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Ohio Man Plotted Attack on U.S. Capitol, Inspired By ISIS; Divers to Search Main Body of Plane

Aired January 14, 2015 - 19:00   ET


ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: OUTFRONT next, breaking news on several fronts. The FBI arrests an Ohio man for allegedly plotting to bomb the U.S. capitol and then shoot people as they fled. Is this an ISIS move? His father is OUTFRONT.

Plus, a fourth suspect identified in the Paris terror attack. Are there more accomplices out there? We also have new images inside the mayhem.

And ISIS releasing a disturbing image of a young boy apparently executing two men in the head. Why are children the newest tool for terrorist? The special report. Let's go OUTFRONT.

And good evening, I'm Erin Burnett, OUTFRONT tonight. Breaking news, the FBI arresting a man tonight for allegedly plotting an ISIS inspired attack on the U.S. capitol. I'm going to show you that young man. His picture right here on your screen. His name is Christopher Cornell. He's 20 years old and he is from the state of Ohio. The FBI says, he planned to set off a series of bombs at the capitol and then attack lawmakers as they tried to flee. In just a moment, I'm going to be joined by Cornell's father here OUTFRONT. But I want to begin with all the details we know about this plot against the U.S. Capitol.

Pamela Brown is OUTFRONT live from Washington. And Pamela, what can you tell us?

PAMELA BROWN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Erin, this is pretty disturbing. The FBI arresting this 20-year-old man in Cincinnati, Ohio today by the name of Christopher Lee. Cornell, the FBI says that he was in the final stages of executing an attack on the U.S. capitol building where he allegedly planned to detonate pipe bombs around the building and then open fire on people. Lawmakers, employees on the U.S. capitol building as they tried to flee. According to the criminal complaint, he was put on the FBI's radar several months ago after an undercover, confidential informant told authorities about him that he had been making alarming statements on social media. He talked about on social media how he wanted to commit violent jihad and how Congress members were his enemies.

And according to one exchange, Christopher Cornell had with this undercover informant. He told this allegedly, this informant, I believe we should meet up and make our own group and alliance with the Islamic State here and plan operations ourselves. He also allegedly told this informant that he had been in contact with persons overseas that he would not, he did not receive authorization to carry out attacks here in the U.S. so he apparently told his informant, he wanted to do it on his own. Of course, this really highlights the concern among U.S. law enforcements officials of people here in the U.S. being self-radicalized wanting to commit an act of terror. In this case, the FBI says he bought weapons today and he was in the final stages of carrying out that attack. And that's why the FBI says they arrested him.

BURNETT: All right. Pamela, thank you very much. And Pamela giving us those key headlines. He was buying weapons today. In the final stages of planning an attack in the U.S. capital with pipe bombs and then ammunition to kill survivors.

OUTFRONT now, John Cornell, the father of the suspect Christopher Cornell. And he joins us on the phone tonight. John, I appreciate it. I don't think anyone can really imagine what this moment is like for you. You've just heard the news about your son's arrest. The details of what he was allegedly planning to do. I know you saw him just last night. Did you have any sense that anything was wrong?

JOHN CORNELL, FATHER OF SUSPECT IN U.S. CAPITOL PLOT (on the phone): No, not whatsoever. He left the house with a supposed friend. Came home two hours later. I asked him where he had been. And he said that he had went to a mosque. He was home for the night or at least we thought he was. My wife and I went to bed probably about midnight. My other son works third shift so he didn't come home until 6:00 in the morning. And for some reason my wife, he's like a mama's boy, she looked in. You know, we always check on. We've done this ever since they were babies. I used to check on them when they were babies just to make sure they were breathing.

Anyway, we looked in and noticed he was gone. And I asked, where did Chris go? He had went to store earlier today. And I said, I never seen him leave. And then we figured out he must have left in the middle of the night. And we went in his room and I found a note that he had left me. It was just a simple note saying that he had decided to move in with a friend. The guy offered him place to stay. And the guy offered him so work because he was out of work. He worked seasonally and he was out of work. And I don't think he cared where he was working at any way. And that's basically what the note said. Not to worry about him. He didn't want to tell us in person because he was afraid we would try to talk him out of it like I said --

BURNETT: And that was all it said. So, it didn't -- I mean, I know that you must be very shocked, but you do know that he recently became interested in Islam. How did he change when that happened?

