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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
Taxi Driver Who Took Bombers to Airport Tipped Off Police; Manhunt Underway After Deadly Terror Attacks; Sources: Terror Attacks Tied to Network Behind Paris Massacre. Aired 7-8p ET
Aired March 22, 2016 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[19:00:11] ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: Next, breaking news, deadly terror attacks ripping through the heart of Europe. Tonight, police working off a tip from a taxi driver who dropped the suspected bombers off at the airport. The massacre coming just days after the arrest of the last Paris attacker, was this payback?
And at least six Americans injured in the attacks that we know of it this hour. Security ramped up across the United States. What is the threat to the homeland? Let's go OUTFRONT.
Good evening, I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight, the breaking news. A massive manhunt underway for the suspects in the Brussels terror attacks. ISIS claiming responsibility for a series of bombings that ripped through the very heart of Europe. We're just learning at this hour that Belgian authorities are looking for at least three people who may be associated with the bombings. Now, this is according to one U.S. official. And investigators believe there is a much wider network involved here. At this time, at least 30 people reported killed, 230 more injured. Among them, at least six Americans. The first attack was in a crowded passenger terminal at Brussels International Airport.
People just checking in to get on their flight this morning. Ten of them murdered in two explosions. A short time later a single powerful bomb detonated inside a subway train at a downtown metro station. At least 20 people killed there. And authorities releasing this airport surveillance video. The Belgian federal prosecutor believes the two men, on the left, may have been suicide bombers. You can see them there. Investigators are now searching for the other man in the picture, the man in the white jacket. They believe he's on the run.
The attacks were just six miles apart. And now the manhunt is focused on the nearby neighborhood of Schaerbeek. During a raid there, police discovered a nail-packed bomb, chemicals and an ISIS flag. President Obama calling the Belgian prime minister to express his condolences, and speaking from Cuba where I am tonight, condemned the attacks.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA (D), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We must be together, regardless of nationality, or race, or faith, in fighting against this scourge of terrorism. We can and we will defeat those who threaten the safety and security of people all around the world.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: CNN has every single angle of this fast-moving story covered tonight OUTFRONT. We begin with Fred Pleitgen in Brussels. Fred, raids have been going on all behind you, all night, as they have this manhunt, as they are looking at more, they are worried at the possibility of more attacks. And you're learning more about how they're getting tipped off to the location where the raid is behind you.
FRED PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, absolutely. And I'm in that Schaerbeek area where the raids have been taking place all throughout the afternoon hours Brussels time, Erin. And it was very quickly that the authorities moved into the Schaerbeek area, because apparently they got a tip-off most probably from the taxi driver who may have taken these people to the airport. And apparently they took a taxi from the Schaerbeek area where I am right now. It's unclear whether or not it was the taxi driver who actually tipped them off.
However, they were here very quickly. Now, we've been here also since the afternoon hours. We've seen choppers in the sky. We've seen one chopper in the sky, with actually a team of what we think was snipers out in open door, pointing their rifles at something. And again, what they found here in this area, again, very quickly was that nail bomb. They found chemicals. And they also found apparently an ISIS flag as well. What we've seen on the ground in the lasted hour or so, was a decontamination unit that went out of the area here. Of course, if they didn't identify the chemicals, that wouldn't be much of a surprise.
What we haven't heard so far Erin, is whether or not anyone was taken into custody after these raids. Or whether when the police got here, they found an empty apartment or house where they would have found these things, like the nail bomb and the ISIS flag as well. The latest that we're hearing from the police here in Schaerbeek is that this operation is still going on. And I can tell you, as of a couple of minutes ago, there was a lot of police vehicles that were going in and out of this area. And the cordon here on this area remains in place, and it has for at least seven or eight hours at this point -- Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Fred, thank you very much. And of course, as these raids go on, they are doing everything they can to track down that man that they are on the hunt for. And also, of course, the deep concern that they have about the possibility of more attacks. Right now, investigators are combing through the debris of the bombs and the surveillance tapes of both of the sites, looking across the city, desperately trying to find any kind of a clue to try to piece together how this could have happened. Leading up to this morning's attack.
Atika Shubert is OUTFRONT.
ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): ISIS is claiming responsibility for a pair of deadly attacks in Brussels today. This was the chaotic scene shortly after two explosions rocked the city's airport. Two explosions in the international departure hall, just before 8:00 a.m. Local Time. Investigators say it was the work of two suicide bombers.
[19:05:17] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I heard an explosion. And then when we came out of the elevator, at that moment the second bomb exploded. And then we saw doors flying, glass, ceiling coming down.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The two explosions were quite close. They were really like almost maybe 20 or 30 meters away from each other. And time-wise, it was maybe three, maybe four seconds. By the time we realized what was happening on one side, the other explosion happened on the other side.
SHUBERT: One device exploded near the checking counters, an area not protected by security check points. Dozens of dead and wounded lay scattered across the terminal's floor. Hundreds of others ran for the exits. Belgian police released this surveillance photo of three men pushing luggage carts.
FREDERIC VAN LEEUW, BELGIAN FEDERAL PROSECUTOR (through a translator): At the airport we have a photo of three suspects. We can assume that two of those three men had committed suicide attacks. The third man in a light-colored jacket and a hat is being searched for at this moment.
SHUBERT: A closer look at the two men on the left shows each wearing only one glove. Investigators think it is possible that the gloves hid a detonator. Even as the horror of the airport attack was unfolding, terrified screams of a child after a second even more deadly attack. About an hour later, about six miles away, at a downtown metro station.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As I was on my way to work this morning, I actually was reading the news and I heard about the explosion at the airport. I was one metro back. And we felt a kind of small blast of air, and we heard some thudding in the distance.
SHUBERT: After the blast, Belgian authorities scoured Brussels streets, a desperate manhunt still underway for possible accomplices. Belgium's Prime Minister Charles Michel addressed a shaken nation.
CHARLES MICHEL, BELGIAN PRIME MINISTER (through a translator): At this time of tragedy, which is a dark time for our country, more than ever I call on everybody to show calm. But also solidarity.
SHUBERT: There is a very real fear of more attacks. In a statement, ISIS promised more attacks were coming.
SHUBERT: Now, we have some more details of those suspects on that surveillance tape. They were apparently seen on the tape, and disembarking from a taxi together. They then moved through the airport. The man in the light jacket was later seen leaving the airport on his own. It appears to be possibly part of the planned attack -- Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Atika. Dries Valaert, I want to bring him in now. He was at Zaventem Airport in Brussels just yards away from the twin explosions, a war zone truly today. He joins me now from Skype from just outside Brussels. And Dries, I just want to thank you so much for being willing to talk. I know that this is a day you never could imagine experiencing. How are you doing?
DRIES VALAERT, EYEWITNESS TO AIRPORT BOMBINGS: Considering the circumstances, I'm -- me, I'm okay. Thank you. Relieved even.
BURNETT: Well, you are alive. You are home. I know in so many ways, you must feel very lucky and very blessed. You were a hundred feet, not even a hundred feet away from one of these bombs. What exactly did you see and hear happen?
VALAERT: Well, 7:59, I hear the first bomb. Which was a big blast. And then I oriented myself towards it. And eight, ten counts later, after the realization, I hear the second -- you see and hear the second blast. And then it's time for running. And then we all went, we saw smoke and then we ran towards the military because of being scared of potential bullets. And everyone just was in a big panic zone.
BURNETT: Dries, what did you think was happening? Did you think that this was a terror attack? What did you think was actually happening to you?
VALAERT: Well, the first thought only came after three, four seconds. But then you immediately realize it. And then -- but it takes another three seconds, and then it's a second blast. And then you just know. And it's time for everyone to run. And everyone going on instinct and running towards the military, as the first zone of safety. And then secondly, just towards the gates and tarnishing the little gates.
[19:10:11] BURNETT: And Dries, I know that -- I know that, you know, we're looking at the pictures now, and it looks like a war zone. And that is what it was, right? With these bombs going off. There is a stroller there. There are, you know, people and families who were checking into the airport who were there to say good-bye to their loved ones on a trip. What did you see around you? With the other people and the people who suddenly saw their lives change so dramatically today, the injured and the dead?
VALAERT: First, you just see smoke. Then you see the ceiling coming down. And then you're just running, jumping over people -- across and towards an open area. After the second one, you hear screaming, and just a war zone, so to speak.
