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Live Coverage Of Aftermath Of Paris Terror Attacks; France Strikes Back, Bombs ISIS Sites; U.S. Shares ISIS Intel with France; FBI Running Batch of Names of Potential Suspects; French Politicians Disagree on Refugee Crisis. Aired 7-8p ET
Aired November 15, 2015 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening from Paris. We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Poppy Harlow.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm John Berman. You are watching special coverage of the terror attacks that left the people of this city really united in grief.
There are two major developments we're following this evening. Here is what we know at this moment. An international manhunt is now under way for this man -- 26-year-old Salah Abdeslam. He's a Belgian-born French national who we now know was questioned by French police hours before the attacks but then let go. It was on the road apparently headed in the direction of Belgium.
Police now desperate to find him in this country and in Belgium; believed he was involved along with his two brothers in the slaughter of 129 innocent people.
Today France struck back hitting ISIS with bombs, air strikes in Syria dropping 20 bombs on ISIS targets in and around Raqqa including a recruitment center and a training camp.
We have also learned more about how the terrorists got into France. European officials tell CNN at least one of the suicide bombers posed as a Syrian refugee arriving to the Greek island of Leros before traveling on to Macedonia, Serbia, Croatia, finally arriving here in France.
HARLOW: And as the investigation widens, the people of Paris remain on edge. Look at this. What you're looking at is something that broke out earlier this evening just setting off an absolute panic. A crowd gathered around a memorial to the victims. It happened right here when there were thousands of people -- John, you were here -- thousands of people here at the Place de la Republique. A scare -- thousands of people starting running as fast as they could, trampling flowers, candles, tears in some of their eyes trying to get to safety. Gives you a picture of how on edge this city certainly is. And it is still not clear what it was that set them off. But for several tense moments, police had their weapons ready. There was some key evidence that was also recovered today we want to update you on. Authorities in Paris say they found three Kalashnikovs -- they're AK-47s -- in an abandoned car. That car believed to have been rented and used by the terrorists on Friday night.
Let's bring in our experts to talk about exactly where we go from here. A lot has been learned today but a lot of questions remain.
CNN chief national security correspondent Jim Sciutto -- with us here.
When you look at what The French authorities have determined today, three brothers.
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: No question. And you have this stunning detail that one of those brothers was stopped in the hours after the attack. But stunning perhaps only in retrospect because at that time it was just a few hours later they did not know that he was involved.
As it would turn out, a few hours after that, they would identify one of these three brothers via fingerprints as one of the dead suicide bombers at the Stade de France. And then as they're piecing it together, they realize that this brother, they actually had a chance to get him. And now they have an international man -- a warrant out for his arrest which shows the degree of their seriousness about him.
BERMAN: In two countries -- he was on the road to Belgium. And obviously we've seen a lot of activity here in France but just as much with raids in Belgium yielding several arrests over the last two days.
SCIUTTO: No question. And look at this. And again, you don't want to beat up the French police too much. As we know they have 5,000 suspected jihadis. This was just in a few hours after the attack. But keep this in mind, his brother, this man who they're now searching for was as we reported yesterday known to police before these attacks.
SCIUTTO: A brother who ended up blowing himself up at the French stadium -- known to police to have been radicalized t though not necessarily involved in terror.
You know, this is the trouble they have. You have a huge gray zone between being radicalized and actually carrying out an attack so they did have this name in the database. I imagine they knew that they had brothers but they had a chance here, perhaps some luck and they didn't have luck. They let him go.
HARLOW: We heard from national security adviser Ben Rhodes talking today to our Jake Tapper about the fact that the United States has to and will step things up, not getting into specifics about how they will. But he also pointed out the fact that Europe is at greater risk than the United States because of the number of those who have fled France, Germany, et cetera to go fight with ISIS versus in the United States. SCIUTTO: There's no question. The numbers are in order of magnitude
bigger than what you have in the States. In the States they have dozens of Americans who have attempted to or gone to Syria. Europe has hundreds. France, by itself, has several hundred who have gone there. And then beyond that, you have this wider circle of folks who have been connecting to people on jihadi Web sites and forums and that kind of thing who are connected so they have a bigger problem.
[19:05:05] I was speaking to a senior U.S. law enforcement official earlier today who said volume is one of the problems. It's the volume of suspects and you have this added volume issue which is the influx of refugees. And we now know as you detailed before that one of the attackers came through hidden in effect in that refugee flow.