CORNELL: Actually, he had changed like when I first, when we first discovered, we kind of mocked him. Like why would you convert to Islam? I watch a lot of news. And I see what's going on in the world. And I said why would you want to convert to Islam? And he explained to me. You know, Islam wasn't a terrorist group. It was a way of life, you know. And recently, he had opened up to me a lot more. He was a lot more open with me. He explained that, he said I guess you just got to let people, you know, Christians have different beliefs and you have to let people believe in what they believe in. You know what I mean? And -- BURNETT: Did he ever talk about ISIS?

CORNELL: He never, ever talked about ISIS? I mean, I know, I watch a lot of news, CNN and MSNBC every day. And that's all you see. And he would come in sometimes to see it. You know, he never made any comments about ISIS. We had no inclination whatsoever. I have not even suspected anything. I mean, I'm not sure, you know, I mean, you know, the FBI story is out there.


CORNELL: He was turned in by an informant. Well, the FBI had to be playing him all this time. I mean, if they knew -- if they had threats that he made, I think he might, you know, he might have made some threatening stuff on twitter they're saying. Well, they're saying he made threatening comments. Why wouldn't they arrest him then? Why would they let it go this far, you know? They could have --

BURNETT: So, what's your reaction? Sounds like a little bit, I understand what you're saying. And it's got to be hard to believe. You seem to have bit of disbelief. I mean, obviously, they say that he bought weapons today, that he was in the final stages of, you know, trying a pipe bomb attack on the capitol. You know, you talk about looking in on him when he was a baby. What's your reaction when you hear that?

CORNELL: We've done that through his whole life. I always look in on my boys. So does their mom. They both live at home still. We'd rather they be here. You know, we were hoping that maybe they would get some kind of a college program or something. You know, we're not rich people. Don't have a lot of money. We figured we'd let them live at home where they can save and maybe get into some kind of a college program or something, you know what I mean? And we felt safe with them here. You know, and I'm not saying, you know, I don't know. These are comments that he supposedly had made on twitter, these threats. And I see him on the news. So, apparently he did go and buy two guns, I'm not denying that. But what I'm saying is, he never had the money to buy those guns. He worked part time seasonally, I know exactly how much money he had, $87 save that. And these guns cost over 1700 buck. I think the FBI, somebody had to chip in. I mean, they asked me who was his friends, he's only had like one friend that he's going with and that had to be an FBI agent.

BURNETT: Do you think that I mean, perhaps they facilitated what he wanted to do? I mean, do you think he would have gone through it?

CORNELL: I don't think Chris could hurt a fly. His best friend is our kitty cat. You know what I mean? He's such a lovable, kind person. I mean, he even told me, he told the people where he worked. He got a lot of -- where he worked. He said, I'm probably one of the nicest people you'll ever meet. And they mock him and they make fun of him a lot at work. And it upset him, you know, and hurt his feelings more or less. It hurt his feelings. And his feelings, you know, his feelings were easily hurt. He held a lot of stuff inside that I said lately he had been opening up with me, he had been explaining some of Islam to me. I said, well, few converted Islam, you have a Muslim name, and he showed me his Muslim name, that was two days ago.

BURNETT: What was his Muslim name?

CORNELL: I forget.


CORNELL: FBI took it. He told me what it meant. It meant something about a journey and he was protected by God. Mentioned God. Mostly God.

BURNETT: Thank you so much, John. I know it's got to be incredibly difficult to talk about it. John of course the father of Chris Cornell who is accused of plotting to pipe bomb the U.S. Capitol and then shoot those who tried to escape.

I want to bring in now, the retired U.S. Army General Spider Marks, and our counterterrorism analyst Phil Mudd, former CIA counterterrorism official. When you hear Phil this young man, the alleged pipe bomber, planning pipe bomber's father saying he doesn't think he could hurt a fly but talking about his conversion to Islam and their life. He seemed so surprise that this could have happened. What profile are you picking up?

