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THE SITUATION ROOM
New Video: Jihadist Brothers Fire on Police; American Al Qaeda Leader Likely Inspired Brothers; Bomb Fears Boost Security at U.S. Airports; New Video Shows Moments After Massacre; Authorities Search for Clues in Search for Female Terror Suspect; Interview with Senator Marco Rubio; AirAsia Flight Data Recorder Downloaded
Aired January 13, 2015 - 17:00 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, moments after the massacre, new video shows the Paris gunmen calmly leaving the scene, then stopping their car to fire at police methodically.
Targeting America -- al Qaeda instructs its followers on how to make hard to detect bombs, as Homeland security here in the United States scrambling to tighten security at U.S. airports. I'll speak with Congressman Adam Schiff of the House Intelligence Committee.
And black boxes -- a major breakthrough in the AirAsia crash investigation.
Can authorities now learn why that airliner suddenly fell from the sky?
I'm Wolf Blitzer.
You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
BLITZER: There is chilling new video of the Paris terrorists calmly and confidently leaving the scene of the magazine massacre, shouting triumphantly, then stopping to fire directly at police. And there are chilling new terror threats, as U.S. airports step up security measures to screen for dangerous new types of bombs.
As the Paris terror victims are buried in France and in Jerusalem, a new issue of the satirical magazine, "Charlie Hebdo," is about to come out with another defiant depiction of the Prophet Muhammad on the cover.
Our correspondents and analysts, they're all standing by for full coverage. I'll speak with Republican Senator Marco Rubio, Congressman Adam Schiff, the senior Democrat on the Intelligence Committee.
But let's begin in Paris.
CNN's John Berman is standing by with the very latest -- John.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good evening, Wolf. Well, right behind me, of course, was the attack on the offices of "Charlie Hebdo" nearly one week ago. And now, today, we have a dramatic new look at these attacks. New video from an amateur. You can see the scene as it unfolds in the midst of this attack.
And what I want you to pay attention to is the eerie, calculated calm of these men as they're in the middle of a battle with police.
BERMAN (voice-over): Just released amateur video captures the gunmen moments after they carried out the attack on a satirical magazine's Paris office. In the new video, one of the gunmen raises his left hand and reportedly yells, "We have avenged the Prophet Muhammad!"
PAUL CRUIKSHANK, CNN TERRORISM ANALYST: The gesture we see in the videotape of the raised index finger is a popular jihadi signal which ISIS has popularized and widely used now by jihadis and their supporters.
BERMAN: Cherif and Said Kouachi reload their automatic weapons before getting into their getaway car and start driving down a narrow road. When a police cruiser blocks their path, the hooded gunmen get out of their vehicle and open fire at police.
BERMAN: The police car then backs up and the gunmen get back in their car before fleeing the scene.
The video was released the same day the new issue of "Charlie Hebdo" rolled off the presses, the first time since last Wednesday's attack. This new issue will hit the newsstands Wednesday morning. Meantime, the investigation continues into the three gunmen killed in the terror attacks. Officials say Cherif Kouachi, one of the gunmen in the magazine attack, and Amedy Coulibaly, the gunman in the kosher market attack, were linked by a radical who was once al Qaeda's top recruiter in Europe. It was known that Cherif moved in jihadist circles. In 2008, he went on trial for his involvement in a network smuggling Islamic fighters to Iraq. And officials say Cherif's brother Said traveled to Yemen in mid-2011, where it is believed he met Anwar al- Awlaki.
And now the search widens for potential accomplices. This woman, Coulibaly's partner, is still on the run. It is believed that Hayat Boumeddiene is now in Syria. Surveillance video shows her at passport control in Istanbul's airport five days before the Paris attacks.
And this French citizen now faces terrorism charges after being arrested at the Bulgaria/Turkey border. Authorities say the 29-year- old was allegedly in contact with one of the brothers behind the "Charlie Hebdo" attack.
