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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Two of the Suspects in the Shootings in "Charlie Hebdo" Office in Paris Identified
Aired January 8, 2015 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Well, good evening everyone. It is 8:00 in the east coast United States, 2:00 a.m. here in Paris. And there are many new developments even at this late hour in the pair of alleged killers, terrorists.
Two brothers suspected of murdering a dozen people here Wednesday morning. Here they are. Said and Cherif Kouachi, ages 34 and 32. Both of whom, we are learning tonight, were on the U.S. no fly list. One of whom may have trained with Al-Qaeda in Yemen. Now, they are now the targets of a massive, massive manhunt involving tens of thousands of police and security personnel here in France.
We've already seen a number of police operations just in the recent hours. The latest in a wooded area northeast of here. We're going to take you there. We also have seen the first photo from inside the offices of the weekly, "Charlie Hebdo". We want to warn you, it's not easy to look at.
With that said, this is what the crime scene or part of it looked like in the wake of the killings Wednesday morning. Ten people, as you know, fatally wounded in those offices. Blood strewn all about. Papers, mayhem. Two others gunned down outside.
Today, the police started emerging from the raw shock of it all and all of France at noon; I should say people started emerging from the raw shock of it all, although frankly, police officers are shocked as well. They have lost not only two police officers in this attack but a policewoman was also killed in the early morning hours today.
We're going to have more on that. It's a separate investigation. But everyone here paused in France at noon for a moment of silence.
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COOPER: Subways stopped. Cars pulled over on many streets. People just stood on sidewalks and there you heard the bells of the Notre Dame cathedral.
More tonight on that on the fugitives' background and of course on the manhunt taking place right now.
COOPER (voice-over): Around 3:00 local time Thursday morning, French authorities released names and photos of two of the suspects in the attack, Cherif Kouachi and said Kouachi, brothers, feared to be armed and dangerous. Said's ID had been found in the getaway car.
Around 8:00 a.m., a gunman dressed in black and wearing what appears to be a bulletproof vest shoots and kills a policewoman in a Paris suburb. One person was later arrested, though, it is not known if the gunman remains at large. Authorities have not established a link with the attack at "Charlie Hebdo". But they are investigating it as a terror attack.
PATRICK KLUGMAN, PARIS DEPUTY MAYOR: We may be facing a new wave. It's probably not the end of a terror attack. We are ready to face it. We will fight. And fighting is ending this people, getting them to jail, but also keeping our values up (ph).
COOPER: The two suspects from Wednesday's massacre are believed to rob a gas station here in the town of Veere Kotare (ph), about 50 miles northeast of Paris. The station attendant tells authorities they were armed, stole gas and food and then drove off. Nearby, a local believes the suspects abandoned their car and escaped on foot.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): There was a man who told me they apparently took their car and went through the forest. He said, don't go through the forest, go around to avoid running into them.
COOPER: Law enforcement swarm in. France's prime minister raises the threat level to the highest possible. Authorities conduct multiple operations in the area and seem to be focusing on a heavily wooded section. It's forest larger than the size of Paris, a lot of ground to cover for a manhunt.
At 6:40 p.m. local time here in Paris, France' minister announces that nine people have been detained so far in the wake of Wednesday's attack, but the two brothers are still at large.
And as Thursday ends, a moment of remembrance on this day of mourning. The light of the Eiffel Tower are turned off. Elsewhere in France as in other cities in town throughout France and Europe, people continue to gather expressing solidarity and defiance in the face of terror.
COOPER: Incredible scenes of bravery we've seen, just thousands, tens of thousands of people coming into the streets. As I said, wanting to express solidarity, warning to express defiance at this on a day which there have been two police officers killed on Wednesday, one police officer killed early today.
Back in Washington, President Obama paid a call on the French embassy signing the condolence book expressing his solidarity with the French people.
And of course in Washington, Paris, and other major capitals, the search continues for any possible connections that these brothers may have or and others may have to any organized terror group or larger movements. We've seen a number of signs already. We want to bring you up to date on all the latest information.
Barbara Starr and Pamela Brown, both have been working the story.
First, I'll go to Barbara Starr. You broke the news today that one of these brothers may have trained with Al-Qaeda in Yemen. What more do you know? What's the most you know about this?
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, good evening.
Two U.S. officials tell us that they now have information from French authorities that Said Kouachi, the older brother, traveled to Yemen in 2011. He got weapons training there. He affiliated himself with Al- Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, AQAP. That is a dangerous, very dangerous Al-Qaeda affiliate in Yemen. That is a group that's tried to attack the United States before and had the French magazine in its cross hairs.
