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Police Investigating Terror Incident on London Tube Train; North Korea Fires Another Missile Over Japan. Aired 7-7:30a ET
Aired September 15, 2017 - 07:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. Welcome to your NEW DAY. It is Friday, September 15, 7 a.m. in the east. We do have breaking news. We will show you live pictures of British police investigating a terror incident. Those are their words, after an explosion on a London Tube train. Police say an improvised explosive device detonated aboard a packed rush hour train in West London. You're seeing it now on your screen.
[07:00:22] ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: More than a dozen passengers are being treated in area hospitals. President Trump is already denouncing the attack in a series of tweets. He says, "Another attack in London by a loser terrorist. These are sick and demented people who were in the sights of Scotland Yard. Must be proactive."
CNN's Nima Elbagir is live at the scene in London with all the breaking details. Nima, what have you learned?
NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Alisyn.
Well, you can hear it's nearly four hours since this incident occurred. But overhead, police helicopters are still assessing the scene. This is an ongoing investigation. The London Metropolitan Police force has said only that there is a perpetrator that is being pursued. But they wouldn't give us any more details about the broader ideological background to this attack.
But no doubt, given that this is now the fourth attack in the last six months that those in government are dealing with the reality of the propaganda value of these attacks and the ability to wreak this kind of havoc. This is a key artery of the lifeblood of London, the London Underground station, and this as you see, is a leafy, residential area. It is practically miraculous that only 18 people were injured.
And we can show you the video of that improvised device. It is incredibly, incredibly crude. But for authorities, it really is about the broader impact at this point, the broader propaganda gains. You saw yesterday, Alisyn, Secretary Tillerson and Boris Johnson, the British foreign secretary, talking about closing all the loopholes that ISIS can exploit in Libya and beyond.
This really has to have hit home very hard this morning. Because as ISIS has mutated as its territorial gains have been sliced away in Iraq and Syria, this is now what those kind of terror groups, ISIS and a resurgent al Qaeda, are looking to achieve. But here in the U.K. already, we've had the -- you know, the good old
rhetoric of "Keep calm, carry on." And that's what we're hearing from the British government, that it can only be a propaganda win if Londoners, if the British people allow it to be.
Back to you, Chris.
CUOMO: Nima, thank you very much for the reporting. There are a lot of open questions. So we have a good resource right now. Witnesses were there on that train, obviously. This was done just after 8 a.m. in the morning local time there, rush hour.
One of those witnesses is Sylvan Pennock, passenger on the train, took pictures of that burning bucket, what appears to be, like, a 5-gallon or whatever the equivalent size is in metric, white plastic bucket. The footage has gone viral. Sylvan joins us now on the phone.
Sylvan, you are OK, right?
SYLVAN PENNOCK, EYEWITNESS TO TERROR INCIDENT (via phone): Yes, I'm fine, thanks.
CUOMO: Good. Good. That's a little bit of good news in a bad situation. Tell us what your experience was, please.
PENNOCK: I was -- I was on the train with my phone. So I didn't -- I just heard a big explosion. And then when I looked, there was some -- some flames. And people started to run and to rush outside of the train. And so that's when I was outside. It was a bomb, a homemade bomb.
CUOMO: Did you hear an explosion?
CUOMO: Did you hear an explosion?
PENNOCK: Yes. I had my headphones, but I was able to hear the -- to hear the sound of the explosion.
CUOMO: People were hurt. Did it seem that they were hurt from the bomb or the ensuing chaos of trying to get out of the train or both?
PENNOCK: I saw some people with light wounds, but I think most people were injured when the crowd -- the crowd movement when everybody tried to -- tried to get out of the train and there was 15 on each other or something like that.
CUOMO: I apologize for stating the obvious. But just to cover all the bases, you didn't see anybody in the area where that was? There was nothing like that?
PENNOCK: Unfortunately, no.
CUOMO: Did you hear anybody saying anything afterwards about what they had seen or who had they seen there? PENNOCK: No, no, no. I just -- I decided to take a picture, a video.
And I came there to (UNINTELLIGIBLE) -- it was official.
CUOMO: All right. Sylvan Pennock, thank God you're OK. Thank you for sharing what you lived with this morning. I hope the rest of your day is as peaceful as can be.
PENNOCK: Thank you.
CUOMO: All right. Alisyn.
CAMEROTA: OK, Chris. Joining us now is CNN terrorism analyst Paul Cruickshank.
Paul, great to have you here. What do you see in this attack.