While the investigation continues, France mourns the victims here.
(END VIDEO TAPE) BERMAN: I was in a very moving news conference today that was held by the cartoonists who are putting out the new issue of "Charlie Hebdo." Due to hit the stands in just a few minutes. They were applauded as they walked into the room.
And there was also another moving event here in Paris -- a memorial service for the three officers killed in the days of terror here. So many dignitaries attended. It was incredibly poignant, a reminder of how many people here, Wolf, were lost.
BLITZER: Yes. Three of those police officers, 10 people at the magazine and four Jewish men simply doing some shopping or working at that kosher supermarket in Paris.
John Berman, thanks very much.
Those four Jewish men murdered at the kosher supermarket, they were laid to rest in Jerusalem today. Israel's top rabbis read from "The Book of Psalms," as families lit candles for each of the victims. They are Yoav Hattab, the 21-year-old son of Tunisia's chief rabbi, who was studying in France. A 22-year-old employee of the kosher market, Yohan Cohen. Philippe Braham, a 45-year-old father of four. And Francois-Michel Saada, a 63-year-old whose two children are among the growing number of French immigrants moving to Israel.
Israeli leaders said the victims were killed because they were simply Jewish, happened to be at that Jewish supermarket. The prime minister, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, telling French Jews that Israel will always be their home, will be ready to receive them with open arms if necessary.
There are lots of questions about how the Paris gunmen were recruited, financed and armed.
Let's go to our Pentagon correspondent, Barbara Starr.
What are you learning, Barbara, about the terrorists' ties to al Qaeda in Yemen?
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, good evening, Wolf.
U.S. officials are telling me they are now increasingly convinced that al Qaeda in Yemen, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, AQAP, as it's known, was a major influence on both brothers.
There are media reports that, in fact, AQAP may have given them tens of thousands of dollars to carry out the attack.
What we know now are two things. You will recall that Cherif, the younger brother, just before he was killed, gave an interview to French media from where he was eventually killed by police. He said that Anwar al-Awlaki financed his original trip to Yemen in 2011.
Al-Awlaki, of course, the al Qaeda mastermind that was killed later, but had always vowed to attack the United States. The second thing that we know, their cohort, their colleague, the gunman at the grocery market, he gave an interview and he said that he gave in a -- pardon me, in a video, he said that he gave the brothers money to finish buying what they needed to carry out their attacks.
What you see here are the forensics being done. Investigators are looking at the attack, working their way backwards.
What did it take to make this happen?
What kind of money could have been involved?
What kind of planning, organization, other perpetrators?
What did it take to make all of this happen in France, working their way backwards?
How did it happen?
They clearly feel there are other perpetrators out there -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Yes, they certainly are. And they're learning a lot more as the hours go by.
Barbara, thanks very much.
There are also new concerns about hidden bombs. And they're leading to security boosts at U.S. airports. Travelers are facing random searches in greater numbers.
Let's bring in more on what's going on.
Our justice correspondent, Pamela Brown, is with us.
What are you learning -- Pamela?
PAMELA BROWN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, there are these renewed concerns, Wolf, among U.S. officials that Westerners may be looking at "Inspire" magazine, learning how to make hard to detect bombs. So in light of this, the Department of Homeland Security recently announced that it is ramping up security measures at U.S. airports.
These enhanced measures went into effect a few weeks ago, we're told. And they include random passenger pat-downs and luggage searches at the gate once the passenger is already through security.
So as we mentioned, this move is, in part, in reaction to this recent "Inspire" magazine article published by al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. It came out in late December.
And it describes a new recipe for how to make homemade bombs with simple household products that could be an explosive precursor.
This, of course, has been a long-running concern among officials here, that AQAP is targeting aviation and concocting non-metallic IEDs that are only detectable by full body scanners. And the renewed concern here, Wolf, is that Westerners are learning how to do this what -- through this article and could, perhaps, smuggle it onto a plane and maybe perhaps at one of those airports that doesn't have a full body scanner, one of those smaller airports in the US.
