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Inside the Lives of Terror Suspects

Aired August 15, 2006 - 21:00   ET


CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Tonight, inside the lives of the British Muslim suspects in the worst alleged terror plot since 9/11, the plan to kill thousands by blowing up as many as ten airliners flying to America. One of the closest family friends of three brothers accused in that plot speaks out.

What drives people to suicidal acts of terror that takes so many innocent lives? We'll take an inside look next on LARRY KING LIVE.


AMANPOUR: Good evening from London. I'm Christiane Amanpour standing in again for Larry King.

There are new developments in the alleged plot to blow up airliners across the Atlantic and for that I am joined by my colleagues both on the investigation, Dan Rivers and Deborah Feyerick.

We're going to turn first to Dan. What are the new developments? There's been an arrest hasn't there, another person taken in?

DAN RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. I mean this is a sign this is a fast-moving inquiry, another arrest coming today in High Wycombe, where they've already been searching houses. They've already been searching woods for suspected sites of alleged explosions and testing explosions.

A young man in his late 20s, we know he's the third child of five children in the family, comes from a middle-class family, a respectable neighborhood. Once again, you know, this is surprising for the police and worrying.

AMANPOUR: Again, is it a Pakistani family? Are these British Muslims?

RIVERS: We understand, yes, we understand British Muslim family, you know, with no history, you know, of extremist involvement. You know it is a -- it is a worrying site. Obviously he's in custody with the other 23. Police are making inquiries. Nothing is proven, of course, but you know these are worrying times.

AMANPOUR: Stand by a second.

Deborah Feyerick, you've been working on the whole notion of the face of terrorism. We've been talking a lot about al Qaeda and al Qaeda-ism. What are your sources telling you about what is behind this and how it will develop?

DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Christiane, what experts are telling us is that it's very dangerous just to think that Osama bin Laden is the only terrorist out there that, in fact, there are so many levels and so many layers that even if he were to be taken out of the equation terrorism now is just so deeply rooted and attacks, potential attacks against the United States are so perhaps on the horizon that it's -- you should not let your guard down that, in fact, the most likely attack may come from Americans themselves (INAUDIBLE) like the Britons here may be intent on harming America that they've simply gone into the ideology of Osama bin Laden. He is the idea behind terrorism but terrorism itself is a movement that is very, very strong right now -- Christiane.

AMANPOUR: Let me just turn again to Dan. I see you nodding you head but I want to ask you a specific there. What about the evidence? Have they found, the police here, any evidence of explosives, of testing that they say could have led to these liquid explosives?

RIVERS: What we know is they have not found a bomb. That is certain. They haven't found a device that was ready to blow up. What my sources are telling me is that they have found unusual quantities of household chemicals which put together could have been the ingredients of a bomb, it's alleged.

So, those chemicals now have been sent to the forensic science service laboratories to be tested to check what they are. If they're what the police think they are, they think they have a very strong case for prosecution.

AMANPOUR: And, as far as you know, these chemicals were found, what, in a house, a basement, where?

RIVERS: In a house in East London is what I understand along with, we understand, weapons as well.

AMANPOUR: What kind?

RIVERS: We don't know at the moment. I haven't managed to find that out. What I do know is that they also have a large amount of evidence of conversations recorded covertly on video and audio of many of the suspects. That together with monitored phone calls and e-mail traffic they built up a picture of what these guys, it is alleged, were up to.

AMANPOUR: So, are they quite confident now? I mean because...

RIVERS: They are...

AMANPOUR: the early days we were talking about them releasing suspects.


AMANPOUR: Are they confident they have a picture? RIVERS: I think there's a -- yes. They are very confident. The person, a senior government source I spoke to today said they are very confident of a successful prosecution in this. However, because of the nature of the raid a lot of people were taken in. It may be, and we are expecting this, that some of the 24 people now in custody may be released.

They threw the net out. They caught a lot of people. Not all of those people had anything to do with this. Some of the people were in the wrong place at the wrong time we think.

AMANPOUR: Deborah, Dan's talking about the confidence as he believes the police have about painting a picture and a prosecution. There was quite close cooperation I think between the Americans and the British or at least close information between the two on this case. What -- we've heard a little bit about perhaps the Americans would have arrested these people quicker. Where does that stand?

FEYERICK: Well, the Americans have been very careful to defer to the British. There's information also coming from Pakistan as to who did what. The British contacted the Pakistanis. The Pakistanis moved in. They got information. They contacted the British. The British then called the Americans and the Americans started investigating on their end of the pond.

