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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Officials: Intel Suggests Brussels Attack Part Of Wider Plot; Brothers Identified As Bombers; Interpol Had "Red Notice" For One of The Bombers; Path To Radicalization; Cruz Slams Critics Of His Muslim Patrol And Secure Comments; Trump On Torture, Nukes In Fight Against ISIS; Clinton: "Loose Cannons Tend To Misfire"; Why Belgium? Aired 9- 10p ET
Aired March 23, 2016 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[21:00:16] JOHN BERMAN, CNN HOST: Good evening. In this hour of ''360'', the grim possibility that what happened in Brussels and before that in Paris, they are part of a larger plan and that new ISIS attacks are actively being plotted and could be in the pipeline. That assessment forming some of the basis for the State Department travel alert that came out just last night.
It raised a lot of eyebrows and now the intelligence that went into it is also raising a chill. The latest now from CNN Justice Correspondent Pamela Brown who joins us from Washington once again tonight.
Pamela, what are your sources telling you about potential other attacks in Europe?
PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, counter terrorism officials, John we've been speaking with it. They are very concerned about imminent attacks in Europe based on a combination of electronic intercepts, human sources and database tracking that indicates several possible targets have been picked out by ISIS operatives over the last few months since the Paris attacks.
And these officials we've been speaking would say, there was chatter before the Brussels attacks indicating something was about to happen but nothing specific enough to indicate where and when the attacks were going to happen. And it's the same situation with, information officials the have now. That targets have been picked out by people connected to the Brussels attacks and the Paris attacks and it's just basically not a matter of if but when they're going to launch an attack according to officials I've been speaking with.
There's lot of concern because they're still floating around Europe. This people connected to these plots have not been rounded up yet, John. And it's unclear what specific sites have been picked out, according to sources. That they aren't giving us that information, but if you look at that State Department warning issued yesterday, that warned U.S. citizens in the U.S. who were in Europe from going to sporting events, restaurants and tourist sites. Who I think isn't glean a lot from that.
BERMAN: Pamela, any sense of the timing? Because we've heard different things. Occasionally you hear the word imminent being tossed around or you just hear there the atmosphere for it. The travel alert itself is extended all the way until June.
BROWN: Right. And so I think the reason why is because they've seen with ISIS operatives they're flexible, they are opportunistic, they're entrepreneurial. There have been other ISIS plots that officials, you know, knew about based on intelligence. They knew a target, they knew have a time. Then it passed. The plot didn't pan out.
And then they see something like this happen in Brussels where they have a sense, information, something that's going to happen but they didn't exactly know the day, they didn't exactly no where. And so it's very difficult for them to pinpoint a time and a place and that is why we're seeing this alert extended through June. And, I wouldn't be surprised if it's extended beyond that because of all the foreign fighters that have returned to Europe and you will have the training to launch attacks. It's difficult for officials to know where they are, who they are. John.
BERMAN: And the cascading series of events we've seen over the last few days. No doubt only adds the urgency of that alert. Pamela, what about the man in white, the man we've seen in that surveillance photo. The one who did not kill himself, believe to at least, in the attack. Are authorities any closer to identifying him or knowing where he is?
BROWN: At this point as far as we know, John the authorities have not positively identified him or at least they haven't publicly told us who they think he is. We've learn that there is it beyond the lookout notice that was sent out in Europe for a specific person authorities believe is connected to the Brussels attacks. But authorities don't know if that's the same person as the man in white in the picture or someone else.
And counter terrorism officials believe that his role was a facilitator, he was a controller. Someone to make sure that these attacks were carried out and as we know those officials say he left that suitcase bomb behind and then fled. His whereabouts still unknown. John?
BERMAN: Then there was another major development today with someone that they do know. At least they believe they know. Najim Laachraoui believed to have been killed in the attack at the airport. One of the suicide bombers there. And he has been linked to the Paris attacks, correct?
BROWN: That's right. In fact, Belgium counter terrorism official say the man in the left of this photo right here is Najim Laachraoui. He's a bomb maker that's been linked to the Paris attacks because his DNA was found on two of the suicide belts used in the Paris attacks.
And authorities believe that he was -- took place -- had a role in the attacks yesterday morning at the airport. Now some may wonder, John why is the bomb maker would kill himself, but authorities we've been speaking with sort of downplayed his importance as a bomb maker saying there are a lot of trained ISIS operatives that know how to make the same types of bombs used in the Paris and Brussels attack.
BERMAN: And Pamela, there is some information which shows how difficult it has been for the Belgians to stay out front of this. News tonight that Ibrahim el-Bakraoui the man in the middle of that surveillance photo, that he was detained last year in Turkey, sent to the Netherlands. The Belgians were allegedly informed. What can you tell us about this?