BERMAN: Let's talk about the other big news of the evening, which is airstrikes in Raqqa -- French-led air strikes in Raqqa dropping 20 bombs. That doesn't sound like an awful lot so is this a symbolic move? Is this a symbolic set of airstrikes? What's the import here? Is that they're doing it at all or is that they're doing it with U.S. intelligence which is also an interesting development?
SCIUTTO: We'll only know if it's just symbolic over time to see what damage took place today and whether these are sustained strikes but it is at least unprecedented. This was a really largely -- they say it came under the coalition, but this was a French operation. It was ten French warplanes striking these 20 targets. But, yes, they had U.S. help -- that help in the form of intelligence, normally shared only with its closest partners.
The Five Eyes which United States, Britain, Canada, New Zealand Australia. Now that intelligence is usually shared just, you know, at will. Now France will be part of that as it deals with the battle against ISIS.
SCIUTTO: To be clear, France is now suddenly part of the Five Eyes program -- this is a treaty that goes back decades. But for Syria, for ISIS, France is seeing intelligence it did not see in the past.
HARLOW: Right. Jim -- thank you. Stay with us.
I do want to go to our Nick Paton Walsh who is tracking all of this specifically the strikes in Raqqa, Syria -- really the strong hold of ISIS, the so-called center, if you will there, of ISIS and the caliphate that they would like to build.
Nick Paton Walsh on the phone with us -- what do we know about the targets that were actually hit by these 20 bombs?
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): Well, some element of confusion, I think obviously for understandable reasons. You have to bear in mind that the only French aircraft that (inaudible) under threat of their own life in order to provide us information but they are basically saying that the targets hit which include what is called a stadium, a political building, a clinical hospital are, in fact, buildings that ISIS has taken over and have since been using as their own headquarters and in fact jails.
In their eyes, and of course, that's the take we have to go with because we have no ability to check that information on the ground -- this has the effect of ISIS being hit in key buildings. There have been (inaudible) some on Twitter who said in fact these buildings have long been deserted.
And you have to sort of ask yourself, the U.S. has had a lot of surveillance in the skies over Raqqa for a protracted period of time. Surely if these targets were long-known to them, they would already have hit them. So there is potentially the possibility that what we're be seeing tonight is a visceral reaction from the French who have used their aircraft to try and create a symbolic blow in their mind against ISIS.
But, of course, that will not be lost on those inside Raqqa, themselves. ISIS, of course, feeling to some degree pressured on many different fronts. They've just lost Sinjar to the Peshmerga. They are being pressed from the north in Raqqa potentially by the Kurds moving down. They have just lost the supply route between Raqqa; and another key city, Mosul in Iraq, was taken when Sinjar, in fact, fell, removing that key supply route to them.
So potentially tonight, may some sense of the pressure being increased upon Raqqa but you have to also bear in mind the timing is clearly supposed to be a reaction for the terror in Paris. And we also have to question quite what level precision of level these targets will have been -- a large number to conjure out in seemingly a brief period of time, 20 bombs dropped, 10 aircraft involved in the bombing. 12 involved in the sorties in general. Does this mark a lengthier French campaign or simply a bid to show to the French public by Francois Hollande that it's an act of war that France has a military response.
BERMAN: Our Nick Paton Walsh for us who is in Erbil. Nick was just embedded with Kurdish troops in the battle for Sinjar, watching ISIS really be routed there or pushed out of that city.
It shows you the scope of the battle against ISIS right now.
I want to bring in CNN global affairs analyst, Kimberly Dozier.
Kimberly, these airstrikes. The French now running airstrikes over Raqqa dropping 20 bombs using U.S.-involved intelligence -- tell me what kind of leadership structure we know or we suspect that ISIS has in Raqqa?
KIMBERLY DOZIER, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Well, my understanding is that the targets that they are hitting according to one U.S. official I've spoken to this evening are part of the coalition list of possible air strikes.
The way it works is they've been building up the picture of the leadership on the ground in Raqqa and the structure and the buildings that they work out of. Intelligence analysts then hand that to targeters who put it on a possible list of targets for the jets to hit every night. [19:10:05] And then it basically becomes a how many jets are you flying that night? And they look for targets of opportunity according to that list that they're working off of.