Again, especially in this kind of investigation, nobody knows what the critical piece of information is going to be and that's why it is so important that there is a sharing of information and also a cooperation between the investigations because something that happened in Pakistan may not be relevant here in the U.K.

However, once that information is passed to people in the United States they may have additional information or it may be the missing piece of a puzzle that they're looking into.

So, for example, what we do know is that the investigation now very sort of focused, especially on two brothers. One of them, a young man by the name of Tayib Rauf, he was arrested here in the U.K. His brother was arrested in Pakistan at the same time. It is believed that Rashid Rauf sent money from Pakistan to Tayib Rauf here in the U.K.

And so that's the connection that they're looking at. Where did the money come from? And, who was doing what? The question is specifically also who recruited these young men to begin with? So, whatever link they can develop is critical.

And then, we are told that calls were placed to the United States, so the Federal Bureau of Investigation was running that down to see whether, in fact, anybody might have been complicit in that end but so far sources telling us there's no U.S. connection not at this time.

AMANPOUR: And very quickly to pick up on what you talked about, the money trail, there have been reports and you've been talking it that some of the money that these alleged plotters received had been diverted from money that was going to charities for that terrible Pakistani earthquake several months ago. What's the latest on that?

FEYERICK: That's exactly right. They do believe that, in fact, money that was supposed to be earmarked for charities in fact was given to three individuals who owned three separate bank accounts over in Pakistan and somehow that money made its way back to the U.K. to finance this jetliner plot.

AMANPOUR: Quickly, Dan, before we go to a break, what do you expect to be the next steps? What are we going to hear next from the investigators in this case?

RIVERS: Well, the clock is ticking for them. They need to decide are they going to apply for an extension to hold all of these people? That decision must come tomorrow, U.K. time. They must ask for another week if they want to hold them. They can hold them for up to a month so that will be the next big step.

AMANPOUR: Dan, Deborah, thank you very much.

We're going to go to a break. And, when we come back, we're going to talk to a close friend of three brothers who were arrested.


FEYERICK (voice-over): It was a short yet frightening intercept, one that mobilized British agents to move in on the alleged plotters. "Do your attacks now" it said, according to an unclassified memo from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The message was intercepted and decoded earlier this week.

Other troubling signs, according to the memo, a jump in Internet chatter, a telephone call referencing the alleged plot, and two men under surveillance dropped out of sight.



AMANPOUR: Welcome back to London where we keep trying to figure out what motivated these people who have been arrested in this suspected plot. What makes people who are born and bred in this country turn against their fellow citizens?

We're joined now by Hanif Qadir, who works with the youth in the Muslim community and who is a good friend of the Hussain (ph) family and the Hussain family has had three of their sons arrested in this alleged plot.

Can you tell me, first of all, obviously the family must be devastated, what is the father saying to you? What is the mother saying to you about their three sons?

HANIF QADIR, THREE FRIENDS ACCUSED IN PLOT TO BLOW UP AIRLINERS: Like any parent, you know, would feel if three of his children were taken away from them, obviously devastated and bewildered as to what's happened. I can't really comment too much on the family because of the (INAUDIBLE).

AMANPOUR: What kind of a family are they? What do they do? What is the father?

QADIR: Very decent people. You know, I mean I've known them to be very decent, law-abiding citizens.

AMANPOUR: What is his business?

QADIR: He's unemployed. He's off sick, you know. He's got back trouble.

AMANPOUR: And the children, the sons are they in university, do they work, what is their -- the nature of the sons?

QADIR: Students. The information I have is they just -- some of them have got a Master's degree in some studies they've done. They're just students, you know, law-abiding decent citizens.

AMANPOUR: And when you heard the news that they had been arrested what went through your mind?

QADIR: Shock, like everybody in the community who knew most of these children, you know, most of these kids Waltham Stowe. Waltham Stowe is a very tight knit community. It's a very integrated, you know, little borough. But everybody was shocked and some of them -- a lot of people -- everybody knows everybody. To hear about these kids was a total shock you know.

AMANPOUR: So, are you saying that there is no extremism, there's no radicalization that all the youth in Waltham Stowe are on the straight and narrow?

QADIR: I wouldn't say they're all on the straight and narrow. We have -- we have, you know, we have our little problems like every borough in every city in every country has problems and issues and radical and extremism in all forms in every community whether it's black, white, Asian, Muslim, Christian, Catholic, Jewish. We do have small pockets within the country like in every city and everywhere.

AMANPOUR: Where is the danger? What is the danger for these youth take aside the Hussain brothers, but other youth who have been brought into the radical element of the Muslim society? Why is that happening?

