our French partners as they pursue their investigations and track down suspects. France is already a strong counterterrorism partner, and today we're announcing a new agreement. We're streamlining the process by which we share intelligence and operational military information with France.
This will allow our personnel to pass threat information, including on ISIL, to our French partners even more quickly and more often, because we need to be doing everything we can to protect against more attacks and protect our citizens.
Now, tragically, Paris is not alone. We've seen outrageous attacks by ISIL in Beirut, last month in Ankara, routinely in Iraq. Here at the G-20, our nations have sent an unmistakable message, that we are united against this threat.
ISIL is the face of evil. Our goal, as I've said many times, is to degrade and ultimately destroy this barbaric terrorist organization.
As I outlined this fall at the United Nations, we have a comprehensive strategy using all elements of our power: military, intelligence, economic, development and the strength of our communities.
We have always understood this would be a long-term campaign. There will be setbacks and there will be successes. The terrible events in Paris were obviously a terrible and sickening setback. Even as we grieve with our French friends, however, we can't lose sight that there has been progress being made.
On the military front, our coalition is intensifying our airstrikes, more than 8,000 to date. We're taking out ISIL leaders, commanders, their killers. We've seen that when we have an effective partner on the ground, ISIL can and is pushed back, so local forces in Iraq backed by coalition air power recently liberated Sinjar. Iraqi forces are fighting to take back Ramadi. In Syria, ISIL has been pushed back for much of the border region with Turkey. We've stepped up our support of opposition forces who are working to cut off supply lines to ISIL strongholds in and around Raqqa.
So in short, both in Iraq and Syria, ISIL controls less territory than it did before. I made the point to my fellow leaders that if we want this progress to be sustained, more nations need to step up with the resources that this fight demands. Of course, the attacks in Paris remind us that it will not be enough to defeat ISIL in Syria and Iraq alone. Here, Antalya, our nations, therefore, committed to strengthening border controls, sharing more information and stepping up our efforts to prevent the flow of foreign fighters in and out of Syria and Iraq.
As the United States just showed in Libya, ISIL leaders will have no safe haven anywhere and we'll continue to stand with leaders in Muslim communities, including faith leaders, who are the best voices to discredit ISIL's warped ideology.
On the humanitarian front, our nations agreed that we have to do even more individually and collectively to address the agony of the Syrian people. The United States is already the largest donor of humanitarian aid to the Syrian people, some $4.5 billion in aid so far. As winter approaches, we're donating additional supplies, including clothing and generators through the United Nations.
But the U.N. appeal for Syria still has less than half the funds need. Today, I'm again calling on more nations to contribute the resources that this crisis demands.
In terms of refugees, it's clear countries like Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan, which are already bearing an extraordinary burden, cannot be expected to do so alone. At the same time, all of our countries have to ensure our security, and as president, my first priority is the safety of the American people. And that's why even as we accept more refugees, including Syrians, we do so only after subjecting them to rigorous screening and security checks. We also have to remember that many of these refugees are the victims of terrorism themselves. That's what they're fleeing. Slamming the door in their faces would be a betrayal of our values. Our nations can welcome refugees who are desperately seeking safety and ensure our own security. We can and must do both.
Finally, we've begun to see some modest progress on the diplomatic front, which is critical because a political solution is the only way to end the war in Syria and unite the Syrian people and the world against ISIL. The Vienna talks mark the first time that all the key countries have come together. As a result, I would add of American leadership, and reached a common understanding.
With this weekend's talks, there's a path forward. Negotiations between the Syrian opposition and the Syrian regime under the auspices of the United Nations, a transition toward a more inclusive representative government, a new constitution, followed by free elections, and alongside this political process, a cease-fire in the civil war even as we continue to fight against ISIL.
These are obviously ambitious goals. Hopes for diplomacy in Syria have been dashed before. There are any number of ways that this latest diplomatic push could falter. And there are still disagreements between the parties, including most critically over the fate of Bashar Assad, who we do not believe has a role in Syria's future because of his brutal rule. His war against the Syrian people is the primary root cause of this crisis.
What is different this time and what gives us some degree of hope is that, as I said, for the first time all the major countries on all sides of the Syrian conflict agree on a process that is needed to end this war.