Now, what officials are trying to determine is how long did he stay there, who exactly did he meet, what kind of training he got and when he left Yemen, where did he go? The big concern, of course, you know, is this an attack that may indicate Al-Qaeda has other sleeper cells out there? People that they may have trained years ago who went back home, who may be planning additional attacks -- Anderson.
COOPER: And the other question about that particular trip to Yemen is, there's two options. One, that he was there. The plot was hatched there. The plan was hatched there. And he was sort of given this as an operation to undertake, or he got training there, came back here and then hatched the plan with whatever other conspirators he was working with.
STARR: You know, I think that's a really key question right now. People talk all the time. Is it an attack inspired by some terrorist group or directed, ordered up by a terrorist group? And what officials are saying is, you know, at some point, it may not much matter in a broader sense. You're seeing these days a lot of mixed loyalties, people affiliating themselves at different times with different groups in different countries. There is ISIS, there is Al- Qaeda corp., there is Al-Qaeda in Yemen. People have mixed loyalties and mixed affiliations.
This may be the new world of terrorism where all possibilities have to be considered. But the bottom line has to be catching these people and of course, making sure there's no one else out there.
COOPER: And Barbara, there have been some reports about one of them taking a possible trip to Syria. Do you know more anything on that?
STARR: Well, that's really interesting. Gets to what we're just talking about. Now, there are media reports and some other reports that at least one of the brothers, and the French have looked into this as well, traveled to Syria at some point.
What U.S. officials are telling me is they don't have enough information to confirm any of that at this point. They just simply don't know. They don't see data yet to confirm it. It raises the question whether if it happened, was there also an affiliation of loyalty, perhaps, to ISIS, to the old Al-Qaeda in Iraq group that became ISIS?
Again, the notion that many jihadis these days, they have mixed loyalties, there may be blended threats out there. Everybody may need to think about all of this in a much different fashion, Anderson.
COOPER: We do know, however, that the younger brother was sentenced and convicted in a French court of attempting to travel, ultimately, to Iraq through Syria. But that is separate than the idea of a possible trip to Syria more recently, so a lot we're still trying to figure out.
Barbara Starr, thank you.
Pamela Brown on what she has been learning now. These brothers, they were on the radar of U.S. intelligence agencies, correct?
PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Anderson. U.S. law enforcement sources are saying that French intelligence have shared information about the brothers, said they had been on the U.S. radar and in the Thai database which lists known or, you know, international terrorists. In fact, we've learned from sources, Anderson, that the brothers had actually been on the U.S. no-fly list for years.
It's unclear, exactly, what prompted that, but of course, you know, logic would tell you that it could have something to do with the arrest of one of the brothers for allegedly wanting to join jihadists overseas and then of course as we learned the other brother traveling to Yemen in 2011 and training with AQAP, Anderson.
COOPER: What steps are you hearing about from U.S. officials about them trying to prevent any kind of related attack or similar kind of attack in the United States?
BROWN: Well, we know, Anderson, right now as we speak with the FBI, the (INAUDIBLE), an intelligence agencies, they are scrubbing their databases and reevaluating high level targets living in the U.S. to see whether they have any connections to the brothers determining how these targets may be impacted by the Paris attacks. And essentially, the officials are determining whether they should take any additional action by deploying more techniques or even reaching out to some of these targets.
And just to make this clear, some of these high level targets include Americans who have come back to the U.S. from Syria. Sources say that number is more than a dozen. And also, Anderson, those Americans who may have traveled to Yemen and trained with AQAP. In fact, officials are saying there's been a steady stream for years of Americans going to train in Yemen. And in light of the fact one of the Paris suspects trained in Yemen, of course, that's something U.S. officials are especially concerned about.
COOPER: Yes. All right, Pamela, appreciate the update.
Luc Hermann is executive director of a TV production in news agency. It is in the same building as "Charlie Hebdo" offices right across the hall. In fact, he arrived at the office just 30 minutes after the shooting. He joins me now.
Thanks very much for being with us. We talked to one of your employees, Martin, who took the now world famous video from the roof, just a few blocks from where we standing. Explain when your employers realized something was going on.
LUC HERMANN, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, PREMIERES LIGNES: They heard heavy fire, heavy automatic rifle and they immediately understood that the target was "Charlie Hebdo" right on the same floor next door on our floor.
COOPER: So just a few feet away.
