Return to Transcripts main page
THE SITUATION ROOM
Interview With Senator North Carolina Richard Burr; Interview With U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson; Terror in France; Massive Manhunt for Paris Terrorists
Aired January 7, 2015 - 18:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Happening now. Breaking news. Terror raid. Police possibly closing in on the gunmen who slaughtered a dozen people on a chilling terror attack on a Paris office. We're learning new information right now about the mass killers.
Extreme alert. France raises its security status to the highest level, while New York and other cities around the world, they're bracing themselves, as well.
The Homeland Security secretary of the United States, Jeh Johnson, is here. We're going to talk about it.
New terror tactic. The gunmen, the weapons, the attack itself different from anything we have seen recently. Why are officials calling this one potentially a game-changer?
We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
BLITZER: We're following the breaking news, a police raid unfolding near Paris right now as the manhunt unfolds for masked terrorists who carried out a horrifying attack that has left a dozen people dead.
A top Paris official says the three men have now been identified. Two of them are brothers. The gunmen escaped after storming the office of a French satire magazine previously threatened after publishing controversial cartoons of the Muslim Prophet Mohammed. Some of France's best known political cartoonists are now among the dead.
Officials say the terrorists called out the victims' names, one by one, as each one was assassinated.
We're covering the breaking news with our correspondents, our guests, including the homeland security secretary of the United States, Jeh Johnson, along with Senator Richard Burr. He's in line to become the next chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee.
But, first, let's get the very latest from our chief national security correspondent, Jim Sciutto. He begins our coverage.
What are you finding out, Jim? JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, the
focus of French authorities right now very much on catching these attackers before they can attack again, and the focus of U.S. counterterror officials, helping the French do just that.
I'm sold by senior counterterror officials there was no warning of this attack. The previous these against this publication were either not recent enough or not specific enough, but U.S. intelligence now going over this once again, all past signals and reports to see if they missed something about this plot or about the alleged attackers, and including sharing information with French authorities, including names for what was a very brazen and unprecedented attack in the West.
SCIUTTO (voice-over): It is the deadliest terror attack in France in decades, unfolding in a horrific few minutes in broad daylight in the downtown streets of Paris. An attacker yells "Allahu akbar," "God is great." The four gunmen open fire inside the offices of a French satirical magazine which fueled anger from Islamic extremists in the past.
FRANCOIS MOLINS, PARIS PROSECUTOR (through translator): They were on the second floor and moved towards the editorial section, where the entire team of journalists were together.
SCIUTTO: Outside on the street, the attackers gunned down a police officer. He screams, "Stay away." But the gunmen shoot him dead and leave a clue about their motivation.
MOLINS (through translator): They shouted that, "We have taken revenge for the prophet."
SCIUTTO: They then head to their getaway car, one gunman raising his hand in the air in what could be a signal to others that played a role in the attack, according to a Western intelligence source. Another stops to pick up a shoe before fleeing the scene, then a wild chase in the streets of Paris, and cars rammed and violent confrontations.
MOLINS (through translator): They were then faced with a police car. At that time, it was the first exchange of fire, but no injuries. Then, after that, they faced another police patrol, which led to a second exchange. Then there was a third shooting unleashed against a police team and one member was hit and shot to the ground.
SCIUTTO: The grim result, 12 people killed, another 11 wounded, among the dead, newspaper editor and cartoonist Stephane Charbonnier, known as Charb, who in past editions of the paper satirized the Prophet Mohammed.
With the attackers still on the loose tonight, France's president wants immediate action.
FRANCOIS HOLLANDE, FRENCH PRESIDENT (through translator): We need to find the actors of this terrorist act. They must be arrested and brought before judges. France is shocked today. SCIUTTO: In Washington, condemnation and concern from France's close
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: A lot of things I will be discussing with Secretary Kerry today is to make sure that we remain vigilant, not with just respect to Americans living in Paris, but Americans living in Europe and the Middle East and other parts of the world.
SCIUTTO: A senior counterterror official tells me the U.S. is considering a number of troops groups for possible ties to this attack, including ISIS, including core al Qaeda, as well as al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.
One eyewitness to attack said one of the attackers said "Tell the media this is al Qaeda in Yemen," but it is very early in the investigation to establish hard ties to any of those groups. But I will tell you, Wolf, that experts and counterterror officials when they look at this video, they see signs of possible military training as well as possible combat experience. Those are very important, possibly telling details as well.
BLITZER: Yes, looked like a very sophisticated operation. Jim Sciutto, thanks very much.
Let's go to Paris right now. CNN's Hala Gorani is on the scene for us.
Hala, what's the latest over there, and what are you picking up?
HALA GORANI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jim Sciutto was discussing the sophistication of this operation, and this is of course something that is of great concern to authorities here.