BURNETT: Dries, we very much appreciate your taking the time to talk to us so late there after such a horrific and terrifying day. And we are so glad you're OK. Thank you.
VALAERT: You're welcome. Thank you.
BURNETT: And OUTFRONT now, CNN terrorism analyst Paul Cruikshank, former CIA operative Bob Baer and CNN Global Affairs analyst Kimberly Dozier who was just at the Brussels Airport on Monday. Mike Rogers also joins me, the former chairman of the House Select Committee on Intelligence.
All right. Thanks very much to all of you. Paul, what are you learning? We've got these massive raids. You know, a horrific attack happening at the check-in area of an airport in a city that was on high alert, that had been searching for ISIS cells for months, where one of the Paris attackers was just apprehended days ago. What are you learning right now about the hunt, the manhunt for one of these men?
PAUL CRUIKSHANK, CNN TERRORISM ANALYST: Well, the manhunt carries on, Erin. They want to find the people responsible, linked to them. They're worried that there could be follow-on attacks on a day like tomorrow. You could a similar kind of attacks take place again in Brussels. This is a large ISIS cell, they believe is responsible for all of this. The same cell that was responsible for the Paris attack. The Paris attack was planned, coordinated, staged from Belgium, the plot has gathered in several safe houses before those attacks.
And Belgian authorities in the months since have arrested more than ten people in connection for the Paris attacks. But they haven't rounded up the whole cell. They got lucky last week, in getting Salah Abdeslam and one of his accomplices and killing a Nigerian terrorist who played a senior role in the Paris attacks.
CRUIKSHANK: But there are also significant paly I think during the bomb maker believe still to be at large. The bomb maker potentially being an individual called Najim Laachraoui, who went to Syria in 2013. His DNA was found in the bomb factory for the Paris attacks which by the way was in Schaarbeek, the very same district of where they found the explosives just a few hours ago.
BURNETT: Yes. So Bob Baer, let me ask, let me show you this picture again. Because this is really, they have so little information. They have these three men, two of them they believe suicide bombers dressed in dark colors. And then you have the one man on the other side of the screen in white. Let's talk about the men in black, though. They each have a glove on. They each have on a glove, one glove each. And I know that's something that you think could be very significant. Why?
BOB BAER, FORMER CIA OPERATIVE: Well, they could be dead man switches. So, if you take your hand off the cart, the bomb goes off. So, even if the police suspected them and grabbed them, they could still have detonated their weapons, or if they had been shot. These dead man switches are very common. You would have to know what you're doing to hook up the electrics. But we're going to have to wait for the forensics people to really look at this. Or they could have a syringe of a plunger in those gloves so they couldn't be seen so that they can detonate them.
But I would imagine, you know, with a minder there, the guy in the white, was made sure they got in, that their bombs were hooked up right. Because remember, these guys are nervous, to say the least. Or, you know --
BAER: -- they're fatalistic or whatever you want to call it. So, to have a minder there to make sure everything is hooked up right is operationally sound. And what bothers me is these guys keep getting better and better and better, and they're moving from hard targets to soft targets. And they can sort of hit at will, whether it's in response to Abdeslam's capture or not, I don't know. But these cells as Paul was saying there are widespread. And the Belgians just don't know what they have here, how widespread they are and how many bomb makers they are. These bombs are fairly easy to make. I mean, I could teach you in a couple of days and take you out to a range and you could do quite well in making your own. So, this technology is very dangerous.
[19:15:05] BURNETT: And Mike, it's incredibly terrifying when you think about it happening at an airport check-in, not even through security, something that makes everyone around the world afraid. You hear about this minder who they're now on the hunt for. They don't know where he is, if he's at large. And you're talking about a city that has been raiding these neighborhoods for months and months and months, and all these raids going on. And a plan like this was being plotted and no one had any idea. Where do you think this man could be? This minder? Do you think he is truly escaped the net?
MIKE ROGERS, CNN HOMELAND SECURITY CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I mean, you have to look at what happened after the Paris bombings. And remember, the logistics effort in this took about 30 people, they think. And maybe even more. And it also tracked back to this cell. All of these operations are likely to have been compartmentalized. Which is why I think operationally the police have had such a difficult time trying to get into these other operational cells. Meaning, the operation cell that conducted in Paris, they were able to break that down and find the folks who were at least participating in some way.