BLITZER: Because those articles are pretty specific. They walk you through this step by step by step.
BROWN: They walk you through. And the ingredients are readily available products here in the US. And so that is, I think, so alarming to U.S. officials, is that now AQAP is giving new recipes to these Westerners who may want to carry out an attack in the US.
BLITZER: All right, Pamela Brown, thanks very much.
BROWN: Thank you.
BLITZER: Pamela Brown reporting for us.
Joining us now, the new senior Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, Congressman Adam Schiff of California.
Thanks very much, Congressman, for joining us.
How much of a threat are these so-called hard to detect homemade bombs?
REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA), INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: They're a great threat. And, indeed, before these Paris attacks, the predominant fear that we had from AQAP was not a military-style assault like we saw in Paris, but rather that they would succeed in what they have been trying to do, which is smuggle explosives on aircraft.
Of course, you had the underwear bomber. You had the printer cartridge attempted bombing. And you have AQAP with some of the preeminent bomb makers trying to figure out new ways to make explosives that can bypass or defeat our detection at the airports. So this is a grave concern.
BLITZER: Are there active, credible threats out there right now to the United States?
SCHIFF: Well, I'd have to say yes. I mean there aren't specific threats. So we don't have, you know, time, place, that kind of level of specificity. But in terms of the overall threat posed by AQAP, that's very real. That persists today. We have to continue to work against that overseas and protect against it at home.
And as we saw in Paris and Sydney, in Ottawa and elsewhere, you can't have a perfect defense. We're large, open societies and it's a real challenge.
BLITZER: Have there been any plots that have been thwarted recently?
SCHIFF: Well, you know, there certainly have been plots over the last several years that have been thwarted. And there have been varying degrees of threat information that have come in. Some have proved to be more credible than others. But that's a constant process. And, you know, I think whether it's in the United States or in Europe,
probably not a year goes by, and sometimes not a period of months goes by where they don't have threats in some level of progress that are disrupted.
BLITZER: We're told the ramping up of security at airports in the United States actually began a few weeks ago.
So here's the question -- how long has the U.S. known about this latest round of threats, these hard to detect bombs?
SCHIFF: We've known about that for quite some time. And I think you have reported over the last months and years about some of the changes in airport procedures, some of the things that you're required now to put through the screener that you weren't required to before.
We've been in a constant period of adjustment based on what we learned our adversaries are doing. So this has been ongoing. I don't expect that will change. We're dealing with an adaptive enemy that every defense we put up, they try to figure out ways to circumvent.
But we have a lot of progress we need to make just in screening for explosives at airports, not even these potentially high tech ones. I think there's a lot of work we need to do just to improve our processes and make sure that TSA is operating effectively and efficiently. So there's a lot of work that has to be done -- Wolf.
BLITZER: If the threat has been out there for a long time, why wasn't security intensified, you know, not just recently, but a while ago?
SCHIFF: Well, you know, we try to make sure that the response is appropriate to whatever the threat is. If it's generalized threat information, you know, we have to maintain that difficult balance between wanting adequate security at the airports, but also making the airports functional so it doesn't take forever for passengers to get through screening.
As we get more credible, more specific information, we are change our procedures, we target our procedures, we maybe put more focus on particular airports.
So we're, you know, continually trying to adapt.
BLITZER: Are smaller airports equipped to handle this kind of threat?
SCHIFF: Some of the smaller airports don't have the same technology that can detect some of these explosives. So that's why I think the secretary is making adjustments to put additional resources, or maybe have more random inspections, or use more, you know, sort of eyes on target if they don't have the technological capabilities.
So, you know, we're trying to put those in place wherever we can. You know, the terrorists do have the goal of attacking some of the major hubs and some of the major aircraft. So those remain the predominant threats. But there are vulnerabilities at some of the smaller airports. BLITZER: Yes, there are.