PHIL MUDD, FORMER CIA COUNTERTERRORISM OFFICIAL: Boy, the tragedy here as you see it one time, we saw it this evening a couple of minutes ago. With you and that interview Erin, I've seen it a thousand times. Let me give you a couple characteristics. One, the parent doesn't know. We lost suicide bombers out of Somali, immigrant communities in Minneapolis. Single mother households came in. The mother came in and said, where's my son? Not only did I not know he wasn't radicalized, I didn't know he traveled to Somalia. You see it again and again, the kid knows as soon as he talks to a parent, the parent is going to say, what are you doing. So, he lives in a close society, it's tragic but it's not surprising, the parent doesn't know. It happens all the time.

BURNETT: And General Marks, what do you hear when you hear John Cornell talk about his son?

MAJ. GEN. JAMES "SPIDER" MARKS, U.S. ARMY (RET.): Following up on what Phil just said. My reaction is wow. Here is a set of parents who ostensibly love this child and routinely check up on him and here this young man has been able to radicalize himself. Obviously he's got challenges in the workplace, he's obviously got challenges among those with whom he associates. But what this really tells you is that the folks that fill his run with through the lifetime of his service in the FBI and certainly those associations that Phil and I have in the agency, it really tells you that the intelligence work that is being done at the local levels is incredibly aggressive and very precise. Mom and dad don't know but you have a network of professionals who do and are able to jump in the middle of this before it reaches the stage of execution. It's quite incredible. BURNETT: It was incredible hearing him and I thought very raw

and real interview in terms of what he thought. He clearly loved his son and had no idea this was happening. But very honest about what he thought when he converted to Islam.

Next, the breaking news of the manhunt on for a new accomplice in Paris. What we know about his connections to the deadly shootings.

And a comedian arrested for his Facebook Post saying they show support for terrorism. Does he have a right to free speech?

And disturbing images from ISIS. This shows a young boy. See that young boy actually looks like he could be in a gap ad, right? And then you see the gun in his hand and then you see the gun go off and those two men fall. We'll show you.


BURNETT: Breaking news out of Paris tonight. An international manhunt under way now for a fourth suspect in the terror attacks according to the French newspaper, Le Presse (ph). French officials say the man is an accomplice of Amedy Coulibaly. The gunman killed after taking hostage at a kosher supermarket. This is al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula released this chilling new video claiming responsibility for the "Charlie Hebdo" attack and saying they ordered it. Also today, new images from inside that supermarket where four of the hostages were murdered. We'll have much more on that in just a moment.

But our Jim Sciutto begins our coverage OUTFRONT tonight in Paris. And Jim, you know, everyone's eyes here now that there's been a thwarted plot to pipe bomb the U.S. Capitol, people now realizing just how serious and terrifying these sorts of plots can be. What more have you learned about the fourth suspect in the Paris attacks?

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, one key line of inquiry here is the ammunition used in the attack on that kosher market carried out by Amedy Coulibaly is the same ammunition used in an attack or shooting attack on a jogger shortly before. It is one clue tying Coulibaly to this missing man who unfortunately authorities believe has already fled France possibly for Syria.


SCIUTTO (voice-over): Chilling new images of the gunman Amedy Coulibaly and the hostages he took, men, women and children inside that kosher supermarket in Paris last week. This photo stamped 1:40 local time taken during the first hour of the standoff. Coulibaly can be seen dressed in jeans and a t-shirt wearing what appears to be a black bullet proof vest. Lying on the floor two of the four people he gunned down when he first burst into the store. Here the legs of one man visible. The body closest to the camera believed to be that of an employee at the store Yohan Cohen. He reportedly grabbed a gun from Coulibaly but it jammed and the gunman shot him to death. Here and especially gripping photo of a child's abandoned stroller. And here frightened hostages gather in a small group left only to wait and to worry.

These hostages seen here in photos released earlier this week were hidden in basement freezer by another heroic employee Lassana Bathily, a young Muslim man. Coulibaly took some of the hostages ordering them to help him disable security cameras in the building. These photos taken around 2:40 in the afternoon. Only a short time later Coulibaly threatens to kill more hostages. The police tried to take back the store.

(on camera): Now I'm hearing gunfire. Multiple shots, automatic fire.

(voice-over): But just over an hour later heavily armed police storm in. Coulibaly charges directly into the gunfire ending the siege and his life.


SCIUTTO: In addition to the enormous police and military presence around the country to prevent another attack enormous sensitivity as well to speech that might incite violence. Just in the last several days, Erin, more than 50 prosecutions or arrests or charges for hate speech found on the Internet, Facebook postings, twitter, et cetera. They are really concerned here about anything that might spur another attack.