HERMANN: Right there. Death was behind the door for our team. Luckily, no one was injured. They concealed the door. They weren't on the roof. They started filming some of the pictures and two of our reporters were the first to get in. After the gunmen have left the areas, two of our reporters were the first to get in. The newsroom of "Charlie Hebdo," you've seen dramatic picture that was at the beginning of your program.
COOPER: They were actually asked to come in and help.
HERMANN: They went themselves.
COOPER: They went in.
HERMANN: What's happening in there, and they got in. There was still a lot of smoke and it's under shock. They described to me horrific scene of people with shots in their head. A lot of blood and very few wounded people that they started helping at the time when the police and emergency services arrived.
COOPER: It's just remarkable. That they were so close. They had moved into the office relatively recently, what, I think six months ago.
HERMANN: Exactly, right before the summer in June. And to be quite honest with you, we were quite excited to have "Charlie Hebdo" in our floor. We said, well, that is an interesting building with interesting journalism, interesting, and we would joke about the fact that there could be a fear. We talked with them.
COOPER: You weren't afraid about it.
HERMANN: We joked about it because they would joke about it. It was their way to cope and react with the thing and the fear, and just a threat. There was some police car from time to time in front of the building, not the recent weeks.
COOPER: So in the recent weeks, you hadn't seen a permanent police presence?
HERMANN: No. During the summer, yes, there was a car everyday in front of the door but not after September. COOPER: Incredible, I don't know, coincidence or just incredible part
of this, you actually investigated one of these suspects, one of the suspected terrorists now, one of these brothers years ago.
HERMANN: Yes, in 2005, I made a documentary, a long investigation on the cell. A very small cell of young French men, French nationals in their early 20s and Cherif, the younger brother, was part of this cell. And when I investigated the cell, there were young guys who had very little religious background who decided to go to Iraq via Syria.
COOPER: This was 2005.
HERMANN: 2004 and 2005. Some of them died or were arrested in Iraq by American forces. And Cherif, at the time of my investigation, he was in jail because he had been arrested by the French authorities at French airport as he was on his way to Syria.
COOPER: He was going to try to fly to Syria in order to get into Iraq.
HERMANN: Exactly. He was sentenced to three years in prison and at the time when I met his lawyer. He said that he was about 22, 23. He said, quote, "I'm happy that they stuffed me. That the police voided the fact that I could go to Syria and eventually leave Iraq." And he did three years in jail.
COOPER: So, his lawyer back then was claiming that Cherif, the suspect in this killing, was actually happy that he had been stopped by police because he was, what, having doubts about going to fight in Iraq?
HERMANN: Have doubts, fear is what he told me. I mean, he was under the influence of so-called preacher that was feeding him these bad ideas. So the lawyer, it was part of the defense process also trying to minimize totally his involvement.
COOPER: "The New York Times," I believe, reported based on what they said are court documents saying that Cherif had originally wanted to target Jewish targets in Paris, but this preacher, this radical cleric had convinced him this was not the place for the jihad back in 2004 or 2005 in Iraq.
HERMANN: That's exactly right. The preacher's name is Fahid (INAUDIBLE), and never left France and then was sentenced to jail. Told him, yes, no targets in France. That was specific. No targets in France. You have to go to Iraq.
COOPER: Well, if he is in fact one of the perpetrators, clearly, went back to the original idea of targeting places in France.
HERMANN: Horrible day but on this terrible pressure under the freedom of speech here in the heart of Paris, in this broad daylight yesterday morning.
COOPER: Yes. Extraordinary. Luc, thank you so much. Appreciate it. Luc Hermann, thank you for coming and talking to us. When we comeback we got more on who these alleged killers are because
we are learning pieces of information, pieces of the puzzle. What they were doing before becoming France's two most wanted men, which they are right now and the huge effort underway right now to catch then. Almost 90,000 security forces on the lookout.
COOPER: Welcome back. We are live in Paris.
As we reported the top of the broadcast, the manhunt for these two brothers suspected in the "Charlie Hebdo" massacre now appears to be focused in part at least on this wooded area. It is about 45 minutes northeast of where I am. There are reports they've been spotted by helicopter.
Atika Shubert is covering the manhunt. She joins us now.
You've seen helicopters, I know, within the last hour or so over this wooded area. What exactly have you seen and how confident are authorities that the suspects are actually there?
ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, we have seen helicopters circling here throughout the day and now into the night possibly using thermo imaging to scour the woods in this area.