[07:05:05] PAUL CRUICKSHANK, CNN TERRORISM ANALYST: Well, fortunately, nobody was killed. Fortunately, this bomb didn't go off; it didn't explode. There was an ignition of some sort.
CAMEROTA: Again, I just want to stop you, because we can see that there is fire. So when you look through the window of that subway train, what you see is just your standard white plastic bucket, if we zoom in there. And you see flames coming from that bucket. And the bucket was being carried inside just kind of a standard shopping bag with handles. So something ignited, as you say.
CRUICKSHANK: Some chemicals inside that bucket ignited. They didn't detonate. That was a very fortunate thing.
Those trains are absolutely packed with people. That's actually my local train in London when I go to the CNN bureau in London. Absolutely packed like sardines. But this thing didn't work, fortunately. There's a lot of concern now that whoever left it there, whoever set it off is still on the run that may be connected to a cell.
If you look at the fact that it didn't work, it might point to some kind of amateurishness. But we need to know more about the device. What was inside? If it had been something like TATP, which has been used in the Paris attacks, the Brussels attacks, inside that paint canister, and it had gone off, there would be few people left alive on that train.
CAMEROTA: President Trump has just tweeted, saying, "We've made more progress in the last nine months against ISIS than the Obama administration has made in eight years. Must be proactive and nasty (ph)."
However, if you look at the line of attacks, at least in London in the past nine months, there are many. I mean, let me just pull those up. You know, there's today's tube attack. June 19, there was a mosque attack. June 3, London Bridge van attack and the stabbing that we all know of. March 22, the vehicle ramming attack. And then, of course, the Manchester arena bombing at the concert that we all remember. Thirty-six people, I believe, killed. So it doesn't -- it doesn't feel when you look at these as though the
fight against ISIS is working in London.
CRUICKSHANK: Well, U.K. officials say the threat really is at unprecedented levels. They've seen all these attacks. There have also been six thwarted plots since March. There's been a 70 percent increase in terrorism arrests in the last year, a record number since last year, a record number since 9/11.
Most of the attacks and plots in the U.K. have been more like ISIS- inspired or ISIS reaching out to people over the Internet. We haven't seen in the U.K. plots like the Paris attacks, where a whole cell comes over from Syria and launches an attack.
But they're very worried about this unprecedented threat tempo in the U.K. There are 500 active terror investigations involving 3,000 Islamist extremists in the U.K. A further 20,000 individuals have been investigated since 9/11 and considered a residual risk. That is a huge number of people for the security services to keep tabs on. And as this threat goes on, we're going to see more of these types of attacks.
CAMEROTA: But look, those numbers that you're just laying out there are staggering. I just want to repeat them. You say that there are 3,000 right now in Britain, Islamic extremist suspects, is what you're saying?
CRUICKSHANK: There are active terror investigations, 500 of them, into 3,000 individuals.
A further 20,000 individuals have been investigated since 9/11. Still in the U.K. But those investigations are no longer active. But in some of the attacks we have seen this year, it's been people who have been part of what they call this residual risk bucket, who have actually moved forward with attacks.
So they're very, very worried about 23,000 individuals in the U.K.
CAMEROTA: What does this mean for the U.S.?
CRUICKSHANK: Well, the threat in the U.S. is much less big than the U.K. And actually, the threat is sort of ameliorated over the last couple of years in the U.S. There have been fewer terrorism arrests, fewer terrorism plots over the last year, couple of years from a peak in around 2015.
But there still is a lot of concern. We've seen some deadly attacks here, inspired by ISIS, San Bernardino, Orlando. And this concern that people could still move forward with attacks.
But fewer Americans are now trying to travel to join ISIS in Syria and Iraq. And the sort of radicalization rates seem to be going down a bit. But of course, it just takes a few individuals to launch absolute carnage.
CAMEROTA: Of course. You can never let your guard down. Paul Cruickshank, thank you very much for all of your reporting -- Chris.
CUOMO: More breaking news, this time-out of North Korea. They fired another ballistic missile over Japan in defiance of recent U.N. sanctions. This is the third launch since President Trump's fire and fury warning last month.
CNN's Will Ripley live in Tokyo with the latest. Will, the distance relevant this time as well as the trajectory. Tell us.
[07:10:00] WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Twenty-three-hundred miles is how far this intermediate-range ballistic missile, believed to be the Hwasong 12, that's how have it traveled, Chris, over the Japanese island of Hokkaido, coming down harmlessly in the Pacific after scaring a lot of Japanese.