There's probably another, or multiple operational cells that won't talk to each other in the conducting of their business. That's what they're worried about. How do you get at all of these operational cells that are likely separated?
ROGERS: The thing that should concern them is with all the pocket litter, with all of the opportunity, meaning the information they take off the individuals that they arrest, including in their apartments, where they stay, their cars, didn't get into the electronic communications of this other cell that operated that we just saw today in there's explosions. That's what's going to worry law enforcement moving forward, is what did they miss, and how are they missing these other operational cells.
BURNETT: All right. Well, all of you are going to be with me for the hour. We just want to take a break here. After the break, the massacre coming just days after the last Paris attacker was arrested. Arrested alive. Was it payback? Were they worried that he would talk and unveil this plot?
Plus, heavily armed security at airports and train stations across the United States. And Donald Trump weighing in on the attacks.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Radical Islamic terrorism is a major problem, and we have a president that won't even mention the term.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[19:20:58] BURNETT: Breaking news tonight. Two top U.S. officials telling CNN they believe today's deadly attacks in Brussels are tied to the same network as the Paris attack suspect Salah Abdeslam. Abdeslam was captured alive last week after four months on the run. He was caught literally, you know, just a short distance away from the subway station where 20 people were massacred today. At the time Belgian officials say, Abdeslam was ready for a new attack.
Deborah Feyerick is OUTFRONT.
DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The capture of one of the most wanted men in Europe was quickly and cautiously hailed as a victory by Belgian and French authorities who warned a fight is not over. Twenty six-year-old Salah Abdeslam, alive but wounded in the leg, following a shootout with Belgian security forces Friday. He was one of ten terrorists, including older brother Brahim, allegedly responsible for the November Paris attacks which killed 130 people at four separate locations. Authorities believe his capture and a warning that he was cooperating with police. May have accelerated today's attacks already in the works.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Salah Abdeslam's lawyer said that he was speaking to the police is either a direct message from Salah Abdeslam to his cohorts that they need to continue their planning for attacks immediately, or they need to, you know, seek cover. Well, the message was very, very clear. That I'm in police captivity and I'm talking therefore, whatever you're going to do, you need to do it quickly because the reality is, you could be arrested soon as well.
FEYERICK: Abdeslam, a second generation Moroccan is believed to have spent three months last year driving around Europe in rental cars. Allegedly meeting with the Paris attackers and other operatives. The day of the attacks, investigators believe Abdeslam drove three of the terrorists to the soccer stadium. He then ditched his suicide vest in a trash can and fled. His brother, Brahim, blew himself up outside a cafe.
MICHAEL WEISS, AUTHOR, "ISIS INSIDE THE ARMY OF TERROR": He has meant to have been a suicide bomber, his belt didn't go off. Or he chickened out at the last minute. We still don't know.
FEYERICK: He spent the next four months eluding capture. There was speculation Abdeslam may have traveled to Syria. Authorities were shocked when they raided a safe house in Belgium last week and discovered his fingerprints in an apartment containing bomb-making material. Abdeslam grew up in the Molenbeek neighborhood not far from where he was captured.
WEISS: The human intelligence that Belgian officials can get off him is going to be massive.
FEYERICK: Abdeslam's other brother Mohamed still lives in the area and sat down with Erin Burnett after the Paris attacks.
BURNETT: Do you still think, I love my brother?
MOHAMED ABDESLAM, BROTHER OF SALAH ABDESLAM (through a translator): These are my brothers. I love them. That's for sure. After all they've done, do I admire what they've done? No. My family and I do not.
FEYERICK: Now, there are two other potentially key suspects at large, Erin. Both of them linked to Abdeslam. One of them is a childhood friend. The two men were together it's believed in Paris several times before the attacks there. The other man is somebody who they're looking for in that Schaarbeek neighborhood today -- Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Deb, thank you very much. And I'm going to go straight back to my panel. And the Kim, I want to start with you. You hear Deb's report, you look at the timing here. Do you think that this had something to do with Salah Abdeslam being captured four days ago?