[21:05:01] BROWN: That's right in this is raising questions about missed signs, intelligence failures that the fact that Ibrahim el- Bakraoui was deported back to Belgium last summer. The Turkish President reportedly said he was sent back for his ties as a foreign fighter and that Turkey told Belgium about this, warned Belgium but Belgium didn't do anything about it.
That's on top of the fact his brother had an Interpol red notice issued this year based on terrorism charges. But then today, John, the Belgium authorities said they only knew of the brother's ties to violent crimes, not to terrorism. So there seems to be a big disconnect here.
BERMAN: All right, Pamela Brown, thank you for your reporting. Appreciate it.
Want to bring in our panel right now, CNN Terrorism Analyst Paul Cruickshank, CNN counter terrorism Analyst Philip Mudd who served as a senior official at the CIA and FBI. Also from Brussels, CNN's Senior International Correspondent Clarissa Ward who has been covering this situation on the ground there.
Paul, I want to talk about the ongoing threats, the travel alert from the state department. Does Europe, do officials in Europe, in Belgium have a sense of the size of this cell? Do they think that the threats are coming from this specific cell with the men who carried out the specific attack or are we talking about a larger cell or cells here?
PAUL CRUICKSHANK, CNN TERRORISM ANALYST: We're talking about an entire network who have been dispatched by ISIS to launch attacks. Just a few weeks ago, we reported (inaudible), I was told by senior western counter terrorism official that before the Paris attacks there was fragmentary intelligence coming in that the external operations division of ISIS who were talking with a very top leadership of the group reporting ops to that top leadership of the group had dispatched 60 operatives to Europe, to conduct attacks on five cities, including Paris, including London, Berlin, a major population center and Belgium as well.
Well, they've hit two of those five cities so far. The concern is, ISIS are targeting the European countries that are involved in the anti-ISIS coalition. And there are other countries like Netherlands also involved in that way. You could see attacks in the following weeks.
BERMAN: As you're talking about 60 just to give you a sense of the numbers. There were 10 involved in Paris, you know, killed there. Five or so involved here in Belgium, either in custody right now or dead. One might be missing. That leaves an additional 45 at a minimum who could still be out there.
CRUICKSHANK: That's right. And, I mean, if you look at the arithmetic, 6,000 European extremists have traveled to Syria and Iraq. Many of them joined ISIS, 1,500 have come back. There are plenty of people that could get involved in terrorist plotting the people coming back from Syria, these are people with experience of killing, they have a sudden cache when they come back to Europe and mix with others who see them as heroes. And that can really accelerate a lot of attack planning.
BERMAN: Clarissa, on the ground there some very specific instances in the attacks in Brussels where it seems like the Belgians may have missed signals or at least lost track of people that they had their eyes on.
Najim Laachraoui he would -- there was a red notice from Interpol on him. One of the Bakraoui brothers. There was a red notice from Interpol on him. The other brother had been deported from Turkey to the Netherlands and the Belgians had been alerted. Three, three of the suicide attackers were at least known or should have been known to the Belgian government.
CLARISSA WARD, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And what's interesting, John, is that they weren't just known. Well some of them were known for terrorist ties, which obviously should have raised very serious red flags. But many of them as well, particularly those two brothers, were known to authorities as criminals.
One of them had been sentenced for an armed robbery. Another for possession of weapons. These were petty criminal thugs. And I think what authorities still seem to be trying to catch up to, is a phenomenon that we have seen accelerating since Charlie Hebdo whereby the new terrorist is something of a hybrid part terrorist, highly radicalized, obviously, but often with some sort of criminal background.
And that criminal background that's what makes it really tough for authorities to try to drill down on these networks because these men are experienced. They know how to buy weapons. They know how to navigate the criminal underworld and they know how to avoid detection.
And what you heard Paul saying there, beyond the 1,500 or so who may have come back from ISIS -- from Syria and Iraq and who have claimed loyalty to ISIS, you are dealing with all of their criminal networks who maybe have not bought into the radical ideology but who share that know-how, who share that flagrant disregard for the authorities and the state and who are willing to work with these radicalized individuals in whatever way may benefit them so, authorities really looking at a two-headed monster here with radicalization as one component and criminal activity as the other.
BERMAN: Phil Mudd, give me a sense of what the Belgians need to be doing right now given this threat. The State Department issuing the travel alert that more attacks could be on the way. But they're real belief there could be people on the run or planning more attacks right now. What do authorities there need to be doing?