QADIR: I want to say it's happening, it seems like people have got a perception that there's a epidemic going through the Muslim community. This is wrong. I mean we have to understand that there's extreme elements in all communities, in all faiths.

But, OK, we're focusing on Muslims at the moment. The attention is on Muslims. There is certain elements that do exist in our communities. The back doors have been left open because of our community, our elders and our mosques and I wouldn't put the blame all on our mosques. We have...

AMANPOUR: What do you mean by the back doors have been left open?

QADIR: You know people are failing to understand the issues that the young people are facing, the vulnerability that they have when they're out in the streets. You know, you have extreme elements in every society. And, as in Muslim society, we've got the problem. They're prone to be, you know, approached by certain radical elements, you know.

AMANPOUR: And you know that that is the case that there are radical elements out there bringing and recruiting and preying on these people?

QADIR: We have the BNP (ph). We have (INAUDIBLE).

AMANPOUR: But in your community I'm talking about.

QADIR: There is, like I said, Christiane, there is radical elements in all communities, in all faiths, in all cultures and we do have our share and we need to address this as like the black extremists, the Jewish extremists they need to address their issues and so does the BNP you know.

AMANPOUR: But this one involves violence. Look, 7/7 is about violence and about the readiness and the action of going and blowing yourself and a whole lot of people up.

QADIR: Anybody who is radical, whether he's a Muslim, Christian, or a Jew, it contains violence and here we have certain people that will prey on young people and vulnerable people and they will teach them and they will -- you see in the media these young people that exist in our communities, anybody. They're weaned on the media which is portraying a negative image around the world.

AMANPOUR: What do you mean?

QADIR: If you -- for instance if you see what's happening around the world it could be -- we focus on Muslim at the moment where around the world you've got Palestine, you've got Chechnya, you've got Afghanistan. You know everybody is seeing the devastation and the killing of innocent lives whether it's Muslim or not and they're weaned up on this, you know.

AMANPOUR: OK, so that -- so that may upset them.


AMANPOUR: But, you know, it's very difficult to understand the leap from being concerned about your fellow citizens around the world and then going out and killing because of that.

I want to ask you something. Obviously friends of these people who have been arrested all say "We're shocked, deeply shocked. How could it happen? These were lovely boys." You have said the same thing pretty much about the Hussain people who you know.

There have been some reports though to point out potential troubles. For instance with one of the boys, Nabil (ph), in one of the newspapers it says that a former classmate of his says that he was actually barred at his school from using the Internet because the administrators had found he was on a terrorist website. They say that he had become fanatical about the war in Iraq.

QADIR: I really would like to comment on the investigation or anything regarding to the Hussain family. But what I will say that when you're going to approach anybody on the street you're going to have conflicting statements coming from any (INAUDIBLE) about what they think and what they perceive to believe. So, I wouldn't take that as, you know, gospel, you know, I wouldn't.

AMANPOUR: What do you think is going to happen? I mean do you acknowledge that there is possibly a plot? I mean do you accept that the police did have leads that went and forced them to round up a bunch of people from your community?

QADIR: Well, like Dan said they've thrown a net and they may have caught somebody, you know. We have to understand...

AMANPOUR: So you acknowledge that it's possible?

QADIR: There's that possibility in every -- in every, you know, circumstance, in every issue. But what we see, what we have here is there's a certain degree of intelligence and like any intelligence it's never conclusive. We -- if there's -- if there's anything in Walthamstow we'll be very, very shocked, you know. It's hard to believe. It's very hard to believe.

AMANPOUR: But you said and this is the crux of the matter that there are these people who are being preyed upon. How do you stop that? How do you stop that?

QADIR: We need to engage effectively at grassroots level on a regular basis -- on a regular basis. Our Imams need to understand that we need to engage with these radical elements that do exist in all communities and with Muslims, OK, our Imams need to engage with them. Ask them where does it say that you are allowed to take an innocent life you know?

I challenge any radical person to prove to me in the Koran or in the teachings of the prophet, prove to me where it says you're allowed to take an innocent life. These young men, you know, we can't comment on them. It's not fair to them because they're simple law-abiding citizens.

But anybody else, any radical element that does exist, come on, prove it, where does it say in any faith that you can take an innocent life no matter what the circumstance? Hey, I don't believe that.

AMANPOUR: Is this a big problem in your religion in your community right now the notion that people can believe something that actually is not in fact written in the Koran? QADIR: No, no, no. I -- I refute that. There's not a big problem in our religion and people understand that. We've got over two -- two and a half million Muslims in England and if you've got maybe a few hundred radical elements who like to portray their own message, hey, you have that in all communities you know.