The notion that this isn't a lone wolf attack, similar to the one, for instance, we saw in Sydney, that appeared to have a rather random target, but this was an operation with a high degree of organization with three individuals, two it appears acting as gunmen, another one perhaps acting as a lookout there, barging into this building housing the headquarters of "Charlie Hebdo," the satirical magazine, and essentially murdering 10 people at an editorial meeting, and after that, making a getaway, switching cars.
At this point, we're hearing reports from Agence France-Presse that there's a police operation under way in Reims, this is about 150 kilometers away from Paris and we understand that this is in relation to the terrorist attack today in Paris and that it may involve some of those suspects who have been identified by authorities.
The deputy mayor of Paris told me a little bit earlier this evening that the suspects have indeed been identified, but there had not been arrests just a few hours ago. At this stage, it appears as though there is a police operation well under way, outside of Paris in another city altogether. If that's the case, it means these suspects have driven about 100 miles outside of Paris and that's where this is all unfolding, Wolf.
BLITZER: Going on in that city, Reims, as you say, about 100 miles or 150 kilometers or so outside of Paris, which means if in fact these three terrorists are there in that area, they managed to get pretty far away from Paris in the hours immediately after this attack.
This is the video just coming in from one of our French affiliates. What is it like in Paris though right now, Hala, and what is the mood like?
GORANI: It has to be said this really is a country in shock. I have only been here a few hours. I haven't seen an increased police presence, although the terrorism high alert plan is in place right now, as thousands of police officers are involved in the manhunt.
Certainly, sensitive locations are being protected now; embassies, government buildings, synagogues, other areas like that around Paris are getting more security. But I'm not sensing right now from my vantage point on the Champs Elysees anything out of the ordinary.
People were in the train stations when I took the Eurostar from London to Paris. In the metro, it was full. I'm seeing people our here on the street right now. But the mood is one of grief, truly. We have seen demonstrations. It's a Wednesday night, middle of the week. It's freezing, it's midnight and people are out and there are tens of thousands to show solidarity with the murdered journalists and cartoonists, their associates and their families, because they see this as an attack on what they hold so dear, which is their freedom of expression and the ability when they want to satirize and to mock, which is something so precious in a democracy -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Hala, I'm going to have you stand by. We're going to be getting back to you.
But I want to stay in Paris. Atika Shubert is right near the attack scene where all this went down.
What is it like over there, Atika, and what you are you seeing right now? Is it still cordoned off, is there a lockdown? What's going on?
ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's still cordoned off, but we have managed to get closer to the scene of the attack. You can probably see behind me there are some of the police vehicles, including one vehicle which will we understand which will be taking some of the victims that died outside out to the morgue.
As you can see, still quite a police presence here. Forensics teams were here earlier in the day, combing through there trying to look for any clues as to who these people, who these gunmen are, and where they are going to next. We're also getting some reports about the gunmen themselves. We do have details that have been identified by the French authorities, that one of them is 18 years old, another is 32 and 33.
We also understand that the 32- and 33-year-old are brothers. But French authorities we have spoken to do not want to name them at this point. We have also heard various reports from French media that they may be now under arrest or that an arrest is under way in the city of Reims.
We are still waiting for more details on that and confirmation. It has not been confirmed at this point. It's a very fluid situation at the moment, Wolf.
BLITZER: There's a vigil going on where you are. Right? We're showing our viewers some live pictures of that vigil, Atika. What is it like over there?
SHUBERT: You know, we heard from Hala earlier about this incredible surge and feeling across Paris and the country, and in fact internationally in support of this magazine.
What I have seen in the streets here is sort of spontaneous memorials. We have seen people laying flowers as close as they can get to the scene, trying to lay messages of support and sympathy. I think it just goes to show this tremendous outpouring of support and condemnation of this attack. Also from the Muslim community, the Muslim Council of France, for example, immediately coming out and saying they condemn this in the strongest possible terms.
So there really has been a unifying of public opinion here in the capital and I suspect in the rest of the country as well.
BLITZER: Atika, we will stand by and get back to you as well, Atika Shubert in Paris.
But let's dig deeper right now.
Joining us here in THE SITUATION ROOM, the U.S. homeland security secretary, Jeh Johnson.
Mr. Secretary, thanks very much for coming in.
Tell us about these three terror suspects. First of all, as far as you know, have they actually been arrested?
JEH JOHNSON, U.S. SECRETARY OF HOMELAND SECURITY: Well, Wolf, as your show points out, events in France are unfolding rapidly as we speak at this very moment.
I'm confident that these individuals, the killers will be brought to justice. The U.S. government, my department, the intelligence community, the law enforcement community, our government is doing a number of things to support the French government in this manhunt and its investigation. I'm confident these individual will be brought to justice.