It's a huge area to cover. We're talking about thousands of acres. And just a few hours ago, it seemed as though the net was closing in on the two suspects. We saw a ramped up police presence with heavy tactical units, heavily armed SWAT teams really going into (INAUDIBLE), which is the village just about four kilometers behind me.
They went in with house to house searches, looking at farmhouses, telling residents to stay inside. But so far, no indication that the suspects have, in fact, been found. So they may have widened the search area to the forest nearby, the forest of Brett (ph). If that's the case, it's going to be very hard to search in that area.
As you can see, things are quite quiet now. And we saw a very large police convoy go a couple hours ago with a number of tactical units as well as what appear to be forensic teams. So it looks as though for now, the police operation has been sort of suspended overnight. They will likely resume tomorrow morning. There are still, however, helicopters in the area that we have seen looking and, of course, there are the checkpoints still on the various roads here.
So they're keeping a watch, but it does seem for now that it's quite possible a second night goes by and still no suspects to be found, Anderson.
COOPER: Right. I mean, if they're in this forest, this forest is larger than the city of Paris itself. So it's a huge area to try to cover, also probably a difficult area to try to survive in. Particularly in this cold unless you've prepositioned some sort of supplies. How far is it? Do we know where these two brothers live? And if so, how far is this area from where they live? I'm trying to get a sense of how familiar they may be with this area.
SHUBERT: They could be quite familiar with this area because, remember, it all started with the ID card that was found in the first vehicle they used, the black Sitron. That identified said Kouachi. They then went to his apartment which was in Hanz (ph), which is about 45 minutes from here. So relatively close by and in the area.
They raided his apartment, took whatever evidence they could. We actually saw the forensics teams there and spoke to you from outside of his apartment last night. Then we had the gas station sighting at 10:30 this morning. The gas attendant who says that he was held up by the two. They took fuel, food, and were heavily armed and sped away. That's about 12 kilometers from where I'm standing.
So they may well know this area, but why haven't they traveled further and where are they going? They might be using back roads to try and avoid any police, any photographs at toll roads, toll stations, for example. And just to point out, we are quite close to the Belgium border here. So it may be that they are trying to cross into the border. But we just don't know at this point where they're headed or where they may even be trying to hiding, if they know this area as well.
COOPER: Yes. And I guess that's one of the questions that law enforcement may not be able to learn the answer to until they've actually really forensically examined the material they took from that apartment. But how much of this was part of the plan or is this now just kind of an ad hoc operation stealing vehicles, stealing gas where they can and kind of go minute to minute? We'll learn more obviously in the hours and days ago.
Atika Shubert, thank you.
I'm here with Hala Gorani and Christiane Amanpour, chief international correspondent.
The fact, a, that this manhunt, and this is the largest manhunt I've ever heard of in France at least in recent history.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It is. The justice minister told me today that in fact, it is, that she heard to obviously deploy and make available all of these facilities and these personnel which has happened.
The foreign minister told me, obviously, that this is the worst attack that's taken place in France in 50 years and it is a real shock to the system of this nation. And they are, they say, determined to pursue these to the ends and I asked the justice minister, look, these people are moving towards the borders. Do you think they'll be able to pass the borders? She insisted that is still in France, as we've been discussing with Atika and that she feels confident that they have the cooperation with allies and neighbors around to make sure they don't cross the borders but at this point, I mean, who really knows?
COOPER: Yes. And Hala, I mean, it's one thing to survive hiding out in an apartment somewhere, to be in a forest unless you have supplies, unless you're used to being in that kind of environment, in that kind of cold and these temperatures, it's rough going.
GALA GORANI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: As you and I were discussing earlier, if you don't have enough money to buy a sandwich at a gas station, how long are you going to be able hide out in these temperatures, if indeed it is those two individuals, those two suspects the gas station attendant spotted there.
So yes, it does seem, I mean, given the scale and Christiane were talking about this, almost 90,000 police officers involved in this search but also military personnel. I mean, it was Surreal to see military transport were in land and apparent in an airport to respond to a domestic situation such as this one. It really feels odd and a bit surreal, especially when we see the video of what transpired here.
COOPER: I think it was just last month, France's prime minister, said, I don't want to misquoted, but said that the France has never faced such a dire threat.
AMANPOUR: Well, that is absolutely right. And you just go back a few months and the whole of Europe is being on this alert since the rise of ISIS. I mean, that was the last big, you know, terror alert to us that we've had and they've all been really terrified, particularly France. Why? Because France, unfortunately, is in a situation unlike other European neighbors, whereby it has so many Muslims, first of all, but so many more of its individuals gone over there.