[21:10:04] PHILIP MUDD, FORMER SENIOR OFFICIAL FBI AND CIA: A couple of things you got to think about here John. People in my business are scratching their heads right now. When you look at counter terrorism investigations like this, especially with the value and the Belgians have, you've got to come at this with a systematic approach.
How were you prioritizing cases? Which cases get the most coverage? That is for example human informants in the case, surveillance on the street? Which get less coverage, for example, only looking at someone's e-mail activity? Something is missing here when you have a case of this prominence where it appears that the security service either can't follow or can't locate the perpetrators.
In this case, you can say they're dealing with so many people that they can't cover them all would be. My answer would be they may be dealing with hundreds of cases. They're dealing with hundreds of people connected to Paris. So I've got to ask, how are you prioritizing cases? And the second which we talked about before is you've got to be passing data realtime to the Americans, the British and the others in Europe. We've talked about this. This is not good in Europe in terms of information passing.
I want to know, e-mail, finger prints, other biometrics, DNA for example, I want to know phone messages and phone calls. So, that kind of information got to be passed today, realtime, across North America into Western Europe.
BERMAN: Phil, there's a lot of information that came out today. And I want to know what your gut tells you about it. Number one, on Najim Laachraoui demand, believed to have made some of the explosives used in Paris and Brussels.
One of the suicide attackers at the airport in Brussels he's dead. The Bakraoui brothers, you know, their apartment they found explosives, a lot of explosives, 40 pounds of TATP there that might have been used in the future attack. We had the note left by one of the brothers who said he was afraid of getting caught.
Does this indicate to you then that this was sort of a small circle, a small, closed circle right now and then a lot of the loose ends have been tied up with many of them dead, or is this just the beginning? Are they part of a much bigger group of people out there plotting more?
MUDD: I think when you talk about circle or cells, John you have to understand how the world of terrorism is changing. I would call these people clusters.
When we had the 9/11 plot, that's a classic cell. A close circle of people who are trained overseas and don't communicate with anybody else.
In this case, remember, we're talking about people who were recruiting criminals to come in. It's not a closed circle. Some of the connections are informal and someone just matching this sort of a two- headed monster. People who have access to weapons and explosives because of criminal enterprises. People have access to ISIS because they've been radicalized.
So, this is rough to follow because you don't know who say conspirator, who is interested, who is selling weapons. To suggest it's a closed circle or even a cell to my mind underestimates how difficult it is to follow when you're talking about groups of people who are so loosely connected.
BERMAN: All right, Paul Cruickshank, Phil Mudd, Clarissa Ward, thanks so much.
MUDD: Thank you.
BERMAN: We're to go to Brussels shortly, get reaction their on the suicide bomber who we've been saying was arrested, released and managed to drop off the radar.
And later we'll dig deeper into (inaudible) radicalization. Our conversation with a former Muslim extremist about how it happened to him and what can be done to stop it.
[21:17:08] BERMAN: As you saw at the top of the program, one of the Brussels killers is getting a lot of attention for being in so many words the one who popped on in to the radar, set off alarms but then sank back underground. Turkish authorities arrested Ibrahim el- Bakraoui last June.
They deported him. They say they notified Belgian authorities and then apparently nothing urgent happened on the part of the Belgians. At least nothing to stop him from doing what he did yesterday.
Nick Paton Walsh is on that for us, he is based in Beirut. Spent a lot of time in Turkey. Nick, what are your sources telling you about how exactly this happened?
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, obviously, the defense that the Turkish put forward to themselves as there's a vast number of individuals who they get suspicions from and they pass information to western intelligence agencies and then the western intelligence agencies don't act.
Now, the Belgians say they're overwhelmed with that kind of information. It may be that Ibrahim el-Bakraoui fits into that category of simply one of far too great a number. But the facts are pretty compelling here. His deportation in June 2015 from Turkey where he was suspected of trying to become a foreign fighter inside of Syria, allegedly sent back to Holland, we understand.
Now you have to listen to this quite remarkable fact. But despite the facts, he was deported, most likely he knew he was blacklisted or at least given a substantial tip from Belgian authorities about his Jihadist intentions. He still went ahead it seems and became part of this cell with Salah Abdeslam and subsequently went on to commit these awful attacks in the airport there.
So, it is remarkable to think of that kind of sense of impunity he must have felt. And bare in mind, too as well, we don't know actually know if he made it to Syria. We do know he traveled to Southern Turkey. The wording of the Turkey statement doesn't seem to suggest that he was caught coming back in from Syria, perhaps trying to get across.
But, still, people are asking, now there's a lot of comfort perhaps with the explosives here. Many people have to have a degree of training, an open space away from authorities to do that. Syria provides that. So I think investigators will be trying to work out precisely the nature of his travel during that 2015 visit. John?