So what we could be seeing, or what I understand we're seeing, is France working as part of the coalition looking at some of the targets that were already on some predetermined list. What's not clear, and I'm still trying to track down, is did they add some to the list like that training camp because of the nature of this attack?
HARLOW: Right. Kimberly, you just wrote a piece on the "Daily Beast" about this and talking to your intelligence sources. You point out at the beginning that there is a possibility in your mind from what your sources are telling you that ISIS may not have been alone in terms of help in facilitating this and where that help may have come from. What do you mean?
DOZIER: Absolutely. So, what officials are saying is that at this point still, there's nothing to contradict France's assertion that this was an ISIS attack, but they think that -- they suspect that as they burrow down into how this was carried out that perhaps there might have been, say, a bomb maker who used to work for al Qaeda of the Arabian Peninsula in Yemen who has crossed sides or someone who is a facilitator for all terrorist groups when it comes to getting refugee traffic through Greece or something like that.
So that as they complete this investigation and map out this web of facilitators that got the right attackers in place, they think that, perhaps, they're going to see just as they see in places like Afghanistan a sort of unholy alliance between a number of groups who are working toward the same aims and especially some of the criminal groups who help with the gun running and the money moving that facilitates terrorist activity.
So nothing to point to al Qaeda yet, or another terrorist group, but they just can't rule it out.
BERMAN: All right. Kimberly Dozier for us; also Jim Sciutto and Nick Paton Walsh -- thank you so much. We'll talk to you all in just a bit.
Just to set the stage of where we're standing right now -- this is the Place de la Republique. This is an area where there have been thousands of people gathered over the last day against the wishes, we should note --
HARLOW: -- of the French government.
BERMAN: -- of French officials. They don't want any public gatherings right now because they want to be able to keep things safe. They don't want potential targets. But this is, as you can see, sort of a nonstop vigil to the victims of these terror attacks here. And it's after 1:00 a.m. in the morning here in Paris right now. So remarkable that people are still out right now lighting candles and leaving flowers. HARLOW: And I would suspect this will continue for many, many days as
people mourn and try to grasp what is the single worst attack on this city since World War II.
When you look at the victims we are beginning to learn more and more of those names. And throughout the next two hours we will tell you about them -- the faces, the people. What they were like behind the numbers. 129 -- that is the number killed in these attacks thus far. You have nearly 400 injured.
One of those whose lives was so brutally taken, a senior in college from California. Take a look, a live look at the campus of Cal State University in Long Beach. There's a vigil going on right now to remember 23-year-old Nohemi Gonzalez. She was enrolled there at the university. She came here to Paris for her senior semester abroad. Her family says that visiting Paris was a dream of hers.
BERMAN: Gonzalez was shot at a restaurant on Friday. Her family is at this vigil along with Nohemi's friends, classmates and the university president.
HARLOW: We're going to take a quick break.
Much more, live from Paris when our continuing coverage is back in just a moment.
[19:16:51] HARLOW: Welcome back to our continuing live coverage from Paris. We're now learning more about how the attackers made their way to this city and assaulted this city in six coordinated attacks.
A French senator saying the first suicide bomber who blew himself up right outside the Stade de France was carrying a fake or doctored Syrian passport. Officials say he was among the refugees who passed through the Greek island of Leros just last month.
That is where senior international correspondent Arwa Damon is right now.
And Arwa, when you look at this in the bigger scope as John and I have talked about a lot, the concern over what this means for so many refugees trying to flee persecution and come into Europe. What are you hearing?
ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Poppy, we put that question to one of the refugees we met here in Leros earlier tonight. And he is absolutely heartbroken over what happened in Paris. He's appalled by it. He said this is the kind of violence that we, ourselves, are fleeing from.
Yes, he is concerned that there's going to be greater animosity geared toward him as a refugee because one of these bombers allegedly did pose as a refugee. But as he put it, he said he can't live in Turkey anymore. He can't go back to Syria because his house is a flattened mass of rubble.
So he has no choice but to try to go to Europe and hope that people there and around the world realize that the refugees, the refugees from Syria, are not ISIS, do not represent ISIS, and do not support ISIS. In fact, they're fleeing from ISIS and from the Assad regime.
But in speaking about this massive flood of migrants and refugees that is making that very treacherous journey from Turkey, Greece and then onwards, there are thousands upon thousands landing on these various different Greek islands on a daily basis.