BURNETT: All right, Jim Sciutto, thank you very much. And I want to get now to that new video tape from al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula which claims responsibility for the attack at the "Charlie Hebdo" office.

Deborah Feyerick is OUTFRONT. And Deb, we are now learning, because there were questions, are they just going to capitalize on this? This video isn't real. We're learning it is indeed authentic.

DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the video itself is indeed authentic according to U.S. intelligence sources. However, what they are trying to verify are the claims contained within the video itself. Now, in the video al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula does say that it order and financed the attack. Interestingly it does not claim responsibility for the attack in the kosher market. Coulibaly has self-identified with ISIS and not al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and that suggest that the two friends Cherif Kouachi who attacked this satirical magazine and Coulibaly who was in the kosher market may have collaborated on their own to coordinate somewhat simultaneous coordinated attacks. Now, as far as the goal of U.S. intelligence they're looking at the video very closely, they really want to know who was in command and control, whether it was al Qaeda, whether it was Anwar al-Awlaki, that cleric and spiritual leader or whether it was somebody else. Keep in mind that this video did come out after Cherif Kouachi said that he was financed by al-Awlaki and after it became clear that he had made multiple trips to Yemen. So, we'll all the indicators are, that this is AQAP, U.S. intelligence and U.S. authorities want to make sure that in fact that is true -- Erin. BURNETT: And Deb, they're also finding out the money trail,

right? Because they had as we know an incredible cache of weapons. They had an arsenal, they paid for that with something. You found out that they did have money. What do you know about how much they had and where it came from?

FEYERICK: And that's also very interesting distinction between the two gunmen effectively, the Kouachis apparently received $20,000 from AQAP. That's according to U.S. authority, and that money was used to carry out these attacks to buy these weapons. Interesting enough however for Coulibaly he took a five-year $7,000 loan. That's $7,000 U.S. effectively. The equivalent of that amount of money. He believed that he used that money in order to buy his stash of weapons. When investigators raided this, an apartment that he had, they found a lot of things inside. And so, they're looking also at the different financing, the 20,000 for the Kouachis that allegedly came from AQAP and the 6,000 loan effectively that Coulibaly took out in December of 2014. And interestingly enough, he alleged to have made about $3500 U.S. the month before he took out that $7,000 loan. So, small clues but important clues to understand perhaps when he needed the money to get those weapons -- Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Deborah Feyerick, thank you very much.

And now the former NATO supreme allied commander. Retired Four- Star General Wesley Clark along with former CIA operative Bob Baer. General Clark, let me start with you on the point Deb was just making. These guys had an incredible arsenal of weapons. They didn't seem to need much money when you think about it and the scheme of things to get those and to pull off a major attack.

GEN. WESLEY CLARK (RET.), FORMER NATO SUPREME ALLIED COMMANDER: That's true. For that reason any amount of money is significant. It's significant because it doesn't take very much money, if you do this, it's also significant because it leaves clues as to who organizes and supports such an attack. So, I'm sure that money and the web of people around these people in Paris is being worked right now. Because it's an important evidence and it may force to all future attacks or lead to another wave of arrests.

BURNETT: And Bob, you know, we just learned U.S. intelligence now believes another 400 westerners have gone to fight in Syria. We know the Kouachi brothers may have gone there, but I think the key point here is no one actually knows whether they did or didn't and no one seems to know in any case whether someone did or didn't. So, when they say 400, do they really know who those people are, therefore, who actually is a major risk, in terms of coming home or planning attacks like this?

BOB BAER, FORMER CIA OPERATIVE: Erin, absolutely, they don't know. It's possible to walk across the Turkish border. As, you know, previously reported. There's been cruise ship. They arrive in Turkey. They disappear, walk across the border. You can walk across the border into Iraq from Turkey as well. So, even the Turks can't keep track of it. You know, and this is really a problem. All of these conflicts in the Middle East is because people go there and they learn how to use arms. And the smart ones can come back and use them here. The people that don't scare me very much are the ones that, you know, with the self-recruited because they tend to mess things up like the pipe bomber. I doubt that bomb would have gone off. But I realize the FBI had to arrest him. But it's the ones that attack the magazine that really scare me. You would look at that video tape of shooting that police car, the groupings, they weren't scared. They had a jammed weapon and the rest of it. That's what's really terrifying the French.