BERMAN: Nick, the rap sheets on these guys is extraordinary, it's not just Bakraoui who was deported by Turkey sent to the Netherlands, the Belgium and forward of him. But you have two of these guys, the bomb maker and the other brother, they were Interpol red notices on them. They're, you know, international alerts, warning of them. Not to mention the fact they were associate with Salah Abdeslam, one of the, you know, the main suspects from the Paris terror attacks, the most wanted man in Europe. That's four people that the Belgians should have been on the hunt for, yes?
WALSH: And you'd think, you know, you can perhaps forgive one thing falling through the cracks but as you say four quite staggering. I mean, you have to also wonder, too, what are the people who are not on their radar actually up to who may be connected with this cell? It is absolutely staggering, as you say. One of the red notices for Khalid Bakraoui was quietly clearly saying he was so in connection with terrorism.
[21:20:10] Now we have Najim Laachraoui who was clearly involved in Paris on the run and then subsequently bracingly involved in this attack allow to walk into an airport with that level of explosives.
The big question, we still have this 15 kilograms, 40 pounds of device still inside that apartment. Who was that intended for and who else was part of this cell and where are they? John?
BERMAN: Nick Paton Walsh, for us some disturbing questions, thanks so much Nick.
The terror attacks in Brussels are sparking new controversy in the campaign trail in the United States. This morning on "CNN's New Day," Senator Ted Cruz, he reiterated his comments calling for police to secure and patrol Muslim neighborhoods in the U.S. he also slammed his critics. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. TED CRUZ, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You know, it is been interesting in the last 24 hours when I call for pro-active policing, directed at radical Islamic terrorism. The reaction from Democrats, Mayor De Blasio here in New York, tell the press conference blasting me, attacking me. It's an example where Democrats are more concerned about political correctness than they are about keeping us safe. And that's why people are so fed up.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: Senator Ted Cruz says drawn some fire from his remarks, not least from American-Muslims. Tonight, Gary Tuchman reports from an American city that presumably under the Ted Cruz proposed plan would be targeted for police patrols.
We wanted to hear from the people who live there what they had to say about Senator Cruz and his comments.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hamtramck Michigan, just outside of Detroit is a unique place because it's the only American city where the majority of residents are Muslim. And a majority of the city council members are, too.
It's a comfortable place to be an American-Muslim. And that's why Ted Cruz's comments about patrolling and securing Muslim neighborhoods captured so much attention here.
KAMAL HUSAN, HAMTRAMCK, MICHIGAN RESIDENT: I think it's the way he said it. A little scary to me.
TUCHMAN: You've all now heard Ted Cruz's comments. How many of you are angry with his comments? Raise your hand. Hands down, please. Are any of you accepting, OK with it? Raise your hand.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nobody.
TUCHMAN: Nobody? The men in this mosque come from places like Yemen, Bangladesh and Bosnia. But many have been here for decades and they want people like Ted Cruz to know they consider themselves Americans first.
When you heard what Ted Cruz said, what was the first thing that went through your mind?
MOHAMMED AFSAR, HAMTRAMCK, MICHIGAN RESIDENT: Well I feel very bad. You know, it's not right thing to say. This is America. Everybody has a right to live you know in equal opportunity.
MOHAMMED HAQUE, HAMTRAMCK, MICHIGAN RESIDENT: It is a discrimination of a group, of a faith. And which is nobody can support this one.
TUCHMAN: But many people certainly do, including some non-Muslims who live, work and shop in this city.
Do you think Hamtramck is less safe because of all the Muslims who have moved here?
JAN BIELECKI, HAMTRAMCK, MICHIGAN RESIDENT: We don't have proof to that yet, but do we have to wait for another Brussels and Paris to prove it?
TUCHMAN: The attacks in Brussels and Paris horrified everyone we talked to in Hamtranick, non-Muslim and Muslim. Hizam Husain employee of the store is from Yemen, but he's been here in the U.S. for 26 years.
HIZAM HUSAIN, HAMTRAMCK, MICHIGAN RESIDENT: I want America to be safe because I live here. My family, I work. This is my country.
TUCHMAN: So, if a new president wants police security patrols in Muslim neighborhoods, what would the non-Muslim police chief in Hamtramck do?
CHIEF ANNE MOISE, HAMTRAMCK, MICHIGAN POLICE: I think that's to me is racial profiling, it's ethnic profiling, it's something that our country is been working very hard to get away from things that, you know, they're not wanting to do in this country and I don't think that that's something that we should support.
TUCHMAN: And the chief says she has no intention of abandoning her principles.