This one attacker, his passport traced back to October 3rd, having transited here where we are in Leros then he was also tracked when he registered in Serbia. This is all normal proceedings. When refugees and migrants do arrive here, normal process is that they are registered and they're fingerprinted and their identity is determined to the best of the authorities' abilities.
But there is no central database, and if this person's fingerprints are not in a central database, fingerprinting them here right now, which is pretty much the only thing that authorities can do, is not going to raise that initial red flag. Tut this has been something that, you know, terrorists organization watchdogs, that journalists covering the story, that intelligence organizations have been warning of and very worried about. That ISIS, ISIS sympathizers, extremist groups would capitalize and exploit this refugee rout.
The concern right now is what kind of backlash is it going to cause against the refugee population? Is that backlash going to create an even greater risk, enflame tensions and potentially cycle back and play straight into ISIS hands?
BERMAN: All right. Arwa Damon for us on the island of Leros.
[19:20:01] Arwa describing a process where thousands of people are coming in. This man we know came in, presented a Syrian passport.
BERMAN: We don't know if it was his. We don't know if he is, in fact, Syrian.
HARLOW: Absolutely not.
BERMAN: But he presented a Syrian passport, was processed through the Greek system and then went that immigrant trail through those other countries over a month-long period before ending up here.
HARLOW: And now what that means for so many desperate families with little children trying to flee the lives they cannot, as Arwa said, live in anymore, what this means for their future and what it means politically here in France, the next election, et cetera.
BERMAN: And in the United States as part of the U.S. debate as well.
HARLOW: Absolutely. Absolutely. All right. We will be back in a moment live from Paris with our continuing coverage of the terror attacks. Stay with us.
Also, before we go, Paris continues to mourn the victims of this attack, like Aurelie de Peretti. Her sister said that she was fond of music and culture. She loved to draw always since she was a child. Her father said losing her at the age of just 33 hurts -- it hurts a lot. She died at the Bataclan Theater.
We'll be right back.
BERMAN: All right.
We have some new information just in to CNN. A source tells CNN that there may have been some kind of warning, at least the Iraqis claim that they issued some kind of a warning to western intelligence leaders that there was some planning going on, that Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, the leader of ISIS was putting this plan in motion.
[19:25:09] Details -- we're getting the details now. We're joined now by our intelligence analyst, Peter Bergen to explain. Peter -- what do you know about this intelligence, what do you know about what the Iraqis are saying?
PETER BERGEN, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: A senior Iraqi intelligence official tells me Iraqi officials have said that they told a number of countries who are out of the coalition that there was some kind of attack being planned, that there was a cell of some two dozen people who were being trained in Raqqa in Syria, the de facto capital of ISIS.
And they also assert that they gave this information to amongst others the French the day before the attack in Paris. Now, a caveat here, they also disseminated a warning to other people in the coalition and we heard from the Iraqi foreign minister on the fringes of the peace talks in Vienna today making some kind of statement along those lines with less specificity than I'm just telling you now.
HARLOW: Right. Also, Peter Bergen, John and I were speaking about this before -- don't we have to qualify this with the fact just where this intelligence is coming from? Is there any reason to be suspect of this? It is certainly one thing to look back and sort of say, you know, we told you so, this was coming.
BERGEN: Well, there's always a lot of intelligence. I mean, you know, Poppy, as you know, any kind of event like this, there's a lot of noise coming in. The question is what are the signals that you need to pay attention to and what is just noise?
It's always easy to look back after the event to say, hey, those are the signals we should have been looking at. We've seen that in the United States with the so-called Underwear Bomber, you know, the Nigerian who tried to blow up Northwest flight 253 over Detroit. His father had warned U.S. embassy officials in Nigeria about him. The National Security Agency had picked up chatter about a Nigerian working with al Qaeda in Yemen who turned out to be this guy. So, I mean, the point is here that, you know, this intelligence is probably just part of a larger mosaic.
But you know, the Iraqis have good reason to understand ISIS pretty well. After all, ISIS is an Iraqi organization. It is led by an Iraqi -- Abu Bakr al Baghdadi. Its headquarters in Iraq is the second largest Iraqi city. So when they say these kinds of things, it's certainly something that I think we should pay attention to.