BURNETT: Right. They were cool, they were calm and they were collected. General Clark though, my question is, why in terms of responsibility did it take al Qaeda a week to claim it? I mean, does that mean that they're really not responsible? Why would they wait?

CLARK: It might mean that. It also might mean that there's some kind of dispute within the hierarchy where they have more to gain by claiming it or more to lose by making a greater target and spectacle of themselves. So, we don't know exactly. It seems unlikely to me that they would have planned an attack three years ago that would have had all this detail with it. Maybe they suggested that "Charlie Hebdo" should be attacked. Maybe they said you should do it when there's a group of people there. But it will be very interesting as the intelligence agencies work through this to find out exactly how, if at all, al Qaeda really had anything to do with the actual execution of the attack.

BURNETT: And Bob, the head of Britain's spy agency MI5 said, Islamic militants in Syria are planning his words, quote, "mass casualty attacks in western targets," that fits exactly what with the United States intelligence has said. They've said they failed to kill top al Qaeda commanders that they say are planning mass casualties strikes from Syria to the west. France was horrific. But it was not mass casualty. How worried are you about that? A mass casualty attack on the U.S. or the west?

BAER: I'm very worried about it. And I'd expect it for couple of years now. I mean, look, we are at war in the Middle East, we are at war on terror. Call it what you want but the way they look at it is that we're killing Muslims without justification. I know that's reducing this argument to silliness, but they are going to come back at us given the means and they just need more experience. What really worries me is the airplane bombs because you can bring down an airplane with common household ingredients if you know what you're doing. And clearly, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, they intend to do that, they have tried twice at least and they will try again. And, you know, will they succeed? There's no way to know. But that's their intention and I think we have to do something about it.

BURNETT: Thanks very much to both of you for the conversation. And next more on the breaking news. An Ohio man's alleged plot to blow up the U.S. capitol. The FBI says he was inspired by ISIS. His father talked to me about that and the latest chilling image in the ISIS war. This image appears to show a child, a little boy, as I've said, looks like a Gap or a Benetton ad, except for then, he appears to execute two men shooting them in the head.


BURNETT: More on the breaking news we're following tonight. The FBI arresting an Ohio man, Christopher Lee Cornell, for allegedly plotting to bomb the U.S. Capitol. He said he was inspired by ISIS.

The charges say Cornell planned to set off pipe bombs and then shoot people as they tried to escape. He actually bought guns today.

Moments ago, I spoke with Cornell's father and we had a wide- ranging conversation. But I asked him specifically about his son's recent interest in Islam.


JOHN CORNELL, FATHER OF SUSPECT IN U.S. CAPITOL PLOT (via telephone): Actually, he had changed -- you know, like when I first -- when we first discovered we kind of mocked him. Why would you convert to Islam? You know what I mean? I watched a lot of news and I said what's going on in the world. And I said, why would you want to convert to Islam?

And he explained to me, you know, that Islam wasn't a terrorist group. It was a way of life. And recently, he had opened up to me a lot more and he's become a lot more open with me. He explained to me that, he said, dad, I guess you just got to let people, Christians have different beliefs. You just got to have -- you got to let people believe in what they believe in. You know what I mean?

BURNETT: Did he ever talk about ISIS?

CORNELL: He never ever talked about ISIS. I mean, I know I watch a lot of I watch news, CNN and MSNBC, every day, and that's all you see. He could come in sometimes and see it, you know? He never made any comment about ISIS.

We had no inclination whatsoever. You know, if I had even suspected anything, I mean, I'm not sure -- you know, I mean, you know, the FBI story is out there. He was turned in by an informant -- well, the FBI had to be playing him all this time. I mean, if they knew, if they had threats that he made, I think he might, he might have made some threatening stuff on Twitter, they're saying he makes some threatening comments. Why didn't they arrest him then? Why would they let it go this far?


BURNETT: All right. With me now, the former CIA operative Bob Baer, and CNN counterterrorism analyst, also CIA official, Phil Mudd.

OK. Phil, let me start with you. I want to get straight to this, because, you know, people on Twitter were asking me this question as well. The father saying, look, if he was making threats on twitter, why did they wait until today when he actually went to buy weapons and move in the final stages to arrest him?