But it could have gone another direction: 2,300 miles south is the U.S. territory of Guam, a place that North Korea has threatened in recent weeks. So far they haven't followed through. But this launch clearly a message that they could point this missile in that direction. They could threaten that key U.S. territory, home to military bases and more than 160,000 U.S. citizens.
For the first time since World War II, people are waking up to the sound of air raid sirens. Listen.
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RIPLEY: Frightening, to say the least, for people living here in Japan, especially after the North Korean threats over the past few days, threatening to sink Japan using a North Korean nuclear bomb. North Korea also saying through their state media that no matter how strong the pressure is from the U.S. and its allies, they will not stop their development of weapons of mass destruction.
In response, we saw a live fire drill in South Korea. They launched a missile that they say could hit North Korea's missile launch site, a launch site that U.S. officials have been monitoring. They saw it from the Pyongyang Sunan Airport, the same airport that I flew out of just yesterday, arriving back here in Tokyo -- Chris and Alisyn.
CAMEROTA: Will, thank you.
CUOMO: All right. So former secretary of state Madeline Albright went to Pyongyang in the year 2000, meeting with Kim Jong-un's father, then in charge of course, in an effort to broker a deal to denuclearize. It didn't work out. She joins us now.
Not an easy task. Always a pleasure to have you.
MADELINE ALBRIGHT, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: Good to be with you. Thank you.
CUOMO: Let's talk about the current posture that's going on here. The president had just been talking about North Korea before this launch, literally the -- half a day before. When you look at this, the frustration is what else can you do if China, if Russia, if they don't want to step up and own the same ends that the United States and the U.N. seems to want? How do you get progress?
ALBRIGHT: Well, I do think that we have to have a common approach to this. And what happened is Secretary Tillerson made very clear today that China -- China and Russia have to be more helpful. They did in fact, vote for a Security Council resolution. And as I understand it, there's an emergency meeting of the Security Council again today.
I know -- I think we need to make clear -- clearer to the Chinese and Russians that it is is in their national interests to do something. For instance, that large bomb that they thought was thermonuclear, actually, I've heard that some radioactive air went into Russia and China. At some point, they have to think about what the effect of that is. And they...
CUOMO: Weren't they aware, Madeline -- I mean, Russia knows what its trade obligations and their potential is there. China, as well. As you know better than we do, often you see Chinese equipment carry Korean bombs.
ALBRIGHT: They have to, in fact. The sanctions are supposed to stop that. They have to live up to them.
And I think the -- all the countries, we all have to put pressure on the Russians and Chinese to be more proactive. I think, though, what worries me and listening to it this morning is accidents. I think that's where we have to be very careful.
I think we also have to get a more common message out of this administration. It's a little bit confusing. And an all-of- government approach to it, and move towards, I think, the six-party talks.
Again, stories that came out today, the South Korean president talking about the importance of working with Japan and with us and with others. And this is a very difficult issue.
And new did, you are pointing out, I've been there. I'm still the highest level sitting official to have gone to Pyongyang. We were close to an agreement. And then -- and by the way, during that whole period, there was no additional fissile material produced, no nuclear bombs, and no ICBMs.
CAMEROTA: And so what does that tell you? Does that mean that the U.S. should engage directly with North Korea. and Secretary Tillerson should go and have these sorts of conversations?
ALBRIGHT: Well, I think that there need to be within the context of the six-party talks. Because we also -- at that time we're in very close contact with the South Koreans and Japanese. That there has to be a common approach.
And I think that we need to figure out how to use that diplomatic tool more effectively. But I would never take everything off the table. I think that it's important to have deterrents and to keep pushing on this. It's dangerous.
CUOMO: Good timing. You have good timing coming up with the president. He's going to will be before the U.N. next week. I think Tuesday. What's important in that message?
ALBRIGHT: Well, I think people are going to be listening very carefully to him in terms of how he sees America's leadership role. And is he somebody that understands that we need to be a part of solutions internationally, that we need to work with other countries, that the U.N. is a useful venue to do things, and that he does believe that action internationally is important?
[07:15:20] And I hope that he makes a speech that really resounds there.
CAMEROTA: Are U.N. sanctions having any impact?
ALBRIGHT: I think that they are in the process of being put into place. We don't know, frankly. And I think that there is the issue in terms of how many sanctions get into place, how many are sanctioned. We're always putting sanctions is a very complicated process.
But I think it is a good tool at this point, because the North Koreans depend on the -- most of the things that come in from China. And also, the Russians are employing a lot of North Korean workers. So there should be some effect. But it is very hard to measure very quickly.