AMANPOUR: Let me ask you the police have said or there have been sources who have said that this plot was disrupted because of an informant from the community. Somebody tipped the police off. Is that informant in your mind and in the community's mind a hero or a villain?

QADIR: There was an informant that tipped off the police in the Forest Gate (ph) incident and...

AMANPOUR: So, is it a good thing that from your community somebody told the police that there was a plot afoot?

QADIR: Well that's because of what happened in Forest Gate. An informant tipped off the police. They had credible evidence. What evidence did they have? A guy was shot. Another was (INAUDIBLE) in the head. Is that the kind of intelligence that the police are going to be acting upon? It really leaves us very skeptical, you know, about the intelligence and the sources that it's coming from.

AMANPOUR: We'll be following this. Thank you very much Hanif Qadir for joining us.

And we'll get to a break now and we'll be back with much more afterwards.


JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): And then there is Faisl (ph) Hussain. He's the father of three boys, Tariq (ph), Umir and Moran (ph). All are suspects in custody. He says he was too upset to speak in his son's behalf.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Anybody who knows him, he's a father. I know them. The community knows them. Anybody who knows his three children will swear on the Koran anything to say that they are innocent.

CARROLL: They believe police made a serious mistake. In fact, many in the Muslim community feel the same.

(on camera): Do most of you not believe what has happened in terms of the arrest?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They don't show no proof that, look, we arrested 21 people, where is the evidence that -- show us evidence.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They're innocent until proven guilty (INAUDIBLE). They'll name all the people (INAUDIBLE) and then three weeks later you'll find out they're all innocent.


AMANPOUR: Welcome back. We're still in London here trying to explore the roots and the causes of this apparent radicalization of some in the Muslim community right here in the United Kingdom, many of them born and bred, in fact most of them born here. We're joined now by Dr. Anthony McCroy, who is an expert on Islam in the United Kingdom, has written a book about radicalization from Rushdie, that would be Salman Rushdie, to 7/7 last year. What is it? Why are these people who have been born here, who have come from a much worse off life in their own countries, what their parents went through, they've come here for a better life and they're radicalized how does this happen? How does it go from normal boys growing up in a normal society to radicals?

DR. ANTHONY MCCROY: Basically because they have been educated here they're more educated than their immigrant forbearers and also they got the Internet. They got the TV. They see picture of suffering Muslims in Palestine, Lebanon, Chechnya, Iraq, Afghanistan, and so forth and it moves them.

And they're motivated by the Islamic concept of the UMA (ph), the worldwide Muslim community. So the way they look upon it is it's not that Iraqis are suffering or Palestinians are suffering but Muslims are suffering and that includes them.

AMANPOUR: So they are more Muslim than British?

MCCROY: Yes, first and foremost. They have two assistant ships. They're not unique in that. I mean other communities have it. I mean I'm a born again Christian. I'm first and foremost a Christian, then I'm British. But for them it obviously takes a more political expression.

AMANPOUR: But what moves a person to be concerned about their fellow citizens to be proud or intent on their religion to being potentially a mass murderer?

MCCROY: Well, again it goes back to the concept of the UMA. This is tradition where Mohammed said that the believers are like one fist and if one part suffers all of it suffers. So, they see it as a kind of religious and moral duty on their part to help their suffering brothers.

AMANPOUR: But, you know, many Islamic scholars would say that that is not correct. In other words, they would defend the Koran. They would say that, in fact, this exhortation to kill innocents is simply nowhere to be found in the Koran so what is it about these young men?

MCCROY: Well that's true but bin Laden has redefined the concept of innocence. To him what he said about in Muslim democracies because we choose our own governments and that these governments then wage war on Muslims that makes the electorate culpable in the actions of their governments, so from that basis they don't see Americans or to this extent Britons as innocent.

AMANPOUR: Are you saying that these people feel that they're at war?

MCCROY: They definitely feel they're at war.

AMANPOUR: People who live here in London in the home counties, in the Thames Valley?

MCCROY: Well look at what (INAUDIBLE) last year.

AMANPOUR: One of the 7/7 plotters who killed himself.

MCCROY: Who we believe was in the plot. He said, you know, "We're at war and I'm a soldier." Very clearly he was -- he was defending his people. He said "You are attacking our people." When was the last time the RAF or the American Air Force bombed Bradford or bombed (INAUDIBLE), you know, where he came from? Rather he meant you're attacking my people in Palestine and Iraq and so forth.