COOPER: More than a thousand.
AMANPOUR: About a thousand. And that is a lot of people. A thousand, one official said as quoted to saying today, you know, they are so many and we are so few of trying to figure them out. You know, the justice ministry again said, that one of these guys, one of these Kouachi brothers was under surveillance by the French state just until this summer. So they've had it in the process.
COOPER: Extraordinary. And that is problem with this sheer number of people who either have gone or may be planning to go fight in Syria or Yemen or elsewhere, just the resources needed to actually monitor them around the clock would be overwhelming.
GARANI: And it's not just the resources to monitor them, but it's the resources to protect potential targets. We know there was a policeman here parked for several months outside of "Charlie Hebdo" that several weeks ago, that security, that surveillance and security I should say operation was downgraded to just a security detail of the editor who sadly was among the 12 murdered.
So it is a question of resources, of surveillance, of policing, of protection. But also, it's going to have to be a national conversation in this country. A national conversation directed at the Muslim community of how you go about solving the issue, not just with law enforcement, but with outreach. That's going to have to be part of it too.
AMANPOUR: And to that end, you know, they've had, as you've seen, so many people come out on to the streets. They are really fighting back in this country. They're not lying down and taking it. People are not afraid. They're saying it in any which way they can. They have another huge rally planned for Sunday, but all the imams are being asked today, Friday, 2:00 a.m. on Friday here, Friday prayers today. And they are all being asked to condemn this in the most strong terms in Friday's prayers around this country. And we've seen big Islamic leaders from Egypt to all around the world saying and condemning this.
COOPER: It's interesting, though, I mean, it is one thing to say you're not afraid and we talked about this last night but I do think it bears repeating, it's another thing to come out when there's still a manhunt going on, when another police officer was killed just this morning. That person may be still on the loose. One arrest has been made. We don't know if that arrest has any direct connection. But to come out and be in a public space with tens of thousands of other people, I mean, that's a prime terror target. And yet, to do that in the face of that and say I'm not afraid to do that, because of that real terror threat is an extraordinary act of courage.
AMANPOUR: It is. And I think that the foreign minister was so incredibly poignant when he said to me today, look, this is a new thing. They are attacking the freedom. They are attacking France and this was because of what France is. We are the Bastian of freedom and democracy in free speech in the west and in the world. And he said, that you know, there is no democracy without freedom. There is no freedom without freedom of the press. These are very profound words. This is the heart of what has happened here.
COOPER: And we continue to see people and I mean, you see the images, look at the -- just sheer volumes of people, In Amsterdam as well, tens of thousands of people and holding up pens.
GARANI: I was stopped by a woman. We were filming earlier and she said she just came up to me and said tell them we're not afraid. She wanted the world to hear through our reporters.
COOPER: Christiane, thank you. Hala as well.
A remarkable occurrences. We have seen so much of the outpouring of solidarity throughout the day and throughout the night tonight as this manhunt continues. You can find a whole lot more on this story and many others at CNN.com.
Just ahead, more on the search for the suspects and the search for answers, as we reported U.S. officials say one of brothers may have trained with Al-Qaeda in Yemen. More on what we know about the suspects coming up next.
COOPER: Welcome back. We are live now in Paris. It's just a little bit after 2:30 a.m. here in Paris. This massive manhunt still under way. I wanted to show you, give you a sense of where we are. We're just about two blocks or so from the offices of Charlie Hebdo. This entire area now has been cordoned off. And if you look behind me, you can see one of several makeshift memorials that has sprung up in this area. This is as close as civilians can get unless you have a reason to be near the offices. This is so people have been depositing candles and flowers and photographs and cartoons, pens and pencils. And they have been coming throughout the day. This is just sprung up naturally. It started with one of two people coming, bringing flowers, lighting candles and it has grown and grown, is now spreading out through this whole area and we have seen thousands of people really filtering in and out of here throughout the day and even now, early in the early morning hours in a very cold early morning hours. You still have some people coming to pay their respects.
In the meantime, a short drive out of town, helicopters have been searching the woods, looking for the suspects. They are, as we've been learning tonight, two men with a past. They were known to authorities here and in the United States. I want to take a look more now at the picture that's beginning to emerge from our Jim Sciutto.
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Cherif Kouachi looks carefree rapping in this French television documentary. A far cry from his current predicament as heavily armed police comb the countryside outside of Paris, looking for Cherif and his older brother Said. They are the men authorities allege are behind Paris's worst terror attack in decades. Their alleged involvement shocks their neighbors.