And that's the problem with this. The tools that we have, it always takes a while to see how they work. But the common aspect of -- the whole of government from the United States and then working with our partners and being very vigilant about deterrence and then pushing the Chinese and the Russians within the context of the U.N.
CUOMO: Let me get your take on what's happening in London. Sources tell CNN that the device that was found on the train had a timer. Obviously, that lends itself to a reckoning of some kind of sophistication. Explains maybe why the U.K. authorities came out so soon with saying this was a terror incident. What do you -- what do you make of it?
ALBRIGHT: Well, I do think that, obviously, the British have had a terrible time. And Mr. Cruickshank was describing all of that. What I found interesting in what he was saying was how many events have been prevented and how really hard the authorities are working. And we don't hear enough...
CUOMO: Much bigger challenge there than here.
ALBRIGHT: Absolutely. CUOMO: In terms of the number of people, the number of cases, the
exposure to contiguous geographical areas.
ALBRIGHT: Well, and I do think that we need to know how the police and the various people that do investigations, how hard they work.
But this is very bad. And I feel so awful for all the people that live in London and what has happened. But unfortunately, this is the world that we're living in. And it requires cooperation and, frankly, not so much looking at them and giving them a lot of credit for doing something. They live off of being on the news and creating havoc. And I think that just as, again, it was said a little earlier, we can't give them the gratification that they get because they have dismantled us. We do need to keep going on.
CAMEROTA: When President Trump says, "We've made more progress in the last nine months against ISIS than the Obama administration has made in eight years. Must be proactive and nasty," do you see a difference in what the U.S. is doing in the past nine months in terms of anti- terrorist?
ALBRIGHT: Not particularly. I do think that this has been a long story. The Obama administration worked very hard on dealing with the terrorist issues. It would be really nice if President Trump actually thought about what he was doing rather than always blaming President Obama.
CUOMO: He also talked about the travel ban, saying, "That's why we passed the travel ban; and it should be far larger, tougher, and more specific. But that would not be politically correct."
ALBRIGHT: Well, I think he's completely wrong. Because the travel ban is actually giving a lot of solace to those who would like to say we're a terrible country. And it does, in fact, also give examples and makes everything be Muslim. And I think totally misunderstands.
I am opposed to the travel ban. I am wearing my Statue of Liberty today on purpose, because the strength of this country is that we respect diversity, that we understand what we stand for. And I think that the travel ban is something that is undercutting America's reputation and our leadership status and is something when you ask about how President Trump is going to be received at the U.N., that is one of the issues.
CAMEROTA: Secretary of State Madeline Albright, always great to get your take. Thanks so much.
ALBRIGHT: Thank you.
CUOMO: I knew those pins were code.
ALBRIGHT: They are.
CUOMO: I knew they weren't just fashion. It took me 15 years to get to that. Thank you.
ALBRIGHT: Thank you so much.
CUOMO: All right. So to President Trump. He has so many big issues to deal with that demand his attention. Why would he go back to what happened in Charlottesville and once again fan the flames of division, saying that both sides are to blame for violence that happened there? He said it again. Why? Next.
[07:23:30] CUOMO: At a time that the country needs unity so badly, President Trump going back to his claim that both sides have to be to blame for what happened in Charlottesville last month.
Hours later, the president did condemn white supremacists and hate groups.
Let's discuss with CNN political analyst David Gregory and reporter and editor-at-large for CNN Politics, Chris Cillizza.
David Gregory, let's put to use the better brain that is in your head. What do you see...
CHRIS CILLIZZA, CNN POLITICS CORRESPONDENT AND EDITOR AT LARGE: Wow.
CUOMO: I can't understand it. No Cillizza, it's not about you.
CILLIZZA: I'm right here. I can hear you when you say that.
CUOMO: We go to you for other stuff. This is for Gregory. So sensitive, you Italians.
Gregory, what do you make of this? He has to know that going into this area only hurts situations, only makes people feel that, in some way, no matter how much he says he condemns them, he seems to be getting cover and drawing equivalencies between those who want to kill Jews and all these other people in this country and other types of political violence.
DAVID GREGORY, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Look, it's just wrong. I don't understand it. I think he -- he must be bullied at certain times by some backup he gets, some validation that he gets for a position that he's taken. And that must strengthen him and strengthen his resolve to say, "Yes, I'm sticking to my guns. This is the position that actually makes sense. And maybe I had a point." And I don't know in what quarters he gets that validation. But it's the wrong quarters.
