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One Suspect Identified In Attacks; Obama, World Leaders Focus On Terror Threat; Organized Group Smuggle In With Refugees. Aired 6- 6:30a ET

Aired November 15, 2015 - 06:00   ET



CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. We are in Paris as part of CNN's continuing coverage. I'm Chris Cuomo with Hala Gorani. It is a very different day and a very different mood in what we are seeing. Hala, give us a sense of where we are, the significance of this place, and how this city has changed.

HALA GORANI, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: It's Sunday. It's a beautiful day but yesterday, Chris. Yesterday, it was gloomy and grim. People were in shock still. But today you feel that Parisians are coming out. They are walking out under the streets, Saturday night, Paris was empty. I've never seen it like that. You felt like people were staying home, but today I'm really sensing a different mood.

CUOMO: This was not even a year ago, "Charlie Hebdo," but this is different this time and not about the numbers of dead and injured, of course, always significant but not driving the emotions or the intensity here. That was specific.

They knew it was under attack. Here there is disbelief and uncertainty now about what the future holds. Not that this was the past of what happened but it may be a signal of the present and future.

GORANI: Chris, what is interesting it was a way of life in Paris targeted by these terrorists. Paris is known for its cafes and restaurants and having a glass of wine with friends and listening to music. In the case of that concert hall that was so viciously attacked and that way of life is under assault here.

CUOMO: Many of those feelings by investigators too. Here is what they know for sure, they believe there were more people involved in planning and launching these attacks than we know so far than those who were taken by their own vests and by the efforts of police and security forces.

A big key for them will be the vests, who made them? They believe the chemical compounds used in these explosive vests the first time they have had to deal with that in France and had suicide bombers before not using vests. The chemical compound was unstable. They believe was locally made. That's a key question.

GORANI: And so breaking overnight, one of the suicide attackers identity has been revealed according to a member of the French parliament. He is Ismael Omar Mostefai. AFP is reporting that the French-born and Chris, this is also important, French-born. People were saying Syrian passports were found, et cetera, but again

like in the case of "Charlie Hebdo," it appears at least one citizen has been identified by a fingerprint that was found at the Bataclan Concert Hall.

CUOMO: And obviously as morbid as that is, it's also very instructive. You are dealing with a different security situation here in France than we are used to, let's say, in the United States? By the way, it is a different France today than it was yesterday.

Two big points of contrast, one, in the U.S., they are dealing with maybe a couple of hundred people could be on the radar for having gone abroad and gone back with hostile intentions. Here, the estimate is 5,000.

It's a big pocket of Muslim expats here that are under some form of surveillance, but not really fully understood from an investigative standpoint.

Then you have the state of emergency that President Hollande has put into effect. Many in the investigative community are saying the increased assets and increased ability to take people and suspend rights for a while to figure out what is going on investigatively should be the new normal.

GORANI: Chris, this is always controversial. In Europe, perhaps more so than I think in other countries, where do you draw the line between right to privacy and the desire for security and safety?

Belgian authorities, to our viewers, made a number of arrests as well. What is the Belgian connection following a series of raids in Brussels? One of the raids is linked to Friday's attack.

CUOMO: They are learning more as they go along, but it's also, of course, driving the questions. Any attacker who may have recorded what was going on here, who may have escaped during this event. It was such a melee that was going on.

Again, the planning, the logistical coordination, the cars that were left in different places, that drove them, obviously, to Belgium investigatively and there are many more questions.

Let's bring in CNN senior correspondent, Clarissa Ward, who is following the investigation. There are more questions than answers at this point.

CLARISSA WARD, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's absolutely right, Chris. Good morning. We are learning a little bit more, however, about that French national who has been identified, 29- year-old Ismael Omar Mostefai. He was of Algerian descent, but born and raised, as Hala said, here in France, in the southern Parisian suburb of Cuckoo Hall.

Now we know that he did have a criminal rap sheet, mostly petty crime. It doesn't appear he actually served any time in jail, but he had also been flagged to French authorities as being involved with radical elements.