All right, Congressman, stand by.
We have more to discuss.
We're going to take a quick break.
Much more on the developing story, this new video that has just surfaced of the Paris killings.
Stay with us.
BLITZER: Video taken moments after the "Charlie Hebdo" massacre offers a shocking new look at the gunmen. We're back with a ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff of California.
Congressman, you've seen the video. The two terrorists, Said and Cherif Kouachi, they are yelling out very calmly, but they're yelling, "We have avenged the Prophet Mohammed, and then they supposedly say something about al Qaeda in Yemen. Has it been confirmed that this plot to kill these people at the magazine was an AQAP, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, which is based in Yemen, plot?
SCHIFF: Wolf, it certainly looks like it was an AQAP plot. The missing piece, though, is was there some level of communication between that likely visit of at least one of the brothers to Yemen back in 2011 and the present? We don't know that yet. I mean, it's possible there was communication in between. It's possible that they decided after the passage of time to commit this attack or there was possibly some trigger. But that still is not yet determined.
BLITZER: To -- does the U.S., the French -- I know there's close collaboration. Do they know how Said Kouachi was funded, was funded for this operation, trip to Yemen? There are reports he may have received, what, $20,000 to get weapons. What do you know about that?
SCHIFF: We are getting a lot of information from the French, but we have not yet been able to corroborate it ourselves. So I really can't confirm anything, except that we are engaged in an exchange of information with the French. We're trying to share with them what we know about all of these suspects and any connection they may have to others. They've been providing us a lot of information. But it's not something that we've been yet able to confirm.
BLITZER: Are there six accomplices, a part of this so-called sleeper cell, still on the loose in France?
SCHIFF: You know, I don't know, Wolf. It's certainly possible there are others, and there are a lot of questions that we're looking at in terms of who took that video that was of the third suspect after the attack on "Charlie Hebdo." Was that on a tripod? Was there somebody taking that? Were there others who either helped recruit them, and helped them organize or finance this? There's still a lot of unanswered questions.
BLITZER: What about sleeper cells in the United States? What can you tell us about that?
SCHIFF: Well, this has always been a concern of ours, that there are people that have been trained or recruited that are present in the United States.
And, you know, I think you have to distinguish between a couple of different cases. And we don't yet know which France is, but there may be people that have been radicalized that have been given instructions that haven't decided whether they're going to follow those instructions. And there may be others that are deliberately waiting for a period of time in which they'll no longer be under the supervision or surveillance of the authorities where they have more free range of action.
So we have both concerns in the United States, just as they do in France.
BLITZER: The great concern is that there could be a huge surprise, that these sleeper cells could be sleeping for years before they're activated, right?
SCHIFF: That's certainly true. But I also think it's true that, in a far less formal way, there could be cells of people that have been radicalized but that haven't made the decision yet themselves whether they're going to act on these instructions or act on their radicalization.
And we don't know yet what the case was in France, whether they were told to lay dormant for a period of years or whether, you know, they got back to France and they decided they were involved in whatever they were in their personal lives and that took a turn for the worse, that caused them, once again, to act on these instructions.
So I imagine that there's a whole spectrum of possibilities, and we have to be on guard for all of them.
BLITZER: Was ISIS involved in this?
SCHIFF: You know, that we don't know either. Clearly, you know, one of the attackers is claiming an affiliation with ISIS. That could be nothing more than him saying he's associated with it, because he was inspired by their video or their formation of their caliphate. Or it could be something more formal than that. And at this point, Wolf, we still don't know.
BLITZER: You've seen the video. We're showing it to our viewers now, Congressman. These guys are so methodical. They seem so cocky, if you will. It's very frightening.
SCHIFF: It is. And you know, the way they killed that policeman who was lying on the sidewalk, the cold-blooded nature of it, it certainly looks like they have military training, to be able to act that coldly, that methodically, that calculatingly, the degree to which they were able to fire on the police vehicles. It certainly looks like they had some degree of training.