BLITZER: But have they been arrested yet, as far as you know?
JOHNSON: Like I said, events are unfolding rapidly in France right now as we speak. You had a report a moment that suggested that they might be. I believe they will be brought to justice. BLITZER: And the suspicion is that this manhunt has moved out to the
city of Reims about 100 miles or 150 kilometers outside of Paris. That's where we're showing our viewers some live pictures of what is going on there. Is that where these three terrorists are suspected holding out?
JOHNSON: Like I said, events are unfolding rapidly and I believe these gentlemen will be brought to justice.
BLITZER: You know the names of these three individuals, right?
JOHNSON: Like I said, the government of the United States is doing a number of things to support the French government in this investigation.
BLITZER: Have you concluded yet -- because we heard from the House Homeland Security chairman earlier, Mike McCaul, that the U.S. government has been informed of the three names by French officials and the U.S. is now going through its database to see what information can be picked up. Can you confirm that?
JOHNSON: One of the things that is common in a situation like this is allies and partners in counterterrorism efforts share information about suspicious individuals, what we may know, what another government may know. So that is something that is typical in this type of matter.
And we are doing a number of things to support the French government.
BLITZER: So, clearly, if you have the names, you're going through, you're checking and you're trying to determine are just these three individuals or were they linked to some sort of terror organization, whether core al Qaeda, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, ISIS. What can you tell us?
JOHNSON: Well, I think we will know that very soon. I think these individuals will be brought to justice. I think we will know what their links, what their motivations were.
One point I would like to make is, we see it, the terrorist threat to a number of countries is evolving. The nature of homeland security needs to evolve as well, in that we're in a situation now where, through the Internet, through social media, through propaganda that is online, groups can reach individuals in countries, in homelands, in communities that are lurking about and motivate them and inspire them to commit acts of violence.
We don't know exactly what happened in this circumstance, but it is something that we have been focused on for some time now and that I'm very concerned about.
BLITZER: But you will know soon enough, you're saying.
I assume you do have the names, you're going through the database. You don't have to give us those names right now if you feel that would be inappropriate, but just confirm that the names are known to the United States government.
JOHNSON: Well, what I would like to say is that we are doing a number of things to support the French government right now as events are unfolding rapidly in France. And I believe these individual will be brought to justice.
BLITZER: And soon?
JOHNSON: And I believe they will be brought to justice soon.
BLITZER: Within hours?
JOHNSON: I couldn't say, Wolf.
BLITZER: All right, but this was not a lone wolf type of attack. I know you and I have spoken in the past. You are deeply concerned about an individual being inspired by one of these terror groups to go out and start killing Americans.
This was a pretty sophisticated operation.
JOHNSON: This was very definitely a very sophisticated, precise, and lethal operation.
We don't know yet exactly what motivated these people, whether they received direct orders from a terrorist organization in a conventional command-and-control structure, or whether they were inspired by something they saw and read. I believe those facts will become known very, very soon.
But our government here in the homeland, needs to be agile in responding to these various different type of threats and potential attacks that we are seeing more and more of.
BLITZER: Are there any credible terror threats here in the United States right now?
JOHNSON: Well, look, we look at a number of different al Qaeda affiliates, al Qaeda adherents, and look at their earliest stages, potential plots and attacks on the homeland.
But the point I keep stressing, that I have stressed now for some months, is that given how the terrorist threat evolves and is evolving, sometimes, when an individual is lurking within a community right here in the homeland, we have very little notice of a potential attack, which is why it's important for my department, the U.S. government to work with state and local law enforcement, first- responders, people who are in communities, people in community organizations.
And I personally do that around this country to try to get at potential terrorist threats that may be lurking here in the homeland.
BLITZER: What worries you the most? What keeps you up at night?
JOHNSON: Well, definitely a terrorist attack by a lone wolf is something I'm very concerned about, given how these groups are becoming more sophisticated at reaching people through the Internet, through social media.
Shortly after the Ottawa attack, for example, we raised the presence of our protection service at federal buildings back in October.
BLITZER: Is that threat level still raised?
JOHNSON: Well, we have very definitely a visible protective service presence at federal installations around the country in various...
BLITZER: That continues right now?
JOHNSON: We are doing a number of things in that regard to raise the visibility and to raise our capabilities.
But we need to continue to engage constantly with state and local law enforcement as well, and we get out information on a routine basis.
BLITZER: As you know, Mr. Secretary, there's a battle under way between the administration, Republicans in Congress over the funding of the Department of Homeland Security. You're going to run out of money at the end of February, unless Congress appropriates funds.
And that could put a lot of Americans, their lives in danger if you guys are out of business. What are you doing right now to make sure that Congress appropriates the necessary billions in order to keep the Department of Homeland Security operating? And their complaint, the Republicans, is the president went too far with his executive action on immigration reform.