ABDEL-KADER SAHRAOUI, NEIGHBOR OF SAID KOUACHI (through translator): He lived here for a year and a half. He used to leave in the morning and we never saw him. But if he really did that, it's disgusting because what we saw last night truly, we cried.
SCIUTTO: French reports say Cherif, 32, and 34-year old Said were orphaned at a young age. Both brother have radicalized past and drew the attention of French authorities.
BERNARD CAZENEUVE, FRENCH INTERIOR MINISTER (through translator): Soon, the identity of the suspects was known. Where they might flee to. They were placed under surveillance.
SCIUTTO: A former counterterror official tells CNN they were under surveillance but the surveillance stopped in part because there is simply too many suspected Jihadis in France. The younger Cherif spent time in jail for his links to terrorism. In 2005, arrested before traveling to Syria. A plan that would have taken him to fight against U.S. and coalition troops in Iraq. Today, the mosque where they worshipped is torn down. French reports say here, he met a man who would teach him to use a Kalashnikov and train by jogging in a local park. He was sentenced to three years in prison in 2008 for recruiting Jihadis to fight in Iraq. Cherif's former lawyer claims, though, he was not an extremist.
VINCENT OLIVIER, CHERIF KOUACHI'S FORMER ATTORNEY (through translator): He was like a lot of young people. He just had a job that provided him money for an interesting lifestyle. When he got out of custody, he found a job, he got married and when he arrived in quarter (ph) 2008, he seemed to be getting back on the right path.
SCIUTTO: Much less is known about the elder Kouachi brother, Said, who seems to have had a lower profile.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Said Kouachi lived in France. He was unemployed. And was never condemned or accused, but he appeared in the periphery of some of these investigations.
SCIUTTO: Largely in the periphery until leaving his I.D. in the getaway car and tipping off authorities as to who the gunman might be.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): It was a mistake. A single mistake.
COOPER: Jim Sciutto joins me now. It's obviously a very important mistake for law enforcement. You know, the pieces of the puzzle are starting to come together on some of these guys' past. Do we know how closely they were observed by French intelligence officials?
SCIUTTO: Very closely and for a number of years, but that surveillance stopped. When I spoke today with the former head of French counterterror, in fact, he was in charge of counterterror during a time when they were under surveillance. And I said why did you take him off surveillance, and he said in the simplest terms that I'm quoting him, there's too many of them, suspected Jihadists and too few of us. He gave me a sense of the numbers. 5,000 known or suspected terrorists in France today.
SCIUTTO: 5,000. It takes three ...
COOPER: Because that's - I mean the number of those who may have gone to Syria or elsewhere.
SCIUTTO: In the hundreds.
COOPER: Or thousand. They've served the ...
SCIUTTO: Exactly, but this goes beyond that. So that is someone who never went there, but are still considered suspected jihadis or people interested in --
COOPER: So they have a system. There's tier one people. Those people are sort of around the clock surveillance, but others fall below that.
SCIUTTO: And they have to make adjustment calls. It takes three to ten officers to keep one suspect under surveillance. So you can't possibly do all 5,000. That would take tens of thousands. So they make judgment calls. These men were under surveillance for a time, but then they stopped. And they say sometimes they get those judgments right -- and in fact, they say they foiled a number of plots just in recent weeks. This one they clearly got wrong. That's why you have French authorities but also U.S. authorities now going back over the people on their watch list to see, did we make a bad call here? Do we have to put them back on the list?
COOPER: Thank you, Jim Sciutto. Good information. I want to bring in French terrorism expert, Jean-Charles Brisard, who is author of "Zarkawi: The New Face of Al Qaeda." Also former CIA and FBI counterterrorism official, Philip Mudd. Philip, great to have you on. Let me start with you if I can. I know you have sources, there's been some reports that perhaps one of these brothers traveled to Syria. We know a French official told U.S. officials the elder brother is believed to have traveled to Yemen or received some training. What are you hearing from your sources?
JEAN-CHARLES BRISARD, TERRORISM EXPERT: From my sources, I hear that Cherif Kouachi --
COOPER: The younger brother.
BRISARD: The younger brother, has been traveling recently until August 2014 to Syria.
COOPER: That recently? 2014.
BRISARD: Exactly, August. So he returned to France from Syria.
COOPER: And again, we have not been able to confirm this, this is based on your sources, but do they know what he was doing there, what groups he may have been working with?