MOISE: And I think we all need to stand together and take a strong stance against terrorism but ousting a particular group or fighting against a particular group that happen to live in this country of a different faith is not the answer.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: All right, Gary Tuchman joins us now. Gary, do you get the sense the Muslims you talked to in this community? They think that what they're hearing from Ted Cruz into a certain and Donald Trump that it's just politics or do they think that these policies will be implemented if either of these men will become president?
TUCHMAN: John, they do not think it's just politics. They take Ted Cruz for his word. They take Donald Trump for his word. And they do think that if either of those men are elected president, their lives in some ways will be changing. But they're not going back to Yemen and they're not going back to Bangladesh.
They planned to stay right here. This is where their lives are and they'll worry about it when that day comes. But I can tell you John, they're very grateful for what their police chief said today.
BERMAN: All right, Gary Tuchman, thanks so much.
Just ahead, new details about two of the Brussels suicide bombers. Brothers who blew themselves up an hour apart. A pattern we've seen over and over from Charlie Hebdo to the Boston marathon to the slaughter four months ago in Paris. Siblings who share a commitment to terrorism.
[21:25:10] The question is, what's behind it?
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BERMAN: And all the breaking news, we're also learning much more about how this terror attacks fits a pattern we have seen quite a bit lately among the killers, two brothers. Here's Randi Kaye.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Two brothers, both suicide bombers inspired by terror. Ibrahim el-Bakraoui blew himself up at the Brussels airport just before 8:00 a.m. That's him in the middle. Authorities say his younger brother, Khalid el-Bakraoui carried out his suicide attacks about an hour later at the city's metro station.
In the days before the Brussels attack, investigators targeted a residence rented by Khalid el-Bakraoui. He and his brother now both suspected of having ties to the attacks in Paris last November. And Paris suspect Salah Abdeslam, arrested last week.
Until now, the brothers had only been linked to violent crime, never terrorism. NBC News reports that in 2010, Ibrahim el-Bakraoui was sentenced to nine years in prison after shooting a police.
[21:30:06] It's unclear when or why he was released. His brother Khalid was arrested in 2009 and network says, in sentence to five years in prison for carjackings.
This is not the first time two brothers have instilled fear and caused bloodshed. In fact in the Paris attacks last November, Salah Abdeslam's brother detonated a suicide bomb. He died while his brother fled.
Also in Paris in January last year gun men forced their way into the offices of Charlie Hebdo magazine killing 12 people. The prime suspects, brothers Cherif and Said Kouachi. The brothers were in a U.S. database of known or suspected international terrorists. They'd been on the no-fly list for years.
A massive manhunt took authorities to a building where the Kouachi brothers were hiding. Both brothers were killed in a shoot out. Al- Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula later called the Kouachi brothers heroes.
In Boston in April 2013, two bombs and two brothers yet again, Tamerlan Tsarnaev and his younger brother Dzhokhar set up two bombs in the crowd watching the Boston marathon. Three people were killed. More than 260 injured.
Days later the older brother who once had dreams of boxing in the Olympics was critically wounded during a shootout with police. His younger brother delivering a final blow by running him over in the street to make his own getaway. The next night the younger Tsarnaev, once the captain of his high school wrestling team and then a student of the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, was discovered bleeding in a boat stored in someone's backyard.
Dzhokhar is cornered and captured, later charged with conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction resulting in death. In May last year a jury sentenced him to death.
Randi Kaye, CNN New York.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: Now someone who knows first hand what it's like to bond with a brother over extremism. Maajid Nawaz is the author of "Radical: My journey out of Islamist Extremism" and a columnist now for "The Daily Beast".
Maajid Nawaz, the fact that these two suicide bombers were brothers, this is a pattern that we keep seeing. And you became radicalized when you were 16 years old, a year after your brother. He didn't recruit you exactly but you sort of followed his example. How does this happen?
MAAJID NAWAZ, AUTHOR, "RADICAL: MY JOURNEY OUT OF ISLMIST EXTREMISM" AND THE DAILY BEAST COLLUMNIST: My brother and in fact my two cousins. The four of us grew up together four of us became affiliated to an n Islamist organization together.
And I think it happens and I can draw my own experience when there's a level of disintegration in society, John. When young European born and raised Muslims don't feel part of the wider society and, therefore, their bonds of loyalty and affinity and friendship and blood are something that means a lot more to them than any sense of loyalty to mainstream society.
BERMAN: So you feel closer to your cousin, to your older brother than you would to the culture as a whole and, therefore, you feel closer to the Jihad's organization they become part of?