JOHNSON: That's an effort under way to try to defund the executive actions that we took in November.
First of all...
BLITZER: On immigration.
JOHNSON: On immigration.
First of all, it doesn't really make any sense, because one of the executive actions was to prioritize those who are apprehended at the border and not make so much of a priority those who have been in this country for years who have committed no crimes. How do you defund apprehending somebody at the border?
The other point I would make is that the president has made it very clear he will not sign a bill that defunds our executive actions to fix our broken immigration system. So we should not at this point be playing political football with the budget of the homeland security capability of this nation.
And so what I have been urging today, all this week to members of Congress is there are things that need to be funded in the Homeland Security Department, new starts, new funding for border security, counterterrorism. The Secret Service cannot wait much longer. I cannot continue to operate on a continuing resolution.
For the homeland security of this nation, we need an appropriations bill and we need it soon.
BLITZER: I spoke to Mike McCaul, the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, in the last hour. He says he wants to work with you, he wants to work out some sort of equitable, fair compromise that will meet some of the objectives of the Republicans on immigration reform, while at the same time making sure the Department of Homeland Security has funds. Do you believe you can work out a deal with the Republicans?
JOHNSON: Chairman McCaul and I had that very conversation today.
He shares with me the concern that the budget of the Department of Homeland Security should not be a political football, and that there are things that we must fund in the name of homeland security for the protection of the American people. We have got to get all of that business...
BLITZER: So you think there will be a deal?
JOHNSON: I believe that we will work this out.
But I do not want to see the budget of Homeland Security used as a political football.
BLITZER: You can't wait until the end of February. You need a deal soon in order to make sure your department has the funds to keep on operating and protecting the American homeland.
JOHNSON: That's why I have been spending a lot of time on Capitol Hill this week.
BLITZER: Well, good luck.
JOHNSON: Thank you.
BLITZER: Mr. Secretary, thanks very much for joining us.
JOHNSON: Thank you.
BLITZER: We're following the breaking news. Take a look at this.
These are live pictures from French television coming into THE SITUATION ROOM right now of a police operation under way outside Paris. You see it on the left part of your screen.
We're also going to get the latest on the manhunt following the Paris terror attack with the man expected to be the next chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee. There you see him, the Republican Senator Richard Burr. He's standing by. He's here in THE SITUATION ROOM. We will get his thoughts when we come back.
BLITZER: We're following the breaking news, the intense manhunt under way right now for mass terrorists who killed a dozen people in a Paris office, office of a magazine that had satirized the Muslim Prophet Mohammed.
You can see live pictures coming in from that manhunt. This is Reims. It's about 100 miles outside of Paris. That manhunt is moving along dramatically. We are going to continue to show you these live pictures from our French affiliate TV station.
But let's dig deeper right now with Senator Richard Burr of North Carolina. He's just been elected the new chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee.
Congratulations to you, Mr. Chairman. Thanks very much for joining us.
So how close, based on everything you know, and I know you have been well-briefed, are the French authorities to actually capturing these three terrorists?
SEN. RICHARD BURR (R), NORTH CAROLINA: Well, clearly, they know the individuals. They know them by name. And I'm not sure where they are operationally right now. Some of the press reports suggest that something is under way.
But I think it's important that you stop and think that there may be more people tied to this.
BLITZER: Beyond the three?
BURR: And the operation that might be going on in France now is the result of having learned the names of the individuals.
They may have had individuals under surveillance that might be connected to these. That might be the operation. We're not exactly sure, but I think, as Secretary Johnson said, over the next hours and certainly by tomorrow, we're going to know a lot more. We're going to know how far this extended. But, clearly, this was a very well- orchestrated terrorist act.
BLITZER: So it wasn't just a bunch, three lone wolves, as they say, operating on their own, inspired by some al Qaeda magazine to go out and kill these individuals at this magazine; this was a coordinated terror strike that was affiliated with a specific terror group? Do you know yet?
BURR: Well, clearly, if you do by witness reports, there were some witness accounts that they stated al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula or Yemen.
BLITZER: Do you accept that?
BURR: And I think you have got to put that into the equation.
There's one thing that I think Chairman McCaul pointed out.
BLITZER: He's the chairman of the House Homeland Security.
The way they carried their weapons, the fact that they had their faces covered, these were individuals that there to commit murder, not to be identified, to get away, not the typical lone wolf, I'm going to die on behalf of Allah.
BLITZER: This was not a suicide operation.
BURR: You're exactly right.
And that leads us to believe that these individuals had a significant amount of training, but also knew exactly what they were there to do and how to do it.
BLITZER: Do you have any clue yet where they were trained? Was it Iraq, was it Syria, was it Yemen, was it North Africa?