BERMAN: Peter, stand by for a minute. I want to bring in Bob Baer, CNN -- we're going to do that in just a moment. We're going to take a quick break. We'll be right back. What we're going to do is we're going to talk to some of our intelligence experts, ask them how much the Iraqis really know about what's going on inside ISIS. Were there that were warnings missed from Middle Eastern sources? And what about what intelligence might have known here before, during and after the arrests. We'll be right back.
HARLOW: Welcome back. I'm Poppy Harlow, along with my colleague, John Berman, live in Paris this evening. It just about 1:30 am, 7:30 pm along the East Coast of the United States. We are talking about the significant developments tonight in what the president of France, Francois Hollande, has deemed a war, an all-out war.
We've seen French bomber jets drop 20 bombs today on the de facto capital of ISIS in Syria, Raqqa. Let's talk about the significance of that and any potential warning signs that were missed.
We're joined again by our national security analyst, Peter Bergen. Also with us now, CNN intelligence and security analyst and former CIA operative, Bob Baer.
Bob Baer, to you, talk to us about the scope of this. There have been thousands of airstrikes thus far in this war against ISIS, 20 bombs being dropped today by France, obviously stepping up this.
Is this more symbolic or is this tactically quite significant?
BOB BAER, CNN INTELLIGENCE AND SECURITY ANALYST: Poppy, it's symbolic. We've been bombing these targets since 9/11. It hasn't changed the map at all. It seems to me that Islamic fundamentalism has gotten worse.
You know, these -- I've seen them over and over again, I've been in Lebanon, I've been in Syria when these things have gone on. They don't really add up to much. Makes the French feel better.
What you're going to see ISIS doing is pulling out of the obvious targets, whether it's the stadium or these buildings. They understand they need to disperse their forces. There's no reason they actually have to occupy buildings. This isn't like attacking Baghdad in 2003.
So I don't -- we're not going to get much out of it. Frankly, Poppy, we have to remember the last time one of these movements had been crushed was 1982 and that was Hama, Syria, when Hafez al-Assad went in in February and flattened the city. And that gave Syria, you know, 20 years of serious peace.
So when we talk about the military option, it just can't be from the air. It's got to be from the ground. I'm not advocating this. I'm saying if you want to exterminate this movement, you actually have to occupy geography and get rid of it. Again, I'm not advocating it. I'm just saying that's what's worked in the past.
BERMAN: Peter Bergen, do you have a sense of what's next for ISIS?
How do you think they're likely to respond to this new round of bombing by the French?
Do you think there was a plan, a follow-up plan to the attacks here in Paris?
BERGEN: You know, as Yogi Berra famously said, it's hard to make predictions, especially about the future. But, you know, I -- I think on the question of, you know, how they might react, I mean, I basically agree with Bob, this is symbolic, because these attacks, last time I checked, I think there was something like 7,000 strikes that we've launched, the coalition against ISIS, since the beginning of the campaign about a year ago.
And, you know, it's sort of been a stalemate. You know, CENTCOM has said occasionally that about 1,000 ISIS fighters are being killed a month. We know that the foreign fighter flow into Syria and Iraq remains about 1,000 a month. So you're basically talking about kind of a draw.
So 20 strikes on a given night, you know, is not going to be a big deal --
BERGEN: -- but it is symbolic. And symbolism sometimes is important.
HARLOW: Bob Baer, to you.
As Peter just said, it's basically nil if you wipe out 1,000 and 1,000 more come in, what have you accomplished?
It's really about an ideological fight in the hearts and the minds of people and those especially youth coming to this country, living in France, feeling disenfranchised, looking for something to latch onto, latching on to ISIS.
How would you assess how the French, Europeans and the United States are doing at fighting the war in that way?
BAER: Well, I, you know, obviously the Islamic State hasn't been contained. It's on the offensive right now with the bombing, the Russian airplane, the Beirut bombings, there's one in Baghdad, now Paris. So as we put pressure on them using the Kurds and Sinjar, they are striking out.
This is a very defensive movement, if you like. As Peter said over and over again, it's apocalyptic. These people embrace an idea and it's not so much a structure. So it's very difficult to behead this structure and destroy it that way, you know, without some sort of overarching political solution.
I don't see how we can get rid of this. Again, unless you go in militarily and send NATO in as well as Russia and Iran, which I don't even want to think about the dimensions of something like that. But this is going to be a hard, hard war to win.
