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THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER

Belgian Subway Blast About An Hour After Airport Attacks; Belgian Attacks Connected To Paris Terror Cell, According To U.S. Officials; At Least 30 Dead and 230 Wounded In Brussels Attacks; Cruz Calls On Police To "Secure Muslim Neighborhoods"; Clinton And Sanders Call For Increased Surveillance; Presidential Hopefuls Offer Solidarity After Brussels Attacks; U.S. Officials: Belgian Attacks Connected To Paris Terror Cell. Aired 4:30-5p ET

Aired March 22, 2016 - 16:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[16:30:18] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN GUEST HOST: Welcome back to THE LEAD. I'm Anderson Cooper, in for Jake Tapper.

I want to talk more with our panel of terrorism experts. Mike Rogers is with us.

Just in terms of where things now stand, it does seem -- has there been enough changes among law enforcement agencies, intelligence agencies in Europe, Belgium, France, to share information better between countries?

MIKE ROGERS, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: It's always easier said than done. You still have the old cultural institutions, especially in Brussels, in Belgium, because they had a very different system.

It was very bifurcated at any rate. Certainly, France has gotten better and you have seen, even with the encryption on phones, they have passed a law that said you either give us encryption or break the encryption on the phone or you're going to be considered an accessory. They have really ramped up their ability to react to an event like this.

Not so much in Brussels. Right? They haven't quite crossed that Rubicon yet where they're willing to do that. This will change it. This will clearly change it. This will accelerate all of the changes that have been talked about. Some have done it. But it was personality-based.

Now you're going to need some institutional changes in Brussels if they are going to keep up with the threat.

COOPER: But, Juliette, the sheer number of people who have fought in Syria and returned to Belgium itself makes it very difficult for authorities to kind of keep track of everybody.

JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: That's exactly right.

You simply wouldn't have enough resources in Europe to be able to follow everyone. And so what you are going to see is both a focus on the border -- remember, after the Paris attacks, terrorists were able to move across the border. What you're already starting to hear in the United States, and Secretary Jeh Johnson just did a briefing on this, is a greater focus on the visa waiver program as it relates to people from Belgium.

In other words, just because you have a visa does not mean you're now going to -- automatically allowed to come to the United States from Belgium. There's going to be a further review. We saw this debate play out in December as well. But you will see that focus, because we simply don't know now the numbers that we are dealing with and whether they want to travel to other countries in Europe and then certainly to the United States.

COOPER: I have to take another short break.

Stick around. We're going to have more with our panel in a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[16:36:52]

COOPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD.

The deadly explosions that ripped through the heart of Brussels ray becoming a big issue on the campaign trail, all five candidate reacting today, with Donald Trump saying -- quote -- "This is just the beginning" and Ted Cruz calling for law enforcement to -- quote -- "patrol and secure Muslim neighborhoods in the United States."

Want to bring in CNN correspondent Sunlen Serfaty.

Sunlen, in the wake of the attack, the candidates were quick to respond and also criticize.

SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's absolutely right, Anderson.

For each of the candidates, this is a real chance for each of them to show how they would lead in the same sort of situation. And what we saw is a real contrast among them in their approach and how they potentially would respond as president.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SERFATY (voice-over): The terror attacks in Brussels turning into a commander in chief test for the 2016 candidates.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (VT-I), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: What we stand today are with the people of Brussels.

GOV. JOHN KASICH (R-OH), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, today, of course, is a sad day for the entire civilized world.

SERFATY: Many of the presidential hopefuls expressing sympathy for the victims and their families, but varying in their responses to how to confront the threat from ISIS and other terrorist groups. Democrat Hillary Clinton calling for increased surveillance in the U.S. in an interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer.

HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We have to also toughen, as you say, soft targets with greater police presence. There is no getting around that.

SERFATY: Her rival, Bernie Sanders, also talking up the idea of bolstering intelligence gathering.

SANDERS: We need to have significantly improved intelligence, and that intelligence cannot just be done within the United States.

SERFATY: Donald Trump offering a typically blunt assessment.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Brussels is a total mess. It is a city that used to be one of the finest, one of the most beautiful, and one of the safest cities in the world, and now it's a catastrophic, very dangerous city where the police have very little control.

SERFATY: Ted Cruz repeating his calls for the U.S. to stop accepting Syrian refugees, even going as far as to say police need more power to -- quote -- "patrol and secure Muslim neighborhoods" before they become radicalized.

SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We need to immediately halt the president's ill-advised plan to bring in tens of thousands of Syrian Muslim refugees.

SERFATY: While Trump doubles down on his proposal to temporarily ban Muslims from entering the country.

TRUMP: I would close up our borders to people until we figure out what is going on.

SERFATY: Clinton today rejecting that approach and raising questions about Trump's temperament.

CLINTON: We need steady, strong, smart minds and hands in the White House.

SERFATY: Trump's GOP rivals also looking to draw contrasts, Cruz and John Kasich both touting stronger ties with NATO after Trump said Monday the U.S. rethink its involvement with the alliance.