BURR: We don't. I think that clearly the French may have had these individuals spotted, maybe in loose surveillance.
They were able to identify them and name them pretty quickly, I think we have seen. But we will have to see as this unfolds exactly what is entailed with connections and that type of thing. Our intelligence folks, I can assure you, are scrubbing everything we can find to try to figure out whether we can go back and see anything that might have indicated this attack.
BLITZER: It sounds to me the suspicion is these three terrorists had accomplices, they weren't on their own, they were working with other individuals and that a more sweeping manhunt is now under way for them.
BURR: Well, that could be the case. And, clearly, something of this preciseness would suggest that there are more involved, where the directions came from, where these folks were trained. They may have been foreign fighters in Syria and connected that way. We don't really know.
But it really does point to the importance of our security mechanism here in the United States.
BLITZER: The U.S. and France have very close intelligence, counterterrorism cooperation, right?
BURR: We do. We're close partners.
But we're close partners with a lot of people around the world. We're reaching out to all of our partners now, trying to help the French. But, remember, they will be the lead agency on this. They will be the lead country, as they should be.
BLITZER: What does it say to you, Mr. Chairman, that the French have not publicly released the names of these threes terrorists?
BURR: There may be value to their investigation at rolling up possibly other individuals by not making public exactly who these are, in hopes that they can connect some more dots.
BLITZER: But the U.S. government -- I just want to confirm it -- the U.S. government has been informed of the names, and the U.S. is now going through its database, whether the National Security Agency, the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, or whatever, looking for any tidbits of information, social media contacts, phone conversations, anything along those lines that might help France in this investigation?
BURR: It is my understanding that those names have been shared with us and it's those names that we're running through our database.
BLITZER: What is the most important lesson the United States should learn in terms of counterterrorism from what happened in Paris?
BURR: That the face of terrorism in the future is going to be very different every time it happens.
We have seen the lone wolf attacks. Now we have seen something in between that really will challenge our intelligence community as we look at how we end domestic threats, but potentially how we as a global intelligence community thwart these attacks anywhere else in the world.
BLITZER: And what worries me, this was a pretty soft target, as they say, not much security over there. And there a lot of soft targets, not only in Europe or the Middle East, but here in the United States as well.
BURR: Well, Wolf, post-9/11, the number one concern that we had on the House Intelligence Committee at the time and George Tenet was when this turned to an effort to go after soft targets. We're now there.
BLITZER: Mr. Chairman, thanks very much for joining us. Good luck in your new job as the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee.
BURR: Thank you, Wolf.
BLITZER: We will stay in close touch with you, Richard Burr of North Carolina.
More breaking news just ahead. We will have more on the manhunt under way right now -- and it is massive -- for those terrorists.
Plus, how the deadly attack unfolded, we're also learning new details.
Stay with us.
BLITZER: We're following the breaking news. The massive manhunt under way right now for three terrorists who killed 12 people at the office of a French magazine that satirized the Muslim Prophet Mohammed. The deputy mayor of Paris tells CNN the suspects have now been identified, but they are still apparently still on the run.
Let's get some more from Philip Crowther. He's the Washington correspondent for the French news channel, France 24; our CNN counterterrorism analyst, Philip Mudd; our CNN global affairs analyst, Lieutenant Colonel, retired, James Reese.
But first, let's get back to our chief national security correspondent, Jim Sciutto, back with CNN law enforcement analyst, Tom Fuentes, over at the Magic Wall.
You guys have been poring over the video of these terrorists fleeing the scene of that magazine. Jim, what can you tell our viewers?
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: And just to be clear, Wolf, this is what U.S. officials are doing now as they study to try to learn from this group and learn more about the plot. Tom and I have been talking about this.
One of the first things you notice when you look at the fighters, they're dressed in military-style uniforms. They're dressed the same way. They have a lot of military equipment, including extra magazines in a vest here. But also, the way, Tom, I think it's right; they move together. They move together and fire as if they are trained fighters.
TOM FUENTES, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Right. And what we're going to see here is, this one is covering the second subject here. This subject is going to move on to the sidewalk behind a truck and then start going down the sidewalk and shoot a police officer, who is further down the sidewalk.
SCIUTTO: So we'll play it here. Cover fire, he moves behind the truck. Obviously, it's shaky to get through this. This is someone, an eyewitness just recording this on their phone. They'll come around the side. Again, moving together. I'm going to go. I'm going to play that again, just so you can see them again.
But as they -- as they move with their weapons, as well, Jim Reese, you're going to speak to them in a little bit, and others have told me they carry their weapons in such a way with a level of comfort and confidence that indicates not just military training but possible combat experience.