BLITZER: So what's the most important thing the U.S. has to do now?
SCHIFF: Well, I think we have to do our best to, you know, to determine, you know, what kind of an eye do we have on those that may have been radicalized overseas that are living at the margins of our society and that have flirted with radicalism. We have to make sure that none of them decide to act much as these attackers did in France. I think we have a lot of work to do in terms of safeguarding our airports.
And I think the broader mission of attacking those that have mental health problems, that may have easily tipped into radicalism, as well as working with our religious communities in the United States to make sure we have open lines of dialogue, it's going to be a whole spectrum approach, necessary to protect the country.
BLITZER: Congressman Schiff, thanks very much for joining us.
SCHIFF: Thanks, Wolf.
BLITZER: Coming up, new clues in the hunt for a female suspect who fled before the Paris terrorist attacks, as authorities are now scrambling to check out her traveling companion.
And chilling new video shows the gunmen moments after the massacre at that Paris magazine. We're going to break it down for you.
Stay with us. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
BLITZER: French authorities are hunting for accomplices in the Paris terror attacks. And there are now new clues about a female suspect who made it out of France before all the bloodshed.
Brian Todd is taking a closer look into this part of the story. Brian, what are you learning?
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, tonight new information coming to us from Turkish officials and others, information tracking the movements of Hayat Boumeddiene.
The Turks tell us they tracked her to the Syrian border; then she slipped away. And there's new information tonight about a man she traveled with.
TODD (voice-over): A crucial piece of evidence, newly-released surveillance video aired in Turkish media, showing what it says is Hayat Boumeddiene arriving in Istanbul. That was on January 2, five days before the "Charlie Hebdo" attack.
Boumeddiene, the partner of Paris kosher store gunman Amedy Coulibaly, is a suspected accomplice in the Paris attacks. Tonight, Turkish officials tell CNN they're doubling their efforts to track Boumeddiene. They say cell-phone records show Boumeddiene slipped into Syria and was already there by last Thursday, the day before Coulibaly was killed in the kosher store standoff.
The man with her in the video in Istanbul, the French newspaper "Le Monde" identifies him as 23-year-old Mehdy Belhoucine from Paris. The paper says he may be connected to a separate jihadist cell.
LT. COL. JAMES REESE (RET.), CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Probably a foot soldier who was there to protect her, but, again, in the Islamic tradition, you know, you don't see many Islamic women traveling by themselves. They always have a male counterpart traveling with them. So it just fits in with the street craft and the trade craft, to blend in.
TODD: Turkish officials tell us Boumeddiene and her travel companion checked into an Istanbul hotel, engaged in tourist type activity for a couple of days, then made their way to the Turkish/Syrian border.
French court documents obtained by CNN show Hayat Boumeddiene, shown here in a veil, practicing crossbow firing with Coulibaly, was involved in a 2010 plot with him to break a terrorist out of a French jail. The documents say Boumeddiene, like her boyfriend, got guidance from a radical named Jamal Begal (ph), a key al Qaeda recruiter.
Boumeddiene was the more radical one in the couple, according to Coulibaly's former lawyer, who says she complained in a call recorded by French intelligence that Coulibaly was not serious. If she's embraced by ISIS, the group her boyfriend claimed to support, what will they do with her?
ROBERT LEIKEN, AUTHOR, "EUROPE'S ANGRY MUSLIMS": I think she'll be received with open arms by ISIS. I think they will project her as a heroine. I think they will do video with her speaking, and it's also possible that she would be involved in operations.
TODD: Hayat Boumeddiene is presumed to be armed and dangerous, and analysts say a capture or kill operation by the French, the Turks or anyone else, for her would be very risky. Hayat Boumeddiene is so valuable to any militant group she happens to be with right now that she's probably being heavily protected and deeply hidden -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Brian, you're getting some other personal information about this young woman.