BERMAN: All right, Bob Baer, Peter Bergen, thanks so much for being with us.
Obviously, Poppy, again, we're here in the Place de la Republique, which has been the location where Parisians have been coming to mourn over the last two days. You can see the candles behind us. It's after 1:30 in the morning here. There are still people here praying, just quietly meditating, thinking about all that's happened here.
You know, tomorrow they will wake up. Tomorrow the stock markets will open here.
HARLOW: Schools will open.
BERMAN: Some kids will go back to school. But the state of emergency remains in place.
HARLOW: It absolutely does but we'll remind you the French government told all of these people not to be out there. They wanted people to stay inside. But from the moment these attacks occurred 48 hours ago, the Parisians have been defiant, standing, being out in their city, on their streets, saying terrorism will not win. We will be back live from Paris in just a moment.
HARLOW: All right. Take a look at that. Beautiful live pictures of the Arc de Triomphe here in Paris, the symbol of the City of Light that's still illuminated today. The Eiffel Tower has not been lit up since these attacks.
Welcome back to our special coverage of the terrorist attacks in Paris that unfolded here just 48 hours ago. I'm Poppy Harlow, alongside my colleague, John Berman, a lot of developments that we want to get you up to speed on, a lot has happened today in the manhunt for whoever helped carry this out and the names behind those that facilitated it.
What we know, a Belgium-born French national is now at the center of an international manhunt. He was apparently questioned then released by French police just hours after the attacks right here in Paris on Friday night.
BERMAN: So today France struck back against ISIS, carrying out what the French are calling major airstrikes in Raqqa, in Syria, the de facto capital of ISIS. They dropped 20 bombs on targets ranging from an ISIS recruitment center to a training camp. They used intelligence provided by the United States.
The U.S. handing over some of the most sensitive intelligence, they say, to the French, on targets that they have in Raqqa, in Syria.
Here in Paris, the memorials to the victims are growing, including right behind us I might say. Today was there a special service held at the famous Notre Dame Cathedral. That happened this evening. The crowds came to pay tribute to the 129 victims, the more than 350 people wounded in Friday's attacks.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HARLOW (voice-over): There's no question the attacks on this city have heightened concerns around the world, also certainly in the United States and major cities.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARLOW: There law enforcement officials tell us here at CNN that the FBI now plans what they're calling closer monitoring of suspected ISIS sympathizers and that includes, we're told, even more wiretaps.
BERMAN: Want to get more on the investigation taking place right now across Europe, into the Middle East. We're joined by CNN national security analyst Juliette Kayyem. She joins us from Boston right now.
Juliette, when you try to pull on the threads in an investigation like this, where do you start?
I've heard you talking about the three keys to an investigation like this.
JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Yes, so the three are going to be sort of what we call ATM, right, which is going to be where did they get the training, where did they get the money, where did they get the arms? I said that in the wrong order.
But those three pieces are going to create investigatory links that then lead you to other people and other places. So this is just the beginning.
In normal combat, combat soldiers tend to be supported by anywhere from two to three other soldiers, so these numbers that we've been hearing the last couple hours, the Iraqis saying there were 24 in this group, sound pretty right to me. That you don't just send out eight or nine guys. You're going send out the two or three supporting them.
They're supporting them by helping them with the arms, helping them with the training and also the thing we tend to forget in this is the money. I know this is not an expensive terrorist incident in a sense that it didn't cost a lot of money but these men had to survive somehow.
They had to be fit. They had to be able to organize. All of that costs money. That money is coming from somewhere. So that's where the different pieces are putting together and it's going to look really messy and sometimes it will not be a clear line. So some of these arrests --
KAYYEM: -- occurring now I would anticipate that some of them go away and don't lead to anything but it's going to be a vast sweep and then you'll begin to narrow it down.
HARLOW: We do know at least, Juliette, breaking just the last few hours that at least three of these attackers did spend some time in Syria, not known how long. Not known how they were trained, if they were trained there, et cetera.
What about the suicide vests?
First time that this country has had to deal with that multiple explosions detonating suicide vests. TATP, the compound used, highly volatile and very difficult to transport safely.
What does that tell you?
KAYYEM: That this was not only sophisticated but that they must have practiced at least somewhere, somehow.