[06:50:07]And that will be raising some real questions about why he wasn't more on the radar of French authorities. We know now that six people who are closely connected to Mostefai are held for questioning. This is the same thing after the Charlie Hebdo attacks.

It is not clear if any of them had any specific involvement, but the types of things that authorities will be wanting to know is where did Mostefai get his training and weapons and perhaps most importantly, did he spend time inside Syria or Iraq?

As you mentioned before, France has a real problem, thousands of young Muslims from France have gone to Syria and Iraq to the battle fields to join the jihad against the regime of Bashar al-Assad.

It's very difficult essentially to keep track of them once they came back to France, but after "Charlie Hebdo" certainly there was an understanding that this is the new face of terror not just in France, but here in Europe.

It's what they call a hybrid, part petty criminal and part radicalized zealot. You have a real problem in France and in the suburbs which are known to be poor, marginalized and disenfranchised and disaffected youth.

Now essentially with the rise of the civil war in Syria, you have a place where that disaffected youth can go and be radicalized further and become trained so a lot of questions still as to where Ismael Omar Mostefai had spent time and who he was keeping company with.

GORANI: All right, Clarissa Ward, thanks very much. Before we get to this, I want to show our viewers some terrifying moments of that precise moment when gunfire erupted at the Bataclan Concert Hall. Take a look.


CUOMO: You have to remember how surreal this was. People are enjoying a concert and, all of a sudden, you hear those big shells start to open up. Obviously, there were phases of this.

We want to show you that people were able to survive in that situation and give a window into who they are dealing with here as attackers and what the plan obviously was.

Obviously, this is not a forensic value except these people were using serious small weapons in here and estimated those were 762 shells out of a Kalashnikov. What do we understand in terms of what the design and intent was?

PAUL CRUICKSHANK, CNN TERRORISM ANALYST: Well, these may have been trained killers, people who know how to kill who were in Syria and Iraq --

CUOMO: Because of the burst of fire? Take us through it.

CRUICKSHANK: Exactly this. They were able to reload and reload and reload, and it was relentless, according to the eyewitnesses. That all points to this being an organized terrorist group behind this, behind this people who fought with ISIS in Syria and Iraq, who murdered people over there and have come back and murdered people over here.

GORANI: Can we compare this event with "Charlie Hebdo," which was less than 10 months ago here in Paris? Do you consider this to be a lot more sophisticated pointing to much more organization beforehand?

CRUICKSHANK: Well, I think the coordination the fact that they attack six different locations that points to more planning here, suddenly, with "Charlie Hebdo" that was done, that satirical magazine that was targeted and a semi-coordinated fashion went off to a French policewoman and that kosher market. This was more organized than "Charlie Hebdo."

CUOMO: Why are we using words like that that this was more spectacular and more grand. Let's talk about from what we are hearing from French intel sources. They say this is not that complicated to plan.

It's not about missing obviously, chatter, missing big meetings and missing coordination from abroad. What can you tell us what is involved and what this says in terms of how easy or difficult it is to detect even something of this dynamic?

CRUICKSHANK: A lot of people are saying maybe this was an intelligence -- you have an attack, it's an intelligence failure but European security agencies completely overwhelmed right now. The numbers are staggering, 6,000 European nationals have traveled to Syria and Iraq.

And 1,500 is the number they know about and they don't have the resources, apart from a very few in Europe here right now, 24/7. The worry is the attacks moving toward terrorism.

GORANI: All right, Paul Cruickshank, we'll stay in touch with you, of course. Thanks for joining us with your expertise on this.

[06:10:09]We will be asking a lot more questions in terms of the European nature of this, Chris, because is it possible that this Belgian connection was used to sort of stay under the radar as far as French intelligence services were concerned? So many questions we don't have answers to and we will be looking at those this morning.

CUOMO: This is a question for leadership, how we move forward together. That is the expectation out of a disaster that you get, a galvanized resolve to do better to fight that. We have the G-20 Summit under way today in Turkey. That had one agenda and now it is very different.