NAWAZ: Well, it's a process. It begins by emotional -- an emotional relationship with the sibling or with the cousin. It's important at this stage to state clearly the parents aren't usually involved in this process when it comes to radicalization in a western context. Those first generation migrant parents are usually of a different interpretation of Islam to the extremist version to those born and raised in Europe who become radicalized eventually subscribe to.
But yes, it's a bond primarily that's emotional and then moves through to organizational and affiliation with the same gang. At this stage it resembles gang recruitment. But then once affiliation to the organization sets in, it becomes ideological and at that stage, even siblings can end up being cheaper than water in terms of spilling their blood and ISIS recruiting inside Raqqa, in the so-called Islamic state even executed his own mother.
So once the ideologically indoctrination sets in at that stage even the blood ties don't really mean much.
BERMAN: There's a practical aspect too as well. Isn't there? It's easier to plot if you live, with someone or if you see someone constantly so you don't have to use cell phones or send e-mails?
NAWAZ: Absolutely, and look you're unlikely to inform on your own brother, on your own cousins, your family in that way. And so there's the practical aspects of living together and there's also the added trust growing up together in that way your brother. And you know people studies indicate that even soldiers who join the army, a lot of them fight more so, because of the camaraderie that they develop with each other than any sense of overriding patriotism. It's really to protect each other as a tight-knit group. And radicalization has long been understood to follow a similar process in those early stages.
The most emphasis that once the ideology kicks in it's a different level of understanding and the analogies to gangs then falls short and it becomes something more akin to an insurgent organization, a bit like the Vietcong. You know it becomes like an insurgency.
[21:35:04] BERMAN: So the familiar bond might be the micro development here maybe the thing that most proximately gets someone involved. But you talked a lot about the overall situation of Muslims in Europe. How they often feel alienated from the broader population. Is that also part of the recruitment process?
NAWAZ: Yes there are four factors really. One is a sense of grievance. That could be domestic. It could be alienation. It could be to do with economic factors. And invariably it also involves foreign policy grievances.
And the second is an identity crisis. Once there's a disconnect between the young vulnerable individual and mainstream society. They begin to question whether they are really British, American, Belgian in this case, or whether they Muslim first and foremost. Muslim first and Muslim last, now of course ISIS has an answer to that question as to whether they we're Muslim first and last or whether what British or American.
The third factor is once you have grievances and the identity crisis, a charismatic recruiter comes along to provide a sense of belonging where society didn't really provide and then the fourth is the ideological indoctrination.
So with those four factors in no particular order, the process of radicalization is complete. And therefore to address that, we need to have a policy that addresses those grievances, whether they are real or perceived. A policy that actually meets the challenges of identity in the modern globalized world, a policy that undermines the charisma of those recruiters and a policy that debunks the Islamist narrative or propaganda.
BERMAN: All right Maajid Nawaz, thank you so much for being with us. I appreciate it.
NAWAZ: It's my pleasure, John. Thank you.
BERMAN: Coming up, Donald Trump on fighting terror, even with nuclear weapons.
[21:40:32] BERMAN: In the last two days, all the presidential candidates have weighed in on how they would fight terror. Some in ways are really hadn't heard before.
More now, from Phil Mattingly.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Terror and politics once again inextricably linked.
GOV. JOHN KASICH, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It not about patrolling neighborhoods. It's not about shutting our borders down.
MATTINGLY: GOP frontrunner Donald Trump saying when it comes to foreign policy, he will keep U.S. Enemies guessing.
DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You know, we need unpredictability. The enemy. We have enemy. ISIS is an enemy. I frankly don't want the enemy to know how I'm thinking.
MATTINGLY: Going all in on the use of torture.
TRUMP: I think we have to change our law on, you know, the water boarding thing where they can chop off heads and they can drown people in cages and heavy steel cages and we can't water board.
MATTINGLY: And considering the use of a nuclear weapon against ISIS.
JOHN HEILEMANN, NEW YORK MAGAZINE JOURNALIST: You wouldn't rule out the possibility of using a nuclear weapon against ISIS?
TRUMP: Well, I'm never going to rule anything out.
TRUMP: And, I wouldn't want to say even if I felt it wasn't guard. I won't want to tell you that.
TRUMP: Because at a minimum, I want them to think maybe we would use it. OK.
MATTINGLY: Ted Cruz under pressure from New York City police officials.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In the statements he made today is why he's not going to country.
MATTINGLY: Defending his own proposals to increase patrols in the U.S., Muslim neighborhoods.
CRUZ: Look it is that ostrich head in your sand political correctness that has made America so vulnerable.
MATTINGLY: Hillary Clinton challenging both in a sweeping foreign policy speech in California today. HILLARY CLINTON, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We can't let fear stop us from doing what's necessary to keep us safe. Nor can we let it push us into reckless actions that end up making us less safe.