PHIL MUDD, CNN COUNTERTERRORISM ANALYST: Pretty straightforward. Let me give you this because it happens all the time. Over the course of the months that this investigation has been underway, I don't have to see the investigation, I know what happened.

The informant looked at him 15 times, 10 times, 20 times and said the same thing. You sure you want to do this? Are you sure you want to do this? Giving him chance at an out, but also when you go in front of a jury insuring that people who say he was entrapped are proven wrong. They're going to show 15 times this kid said, "I want to do it. I want to do it."

Second and finally, Erin, when you go through this process from this kid being initiated to him acquiring weapons, to him choosing a target, if you want to go in front of a jury, you want to be as close as possible to the actual attack event because you want to show the jury, look, this isn't just a chump change event. This is somebody who is very close, if we had let him go to executing a lethal attack.

BURNETT: And, Bob, also, you know, his father, he was pretty honest. He said, look, when he converted to Islam, to be honest, we mocked him. We mocked that way of life. He tried to explain Islam was peaceful.

Obviously, that doesn't fit with what the authorities are saying happened, which is that he was inspired by ISIS. You know, his father told me, quote, "he couldn't hurt a fly." Yet he was going ahead with this plan.

I mean, his parents had absolutely no clue whatsoever, even now that they are looking at this. And I know that's kind of standard but it's still pretty incredible.

BOB BAER, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Yes, Erin, I've seen this before in Lebanon when I was there. A young boy kissed his mother good-bye and said I'm going out to lunch. She wasn't even aware he attended mosques at the time. And he got in a van and drove down an Israeli intelligence headquarters, drove to the front door and killed 60-some people.

It happens all the time. They hide this conversion. They don't want to tell their parents because their parents will try to turn them against that decision.

It doesn't surprise me at all this happened. And, you know, think how hard it is for the FBI to deal with this when the parents don't know what's happening in a kid's head. And this is what the guy Phil was saying, is got the FBI worried is this people go to the point where they're buying guns, no one can know what they're doing or will do until it's too late. So, they had to arrest them when they did.

BURNETT: Phil, the other people you've made is that there's thousands of these people across the U.S. doing these kinds of threats. So, they find this guy off of that. But you said they can't track everybody. So, now, you have to look and say if this person was going ahead with something like this, how many more are there out there? MUDD: The problem with this case and let's contrast it quickly

to Paris, is the difference between quantity and quality. Paris was high end. I rarely saw operations like that in the United States. We did see years ago, a guy named Najibullah Zazi, trying to blow up the subway in New York. Very high end plot.

For every one of those, though, you'll get -- I'm going to take a guess -- dozens or maybe hundreds or more like these. These are low end, not as sophisticated as you're suggesting, as I've said before, there are a lot of them.

The problem is not that they are sophisticated or high end, but if you miss one of them, you're going to get something like what we witness in Oklahoma City. Whatever that was 20 years ago, people who weren't high end but put together a car bomb and kill a lot of folks. A lot of folks like this in the United States. A lot less of what we saw in Paris last week.

BURNETT: All right. Thanks very much to both of you.

Our other top story tonight is the manhunt in France after a fourth suspect in the attack has been identified by officials according to a French newspaper. Now, they haven't named this individual yet, but he's believed to be an accomplice of Amedy Coulibaly, who is the gunman at the kosher supermarket.

Fifty-four people -- 54 people -- let me just say that for the third time -- 54 people have been arrested in France for expressing support for terror in the aftermath of last week's attacks. Never mind buying weapons or anything like that, just expressing support as they see it. This includes a controversial French humorist and actor Dieudonne, who was just charged for comments he posted on Facebook about Amedy Coulibaly, who of course killed four people at that kosher supermarket. Now, Dieudonne has been released from custody and is going to be questioned.

Miguel Marquez is OUTFRONT.


DIEUDONNE, HUMORIST: Bonjour le France.

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): He's a popular French comic, like many comedians, undeterred of offending anyone he chooses.

DIEUDONNE: My name is George W. Bush. I am the 43rd president of the United States of America.

MARQUEZ: French law bans anti-Semitism, incitement of racial hatred and condoning terrorism, bans Dieudonne has floated for years.