KIMBERLY DOZIER, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Well, I have to say that in Brussels over the weekend, U.S. officials at the conference I was attending were all warned to be on high alert. One of them right during the operations to take Abdeslam was actually hustled away by police from the venue because of the suspected plot. They were later told that was a false alarm. And on Sunday, a senior Belgian official told the audience that in questioning from Abdeslam, they had learned that his network was much larger than they had expected.
And that he had planned new violence and they said they were on alert. That said, when I went to the airport on Monday morning, there wasn't any additional security from the spot where the taxi dropped me off to the ticket counter, the same area where the explosion went off today. So, you know, there were security -- there was visible security throughout the city. But they simply can't be everywhere.
[19:25:34] BURNETT: They can't be everywhere. And Bob Baier, you heard Kim's reporting, about the no security at the airport. You now have these groups threatening more attacks tonight. That is something they have to be taking very seriously and must be incredibly afraid of. Because they obviously had no idea about this, despite all the surveillance that they are conducting.
BAER: Erin, that's exactly it. I mean, what these people have learned to do is stay off the internet, and not call back to Syria, or get on the phone at all or using burner phones. They are using encryption, whatever they have. But even from the Paris attacks, they haven't gleaned much from the metadata, from the data mining. And these people are learning as they go, just as they're learning how to make better bombs, they're learning how to communicate with each other and hide these cells.
In addition, they're being protected by the local communities. I mean, as Abdeslam was. Now whether he knew about the planned attacks on the airport, let's wait to see on that. But another thing they've learned is to compartment their information. They don't tell each other what they're about ready to do. And they don't need instructions from Syria. So, all are data collection, it's been initiated in a big way.
BURNETT: Congressman Rogers, I remember being in Paris, and there were at the time reports and concerns that something like this could happen. Some sort of an attack on an airport. Is this something that can be prevented? Again, this happened in a city that is already on high alert and was expecting an attack.
ROGERS: Well, you know, guards, gates and guns is the old debate. And the intelligence that we need needs to be both electronic and intelligence generated. That's how you're going to solve this. You have to disrupt them in the planning stages of these events. Which is concerning about this particular event. Because as all of that information collected, including phone numbers and other things, they weren't able to put enough together to disrupt this activity happening in a neighborhood right near where this person grew up.
So, the problem here is that technology is taking us one way, and we still keep talking about hiring more gates, guards and guns to try to protect everywhere. And as Kim talked about, you can't hire enough people to be in every airport standing between the cab and where you check in your bags. That's not going to happen. So that's the challenge I think we have a law enforcement and intelligence coming up.
BURNETT: All right. All of you going to be with me, again, through the hour.
OUTFRONT next, the manhunt for the attackers on the run right now. The manhunt there desperately searching. Seems the suspect in the white coat left the airport in Brussels today.
And across the United States, security stepped up. What is the threat of copycat attacks?
[19:32:10] BURNETT: Breaking news on the devastating terror attacks in Brussels. At least 30 dead, more than 200 injured tonight. Right now, a massive manhunt under way right now around the world and
in Belgium for anyone with links to the explosion. The authorities in particularly are focused on a particular man. In this picture, you see two men dressed in black. They're believed to carry out suicide attacks at the Brussels airport.
But the third man in the picture, the man in the hat with the white jacket, he is still at large. Officials tell CNN that they believe he left a bomb in the airport that did not explode. A raid of an apartment in Brussels' Schaerbeek neighborhood turned up a nail bomb, chemicals and an ISIS flag.
ISIS is claiming responsibility for the attacks tonight.
And OUTFRONT now, our justice correspondent Pam Brown.
Pam, why do authorities think that the man in the white coat left the airport?
PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, they've been looking at the surveillance video at the airport, Erin, and it shows the man in the white coat leaving the two men after the explosion. And so, based on that, officials believe that this was all planned, that the man in the white coat was accompanying the two suicide bombers, and then left them.
Now, the big question is, where did he go? Did he go to the metro station where as we know there was an explosion an hour later, or did he go elsewhere? Was that a separate group of people involved with that? Those are still unanswered questions. We know that some names have been shared from Belgian authorities, with U.S. authorities, with people they believe may have been involved with the attack.
But they haven't been able to confirm the exact names, the identity of the three men we see right here in the picture. Authorities believe there are at least three involved. But that there's a wider network, a wider network of people involved with this attack, as well as other plots that were in the works.