AMANPOUR: So how do you stop this? I mean, look, you're not going to change foreign policy. How do these people get drawn back from the brink?

MCCROY: It's going to be very, very difficult apart from a major change in foreign policy to bring about -- bring these people back from the brink. There are groups out in the Muslim community like the Muslim Public Affairs Committee, which comes from the same generation as these people, who are trying to encourage them to take on kind of an American style lobbying of the British government to get them to change policy. But without that change of policy, I'm sure there's lots of more people willing to volunteer.

AMANPOUR: But, you know, many people have said, including the former chief of the Metropolitan Police, "Look, when is the Muslim community in England going to understand that this is their problem? They own it. They have to fix it." I mean how much more has to be done from within the community?

MCCROY: Well, the secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain (INAUDIBLE) is trying to do a great deal. He's actually reaching out to the youth. But, remember, he can only do so much. In the end, what motivates these people are the pictures that they see about the devastation in Lebanon, the devastation in Palestine, the devastation in Iraq.

And there's nothing much more that the Muslim community can do about that. So long as they see these pictures, so long as these events are going on there will be people who are willing to blow themselves up and blow other people up in service of their cause.

AMANPOUR: We're going to continue obviously to explore this notion and this problem and this issue.

First, we're going to take a break.


CARROLL: British Police confiscated more items from Ibrahim Savant's (ph) home in East London early Friday, the 26-year-old's belongings wrapped up in plastic bags. Several blocks away more police stationed in front of the home of 22-year-old Rahid Khan (ph), (INAUDIBLE) Hussain can't understand why any of this is happening. He's friends with both of them and says neither is capable of terrorism.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They would never hurt a fly. They (INAUDIBLE) in anger.

CARROLL: Hussain's friends are two of the 24 arrested in connection with the terrorist plot. Most are of Pakistani descent, 13 of them live in East London, an area with a large Pakistani community. Hussain knew Ibrahim through sports.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When I speak to him just there's no hatred in him. There's no anger. There's no reason for him to be associated in plots.



AMANPOUR: Joining me now here in London is Kevin Toolis, who's worked a lot on terrorism, who's a filmmaker, has made a film called "The Cult of the Suicide Bomber," and who has written about the IRA extensively. So I want to ask you first about that. Many people looking at Britain say, well, they know how to do it, the British police, because they've had so much experience with terrorism, dealing with the IRA plots on the mainland. Is that correct? Is that why they're foiling these plots?

KEVIN TOOLIS, TERROR EXPERT: Well, it took the British a long time to actually get on top of the IRA. We know now that actually towards the end of the troubles, they had penetrated the IRA. But 7/7 in London was an absolute total shock. It came out of nowhere. It hit British intelligence. They had no idea that a small group of British citizens could basically commit mass murder on the Tube, could plot this, plan this, and strike.

AMANPOUR: And why not? Why not? Once the IRA threat went down and it was clear that Islamic extremism and militantism was replacing many aspects of terror, why not? Why had they not tried to get inside that?

TOOLIS: Well, simply, the British were successful against the IRA Because they had informers. But they clearly up until recently didn't have informers within the British Asian community. They didn't have enough agents who can speak Urdu. They didn't understand the language of the enemy. They're playing catch-up.

AMANPOUR: Are they understanding it now?

TOOLIS: Well, I think they're getting better, and obviously on the basis of the recent arrests and what the British home secretary has said, is they believe that they do have an insight, they do have informers, they have foreknowledge of impending attacks.

AMANPOUR: So what is it in your studies -- you've done the study as you've called it, the cult of the suicide bomber. What makes a young man who grows up in England, third generation, fairly privileged compared to where he probably came from, blow himself up and kill other people?

TOOLIS: Suicide bombing is like a virus. It has come out of the Middle East. It has spread all over the world. It has effectively downloaded itself into the minds of one of the most substantial Muslim communities in Europe, the British Asian population.

It has the ability to infect small pockets. We're talking about a tiny, tiny minority in a much larger community. But it basically can transfer itself without a mastermind abroad, without any seemingly outward signs, it can basically radicalize people. It's based on two beliefs -- that the Muslims are engaged in a war against the west or the west is engaged in a war against the Uma (ph), you know, the entire Islamic world, and that by killing yourself, by martyring yourself you'll be striking back against the enemy.

AMANPOUR: Even though suicide is proscribed in the Koran. It's forbidden.

TOOLIS: This isn't suicide. These people never, ever think of it as suicide. They see it as a sacred religious act, an act of martyrdom which will guarantee their ascent into the gardens of paradise.