TODD: That's right. A neighbor of hers in a southern Paris suburb told CNN Hayat Boumeddiene was always polite, always wore a veil, was often seen motoring around with her partner, Amedy Coulibaly, on a scooter in the neighborhood. A French newspaper, "Le Parisien," reports that she's one of seven siblings, that her mother died in 1994 and that she was placed in foster care when she was 8 or 9 years old.
BLITZER: Brian, thanks very much. Tom Fuentes, you're here. There's chilling new video, this video
we've been showing our viewers. I want to walk through this video and I want you to explain what's going on. Because this shows the slaughter -- after the slaughter that occurred at the magazine, the getaway if you will, of these two terrorists. Let's go look at this frame by frame. Let's start with this. Tell us what we're seeing.
TOM FUENTES, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: OK, they come out. You know, they've just slaughtered almost two dozen people in the magazine. He's celebrating, holding up a finger, which usually means one God, Allah, and playing to the audience up on the rooftops, and you know, bragging about what they did.
His partner has a problem with the gun. He fixes it, gives it back to him. He goes around. He gives another wave to the fans up on the rooftops, and then goes. And it just strikes me how calm, just cold.
BLITZER: When he's raising his finger like that, what does that mean?
FUENTES: Well, many believe that it signifies one God, Allah. And that that's the signal. It's not the No. 1 football team.
But you see here how he's going to help him and fix what looked like a jam in his gun. Then he goes around. He's wearing a load-bearing vest which holds additional rounds, additional equipment. And then, after -- after playing to the audience, they go to get -- they leave.
BLITZER: And they keep screaming, "We have avenged the Prophet Mohammed."
All right. Let's take a look at the second video. Let's go through it.
FUENTES: OK. He's got his partner's gun. He's checking it, making sure it's still working, gives it back to him, takes his gun off the roof. And they get back in the car, ready to go.
BLITZER: They're just walking slowly.
FUENTES: Just cold -- stone-cold killers. No problems.
BLITZER: And they're going to start driving away.
BLITZER: All right. Let's go to the next video. Here's the third video.
FUENTES: OK. They start driving, and they encounter this police car up here. They stop and get out to shoot at that car.
Now, what you'll hear is the loudness of the AK-47s they're shooting. They are completely outgunning the officer in that car, who retreats. He's like, "I'm not staying here." And we later see, after they get back in the car and drive on, we see the bullet holes in the windshield of that car. Now, I can add most pistol rounds will not go through a windshield of
a vehicle. AK-47 rounds are powerful enough to go through the doors and the windows of a car. So that's why we see these holes.
BLITZER: And then the car gets to the end there and makes a right turn.
FUENTES: Right. The police car backs up into another car. Minor traffic collision. You'll see this car back up. They'll shoot first. Shooting up the windshield. Police officer retreats. A little wobbly in his retreat. He backs into the vehicle that's across the lane up there blocking traffic.
BLITZER: You can't blame him for retreating. He's outgunned.
FUENTES: He's outgunned. No question about it.
They get back in the car, and they'll go up the road and go to the right of that car, down the boulevard, which we won't see. He'll make a U-turn on that boulevard and come back and encounter the other officer on the sidewalk.
BLITZER: And that's where we go to the fourth video over here.
FUENTES: They go around the van on this side, the other on this side. They encounter the police officer here. They wound him. He goes down. This is the Muslim police officer. And basically, they come up and finish him off, execute him point-blank on the sidewalk, then go back to the vehicle.
OK. You see them here approaching. And then the video loops back.
When they get done shooting him, they go back to their vehicle and get in and make their escape. And what I had thought from the beginning was that they have not chosen this as their place to be martyrs. They want to fight another day, which is what happens. They fight two days later when we have the hostage taking at the market with Coulibaly and you have the two brothers holed up in the print shop.