They believe that these plots were already sort of hatched before Salah Abdeslam who we know was involved with the Paris attacks before he was arrested Friday, and they accelerated these attacks after his arrest last Friday -- Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Pam, thank you very much.
And we're also learning in the United States, officials stepping up security across the country, at airports, at train stations, at landmarks.
Rene Marsh OUTFRONT at Reagan National Airport in Washington, D.C., the nation's capital.
Rene, what are you seeing? How much extra security are you seeing tonight? RENE MARSH, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: Well, Erin, TSA is preparing
to launch specialized teams at airports and train stations in major cities, so-called "viper teams", use everything from bomb-sniffing dogs to advanced screening technology.
Although the federal government is saying there is no credible threat at this point, the overseas attacks clearly stoking increased concerns for the U.S. transportation system overall. We're also seeing at train stations, bus stations, a heightened sense of police presence.
[19:35:03] We're seeing bag checks, random bag checks at train stations. They're looking for explosives there.
Of course, the focus is soft targets, where I'm standing right now, at the entrance of an airport, that is considered a soft target. Anywhere where many people gather, but they don't have to go through a security checkpoint to access it.
Notoriously very difficult to protect soft targets, and the attacks in Brussels proves that point of just how difficult it is for law enforcement to guess and assess and make sure nothing like that happens here in the United States.
But again, we're seeing a show of force to prevent that from happening -- Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Rene, thank you very much.
And OUTFRONT now, the Republican Congressman Tom Marino. He sits on the Homeland Security and Foreign Affairs Committees.
Congressman, I appreciate you taking the time. You hear Rene talking about the security of soft targets throughout the United States. Are you worried about copycat attacks in the homeland?
REP. TOM MARINO (R-PA), HOMELAND SECURITY COMMITTEE: I'm worried about copycat attacks. I'm also worried about more terrorist attacks from ISIS, from anyone who's been radicalized. And, unfortunately, they don't have to follow a copy cat. They have enough terrorists lined up that I think are in the country that could attack us.
What we need to do is we need to absolutely secure the border right now. And if anyone does not pass an in-depth background check, they don't get into this country. We have to tell the embassies of the countries around the world, put a hold on people coming to the United States because we will stop them at the border.
If they don't pass that information that we need to clear them, they don't get into the United States. Even the director of the FBI said we will have a system for this.
BURNETT: And, Congressman, I know you've had a chance to be briefed on the latest situation. Is there anything you can tell us?
MARINO: Well, I think as you know, I'm the vice president of the NATO parliamentary assembly, and this is another clear message that we have to get to our European allies and to our NATO members. I've been after them for several years now to suggest to them, please, secure your borders more so, because the individuals pouring into Europe -- and we have an agreement with 38 countries that allow people to come to this country on a waiver program, were they really don't really need a visa.
BURNETT: Yes. Congressman, you know the head of the defense intelligence agency just said last month, ISIS would probably conduct additional attacks in Europe, but also attempted direct attacks on the U.S. homeland in 2016. Do you think that that will happen, a direct attack by ISIS in the United States?
MARINO: There's no question, this attack in Brussels was, of course, a message to the Europeans, saying that we can do this anywhere. But also it was a message to the United States, saying, we will get there and we will cause this destruction in the United States.
That's why we have to just stop anyone from coming into this country at this point until they've been vetted fully.
BURNETT: Congressman Marino, thank you very much.
MARINO: You're very welcome.
BURNETT: And OUTFRONT next, at least six Americans, six Americans injured in the attacks that we know of so far. The State Department says there are still a fair number of missing Americans tonight.
And Donald Trump speaking out in the wake of the terror attacks saying he would be fine with waterboarding of suspected terrorists.
[19:42:31] BURNETT: Breaking news on the terror attacks in Belgium tonight. The United States still trying to track down a fair number of missing Americans.
Right now, we know at least 30 people were killed, 230 injured in these attacks. Among the wounded, at least six Americans, including Mormon missionaries from Utah.
Kyung Lah is OUTFRONT with the story.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Every phone call, you got to hope it's him.
CHAD WELLS, FATHER OF INJURED AMERICAN: We're on pins on needles at every phone call.
KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The call that might be from their son, Mason, 19 years old, 20 months into serving his Mormon mission in France and Belgium. Mason Wells is with his missionary partner, Joe Empey, an elder Richard Norby, dropping off Fanny Rachel Clain, at the Brussels airport.
WELLS: The departure, one of the bombs went off there. That's where Mason was injured.
LAH: All of them were hurt, but expected to survive. The Wells live outside Salt Lake City, haven't been able to speak to their son. They know he was close enough to the blast to be hurt, burns and foot injuries.
(on camera): What is like being parents and having your son in the middle of something like this?
WELLS: I think the word is, you feel helpless. You feel scared, because there's not a lot you can do.
LAH (voice-over): This isn't this family's first time in the center of a terror attack.
2013, Mason and his father had just left this block at the Boston marathon when the first explosion went off. Moments later, Chad Wells explaining what he saw to Wolf Blitzer.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Chad Wells, are you on the phone right now?
WELLS: Yes, Wolf, I'm on the phone, I can hear you.
LAH (on camera): How strange is this for your family to be involved in two of these?
WELLS: I think two is enough for a lifetime now. I'm just dumbfounded to be honest. All I can hope is that the Boston experience gave Mason some peace. I know he was in the turmoil, right there when the blast happened and it was pretty chaotic from what I heard.
LAH: You're tracing his travels.
WELLS: I wasn't expecting him to be in Belgium, but he started in (INAUDIBLE)
LAH (voice-over): The Boston terror attack didn't quell Mason's desire to serve his church internationally. As a witness in the second attack, the Wells hope their son's mission centered on peace holds lessons.
WELLS: I think this is a good wake up call to not only the citizens of America and Belgium and France, but to the world, that we need to come together as humanity and not pull ourselves apart.
LAH: As for finishing our interview?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Tell me about your head, honey.
LAH: The call from Mason.
WELLS: Mason, I'm going to catch a flight over to Paris.
[19:45:02] LAH (on camera): What was it like to finally hear his voice?
WELLS: It was amazing relief. Pure joy to hear Mason's voice, to know he's alive, he's OK.
LAH: You heard Chad Wells there telling his son that he is going to travel to his bedside. As far as we know, he's still planning on doing that, even though he is alone in Europe. His parents want him to know that he is still in their thoughts. They hope to get to him very quickly. As far as the other two other Utah residents, Richard Norby and Joe Empey, as far as we know, they were also wounded from very shrapnel wounds as well burns -- Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Kyung, thank you very much. This is a stunning story.
And OUTFRONT next, Donald Trump warning that today's attacks are, quote, "just the beginning," those are his words, as he proposed his solution for stopping terror attacks in the United States.
And more of our breaking news coverage of the Brussels terror attacks. We'll be back OUTFRONT after this.
BURNETT: Breaking news: 30 people killed, hundreds more wounded in the coordinated terror attacks across Brussels tonight. ISIS claiming responsibility. The tragedy becoming a political talking point for the U.S. presidential candidates. On a major election night, voters heading to the polls in three western states.
[19:50:03] Moments ago, Republican front-runner Donald Trump doubling down on his plan to ban Muslims from the United States.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE (via telephone): I'd immediately strengthen our borders as I've been talking about for a long period of time and I would be very, very strong on visas, I'd probably end a lot of them.
This is a problem. Radical Islamic terrorism is a major problem. And we have a president who won't mention the term, won't mention the words.
We can be nice about it and we can be politically correct about it, but we're being fools, Ok. We're being absolute fools.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Sara Murray is OUTFRONT.
And, Sara, Donald Trump doubling down. Of course, he's previously called for banning non-American Muslims temporarily from entering the United States and today making that call again. SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICS REPORTER: That's right, Erin. And he's
gotten a lot of criticism for this when he initially came out after the shootings in San Bernardino, he made this call.
But what we've seen is that in a number of these states, particularly with Republican primary voters, this is the kind of thing that has boosted him because in the wake of these terror attacks, there is fear, there is a sense of how do we keep people like this from coming back into countries where we should feel safe? Countries like the United States, places like Brussels.