MATTINGLY: Each candidate fighting for position in the wake of the western Tuesday contests. A day that saw Hillary Clinton come closer to locking up the Democratic nomination.
CLINTON: I'm also very proud to have won Arizona tonight.
MATTINGLY: A delegate split in the GOP. Ted Cruz winning Utah and Donald Trump dominating in Arizona. Another primary night raising questions about the effectiveness of the stop Trump efforts.
Cruz securing the endorsement of Former GOP Candidate Jeb Bush. Pointing to it as another sign the party is coalescing behind his candidacy.
CRUZ: What we're seeing all across the country is the momentum is with us. And I tell you one of the things that shows that is this morning, Jeb Bush endorsed our campaign.
MATTINGLY: Phil Mattingly, CNN, Milwaukee.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: All right joining me, CNN Political Commentator and Donald Trump Supporter Jeffrey Lord, CNN Political Commentator and Republican Strategist Ana Navarro and CNN Senior Political Analyst David Gergen.
David, you heard about how some of the candidates are addressing the issue of terror right now. Donald Trump not ruling out nuclear weapons. Ted Cruz saying he wants to secure Muslim neighborhoods here. Look, they obviously are saying this for a reason. They think there is political gain here. What is it?
DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: There is political gain. Americans feel shaky, they felt jittery. They are increasing sense of this terror -- these terror attacks are out of control. And they are looking for a strong man. That's what benefited Trump all along. So I think in the short term this will help him the most. I think the nature of his proposals, they sometimes get very wild. I think in the long run will play to Hillary Clinton's benefit, if she's tough.
BERMAN: Jeffrey Lord, how do you use nuclear weapons against terrorists?
JEFFREY LORD, TRUMP SUPPORTER: Well, what he's really saying John, is something that's been done before in American history. Most definitely with Richard Nixon. It's called the mad man theory, seriously. It comes from Mack Valley. And basically what it says is, keep the enemy guessing as to what you will do or not do. Are you unpredictable? Make sure they see you as unpredictable. Richard Nixon was a devout believer in this.
Talk about it frequently that he want the soviets in the day to think that he was a mad man capable of anything. Out of that came all sorts of his arms agreements, his trip to China, his opening with China because they -- he really felt he had used this wisely. That's in essence what Donald Trump is saying.
BERMAN: Is that, Ana, an essence what Donald Trump ...
LORD: It's been before.
BERMAN: ... is saying? Is it being unpredictable, Ana or is it being unserious?
ANA NAVARRO, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: John, please don't ask me to interpret Donald Trump, I don't speak that language. Look, I just think that both Cruz and Trump are trying to argue each other on who can be tougher and crack down harder Muslims. They see Muslims as the enemy. They're trying to portray that. It has worked for Trump in the past.
[21:45:00] And I think, you know, Cruz is keenly aware that he is in a primary fight with Donald Trump. And, you know, it's about giving red meat to the base. And, you know, saying the things that make sense in a primary though may not make sense, if and when one of them becomes president.
BERMAN: It is interesting though a lot of ...
LORD: Hey John?
BERMAN: ... what's being -- hang on one second Jeffrey, because a lot of us being said in the Republican side right now is in reaction to how President Obama is dealing with this most recent terror attack in Brussels. And some would say the lack of reaction by President Obama. He continued his trip to Cuba. He went to the baseball game in Cuba.
He's now continuing his trip to Argentina and I have to show you some pictures of this just a short time ago. President Obama in Argentina, dancing, doing the tango. Hopefully we have that video there. There's the president.
That's the president doing the tango, the President of the United States doing the tango. David Gergen not badly I should say. David Gergen, you know. As far as an image goes in the midst of terror fears after Brussels, is this the image the White House wants to send?
GERGEN: Well, to be fair, the president has a belief that to shrink is the best thing he can do. He does not want to seem like he rushed into anything and, you know, that somehow he gets all shaken up and so he wants to hold back. He continually hold back.
I happen to disagree with that especially in that and I think the people now after all these attacks, we've had an attack a day around the world for the last 12 days. But after San Bernardino and Paris and Brussels and Ankara and Istanbul, people are looking for more forceful action to actually drive back ISIS and right now we're not winning against ISIS. We have reduced the amount of territory that happened in Syria and Iraq but they've expanded elsewhere and we now learned through the Associate Press they trained up 400 fighters to go through Europe.
Under those circumstances, I must tell you, I would tell the president, when you open your speech in Cuba to the Cuban people and a 38-minute speech, you only get 50 seconds to Brussels. You're really underplayed. You sort of brushed it off.