Then when they are sure they have maximum police around them, maximum media coverage worldwide, that's when they choose that's their place to become martyrs.
BLITZER: I want to bring in our Paul Cruickshank, our terrorism analyst.
Walk us through your analysis of what we just saw, Paul.
PAUL CRUICKSHANK, CNN TERRORISM ANALYST: Well, I think everything Tom said is right. These are cool, calm, collected, disciplined killers. It suggests strongly that they were trained overseas. We've reported that they're believed to have trained both brothers, it seems, in Yemen with al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. Presumably, if that's the case, it was there that they learned these kind of gun-handling skills, this kind of discipline to launch these kind of attacks, to use these Kalashnikov-type weapons, which are difficult to find on the streets of Europe.
I think a very big question is where did they get all these heavy weapons? And those included rocket launchers that they had, as well. Quite extraordinary and unprecedented to see this type of urban warfare on the streets of a major European capital.
BLITZER: I want to get to the analysis of Guillaume Debre. He's been helping us over this past several days. He's a correspondent of French television channel TF-1. He's joining us from Paris once again.
I assume everybody has been studying this new video all day, right, Guillaume?
GUILLAUME DEBRE, CORRESPONDENT, TF-1: sure.
BLITZER: And what's your analysis?
DEBRE: Well, I think the video shows that, of course, the heavy weaponry of the killers.
What is very interesting is right now they're in possession in the car of an RPG, and they've decided not to use the RPG. The police were wondering why they haven't used it early on. And we've learned today that the reason is one of their targets -- I'm talking about the Kouachi brothers -- one of the targets was to, after they hit Paris, they wanted to try to hit an airplane in the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) airport with one of the three, if I'm not mistaken, three RPGs that they had in their possession.
So the goal was to escape Paris after the killing of "Charlie Hebdo," make their way towards one of the roads that goes around Charles de Gaulle Airport and try to take down an airliner. This is why they haven't used the RPG before when they could have used it in this narrow street and, you know, hit the police.
BLITZER: Paul Cruickshank, what's the latest you're hearing, Paul, on the AQAP, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula involvement?
CRUICKSHANK: The latest we're hearing is that the brothers are suspected to have trained with AQAP. Also, the U.S. government believes that it's likely that they met with Anwar al-Awlaki. And if they did, indeed, meet with Anwar al-Awlaki, the American terrorist, in Yemen, Awlaki would have wanted them to go and launch a plot back in the west.
Al-Awlaki at the time, in 2011, was desperately trying to find European recruits for plots in the west. But I think we've just heard some really disturbing details, Wolf, the idea that they might have been trying to use this rocket launcher, which they loaded at a certain point, to attack an airliner taking off or landing at Charles de Gaulle Airport. Those are disturbing new details. This plot may have been much more ambitious than perhaps we even understood.
BLITZER: That is disturbing. Stand by. I want everybody to stand by. We're going to also hear from the Senate Intelligence Committee member, Senator Marco Rubio. He's going to explain why the Paris attacks in this perspective represent a dangerous transition in the overall war on terror.
We're also covering a major development, by the way, in the AirAsia crash investigation.
BLITZER: Republican Senator Marco Rubio says the Paris terrorist attacks show how global war, global war on terror is changing. We sat down and talked about the senator's brand-new book -- There you see the book cover -- "American Dreams." I also asked him about what new details he's learning about the Paris attacks.
BLITZER: You're a key member of the intelligence committee and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Do you have a good idea, a good conclusion now, who is responsible for those people who were killed?
SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), FLORIDA: Well, we're learning -- obviously, the French are the point people involved in the investigation. So as they share that information, and I know the U.S. is collaborating with them, more will become available to us that we can publicly discuss.
I will say that this is an important moment in terms of understanding the transition in the war on terror. The tradition of the war on terror has been targeting the core of these groups, primarily al Qaeda and ISIL, and that remains an important part of it. But the second element...