So, I think that's the kind of thing that has actually helped him with Republican primary voters even though many people thought it would hurt. But I do think we're starting to see some of the backlash from that coming from other candidates. We heard a little bit of that from Hillary Clinton today when she said we need to be reaching out to Muslim communities, to Islamic communities and we need to be making inroads there because the problem is when we seclude them, and we have no idea what's going on there, then we have no idea how to root out radical Islam. And so, I think we're starting to see sort of the pushback on both sides of the aisle on this, but it is the kind of thing, Erin, that could help Donald Trump tonight in a place like Arizona.
BURNETT: All right, Sara, thank you very much.
I want to bring my panel back.
Congressman Rogers, I want to start with you. Donald Trump, you know, says it wasn't just doubling down on the ban, temporary ban on Muslims. He actually doubled down on the ban on waterboarding. He says he thinks waterboarding should be used. He thinks perhaps if it had been used with the suspect in the Paris attacks who was captured days ago, maybe he would have given information that could have stopped this attack.
Could he be right?
MIKE ROGERS (R), FORMER CHAIRMAN, HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: Well, it's hard to know. Here's the thing. This debate has been had, and a vote was taken and so it got to the point where the president of the United States -- they call it enhanced interrogations.
At one time, waterboarding was part of enhanced interrogations. That has been removed from the list. That has now been banned by law.
So, I did hear him call for changing the law. For him to even do that, he'd have to come get a majority vote through both the Senate and the House to change the law. Currently the law would allow him not only to do it but couldn't give the order to do it as well.
BURNETT: So, so I understand you're saying the law can't be changed and the point of waterboarding, though, obviously, whether would or would not have worked, is going to be something he's going to use on the political trail. I mean, Ted Cruz today, Kim, also stepped out, said law enforcement
needs to step up policing Muslim neighborhoods in the United States, specifically targeting Muslims. Here's how he put it on CNN.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If you have a neighborhood where there is a high level of gang activity, the way to prevent it is you increase the law enforcement presence there. Europe's failed immigration laws have allowed a massive influx of radical Islamic terrorists into Europe and they are now in isolated neighborhoods where radicalism festers. It festers and grows and sadly that leads directly to the kind of attack we saw in Brussels.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: What's your take on that, Kim? I mean, specifically policing Muslim neighborhoods. Something that is being received well?
KIMBERLY DOZIER, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Well, there are a couple different ways to do that, hard power or soft power.
You can go in like they have done in Molenbeek right now, you can see on the streets, I was there on Saturday night, it looks like an armed military camp in some parts of that neighborhood. And you can see the locals aren't taking to it very well. There's a real sense of confrontation.
The other thing they could do is start doing more community policing, reach out to that neighborhood and knit it into the city's society. That hasn't happened yet. City officials say they'd like to, but right now, they're trying to build these kind of relationships in crisis mode, and their intelligence services are overstretched. They were before this crisis. And right now, they're trying to build this under fire -- Erin.
BURNETT: And, Paul, when you have not just with Ted Cruz and Donald Trump said today, Hillary Clinton came out and she said, look, we need more surveillance and need more surveillance of communications specifically. Paul, this is something that theoretically is happening nonstop in Belgium, Paris, in small neighborhoods, and yet it didn't stop these attacks.
[19:55:00] PAUL CRUICKSHANK, CNN ANALYST: That's right, Erin. One of the problems with communications these days is that the terrorists can communicate without authorities, having any idea at all.
On the night of the Paris attacks, just a few hours before the attacks, the Bataclan attack team downloaded the Telegram messaging app onto their smartphone. This is a messaging app which allows you to send messages with end-to-end encryption and also for those messages to self-destruct.
It's not known whether they communicated with that or not, because they just weren't able to recover any messages, so it's quite possible they did as part of the coordination for the Paris attacks. This same cell, a network believed responsible for this Brussels attack as well, so that's one of the very big challenges right now is that they're able to communicate much more easier than they were just a few years ago.
BURNETT: All right. Thanks very much to all of you.
More of our breaking news of the Brussels terror attacks continues right after this. We'll be back OUTFRONT.
BURNETT: You're looking at live pictures, New York City's One World Trade Center, lit up as you can see in black, yellow, and red, this evening. That is in solidarity with the people of Belgium. Tonight, the world standing in solidarity with Brussels. The victims and their families are all in our thoughts and those missing as everyone hunts to find them.
Thank you all so much for joining us.
Our coverage of the Brussels attacks in Brussels continues right now with "AC360".