CRUZ: The day after Donald Trump called for America weakening NATO, withdrawing from NATO, we see Brussels.

KASICH: I would make every effort I could to strengthen the NATO alliance.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

[16:40:02] SERFATY: And Both John Kasich and Ted Cruz have also called for

President Obama to return home from his foreign trip to attend to all of this. Of course, going forward, there most likely will be a very sharp turn towards national security on the campaign trail, Anderson, as we saw in the Paris attacks and San Bernardino as well.

COOPER: All right, Sunlen Serfaty, Sunlen, thanks.

Coming up next, Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz will join me. I will ask him what he means by law enforcement patrolling and securing Muslim neighborhoods in the United States.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD. I'm Anderson Cooper, in for Jake Tapper.

There's the scene live in Brussels, Belgium, people gathering to pay their respects, to pause, moments of silence, people showing solidarity in the face of terror.

Also at the White House, the flag has been lowered to half-staff out of respect for the terror attacks that we have witnessed earlier today in Brussels, Belgium.

We're waiting for Senator Ted Cruz, who has talked about what he would do if he was president in a situation like this.

Let's get also reaction to today's terror attacks with our panel. We're also joined by CNN political commentator Peter Beinart.

Peter, you're just joining us.

You've been watching obviously the political response to all of this, both from Secretary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, but also the Republican candidates.

PETER BEINART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes. What worries me about the response from both Donald Trump and Ted Cruz is that one thing we know about Belgium they've done a very poor job of integrating Muslims into the society for a variety of reasons.

One of America's great strength, one of the things that keeps us safe is the fact that America is a much easier country for Muslims to feel accepted into, we have a much more embracing national identity than Belgium has.

So when you respond to this by calling for torture and by saying we need to focus -- secure Muslim communities suggesting some sense they're not secure already, these are not patriotic Americans, it seems you send us down the very road we don't want to go.

COOPER: Chairman Rogers? MIKE ROGERS (R), FORMER HOUSE INTELLIGENCE CHAIRMAN: Look, we have to separate two things. Look across Europe, the integration of Muslims is terrible. It doesn't happen in Great Britain to any great degree, France to any great degree and that has created this disenfranchisement from the greater culture of which they live that's a huge problem.

I agree with peter. In America we do a much better job both in accepting Muslims in our community and allowing them to be full part members of an American culture.

COOPER: There is much greater assimilation of Muslims in America than you see in other parts of Europe.

ROGERS: I had Muslim communities back in my district in Michigan who would talk about that, that they could freely express themselves as a Muslim the way they saw fit only in America and they have some really powerful stories about that.

I think, on the other side, there are some security issues that we all dance around that we have to deal with. We have migrations of Muslims in a large number, and a percentage of them are going to cause trouble.

The trick is, how do you use intelligence, use law enforcement to try to find those folks and get the bad apples out of the barrel? It's proving very difficult. It's difficult in Brussels. Certainly difficult in the United States as well.

So I think you to have two conversations here. One is about that assimilation, but B, it's also on the security lapses. We have real security problems in the way we are doing things.

The B1 visa problem, the border problem, migrant problems, big population movements that get access to paper and bad passports, all of that is an issue we are going to have to deal with.

COOPER: We are going to take a quick break. We'll be right back with Republican presidential candidate, Senator Ted Cruz.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[16:51:44]

COOPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD. I'm Anderson Cooper in today for Jake Tapper. The breaking news, at least 30 dead in Brussels after suspected ISIS suicide bombers hit both the major airport and subway system this morning.

Joining me on the phone to talk about today's terror attacks, Republican presidential candidate, Texas Senator Ted Cruz. Senator, thanks for being with us.

In the statement earlier today, you said that it's more important than ever to secure the border, defeat ISIS. You also talked about stopping the flow of refugees from countries with a significant al Qaeda or ISIS presence.

But you also said and I quote, "We need to empower law enforcement to patrol and secure Muslim neighborhoods before they become radicalized." What do you mean by that, by patrolling a Muslim neighborhood?

SENATOR TED CRUZ (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE (via telephone): Anderson, it's good to be with you. Thank you for having me. Today's terror attack in Brussels was heartbreaking and all of using our prayers go out to families of those murdered, those wounded and injured, including especially the three Americans who were Mormon missionaries from Utah who were wounded in the attack. Our prayers go out to them and their family.

I think today underscores the need for a commander-in-chief who is focused on, principal objective, keeping America safe. And we have seen for seven years the consequences of political correctness.

This president refuses, even to say the words radical Islamic terrorism, refuses to acknowledge the threat we face. We need a president that will squarely confront this, call it by its name and do everything necessary to defeat radical Islamic terrorism and to utterly destroy ISIS.

COOPER: So the question, though, is what do you mean by empowering law enforcement to patrol and secure Muslim neighborhoods before they become radicalized?

As you probably know the Anti-Defamation League has put out a statement saying demonizing all Muslims is a misguided, counterproductive response to terrorist threat posed by those motivated by radical interpretation of Islam.