BRISARD: No. And they're currently investigating the specific issue of this traveling.
COOPER: How closely can French officials monitor the international movements of people from here? In the United States, there's the benefit of anybody who is leaving from an airport, it's a lot easier to track. Here, the borders you can go to other countries in Europe.
BRISARD: Essentially, through electronic intelligence. They're collecting information. You have social networks. They're putting people under surveillance also, (inaudible) surveillance, telephone surveillance. And also they are picking information from human sources. (inaudible) from these both Syria and Iraq. They were heard by judges, for example. Testify and they can target them on specific individuals.
COOPER: Phil, in terms of French intelligence and French law enforcement, is very well known for their ability, their knowledge of local communities, their ability to find out what is going on. If a country like France cannot keep up with the sheer volume of people who that they have -- suspects, what does that mean for the rest of the Western Europe?
PHILIP MUDD, TERRORISM EXPERT: Look, all of these countries have the same problem. And it's a volume problem. When you look at this case in isolation, you're going to ask a question. As anybody would. If somebody travels to Syria, if somebody travels to Yemen, if they're Jihadists in the past, why can't you keep up with them? The answer, Anderson, is simple. I think there's too much haziness here about what surveillance is. I've been there and let me tell you. If you want to get serious about somebody, there's a spectrum. You can see whether they've changed addresses, for example, you can put them on a watch list to see whether they've traveled. You go all the way to the other end, to human surveillance of somebody, putting rolling teams on people. That is incredibly labor intensive. In between that, you have things like Internet, e-mail and phone surveillance. The volume of people you see -- and I agree what was mentioned earlier about the numbers, 5,000, for example, is simply too great. We had the same issue at the FBI. You've got to make the same decision every day. Capability and intent. Does somebody have the capability to do something? Weapons and explosives? Do they have the intent to do something? Do they want to take an action? Every day you are going to take somebody off the list, add someone on the list. With those kinds of numbers, statistically, sometimes you're going to make a mistake.
COOPER: And Jean-Charles, I suppose the fact that these two brothers, and according to -- we have information and you have this information about one of them traveling to Syria though we haven't been able to confirm it, the idea that they have traveled, so theoretically, they've gained some sort of military capabilities, the ability to use weaponry - small scale--
BISARD: This explains how they were capable of conducting such an attack, the ability that they needed.
COOPER: The question though remains whether a group, if they worked with a group, whether it be in Syria or in Yemen, whether that group --
BISARD: Directed them.
COOPER: Directed them or tasked them, or whether they'd just come back with this training, looked around for targets, saw "Inspire" magazine or whatever and decided, OK, we're going to go after "Charlie Hebdo?"
BISARD: The investigation will look at that. Whether they were directed by a group or whether they acted on their own. Yes.
COOPER: How critical, Phil, do you think that information is? Even if they weren't directed by this group, the fact that they could be self- starters, you know, they get a couple of people together, form a cell, and choose to act this out, that's the kind of operation that can be repeated and copy-catted in any place around the world.
MUDD: Sure. This story is changing hugely in the past 12 to 24 hours. This foreign connection in my old world is huge for the following reason. First, when they travel over there, you've got a signal that there's a bigger conspiracy afoot. Who paid for the ticket? Who introduced them to the trainers for example in Yemen or Syria? Who got them the travel route they knew how to get in there without signaling French authorities? Who else is taking that route? That's number one. All of the sudden, the investigation is much more complex, but there's a bigger question, Anderson, that I'd be asking tonight. That is, if they took this route, the chance or if one of them took a route into a place like Syria or Yemen, the chance that that individual who got training to execute the operation against "Charlie Hebdo," that that was the only westerner from France, New York, Washington, Chicago, who got that kind of training, that chance is about zero. Who else took the same route, went to the same camp, and is sitting there today watching, saying I want to go execute the same kind of operation? That's what I'd be worried about.
COOPER: And that is a worrying question, indeed. Phil Mudd, thank you for being with us. Jean-Charles Brisard as well. Thank you very much for your expertise. Appreciate it. Just ahead, my conversation with the columnist for the magazine who also happens to be an ER doctor, for the magazine "Charlie Hebdo." He's trying to process the horrifying scene that he saw after the attack. He wasn't at the meeting where the attack took place. He rushed there to try to provide medical aid to those who were wounded, and to the colleagues he had been working with. At the same time, he is vowing the magazine will go on. My conversation with him ahead.