I want to show you the next picture here, because this is the most gruesome image which I imagine some of our viewers have seen. But it's the moment when one of these attackers kills, murders, executes a policeman on the ground. Tom, what did you notice looking that this?
FUENTES: First of all, you have the cover person here with that tactical vest that has the extra magazines. He's standing by to cover his partner.
And then here we see the most gruesome scene of all, where the terrorist has the police officer down on the sidewalk. He has his hands up. We understand that he's trying to say, "I'm a Muslim," and he's pleading with the terrorists that he's a Muslim, too, to no avail. What we're not going to show you is the terrorist just point blank kills him.
Now, what you see in the clothing of the terrorist, the all-black uniform, covered face, covered head, the automatic rifle that he's using, he's holding it, you know, in a professional or trained style. And from all of the movements of the whole series of sequences, it looks very professionally done by the two of them.
SCIUTTO: One point that I've been told, as well, is the gunmen used single shots. He didn't have it set on automatic, which shows a level of discipline with an automatic weapon as he killed.
And we understand from translating what this police officer said in French, he uses French slang. He says something to the effect of, "There's not a problem, brother." Something to sort of establish a connection there. But of course, that ignored by the gunmen.
FUENTES: And also, we understand the police officer is not armed, as many police officers in France are not armed.
SCIUTTO: No way to defend himself.
I want to show them the last video. Tom made a great point about this. So this is the second half over here, the blurred image of that policeman who was killed. We're going to play it down. This is the gunmen as they're leaving the site of this killing.
And Tom noticed at one point here, he raises his hand, obscured a bit by the car. What do you think that indicates?
FUENTES: Right here, he's waving to somebody. Now, in this first one, recorded earlier today, we were told there's two shooters. There are two people that went into the magazine offices and killed everybody. Two people on the street gunning down the police officer. And later, the authorities said there's a third person involved in this. And...
SCIUTTO: There's one here to be clear. One of the attackers is here. And we'll go back to at the start of the video. And then one attacker at that point.
FUENTES: And watch him right here. He's going to -- there, he raised his arm once, then twice. And we believe that's signaling some type of lookout. Now we later that the two main subjects were brothers and that there was an 18-year-old accomplice who may have been the lookout further down the street.
SCIUTTO: Getaway car.
Now, just one final detail here. You can see here, there is on the ground a shoe that's visible in the video there, which the last attacker, before they drive away, has the presence of mind, again showing that calmness, perhaps experience -- he has the presence of mind to pick it up before they drive away. Wolf, incredible details there, and this is one of the things we know
counterterror officials are studying as they try to figure out how this attack was carried out.
BLITZER: I'm sure they're going over it frame by frame by frame. That's the video we have. I'm sure the authorities have a lot more closed-circuit TV video they're going through, as well. Guys, thanks very much.
Philip Mudd, does this attack have the markings of a larger terrorist organization like ISIS or an al Qaeda affiliate behind it?
PHILIP MUDD, CNN COUNTERTERRORISM ANALYST: I'm not sure yet, but this is different than what we've discussed over the past few months. You remember that hatchet attack in New York. We had the attack in Ottawa against the Canadian Parliament. Those were what we call lone wolves. Also people who I believe are psychologically unbalanced.
Wolf, as soon as I saw this, I said this is not lone wolf; this is a cell. That means people who are organized, people who are trained, people who are not psychologically unbalanced. They're working as a team. Very calm, cool and collected. This is a game changer from a counterterrorism perspective from the cases we've seen in the past few months.
BLITZER: Colonel Reese, do you agree?
LT. COL. JAMES REESE (RET.), CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Is it a game changer that they had some very trained people out there? Yes. I truly believe that this is just our new way of life out there, and this is just one of these cells that have popped up. I think we're going to see these cells that are highly trained come to other places and especially in the U.S. in the future.
BLITZER: Philip, you report for French -- 24 France News. What are you hearing about the search right now for these three terrorists?
PHILIP CROWTHER, WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT, 24 FRANCE NEWS: Well, there's a police operation ongoing in the city of Avance (ph). That is in northeaster France, around 150 kilometers, 100 miles away. That's about an hour and a half's drive. That makes sense. It means the suspects could be in that city.
What we don't know, though, with this police operation, this is an anti-terrorist unit that is working in the city of Avance (ph). We don't know whether they're looking for the actual suspects or maybe other accomplices, maybe just family members. They appear to be moving from one apartment building to possibly the next. They are in the streets of Avance (ph), while other people, normal pedestrians, are going about their business.
It's not a situation, a lockdown situation in that city. But that is where the police operation is going on right now.
BLITZER: They clearly have some pictures. They clearly names they haven't publicly released any of that, for whatever reason. Maybe for sources or methods. Maybe they're looking for other people as part of a broader sweep that's underway right now.