We will tell you what will be on the minds of leadership, as well as new details of security measures that are being put in place here in Paris following the attack.


CUOMO: We have breaking news. Obviously, the biggest concern right now is the investigation who were these men and who decided to take their own lives and others. Where did they come from? Christiane Amanpour is on the phone right now with new information. Christiane, what do we understand?

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): Well, Chris, we have new information from my source in the French Senate and also from the Ministry of Interior who is leading the investigation.

[06:15:07]What, in general, they are saying is that their worst fears are being proven by the identifying of these suicide bombers. They believe that it has been something long planned, but most ominously, that at least one of these was belonging to a network that has inserted itself into the migrants and refugees who are coming to Europe.

They tell me that they have confirmed that the first suicide bomber who blew him outside the stadium on Friday night had a passport that he was given on an emergency basis when he landed at Greece on the 3rd of October.

They believe it's a false passport and this man gave false information and had no papers or I.D. and part of the processing with many of these poor refugees is to give them new passport.

So he had a special refugee passport which names him as Ahmed Al- Mohammed (ph), born 10th of September, 1990. Crucially, I'm told that his fingerprints matched with the first terrorist who blew himself up and crucially as well his fingerprints weren't in the French database.

Therefore he was unknown for the French and they believe that he was one of these people posing as a refuge or a migrant, somebody who is unknown who come to France, so they call it a very professionally organized attack planned long ago.

Just to give you a sense of where this man, Abdul -- sorry, Al- Muhammad went from, from Leros on October 3rd then to Macedonia, to Serbia and Croatia and then he was ranked on the 7th of October.

They are telling me and saying this is new confirmation of the two other suicide bombers who blew themselves up the French stadium on Friday night, those two others are said to have carried false Turkish passports.

So, Chris, this is a rather dramatic development in terms of the organization of at least a group who were responsible for the bombings at the stadium, who blew themselves up.

CUOMO: Well, it is, at once, confirmation of a known issue, and potentially confirmation of a new and feared issue. The one is that ease of movement throughout Europe is well known, it's of concern, why they shut the borders here and having to consider new things.

Also, this is a big factor of the election of the president in the United States right now that people who are being called refuges could be terrorists and hiding and tomorrow's terrorist. On one level that is uncharitable and insensitive to the plight so many are fleeing. On the other hand there is a practicality involved. What is your take?

AMANPOUR: Certainly the member of the Senate told us this is a big night there because the whole European project is about the freedom of movement. On the other hand, this is what makes it so much more difficult to be able to identify when in situations of war, as we are in right now.

This is new language from the French president who said, yesterday, an army, he used his words very carefully, an army of terrorists and jihadists are declared war on France. This language is important and carries legal connotations with it. They are at war.

So this is what our -- our senator told us yesterday, that in this war, given that this is now the first example of what is threatens, which, if you remember publicly, several weeks ago, threatened they would send as they call their brothers and fighters to Europe amongst the refugees and immigrants.

She said today's immigrants is tomorrow's terrorists. She realized the terrible and political impact of this. Today, in France, the French president is hosting major political leaders.

The first one he met with today was the previous French President Nicolas Sarkozy who was minister of interior and he is very, very clear that he believes new immigration policies have been enacted, in any event, two suicide bombers with false Turkish passports and one with a Syrian passport -- Chris.

CUOMO: All right, Christiane, thank you very much. As you get more information, please bring it to us. Thank you very much. How do you balance these two, Hala?

[06:20:09] GORANI: There so many implications here. First of all, politically, whenever this happens, it tends to favor right wing parties and right leaning parties and anti-immigration groups. In France, (inaudible) is the leader of the National Front. She did very, very well in the European elections not so well in the French elections.

But on a European scale, she is really registering great gains. Will this help her? Secondly, will sentiment turn against, we saw Germans, for instance, being very welcoming of refugees and Swedes as well.

Will this have people go against the idea of being so welcoming in European countries? It has huge political and social implications in this region, if this is, indeed, confirmed officially.