When you go to a baseball game it looks like a frivolous when you're dancing like that. So, yeah, I even get the hard call. You should have thought about coming back and gathering ordinary people are looking for leadership here. I think that's a critical issue for him. The restraint does not equal leadership when you are under attack like this.
BERMAN: We haven't confirmed the exact detail by the way of 100, you know, 400 fighters going to Europe right now but the idea that ISIS is sending fighters ...
BERMAN: ... is something we have reported. Jeffrey, go ahead.
LORD: By chance just the other day, right before the Brussels attack, Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair gave an interview to the BBC and he was talking about this very issue. And he said that when people are forced to choose between what they see as liberalism that was flexible and not assertive versus a hard line position that they inevitably when faced with terror will go straight to the hard liner. I really do think that's what you're seeing here. I mean, he said this before all of this transpired, but I think he was right about it.
BERMAN: Ana, I have to give you the last word right now and, you know, a 15 seconds or less. The president is dancing the tango. Your thoughts?
NAVARRO: I think the entire thing is horrible. It reminded me of when he went golfing right after James Foley's head was cut off. Look, I think it's inexcusable that when the entire world is standing in solidarity with Brussels is in shock, is in grief. The President of the United States is in Cuba sitting next to a dictator who has been in power for 56 years who has ordered the shoot down of American citizens, who has been anti-American for 56 years eating peanuts and going to the baseball game like he was Walt Disney.
It's not Walt Disney and it's a day of grief for the entire world. I think President Obama knows full well that the optics matter but he chose his legacy over optics. And I think it was a shameful, shameful disappointing moment for President Obama. I was disappointed. I was not surprised.
BERMAN: All right, Ana Navarro, David Gergen, Jeffrey Lord, thank you so much.
Just ahead, our top story and why specifically Belgium is such a hot bed for terror.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [21:53:03] BERMAN: We were reporting of what happened yesterday in Brussels more now on why? Why Brussels, why Belgium?
Deborah Feyerick reports.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Salah Abdeslam captured in Brussels following extensive raids in homes across Belgium and France.
Authorities there admitting the scope of the extremist network was bigger and more sophisticated than ever imagined. With Belgium, a logistical capital and base of operations, where some Muslim extremist to launch their attacks.
SAJJAN GOHEL, INTERNATIONAL SECURITY DIRECTOR, ASIA PACIFIC FOUNDATION: It illustrates that Belgium being a central hub for ISIS is also the de facto capital of the European Union on the other hand. And it's very worrying and sobering.
FEYERICK: Belgium is a small, predominantly catholic country of 11 million people in the heart of Europe. About 6 percent of the population is Muslim, many originally from Morocco. More than any other European country, per capita, the highest number of fighters to ISIS have come from Belgium.
Some 500 men and women believed to have travel to Syria and Iraq. Many were inspired by the once powerful Jihadi group called, "Sharia for Belgium", which give in prominent in 2010 and was disbanded five years later.
Its leaders targeted a vulnerable and disenfranchised community with rampant crime and unemployment.
TIM LISTER, CO-AUTHOR, "AGENT STORM: MY LIFE INSIDE AL QAEDA AND THE CIA": There were two or three men who were really critical in Sharia for Belgium in the recruitment process, in the fund-raising and in getting the channels organize to send people overseas.
The Belgian authorities did not take Sharia for Belgium seriously until it was too late, the damage had been done.
FEYERICK: Prosecutors say 100 in France and Belgium had been arrested or detained since November's Paris attacks.
The most notable Belgium link terrorists include the high speed train gunmen. Paris attack ring leader, Abdelhamid Abaaoud, Paris attack operatives, Salah Abdeslam and his brother and all three of the Brussels suicide bombers.
[21:55:08] Abdeslam was found in Brussel's Molenbeek, neighborhood, a hafted radicalization in Jihadi activity, the scope of which blind sided law enforcement.
WILLIAM BRANIFF, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, START CONSORTIUM: They don't have enough law enforcement officers and they haven't been able to ramp up at the same rate as foreign fighter recruitment has ramped up.
FEYERICK: Those fighters are well funded, well protected and intend on destroying the west.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: All right, Deborah Feyerick, joins me now. Deborah, authority is able to get enough intelligence, enough information about this community?
FEYERISK: Well, they're certainly working hard at they have investigated heavily encounter terrorism efforts. They're trying to improve their intelligence gathering techniques, but this is really, a very insulated community. There is a significant language barrier.
So, the authorities, the Belgians, they really have a very long way to go before this gets resolve.
BERMAN: Deborah Feyerick, thank you so much. We'll be right back.
[22:00:06] BERMAN: We're out of time. "CNN TONIGHT" with Don Lemon starts now.