But do you know anything generally about these three suspects, other than the fact that the two older guys are brothers? There's a younger guy. Where they were from; I assume they were French citizens.
CROWTHER: There's something about these three men. There are some documents that have filtered through.
One of them says that the two brothers were born in Paris, in one of the districts of central Paris. And what we don't know, of course, is whether they left Paris, whether they left France and possibly went somewhere to get this kind of training as we just saw what looks like military-type training. Certainly they knew what they were doing.
The other person didn't have a fixed address. So we don't know where the other person is from. That might have been the young accomplice in this case. Two brothers, one other member of this group or gang or whatever you want to call.
BLITZER: And Colonel Reese, your explanation why there might not -- they might not want to release the names in the pictures, at least not yet?
REESE: Wolf, the bottom line is, just like everyone said, it's an ongoing investigation. This might be driving to something else that they want to -- they want to find, especially the manhunt situation. I think by the time, you know, it hits midnight here, we'll have a good idea who these people are.
BLITZER: I suspect you're right, based on what we heard from Jeh Johnson, based on what we heard from Mike McCaul, the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, and others.
Colonel -- you know, as we look at what's going on, let me bring back Philip Mudd into this conversation. Does it make any difference whether they were affiliated with ISIS, let's say, or one of the al Qaeda groups?
MUDD: Absolutely it does. If you remember back years ago, over Detroit we had an airliner that was threatened by an individual trained by al Qaeda in Yemen where there was a bomb maker with highly technical capability.
Let's take a guess, Wolf. Let's assume these guys, as has been suggested, were affiliated with al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. That is in Yemen. There might be other people out there who are connected with the same cell who have received the same kind of training we saw threaten Detroit five, six years ago.
So I think it makes a difference, based on who they might have been connected with, sophisticated bomb makers. Were they connected with people recruited, by contrast, to go into Syria or Iraq? If we find out what that connection is, we might find other cells out there that are in different stages of executing an attack. BLITZER: I want all of you to stand by. We're following the breaking
news. We'll take a quick break. When we come back, we're also going to take a closer look: who might have been responsible for this deadly terror attack? There's some new information coming into THE SITUATION ROOM. What the role the United States is playing right now to try to help track down these terrorists.
BLITZER: We're following the breaking news. A manhunt under way right now for three terrorists who killed 12 people in an attack on a French magazine office in Paris, where a top official now says police have now made an identity of these three men.
Our Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr is standing by. She's working the story for us.
So, what are you learning about who potentially was behind this pretty sophisticated operation?
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, I've just talked to someone who's very expert in all of this and he warns, you know, there could be blended responsibility here. We don't know yet. We don't know if these attackers were loyal to ISIS, if they were loyal to al Qaeda in Yemen. But there's a very interesting marker out there.
I want to show you a photo. This is a picture from the al Qaeda in Yemen's magazine "Inspire", and they have been calling for the killing of a number of people, very sadly including the editorial director of this French magazine, one of the men who was killed today. So, it's a clue perhaps that this man had a target on his back and that there were people out to get him.
Were these (INAUDIBLE) what the attackers were after? Were they loyal to al Qaeda in Yemen? Did they have ISIS loyalties? It may have been a very blended operation and it may have had multiple loyalties, training in one place, operating somewhere else in the past.
What we know is that when you look at the video, they were experienced, they were well trained. They controlled their weapons. They controlled their fire. They operated in a very deliberate, very brutal manner.
And they had a getaway plan. This is something that has caught the attention of intelligence services here in the United States and across Europe. These were not suicide bombers. They did not plan to die. They planned to live, to get away.
And that is what is raising concerns that there could be other attackers, that there could be other threats out there. Not a suicide attack, wolf. This was an attack where they plan to get away and perhaps carry out more --
BLITZER: All right. Barbara Starr, with the latest from the Pentagon -- thank you. I want to go to Tom Foreman. He's taking a closer look how the terror attack unfolded.
Tom, what are you finding out?
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Wolf.
If you look how this played out in the eastern end of Central Paris, near the Eiffel Tower, there's Notre Dame, there the offices of Charlie Hebdo, you see what Barbara is talking about, because four times in this, they encountered police, four times.
The first time was when they came from the east end of the street here. There's also maintenance workers, asked if they were in the right place, they were told yes, they killed one of the maintenance workers, went inside and killed 10 people, including a police officer there to guard the staff. When they came back out, we've got our first glimpse of them in the street because a camera picked them up from a rooftop down here.
You can see the vantage point, and you can see the video it produced. Look, exactly what Barbara described. They get out from the street. They start shooting into the street, clearly commanding the area. And then they start moving this way, Wolf, and as they do, a different camera picks them up pointing in it the opposite direction and when it does, you see an example of that discipline and that steely nerve.