It was -- I hate to use this word in this context, this was near perfection in terms of the simultaneous nature of it. I mean, more successful than the July 7th attacks in London.
And but for one of them being stopped at the stadium, I would have -- the number of casualties would have been much greater. And so a lot of lives were saved at the stadium. And so that is what this is -- you know, those pieces suggest that this was planned for some time.
And the sort of disturbing aspect of this is the pace by which all of these pieces came together, the training, the arms and the money, seems to have been relatively quick because we know, at least from what we're hearing so far, some of these guys did not get over until the last couple of months.
So just think how quickly they pulled this together. That is one of the reasons why the French could not pick it up. The pace is just so fast at this stage.
BERMAN: You know, one month between --
HARLOW: You're right.
BERMAN: One month between this guy landing in the Greek island of Leros to when these explosions --
BERMAN: Four, five countries on the way to get here. Who knows when he arrived in France or Belgium to carry out these attacks.
HARLOW: And also, Juliette Kayyem, thank you very much, stand by with us.
One of the concerns also is the ability for them to use encrypted technology, how were they able to fly completely under the radar of French officials, officials around the world, that are tracking them so closely. A U.S. official telling CNN the encryption is key here and that is a major concern -- John.
BERMAN: All right. The other big angle we're following this evening, the French have struck back. They are striking ISIS by air in Raqqa. That is the de facto capital of ISIS, 20 bombs dropped on a training center, also perhaps an arms depot. We're waiting to get some kind of a real damage assessment from intelligence sources on the ground right there. But that's an idea of what they did.
Want to bring in our military analyst, Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling.
General Hertling, the basics of what we know, 20 bombs dropped on these command targets in Raqqa.
What does that say to you?
LT. GEN. MARK HERTLING, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Well, it certainly is symbolic. I've heard some of your other guests talk about that, John. It's a symbolic action by the French air force but it's also significantly contributory to the actions.
These targets were taken off something called the ATO, the air tasking order, which is generated every day. So I think the French came in and said, hey, we want to be a part of this, we want to strike and CENTCOM gave them targets, made the coordination and made it happen.
So these targets were going to be struck anyway. There's a target package associated with each one of these things with a lot of intelligence conducted through it. It was just handed over to the French pilots and they were controlled by the CENTCOM C2 element.
So it does sound simplistic and maybe symbolic but it's significantly symbolic in the fact that France is now saying we want to join in.
And, you know, I heard some of the other guests say, hey, it's only 10 or 20 strikes, whatever it is, that's not that big a deal.
Well, I got to tell you, if you're a fighter and you're under the bombardment continuously and there has been a steady increase in bombardment around Raqqa and around some of the other targets, it's not insignificant.
I tell you, it affects you morally as much as it does physically. When a lot of bombs are dropping on -- you know, we're talking about Paris. A couple of suicide vests went off and it -- the entire town is in an uproar. Imagine 500-pound bombs going off 20 times in one city throughout the day. It will have an effect, trust me, from a soldier's perspective.
HARLOW: General, when you look at this, from what Bob Baer said to us, a former CIA operative and intelligence analyst, he said, you can't win from the air, you have to be on the ground. He kept emphasizing to John and me, I'm not saying you want to be on the ground but you have to strategically.
Do you agree with him that the time has come for --
HARLOW: -- ground troops in Raqqa or you cannot defeat ISIS otherwise?
HERTLING: Well, you certainly can't destroy them and defeat them the way many people have said without ground troops. You certainly do have to have some type of ground troops but, again, like Bob -- I heard Bob say very succinctly, it doesn't necessarily have to be our ground troops or French's ground troops or NATO ground troops. There eventually has to be some type of force there.
But truthfully, Poppy, I also think -- don't underwrite the effects of an aerial campaign. I'm an Army guy but I got to tell you, with the amount of munitions that have been dropped and the president saying ISIS has been contained in this area, I think we ought to draw some intelligence factors from the fact that we are destroying a lot of their capability, we are bringing them back a little bit so they don't have the ability for offensive maneuver.
The intelligence out of Sinjar tells me the fact that they didn't stand and fight tells me they are a worn-out force. So they are in the early stages, I believe, of imploding. They can't continue this kind of sustainment of attacks without having some kind of problem.
That also may be why they're focusing in other places, why they're taking this fight externally because they realize they've got to take some of the pressure off them in Iraq and Syria.