COOPER: Remarkable scene earlier this evening. 8:00 local time here in Paris, the Eiffel tower, its lights turned off in remembrance of the victims of the attack. This satirical magazine that was its target, will go on, will not be silenced by terror. They vow that they're going to come out with an edition on Wednesday, a million copies they're going to print. The remaining contributors of "Charlie Hebdo." Patrick Pelloux is among them. He is not only a columnist for the magazine but also an ER doctor, and he went to the scene of the attack moments after the attack, he tried to provide as much aid as he could to those who were wounded inside. I met with him today at the hospital, where some of his colleagues are still being treated. Here's our conversation.
COOPER: First of all, I'm so sorry for your loss. How are you holding up?
PATRICK PELLOUX, "CHARLIE HEBDO" CONTRIBUTOR: (SPEAKING FRENCH)
COOPER: The magazine, it's going to publish this coming Wednesday. Why is that so important to you?
PELLOUX: (SPEAKING FRENCH)
COOPER: I know you went to the office after the attack to help your colleagues. What was the scene? When did you arrive?
PELLOUX: (SPEAKING FRENCH) COOPER: The objective of the killers was to silence you, your colleagues, to silence the expression of freedom of expression. It seems they have failed. If anything, they have only amplified your voice. They have only made "Charlie Hebdo" known around the world. Do you have any doubt that they have failed?
PELLOUX: (SPEAKING FRENCH)
COOPER: Are you afraid?
PELLOUX: (SPEAKING FRENCH)
COOPER: Said if his colleagues, if the magazine did not publish again, his colleagues would be murdered twice.
Just ahead, the image that captures the barbarity of yesterday's terror attack in a single frame. Tonight we can tell you more about the police officer who was murdered on that sidewalk seconds after that image was recorded.
COOPER: Final moments of the massacre at "Charlie Hebdo" were captured on video by a filmmaker who fled to the rooftop. The video contains an image that's already become iconic, it is certainly haunting and horrific. Just before they sped away in their getaway car, the gunmen murdered their last victim, the police officer who they wounded on the sidewalk, completely vulnerable, still alive and at the mercy of the two masked terrorists. Here's Randi Kaye.
RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Before we even knew his name, we knew how he died. In a terrifying instant, alone on a Paris sidewalk. It would be hours before we'd learn the man on the ground is Ahmed Merabet, a police officer on patrol nearby the offices of "Charlie Hebdo." Already shot once, he twisted in pain on the ground. Then as the terrorists moved in, put his hands up, indicating surrender. It appears he was pleading for mercy.
Media reports indicate the gunman asked the wounded officer, "do you want to kill us?" The officer allegedly replied, "no, it's okay, boss." That's when one of the gunmen shot him point-blank range in the head. An execution in broad daylight, an unforgettable image forever associated with this horrible attack.
Merabet's colleagues, a police union representative told the Guardian he was on foot and came nose to nose with the terrorists. He pulled out his weapon, it was his job. It was his duty. That same colleague described him as quiet and conscientious. Likable and always smiling. He told reporters Merabet had a girlfriend.
Merabet had reportedly been a police office for eight years, assigned to the 11th arrondissement (ph). He was 40 years old, a bicycle cop. The Guardian is reporting he had just qualified to become a detective. Another union member told reporters Merabet was slaughtered like a dog.
What his killers may not have known is that Ahmed Merabet was Muslim, his parents reportedly from North Africa. Soon after the video of his death was made public, social media lit up with tributes to a slain officer who was killed trying to defend a magazine that at times made fun of his faith. This tweet reads, "I am not Charlie. I am Ahmed, the dead cop. Charlie ridiculed my faith and culture, and I died defending his right to do so." It also includes the hashtag, "#jesuisahmed," a show of solidarity meaning "I am Ahmed." Like the hashtag jesuischarlie, it too began to spread on Twitter and Instagram. This image on Twitter made a big statement. It reads "this is not a religion." But it was this tweet that said so much about a man who lost his life so others can speak freely. "Merci, Ahmed." Thank you. Randi Kaye, CNN, New York.
COOPER: Je suis Ahmed. There's a lot more to tell you about. We're going to be live all throughout the next hour. I want to show you the cover of "The New Yorker" magazine, its next issue. A powerful statement standing in solidarity with the people here in France. And the slain writers and caricaturists from "Charlie Hebdo." That's next week's "New Yorker." The Eiffel tower that points to a pencil at the top. Our coverage continues for the next hour. We're going to take a short break. We'll be right back.