AMANPOUR: And how do you stop this in great Britain? How do you stop it? I mean, people are shocked that in this country this could happen. People not just here are shocked but around the world.

TOOLIS: I think you can maybe foil these attacks but you can't stop this. This is something that's going to burn out as long as we're in the kind of conflicts that we are in Iraq, in Lebanon. You can't -- there isn't a chain of supply that you can stop. There isn't an enemy headquarters that you can bomb. This is something that downloads itself through jihadist videos, through extreme circles within communities. It's like a kind of fire that just sparks wherever people are willing to take this up.

AMANPOUR: You talk about the current conflicts in the Middle East. But you know, these conflicts have been going on elsewhere involving Muslims for many, many years. So the question is, what is kind of feeding it? What is firing their imagination? I mean, are they getting -- you call it a cult. Are they getting indoctrinated by pictures? What exactly are the mechanics?

TOOLIS: Well, probably the key element here is the glorification of the martyr and the fact that you have suicide bomber videos, the fact that the 7/7 bombers made videos. You know, Mohammed Sadiq Khan, the ringleader, speaking to the people. His accomplice Shehzad Tanweer, speaking. These are modeled on the suicide videos we've seen coming out of Palestine, coming out of Chechnya.

There's a whole history here, an evolution. And what these British Muslims are doing is essentially emulating that same cult. And obviously, you know if you go to a place like Gaza, you'll see martyrdom posters. You'll see that suicide bombers are looked up to. They're heroes in the local community. And in a sense that's what these people see themselves as. They see themselves as holy warriors striking back against a cruel western enemy.

AMANPOUR: And you say it will eventually have to burn itself out. But what about the Muslim community certainly in this part of the world? Can it have an influence, or are the youth who would do this kind of thing, and as we've said, a minority obviously, are they that alienated from their elders, from their community?

TOOLIS: Well, the best hope of this thing dying out is through the will of the vast majority of the moderate Muslim community, of rejecting this kind of radicalism, this kind of extremism. But because there isn't this chain of supply that we can stop and say oh, you stop this here, these people take it into their own minds that they are engaged in this war, and then they use household chemicals, they make their own explosives, there's nowhere to intercept. So that's the trouble, is that because it can in a sense ignite spontaneously, we don't know really where that enemy is.

AMANPOUR: Kevin Toolis, thank you. Food for thought certainly as we take a break. We'll be back with more.


AMANPOUR: Welcome back from London. We're continuing our conversation now with Lawrence Wright, who's joining us from Austin, Texas. The author of the best-selling book "The Looming Tower: Al Qaeda and the Road to 9/11." Also, Paul Crookshank is joining us from New York, investigative journalist and terrorism expert, and a fellow at NYU School of Law and Security. And here in London, Dan Rivers, CNN investigative reporter, joining me.

Lawrence Wright, let me ask you first, what is it that you've learned in your book that you've researched now about the nature of these suicide bombers, those who did 9/11, and the potential that there could be homegrown ones in the United States? Is that a possibility?

LAWRENCE WRIGHT, TERROR EXPERT: Oh, it's a possibility. But you know, I think that we've been incredibly fortunate in the United States that our Muslim and Arab communities are not nearly as alienated and dispossessed as they are in Britain and Europe. There's a stark distinction when you look at the demographics. Arab and Muslim communities in America are above the average income, and fewer of them than average are imprisoned. Starkly opposite numbers than you would find in Europe.

I think a lot of the suicide is -- you know, suicide's been a feature of al Qaeda since the beginning. It was formed out of Afghanistan in the jihad. And there was a kind of culture of death. People came there to die. Not to defeat the Soviet Union, really, but to become martyrs. So it's always been integral to al Qaeda.

AMANPOUR: Let me turn to Paul Crookshank. I mean, I think that's really remarkably interesting, what Lawrence just said about the nature of the Arab and Muslim community in the United States, its socioeconomic and cultural presence there. Do you think that there is a sense, though, that since 9/11, when people have been so focused on the Muslim community, that there has been a greater sense of alienation, or not?

PAUL CROOKSHANK, TERRORISM EXPERT: I think Larry Wright is absolutely correct. The Muslim community in the United States is much less susceptible to radicalization than in the U.K. You know, 70 percent of them earn more than $50,000, 70 percent of them have a degree, 70 percent of them in surveys say they want to play a large part in American political life. So they're much less susceptible to the sort of radicalization going on in the U.K. right now amongst, say, the Pakistani community in the U.K.