CUOMO: And also at some point does it transcend partisan politics and just become about practicality? I mean, you have to balance the heart with the head. If you know from your primary enemy in terrorism that they want to send people to infiltrate among the masses, and the vetting just cannot be exhaustive, even though in the United States, one of the misconceptions is that a refuge gets a free pass.

It's now true. In many cases they get vetted as much or even more so than other immigrants, but you still can't know for sure.

GORANI: No, you can't. I'd be interested to learn, once this is confirmed and we have more details about the identity of this suicide bomber, where he traveled from. Did he actually travel to Greece on a boat? Did he acquire these papers somewhere else?

I think we need so many more pieces to the puzzle right now. But the headline is here is this guy with false refuge documentation who tried to kill French people at a football stadium and this is what, I think, is going to get people to react signed of viscerally once this news comes out.

CUOMO: Many layers to the solutions and problems and outrage is obvious and growing. We will take a quick break. When we come back, the G20 summit is going on in Turkey. World leaders coming together and this is obviously the main point of the agenda.

The question that you see in Paris is what do we do next? The resolve is obvious. We are not afraid. You see that all over Paris in terms of people coming together, but what can we do? Stay with us.


CUOMO: All right, so here we are in Paris covering the events that transpired a couple of days. The timing could not be better and worse for the G20 Summit.

A year after "Charlie Hebdo" this is a nation in mourning because of a life being taken by terrorists. As the leaders come together, the agenda obviously is out the window and replaced by what is happening here.

President Obama is already in Turkey where the summit takes place starting today. He is not far from the Syrian border. The questions are obvious. The question is what will the tone and intention be?

GORANI: Right. I spoke to the Turkish president a few days ago. He personally added fight against ISIS to a working dinner this evening where the G-20 is taking place. The G-20 is a forum to discuss economic questions, but this attack and the fact that the refuge crisis and the war in Syria has dominated the conversation among these countries is making a political forum for the discussion.

CUOMO: Language will be mattered how much is talked about Islamism and extremism. Let's get to Michelle Kosinski who is traveling with the president joining us live from the site of where the G-20 will take place -- Michelle.

MICHELLE KOSINSKI, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: We just heard from President Obama. I think one of the most interesting things to come out of his remarks was what he didn't say. He was asked by a reporter afterwards. He made some statements but was asked what additional action do you plan to take against ISIS?

He said I'm not going to answer that question right now. Wait until the press conference tomorrow. He is clearly prepared for that question, which is, you know, one of the biggest questions, if not the biggest question out there right now aside from the investigation itself.

What will the collective military response be to the Paris attacks and will it entail any change in strategy? I mean, even before these meetings started, even before the Paris attacks, the administration was talking about intensifying the discussion among these allies, intensifying the response.

So it's possible at this press conference tomorrow, if he is not going to announce anything specific, you know, maybe he'll talk generally only, but again, that is something that will certainly be asked right off.

This is really dominating the discussion here. President Obama talked about that a little bit in his remarks. Listen.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: The skies have been darkened by the horrific attacks that took place in Paris. The killing of innocent people based on a twisted ideology is an attack is not just on France, not just on Turkey, but it's an attack on the civilized world.


KOSINSKI: President Obama talked about redoubling efforts to look for a political transition in Syria and something Secretary Kerry has been working on with other world leaders in Vienna. As the president put it, redoubling efforts to eliminate, this time he said eliminate, not contain ISIS.

CUOMO: Well. Words always matter. Michelle Kosinski, thank you very much. You have to balance what is keeping it general so as not to reveal strategy as being caught flat-footed. We have breaking news about new information into this investigation. We are joined by Christiane Amanpour. What have we learned?

AMANPOUR: I've but general talking to a very good source, a French senator who also had all of this from official briefings from the Ministry of Interior. The worst nightmare is now being discovered and is in operation here in this French attack.

That was would ISIS make good on its public pledge which it made several weeks ago that we will insert our brothers, our fighters in these refuges and we will bring the fight to you. To that end, I'm told, I'm going to look at my notes to make sure I get it all right.

CUOMO: Please.