It's an irrational approach, harkens back to fear and bigotry that led to the dark and tragic chapter in American history, relocation of more than 100,000 Japanese to internment camps.

CRUZ: We have seen for seven years that being afraid to confront what it is we're facing, being afraid to name it, radical Islamic terrorism has left us vulnerable to jihad, to acts of terror. We've seen that in Paris, in San Bernardino, Brussels.

Now that does not mean targeting Muslims. It means targeting radical Islamic terrorism. You asked was does that mean. You know, Mayor Bloomberg in New York had a very successful program to engage with the Muslim community and to prevent radicalization and to identify radical Islamic terrorists before they carry out acts of terrorism.

Mayor De Blasio came in and ended that program, said we're no longer going to do so. That was foolishness, that was political correctness run amok. It's exactly the same approach that Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton follow of refusing to acknowledge who our enemies are.

Our enemies are not every Muslim. Our enemy is radical Islamic terrorists or the jihadists that seek to murder us and it is the heart of law enforcement and national security to prevent those who were waging war on you from actually carrying out their attempted acts of war.

[16:55:07]COOPER: So beyond just having relationships with mosques, having law enforcement have ongoing relationship with mosques which happens in many cities with the FBI and local police departments in many cities in the United States, are you saying going beyond that?

It does sound like in your statement empowering law enforcement to patrol and secure Muslim neighborhoods I still don't quite understand what that means.

CRUZ: It's very simple. It's doing what law enforcement does in any circumstance. If you have a neighborhood where there is a high level of gang activity, the way to prevent it is you increase law enforcement presence there and target gang members to get them off the street.

COOPER: You're talking about Muslim neighborhoods not radicals particularly.

CRUZ: I'm talking about any area where there is higher incidence of radical Islamic terrorism. If you look at Europe, Europe's failed immigration laws have allowed a massive influx of radical Islamic terrorists into Europe and now in isolated neighborhoods where radicalism festers.

It festers and grows and sadly that leads directly to the attack we saw in Brussels, the attacks we've seen in Paris. We need to prevent radicalization, and that is by targeting it. And I'll give you an example.

Sometimes, yesterday I was on with Wolf Blitzer on CNN and Wolf asked me, well, what difference does it make if you call it radical Islamic terrorism? It impacts the policy dramatically because if you won't identify it.

And Obama won't identify it, Hillary won't identify it, Democrats won't identify it, you don't combat it. For example, President Obama is advocating and implementing a policy to bring tens thousands of Syrian Muslim refugees to America than makes no sense.

The FBI has told us they cannot vet these refugees and ISIS has told us they intend to infiltrate the refugees to send in jihadists to murder Americans --

COOPER: Can you name a neighborhood now that you would like to see these patrols in, a neighborhood that you believe has been radicalized? Again, it seems like what you're saying right now is different than what's in your statement. Your statement --

CRUZ: Not at all.

COOPER: So is there a neighborhood now that law enforcement currently is not doing what you suggest or would like to --

CRUZ: Listen, a classic example was Mayor Michael Bloomberg's successful program, cooperating with the Muslim community to target and prevent radical Islamic terrorism. Mayor Bill De Blasio afraid of being labeled politically incorrect ended that program, said, no, no, we're not going to do this anymore.

And that is foolishness. It's the same foolishness that governs Barack Obama after every one of the attacks he goes on national televised address and lectures Americans on Islamophobia.

We need a president instead that targets the bad guys. And I'll give you another example of the consequences --

COOPER: But one of the points that many make in the United States, law enforcement makes, is that it's critical not only that Muslim communities in the United States assimilate and are part, feel part of the fabric of the United States and to a great degree do already much more so than we're seeing in Belgium or other countries in Europe.

But that they are on the front lines of this and the information often has to come from them and we have seen many cases where Muslim families or Muslim community leaders have come forward to identify potential trouble spots in their communities. Do you worry about alienating more people than you're actually discovering?

CRUZ: Anderson, of course, we should be working with the Muslim community to target radical Islamic terrorism, to prevent radicalization. That is entirely consistent with active and proactive law enforcement.

When you have a neighborhood that faces an increase incidents of gang involvement, effective law enforcement works with the community and it's the community that pays the price. It's the community who the law-abiding citizens are put at risk by that increased criminal activity.

With radical Islamic terrorism it's different from criminal activity. It radicalization's war. They are waging jihad and these are not isolated lone wolves as the Obama administration insists. Rather, it is a coordinated war effort. Here's one --

COOPER: So how would you identify community that needs these patrols, that needs securing? Are you talking about every mosque in America that there needs to be a police involvement? How would you decide?

CRUZ: Anderson, it's not terribly complicated. It is typical law enforcement practice, national security practice to focus where there is an increased incidents of radical Islamic terrorism.

COOPER: In the United States, I mean, is there an increase incidence of radical Islamic terrorism that is not already being addressed?

CRUZ: Of course, look, New York City is a great example. Mayor De --