If you look at Syria, they're getting continuously bombarded. If you're looking at Iraq, although it's taken a long time, there are now multiple attacks occurring in Ramadi, in Beji, in Haditha, in Chercot (ph), in several other places so they no longer have the freedom to maneuver as much as they did early on in Iraq and Syria.
They are now being contained, as the president said, and now they're maybe saying to themselves, we need to shift this effort, let's go on the offensive externally to draw the pressure away from our caliphate in Syria and Iraq.
BERMAN: General, we have to go. We appreciate you being with us, General Mark Hertling. We should also note the president's comment that ISIS has been contained, controversial given that in the last 10 days you saw a Russian jet perhaps blown out of the sky, you saw twin suicide bombings in Beirut and you saw the attacks here in Paris, leaving 129 dead. So the issue of containment very controversial.
We will be back live from Paris in just a moment with our special coverage continuing of the terror attacks. Stay with us.
BERMAN: In France here, politicians, not to mention the community, there is general agreement that something must be done to protect the country and keep the terrorists out. But really there's no agreement on just how to do that.
HARLOW: Absolutely not. It is incredibly divisive leading up to the December elections here today. I spoke with a French senator, Joelle Garriaud-Maylam. She is a member of the Republicans' party, that is the center right party. It is in opposition, she opposes the government of the current president, Francois Hollande, basically thinking they are too lax on this front.
Earlier I spoke with her about the refugee crisis in Europe, opening the borders, what needs to be done to help those who need it most but also to prevent future attacks.
HARLOW: Obviously it is still early going. We are just learning details of who the attackers were.
What is your first reaction as a politician, looking at what this country has to do to prevent something like this again?
What comes to mind?
JOELLE GARRIAUD-MAYLAM, FRENCH SENATOR: First of all, as a politician, I cannot not be angry, angry because of sheer, such a waste of lives. Of course, one can't check everything all the time but this shouldn't have happened. And I'm so awfully sad, obviously for these young people, for their families.
It's a real tragedy for France. We feel it's our youth, it's our hopes which have been so badly murdered. And it's terrible. But as a politician, it's our duty as a famous philosopher said, to move forward, to be optimist and so we've got to move forward. We've got to find ways of getting rid of this dreadful poison that is daish or ISIS.
HARLOW: You said that it was a matter of time and you point to the migrant crisis.
HARLOW: And the refugees coming into this country and into Europe.
What do you want to see done?
GARRIAUD-MAYLAM: You know, it's extremely difficult because I feel about the refugees, I've met many refugees all about the world in all the camps where they've been. I've been to Syria when there were refugee camps coming from Iraq. I've been to Jordan, to Turkey, to Lebanon and everywhere.
It's the same story. It's a story of despair, it's a story of people trying to reconstruct themselves. But what makes me in a way angry is that we've given a wrong signal to the refugees, saying, yes, come to Europe, we welcome you.
HARLOW: You don't want them here?
GARRIAUD-MAYLAM: It's not that I don't want them here. I would prefer them to stay close to the countries they're in. I would prefer them to be close to Syria so they can rebuild Syria once we've solved the situation within Syria.
HARLOW: What about right now?
What about the urgency now?
What about the persecution that they're facing under Assad?
HARLOW: You've gone so far as to say close Europe's borders which is incredibly controversial, especially --
GARRIAUD-MAYLAM: Of course.
HARLOW: -- given the Shenzhen agreement.
GARRIAUD-MAYLAM: Of course. I mean, the president of France, he won't mention it, that it was a necessity to close the border. When we say close the borders, we'll know very well we can't have a fortress France. We can't control all our borders. This is totally impossible but we need to make much more thorough checks and we need to work with our counterparts in Europe.
HARLOW: Is it more thorough checks and allow refugees in?
Or are you saying right now do not let any more of these refugees into our country? GARRIAUD-MAYLAM: We've got to look at each case. There are some
families who need desperately to find shelter and to come to Europe and I'm thinking especially of some Christians that I've met at refugee camps in Kurdistan, Northern Iraq, where these people have got nothing to hope for.
There are families that have been murdered and these people, we need to give them a chance to rebuild their lives.
HARLOW: But would it be fair to divide the refugees among religious lines?
GARRIAUD-MAYLAM: No, certainly not. Certainly not. It's a question of the oppressed people.