Because, look, they stop with their car facing a police car and they stand on either side, that really that cover, either firing away at the police car and look at the result. From that distance, under those circumstances, they put 15 to 16 shots right in the middle of the windshield here. This officer, remarkably, was not hurt.
But then they continue at that road. They saw another bicycle patrol officer, they took time to attack him, he got away.
And then, if we move back to the map here, you see that broad swath of green there, that big boulevard there, look at the yellow dot that's appearing there. That yellow dot is where they encountered the last officer and again, look at how they went about this attack. In that location, they emerged from the car and they moved up this way, they split apart so you couldn't target one -- you have to pick one or the other. They moved in and they executed this man on the sidewalk, Wolf.
And you see no sense of real hurry and no sense of urgency, even though it's a busy part of Paris. They go back to the car. They start finally rushing a little bit, but we've noted all day, one of them even stopped to pick up a shoe kicked out of the car here. And then they went driving away.
And the point at which we wrecked this car, Wolf, from the original point in normal driving conditions would be about 12 minutes away. So, they really had a plan of going some distance. And they did wreck the car it. They got towed away and they hijacked another one and disappeared.
Bottom line, Wolf, exactly what Barbara was talking about, four times -- four times they encountered trained police officers and not once could those officials stop them.
BLITZER: Yes. All right. Good report, Tom Foreman. Thanks very much.
We're going to continue to follow the breaking news. We're getting some more information. We'll take a quick break. We'll be right back.
BLITZER: We're following the breaking news, a manhunt, it's massive, for the three terrorists who killed 12 people at the office of a French magazine that satirized the Muslim Prophet Mohammed.
The deputy mayor of Paris telling CNN the suspects have been identified but apparently they are still on the run.
Our experts are here in THE SITUATION ROOM, including Phil Mudd.
Phil, what do you expect U.S. law enforcement to be thinking about right now?
PHILIP MUDD, FORMER CIA COUNTERTERRORISM OFFICIAL: Well, you've got to go through in this era of big data, where we all leave a huge data trail every day, you've got to go through a checklist. Where is that money coming from? Where was the travel? Where did they call, where did they e-mail? Where were they on social media?
Because I want to prove obviously the negative? Did they ever have any connectivity, travel, friends, associates and family in the United States?
The one interesting thing, Wolf, I'd be looking at is travel. Travel would immediately indicate to me if they went somewhere in the past few months, that they are connected potentially with a large organization. That tells me how they got the sophistication for the attack. But it also tells me what are the thing that's of deepest concern, and that is if they are connected to a broader group, who else did that broader group sent to Europe or North America?
BLITZER: And who else may have been involved?
Colonel Reese, what do you think U.S. law enforcement should be looking for?
LT. COL. JAMES REESE (RET.), CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Well, just like Phil said, right now, they're in a big analytics piece right now. I think one of the pieces right now is the training and what the link analysis is with these three folks. If this is a sell, there is a bigger cell and a bigger cell of the network that's supporting these guys.
And that's the next piece. We've got a piece here. They'll start knocking these guys off, and we'll see if we can knock down the network and see who is out there. BLITZER: Philip, you work for French television, why isn't there
security at the offices of this magazine? It had been targeted for terrorist attacks in the past. It was well-known as a target of al Qaeda.
PHILIP CROWTHER, WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT, FRANCE 24: One of the editors have security since 2012. We don't know whether he have that security in place today. There was no security around the newsroom in place, that was partly because of how Charlie Hebdo, the satirical newspaper, works. They are proudly aggressive in what they do. They've portrayed the Prophet Mohammed many times.
And when you look at the video, we have heard from the perpetrators once and there was that shout saying, this is revenge for the Prophet Mohammed, and that, of course, points us toward those cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed that have been published in Charlie Hebdo -- not once but three or four times, most recently I believe in 2012.
So, maybe the motivation that goes a little bit further back. We are talking about possible ISIS affiliation. It might not be the case. That appears to be the motivation because that's the only thing we've heard from these suspects so far. That is that one shout saying this is revenge for Mohammed.
BLITZER: Yes, the exact shot was we have avenged the Prophet Mohammed. We have killed Charlie Hebdo, and there was another "Allahu Akbar", "God is great."
What does that say to you, Tom?
TOM FUENTES, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: It says that that's their motivation most likely is they're revenging the cartoons that made fun of Mohammed. And, you know, we've had this in the U.S., plots over the "South Park" TV show, the producers that produced that episode making fun of the prophet, and the print media in Sweden and Denmark where there have been plots to go there and do the same thing, even the plot from an American woman here who nicknamed herself "Jihad Jane" to go over there and do that.
BLITZER: All right. Obviously, a developing story. CNN is going to stay on top of it throughout the night.
Stay with us. I'm Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM.
"ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.