Dieudonne has been convicted nearly a dozen times of inciting racial hatred or similar charges. Now, he's charged not for his show or material but for this Facebook post after he attended the march condemning the "Charlie Hebdo" attacks. In the post, he called march historic, but it's the last part that brought new charges of condoning terrorism. "Know that tonight", he wrote, "As far as I'm concerned, I feel like Charlie Coulibaly." A reference to both "I am Charlie" and Amedy Coulibaly, who after the "Charlie Hebdo" attack killed four Jewish men and is suspected of killing a policewoman and shooting a jogger.

He later deleted the post.

"There's a difference between freedom and anti-Semitism and racism", said the French prime minister in an address to parliament. "Defending terrorism, which is a crime, must be punished with force and strength."

Since the "Charlie Hebdo" attack, 54 cases of condoning terrorism have been opened. In one case, a 22-year-old man posted a video mocking the dead policeman. In another, a young man was arrested for shouting "Long live the Kalashnikov" at police.

Dieudonne's lawyer told Sky News the post was, quote, "completely innocent and the comic feels like Coulibaly because he is being treated like a terrorist in his own country."

Dieudonne has made news here before when NBA superstar Tony Parker, along with the comedian, was photographed making a Dieudonne created gesture, the quenelle -- many compare it to a Nazi salute. Parker apologized saying he had no idea what the gesture meant.

Dieudonne faces up to seven years in prison for the Facebook post -- a new test for the French national motto: liberty, equality, fraternity.

Miguel Marquez, CNN, New York.


BURNETT: They say they stand for free speech but maybe only for some?

OUTFRONT next: new video release by ISIS appears to show a young boy shooting two hostages in the head. Can ISIS's disgusting strategy of turning children into killers be stopped? We're going to show you this. We believe it's important.

Plus, with AirAsia's fuselage, drivers are expected to search the massive piece of debris in just hours. What will they find?


BURNETT: Tonight, ISIS releasing a horrifying new video. This appears to show a young boy murdering two men who are accused of being Russian spies. In the video, the child can be seen pointing a pistol at the men's head and pulling the trigger.

Now, we want to warn you, what you're about to see is upsetting but we're showing it to you because it's not rare. It is a terrifying trend of terrorists using children to carry out their massacres and it may be growing. The world should be aware.

And Michael Holmes is OUTFRONT.


MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A horrific new tactic from ISIS raising a new generation of terrorists.

A video released this week from the terror group purports to show a young boy executing two hostages accused of being Russian spies. In the video, a young boy about 10 years old with long hair dressed in a black sweater and military fatigues stands before the hostages armed with a handgun. While a bearded ISIS fighter stands next to the boy reciting religious verses.

CNN cannot verify the authenticity of the video, but the boy pulls the trigger and appears to shoot both men once in the head and fires several more times as the hostages slump to the ground. Like previous ISIS execution videos showing the beheading of Western hostages, this one is carefully edited and choreographed, with slick production. So, it is unclear if the boy did, in fact, kill the hostages.

But the message from ISIS is clear: they are turning children into killers.

DANIEL BYMAN, SENIOR FELLOW, CENTER FOR MIDDLE EAST POLICY, BROOKINGS INSTITUTION: Unfortunately, there is the use of children for atrocities in many conflicts. We've seen this in Africa and we've seen it before in Syria. The difference here is they are bragging about it. They are trying to exult in this. And it's disturbing.

HOLMES: This video appears to be the first time ISIS has portrayed a child carrying out an execution, but the terror group has exploited children in previous videos, they call them the cubs the caliphate. They're often shown training to fight, learning in ISIS- run schools and training with automatic weapons.

This particularly boy has appeared in earlier ISIS videos. He says his name is Abdullah, that he's from Kazakhstan and that he wants to grow up to kill infidels.

This isn't the first time ISIS has used shocking images of children online. A young Australian boy holds a severed head in a photo posted last August by the child's father, an extremist who took his children to Syria to join the fight with ISIS.

Another fanatical group is also using children to further their evil agenda. Nigeria's Boko Haram behind a deadly attack this week, strapping a bomb to a young girl and setting it off in a busy marketplace, killing at least 16 people, including, of course, the girl.