And also, there's much less evidence that American Muslims, American Pakistani Muslims are traveling to Pakistan in such numbers. The British Home Office estimates that 400,000 British Pakistanis travel to Pakistan each year. And if Pakistan is the new Afghanistan for al Qaeda, then that's very, very worrying, Christiane.

AMANPOUR: Let me turn to Dan Rivers here with me. You heard just what Larry and Paul have said. Here, they're talking about potential racial profiling, potential screening for these kind of terrorism suspects. Is that going to fly here?

RIVERS: Well, it's incredibly controversial. There is already massive opposition amongst the Muslim community here. I mean, the headlines in some of the papers coming out this morning, you know, with the picture of the police searching someone at Heathrow Airport and saying, you know, is it a crime to be a traveling Asian in Britain now? You know, it will be incredibly controversial.

On the other hand, though, people are saying, you know, look, all of the people that have carried out these kinds of attacks, they're young, they're male, and they're Muslim, and they're Asian. You know, so why search, you know, an old granny?

AMANPOUR: And do you know what, there may be a bit of a double standard involved, because I think there is a certain amount of racial profiling that goes on anyway at the airports. Anytime I come through the airports and certainly through the customs, it's a very distinct group of people who are being stopped, their suitcases are being opened. Most of them Africans, frankly, to be blunt.

RIVERS: Yes. Absolutely. Customs do this all the time. You know, they search specific flights, they search specific profile of people.

I think the shift is going to be getting onto planes, going out as well, and moving that out into the wider community. But that kind of profiling, for example, among the black communities in London, you know, looking for firearms and drug-related things, has been incredibly controversial and was stopped, because it was, you know, perceived to be doing more harm than good.

AMANPOUR: Lawrence Wright, what Paul said in terms of Pakistan being the new Afghanistan, clearly you did research and have studied that, part of that issue. What is the true nature of Pakistan's role in this? I mean, it's helping, but it's also part of the problem? WRIGHT: Well, Pakistan is in a very, very shaky position. And you know, look at Musharraf, he's had two very serious attempts on his life by al Qaeda. No doubt that he would love to get rid of it. But elements even in his own government, his own army, are very sympathetic to al Qaeda and certainly to the Taliban. So in a way, he may go after the lower-level figures and not the top ones.

The other thing to consider with Pakistan is that our aid to Pakistan has gone up five-fold since 9/11. So to some extent, they're in the terrorism hunting business, and to actually find some of these people would put them out of that business.

AMANPOUR: And how do you basically, you know, change that situation? There are obviously many people who would say why are we giving Pakistan aid? There are many people who are concerned about this whole situation and see the madrasas are not being closed down despite promises to do so. What is the answer to bringing Pakistan fully on side?

WRIGHT: Well, I think that more pressure on them. We need to be able to find some way for them to police the tribal areas. That's where the major portion of the problem is. And it's ruining our efforts to reconstruct Afghanistan, because it's become a sanctuary for the Taliban. So as long as there is that no man's land between Pakistan and Afghanistan, we're going to have a great deal of trouble. Maybe some kind of international force could be called for.

AMANPOUR: We'll pick that up when we come back, right after a break.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: British security sources have told CNN they are confident of finding bomb-making material, even as the detailed forensic investigation into the alleged terror plot focuses on this apartment in East London.

These exclusive CNN photos, taken by a neighbor with a camera phone, show plastic containers being carried from the flat by police.



AMANPOUR: We're back again with our panel, Larry Wright, Paul Cruickshank, Dan Rivers, and Deborah Feyerick joining us also in London. Deborah, is there any evidence at this point that this alleged plane plot had a definite al Qaeda connection?

FEYERICK: There have been links to al Qaeda drawn by both officials in the United States and in Britain. The question is what was the exact role that al Qaeda played? Did they just provide some sort of material support? For example, perhaps giving training to some of the suspects. There is evidence of that.

There's also evidence, for example, that al Qaeda met with two of the suspects and the person doing the meeting was actually an explosives expert. So yes, there are definite links.

The question is whether or not Osama bin Laden sanctioned this particular plot. There's been a lot of chatter on the Internet over the last day as to whether the latest video would show the Twin Towers and a picture of Mohammed Atta, one of the pilots, whether that was in fact sort of a go signal alerting people around the world that if they had some plans in place, it was a signal for them to move ahead. So it's unclear. If it had succeeded most likely, Christiane, Osama bin Laden definitely would have taken responsibility for it. Christiane?

AMANPOUR: As he has done in so many videos and audiotapes subsequent to a lot of these attacks over the last several years. Paul Cruickshank, what do they say, your sources in the United States, about the al Qaeda connection potential?