I mean, here you have a responsible conversation. You have Tim Scott of South Carolina, as an African-American senator coming to him saying, "This is wrong. You cannot do this." And him hearing him out, saying e has all these good points and turning around and doing this.
So I don't get it. I've never understood it. But it's corrosive. And it tends to undercut the other areas where he makes some real progress in his leadership, at least temporarily. It is part of what we've come to expect with Trump, which is you don't know where he's going to be one day to the next.
CAMEROTA: Well, I mean, Chris, he says it in his own words where he gets the reinforcement for his opinion. I mean, I'll just quote him. He says that a lot of people have actually written, "Gee, Trump might have a point," when he talks about how Antifa is also violent.
But the problem is that he seems more focused on Antifa and their violence in reaction to the white supremacists than he does the white supremacists' violence and ideology.
CILLIZZA: Yes. I mean, Alisyn, I think he's focused primarily on proving himself right.
If you read the full quote from Air Force One on the way back from Florida yesterday, you could sum it up in four words: "I told you so." He is, to David's point, I think he's -- there's no political smarts in this, candidly. This was the lowest moment of his presidency. To relitigate it on what is, honestly, a softball question: "How was your meeting with item Scott?"
"It went well." Right? I mean, there's no need for him to have done what he did. He's obsessed with proving himself right.
CUOMO: Chris Cillizza, you have a brilliant piece about exactly this.
CILLIZZA: See, now you're just pandering, but I appreciate it.
CUOMO: Well, no, no, it's accurate.
CAMEROTA: It's working.
CUOMO: It's accurate, and rightly called "The Point." We see it once again with the validation of the travel ban in the eyes of the president, looking at the London explosion that we were reporting on this morning. He says, "The travel ban into the U.S. should be larger, tougher, more specific, but stupidly, that would not be politically correct." Your take?
CILLIZZA: Yes. I mean, everything is about him. The Tim Scott -- even when he's praising Tim Scott before he gets into the Antifa stuff, he says, "And don't forget, I endorsed him very early on."
When he's talking about single payer health care yesterday, he said, "I warned Republicans that if they didn't vote for repeal and replace, this is what would happen."
He's that guy who is always saying, "Hey, I don't want to say I told you so, but I told you so." That's who he is. Sorry, David.
GREGORY: No, I was just going to say can we bring up the contrast? Because here he just sounds like a crank. You know, he's losing on that issue. He's bringing it up in the context of an attack about which we don't know all the details or who's behind it.
The judiciary has stood up to the executive here. American institutions are working their will. And there will be some resolution to this point. But you contrast this with his approach to North Korea, where there has been some bluster on his part. But the truth is strategically, there's a real plan; there's a real approach. And it's been measured, because it's so dangerous. And I think here the administration is acting, frankly, more conventionally, with foreign professionals looking at this in a more incremental approach.
CAMEROTA: Yes, but I mean, David, you know, to -- we don't have the details of what happened in London. All we see is a burning bucket.
CAMEROTA: And so to somehow connect this to the travel ban, it's just such a stretch.
GREGORY: It's -- right, it's a stretch. It's irresponsible. I mean, it's just -- there's nothing that's helpful about it at all.
And he allows himself this, because it makes, you know, it makes him feel good. Or again, what Chris said a minute ago, I think, is right. Which is there's not always a lot of political calculation.
GREGORY: And I think he is so reactive. I mean, yesterday he reacted on the DREAMers story, I'm sure because he felt Democrats were trying to make him look bad, and he didn't like how it sounded in the papers. So the -- the visceral aspect of just how he reacts to something and what he sees is what's so unnerving and should be to so many Americans. But again, I think it's important to add in the context that we have an issue like North Korea, where he's been much more measured and is pursuing in a different way.
CUOMO: Also, you know, what's interesting here, Chris Cillizza, is obviously, we've been -- I've been part of the team down there for CNN, covering the storm. And there's such opportunity for the president...
CUOMO: ... to focus on a positive and progressive agenda. You know, he -- he could get Florida delivered to him in the next election if he does this right, if he shows that the government will be there for them now, three months from now, six months from now, 16 months from now. You know, that is the type of political action that can lock in a constituency. And he could use it to create a message of positivity and unity that's organically coming out of it anyway. Why distract from that with these gambits?
CILLIZZA: And let me add one other thing there, Chris. It got a little bit overlooked yesterday. But he flies down to Florida. He's appearing with Rick Scott, Mike Pence and others. And what does he say...