Just this week, a Chicago teen pleaded not guilty to charges he planned to join ISIS fighters in Syria. His mother issuing an emotional plea to the terror group. ZARINE KHAN, MOTHER OF ISIS RECRUIT: We have a message for ISIS,

Mr. Baghdadi and his fellow social media recruiters -- lever our children alone.

HOLMES: Children used as pawns in a propaganda war in a global jihad, exploited, their innocence lost. What happens to these children as they grow up? What kind of adults will they send into the world?

Michael Holmes, CNN.


BURNETT: Ending with a crucial question.

Well, next, searchers have found the fuselage of AirAsia Flight 8501. One wing is still attached and we've got the latest on the investigation. In just hours, they're going to be looking in there.

And two Americans have just made it to the top of the world's most difficult rock climb. It's a pretty stunning achievement. They used super glue to keep their fingertips intact. Our report.


BURNETT: And we continue to monitor our top story tonight. The FBI arresting an Ohio man for allegedly plotting to bomb the U.S. Capitol. This is 20-year-old Christopher Lee Cornell. Among the charges against him, his plot was inspired by ISIS.

These exclusive images from our Cincinnati affiliate WKRC, as we're learning more and more. We just spoke with his father, he said he knew nothing at all when he saw his son last night. He appeared completely normal.

And we have a significant breakthrough in the search of AirAsia Flight 8501. Searchers found a massive area of the plane. Underwater robots found part of the wreckage, which include part of the airline's slogan in a very sobering -- when you look at these pictures, as you'll see, saying now everyone can fly. And a section of the wing with the registration number on the plane on it.

Within hours, divers are expected to search the fuselage. This is, of course, a grave. More than 100 people remain missing after the plane crashed 18 days ago with 162 people on board.

OUTFRONT now is our safety analyst, David Soucie, the author of "Why Planes Crash". He has a new book coming about the missing Malaysia Flight 370.

David, obviously, we know the tail and the black boxes have been recovered. And now, we have these images of what has been found today -- the section of the center of the plane, along with the side of the plane and one of the wings, part of one of the wings attached. As I said, you could see the slogan, which, you know, underneath the water there is very sobering. When you look at this piece, what does it tell you about how this

plane may have gone into the water?

DAVID SOUCIE, CNN SAFETY ANALYST: It appears as though that main section was pretty close to the tail, meaning within about a half mile. So, to me, that indicates that the aircraft did more of a pancake with a little bit of a forward air speed to have lost the tail at the impact, not before the impact as sometimes we were guessing before because we didn't know where that main body was but it appears at this point to me that the plane made a flat pancake type of a landing, the tail had been broken off, and then that main section, there's about 100 feet there that they found.

So, that would indicate, remember, the Airbus is much longer than 100 feet. It's only about 120 feet. So, well, that section anyway. Where that is, there's a good portion of the airplane there and right now, as we speak, there's divers down there examining what's there. We'll know a whole lot more in a short time.

BURNETT: We will and we hope for the families, their loved ones are found. Of course, the question that everyone has, the families and anyone watching, everyone who flies, when you talk about it landing like a plat pancake, what does that mean for how that plane fell? What it was like on board?

SOUCIE: Well, what it means is that it's too early to actually tell exactly what it means, but we will have some graphics that will show this exactly within a short time from the cockpit voice recorder and the flight data recorder.

But what it means there was a severe stall, power on type of stall where the aircraft lost forward momentum but was in a steep decline or the aircraft engines themselves were either damaged by hail or damaged by the wind. The angle of attack would have possibly stalled those engines. So, at that point, the engine makes a steep spiral spin in an attempt to get more air flow to the wings in an attempt to retain control, so that the aircraft can be leveled out. But it looks like it was just a little too late and too short at this point.

BURNETT: David Soucie, thank you. We'll continue to follow that as we get the images coming in over the next day. We'll be right back.


BURNETT: Today, climbers Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson have reached the summit of El Capitan. That's in Yosemite National Park.

OK. Let's just show you these images. We told you about the story recently, but they free climbed, all right? Free climbed 3,000 feet of sheer rock. That means they use no gear, just their callused hands and feet. The ropes were only to catch them if they fell.

It's been called the toughest climb in the world. It's pretty incredible, the president just tweeted themselves, congratulations. And, hey, we add ourselves to that list.

Thanks for joining us.

"AC" starts now.