CRUICKSHANK: Well, I mean, it's still very early stages in terms of really pinning it down, but what we've heard so far is that there are connections between individuals in this airline plot and Kashmiri militant groups and those same Kashmiri militant groups have connections with al Qaeda.

Al Qaeda after 9/11 has forged a lot of alliances with Kashmiri militant groups. They've been able to have partnerships and training camps and so on and so forth, both in Kashmir and Waziristan. So those connections are indications that's there is a very possible al Qaeda connection, Christiane.

AMANPOUR: Can I just go to Lawrence Wright, who's written about 9/11 now, "The Looming Tower," your book. What are you finding -- what have you found in your book that potentially could tell us about future attacks, future plots?

WRIGHT: Well, al Qaeda has a play book, and they often go back to plans that didn't succeed the first time. For instance, World Trade Center bombing in 1993. Although not officially an al Qaeda action was one of the things that they wanted to finish off, which they did on 9/11.

I worry -- frankly, one of the things that's always concerned me is the Anthrax. You know, as Ayman al-Zawahiri, the No. 2 in al Qaeda, spent a lot of time with people trying to cultivate Anthrax spores. And when Moussaoui was arrested in Minnesota, he had crop- dusting manuals in his computer.

So that's one of those things that I think is one of those shoes that hasn't fallen. I think you should always look back at their history and see what they tried to do, just like the Cole bombing was one of the things that they had tried and failed to do and they kept going until they succeed. AMANPOUR: I just want to ask you again about this plot. One columnist has written that the disruption of this alleged plane plot confirms the central thesis, the theme of your book, that better law enforcement is the key to combating terrorism. Do you agree with that assessment? Is that all it takes?

WRIGHT: Absolutely. I think better law enforcement is essential but there are a lot of different things that need to be done. One of the things in Britain is there's clearly a stronger language ability among the British intelligence and police than there is in this country, and much more integrated with the community.

We also have a lot of work to do in reforming our diplomatic ties in that part of the world. We're so isolated. It's very difficult to gain any kind of real intelligence when Americans -- not just speaking of American intelligence agents but Americans of all sizes are just afraid to go outside.

AMANPOUR: Well, let me turn to Dan on that point. You heard what Larry said. The British police and law enforcement have much better contacts, know the language. What about that? I mean, everybody talks, and we talked to Kevin Toolis about how great the British are doing this because of their terrorism experience with the IRA on the mainland.

RIVERS: Yes. I mean, the people I've been talking to have said they are playing catch-up with this. They're doing a great job. But they have been focused at northern Ireland for the last 30 years. Suddenly, in the last 10 years, they've had to switch their whole resourcing around to face an enemy here, you know, within big cities within the Muslim community. The...

AMANPOUR: And they missed 7/7.

RIVERS: ... And they missed 7/7. And that just goes to show -- they weren't even on the radar. So the modus operandi of the IRA was different as well. They were much more logical. They were much -- you know, it's a chain of command. It was like an army. They'd have a wrecking cell that would go and look at a target, a different cell would make a bomb, a different cell would plant it. They were not suicide bombers.

The Islamic terrorists we've seen are much more whimsical. They change their targets. They can go out with a bomb and change it the last minute if they get spooked. They're going to blow themselves up. So if they get spooked from one thing they'll go and do something else. And the problem the police are facing is that if you spook the IRA, they say, you know, the guy would disappear back to Ireland and he'd never be seen again.

If you spook these guys, they're just as likely to do their attack there and then. And that's one of the big problems. We're dealing with a completely different threat. And MI-5 and the police are having to adjust to that.

AMANPOUR: And what, when you talk to them, are they looking at in the future? Are they concentrating just now on this form of terrorism?

RIVERS: Absolutely. I think the whole main thrust has been shifted. They're opening regional offices now around Britain, MI-5. They are going through a massive recruitment drive, almost double in size. The problem is that they can't just get people straight out on the streets because that might do more harm than good. They need to train them. There's a very lengthy process they need to go through. And that may not kick in, you know, until the end of this decade. So there's going to be a while where they are stretched.

AMANPOUR: End of the decade?

RIVERS: Yes. I mean, they're saying it takes several years to train a case officer. You know, he's got to get experience. He has to go through a lengthy process, vetting process, all the rest of it. That all takes time. That's under way, as are these regional offices. But it doesn't happen overnight.

AMANPOUR: Dan Rivers, thank you very much indeed. We'll be back right after this.


AMANPOUR: I want to thank all my guests. Thank you for being on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London. Join Wolf Blitzer and myself as "360" begins now.


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